Legal Update Summer 2009

Written By: Reid
Nov 04, 2009
The Legal Update for Summer 2009 features 32 cases which address such issues as:
  • Court rejects testimony of Dr. Richard Leo on false confession issue
  • Expert testimony on fabrication of confessions by inmate informants rejected
  • Court rejects claim confession was involuntary due to marijuana and alcohol use
  • Court upholds Miranda waiver by 15 year old
  • Court upholds Miranda waiver of 14 year old
  • Appeals court reverses admissibility of a confession from an 11 year old because of the interrogator's behavior
  • Ambiguous request to stop the interrogation - "this conversation is over"
  • Ambiguous request for an attorney - "I don't know if I need an attorney or not"
  • Court rejects claim that officers created an environment that caused defendant's will to be overborne
  • Court finds that interrogator conduct "overbore" defendant's will and rules that the confession is inadmissible
  • "Custody does not occur merely because the suspect submits to and fails a polygraph test"
  • Confession suppressed when suspect questioned in his home without Miranda advisement
  • Telling the suspect that the prosecutor will be advised of their cooperation does not constitute a promise of leniency; suggesting the homicide was an accident or self-defense was not coercive
  • What constitutes a threat during an interrogation?
  • What constitutes permissible deception by the police during an interrogation?
  • A fake polygraph test did not render involuntary the defendant's incriminating statement
  • Can an interrogator tell a suspect "this is just between you and me" when, in fact, the interrogation is being recorded and the recording will be used against the suspect?
  • What IQ score precludes a defendant from making a knowing and intelligent waiver of their rights?
  • No federal requirement to electronically record interrogation
  • Confession ruled inadmissible because of faulty advisement of rights
  • Juvenile's confession ruled inadmissible because of several violations of the Texas Family Code
  • Confession found inadmissible due to threats and promises from the investigators
  • Court rejects opinion of defense expert, Dr. Christopher Lamps, on coerced confession and waiver of rights issues
  • Value of video taping the interrogation
  • Court finds confession inadmissible because the Miranda rights were not properly explained to the defendant - a 15 year-old with "borderline intellectual functioning"
  • Interrogators misrepresentation of evidence is insufficient to make the otherwise voluntary confession inadmissible
  • Interrogator's repeated references that he could help the suspect rendered the confession involuntary
  • The interrogator's implication of leniency in exchange for cooperation is not coercive
  • Telling the suspect that if he tells the truth it could be in his benefit to do so and exaggerating the strength of the evidence against him does not render a confession involuntary
  • Court refuses to let Dr. Jarvis Wright testify on false confessions
  • Court rejects claims that there was an unambiguous request for an attorney; that the defendant's mental problems caused him to be more receptive to police coercion; and, that the fact the police lied about the evidence was coercive
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