Summer Legal Updates 2010

Written By: Reid
Aug 09, 2010
The Legal Update for Summer 2010 features 32 cases which address such issues as:
  • Court upholds confession in which investigators lied about the strength of their evidence during interrogation
  • Court limits testimony of Professor Saul Kassin on false confession issues
  • Court rejects expert testimony of E. Clay Jorgensen, Ph.D.
  • How much corroboration is needed in a confession?
  • How long is too long for an interrogation?
  • Can a 12 year old make an intelligent and knowing waiver of their rights?
  • Can a "mildly mentally retarded" individual make a knowing and intelligent waiver of their rights?
  • Confession voluntariness - "If you don't tell the truth you will go to jail and lose your family
  • Court finds test on suggestibility was "not a valid and reliable test to determine a person's suggestibility to admit to a crime"
  • Confession voluntariness - "We are here to help you, we are the only ones who can help you."
  • Juvenile interrogation - the importance of discussing the Miranda warnings with the juvenile suspect
  • Confession voluntariness - suggesting defendant would receive counseling and lenient treatment if he admitted to the sex offenses did not invalidate the confession
  • Confession voluntariness - court rejects the concept of pragmatic implication
  • Confession ruled inadmissible when investigators ignored custodial suspect's request to stop
  • Juvenile confession found inadmissible
  • Police statement that they were not going to pursue any charges against the suspect, after advising him of his Miranda rights, renders the confession involuntary
  • Court denies expert psychiatric testimony that, based on defendant's background and the circumstances surrounding the interrogation, he confessed to a crime he did not commit
  • Can a person diagnosed as "schizoid paranoid affective schizophrenia" make a knowing and intelligent waiver of their Miranda rights?
  • Court listens to but rejects Dr. Richard Leo's testimony that the interrogation was "psychologically coercive and the detectives "went over the line." Also, "suggesting possible justifications for a homicide (such as self-defense) is not coercive."
  • Statements like "try to get something going"; I want to help you put your "best foot forward" do not constitute promises of leniency.
  • Statements like "being the guy that's not being completely honest" and being the "odd-man out" and "left out in the cold," do not imply a threat or dire consequences.
  • Can an interrogator's repeated invocations of offers to help the suspect render a confession inadmissible? Yes.
  • Court rejects suppression hearing testimony of Dr. Richard Ofshe
  • Court does not allow expert testimony by Dr. Jeffrey Vanderwater-Piercy concerning false or coerced confessions
  • Court rejects the claim that a coercive environment was created when the investigators mentioned the gravity of the offense and the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence and then told the suspect that if he cooperated he might benefit
  • Court excludes the testimony of Dr. Richard Ofshe
  • A statement to the defendant that "if his girlfriend was charged, and if she stayed in jail, there was a possibility that social services could take her children away" was not coercive
  • Value of electronically recording interrogations - "I'm going to hang your ass if you don't start telling the truth."
  • Court expresses concerns when the entire interrogation is not electronically recorded
  • After a Daubert hearing a trial court rules that Dr. Richard Ofshe's testimony was inadmissible