of the interrogation.
U.S. v. Houston, 35 CMR 211 (CMA, 1965).
mere fact (that) the accused was in custody or confinement at the time of
giving the statement does not render it inadmissible." U.S. v. Vigneault, 12
CMR 3 (CMA, 1953).
n. In Lynumn v. Illinois, 372 US 528 9 L.Ed.2d 922 83 SCT 917 (1963), the
defendant confessed after the police told her that state financial aid for her
infant children would be cut off, and her children taken from her, if she did
The confession was held to have been coerced, and therefore
Her will had been overborne and the confession was not the
product of a rational intellect and free will. An unusual situation arose in
Colorado v. Connelly, 479 US 157, 93LEd2d 473, 107 SCt 515 (1986).
defendant had approached a police officer in downtown Denver and "without any
prompting, stated that he had murdered someone and wanted to talk about it."
The police officer advised the suspect of his rights, and the individual then
confessed. He then took the police to the scene of the killing. The suspect
was then held in jail overnight.
The following morning, he became "visibly
disoriented" and said that "voices" had told him to confess. He was examined
by a psychiatrist, who stated that the suspect was psychotic and had been
obeying "command hallucinations." In other words, he had been following orders
The defendant argued at trial that this, therefore, made his
confession involuntary. The Supreme Court disagreed, and held that "coercive
police activity is a necessary predicate (element) to the finding that a
confession is not voluntary... Respondent's perception of coercion flowing from
the 'voice of God' however important or significant such a perception may be in
other disciplines, is a matter to which the United States Constitution does not
Here, the police had not engaged in any physical or psychological
The confession was found to be voluntary, in that it was not the
product of any misconduct by the police.
3. Unlawful inducements (the positive influences).
A confession is also
involuntary and inadmissible if it is the product of an unlawful inducement.
This is the situation where the questioner makes an offer "too good to be true"
and therefore causes the suspect to make a confession. Such confessions are
not reliable, since the suspect may be confessing not because he is guilty, but
simply to get the benefit of the bargain.
a. In U.S. v. Tanner, 34 CMR 227 (CMA 1964).
The court held if the
investigators obtained the statement "by bluntly threatening him with severe
punishment at the hands of the civil authorities if he did not confess, as
opposed to promising avoidance of prosecution altogether if he did cooperate."
His statement was involuntarily obtained.
The court also held that "if an
accused is promised immunity from prosecution in return for a confession to a
crime, such would... operate to deprive him of the mental freedom to choose
either to speak or to remain silent, and thus render his statement
involuntary." U.S. v. Dalrymple, 34 CMR 87 (CMA 1963). A confession, then, is
not voluntary if the accused confessed because of repeated assurances his case
was not to be prosecuted.
b. Similarly, "if an accused is led to understand that a confession or
admission will not be used against him, such promise constitutes unlawful