Confessions in the Courtroom by Lawrence S. Wrightsman

By Lawrence S. Wrightsman

The motives of confessions, the acceptability of confessions extracted less than duress and the interrogation systems utilized by police are one of the subject matters explored during this quantity. The authors research how the North American felony approach has developed in its therapy of confessions during the last 50 years, review the method for picking out the admissability of confession testimony and supply study findings on jurors' reactions to voluntary and coerced confessions.

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606). The catalog of factors that may be relevant to a determination of voluntariness covers a wide range. , lengthy, grueling periods of question­ ing; the use of relays of questioners; multiple interrogators; physical abuse; deprivation of needs; threats of harm or punishment; advice; promise or reassurance; and deception). Not surprisingly, the case law has been confusing and inconsistent, the courts have been bur­ dened by numerous appeals for postconviction reviews of the volun­ tariness issue, and attempts at synthesis and generalization have met with little success.

Richmond, 1961) have shifted toward this latter emphasis on constitutionally based procedural fairness, individual rights, and the deterrence of reprehensible police miscon­ duct. As such, although involuntary confessions may be excluded if they are seen as untrustworthy, that criterion is not enough—they must also be excluded if illegally obtained. THE V O L U N T A R I N E S S C R I T E R I O N Voluntariness is a difficult concept to operationalize, because it requires inferences about the suspect's subjective state of mind and embraces the dual concerns for trustworthiness and due process.

The prosecutor called the victim of a prior conviction, who testified that in 1978 the defendant had forced him to engage in acts of sodomy and oral copulation. The prosecutor also introduced into evidence documentary proof of the defendant's 1967 conviction for child molestation. At that point, the jury unanimously voted for the death penalty. On appeal the defense argued that the defendant's statements made during the conversations with the detectives were inadmissible. The defense appeal claimed that psychological coercion overcame the defendant's will to resist and brought about confessions not freely self-determined.

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