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NCJ Number: 135563 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Confessions and the Mentally Disabled: Colorado v. Connelly and the Future of Free Will (From Criminal Court Consultation, P 157-192, 1989, Richard Rosner, Ronnie B Harmon, eds. -- See NCJ-135552)
Author(s): M L Perlin
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 36
Sponsoring Agency: Plenum Press
New York, NY 10013
Sale Source: Plenum Press
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In its 1986 decision in Colorado v. Connelly, the Rehnquist Court's first decision involving the confession of a mentally disabled person, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear that inquiries regarding whether confessions were voluntary were to be limited to matters involving police coercion.
Abstract: The court also emphasized that in the absence of such coercion, the issue of "free will" is not a topic for constitutional consideration. Connelly was a man who approached a uniformed police officer in Denver and stated, without any prompting, that he had murdered someone and "wanted to talk about it." He then waived his Miranda rights. The trial court and Colorado Supreme Court agreed that the defendant's schizophrenia, to which a psychiatrist had testified, had destroyed his volition and voided his waiver of his rights. The decision is ambiguous in its implications for future cases involving mentally ill offenders, and only future judicial decisions will indicate whether the case will be interpreted narrowly or whether the long-predicted end of Miranda rights has come. 130 references
Main Term(s): Confessions; Mentally ill offenders
Index Term(s): Miranda rights; Rights of the accused; US Supreme Court decisions; Waiver of rights
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