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NCJ Number: 31764 Find in a Library
Title: MISTAKE, IGNORANCE, EXPECTATION OF BENEFIT, AND THE MODERN LAW OF CONFESSIONS
Journal: WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW QUARTERLY  Volume:1975  Issue:2  Dated:(1975)  Pages:275-360
Author(s): G E DIX
Corporate Author: Washington University
School of Law
United States of America
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 86
Sponsoring Agency: Washington University
St Louis, MO 63130
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS ARTICLE IS AN EXAMINATION OF THE LEGAL SIGNIFICANCE OF SEVERAL POSSIBLE CHARACTERISTICS OF A DEFENDANT'S STATE OF MIND AT THE TIME OF CONFESSION ON THE ADMISSIBILITY OF THAT CONFESSION INTO EVIDENCE.
Abstract: CONSIDERED ARE THE DEFENDANT'S IGNORANCE OR MISTAKE CONCERNING THE FACTS OF THE LAW RELATING THERETO (WHETHER INFLUENCED BY AFFIRMATIVE AND INTENTIONAL DECEPTION BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES, BY GOOD FAITH PROMISES AND REPRESENTATIONS OF SUCH PERSONS, OR BY OTHER FACTORS) AND RELIANCE UPON EXPECTATIONS THAT HE WILL IN SOME WAY BENEFIT FROM THE CONFESSION. A REVIEW OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE LAW OF CONFESSIONS FOCUSES ON THE WAY IN WHICH THE SUBJECT'S CONSCIOUS AWARENESS HAS BEEN TREATED DURING THE VARIOUS STAGES OF THIS EVOLUTION. ATTENTION IS THEN CENTERED ON THE NEED TO DEFINE AND REFINE THE MATTER AND ON THE VARIOUS (AFOREMENTIONED) CONSIDERATIONS THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT. THE THESIS PRESENTED HERE IS THAT THE LACK OF CLARITY IN REGARD TO THESE ISSUES RESULTS FROM THE SELECTION OF LEGAL VEHICLES MANIFESTLY INAPPROPRIATE FOR DEALING WITH THE UNDERLYING PROBLEMS AND THAT SUCH SELECTION HAS BEEN DUE LARGELY TO AN UNWILLINGNESS TO DEAL SPECIFICALLY WITH THE ISSUES. THE AUTHOR PROPOSES PROCEDURAL RULES TO ASSURE THE DEFENDANT'S ABILITY TO MAKE A REASONABLY INFORMED TACTICAL CHOICE IN DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT TO MAKE A SELF-INCRIMINATING STATEMENT. HE ARGUES THAT THE FOUNDATION FOR ADMISSION OF A SELF-INCRIMINATING STATEMENT SHOULD INCLUDE EVIDENCE THAT THE POLICE INFORMED THE DEFENDANT OF THE MAJOR FACTS AND LAW RELATING TO HIS POTENTIAL CRIMINAL LIABILITY, WHETHER OR NOT THE SUBJECT WAS IN CUSTODY OR WAS INTERROGATED. MOREOVER, IF A DEFENDANT COMES FORWARD WITH REASONABLE EVIDENCE THAT HE WAS UNAWARE OF A MATTER OF FACT OR LAW WHEN HE CONFESSED AND THAT SUCH IGNORANCE IMPEDED HIS ABILITY TO MAKE A REASONABLY INFORMED TACTICAL DECISION ABOUT CONFESSING, THE PROSECUTION SHOULD HAVE THE BURDEN OF PROVING THAT THE DEFENDANT DID POSSESS ADEQUATE UNDERSTANDING. SIMILARLY, BY COMING FORWARD WITH EVIDENCE, A DEFENDANT SHOULD BE ABLE TO FORCE THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE THAT A CONFESSION WAS NOT MADE IN REASONABLE RELIANCE UPON AN EXPECTATION OF BENEFIT IF THE THE PROSECUTION OFFERS THE CONFESSION AT TRIAL. UNLESS AN ATTORNEY ACTING FOR, OR ON BEHALF OF, THE DEFENDANT WAS PRESENT, NO STATEMENT MADE IN RESPONSE TO A PROMISE OR REPRESENTATION OF BENEFIT SHOULD BE ADMISSIBLE. IF COUNSEL WAS NOT PRESENT WHEN THE STATEMENT WAS MADE, THE PROSECUTION SHOULD HAVE THE BURDEN OF PROVING THE LACK OF SUCH PROMISE OR REPRESENTATION. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED)
Index Term(s): Confessions; Decisionmaking; Judicial decisions; Laws and Statutes; Right against self incrimination; Rules of evidence
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=31764

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