When does police coercion make a confession involuntary?


We're gonna get what we want, see?

Here’s the quick answer: almost never. If you’re still interested, read the rest of the post. Be warned, though. It is long.

I realize this is a slightly heavy topic for Christmas Day, but such are the conversations I have over lunch. What precipitated this line of thought is this Kansas Supreme Court decision, up for cert. before SCOTUS in the coming weeks.

In Morton, the Kansas Supreme Court held that the [police officer]‘s deliberate misleading of the defendant led to her confession being involuntary. The officer lied to Morton about her need for an attorney during the interrogation and lead her to believe that all he had were clarifying questions. The KS Supreme Court held thusly (more on Morton and CT law after the jump):

Another Beatty Christmas

It’s been nearly 14 years now since H. Beatty Chadwick was first acquainted with the inside of a prison cell. Chadwick, a rich lawyer in PA, was jailed back in the ’90s for that most serious of crimes: contempt of court.

This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill contempt either, where he told a judge to stuff it. No, Chadwick is in jail for violating a civil court’s order of alimony. So what happened? From this 2005 ABC Primetime piece:

Two jurors sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G

Okay so it wasn’t so much a tree as it was a hotel room and they weren’t kissing but rather “doin’ it”. Apparently, during the trial of Roberto Dunn, two jurors were “deliberating each other” (euphemisms solely mine) and two deputies who were charged with guarding the jurors were also “taking sexual liberties” (that’s a quote).

The strange part of the story is that this trial was in 2000 and the allegations were made by a fellow juror in a letter sent to the judge shortly after the trial. Dunn’s lawyers allegedly put the under seal and “didn’t do enough” to get a new trial. Now, Dunn’s new lawyer is seeking a new trial for him.

The Importance of Being Gideon (updated)


Gideon gleefully accepting the award

Congrats to Gideon for being named by the CT Law Tribune one of the dozen who made a difference in 2008!  The article (“An Anonymous Voice With An Attitude”) isn’t up on the Trib’s website yet, but I will link to it when it becomes available online.  Gideon discusses the benefit of blogging, the success of apublicdefender.com, and the difficult task of remaining anonymous.

You definitely deserve the accolades, Gid!  Thanks for your hard work and dedication.  We are all better lawyers because of it!

[Edit: Hello, Gideon here. Welcome to all the Law Trib readers. If you're new, stick around and read some of the posts. Take the poll and let us know what you are! If you're not new here, then, well...why aren't you commenting? Anyway, readers old and new, leave a comment and start a discussion! If you know what an RSS reader is, subscribe to the feed, or else sign up for e-mail updates over there to the right. Some videos for your enjoyment after the jump. See, we're a full service blog.]