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Some resources on involuntary confessions

We posted yesterday about State v. John Finley, which addressed a challenge to the confession of an adult with intellectual limitations. Coincidentally, we learned today of two articles related to confessions that may interest our readers. First, the day after the Finley decision was released, Science published this article about Saul Kassin, an expert on false confessions. Finley… Read More

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State v. John S. Finley, 2018AP258-CR, District 2, 6/12/19 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Here’s a succinct summary of this decision: “The Majority supports the government’s  ‘interview,’ which utilized lies, threats, and fabrication of evidence to wrestle a statement from a thirty-six-year-old man, who has the mind of a twelve year old… Read More

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State v. J.P., 2017AP1905, District 1, 9/5/18 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity J.P. was adjudicated delinquent for calling in two bomb scares to his high school. The court of appeals rejects his claims that the police lacked probable cause to arrest him and unlawfully searched his phone and that his confession was involuntary… Read More

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When last we wrote about we Brendan Dassey, the 7th Circuit, sitting en banc, had vacated the writ of habeas corpus issued the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Dassey has since filed a cert petition in SCOTUS, and numerous organizations have filed amicus briefs in support of it. If you have a case involving a possibly… Read More

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City of Hays, Kansas v. Vogt, USSC No. 16-1495, cert granted 9/28/17 Question presented: Whether the Fifth Amendment is violated when statements are used at a probable cause hearing but not at a criminal trial. Decision below: Vogt v. City of Hays, Kansas, 844 F.3d 1235 (10th Cir. 2017) USSC Docket Scotusblog page (includes links… Read More

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State v. Christopher E. Masarik, 2015AP194-CR, District 1, 10/4/16 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Masarik didn’t unequivocally assert his right to have counsel present while he was being questioned about an arson that resulted in the death of another, and his statement wasn’t involuntary despite his mental health difficulties. About two hours… Read More

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State v. Jeanette M. Janusiak, 2015AP160-CR, 1/28/16, District 4 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Pregnancy does not by itself make a suspect particularly vulnerable to police pressure and tactics during custodial interrogation, the court of appeals holds, so the fact that Janusiak was in an advanced state of pregnancy didn’t render her… Read More

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United States v. Antonio West, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. 14-2514, 12/30/15 The trial court erroneously excluded expert evidence that West sought to admit regarding factors that made him susceptible to making an unreliable confession to a crime. West, a felon, confessed to possessing a firearm. He moved to suppress his statement arguing… Read More

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