Colorado v. Connelly 479 U.S. 157 (1986)

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COLORADO v. CONNELLY 479 U.S. 157 (1986)

Narrowly seen, this case deals with true confessions by mentally deranged people, but it resulted in the major holding that the Fifth Amendment's right against compulsory self-incrimination operates only when the coercion is linked to government. A confession that is involuntary in the sense that it is not the product of a rational intellect or free will may, nevertheless, be introduced in evidence because no government agent misbehaved or was responsible for the involuntary character of the confession. In this case, the murderer confessed in obedience to God's voice. He received his miranda rights, waived them, and insisted on confessing. The court, in a 7–2 decision, found no violation of due process of law and no involuntary self-incrimination. The dissenters believed that the Court was wrong to think that the only involuntary confessions are those obtained by government misconduct. Justice john paul stevens, concurring with the decision, sensibly acknowledged that the confession in this case was involuntary but not of such a character that it had to be excluded from evidence.

Leonard W. Levy

(see also: Police Interrogation and Confessions; Right Against Self-Incrimination.)

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Colorado v. Connelly 479 U.S. 157 (1986)

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Colorado v. Connelly 479 U.S. 157 (1986)