Interrogations and Confessions

1809 words 8 pages
Interrogations and Confessions
Introduction
Without doubt, it is quite obvious that many citizens do not know their rights. This can even be made worse when these citizens are criminals or suspects in a crime. There is always this public perception that criminals have no rights and should have no rights. The police, even knowing that this is not the case, may often tend to bypass the rights of a criminal in a bid to resolve a case quickly and as a result, may subject the individual to illegal interrogation and coerce them into obtaining a confession by illegal means.

The US constitution places a high degree of value on people’s rights to be free from certain forms of questioning (Worrall, 134). This is emphasized in the fact that the
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Today, any indication of brute, whether by application or inference nullifies any confession obtained thereof.

Other factors that may affect the admission of a confession obtained include:
If the confession was obtained under protracted interrogation conditions with little or no breaks as in Ashcraft v Tennesse (1994). This also applies of the suspect is subjected to protracted pain and fatigue.
If the suspect is mentally challenged, disabled or immature as to affect the nature of the confession as in Payne and Arkansas (1958)
If the police obtains a confession by false pretence or promises of leniency as in Sapno v New York (1959)

Case Study: Bergius v Thompkins (2010)
In Berguis v Thompkins (2010), despite the fact that the police was unable to obtain a signature or verbal affirmation of consent to the Miranda warning, they were able to secure a prison sentence against Thompkins for the mere fact that:
They had evidence to show that he understood the words of the warning that was read to him.
The interrogating officer was able to appeal to his religious emotion, thereby obtaining and indirect and involuntary confession. Although it might still be argued that this was some form of coercion, the fact that there was no clear proof that Thompkins invoked or did not invoke the 5th amendment was enough to pin the crime on him.
Thompkins had fallen prey of this indirect questioning tactics and unwittingly

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