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Colorado v. Connelly


The defendant approached an officer and stated that he had committed murder and wanted to discuss it. The officer advised the defendant of his Miranda rights. The defendant said that he understood his rights but still wanted to talk about the murder. Shortly thereafter, a detective arrived and again advised the defendant of his rights. After the defendant responded that he had traveled all the way from Boston to confess to the murder, he was taken to police headquarters. He then confessed and pointed out the exact location of the murder. Subsequent psychiatric evaluation revealed that defendant was following the “voice of God” in confessing to the murder.


Whether the defendant’s waiver of his Miranda rights and his statements were coerced?


No. Coercion must originate in the government’s actions.


Voluntariness of a waiver of the privilege of the Fifth Amendment depends upon absence of governmental overreaching. The sole concern of the Fifth Amendment is governmental coercion. The Supreme Court is not concerned with moral and psychological pressures to confess coming from sources other than government coercion. The statements made by the defendant are admissible. The government need prove only by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently waived his Miranda rights.


479 U.S. 157, 107 S. Ct. 515 (1986)

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