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New Supreme Court ruling ...

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I wouldn't consider myself soft on crime, but this is long overdue ...

Excluding Voluntary Confessions: Corley v. United States

In this case, the defendant was convicted of robbing a bank and was questioned by the FBI for two days (29.5 hours) before officials brought him before a magistrate - and he'd signed a written confession.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that even where a confession is voluntary, it may not be used in federal court if the defendant was held more than six hours before confessing. The 5-4 decision stems from a rule stating that a suspect must appear before a magistrate as soon as possible.

As a result, for a voluntary confession to be valid, the defendant must appear before a magistrate within six hours. Writing for the majority, Justice Souter stated that "we have always known what custodial secrecy leads to," and that without this ruling "federal agents would be free to question suspects for extended periods before bringing them out in the open."

Source: SCOTUSBlog

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I'm certainly in agreement with the spirit of the ruling, but I cannot say I'm in agreement in this case.


"Petitioner Corley was arrested for assaulting a federal officer at about 8 a.m. Around 11:45 FBI agents took him to a Philadelphia hospital to treat a minor injury. At 3:30 p.m. he was taken from the hospital to the local FBI office and told that he was a suspect in a bank robbery. Though the office was in the same building as the nearest magistrate judges, the agents did not bring him before a magistrate judge, but questioned him, hoping for a confession. At 5:27 p.m., some 9.5 hours after his arrest, Corley began an oral confession that he robbed the bank."

Counting the time from when he was treated at a hospital seems it's going to offer a huge out for anyone who makes a trip to the hospital before questioning and could lead to some police denying someone medical treatment before questioning.

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