Confessions: Are They Always Admissible in Court or Can They Be Thrown Out?

Confession Defined:

Confessions are out-of-court statements made by a suspect in which he or she voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently acknowledges that he or she committed or participated in the commission of a crime and which makes it clear that there is no defense in law that would make his or her conduct lawful.

Courts and Confessions

Determining the guilt or innocence of accused suspects is one of the vital functions of the US judicial systems. Confessions can play a role in determining guilt or innocence, however, there are admittingly, inaccurate and involuntary confessions sometimes resulting from intimidation or threats. A body of law exists to prevent untrustworthy confessions from jeopardizing a defendant’s rights or finding wrongful guilt.

Admissibility and Confessions

Assuming “confession” means any confession of guilt of any criminal offense or any self-incriminating statement made or given orally or in writing. The following will apply:

A confession, if voluntarily given is admissible as evidence in a criminal prosecution in the United States or District of Columbia. The trial judge shall determine any issues as to its voluntariness. The confession can be admitted into evidence if the judge determines that the confession was voluntarily made. The judge will also instruct the jury to weigh the confession they feel it deserves considering all other extenuating circumstances.

In order to determine voluntariness, the judge must take all circumstances surrounding the confession into consideration. These circumstances include: the time between arrest and arraignment of the defendant who made the confession and when it was made, whether the defendant was aware of the charges at the time they made the confession, whether the defendant was advised that he was not required to make any statements that could be used against him or her, whether the defendant was advised of his right to counsel, whether the defendant was without counsel when giving their confession. All of these factors should be taken into consideration by the judge when determining voluntariness.
Any confession given while a person is under arrest or in custody of law enforcement will not be admissible in court.

Nothing contained in this section will bar the admission in evidence of any confession given voluntarily by any person to any person without interrogation or at any time the confessor was not under arrest or detention.

Any confession given to a member of the clergy cannot be used as evidence in a court of law. Priest-penitent-privilege exempts pastors from having to testify in court. This can be challenged in court and some states are changing their laws in response to clergy child-abuse cases.

Ron Chapman

Ronald Chapman is an expert defense attorney who will defend you in court. If you have given a confession or confessions under duress, Ronald Chapman can help ensure it is not used as evidence during your trial.

Ronald Chapman will:

  • Investigate the prosecutor’s case against you
  • Speak with your witnesses
  • Investigate your defenses
  • Represent you at trial
  • Get the best possible result for you

Defense Attorney West Palm Beach

Ronald Chapman practices criminal defense in both State and Federal Courts within the State of Florida. Since 1990, Mr. Chapman has been representing people accused of committing various types of crimes. If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, Ronald Chapman can help.

Schedule your FREE Consultation! Call (561) 832-4348 or visit his website.

Visit us at https://www.justiceflorida.com/ You can also connect with the West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Office online today! Ronald Chapman, an experienced criminal defense lawyer, dedicated to defending your rights. Contact him today to begin to discuss your case.

 

Ronald S. Chapman, P.A.
400 Clematis Street, Suite 206
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
561-832-4348

 

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