COLORADO V. CONNELLY Argued October 8, 1986 Decided December 10, 1986 Brianna Rippin & Kelsie Fellows DISPUTED ISSUE The issue being argued in this case is whether or not the mental condition of the respondent makes his confession admissible to the court. Important Figures in the Case Officer Patrick Anderson Respondent Francis Connelly Detective Stephen Antuna Dr. Metzner RELEVANT CASE FACTS Respondent walks up to an off duty officer and admits that he committed a murder Officer immediately advises Respondent of his Miranda Rights The officer established a good current mental condition, and that the Respondent had previously been in a mental hospital Detective soon arrived and repeated Miranda rights to the Respondent Respondent admits that he went from Boston to Denver to murdered Marry Ann Junta in November 1982 Police located records of an unidentified murdered girl found April 1983 RELEVANT CASE FACTS CONT… Respondent gave detailed story of the murder to the Detective and Sargent Under directions of respondent they went to the crime scene and the Respondent pointed out the location of the murder, showed no sign of mental illness at the time. Respondent was held overnight then during an interview became disoriented and claimed that he had been following the word of God Respondent went to a state mental hospital and was diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia, he has also been in a psychotic state since August 17, 1983 God had told him to get money, buy a plane ticket to Denver (from Boston), then admit to his previous murder or commit suicide SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR PROSECUTION Originally when the Respondent brought fourth his confession he was alerted to his Miranda rights and claimed a clear under standing which implies a clear mental focus. When asked the Respondent denied any affiliation with drugs and or alcohol. The Respondent travelled from Boston to Denver, the length of time that elapsed indicates that his mental state was constant for an extended period of time. In March 1984 doctors determined that the Respondent was competent enough to proceed to trial. Dr. Metzner (psychiatrist employed by state hospital) determined that the Respondent’s illness did not significantly impair his cognitive abilities, so he did understand the rights he had when he approached Officer Anderson SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR PROSECUTION CONT… Dr. Metzner also concluded that the voices that the Respondent claims to hear may be his interpretation of his own guilt not a mental sickness. The Colorado Trial Court declared that there was No police over-reaching or forced confession No development of mental disability due to police over-reaching No compulsory self-incrimination Evidence of the Respondent’s Preponderance of knowledge of information relating to his Miranda Rights means that the defendant has enough knowledge of his Miranda rights to comply with the required burden of proof to show that he understood them in mental capacity SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR DEFENSE During the Respondent’s initial incident with Officer, he admitted to having previously been in several mental hospitals. Respondent is visibly disoriented during interview then stated that voices had told him to come to Denver and confess. The Respondent was initially found incompetent to assist in his own defense Psychiatrist from state hospital diagnose the Respondent with chronic schizophrenia and explain that he was following the “voice of God” . The Respondent was reluctant to follow God’s command to confess but did because his only other option was suicide. SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR DEFENSE CONT… The Colorado Trial Court said the Respondent’s statement was involuntary and should be suppressed. (see last paragraph of 146 for explanation) According to Brown v. Mississippi the courts have found the mental condition of the defendant to be more significant that the “voluntariness” of the confession. Blackburn v. Alabama and Townsend v. Sain, deficient mental condition of the defendants in both cases was sufficient to render the confessions involuntary. Supreme Court relies on court appointed psychiatrist to the effect that respondent was not capable of making a “free decision” with respect to his constitution as right of silences FINAL COURT RULING AND REASONING The court ruled to suppress the confession because according to the court appointed psychiatrist the respondent's mental condition interfered with his “rational intellect” and “free will” HOW THIS RELATES TO OUR CASE Final decision of the court supports the Defense's argument because it shows how mental deficiencies can render a confession invalid.