When is a Defendant's Statement or Confession Involuntary?
This guide lists factors courts in the United States--state and federal--use to determine whether a confession or other statement that the government intends to use against a criminal defendant at trial was obtained voluntarily. Statements not obtained voluntarily generally cannot be used at trial.
Factors Used by the Courts In Determining Statement/Confession Voluntariness (1-5)1. Age of the accused;
2. Intelligence level of the accused;
3. Extent of the accused's previous experience with police;
4. Repeated and prolonged nature of the questioning;
5. Length of pre-statement detention;
Factors Used by the Courts In Determining Statement/Confession Voluntariness (6-10))6. Lack of advice to the accused of constitutional rights;
7. Whether there was an unnecessary delay in bringing the accused before a judge or magistrate;
8. Whether the accused was injured, intoxicated, drugged, or in ill health when the accused rendered the statement;
9. Whether the accused was deprived of sleep, food, or medical attention when the accused rendered the statement; and
10. Whether the accused was physically abused, or threatened with physical abuse, before the accused rendered the statement.