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Colorado v. Connelly

United States Supreme Court
479 U.S. 157 (1986)



On August 18, 1983, Francis Connelly (defendant) stopped a police officer and spontaneously confessed to the murder of a young girl. Connelly had a history of mental illness and had gone off his medication six months before. The officer gave Connelly the Miranda warnings, and Connelly continued the confession and led police to the crime scene. Connelly appeared competent to the officers. During a meeting with an attorney the next day, Connelly was confused and claimed voices told him to confess. Doctors found Connelly incompetent to aid his defense, but Connelly later regained competence to stand trial. Connelly moved to suppress his confession, and a psychiatrist testified that Connelly suffered from chronic schizophrenia and psychotic states that impeded his free will. The trial court suppressed the confession as involuntary. The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

Dissent (Brennan, J.)

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