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Kuhlmann v. Wilson

United States Supreme Court
477 U.S. 436 (1986)



Wilson (defendant) and two other men were suspected of robbery and murder. After Wilson’s arraignment, a police informant was placed in Wilson’s cell overlooking the crime scene. The informant was instructed not to ask Wilson any questions and only to listen for the names of the other men involved. After an upsetting visit with his brother, Wilson made incriminating statements. The informant told police. Wilson moved to suppress his statements, but the trial court denied his motion. Wilson was convicted by a jury for common-law murder and possession of a weapon. Wilson was sentenced to 20 years to life imprisonment for murder and 7 years imprisonment for the weapons charge. Wilson’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus was denied. After the ruling in United States v. Henry, 447 U.S. 264 (1980), was handed down, Wilson again petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus. The court of appeals granted Wilson’s petition on the basis of Henry stating further consideration of successive habeas corpus petitions was necessary in light of Henry. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

Concurrence (Burger, C.J.)

Dissent (Brennan, J.)

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