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United States v. Lewis

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
833 F.2d 1380 (1987)


Facts

Jerri C. Lewis (defendant) was charged with robbing a bank. Lewis confessed, but she subsequently moved to suppress her confession. She claimed that the confession was involuntary because she was a heroin addict experiencing withdrawal symptoms and because law-enforcement officers questioned her in her hospital bed shortly after she woke up from a surgery performed while she was under general anesthesia. The United States (plaintiff) opposed Lewis’s motion and asserted that the confession was voluntary. At argument on Lewis’s motion, the trial judge rejected the prosecutor’s argument and said that, based on the judge’s own experience with general anesthesia, the judge believed that people could not be held accountable for what they say and do for several hours after coming out of an anesthetic. The court thus concluded that Lewis’s confession was not voluntary and granted the motion to suppress. The government appealed the court’s order to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Alarcon, J.)

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