High court: Delayed confessions can be inadmissible

supremesA confession by a defendant who had been in police custody for more than six hours without being presented to a magistrate is inadmissible, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled.

In the 5-4 opinion in Corley v. U.S., the Supreme Court found that 18 U.S.C. §3501 – which holds that admissions “shall be admissible if it is voluntarily given” within six hours of an arrest – did not supplant the McNabb-Mallory rule, which requires police to take a defendant “without unnecessary delay” before a magistrate judge.

“Today presentment is the point at which the judge is required to take several key steps to foreclose government overreaching: informing the defendant of the charges against him, his right to remain silent, his right to counsel, the availability of bail, and any right to a preliminary hearing; giving the defendant a chance to consult with counsel; and deciding between detention or release,” wrote Justice David Souter for the majority. “In a world without McNabb-Mallory, federal agents would be free to question suspects for extended periods before bringing them out in the open, and we have always known what custodial secrecy leads to.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the majority, leaving the Court’s conservative bloc to file a dissent. More here on Corley from Lawyers USA.

He Court also ruled in U.S. v. Navajo Nation that The Navajo Nation has no claim for damages under the Indian TuckerAct) for an asserted breach of fiduciary duty by the Secretary of the Interior in connection with his failure promptly to approve a royalty rate increase under a coal lease the Tribe executed in 1964.


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