Interrogations and Confessions

Interrogations and Confessions

The case of Oregon v. Bradshaw challenged my understanding of interrogations and confessions. The reason why it challenged my understanding is that the question that Bradshaw asked the police officer did not seem to insinuate his willingness to continue with the interrogations (Lassiter, 2004). The question seemed part of a casual conversation. However, the decision of the court to interpret the question as wavering his Fifth Amendment rights is appalling.

One lesson I leant from the reading is that evidence obtained through coercive means is not admissible in court. Although I knew that coercion is prohibited, I thought that as long as a person confessed willingly, the evidence could be used in a court proceeding.

The fact that coercion was not only limited to physical torture surprised me. In the case of Ashcraft v. Tennessee, the court ruled that sleep deprivation amounted to coercion, and any evidence collected through the process was inadmissible.

One surprising aspect of the precedent cases was that not all of them could be consistent. For instance, in cases involving the involuntariness, the judges handed down judgments that were inconsistent. Unlike in other situations, where a case decided before could be used authoritatively to decide a current one, the court gave varying reasons for applying the involuntariness concept. Such an inconsistency in deciding cases dealing with similar facts made have ‘‘ah ha!’’ moment.

One legal aspect I did not know about evidence admissibility is that unnecessary delay to present an arrested person before a magistrate could lead to evidence inadmissibility as described on page 342. This realization was important because it expanded my understanding of the legal system. Moreover, this information is crucial in the legal profession since success depends on understanding the law.


Lassiter, G. D. (2004). Interrogations, confessions, and entrapment. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.


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