Criminal Interrogation: SHEARER V. COM. (COA 10/5/2007)

SHEARER V. COM.
CRIMINAL: INTERROGATION – CONSENT

2006-CA-001883
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING
PANEL: LAMBERT PRESIDING; HOWARD,GUIDUGLI CONCUR
COUNTY: FAYETTE
DATE RENDERED: 10/05/2007

TC properly rejected Shearer’s argument that he was unable to consent to an interrogation by the police because the combination of his intoxication and mental defects rendered him unable to voluntarily waive his due process rights. Defendant identified no coercive activity on the part of the police. He instead asserted that the act of interrogation in and of itself was impermissibly coercive because of his alleged mental illness and intoxication. However, “. . .a defendant’s mental condition, by itself and apart from its relation to official coercion, should [n]ever dispose of the inquiry into constitutional ‘voluntariness’. . . .” See Colorado v. Connelly, 479 U.S. at 164. Additionally, the rejection of “flashbacks” as preventing a voluntary confession is in line with similar authority involving the use of hallucinogenic drugs at a time much more proximate to the confession than that proposed in this case. See e.g., U.S. v. Taylor, 508 F.2d 761, 763 (5th Cir. 1975); U.S. v. Wilkins, 477 F.2d 323, 325 (8th Cir. 1973).

The three criteria the trial court uses to assess voluntariness are: “1) whether the police activity was ‘objectively coercive’; 2) whether the coercion overbore the will of the defendant; and 3) whether the defendant showed that the coercive police activity was the ‘crucial motivating factor’ behind the defendant’s confession.” See Henson, at 469; Morgan v. Commonwealth, 809 S.W.2d 704, 707 (Ky. 1991) (adopting federal due process standards of McCall v. Dutton, 863 F.2d 454 (6th Cir. 1988)).

Digested by Scott C. Byrd
Olgin and Byrd

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