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SPANO V NEW YORK, 360 U. S. 315 (1959)

U.S. Supreme Court

Spano v New York, 360 U.S. 315 (1959)

Spano v New York

No. 582

Argued April 27, 1959

Decided June 22, 1959

360 U.S. 315


After petitioner, a foreign-born young man of 25 with a junior highschool education and no previous criminal record, had been indicted for first-degree murder, he retained counsel and surrendered to police at 7:10 p.m. He was then subjected to persistent and continuous questioning by an assistant prosecutor and numerous police officers for virtually eight hours until he confessed, after he had repeatedly requested, and had been denied, an opportunity to consult his counsel. At his trial in a state court, his confession was admitted in evidence over his objection, and he was convicted and sentenced to death.

Held: On the record in this case, petitioner's will was overborne by official pressure, fatigue and sympathy falsely aroused, his confession was not voluntary, and its admission in evidence violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Pp. 360 U. S. 315-324.

4 N.Y.2d 256, 173 N.Y.S.2d 793, 150 N.E.2d 226, reversed.

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