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DARWIN V. CONNECTICUT, 391 U. S. 346 (1968)

U.S. Supreme Court

Darwin v. Connecticut, 391 U.S. 346 (1968)

Darwin v. Connecticut

No. 794, Misc.

Decided May 20, 1968

391 U.S. 346


Petitioner was arrested for murder on December 6, 1963, and held incommunicado by police officers for 30 to 48 hours, during which they sought and finally obtained his confession. Three requests by petitioner to communicate with the outside world, numerous attempts by his lawyers to communicate with him or the officer in charge of him, and the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus by a state court judge were unavailing. The trial judge found that it was "routine procedure" for investigating officers not to be disturbed during an investigation. While thus held, petitioner was subjected by officers to questioning. Although the trial judge excluded from evidence an oral confession given on December 7 after petitioner had "either faint[ed] or pretend[ed] to faint," and a written confession made shortly thereafter, the judge admitted a written confession given the next day, December 8, and evidence as to a partial reenactment of the crime. During that reenactment, as he had done intermittently while in custody, petitioner disclaimed guilt. Petitioner was convicted, and the State Supreme Court affirmed.

Held: In view of the "totality of the circumstances" and the absence of any "break in the stream of events" insulating the final events "from the effect of all that went before" (Clewis v. Texas, 386 U. S. 707, 386 U. S. 708, 710), the trial judge erred in holding the December 8 confession and partial reenactment voluntary.

Certiorari granted; 155 Conn. 124, 230 A.2d 573, reversed and remanded.

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