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Gerald, Esq
Gerald, Esq, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  30 years of experience
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Can an officer of the law take a statement from a patient

Customer Question

can an officer of the law take a statement from a patient who is hospitalized and under heavy medication and then later use it in court against that person to convicte them of a criminal offenseit's a serious if you had the answers could you please cite the law or if there's any cases you can cite thank you very much
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Gerald, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

Thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you have.

I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.

A statement made by a suspect while under the effects of medication would not be admissible in a criminal proceeding against that individual IF there is evidence that the medication impaired the individual's thinking. The court must consider the defendant's physical and mental state and any substances that effect the individual's free will in confessing.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, sections 7 and 15 of the California Constitution bar the use of involuntary confessions against a criminal defendant. For a confession to be voluntary it must be “the product of a rational intellect and a free will.” If the effect of the medication is to impair the intellect and free will then the statement is not voluntarily given.

Here are a couple cases for you to get started with:

Jackson v. Denno (1964) 378 U.S.368, 385-386, People v. Benson (1990) 52 Cal.3d 754, 778.

Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293 (1963) (suspect was administered drug with properties of ''truth serum'' to relieve withdrawal pains of narcotics addiction, although police probably were not aware of drug's side effects).

Here are some additional resources that may help:

http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment5/annotation09.html

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/miranda-involuntary-confessions.html

http://www.sdap.org/downloads/research/criminal/confessions.pdf

The remedy is to file a Motion to Suppress the statement (also known as a Motion in Limine). This is filed prior to the trial. An affidavit from a physician describing the effects of the medication would be used in support of the Motion.

I hope the information I have provided is useful to you. I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow up questions, feel free to ask. Please note that I am generally unavailable Friday evening through Sunday.

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Good luck.

Please note: Information is educational and not given as legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.