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Dissenting Opinion
Clark

United States Supreme Court

373 U.S. 503

Haynes  v.  Washington

 Argued: Feb. 26 and 27, 1963. --- Decided: May 27, 1963


Mr. Justice CLARK, with whom Mr. Justice HARLAN, Mr. Justice STEWART and Mr. Justice WHITE join, dissenting.

On December 19, 1957, at 9:05 p.m., a report was received by the Spokane Police Station that a filling station robbery was in progress in a certain area of the city. The report was broadcast to police cars working in the area. Twenty-five minutes later uniformed officers riding in a police car near the scene of the reported robbery observed petitioner walking down the street. As they approached him he went into the yard of a home in the vicinity. The police drove up and called to petitioner, who was questioned for a moment by one of the officers. Petitioner indicated that 'he lived there' and, after talking with the officers, walked onto the porch of the house and began fumbling with the screen door as if to unlock it. The officer remained at the curb observing petitioner, who in a few moments returned to the car and spontaneously exclaimed to the officers, 'You got me, let's go.' He was placed in the police car, admitted the robbery to the officers and, as they drove to the filling station, identified it as the place he had robbed. He was taken to the police station where he arrived within 20 minutes of his arrest and made a second oral confession to Lieutenant Wakeley, who was in charge of the detective office on the 4 o'clock to midnight shift. This confession was related by the lieutenant at the trial, without objection, in the following testimony:

'A. (By Lt. Wakeley.) He said they decided to hold up a place so they drove around to find some place that didn't seem to have any customers and they didn't know the streets, didn't know the town very well. They said they were out where they found the car. They drove by and saw a service station which didn't seem to have any business, so they parked the car in the alley and walked into the service station, and Raymond said that he told the man it was a holdup and his brother stood behind the man and he got the money from the service station operator. He didn't think his brother got any of it. After they held up the place they ran out the door and he ran down the side street, not directly toward the car, down around toward the end of the block and come (sic) back down the alley and as he was approaching the car he saw a police officer had his brother in custody. So he turned and ran north about two blocks and then turned and went west about three blocks before a prowl car came along and they stopped and talked to him and asked him where he was going. He said he was going home and he turned and walked up onto a porch. He stood on the porch and he said the prowl car sat out there in the street, didn't move, so he thought well, I might as well give up. So he went back and told them he was the man they were looking for.'

Thus within an hour and 20 minutes after his surrender petitioner had made two oral confessions-both admitted into evidence without objection-identical in relevant details to the written confession made the following day which the Court finds coerced. In light of the circumstances surrounding petitioner's arrest and confession, i believe the Court's reversal to be an abrupt departure from the rule laid down in the cases of this Court and an enlargement of the requirements heretofore visited upon state courts in confession cases. I therefore dissent.

The petitioner is neither youthful in age (though his exact age is not shown by the record) nor lacking in experience in law breaking. He is married and was a skilled sheet-metal worker temporarily unemployed. Some indication of his approximate age is given by the facts that his wife had been employed for some 14 years by the same employer, and that 11 years prior to the trial he had his first brush with the law, i.e., drunken driving, resisting arrest and being without a driver's license. Further, in 1949 he was convicted of breaking and entering, and in 1950 of robbery. During the same year he pleaded guilty to breaking jail and to 'taking a car.' He had not only served time but had been on parole for two years, making regular visits to parole officers to whom he was assigned. He cannot, therefore, be placed in the category of those types of people with whom the Court's cases in this area have ordinarily dealt, such as the mentally subnormal accused, Fikes v. Alabama, 352 U.S. 191, 77 S.Ct. 281, 1 L.Ed.2d 246 (1957); Payne v. Arkansas, 356 U.S. 560, 78 S.Ct. 844, 2 L.Ed.2d 975 (1958), and Reck v. Pate, 367 U.S, 433, 81 S.Ct. 1541, 6 L.Ed.2d 948 (1961); the youthful offender, such as Haley v. Ohio, 332 U.S. 595, 68 S.Ct. 302, 92 L.Ed. 224 (1948), and Gallegos v. Colorado, 370 U.S. 49, 82 S.Ct. 1209, 8 L.Ed.2d 325 (1962); or the naive and impressionable defendant, such as Lynumn v. Illinois, 372 U.S. 528, 83 S.Ct. 917, 9 L.Ed.2d 922 (1963). On the contrary, he is a mature adult who appears, from his testimony at the trial, to be of at least average intelligence and who is neither a stranger to police techniques and custodial procedures nor unaware of his rights on arrest. Thus the Court's reliance on Lynumn v. Illinois, supra, [1] is completely misplaced.

I do not say that only the young, the weak and the mentally disturbed are susceptible to coercion, but only that these factors have ordinarily been involved in coerced confession cases and have been consistently regarded by the Court as important circumstances in the determination as to whether a confession was voluntarily made. Along with circumstances related to the petitioner, of course, the determination of coercion requires examination of the conduct of the police and the environment in which interrogation and confession occurred. We have long recognized that coercion need not be based upon the physical torture involved in Brown v. Mississippi, 297 U.S. 278, 56 S.Ct. 461, 80 L.Ed. 682 (1936). But here there is no contention by the petitioner either of physical abuse or of the more sophisticated techniques associated with police coercive practices. There was no extended or repeated interrogation, [2] no deprivation of sleep or food, [3] no use of psychiatric techniques. [4] Further, there were no external circumstances such as threat of mob violence [5] furnishing an atmosphere tending to subvert petitioner's rationality and free will.

I cannot condone the conduct of the police in holding the petitioner incommunicado, but of course we have no supervisory power over state courts. The question under the Fourteenth Amendment is whether the will of the accused is so overborne at the time of the confession that his statement is not 'the product of a rational intellect and a free will,' Reck v. Pate, supra, 367 U.S. at 440, 81 S.Ct. at 1546, and its determination 'is one on which we must make an independent determination on the undisputed facts.' Malinski v. New York, 324 U.S. 401, 404, 65 S.Ct. 781, 783, 89 L.Ed. 1029 (1945), citing Lisenba v. California, 314 U.S. 219, 62 S.Ct. 280, 86 L.Ed. 166 (1941), and Ashcraft v. Tennessee, 322 U.S. 143, 64 S.Ct. 921, 88 L.Ed. 1192 (1944). We have held that the fact that one has been denied consultation with an attorney, Cicenia v. Lagay, 357 U.S. 504, 78 S.Ct. 1297, 2 L.Ed.2d 1523 (1958), Crooker v. California, 357 U.S. 433, 78 S.Ct. 1287, 2 L.Ed.2d 1448 (1958), was not in itself controlling in such cases. Further, not even the fact that one is 'held incommunicado, is subjected to questioning by officers for long periods, and deprived of the advice of counsel,' without a showing that he had 'so lost his freedom of action' that the confession was not his own, requires a reversal under the Fourteenth Amendment. Lisenba v. California, supra, 314 U.S. at 240-241, 62 S.Ct. at 291-292. Finally, the fact that police officers violated state statutes in their treatment of the petitioner does 'not furnish an answer' to the question whether a confession was voluntarily made. Id., at 235, 62 S.Ct. at 289; see Gallegos v. Nebraska, 342 U.S. 55, 72 S.Ct. 141, 96 L.Ed. 86 (1951).

The Court's reversal here must be based upon the fact that, on the day after petitioner's arrest, when he signed the written confession at issue, he was told that after he made a statement and was booked he could call his wife. As to his testimony relating to the evening of his arrest, it is certainly disputed. Petitioner testified that he asked Detective Pike if he could call his wife, but Detective Pike testified that he did not even talk to petitioner. Lieutenant Wakeley testified unequivocally that petitioner made no such requests to him during their conversation, though he could not recall whether such requests were made 'at any time that night.' [6]

The Court concludes, then, that the police, by holding petitioner incommunicado and telling him that he could call his wife after he made a statement and was booked, wrung from him a confession he would not otherwise have made, a confession which was not the product of a free will. In Crooker v. California, supra, 357 U.S. at 436, 78 S.Ct. at 1290, however, we found no coercion or inducement, despite the fact that the petitioner's repeated requests for an attorney were denied and he 'was told that 'after (the) investigation was concluded he could call an attorney."

In light of petitioner's age, intelligence and experience with the police, in light of the comparative absence of any coercive circumstances, and in light of the fact that petitioner never, from the time of his arrest, evidenced a will to deny his guilt, I must conclude that his written confession was not involuntary. I find no support in any of the 33 cases decided on the question by this Court for a contrary conclusion. Therefore, I would affirm the judgment before us.

NotesEdit

^1  In Lynumn v. Illinois, 372 U.S. 528, 83 S.Ct. 917, 9 L.Ed.2d 922 (1963), the petitioner was a woman who 'had no previous experience with the criminal law, and had no reason not to believe that the police had ample power to carry out their threats.' Id., at 534, 83 S.Ct. at 920. She confessed after the police told her that if she did not cooperate she would be imprisoned for 10 years, her children would be taken away and she would be deprived of state aid for them.

^2  See Spano v. New York, 360 U.S. 315, 79 S.Ct. 1202, 3 L.Ed.2d 1265 (1959); Ward v. Texas, 316 U.S. 547, 62 S.Ct. 1139, 86 L.Ed. 1663 (1942); Chambers v. Florida, 309 U.S. 227, 60 S.Ct. 472, 84 L.Ed. 716 (1940).

^3  See Reck v. Pate, 367 U.S. 433, 81 S.Ct. 1541, 6 L.Ed.2d 948 (1961); Payne v. Arkansas, 356 U.S. 560, 78 S.Ct. 844, 2 L.Ed.2d 975 (1958).

^4  See Leyra v. Denno, 347 U.S. 556, 74 S.Ct. 716, 98 L.Ed. 948 (1954); cf. Malinski v. New York, 324 U.S. 401, 65 S.Ct. 781, 89 L.Ed. 1029 (1945).

^5  See Payne v. Arkansas, note 3, supra; Chambers v. Florida, note 2, supra.

^6  Lieutenant Wakeley testified as follows:

'Q. Did Raymond Haynes at any time during that conversation (when he was interrogated) ask permission to make a telephone call to his wife? A. Not during the conversation.

'Q. Well, at any time that night? A. He might have asked afterward, after I got through talking to him. He wanted to know if his wife would be notified. I told him we would notify her that he was being held.

'Q. Did he ask permission to make a phone call himself to his wife? A. He may have. I don't remember exactly whether he asked or whether we wouldn't notify his wife.

'Q. Did he say anything to you, Lieutenant Wakeley, if you remember in substance that he wanted to call his wife so that she could get a lawyer? A. No, I don't remember that.'

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).