UNITED STATES V. CARIGNAN, 342 U. S. 36 (1951)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Carignan, 342 U.S. 36 (1951)

United States v. Carignan

No. 5

Argued October 8, 1951

Decided November 13, 1951

342 U.S. 36


1. Having confessed that he assaulted a woman with intent to commit rape, respondent was arrested and duly committed on that charge on a Friday. While in lawful custody on that charge, he was questioned on Saturday and Monday (but not on Sunday) about the murder of another woman during an attempt to commit rape, and he confessed to the murder on Monday, without having been arrested, indicted or committed on that charge. There was no evidence of violence, persistent questioning or deprivation of food or rest. Respondent was told that he did not have to make a statement and that no promises could be made to him in one way or another. Prior to his confession, he was permitted to consult privately with a priest on two different occasions.

Held: on the uncontradicted facts in this record, the confession of murder was not inadmissible in evidence under the principles of McNabb v. United States, 318 U. S. 332, and Upshaw v. United States, 335 U. S. 410. Pp. 342 U. S. 37-45.

(a) So long as no coercive methods by threats or inducements to confess are employed, constitutional requirements do not forbid police examination in private of those in lawful custody or the use as evidence of information voluntarily given. P. 342 U. S. 39.

(b) The McNabb doctrine was not intended as a penalty or sanction for violation of Rule 5 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. United States v. Mitchell, 322 U. S. 65. P. 342 U. S. 42.

(c) Respondent's confession of murder was not given during unlawful detention, because he was being lawfully detained on another charge, although he had not been arrested for or charged with murder when the confession of murder was made. Pp. 342 U. S. 43-44.

(d) This Court declines to extend the McNabb doctrine to statements to police or wardens concerning other crimes while prisoners are legally detained on criminal charges. P. 342 U. S. 45.

2. Issues which were in controversy in the Court of Appeals, but which that court did not decide, are available to a respondent in certiorari as grounds for affirmance of the judgment, even though the respondent did not petition for certiorari. P. 38, n 1.

3. When the admissibility of respondent's confession was in issue in the trial court, the judge committed reversible error in refusing to

Page 342 U. S. 37

permit respondent to testify in the absence of the jury to facts believed to indicate the involuntary character of his confession. P. 342 U. S. 38.

4. The facts in this record surrounding the giving of the confession do not necessarily establish coercion, physical or psychological, so as to render the confession inadmissible. P. 342 U. S. 39.

185 F.2d 954 affirmed on other grounds.

In the District Court for the Territory of Alaska, respondent was convicted of first degree murder in attempting to perpetrate a rape, and was sentenced to death. The Court of Appeals reversed. 185 F.2d 954. This Court granted certiorari. 341 U.S. 934. Affirmed on other grounds, p. 342 U. S. 45.

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