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Thread: 'Deathbed confession' man charged

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    'Deathbed confession' man charged

    A US man who thought he was dying and confessed to having killed a neighbour in 1977 has been charged with murder after making a recovery, US media say.

    James Brewer could now face the death penalty over the unsolved killing in Tennessee 32 years ago, reports say.

    Convinced he was dying after a stroke, Mr Brewer reportedly admitted to police he shot dead 20-year-old Jimmy Carroll.

    The 58-year-old, who had fled Tennessee after the killing, was arrested after his condition improved, reports say.

    "He wanted to cleanse his soul, because he thought he was going to the great beyond," said police detective Tony Grasso, who interviewed Mr Brewer in an Oklahoma hospital, The Oklahoman website reported.
    BBC Story here
    If you think you're going to go - make sure you get a reliable opinion before you confess.

    "He wanted to cleanse his soul" - looks like he may get his wish if he goes to the Electric Chair - I hear those things clean right down to the bone.

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    Re: 'Deathbed confession' man charged

    Couldn't it just be argued that the confession is inadmissible?

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    Re: 'Deathbed confession' man charged

    Quote Originally Posted by Khayembii Communique View Post
    Couldn't it just be argued that the confession is inadmissible?
    I think "on death-bed" is a good case for temporary insanity.
    "I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive al-Qa'ida." -- Lord Hoffmann

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    Re: 'Deathbed confession' man charged

    If fell the need to confess your sins... best confess to a priest, not a cop.

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    Re: 'Deathbed confession' man charged

    Quote Originally Posted by Khayembii Communique View Post
    Couldn't it just be argued that the confession is inadmissible?
    Not really. Dying declarations are considered very solid evidence. This murderer was seeking to make peace, now he'll really get a chance to answer for his crime.
    Last edited by Lerxst; 03-23-09 at 07:22 PM.
    *insert profound statement here*

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    Re: 'Deathbed confession' man charged

    Quote Originally Posted by Khayembii Communique View Post
    Couldn't it just be argued that the confession is inadmissible?
    IIRC, the fact that he believed he was on his deathbed is actually a red herring here - it doesn't need to qualify as a dying declaration because it's a statement against interest that is admissible as a hearsay exception on it's own right.

    (Assuming that OK doesn't have weird rules of evidence)
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

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    Re: 'Deathbed confession' man charged

    Quote Originally Posted by Khayembii Communique View Post
    Couldn't it just be argued that the confession is inadmissible?
    No. He confessed, if convicted, execute him.

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    Re: 'Deathbed confession' man charged

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow Akhbar View Post
    No. He confessed, if convicted, execute him.
    While it's admissible in this case, we do have rules of evidence for a reason.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

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    Re: 'Deathbed confession' man charged

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    While it's admissible in this case, we do have rules of evidence for a reason.
    Just out of curiosity, if I went to a confessional and I confessed something illegal, does the Priest have the authority to report it?
    "I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive al-Qa'ida." -- Lord Hoffmann

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    Re: 'Deathbed confession' man charged

    Quote Originally Posted by Arch Enemy View Post
    Just out of curiosity, if I went to a confessional and I confessed something illegal, does the Priest have the authority to report it?
    Depends.

    The only thing that's certain is that the court cannot force the priest to testify as to what you said. However, if the priest wants to testify about what you said, then it depends on the state. To the best of my knowledge, NY and some other states hold that it's admissible, while several others don't.

    (This is not legal advice)
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

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