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Confession

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  • In criminal law. A voluntary statement made by a person charged with the commission of a crime or misdemeanor, communicated to another person, wherein he acknowledges himself to be guilty of the offense charged, and discloses the circumstances of the act or the share and participation which he had in it. Spicer v. Com., 21 Ky.L.Rep. 528, 51 S.W. 802. State v. Gibson, 69 N.D. 70, 284 N.W. 209, 214, 215, 219; Sango v. State, 52 Okl.Cr. 359, 5 P.2d 400, 401; Edwards v. State, Okl.Cr.App., 288 P. 359, 361.
  • Also the act of a prisoner, when arraigned for a crime or misdemeanor, in acknowledging and avowing that he is guilty of the offense charged.
  • "Confession" comprises whole criminal charge; whereas, "admission" relates only to particular fact or circumstance covered thereby. State v. Davis, 212 Iowa 131, 235 N.W. 759, 761.

Judicial and Extrajudicial Confessions

  • Confessions are divided into judicial and extrajudicial.
  • The former are such as are made before a magistrate or court in the due course of legal proceedings; they include confessions made in preliminary examinations before magistrates. Mularkey v. State, 199 Wis. 269, 225 N.W. 933, 934.
  • The latter are such as are made by a party elsewhere than in court or before a magistrate, 1 Greenl. Ev. ยง 216, State v. Corey, 182 Minn. 48, 233 N.W. 590, 591; Foster v. State, 79 Okl.Cr. 183, 152 P.2d 929, 932; Louette v. State, 152 Fla. 495, 12 So.2d 168, 172;
  • whether to an official or nonofficial person, Prather v. State, 76 Okl.Cr. 385, 137 P.2d 249, 252.
  • One made by the party out of court, or to any person, official or otherwise, when made not in the course of a judicial examination or investigation. State v. Stevenson, 98 Or. 285, 193 P. 1030, 1032.

Implied Confession

An implied confession is where the defendant, in a case not capital, does not plead guilty but indirectly admits his guilt by placing himself at the mercy of the court and asking for a light sentence. 2 Hawk. P. C. p. 469; State v. Conway, 20 R.I. 270, 38 A. 656. An indirect confession is one inferred from the conduct of the defendant.

Involuntary Confession

An involuntary confession is one induced by hope, promise, fear, violence, torture, or threat. Lyons v. State, 77 Okl.Cr. 197, 138 P.2d 142, 148; Lyons v. State, 140 P.2d 248. People v. Tielke, 259 Ill. 8$, 102 N.E. 229, 231. A naked confession is an admission of the guilt of the party, but which is not supported by any evidence of the commission of the crime.

Relative Confession

A relative confession, in the older criminal law of England, "is where the accused confesseth and appealeth others thereof, to become an approver," (2 Hale, P. C. c. 29,) or in other words to "turn king's evidence." This is now obsolete, but something like it is practiced in modern law, where one of the persons accused or supposed to be involved in a crime is put on the witness stand under an implied promise of pardon. State v. Willis, 71 Conn. 293, 41 A. 820.

Simple Confession

A simple confession is merely a plea of Guilty. State v. Willis, 71 Conn. 293, 41 A. 820.

Voluntary Confession

  • A voluntary confession is one made spontaneously by a person accused of crime, free from the influence of any extraneous disturbing cause, and in particular, not influenced, or extorted by violence, threats, or promises. State v. Clifford, 86 Iowa, 550, 53 N.W. 299, 41 Am.St.Rep. 518.
  • No confession induced by official threat of prosecution is voluntary. Cannan v. U. S., C.C.A.Tex., 19 F.2d 823, 824; State v. Dolan, 86 N.J.L. 192, 90 A. 1034, 1035.
  • It need not be spontaneous nor proceed wholly at maker's suggestion, but may be set in motion by external causes, so long as such influences are not what the law deems improper. People v. Vinci, 295 111. 419, 129 N.E. 193, 195.

Related Cases / Recent Cases / Case Law

  • Gura Singh v. State of Rajasthan, (2001) 2 SCC 205 referring to the decisions in Rao Shiv Bahadur Singh v. State of Vindhya Pradesh, AIR 1954 SC 322, Maghar Singh v. State of Punjab], AIR 1975 SC 1320, Narayan Siingh V. State of M.P., AIR 1985 SC 1678, Kishore Chand v. State of H.P., AIR 1990 SC 2140 and Baldev Raj v. State of Haryana, AIR 1991 SC 37: It is the settled position of law that extra judicial confession, if true and voluntary, can be relied upon by the court to convict the accused for the commission of the crime alleged.
  • Sahadevan & Another v. State of Tamil Nadu, 2012 AIR SCW 3206 referring to the rulings in Sk. Yusuf v. State of W.B. (2011) 11 SCC 754 and Pancho v. State of Haryana, (2011) 10 SCC 165 : AIR 2012 SC 523: The extra-judicial confession is a weak evidence by itself and it has to be examined by the court with greater care and caution; that it should be made voluntarily and should be truthful; that it should inspire confidence; that an extra-judicial confession attains greater credibility and evidentiary value if it is supported by a chain of cogent circumstances and is further corroborated by other prosecution evidence; that for an extra- judicial confession to be the basis of conviction, it should not suffer from any material discrepancies and inherent improbabilities; and that such statement essentially has to be proved like any other fact and in accordance with law.

Related Sections

Indian Evidence Act

  • Section 24: Confession caused by inducement, threat or promise when irrelevant in criminal proceeding
  • Section 25: Confession to police officer not to be proved
  • Section 26: Confession by accused while in custody of police not to be proved against him
  • Section 28: Confession made after removal of impression caused by inducement, threat or promise relevant
  • Section 28: Confession otherwise relevant not to become irrelevant because of promise of secrecy, etc.

Kenyan Evidence Act

  • Part III deals with the topic of Confessions
  • Section 25: Confession Defined.
  • Section 25A: Confessions Generally Inadmissible.
  • Section 26: Confessions and Admissions Caused by Inducement, Threat or Promise.
  • Section 27: Confession Made After Removal of Impression Caused by Inducement, Threat or Promise.
  • Section 28: Repealed.
  • Section 29: Confessions to Police Officers.
  • Section 30: (repealed).
  • Section 31: Repealed.
  • Section 32: Confession Implicating Co-accused.

Uganda Evidence Act

  • Section 23: Confessions to police officers and power of Minister to make rules.
  • Section 24: When confessions irrelevant.
  • Section 25: Confession made after removal of impression caused by violence, etc.
  • Section 26: Confession otherwise relevant not to become irrelevant because of promise of secrecy, etc.
  • Section 27: Consideration of proved confession affecting person making it and others jointly under trial for same offence.

Related Acts

Related Terms