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Name: People v. Gonzalez
Case #: D059083
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 10/29/2012
Summary

A parole agent’s promise of leniency to the parolee, which causes the parolee to confess, results in an involuntary and inadmissible confession. Appellant, charged with attempted murder, aggravated mayhem, simple mayhem, and other offenses and enhancements, brought a motion in the trial court seeking to exclude his confession on the grounds that it was obtained in violation of Miranda and his rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The motion was denied and following his conviction, he raised the issue on appeal. According to the evidence, the victim was attacked with a hammer and sustained serious injuries. Following appellant’s arrest, he was advised of his Miranda rights, stated he understood them, and made an incriminating statement, but then unambiguously invoked his right to speak with an attorney and questioning ceased. His parole agent then spoke to him and advised him that he did not want to have to write a negative recommendation for maximum revocation time because appellant would not talk to the detectives. Immediately after his meeting with the agent, appellant agreed to speak with the detectives and provided a confession. The court found error in allowing introduction of the confession. Where a person in authority makes an express or clearly implied promise of leniency or advantage for the accused, which is a motivating cause of the decision to confess, the confession is involuntary and inadmissible as a matter of law. Here, however, the error was harmless because there was sufficient admissible evidence from a variety of disinterested reliable witnesses to support the conviction.