July 10, 2014

Colorado Supreme Court: Under Totality of Circumstances, Police Conduct in Custodial Interrogation Was Not Coercive

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Zadran on Monday, December 9, 2013.

CAR 4.1 Interlocutory Appeal in Criminal Case—Suppression of Defendant’s Statements as Involuntary.

The Supreme Court held that, in a suppression hearing, when a defendant makes a prima facie evidentiary showing of involuntariness, the prosecution bears the burden, by a preponderance of the evidence, of establishing that the statements were voluntary under the totality of the circumstances. Coercive physical or psychological conduct by the government renders an otherwise voluntary statement involuntary if the conduct plays a significant role in inducing the statement.

Applying the totality of the circumstances standard to defendant’s statements in this case, the Supreme Court held that defendant’s statements were voluntary and there was no coercive police conduct. The trial court’s suppression order was reversed.

Summary and full case available here.

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