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Criminal Confessions
"The court has concluded that nobody short of William Faulkner could have contrived that statement, and as a consequence finds the testimony of Offie Evans absolutely to be true."
Kennedy on Faulkner
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McCleskey

v.

Zant
Criminal Confessions

Justice Kennedy Opinion
April 16, 1991
Seal Of The Supreme Court
Excerpt:

I. McCleskey and three other men, all armed, robbed a Georgia furniture store in 1978. One of the robbers shot and killed an off duty policeman who entered the store in the midst of the crime. McCleskey confessed to the police that he participated in the robbery. When on trial for both the robbery and the murder, however, McCleskey renounced his confession after taking the stand with an alibi denying all involvement. To rebut McCleskey's testimony, the prosecution called Offie Evans, who had occupied a jail cell next to McCleskey's. Evans testified that McCleskey admitted shooting the officer during the robbery and boasted that he would have shot his way out of the store even in the face of a dozen policemen.

... We do address whether the Court should nonetheless exercise its equitable discretion to correct a miscarriage of justice. That narrow exception is of no avail to McCleskey. The Massiah violation, if it be one, resulted in the admission at trial of truthful inculpatory evidence which did not affect the reliability of the guilt determination. The very statement McCleskey now seeks to embrace confirms his guilt. As the District Court observed:

After having read [the Evans statement], the court has concluded that nobody short of William Faulkner could have contrived that statement, and as a consequence finds the testimony of Offie Evans absolutely to be true, and the court states on the record that it entertains absolutely no doubt as to the guilt of Mr. McCleskey."


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