Supreme Court: Suspects Must Go Before Judge Within 6 Hours

Or confessions will be thrown out of fed court
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2009 10:36 AM CDT
Members of the US Supreme Court sit for a group portrait at the Supreme Court in Washington in this March 3, 2006 file photo.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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(Newser) – The Supreme Court today threw out the confession of Johnnie Corley, a Pennsylvania robbery suspect, saying that the 29½ hours federal authorities waited before bringing him to court was too long, the AP reports. In a 5-4 decision, the court said any confessions federal authorities elicited before a prisoner’s first court appearance may be inadmissible if more than 6 hours elapsed since the arrest.

“Federal agents would be free to question suspects for extended periods before bringing them out in the open,” wrote David Souter in the majority opinion, “and we have always known what custodial secrecy leads to.”