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Old 02-06-2019, 09:26 AM
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Two people claim to be guilty of the same murder. They can't both be guilty, then what?

A common plot point in detective shows is that there is a murder, and for some reason 2 people each claim to be guilty of the murder. For whatever reason it's impossible they were both involved, so at least one of them are lying. The detective works out which one, (or both) are lying and then the guilty party gets arrested for the murder. How would it work in the real world if there's only one murder, 2 people claiming to be the perpetrator, cirumstances that clearly make their stories incompatible and no way to tell which one is lying?
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:11 AM
senoy senoy is offline
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A common plot point in detective shows is that there is a murder, and for some reason 2 people each claim to be guilty of the murder. For whatever reason it's impossible they were both involved, so at least one of them are lying. The detective works out which one, (or both) are lying and then the guilty party gets arrested for the murder. How would it work in the real world if there's only one murder, 2 people claiming to be the perpetrator, cirumstances that clearly make their stories incompatible and no way to tell which one is lying?
In the real world, the black one goes to jail.

Less facetiously, I would assume that there would be an investigation of some kind to verify their stories.

Last edited by senoy; 02-06-2019 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:17 AM
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If both are pleading guilty, there should be no problem convicting them both! If there is insufficient evidence to convict either one, they must both go free.

If each blames the other, a much more common situation, in the UK at least they could be found guilty of acting in concert.

Last edited by bob++; 02-06-2019 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:27 AM
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No one can “plead guilty” unless he or she has been charged or indicted for a crime.

No one is going to be charged or indicted for a crime unless a prosecutor (state’s attorney, district attorney, or equivalent) takes action, such as to file a bill of information with a criminal court or convene a grand jury, or whatever the process is in a particular jurisdiction for initiating a criminal proceeding.

Ordinarily, a prosecutor isn’t going to take that action without conducting an investigation with the assistance of the police, the sheriff, or whoever the appropriate law enforcement agency is.

So just because two people “admit” to committing a crime, doesn’t mean anyone is going to be pleading guilty to something

So the answer to the OP is that nothing happens, without a lot of other things happening first.

Last edited by Acsenray; 02-06-2019 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:35 AM
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I would assume that there would be an investigation of some kind to verify their stories.
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So the answer to the OP is that nothing happens, without a lot of other things happening first.
You can assume all relevant investigation work has already been done and concluded, and it has been impossible to break the deadlock.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:36 AM
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In most cases, the law enforcement and prosecutorial investigators are going to decide which one they believe and have the best evidence for and just prosecute that one.

There have been some notorious instances in which prosecutors have decided to go ahead and prosecute both of them, under the theory that in each case taken in isolation the evidence (including a confession and guilty plea) is good enough for a conviction.

There are judges who will go ahead and allow that to happen, so in theory there are people who have been punished in cases in which its impossible for both of them to be guilty in fact.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:39 AM
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You can assume all relevant investigation work has already been done and concluded, and it has been impossible to break the deadlock.
There’s no single answer to this. One of the central peinciples if criminal law is prosecutorial discretion. The prosecutor has the unchallengeable authority to decide what criminal cases to file or not file. So, the answer is “it’s up to the prosecutor to decide what to do.”

Last edited by Acsenray; 02-06-2019 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:48 AM
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So what happens if the police & DA decide to prosecute Bob, but in the middle of the trial Bob's attorney calls Tad to the stand, and Tad confesses to the murder? If the jury finds Tad believable, they should acquit Bob under reasonable doubt, even though the physical evidence pretty squarely points to Bob. Can the DA prosecute Tad later, using his confession at Bob's trial as evidence?
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:51 AM
mbh mbh is offline
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I was under the impression that an accomplice to a crime faces the same penalties as the perpetrator. Since the nominally innocent one is obviously trying to protect the guilty one, couldn't you prosecute them both?
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:52 AM
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If each blames the other, a much more common situation, in the UK at least they could be found guilty of acting in concert.
To me this is the more interesting question. Say a murder occurs where it is 100% certain it was one of two people (say a fishing boat returns to shore with a dead guy and two buddies saying the other guy did it). Both have completely different stories of how it wasn't them and it was clearly the other guy.
Do they both have to go free? Can they really both be found guilty when we're pretty sure one of them is 100% innocent.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:54 AM
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I was under the impression that an accomplice to a crime faces the same penalties as the perpetrator.
No, this is not generally true as a blanket statement.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:59 AM
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So what happens if the police & DA decide to prosecute Bob, but in the middle of the trial Bob's attorney calls Tad to the stand, and Tad confesses to the murder? If the jury finds Tad believable, they should acquit Bob under reasonable doubt, even though the physical evidence pretty squarely points to Bob. Can the DA prosecute Tad later, using his confession at Bob's trial as evidence?
Thereís no blanket rule for this. The prosecutor will decide whether to continue with the prosecution. The judge will determine whether he or she will allow it to go forward. The jury will decide how to resolve the matter.

And, yes, statements made under oath in court can be used as evidence in other cases.

As I said above, there are notorious cases in which prosecutors have decided to go ahead and prosecute two different people for the same crime when itís impossible for them both to be guilty.

On the case Iím thinking of, two or more people were involved in a crime that resulting in a shooting and murder. There wasnít definitive proof of which one actually fired the fatal shots, and they both couldnít have done it. But the prosecutors decided to try them both separately for the same crime.
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:00 AM
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To me this is the more interesting question. Say a murder occurs where it is 100% certain it was one of two people (say a fishing boat returns to shore with a dead guy and two buddies saying the other guy did it). Both have completely different stories of how it wasn't them and it was clearly the other guy.
Do they both have to go free?
No.

Quote:
Can they really both be found guilty when we're pretty sure one of them is 100% innocent.
Yes, it’s possible.

Last edited by Acsenray; 02-06-2019 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:52 AM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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In the real world they pick the most plausible one and convince him to plead guilty to about the death penalty. No trial (or at least no trial with a defense attorney trying to get the accused off) so the whole "someone else confesses to crime' complication will never get brought up.

Also in jurisdictions with felony murder rule both could be convicted. As long as they were engaged in some kind of conspiracy together (as opposed to the more contrived whodunnit plot)
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:58 AM
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If both are pleading guilty, there should be no problem convicting them both!
IANAL but isn't it true that merely pleading guilty doesn't actually automatically lead to a conviction - you can plead guilty and still be acquitted?
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:00 PM
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IANAL but isn't it true that merely pleading guilty doesn't actually automatically lead to a conviction - you can plead guilty and still be acquitted?
Yes. Which is why I say that the judge must go along with it. A judge doesnít have to find someone guilty just because he or she had pleaded guilty.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:02 PM
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IANAL but isn't it true that merely pleading guilty doesn't actually automatically lead to a conviction - you can plead guilty and still be acquitted?
Where would you be acquitted? If you plead guilty (and the court accepts your plea) there is no trial. Just sentencing. Pleading guilty is the conviction.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:15 PM
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Where would you be acquitted? If you plead guilty (and the court accepts your plea) there is no trial. Just sentencing. Pleading guilty is the conviction.
No, thatís wrong. You can plead guilty and the. The judge must first accept your plea, and then the judge has to actually find that the prosecution had proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt and then actually find you guilty. None of that is automatic.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:19 PM
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Where would you be acquitted? If you plead guilty (and the court accepts your plea) there is no trial. Just sentencing. Pleading guilty is the conviction.
Is it possible that someone could plead guilty, then later on file an appeal arguing that the conviction should be overturned (say, for ineffective counsel, which is why the guilty plea happened and why nothing was raised at trial)? If the appeal succeeds, that's not an acquittal by itself, but if the prosecution decides to re-try the case the defendant could then be acquitted (admittedly with a new, not-guilty plea).
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:22 PM
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Is it possible that someone could plead guilty, then later on file an appeal arguing that the conviction should be overturned (say, for ineffective counsel, which is why the guilty plea happened and why nothing was raised at trial)?
Yes, of course. This happens all the time.

But you don’t even have to go that far. A prosecutor can get a guilty plea from a defendant and a judge can look at it and say that this is bullshit and refuse to convict.

You’re not convicted until a judge says “I find you guilty” and nothing a prosecutor does can force a judge to do that.

Last edited by Acsenray; 02-06-2019 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:24 PM
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Where would you be acquitted? If you plead guilty (and the court accepts your plea) there is no trial. Just sentencing. Pleading guilty is the conviction.
The judge can refuse to accept the guilty plea.

Don't know when the last time that actually happened is but IANAL
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Old 02-06-2019, 01:16 PM
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[QUOTE=Quercus;21473604]Is it possible that someone could plead guilty,

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The judge can refuse to accept the guilty plea.

Don't know when the last time that actually happened is but IANAL
Itís not uncommon.

A judge can refuse a guilty plea for several reasons, including if he believes that the defendant doesnít understand it, or that it was coerced or its falsely given.

For any of these reasons, a judge can refuse the plea and enter a plea of ďnot guiltyĒ on the defendantís behalf.

And then even if the plea is accepted, the judge must decide whether the plea is enough to prove the case and issue a verdict.
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Old 02-06-2019, 01:47 PM
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Generally police like to withhold certain details about the crime to filter out false confessions. If one person says "I killed her in her house", and the other one says "I stabbed her six times in the kitchen with a Mozzbi brand serrated steak knife that I threw out as I was leaving the house", then you know which one did it.
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Old 02-06-2019, 02:13 PM
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No, thatís wrong. You can plead guilty and the. The judge must first accept your plea, and then the judge has to actually find that the prosecution had proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt and then actually find you guilty. None of that is automatic.
I included the fact that the Judge must accept the plea. The Judge does not, however, have to find that the prosecution has proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The Judge must find that you are knowingly and voluntarily pleading guilty, and that there is a sufficient factual basis for the plea of guilty.

I agree it is not "automatic," but I was responding to a post that asked, essentially, "can you plead guilty and then be acquitted?" The way the word "acquitted" is usually used, the answer is no. Not accepting the plea is not an acquittal. Granted, it could lead to a trial, and there could be an acquittal then. (in that case, of course, you never actually pleaded guilty, you merely attempted to)

I say this as someone who has represented 100s, if not 1000s of defendants who have pled guilty (state and federal courts) and has presided over dozens of guilty pleas as a judge pro tem.
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Old 02-06-2019, 02:54 PM
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It may be very uncommon, but the judge actually has to issue a verdict of guilty. A plea doesn’t force the judge’s hand.
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Old 02-06-2019, 03:06 PM
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As part of the guilty plea, normally, (IANAL) the defendant must describe what they did and that they admit it freely etc. etc. (Elocution?) If the judge thinks they are not telling the truth, he can refuse to accept the plea. Presumably then, it goes to a trial and the prosecutor must prove the case. That might be easier if the defendant takes the stand and admits they did it.

With two people, the prosecutor has the option of prosecuting either or both. From my extensive Law & Order experience - they would charge the most likely one first, since it's hard to tell a jury "this guy did it" when the defence can say "you are busy prosecuting someone else and have filed in court arguing that one did it." And it bolsters the second case if the first one is acquitted - a jury has alerady decided it wasn't person A. Unless there appears to be a case that they both did it together, then charge them both together. But it doesn't matter what the defendants say - it takes more than a confession to convict; the facts also have to bear out the case. Plenty of nutbars confess without any actual guilt. I assume it's a bit of a career-limiting move if a DA decides to toss a guy in jail for life for a prominent crime and it comes out he had no involvement other than mental problems and the ability to watch the news.

if the two are charged with the same crime, generally they are charged together. (There's a whole separate set of L&O shows on splitting up a trial, but it's not easy). being charged together, then it's up to each one whether they want to take the stand and claim the other guy did it. Say two guys come back from a boat trip missing the third guy... one guy may plead guilty, take a much lesser sentence, and testify against the other. Otherwise, they can both argue the other did it and take their chance with the jury, depending on the facts. Who has the bruises from a fight? etc.

Last edited by md2000; 02-06-2019 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 02-06-2019, 03:22 PM
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In a felony crime that results in a death, all of the parties involved can be charged, and convicted of murder. The guy who did the actual killing, his partner who was present but did not participate in the killing, and the get away driver who sat in the car. Even if they did not know that there was going to be a death.

All three can be charged with murder in the commission of a crime. So it is possible for all of them to be charged and enter a plea. Guilty or not guilty. One killing does not mean one conviction for murder.
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:17 PM
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It may be very uncommon, but the judge actually has to issue a verdict of guilty. A plea doesnít force the judgeís hand.
I wouldn't call that a "verdict" of guilty. The judge "accepts the plea and enters a finding of guilt." Agree that a plea doesn't force the judge's hand. I wonder, though, if a defendant wants to plead guilty, could the prosecution say "No, we'd rather put you through a trial."
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:45 PM
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For two people to "plead guilty" they would both have to be charged with the crime. I can't see a scenario where it would ever reach that point. Sure, two people can "confess" to the same crime. But the DA is not going to try both of them in court at the same time. At most, maybe one after the other. But that confession is going to be used as just another piece of evidence before they're taken in front of a grand jury or otherwise charged with the crime and prosecuted. So, I could see where you might have two confessions, but not two guilty pleas.
I might be missing something, though.

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Old 02-06-2019, 06:01 PM
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I wouldn't call that a "verdict" of guilty. The judge ...
All I am saying is this:

Step 1:

Quote:
"accepts the plea and
This is the arraignment part of the process.

and then --

Step 2:

Quote:
enters a finding of guilt."
This is the adjudication of guilt.

Both things have to happen, and the mere fact that a potential suspect has "admitted" to a crime doesn't mandate that they will happen. That's all I'm saying. I don't think we're disagreeing here.


Quote:
Agree that a plea doesn't force the judge's hand. I wonder, though, if a defendant wants to plead guilty, could the prosecution say "No, we'd rather put you through a trial."
I don't see why they can't, but I suspect that it will be quite a rare situation in which a prosecutor would make such a choice. It would be more common for a judge to say, "No, you gotta take this to trial."
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Old 02-06-2019, 06:03 PM
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Both things have to happen, and the mere fact that a potential suspect has "admitted" to a crime doesn't mandate that they will happen. That's all I'm saying. I don't think we're disagreeing here.
We're not disagreeing.
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Old 02-06-2019, 06:08 PM
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My legal knowlegde is based on the excellent TV show 'Law + Order'!

If the two people are using each other's confessions to cause 'reasonable doubt' for each other, then presumably you could convict them of conspiracy?
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Old 02-06-2019, 06:19 PM
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In a felony crime that results in a death, all of the parties involved can be charged, and convicted of murder. The guy who did the actual killing, his partner who was present but did not participate in the killing, and the get away driver who sat in the car. Even if they did not know that there was going to be a death.

All three can be charged with murder in the commission of a crime. So it is possible for all of them to be charged and enter a plea. Guilty or not guilty. One killing does not mean one conviction for murder.
In Texas, I believe this is known as the law of parties. I have a childhood friend who is spending life in Texas prison for being the getaway driver. He agreed to participate in the liquor store robbery by driving the car. However, while inside, his buddy shot and killed the store worker. The guy I know never went in the store and never knew about the shooting until it had happened. Sucks to be him.
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Old 02-06-2019, 06:29 PM
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In Texas, I believe this is known as the law of parties.
In Florida it's just referred to as the Felony Murder Rule.
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Old 02-06-2019, 06:43 PM
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In the real world, the black one goes to jail.

Less facetiously, I would assume that there would be an investigation of some kind to verify their stories.
Please do not post joke responses in GQ until there have been at least a few posts actually addressing the question. This especially applies when the joke in question is tasteless.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:13 AM
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A common plot point in detective shows is that there is a murder, and for some reason 2 people each claim to be guilty of the murder. For whatever reason it's impossible they were both involved, so at least one of them are lying. The detective works out which one, (or both) are lying and then the guilty party gets arrested for the murder. How would it work in the real world if there's only one murder, 2 people claiming to be the perpetrator, cirumstances that clearly make their stories incompatible and no way to tell which one is lying?
You just answered your own question. They do an investigation and find out which one is lying. Here's the thing: People offer false confessions all the damned time. In any publicized case you are bound to get a few wackos who show up and 'confess' to the crime. There are also many false confessions tendered in the course of interrogations (eg, because the suspect wants to end the interrogation or because they think a plea deal would be better). A competent investigator will examine the facts and decide whether it is plausible for a person to have been the 'real' killer.

Hypothetically, it should be impossible for a person to confess to a crime they did not commit. A proper investigation would ask for an explanation of how the crime was perpetrated. If a person is fabricating, they should give incorrect information or omit key details which were not made public. Likewise, when a person pleads guilty to a crime they will be asked to articulate how the crime was perpetrated. If it becomes clear that their story is implausible or contradicts known facts, the judge can discard their guilty plea. I say 'hypothetically' because there have been many instances in which the investigators have been willing to accept the first confession that falls into their lap, or they have provided the key details of the case to the suspect so that they can regurgitate it during their confession. Some prosecutors care about getting convictions more than they care about convicting the right person.

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So what happens if the police & DA decide to prosecute Bob, but in the middle of the trial Bob's attorney calls Tad to the stand, and Tad confesses to the murder? If the jury finds Tad believable, they should acquit Bob under reasonable doubt, even though the physical evidence pretty squarely points to Bob. Can the DA prosecute Tad later, using his confession at Bob's trial as evidence?
Here's the thing: When a prosecutor goes to trial, they must try to articulate their 'theory of the crime.' The prosecutor will have constructed a version of the events based on the available evidence, and there job is to convince the jury that their version of events is correct beyond a reasonable doubt. If Tad takes the stand and unexpectedly confesses to the crime, then the prosecutor must go through the process I described above. Is it plausible that Tad is telling the truth?

But let's say the jury decides the acquit Bob. Juries do dumb shit like that sometimes. In this case, the answer is: Yes, Tad's confession could be used as evidence if the prosecutor then attempted to prosecute Tad.

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To me this is the more interesting question. Say a murder occurs where it is 100% certain it was one of two people (say a fishing boat returns to shore with a dead guy and two buddies saying the other guy did it). Both have completely different stories of how it wasn't them and it was clearly the other guy.
Do they both have to go free? Can they really both be found guilty when we're pretty sure one of them is 100% innocent.
We're not sure one of them is 100% innocent. That is an unwarranted assumption. One or both is lying. The prosecutor has to look at the evidence, and can charge both of them with the crime if he thinks the evidence supports a conviction. If they continue to repeat their conflicting stories, it will be up to the jury to decide whose version is more believable. The jury can choose to convict one, or both, or neither.
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:36 AM
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But let's say the jury decides the acquit Bob. Juries do dumb shit like that sometimes. In this case, the answer is: Yes, Tad's confession could be used as evidence if the prosecutor then attempted to prosecute Tad.

Depends on the law of the jurisdiction. If this happened in Canada, Tad's confession would be inadmissible in subsequent proceedings, under s. 13 of the Charter.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sectio...s_and_Freedoms
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:39 AM
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If the two people are using each other's confessions to cause 'reasonable doubt' for each other, then presumably you could convict them of conspiracy?


Not unless you could show they had an agreement to do so. If each of them just says "That other guy's confessed. I'm innocent!" there's no conspiracy.

And conspiracy to do what? What is the underlying crime?
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:54 PM
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Not unless you could show they had an agreement to do so. If each of them just says "That other guy's confessed. I'm innocent!" there's no conspiracy.

And conspiracy to do what? What is the underlying crime?
Obviously at the very least, obstruction of justice and committing perjury. (If they both agreed Tad would falsely claim on the stand that he dunnit, they are conspiring to commit perjury?)

Presumably, having confessed on the stand, Tad cannot now refuse to answer questions like "OK, where did you get the knife and where did you dispose of it?" and such details which it might be hard for him to have prepared for.

I presume we are talking about two claims of independent action. Bob says "I walking in and shot Joe, never saw Tad". While Tad says "I shot Joe, Bob was nowhere around."

If Tad and Bob are in it together, they are jointly charged and could conceivably both be convicted. As I understand it, if two people are charges as being involved in the same specific act, they are charged and tried at the same trial. Depending on circumstances, it is hard to imagine a situation where they argue over who stabbed Joe, or shot him, without also getting into details about how one of them should be innocent of collusion. "I didn't know my buddy had a gun" isn't much of a defense when the cops arrive. (Although I imagine we could construct such a case...)

I have read of several cases where the actual murderer confesses and takes a deal to help convict his buddy (or the driver) who then ends up on death row. It's debatable who cares less about real justice, the prosecutor or the hardened criminal.
  #40  
Old 02-09-2019, 09:16 AM
Textual Innuendo Textual Innuendo is offline
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[Moderating]
Please do not post joke responses in GQ until there have been at least a few posts actually addressing the question. This especially applies when the joke in question is tasteless.
I actually didn't take Senoy's response as a joke at all, but rather a candid take on the empirical reality on the ground. After all, our "justice" system DOES convict black defendants at much higher rates for similar crimes ( and they are up to 7 times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder, warning: PDF at law.umich.edu site).

So in sum, the empirical answers seem to be:
1. The black one gets convicted for it
2. They're BOTH put on trial and convicted for it
3. If anyone dies in the commission of another crime, including if a trigger-happy cop rushes onto the scene and shoots your friend who later dies, EVERYONE involved in any way whatsoever (except the cop, of course) is put on trial and convicted for it

Which is pretty much what I expected of our system. I'm beginning to think this question and answer may be more interesting in more justice-dispensing justice systems, versus our "hang 'em all and let god sort them out" one.
  #41  
Old 02-09-2019, 08:56 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is online now
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Well, in Canada, #3 wouldn't happen. We don't have felony murder - was struck down as unconstitutional, contrary to our equivalent of due process.
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:28 PM
TSBG TSBG is offline
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Perhaps both of them would be convicted for the same crime:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2...one-fatal-shot
  #43  
Old 02-10-2019, 06:27 AM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Originally Posted by Mdcastle View Post
Generally police like to withhold certain details about the crime to filter out false confessions. If one person says "I killed her in her house", and the other one says "I stabbed her six times in the kitchen with a Mozzbi brand serrated steak knife that I threw out as I was leaving the house", then you know which one did it.
Except when they've instead stated "We known that you stabbed her six times in the kitchen with a Mozzbi brand serrated steak knife and then threw it out as you were leaving the house. So, why don't you just admit to it, and we'll be done with it." And then mention this precise knowledge of the circumstances of the crime as an evidence of guilt, as basically happened many times to people falsely convicted.
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  #44  
Old 02-11-2019, 10:13 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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You watch too many TV crime dramas. All police interrogations are watch through a two way mirror and are videotaped. The police do not go into details like your example.

Of course, people can later claim they did, and try to get out of prison by doing so. Does not work..
  #45  
Old 02-11-2019, 10:55 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Originally Posted by TSBG View Post
Perhaps both of them would be convicted for the same crime:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2...one-fatal-shot
This is likely the case I was refeeeing to earlier in this thread.

But the OP has been answered long ago. What happens in these cases is whatever the prosecutors decide they can get away with. They can randomly choose one to prosecute, or try to nail both of the suspects. Thereís no blanket principle that dictates what will happen.
  #46  
Old 02-11-2019, 12:52 PM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
You watch too many TV crime dramas. All police interrogations are watch through a two way mirror and are videotaped. The police do not go into details like your example.
"All" is a pretty sweeping generalization here, when there are thousands of police departments just in the U.S., covered by fifty different state laws/constitutions/judicial decisions. I'm not aware of any jurisdiction that absolutely requires interrogations to be taped. Some departments do, to their credit, have policies that interrogations are videotaped, but certainly not all. And, even where there is tape, I think there's been enough experience with police bodycams for us to understand the limits of recordings that are under the control of the police.

So I don't think 'all' is very accurate here.
  #47  
Old 02-12-2019, 03:05 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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FWIW, in 6 years as a prosecutor and now 17+ as a magistrate, I've never seen, read or heard of a case like the OP's. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but it would be vanishingly rare.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
...And, yes, statements made under oath in court can be used as evidence in other cases....
In the U.S., they don't even have to be under oath. Statements made to anyone by a criminal defendant are not hearsay and may typically be introduced in court as statements by a party opponent. See Fed.Evid.R. 801(d)(2) and its state equivalents: https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_801

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
"All" is a pretty sweeping generalization here, when there are thousands of police departments just in the U.S., covered by fifty different state laws/constitutions/judicial decisions. I'm not aware of any jurisdiction that absolutely requires interrogations to be taped....
It's more common than you might think (and then-State Sen. Barack Obama was instrumental in getting the law passed in Illinois):

"To date, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation regarding the recording of custodial interrogations. State supreme courts have taken action in Alaska, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. Approximately 1000 jurisdictions have voluntarily implemented recording policies."

From here: https://www.innocenceproject.org/fal...nterrogations/
  #48  
Old 02-12-2019, 04:00 PM
Mk VII Mk VII is offline
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In Texas, I believe this is known as the law of parties. I have a childhood friend who is spending life in Texas prison for being the getaway driver. He agreed to participate in the liquor store robbery by driving the car. However, while inside, his buddy shot and killed the store worker. The guy I know never went in the store and never knew about the shooting until it had happened. Sucks to be him.
Here it's called 'joint enterprise' , and the Craig/Bentley case rested primarily on it.
  #49  
Old 02-12-2019, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
You watch too many TV crime dramas. All police interrogations are watch through a two way mirror and are videotaped. The police do not go into details like your example.

Of course, people can later claim they did, and try to get out of prison by doing so. Does not work..
Actually, that’s precisely what happens in Japan on occasion.

Another technique is for the police to ask questions and then when the suspect gives an answer that doesn’t match the evidence, they will tell the suspect that no, you couldn’t have done it that way, and allow the person to make another guess.

Japanese laws are less protective of suspects’ rights and are a good example of why such laws are necessary.
  #50  
Old 02-12-2019, 11:43 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
This is likely the case I was refeeeing to earlier in this thread.

But the OP has been answered long ago. What happens in these cases is whatever the prosecutors decide they can get away with. They can randomly choose one to prosecute, or try to nail both of the suspects. Thereís no blanket principle that dictates what will happen.
But... assuming the two confessions/cases cannot be tied together as a joint enterprise or conspiracy, I'm going to guess that they will try the most likely case first. It's kind of counter-productive to the case to have a defense attorney dredge up - "wait, you've charged another person for the same crime while claiming that they acted alone."

Or is the defence forbidden from introducing some other indictments, statements, confessions by other persons into a court case?

Plus, if the second person is also convicted, the first one should have a case to appeal his conviction. Is there a presumption that the most recent court decision is the more correct(?) one?
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