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Colorado v. Connelly

Significance, Defendant Heard "voice Of God", No Violation Of Due Process Rights Found, Dissenting Justices Not Unified In Opinion


State of Colorado


Francis Barry Connelly

Petitioner's Claim

The state of Colorado maintained that the statements given by a defendant and admitted during trial were not in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, although the defendant was mentally ill at the time of his confession.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Nathan B. Coats

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Thomas M. Van Cleave

Justices for the Court

Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist (writing for the Court), Antonin Scalia, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

10 December 1986


The Court ruled that statements by a mentally ill defendant that were given as evidence did not represent police coercion nor violate the Due Process Clause. Neither were such statements in violation of Miranda rights because the defendant was not coerced or misled into surrendering rights guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment.

Related Cases

  • Blackburn v. Alabama, 361 U.S. 199 (1960).
  • Culombe v. Connecticut, 367 U.S. 568 (1961).
  • Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293 (1963).
  • Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).
  • Harris v. New York, 401 U.S. 222 (1971).
  • Lego v. Twomey, 404 U.S. 477 (1972).


West's Encyclopedia of American Law, Vol. 7, p. 233. Minneapolis, MN: West Publishing, 1998.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988