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Mallory v. United States

Significance

Mallory, together with McNabb v. United States (1943) resulted in the so-called McNabb-Mallory rule, which made confessions inadmissible in federal court if they were obtained from a criminal suspect being held in violation of federal rules requiring that such a suspect be quickly charged.

On the night of 7 April 1954, a woman was raped in the basement of her apartment house in the District of Columbia. She had gone down there to do her laundry, with which she experienced some difficulty. She sought help from the janitor, who lived in the basement with his wife, three sons, and 19-year-old half-brother, Andrew Mallory. Mallory was the only one at home at the time, and he helped the women. Shortly thereafter, she was raped by a masked man who seemed to resemble him.

Mallory and one of his grown nephews then disappeared from the apartment, but Mallory was picked up by police the next afternoon. He was taken with his adult nephew to police headquarters, where they were questioned for nearly two hours before they submitted to lie detector tests. Mallory was the last to be tested, and the test was not administered until 8:00 p.m. He had not been given anything to eat or drink since being taken into custody.

After another 90 minutes of questioning, Mallory admitted to the crime. After several more hours of questioning, he finally signed a written confession, sometime after midnight. He was not formally charged until the next morning, when he was brought before a magistrate judge. His trial was delayed for nearly a year owing to doubts about his ability to understand the proceedings against him. Finally, on the basis of his signed confession, Mallory was convicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He then appealed his conviction to the U.S Supreme Court.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962Mallory v. United States - Significance, Supreme Court Formulates Mcnabb-mallory Rule, Omnibus Crime Control And Safe Street Acts Of 1968