Professor’s Amicus Curiae Brief Helps Reverse Murder Conviction
On Monday, July 14, the California Supreme Court ruled in People v. Neal, reversing the conviction of Kenneth Ray Neal. Neal was convicted in 2000 of second-degree murder after confessing to the murder of an acquaintance during lengthy police questioning. Professor Charles Weisselberg, with the assistance of Craig
Sieverding '04, co-authored an amicus curiae brief arguing that the confession should be considered invalid. The brief was submitted on behalf of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice.
The brief reviews police training and argues that Neal’s confession was given involuntarily because he was misled about his right to counsel, badgered into speaking and held overnight under harsh conditions. The confession came after prolonged questioning by police, which continued despite nine requests by Neal to be represented by counsel. The brief concludes that Neal was questioned in violation of Miranda and that Miranda violations should be significant in determining whether a statement is voluntary.
The court’s decision cites the brief, as well as “In the Stationhouse after Dickerson,” a recent Michigan Law Review article by Weisselberg. For more information, please contact Erin Campbell at 510-643-8010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.