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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:A jury convicted the appellant of possessing between 4 and 200 grams of cocaine and of possessing between 5 and 50 pounds of marijuana. The appellant made a written confession to possessing these drugs. He filed a pretrial motion to suppress his confession claiming that it was coerced and involuntary under federal constitutional law and under state statutory law. The evidence from the suppression hearing showed that the police seized the drugs from the appellant’s father’s upholstery shop pursuant to a search warrant. The appellant lived at the shop and worked there along with his father and brother. The police arrested the appellant, his father and brother. Later that day the appellant made the written confession in which he also stated that his “brother and dad had nothing to do with what had been found.” Neither the father nor the brother were charged with any offense. At the suppression hearing, the appellant testified that his confession was induced by a promise from the police that his father and brother would not be charged if he confessed. The detective who obtained the appellant’s confession denied making any promises to the appellant. On cross-examination, this detective also testified that he told the appellant that he needed to know who the drugs belonged to and from that appellant “could have gathered” that his father and brother would not be charged if the appellant “accepted responsibility.” The trial court denied the suppression motion based on a finding “that the statement was voluntarily given without coercion, and would be admissible in this matter.” This finding seems to have resolved only the appellant’s federal constitutional claim. The court of appeals addressed only a state law claim under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 38.21, and it decided that the appellant’s confession was admissible because the appellant “failed to show that [the detective's] promise to him was sufficient to cause him to falsely confess to possession of the contraband.” HOLDING:Affirmed. Article 38.21 provides that an accused’s statement may be used against him “if it appears that the same was freely and voluntarily made without compulsion or persuasion.” This court has decided that for a promise to render a confession invalid under Article 38.21, the promise must be positive, made or sanctioned by someone in authority, and of such an influential nature that it would cause a defendant to speak untruthfully. Though not clear, it appears that the court of appeals may have upheld the admissibility of appellant’s confession because appellant did not show that his confession was false. This would have been error because the truth or falsity of a confession is irrelevant to a voluntariness determination not only under federal constitutional law but also under state law. Under state law the determination is whether the officially sanctioned positive promise “would be likely to influence the defendant to speak untruthfully” and not whether, the defendant in fact spoke untruthfully. The evidence supports the implied finding that no positive promise was ever made by the detective to appellant. OPINION:Hervey, J.; Keller, PJ., Womack, Keasler and Holcomb, JJ., join. DISSENT:Meyers, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Price, Johnson, and Cochran, JJ., joined. “Because it is not necessary for a defendant to show that his confession was false, I feel that the Court of Appeals erred in considering the validity of the confession. It is the likelihood of the promise to overcome the free will of the accused which makes the promise coercive and renders the statement involuntary. Thus, rather than discuss the truth or falsity of the statement under the third prong of the Henderson test, as the Court of Appeals did, we should instead consider the totality of the circumstances surrounding the making of the confession to determine whether the promise was sufficiently coercive to render the confession involuntary.”

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