Document Type



Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law




In 1986, the Supreme Court decided Colorado v. Connelly, a landmark case in due process and fifth amendment law. The case began when Francis Barry Connelly approached a police officer on the street in downtown Denver to confess to having killed a young woman several months earlier in southwest Denver. Because Connelly was suffering from acute schizophrenia and was hearing auditory hallucinations commanding him to confess, state courts suppressed his statements to the police on the grounds (1) that his statements before arrest were involuntary and inadmissible under the due process clause and (2) those statements post-arrest could not be admitted because his waivers of his Fifth Amendment rights were not voluntary.

This essay goes into the facts behind the case and it is intended to respond to questions raised by Justice Brennan as well as scholars about the reliability of Connelly's statements. The essay thus explains the police investigation that took place in the wake of Connelly's statements that strongly corroborated the fact that Connelly killed the victim, Mary Anne Junta, a 14-year old Native American girl from Boston, who was traveling with Connelly at the time of the murder.

Finally, the essay completes the picture by explaining what happened to Barry Connelly after the Supreme Court reversed the suppression rulings and the case was returned to Denver for trial on the murder charge.


"Originally published in the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law."