In what circumstances have police officers been found not coercive in a sexual assault case?

California, United States of America

The following excerpt is from People v. Johnson, B282481 (Cal. App. 2018):

In People v. Daniels, supra, 1 Cal.App.3d 367 the officers (accurately) told the defendant, who was accused of incest, that his family had been taken into custody and that his daughter might be pregnant. (Id. at pp. 371-372.) The court noted the evidence was "uncontradicted that no promises or inducements were made," noting the officer "testified that none were made and defendant mentioned none in his testimony." (Id. at p. 376.) Responding to the defendant's argument he had confessed to protect his family, the court stated "the evidence is uncontradicted that there was no promise to release defendant's family, nor promise to take the matter up with higher authorities." (Ibid.)

In People v. Steger, supra, 16 Cal.3d 539, the defendant similarly claimed she "spoke to police only to free her [codefendant] husband." (Id. at p. 550.) The court noted, however, "the police made no threat or promise, either express or implied, regarding the fate of defendant's husband," and "[a]ny desire of defendant to aid her husband by confessing was entirely self-motivated." (Ibid.)

In People v. Mayfield, supra, 5 Cal.4th at p. 176 the officers "threatened to quit listening to defendant." The court held this remark was not coercive because the officers' remark was "about a course of action they could legally follow" (i.e., stop listening to the defendant) and "the police did not offer defendant anything." (Ibid.) Refusing to listen to a defendant is very different from offering to help speak to the judge and the prosecutors and threatening to tell the prosecutors not to discuss settlement.

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