Bram v. United States

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Bram v. United States
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided 1897


Bram was a first mate on an American ship on a voyage from Boston to South America. The captain of the ship and his wife were murdered with an axe off the coast of Nova Scotia.

The next day, another ship mate Brown was taken into custody. Brown accused Bram of the murders. The interrogator asked as a question based on the implicit assumption of Bram's guilt similar to the Reid technique. Bram responded to the loaded question with admission.

Procedural History

Bram is sentenced to death.


"A confession, in order to be admissible, must be free and voluntary."


SCOTUS overturns the defendant's conviction for murders.

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