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Will Robert Durst’s Bathroom Confession on HBO Be Admissible in Court?

Mar 19, 2015  •  Post A Comment

Here, from Fox News, is how the recent HBO documentary “The Jinx” ended: “Visibly shaken and dazed, Robert Durst retreats to a nearby bathroom without taking off his microphone. It is there, he has the creepy conversation with himself. An eerie confrontation in the mirror with a killer who has caught himself in a tangled web of deceit:

“‘There it is. You’re caught. You’re right, of course. But you can’t imagine. Arrest him. What a disaster. He was right. I was wrong. I’m having difficulty with the question. What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.’

“The camera then fades to black.”

Durst was later arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the 2000 death of writer Susan Berman.

While some of the evidence involves an envelope, the question that also arises is whether Durst’s bathroom confession at the end of HBO’s 6-part documentary series about Durst is admissible in court.

Writes Danny Cevallos, a lawyer and CNN’s legal analyst, “Whether or not the taped words of an accused person will be admissible against him involves a look at the rules of evidence and the Constitution, as well as our fast-evolving ideas about privacy. While Durst’s attorneys can make a number of arguments to suppress these statements and bar their admission at trial, the bathroom confessions will likely be factored in.”

Here are the three main reasons Cevallos draws this conclusion, according to his piece:

● Is this inadmissible hearsay? Probably not.

● Is this a violation of Durst’s constitutional privilege against self-incrimination? Again, probably not.

● Can Durst argue for some “reasonable expectation of privacy” that was violated by his being taped in the bathroom? Not in our modern world, and not in this case.

To read all of Cevallos’ arguments, please click here, which takes you to his original article.

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