Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    The voluntary declaration of a person who has committed crime, to another, of his participation therein. See 6 Am. St. Rep. 242, note.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In criminal law. A voluntary statement made by a person charged with the commission of a crime or misdemeanor, communicated to another person, wherein he acknowledges himself to be guilty of the offense charged, and discloses the circumstances of the act or the share and participation which he had in it Spicer v. Com. (Ky.) 51 S. W. 802; People v. Parton, 49 Cal. 637; Lee v. State, 102 Ga. 221. 29 S. E. 264; State v. Heidenreich, 29 Or. 381, 45 Pac. 755. Also the act of a prisoner, when arraigned for a crime or misdemeanor, in acknowledging and avowing that he is gullty of the offense charged. Classification. Confessions are divided into judicial and extrajudicial. The former are such as are made before a magistrate or court in the due course of legal proceedings, while the latter are such as are made by a party elsewhere than in ceurt or before a magistrate. Speer v. State, 4 Tex. App. 479. An implied confession is where the defendant, la a case not capital, does not plead guilty but indirectly admits his guilt by placing himself at the mercy of the court and asking for a light sentence. 2 Hawk. P. O. p. 469; State v. Conway, 20 R. I. 270, 38 Atl. 656. An indirect confession is one inferred from the conduct of the defendant State v. Miller, 9 Houst. (Del.) 564, 32 Atl. 137. A naked confession is an admission of the guilt of the party, but which is not supported by anv evidence of the commission of the crime. A relative confession, in the older criminal law of England, "is where the accused confesseth and appealeth others thereof, to become an approver," (2 Hale, P. C. c. 29,) or in other words to "turn king's evidence." This is now obsolete, but something like it is practiced in modern law, where one of the persons accused or supposed to be involved in a crime is put on the witness stand under an implied promise of panion. Co.m. v. Knapp, 10 Pick. (Mass.) 477; 20 Am. Dec. 534; State v. Willis, 71 Co.nn. 293, 41 Atl. 820. A simple confession is merely a plea of guilty. State v. Willis, 71 Conn. 293, 41 Atl. 820; Bram v. U. S„ 168 U. S. 532, 18 Sup. Ch 183, 42 In Ed. 568. A voluntary confession is one made spontaneously by a person accused of crime, free from the influence of any extraneous disturbing cause, and in particular, not influenced, or extorted by violence, threats, or promises. State v. Clifford, 86 Iowa, 550, 53 N. W. 299, 41 Am. St. Ren. 518; Roesel v. State, 62 N. J. Law, 216, 41 Atl. 408; State v. Alexander, 109 La. 557, 33 South. 600; Com. v. Sego, 125 Mass. 213; Bullock v. State, 65 N. J. Law, 557, 47 Atl. 62, 86 Am. St. Rep. 668; Colburn v. Groton, 66 N. H. 151. 28 Atl. 95, 22 L. R. A. 763.
    —Confession and avoidance. A plea in confession and avoidance is one which avows and confesses the truth of the averments of fact in the declaration, either expressly or by implication, but then proceeds to allege new matter which tends to deprive the facts admitted of their ordinary legal effect, or to obviate, neutralize, or avoid them.
    —Confession of defense. In English practice. Where defendant alleges a ground of defense arising since the commencement of the action, the plaintiff may deliver confession of such defense and sign j'udg-ment for his costs up to the time of such pleading, unless it be otherwise ordered. Jud. Act 1875, Ord. XX, r. 3.
    —Confession of judgment. The act of a debtor in permitting judgment to be entered against him by his creditor, for a stipulated sum, by a written statement to that effect nr by warrant of attorney, without the institution of legal proceedings of any kind.
    —Confessing error. A plea to an assignment of error, admitting the same.