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The State

December 15, 1987

A patient coming out of anesthesia is not necessarily incapable of making a voluntary confession, and a judge shouldn't have relied on his personal experience in deciding otherwise, a federal appeals court ruled. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals told U.S. District Judge William Schwarzer to review the hospital statements of a San Francisco robbery suspect without relying on his own observations of the effects of anesthesia. In the case involving bank robbery suspect Jerri Lewis, Schwarzer had barred evidence, observing that anyone who has been under a general anesthetic knows that afterward "you are not accountable for what you say and do." In its opinion, the court said Schwarzer "was not a competent witness to Lewis' condition."

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