Is a ''Motivated by a Promise'' Written Statement Admissible ?

A written statement by the accused is admissible in evidence if the statement is freely and voluntarily given without compulsion or persuasion. TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. ANN. art. 38.21 (Vernon 1979). When the accused raises the issue of voluntariness, the court must hold a hearing to determine whether the statement was voluntary. TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. ANN. art. 38.22, 6 (Vernon 1979); Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368, 84 S. Ct. 1774, 12 L. Ed. 2d 908 (1964). The determination of whether a statement is voluntary must be based on an examination of the totality of the circumstances surrounding its acquisition. Armstrong v. State, 718 S.W.2d 686, 693 (Tex. Crim. App. 1985). The ultimate question is whether the State has overborne the defendant's will. Id. The United States Supreme Court has held that a promise is a factor to take into account in applying the general due process "totality of the circumstances" analysis, Arizona v. Fulminante, 499 U.S. 279, 285-88, 111 S. Ct. 1246, 113 L. Ed. 2d 302, 315-17 (1991), and Texas law has long barred the use of a statement induced by a promise of someone in authority. Warren v. State, 29 Tex. 369, 372 (1867). A statement is involuntary and thus inadmissible if it is induced by a promise that is: (1) positive; (2) made or sanctioned by someone with real or apparent authority; (3) was of some benefit to the defendant; (4) of such character that it would likely influence the defendant to speak untruthfully. Garcia v. State, 919 S.W.2d 370, 388 (Tex. Crim. App. 1994); Hough v. State, 929 S.W.2d 484, 488 (Tex. App.-Texarkana 1996, pet. ref'd).