The police refuted most of Gockley's testimony. Captain Feltman testified that Gockley did not request a lawyer or the use of a telephone while Gockley was in his custody from November 17 to November 21, 1960. Feltman also stated that he advised Gockley of the charges against him and told him he could use a telephone if he so desired. He denied making any threats and explained that the length of some interrogation periods was due, not to harassing tactics by the police, but rather to Gockley's propensity to talk. He recalled that Gockley, after the first written statement, stated that he expected the court to appoint a lawyer for him.
Neither Krause nor Feltman could recall whether Gockley was warned of his constitutional rights immediately upon his arrest, although it is clear that warnings were given at least during the taking of the written statements.
Feltman could not recall any reason for not taking Gockley before a magistrate although he admitted that there was adequate time to do so and that forgery was a bailable offense.
I am persuaded that the testimony of the police officers is more credible. Gockley did not impress me as truthful and I simply do not believe his testimony.
Gockley's assertions of police misconduct are grossly exaggerated. Although some of the periods of interrogation were fairly long, that was due, not to police misconduct, but to Gockley's verbosity and propensity for fabrication. The questioning was not repetitive, the police were inquiring about a number of possible crimes. Neither the length of the interrogation periods nor the nature of the questioning was so severe or coercive as to have contributed to Gockley's decision to confess. See Culombe v. Connecticut, supra; United States v. Moriarty, 375 F.2d 901 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 388 U.S. 911, 87 S. Ct. 2116, 18 L. Ed. 2d 1350 (1967).
Contrary to Gockley's claim, I am satisfied that he was informed of the charges against him upon his arrest. Feltman specifically recalled that he informed Gockley as to the nature of the charges against him, and his testimony is corroborated by Gockley's admission at his state trial that the first night of questioning dealt only with "a certain check relating to another case." (State Trial Record, p. 223).
Gockley was not held incommunicado. He was aware that he had the right to counsel if he so desired.
During the period he was in Feltman's custody (November 17-21, 1960), he was told that he could use a telephone if he desired. The officials at the Berks County Prison were given no special instructions restricting Gockley's privileges, consequently during the time he was confined at that institution, he could have availed himself of the same opportunities to communicate as were available to all prisoners. See Gibson v. Peyton, 262 F. Supp. 574 (W.D. Va. 1966). That he did not communicate with family or friends was probably due to his family's antipathy
to him and to his apparent lack of friends.
My impression of Gockley's credibility is corroborated by the testimony of a psychiatrist, Dr. John H. Bower, who examined Gockley shortly after his arrest. The psychiatrist concluded that Gockley was suffering from a condition known as "paranoia vira." According to Dr. Bower, this condition manifested itself in Gockley's case by delusions of grandeur and a superiority complex which caused him to believe that he would eventually extricate himself from his dilemma by outsmarting the police, the district attorney, and the judge and jury. In an attempt to outwit these adversaries, Gockley fabricated stories which were based partially on fact and partially on fiction.
In my view, Gockley's personality defect is the key in determining whether his statements were voluntary. Gockley's actions throughout this entire period were consistent with Dr. Bower's opinion of Gockley's feelings of superiority. I believe that from July 15, 1960 until December 9, 1960, Gockley willingly engaged in a battle of wits with the police, and he gave them information, some true, some false, in an attempt to outsmart them.
It is my belief that no amount of warning would have caused Gockley to remain silent. He talked, not out of fear or coercion, but because he wanted to talk, because he wanted to prove how clever he was. He has exhibited the same tendency in court proceedings. For example, he told his state trial counsel that he wanted to take the witness stand because "he had the ability to make a good impression on the jury" (Habeas Corpus hearing of August 14, 1967, p. 27), and he insisted on testifying in this court against the advice and over the objection of his very able attorney. There is other evidence of that same trait in his furnishing false information to the police to throw them off in their investigations and, finally, in the written statements themselves in which he seems to have combined truth and fiction in a manner calculated to exculpate himself from criminal responsibility for the deaths of two persons.
From all that appears, the police were unaware of Gockley's personality defect and they cannot, therefore, be charged with having taken advantage of the condition. Gockley appeared willing to cooperate, and the police accepted his offers. Despite his personality defect, Gockley's mental condition was such that he was able to make rational decisions and he understood what he was doing.
In summary, Gockley was not subjected to inherently coercive interrogation; he was not held incommunicado; he was warned of his right to remain silent and that anything he said might be used against him at least twice; and he knew he had a right to court-appointed counsel. His written and oral statements were not the product of police misconduct. His decision to confess was due entirely to his desire to outsmart the police and to his belief that he could do so. In effect, the police were "midwife to a declaration naturally born of * * * calculation." Culombe v. Connecticut, supra, 367 U.S., at 576, 81 S. Ct. at 1864. Under the circumstances, I conclude that Gockley's confessions and statements were the product of a rational intellect and free will.
Gockley has strenuously argued here that the instant case is controlled by the Supreme Court decisions in Turner v. Pennsylvania, 338 U.S. 62, 69 S. Ct. 1352, 93 L. Ed. 1810 (1949) and Clewis v. Texas, 386 U.S. 707, 87 S. Ct. 1338, 18 L. Ed. 2d 423 (1967). I do not find these cases controlling. The factual situations are entirely different than the instant case. In Turner, the accused was arrested without a warrant and without probable cause; the accused was not informed of his rights, nor was he advised of the charges pending against him; he was subjected to prolonged, constant and repetitive questioning by teams of police officers for five days; and finally, he confessed only after the police had tricked him into believing that two coconspirators had confessed. The circumstances were even more aggravated in the Clewis case. There, the accused was arrested at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning. For the next thirty-eight hours he was given little food and sleep, was constantly questioned by the police and eventually confessed. He was then taken before a magistrate for a hearing, but he was not informed even then of his constitutional rights. For the next week, he was transferred from prison to prison, driven on a round trip of approximately 600 miles, administered lie detector tests, given little food or sleep, held incommunicado, questioned constantly, and finally confessed a second time. A third confession was elicited a few days later after the police misconduct had ceased, but the Supreme Court held all three confessions inadmissible.
Neither the physical nor the psychological pressures evidenced in Turner and Clewis are presented here. Gockley knew his constitutional rights; he was lawfully arrested and was not subjected to threats, promises, or artifices, and was well-cared for on a physical plane. His confessions were not the result of coercive police pressure, they were the result of a shrewd attempt to outwit his antagonists. As a product of his own mind's calculation, the confessions were voluntary. Lisenba v. California, 314 U.S. 219, 62 S. Ct. 280, 86 L. Ed. 166 (1914).
The petition for writ of habeas corpus will be denied.
The court expresses its appreciation to H. Robert Fiebach, Esquire, who, pursuant to appointment by the Court of Appeals has, without remuneration, diligently and conscientiously represented relator's cause both in the Court of Appeals and in this court.
It is ordered, this 10th day of July, 1970, that the Petition of Edwin W. Gockley for Writ of Habeas Corpus be and it is hereby denied.
There is probable cause for appeal.