The Truth About False Confessions

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Death And Innocence
 

A recent New York Times article about the more than 200 DNA exonerations of people convicted of crimes includes this observation: “Only 14 of those exonerated had been sentenced to death.” Only? 

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7:28 am est

Monday, July 23, 2007

Let's Go To The Tape
 

A recent New York Times op-ed urged the New York legislature to pass a pending bill mandating videotaping of interrogations. The article concluded that the case for the bill is straightforward: “Because false confessions are real and innocent people are jailed as a result. The evidence is overwhelming.”

 

Indeed, and this is a rare public policy issue that is easy to resolve. The benefits of mandatory taping are major, the alleged drawbacks relatively trivial.   

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6:19 am est

Monday, July 16, 2007

When DNA Is MIA
 
From Today's AP: "A probe into the state police crime laboratory has found evidence samples from thousands of crime scenes across Massachusetts that were never analyzed."
 
 
8:41 am est

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Irrevocable Injustice

 

Citing the most recent DNA exoneration of a false confessor (a man who served more than twenty years for murder and rape), a visitor writes: “One can only shudder to think what might have happened had the death penalty been imposed in this case.”

 

I shudder to think some innocent people, false confessors and others, have been put to death. When Illinois’ then-Governor Ryan took stock of how a flawed justice system was producing wrongful convictions, he imposed a moratorium on death sentences. That lead should be followed by governors in every death penalty state.   

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11:06 am est

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Freedom
 
Independence Day is a good day to remember those deprived of freedom by our imperfect justice system, and to commit ourselves to the continued effort to make necessary reforms.
 
10:52 am est

Monday, July 2, 2007

Remembering Judge Sponzo
 

Needless to say, I do some complaining about public officials whose negligence or ignorance contributes to the tragedy of false confessions. But, of course, there are heroes as well as culprits in this area. This recent obituary describes one such hero, who staved off injustice in the case of a prominent false confession decades ago. 

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6:40 am est


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