The Truth About False Confessions

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Multiple causes

A public defender writes: “I suspect that even if ending bad interrogation methods and requiring videotaping solve most of the problem, false confessions aren't going to go away completely. I believe we just had a case where a client admitted to something to protect someone else, and there will always be the Karrs who confess falsely for the notoriety.”  

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8:38 am est

Monday, September 10, 2007

Videotaping As Sunlight


Apropos my recent post noting that videotaping interrogations is not a panacea, a perceptive reader writes: “Seeing the bad interrogation techniques brings to life for juries how false confessions happen.  No panacea, but sunlight is the best disinfectant.”  

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6:48 am est

Monday, September 3, 2007

Jewell's Legacy
Richard Jewell, the security guard who spotted a suspicious backpack containing a bomb at the 1996 Olympics, died last week. Instead of hailing his heroism, law enforcement quickly determined that he had planted the bomb himself. His legacy includes a reminder that law enforcement often makes very premature determinations of guilt. In Jewell's case, like that of the Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape, such determination temporarily destroyed his life and reputation. For others, it's even worse.
9:31 am est

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