The Truth About False Confessions

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Devilish Justice

Read this New York Times article and weep.  The sentence that jumps out at me:  “The prosecution hinged on a confession riddled with factual errors and a Satanic cult expert with a mail-order degree.”


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6:16 am est

Friday, October 19, 2007

Experts Excluded
In the last few months, courts in New York, California, Ohio, and Illinois have ruled unfavorably about the admissibility of false confession expert testimony. We're learning more and more about false confessions, but far too often judges refuse to allow juries to benefit from this knowledge. Very unfortunate.
8:26 am est

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Praise The Expert
Regular visitors to this site know that I object to the exclusion of testimony by false confession experts.  A development earlier this week suggests that other experts, too, can help fact-finders identify a false confession.  A judge in North Carolina released a mentally ill false confessor who had been held in a state hospital for 14 years. The Associated Press reports that the judge was influenced by a forensic psychologist “who said the flowing narrative language of the typewritten document that Brown signed didn't match his halting speech.”  In other words, this confession was not the sort of thing one would get from a man with an IQ of 50. It may be that no expertise was needed to reach that conclusion, but it apparently helped the judge do the right thing.  

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8:47 am est

Monday, October 1, 2007

Thank goodness for DNA
This article in today's New York Times describes the salutary effect of DNA on criminal justice.  
1:05 pm est

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