The Truth About False Confessions

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fourth Amendment
 
Today's New York Times describes a pending Supreme Court case revolving around a school's strip search of a 13 year old girl -- based on the flimsiest suspicion. So goes the war on drugs and the war on the Fourth Amendment.
 
8:53 am est

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Death Penalty Repealed
 
Good news from New Mexico, where Governor Bill Richardson has signed legislation repealing the state's death penalty. Better still, Richardson gave as his reason the risk of executing the innocent. He noted that many people on death row were eventually exonerated (which include a number who were convicted based on false confessions).
 
10:44 am est

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Irreversible Punishment
 
Yesterday's New York Times reports that Europe is debating the propriety of castration as punishment for sex crimes. The many false confessions to sex crimes constitute a major reason to avoid this irreversible punishment.
 
9:29 am est

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Civil Liberties
 
In a recent speech, Attorney General Eric Holder said that "too often over the past decade, the fight against terrorism has been viewed as a zero-sum battle with our civil liberties. Not only is that school of thought misguided, I fear that in actuality it does more harm than good."
 
Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to interrogation methods. Some of the most inhumane methods also produce unreliable information and false confessions. This is the case not only with respect to the torture of suspected terrorists, but also of the psychologically coercive interrogation methods routinely used by law enforcement on American citizens.
 
10:41 am est


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