The Truth About False Confessions

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No Happy Endings
This recent New York Times article reminds us that, when it comes to false confessions, even the tales with happy endings tend to be tragic.
10:10 am est

Friday, September 17, 2010

Detailed False Confessions
This New York Times article is about a crucial phenomenon: false confessions that include accurate details. Jurors and others tend to assume that a confession must be true if it contains accurate details, but the assumption is flawed.
12:03 pm est

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Outsourcing Torture


Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed a lawsuit against Boeing for helping the CIA transport terror suspects to countries that permit torture.  The Court (by 6-5 vote) determined that the lawsuit would have compromised U.S. state secrets.  Maybe so, but it also would have shed light on an odious practice: outsourcing inhumane interrogation methods known to produce false confessions.

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8:35 am est

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Florida Case
A visitor to this sites writes to tell me about a possible false confession in a highly-publicized missing child case in Florida. While the body of Haleigh Cummings hasn't been found, "police declared it a homicide in April. . . . Two people in jail on unrelated drug charges have implicated themselves in the crime -- Misty Croslin and her brother, Tommy Croslin.  By implicated I mean they claim they witnessed it.  According to them their cousin Joe Overstreet committed the murder. . . . Their stories make absolutely no sense, and there has not been evidence to back up their claims."
Thus far Overstreet has not been charged, but he has been under active investigation for months. While I don't know enough to comment about the case, it serves as a reminder that false confessions often affect innocent people in addition to the false confessor himself.
11:59 am est

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