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.
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.
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.