Monday, May 6, 2013
11:28 am est
From a New York Times article on Saturday about a
Mississippi inmate scheduled for execution who has been DNA tests that could exonerate him: "There have been many instances
when seemingly strong cases -- even some where defendants themselves confessed -- fell apart after DNA testing." Indeed, DNA
testing is one of the main ways we've learned about the surprising prevalence of false confessions.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Multiple False Confessions
5:11 pm est
I urge everyone to watch the PBS documentary on the Central Park
Five -- a staggering case of multiple false confessions.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
11:38 am est
My chat with Candice DeLong, about the Ryan Ferguson case and false confessions
generally, can be heard here. It's the March 9, 1 a.m. podcast.
Monday, January 28, 2013
1:25 pm est
We're now learning that, 13 years ago, a Colorado Grand Jury voted to
indict the parents of JonBenet Ramsey. The DA, recognizing that he could not possibly establish guilt beyond a reasonable
doubt, chose not to move the case forward. Kudos to him. Prosecutors are supposed to exercise such judgment to
promote justice, not solely to seek prosecutions. (The Ramsey case featured a notorious false confession by John Mark
Friday, January 4, 2013
8:32 am est
Today's New York Times' front page story on a false confession in West
Virginia makes an important point: "laws are needed to remove [DNA] databases from the exclusive grip of prosecutors and law
enforcement to make them available to defense lawyers."
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Documented False Confessions
3:35 pm est
From a recent article in the New York Times: "a robust body of evidence
has emerged . . . that innocent people will confess to crimes." Given that hundreds of false confessions have been documented,
this qualifies as serious understatement.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
8:17 am est
Needless to say, false confessions are not the only source of wrongful
convictions. This is an important article about another significant problem -- prosecutorial
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Historic False Confession
7:56 am est
This man's false confession helped lead to Miranda warnings. At least
some good came of the tragedy, which usually isn't the case.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
2:34 pm est
The Innocence Project now reports 300 cases of persons wrongly convicted
who were exonerated by DNA testing. Roughly 25% had given false confessions.
Monday, August 20, 2012
8:35 am est
Hugo Bedau passed away last week. Bedau's very important study (coauthored
with Michael Radelet) in 1987 identified 350 wrongful convictions in capital cases, of which 49 involved false confessions.
His pioneering work will long survive him.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Truth About Lie Detection
9:23 am est
Earlier this week, the New York Times ran an item debunking the notion
that people can spot a lie by watching someone's eyes. The myth that interrogators can determine innocence or guilt through
such means is a major contributor to false confessions.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
The Real World
10:20 am est
A recent article in the New York Times noted that criminal trials
are "vanishingly rare" and plea bargaining represents "the real world of criminal justice." This observation is true and important,
especially since the plea bargaining process is fertile terrain for false confessions.
Friday, May 25, 2012
8:31 am est Check out this. It deals with various law enforcement problems, including but not limited
to false confessions.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Good News From New York
10:57 am est
A welcome ruling from New York's highest court paves the way for false confessions
expert testimony in the empire state.
Friday, March 23, 2012
9:24 am est
A pair of welcome decisions yesterday by the Supreme Court establish
that criminal defendants are entitled to effective assistance of counsel in the plea bargaining process. Guilty pleas
are a source of many false confessions.
Monday, February 27, 2012
7:24 am est
Here is a fine article on false confessions by Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Thursday, February 23, 2012
10:33 am est
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court
again justified law enforcement failing to give Miranda warnings. Miranda has failed to fulfill its promise to safeguard
against false confessions in part because courts have chipped away at the protection it provides.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
11:53 am est
Yesterday the Supreme Court reversed a conviction (8-1) because the prosecutor
failed to disclose material compromising crucial eyewitness testimony. As inaccurate eyewitness identifications, like
false confessions, are a fertile source of wrongful convictions, this decision is most welcome.
Monday, December 12, 2011
9:30 am est
Another DNA exoneration of someone wrongly convicted based on a false confession.
These high-profile cases should only deepen the public's awareness of the tragedy of false confessions.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
11:01 am est
This article in the NY Times concerns something I've written about: prosecutors
who refuse to accept DNA exonerations. This happens quite a bit in cases of false confessions, because prosecutors (like
others) have trouble accepting that an innocent person would confess.