False Confessions and the Admissibility of Expert Testimony on False Confessions. Alexander Sasha Bardey MD Jonathan Moore Esq. Harvey Fishbein Esq. False Confessions. … are self-incriminating statements that go to:
Alexander Sasha Bardey MD
Jonathan Moore Esq.
Harvey Fishbein Esq.
… are self-incriminating statements that go to:
- Motive: “Well, I guess I could have been pretty ticked off at my wife for leaving me alone with the baby while she went to the party.” [Illinois V. DeBord]
- Opportunity: “Maybe you’re right and it was actually midnight before I got home..”[California V. Silapie]
- Method: “I sure don’t remember it, but maybe my hand sometimes slipped when I spotted the girls.”[Illinois V. Cardemone]
Those who are totally innocent of the crime they are alleged to have committed
Those who are involved in the alleged offence but overstated their involvement
Usually in response to a demand for a confession and is either intentionally fabricated as a response to internal, external factors, or both
Everyone in prison claimsto be innocent.
Only people who live “onthe edge” are charged with crimes they didn’t commit.
People who are exonerated must have done something to get charged inthe first place.
Wrongful convictions are extremely rare.
Exonerations prove the system works.
It can’t happen to me.
*Based on 1996 National Institute of Justice Report.
Richard Conti cites four major police tactics used to elicit a “false confession” in his article, The Psychology of False Confessions:
Psychological deceit / reporting non-existing evidence as factual (“We have an eyewitness that puts you at the scene of the crime when it occurred”)
Minimizing seriousness of crime (“Someone else in your situation may have acted the same way you did”)
Guilt (“You mean to tell us that you left your wife alone in the woods!?”)
Fear (“Tell us what happened or we’ll make sure you get the needle [lethal injection]”)
Turning objections into justifications
Offering alternative “themes” or scenarios
7. Posing the “Alternative Question”
Discovery that no crime has been committed (e.g. victim still alive).
New forensic evidence, including improved DNA testing capabilities.
New alibi evidence.
Newly discovered medical evidence which would have made it impossible for the person to have committed the crime.
Somebody else confesses and is convicted of the offence.
Psychological and psychiatric evidence that casts serious doubts on the veracity of the confession.
A careful analysis of the post admission narrative, which reveals striking errors and omissions, rendering the confession unconvincing and inherently improbable.
Conti, Richard P. “The Psychology of False Confessions.”The Journal of Credibility Assessment and Witness Psychology 2. 1 (1999): 14-36.
http://news.everest.edu/post/2009/06/modern-police-interrogation-techniques (Allen B. Ury)
Pratkanis, Anthony, and Elliot Aronson. Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001.