The evidential value of suspects
This presentation is the property of its rightful owner.
Sponsored Links
1 / 15

The evidential value of suspects ’ statements in criminal procedures: a content analysis PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 43 Views
  • Uploaded on
  • Presentation posted in: General

The evidential value of suspects ’ statements in criminal procedures: a content analysis. Pieter Tersago Prof.dr. Miet Vanderhallen Prof.dr. Joëlle Rozie Prof.dr. Bernard Hubeau University of Antwerp, Faculty of Law. 1. Introduction. Research question:

Download Presentation

The evidential value of suspects ’ statements in criminal procedures: a content analysis

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

The evidential value of suspects’ statements in criminal procedures: a content analysis

Pieter Tersago

Prof.dr. Miet Vanderhallen

Prof.dr. Joëlle Rozie

Prof.dr. Bernard Hubeau

University of Antwerp, Faculty of Law


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

1. Introduction

  • Research question:

    How do criminal judges evaluate suspects’ statements?

    • The characteristics of the interview/suspect

    • Relative to the other evidence


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

2. A content analysis

  • Analysis of 100 criminal investigation files

    (cfr. inquisitorial procedure: “dossier”)

    • Court of Appeal of Antwerp + trial judges in Antwerp/Hasselt (no jury trial!)

    • Burglaries

    • 2010

  • Quantitative and qualitative analysis of the file and the judgment


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

3. The suspects’ statements

  • During the pretrial investigation:

    • 2% not interviewed

    • 56% admissions/confessions (partial/full)

    • 42% denials

  • During the trial, another 8% admits or doesn’t challenge the accusation

  • So finally, 64% of the suspects agrees with the prosecutor’s charge


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

4. The verdict (N=100)

X²= 19,198; p>0,05


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

5. Verdict Court of Appeal (N=45)

X²= 7,697 ; p=0,071


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

6. The other evidence

  • Suspects’ statements rarely the only piece of evidence in the criminal file:

    • Witnesses: 72% (67% inculpatory)

    • Material evidence: 61% (59% inculpatory)

    • Co-suspects: 50% (49% inculpatory)

    • Other evidence: 26% ( 24% inculpatory)

    • Forensic evidence: 24% (20% inculpatory)

    • Docs, audio-video: 9% (9% inculpatory)


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

7.The judicial assessment of confessions

  • Confession/no challenge: always guilty verdict

    (cfr. other research such as Leo & Drizin, 2004)

  • Even when other exculpatory evidence

  • Almost never an explicit evaluation the confession:

    • Content and consistency with other evidence

    • Personal/situational risk factors false confessions


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

7.The judicial assessment of confessions

  • Instead, confession just mentioned in the reasoning:

    • As one of the elements of proof (N=37)

    • As the only explicitly named (N=22)

      “the facts are proven by the pretrial investigation. Besides, the defendant admits the accusation”


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

7.The judicial assessment of confessions

  • Confession evidence evaluated at face value?

    => confession as heuristic that facilitates the judicial decision-making (cfr. dual process theories)

  • Nevertheless, false confessions in those less severe crimes as well (Gudjonsson et.al., 2008)


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

8.The judicial assessment of denials

  • Denial: complex decision-making task for the judge: 2 conflicting stories of the facts…

  • How to handle?

    • (dis)confirmity with other evidence

    • Plausibility of the denying story

      • Common sense presumptions

      • Other lies of the suspect; inconsistenties

    • In 73,5% (73,7% in CA) of the cases: guilty verdict


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

8.The judicial assessment of denials

  • When the other evidence isn’t convincing enough and/or the suspect’s story isn’t implausible: “reasonable doubt”

    => not guilty verdict (9-12,5%)

  • Contrary to a confession, a denial is not believed at face value (cfr. Levine, Kim & Blair 2010)

    => more rational (tough not always!) deliberation of the statement


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

9.Conclusions

  • Confessions:

    • lead always to a conviction

    • Heuristicly approach, facilitator in judge’s decision making

  • Denials:

    • ¾ convicted

    • More thorougly analysed

      (cfr. motivation to rational decisionmaking: Petty & Ciacoppo 1986)

  • Cass. 13/06/2011: requires more extensive reasoning UNLESS confession…


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

9.Conclusions

  • Limitations:

    • Limited sample

    • Limited judicial reasoning: no clear insight in the decision-making process of the judge

      => Next step in the research: interviewing judges


The evidential value of suspects statements in criminal procedures a content analysis

[email protected]


  • Login