The Substance of False Confessions. - Stanford Law School

The Substance of False Confessions.

By Stanford Law School

  • Release Date - Published: 2010-04-01
  • Book Genre: Law
  • Author: Stanford Law School
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The Substance of False Confessions. Stanford Law School read online review & book description:

INTRODUCTION False confessions present a puzzle: How could innocent people convincingly confess to crimes they knew nothing about? For decades, commentators doubted that a crime suspect would falsely confess. For example, John Henry Wigmore wrote in his 1923 evidence treatise that false confessions were "scarcely conceivable" and "of the rarest occurrence" and that "[n]o trustworthy figures of authenticated instances exist...." (1) That understanding has changed dramatically in recent years, as, at the time of this writing, postconviction DNA testing has exonerated 252 convicts, forty-two of whom falsely confessed to rapes and murders. (2) There is a new awareness among scholars, legislators, courts, prosecutors, police departments, and the public that innocent people falsely confess, often due to psychological pressure placed upon them during police interrogations. (3) Scholars increasingly study the psychological techniques that can cause people to falsely confess and have documented how such techniques were used in instances of known false confessions. (4)

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