False confessions are more common than public thinks
An article in yesterday’s Washington Post considers the public perception of confessions in the wake of the recent sex solicitation case involving Sen. Larry Craig. While the media and public often take Craig’s guilty pleas as a sure sign of guilt, dozens of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA prove that false confessions aren’t rare. A growing body of social science research has shown that interrogation methods often lead to a false confession.
"Innocence is a state of mind that puts innocent people at risk," said psychologist Saul Kassin at Williams College, who has studied the phenomenon. Innocent people, Kassin found, are more likely to waive their constitutional rights to remain silent and to have a lawyer present. Innocent people also assume that innocent people do not get convicted, or that objective evidence will exonerate them. Nearly a quarter of all convictions overturned in recent years based on DNA and other evidence have involved false confessions.
Find the full article and reader comments here
. (Washington Post, 10/01/07)
Learn about the cases of
innocent people wrongfully convicted after confessing to crimes they didn’t commit
, and the
Innocence Project’s proposals
to record all interrogations – a reform shown to prevent false confessions.
Watch a video of exoneree
explaining the pressure on him to plead guilty to an Austin, Texas, murder and rape he didn’t commit.
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