Criminal defense attorneys know perhaps better than anyone that a confession does not equate to guilt. There are many external psychological and legal factors that can goad a suspect into confessing to a crime that they did not commit.
On Wednesday, during the highly publicized homicide trial of David C. Paul, University of Nevada psychologist Dr. Deborah Davis testified on the stand about her own research and experience with suspects who have falsely confessed, which includes her work with the Innocence Project, an advocacy organization that has counted false confession rates as high as 25 percent in wrongful conviction cases. In addition, policy interrogators often employ the “Reid technique,” which can garner confession rates as high as 77-percent.
Dr. Davis explained some of the typical reasons people may feel obligated to admit to doing something that they didn’t do:
For a person to falsely confess requires that they believe it to be in their self-interest. That’s from the interrogation books. It’s akin to selling a person in the Yukon [Territory] air conditioning in January. It’s not good for them. They don’t need it. It’s bad for them. But they have to believe it is good for them to get them to confess.
You’re trying to get people to say that they did this. If they’re guilty they’re more likely to say it if Reid is used on them and if they’re innocent they’re more likely to say it if Reid is used on them. It makes more difference in getting guilty people to confess than it does for innocent. But if you take a look at the difference at how likely an innocent person is to confess, [then] it can be way more than twice as likely to falsely confess.
If you think you might need protection in the event of an unfair interrogation or would like a free initial discussion about your personal legal situation, call Jake Brower at 714-547-4000 or click here.