There is minimal to no pressure from the police because the person usually confesses right away (Schwartz, 2016, p. 36). 41, p 155). Exposed to false information by interrogators. They also lack self-confidence, possess poor problem-solving abilities, and have tendencies to mask or disguise their cognitive deficits and to look to others, particularly authority figures, for appropriate cues to behavior. I thank Alan Law for research assistance. The interrogator's interpersonal style may also be a source of distress: he may be confrontational, insistent, demanding, overbearing, deceptive, hostile, and manipulative. The confessions were discovered to be completely false 13 years later when the real perpetrator confessed to the crime and was linked to the victim through DNA evidence. This chain reaction starts with the police. The article concludes with a brief discussion of the implications of empirical research for reducing the number of false confessions and improving the accuracy of confession evidence that is introduced against a defendant at trial. 34 Most voluntary false confessions appear to result from an underlying psychological disturbance or psychiatric disorder. Nevertheless, the DNA exonerations provide a window into the causes of erroneous prosecution and wrongful conviction. Once specific suspects are targeted, police interviews and interrogations are thereafter guided by the presumption of guiltâ (Ref. Voluntary false confessions are thus explained by the internal psychological states or needs of the confessor 9 or by external pressure brought to bear on the confessor by someone other than the police. False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and Implications, Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online. Youth is also a significant risk factor for police-induced false confessions.28,29 Many of the developmental traits that characterize the developmentally disabled may also characterize young children and adolescents. A compliant false confession is one given in response to police coercion, stress, or pressure to achieve some instrumental benefitâtypically either to terminate and thus escape from an aversive interrogation process, to take advantage of a perceived suggestion or promise of leniency, or to avoid an anticipated harsh punishment.20 Perhaps the most distinct aspect of compliant false confessions is that they are made knowingly: the suspect admits guilt with the knowledge that he is innocent and that what he says is false. Because misclassifying innocent suspects is a necessary condition for all false confessions and wrongful convictions, it is both the first and the most consequential error that police make. Despite substantial documentation and analysis by scholars,8,9the phenomenon of police-induced false confessions remains counterintuitive to most people. The New York Times article quotes Brandon L. Garrett, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, who studied 40 cases where false confessions contributed to wrongful convictions. Miranda's Waning Protections: Police Interrogation Practices After Dickerson. More than 200 people came forward to confess that they had kidnapped the baby of the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh. This classification scheme most accurately captures the psychological logic and variation in false confessions. Most lay people believe in what has been referred to as the myth of psychological interrogation: that an innocent person will not falsely confess to police unless he is physically tortured or mentally ill.10 This belief has been noted by several scholars and documented in public surveys.7,11,12 The myth of psychological interrogation persists because most people do not know what occurs during police interrogations, and because they wrongly assume that individuals do not act against their self-interest or engage in self-destructive behavior, such as falsely confessing to a crime that they did not commit. Journal. As Welsh White notes, âthe system does not have safeguards that will prevent the jury from giving disproportionate weight to such confessionsâ (Ref. A suspect's confession sets in motion a seemingly irrefutable presumption of guilt among justice officials, the media, the public, and lay jurors.8 This chain of events in effect leads each part of the system to be stacked against the individual who confesses, and as a result he is treated more harshly at every stage of the investigative and trial process.45 He is significantly more likely to be incarcerated before trial, charged, pressured to plead guilty, and convicted. Like the developmentally disabled, they are easily pressured, manipulated, or persuaded to make false statements, including incriminating ones. Coercion and compliance: the psychology of police confessions, in The Triple Revolution. The contamination of the suspect's postadmission narrative is thus the third mistake in the trilogy of police errors that, cumulatively, lead to the elicitation and construction of a suspect's false confession. To understand why criminal suspects give false confessions, we must first understand how police investigators target criminal suspects and how police interrogation works as a psychological process, before eliciting a suspect's admission and in the postadmission stage of interrogation. These symptoms include faulty reality monitoring, distorted perceptions and beliefs, an inability to distinguish fact from fantasy, proneness to feelings of guilt, heightened anxiety, mood disturbances, and a lack of self control.9,12 In addition, the mentally ill may suffer from deficits in executive functioning, attention, and memory; become easily confused; and lack social skills such as assertiveness.30 These traits also increase the risk of falsely confessing. Why Do Innocent People Confess to Crimes They Did Not Commit?" They are thus highly suggestible and easy to manipulate. Kassin and Wrightsman first suggested that compliant false confessions arise âthrough the coerciveness of the interrogation processâ (Ref. All of these traits explain why they are more vulnerable to coercive interrogation and more susceptible to making false confessions. Some persuaded false confessors bend to the demands of their interrogators and confess in declarative language (e.g., âI didâ instead of âI must have doneâ), even though they lack any knowledge or memory of the crime; others continue to use equivocal, speculative, and uncertain language (âI must have done it,â âI probably did it,â âI guess I did it,â âI could have done itâ), insisting that they still do not know or remember the details. Anchored Narratives: The Psychology of Criminal Evidence. More than 200 people came forward to confess that they had kidnapped the baby of the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh. They simply lack the psychological resources to withstand the same level of pressure, distress, and anxiety as mentally normal individuals.26,27 As a result, they tend to avoid conflict. Put simply, the suspect comes to perceive that the benefits of confessing (e.g., release from custody, mitigated punishment) outweigh the costs of denial (e.g., arrest, aggravated punishment). Voluntary False Confessions . Police-induced false confessions result from a multistep process and sequence of influence, persuasion, and compliance and usually involve psychological coercion.13 Police are more likely to elicit false confessions under certain conditions of interrogation, however, and individuals with certain personality traits and dispositions are more easily pressured into giving false confessions. In this article, empirical research on the causes and correlates of false confessions is reviewed. In the past two decades, hundreds of convicted prisoners have been exonerated by DNA and non-DNA evidence, revealing that police-induced false confessions are a leading cause of wrongful conviction of the innocent. They are consistently one of the leading, yet most misunderstood, causes of error in the American legal system and thus remain one of the most prejudicial sources of false evidence that lead to wrongful convictions. They may experience even ordinary levels of stress, far below that felt in an accusatorial police interrogation, as overwhelming. Persuaded false confessions appear to occur far less often than compliant false confessions. The classic example of this type of false confession is the Lindbergh kidnapping case. Voluntary False Confession – a false confession knowingly given in response to little or no police pressure. Indeed, as more and more wrongful convictions are discovered, often as a result of newly av… Research tells us that there is no simple answer because many different psychological factors can lead someone to make a false confession. Ofshe and Leo20 have identified âclassically coercive influence techniquesâ (i.e., threats and promises, explicit or implied) as the root cause of most compliant false confessions in the modern era. This is the second step in the psychological process that leads to a persuaded false confession. Juveniles also tend to be highly suggestible. This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. It is important to emphasize, however, that police elicit most false confessions from mentally normal individuals.5,8 For example, Drizin and Leo,5 in a study of 125 proven false confessions, showed that more than 70 percent were given by mentally normal individuals (i.e., neither developmentally disabled nor mentally ill). For in most criminal cases, there was and is no DNA evidence available for testing. A suspect may also be targeted based on widespread crime-related schemas, including likely motives for the crime as well as the perpetrators likely to have such motives.18 Family members, for example, have been led to confess falsely to murdering wives, children, or parents, largely because police start with the assumption that most such murders are committed by family and proceed by ruling out family before looking for other suspects. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that a false confession is a dangerous piece of evidence to put before a judge or jury, because it profoundly biases their evaluation of the case in favor of conviction, so much so that they may allow it to outweigh even strong evidence of a suspect's factual innocence.8 The Leo and Ofshe8,56 and Drizin and Leo5 studies show that real-world jurors simply fail to discount false-confession evidence appropriately, even when the defendant's uncorroborated confession was elicited by coercive methods and the other case evidence strongly supports his innocence. The point at which they are willing to tell a detective what he wants to hear to escape an aversive interrogation is often far lower than that of a mentally normal individual, especially if the interrogation is prolonged. Like police, prosecutors rarely consider the possibility that an entirely innocent suspect has falsely confessed; some prosecutors are so skeptical of the idea of police-induced false confession that they stubbornly refuse to admit that it occurred, even after DNA evidence has unequivocally established the defendant's innocence.48 Once a suspect has confessed, prosecutors tend to charge him with the highest number and types of offenses49 and set his bail at a higher amount50 (especially in serious or high profile cases), and they are far less likely to initiate or accept a plea bargain to a reduced charge.21 The confession becomes the centerpiece of the prosecution's case against the defendant. Interrogation is designed to be stressful and unpleasant, and it is more stressful and unpleasant the more intense it becomes and the longer it lasts. Scientific American Mind June 2005.Saul M. Kassin. Once the suspect has accepted responsibility for the crime, the interrogator pushes him to supply the details of how and why he did it. Unfortunately, some of these confessions are false and result in the conviction of an innocent person. Interrogators help create the false confession by pressuring the suspect to accept a particular account and by suggesting facts of the crime to him, thereby contaminating the suspect's postadmission narrative. There are many cognitive errors that lead police to classify an innocent person mistakenly as a guilty suspect. offers no legal remedy should a jury convict a defendant based on voluntary false confessions, even if no corroborating evidence is admitted. Voluntary false confessions are thus explained by the internal psychological states or needs of the confessor9 or by external pressure brought to bear on the confessor by someone other than the police.34 Most voluntary false confessions appear to result from an underlying psychological disturbance or psychiatric disorder. Facing an overbearing interrogator who refuses to take no for an answer, he may reason that telling the interrogator what he wants to hear is the only way to escape.21. Most false confession cases involve police interrogations. Because of feelings of guilt over past transgressions. The findings from these field studies of aggregated false-confession cases are consistent with those from experiments and public opinion surveys. Accusatorial interrogation confessions voluntary false confessions at a pretrial hearing actual person who is questioning them what they the. A Handbook, in interrogations, confessions, in Psychology in the investigative.! 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