Often I have clients tell me they are 100% innocent of the crime they are accused of committing. Then, the State Discovery Submission comes with a DVD of my client’s confession. How can that be?
Many police investigators are trained in use of the Reid technique, a multistep approach to interrogation that is designed to increase the anxiety associated with denial while reducing the anxiety associated with confession. Perhaps, the most controversial tactic permissible within this approach involves the false evidence ploy by which interrogators bolster an accusation by presenting the suspect with supposedly incontrovertible evidence of his or her guilt (e.g., a fingerprint, blood or hair sample, eyewitness identification, or failed polygraph)—even if that evidence does not exist. In the United States, this type of deception is permitted by law, recommended under certain circumstances, and occasionally used by police. See Inside Interrogation: The Lie, The Bluff and False Confessions by Jennifer T. Perillo and Saul m. Kassin
Drawing on the distinction between coerced-compliant and internalized false confessions there are two mechanisms by which innocent suspects might confess when confronted with false evidence. First, research has shown that people in general confess as an act of social compliance when they feel trapped by the apparent strength of the evidence against them and perceive no other means of escape. Second, research has shown that false evidence, a strong form of misinformation, can create confusion and lead people to doubt their own beliefs, at times internalizing guilt and confabulating memories for crimes they did not commit. See Inside Interrogation.
In addition to the dispositional and situational factors that can increase one’s vulnerability to false confession, research shows that innocent people who stand accused believe that their innocence will become apparent to others, a naive belief that leads them to waive their Miranda rights to silence and to an attorney. See Inside Interrogation.
If you or a loved one has been arrested and or the police want to question you, ask for an attorney to be present before and during all questioning. Contact Broward Criminal Defense Attorney Neil C. Kerch to safeguard your rights.
This post is only general information and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal advice. You should only use this post to familiarize yourself with the criminal justice process in Florida. Importantly, each case is unique and will not necessarily be handled in the same manner as described in this post. Please contact Neil C. Kerch for a free initial case consultation if you have specific questions regarding your involvement with the criminal justice system.
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