When police officers begin questioning a suspect whom they believe committed a crime, they use certain tactics to get him/her to confess. Although a confession isn’t always enough to convict an individual of a crime, it can certainly be used by the prosecutor to build a stronger against them. But the truth is, not all confessions are valid. Sometimes, individuals might find themselves in a situation in which they don’t know how to get out of, and the only option they feel they have is to confess to a crime they didn’t actually commit.
Sadly, these false confessions can often lead to a conviction.
In 2018, the Courier & Press cited that “about 80 percent of the false confessions that go to trial end with convictions.” The source also cited that in more than 25 percent of the more than 290 wrongful conviction cases that were overturned by DNA evidence, a confession was given. While there are a number of reasons why individuals confess to a crime they didn’t commit, the source says a substantial amount of evidence points to “police-induced false confessions.”
Police-Induced False Confessions
When a person is being interrogated for a crime, especially a serious one, they may feel afraid, uncertain, and confused as to what they should and shouldn’t say. Take those feelings and couple them with an intense environment involving multiple police officers. That is a potential recipe for a false conviction. Aside from these factors, there are also others that can lead to a false confession.
According to the Cornell University Law School, these factors may increase the chances of an individual providing a false confession:
- Age. The Cornell University Law School cites that “social science evidence strongly suggests that juveniles are particularly susceptible to interrogation techniques that produce false or involuntary confessions.”
- Cognitive or intellectual disability. Certain types of cognitive or intellectual disabilities can interfere with a person’s ability to process and understand information. As a result of this, an individual who suffers from a cognitive or intellectual disability might produce a false confession.
- Personality disorders. Studies suggest that “disorders such as depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increase the likelihood that an offender will false confess to a crime.”
Who to contact after being coerced into falsely confessing to a crime?
If an individual believes he/she was coerced into providing a false statement to the police and is now facing criminal charges because of it, they are encouraged to contact Ballard Law, PLLC to speak with a Jackson, MS criminal defense lawyer. Defense attorney William E. Ballard will not only help an individual understand what their legal rights are, but he can also provide them with the legal representation they need to potentially get their name cleared of the crimes they have been charged with.
Ballard Law, PLLC can be reached at:
108 S. President Street
Jackson, MS 39201