Jurors Believe Interrogation Tactics are Not Likely to Elicit False Confessions: Will Expert Witness Testimony Inform Them Otherwise?

Psychology, Crime & Law, (Online), pp. 1-22, 2010

Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2011-05

23 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2009 Last revised: 25 Mar 2011

Iris Blandon-Gitlin

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kathryn Sperry

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Richard A. Leo

University of San Francisco - School of Law

Date Written: June 1, 2009

Abstract

Situational factors - in the form of interrogation tactics - have been reported to unduly influence innocent suspects to confess. This study assessed jurors’ perceptions of these factors and tested whether expert witness testimony on confessions informs jury decision-making. In Study 1, jurors rated interrogation tactics on their level of coerciveness and likelihood that each would elicit true and false confessions. Most jurors perceived interrogation tactics to be coercive and likely to elicit confessions from guilty, but not from innocent suspects. This result motivated Study 2 in which an actual case involving a disputed confession was used to assess the influence of expert testimony on jurors’ perceptions and evaluations of interrogations and confession evidence. The results revealed an important influence of expert testimony on mock-jurors decisions.

Keywords: interrogation techniques, jury decision-making, expert testimony, false confessions

Suggested Citation

Blandon-Gitlin, Iris and Sperry, Kathryn and Leo, Richard A., Jurors Believe Interrogation Tactics are Not Likely to Elicit False Confessions: Will Expert Witness Testimony Inform Them Otherwise? (June 1, 2009). Psychology, Crime & Law, (Online), pp. 1-22, 2010; Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2011-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1420206

Iris Blandon-Gitlin (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Kathryn Sperry

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Richard A. Leo

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

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