Research and Expert Testimony on Interrogations and Confessions
EXPERT PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTIMONY FOR THE COURTS, pp. 69-98, Mark Costanzo, Daniel Krauss, and Kathy Pezdek, eds., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007
31 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2009
Date Written: 2007
In this chapter, the authors summarize the scholarly literature on false confessions and propose possible solutions to the problem of false confessions. The chapter begins by discussing some of the characteristics and major categories of false confessions. Next, the authors review risk factors that increase the likelihood of false confessions, including youth, cognitive impairment, mental illness, or certain vulnerable personalities. The authors also identify characteristics of the interrogation process that may raise the risk of false confessions and some of the cognitive and emotional factors that may enter into a suspect's decision to make a false confession. The authors describe some leading cases on the admissibility of expert testimony on interrogations and confessions, including Crane v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 683 (1986), People v. Page, 2 Cal. App. 4th 161 (1991), and United States v. Hall, 93 F.3d 1337 (7th Cir. 1996) and outline typical content of expert testimony on confessions. Finally, the authors discuss some possible solutions to the problem of false confessions, such as reforming interrogation training, imposing time limits on interrogations, videotaping interrogations, limiting the use of dishonesty and trickery as law enforcement interrogation tactics, requiring vulnerable suspects to be accompanied by an appropriate adult, and increasing the use of expert testimony in appropriate cases.
Keywords: interrogations, false confessions, expert testimony
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