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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  

Mark Costanzo

Claremont McKenna College

Richard A. Leo

University of San Francisco - School of Law

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Costanzo, Mark and Leo, Richard A., Research and Expert Testimony on Interrogations and Confessions (2007). EXPERT PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTIMONY FOR THE COURTS, pp. 69-98, Mark Costanzo, Daniel Krauss, and Kathy Pezdek, eds., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1521647

Mark Costanzo (Contact Author)

Claremont McKenna College ( email )

500 E. Ninth Street
Claremont, CA 91711
United States

Richard A. Leo

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

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