Expert Testimony on Interrogation and False Confession

35 Pages Posted: 15 May 2014 Last revised: 10 Jun 2014

Brian L. Cutler

University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)

Keith A. Findley

University of Wisconsin Law School

Danielle Loney

University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)

Date Written: May 13, 2014

Abstract

This article examines the need and bases for expert testimony on false confessions in criminal cases. Drawing on social science research, the article first briefly assesses the role of false confessions in wrongful convictions, including the nature of the false confession problem and the impact of false confessions in producing false convictions as well as in tainting other evidence and other aspects of police investigations. The article then turns to admissibility standards that govern expert testimony and their application to false confession expert testimony. In particular it sets forth the typical standards used for assessing admissibility of expert evidence and then shows that, when those standards are applied objectively, appropriately framed expert testimony on false confessions should be admissible in most cases. In particular, the article discusses the research on false confessions to highlight the types of facts that experts can provide to juries. The article then addresses the most prominent systemic response to coerced confessions "the Miranda warnings." The article examines psychological research to demonstrate that Miranda provides very little protection against coerced and false confessions, and, therefore, cannot provide justification for dispensing with expert testimony.

Keywords: False Confessions, Experts, Daubert, Interrogaton, Wrongful Conviction, Innocence

JEL Classification: K41

Suggested Citation

Cutler, Brian L. and Findley, Keith A. and Loney, Danielle, Expert Testimony on Interrogation and False Confession (May 13, 2014). UMKC Law Review, Vol. 82, No. 3, 2014; Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1256. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2436517

Brian L. Cutler

University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) ( email )

Keith A. Findley (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-262-4763 (Phone)
608-263-3380 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.wisc.edu/facstaff/biog.php?iID=269

Danielle Loney

University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) ( email )

2000 Simcoe Street North
Oshawa, Ontario L1H 7K4
Canada

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