Analyzing Videotaped Interrogations and Confessions
The Champion Magazine, (2016) Forthcoming
12 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2016 Last revised: 17 May 2016
Date Written: April 1, 2016
Recorded interrogations are one of the chief procedural reforms fueled by the innocence movement. Police departments in at least 20 states now require electronic recording of interrogations for specified felonies or all crimes. Recorded interrogations have the potential to make the playing field more level by inhibiting some of the more egregious interrogation tactics used by law enforcement and making interrogator-suspect interaction available for replay by fact finders. In this article, the authors predict that recorded interrogations may not make it perfectly obvious to fact finders that any defendant -- regardless of age, intelligence, or mental health -- may cave to the coercive pressure of an interrogation and the interrogator’s unrelenting demands for a confession. Defense attorneys will need to become familiar with the techniques and social psychology of interrogation so that they can identify persuasion at best and coercion at worse and explain a suspect’s decision to confess. The authors describe the tactics and psychology of modern interrogation so that defense attorneys can better assess the reliability of recorded confessions.
Keywords: videotaped interrogation, recorded interrogation, law enforcement, police, wrongful convictions, false confessions, criminal law
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