What is the Most Effective Way to Guard Against Making A False Confession? New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys Advise: Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

While the idea that someone would confess to a crime that he or she did not commit may seem implausible to many people, in reality, false confessions occur regularly. According to the Innocence Project, of the 258 DNA criminal exonerations they have handled to date, 25% involved a false confession. Juries are known to convict defendants who have allegedly “confessed,” even when the DNA evidence and other scientific evidence would exonerate them.
False confessions occur when law enforcement investigators use of the John Reid Technique of interrogation. Police officers in New Jersey as well as law enforcement officers throughout the United States, are trained to use the Reid interrogation techniques on suspects for only one purpose: to obtain alleged confessions. The criminal justice system gets corrupted because these interrogation techniques are not designed to elicit reliable information about a crime. The John Reid technique is not an interview technique. Investigators who use the Reid technique have typically decided – in advance – that a suspect is guilty, and all of their efforts are directed at getting the suspect to confess.
In the article “True Crimes, False Confessions”, false confession expert Professor Saul Kassin takes the reader through the nine-step interrogation process devised by John Reid, showing how, after isolating the suspect, the interrogator:
!. confronts the suspect with unwavering assertions of guilt.
2. develops ‘themes’ that psychologically justify or excuse the crime.
3. interrupts all efforts at denial and defense.
4. overcomes the suspect’s factual, moral and emotional objections.
5. ensures that the passive suspect does not withdraw.
6. shows sympathy and understanding and urges the suspect to cooperate.
7. offers a face-saving alternative to the alleged guilty act.
8. gets the suspect to recount the details of his or her crime.
9. converts the latter statement into a full written or oral confession.”
The impact of false confessions on society is tremendous. They can devastate the lives of the accused, they impugn the criminal justice system, and they keep the true perpetrators of crimes from being brought to justice.
Without doubt, the best way to guard against coercive interrogation techniques is to clearly and early invoke your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney when you are confronted by a law enforcement investigator. If you have been questioned by investigators, and you have given a false confession, you and your criminal defense attorney should explore how to attack the confession as false. The nuts and bolts of how to litigate a false confession defense are complicated and involve the assistance of expert witnesses. At Schwartz & Posnock, our attorneys have experience in motions to suppress statements on the grounds of coercion, failure to administer proper Miranda warnings, and in dealing with false confessions. Contact us at either our Monmouth County (Eatontown), Middlesex County (East Brunswick), Union County (Linden) or Essex County (Livingston) offices for a consultation about your criminal case. We look forward to obtaining a positive result for you.

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