Difference between revisions of "False Confessions / Admissions"

From Criminal Defense Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search
Line 177: Line 177:
 
Remember to approach your client as a confidant.  Ask them to tell you what happened and what they remember.  Do not confront them with the confession and ask them if it is true.  It is important to get a statement of what they remember about the incident before asking them to corroborate a prior statement.   
 
Remember to approach your client as a confidant.  Ask them to tell you what happened and what they remember.  Do not confront them with the confession and ask them if it is true.  It is important to get a statement of what they remember about the incident before asking them to corroborate a prior statement.   
  
Next talk to your client about the interrogation, especially if you are unable to obtain a recording.  Ask how the police treated him, what happened, what he was told about the evidence and so on.  Ask him if anything was promised to him in exchange for the confession; this is an important element of coerced confessions.  Often the police promise to go easier on the suspect if they confess, without any real promises made.   
+
Next, talk to your client about the interrogation, especially if you are unable to obtain a recording.  Ask how the police treated him, what happened, what he was told about the evidence and so on.  Ask him if anything was promised to him in exchange for the confession; this is an important element of coerced confessions.  Often the police promise to go easier on the suspect if they confess, without any real promises made.   
  
  
 +
 
'''Pre-Trial Steps:'''
 
'''Pre-Trial Steps:'''
  
 
The defense should try to obtain experts for false confessions if at all possible. However, this is not always feasible.  In the event that experts are not available, remember to use the resources that you have.  Direct and cross examination of witnesses, your client, and investigators can be invaluable.
 
The defense should try to obtain experts for false confessions if at all possible. However, this is not always feasible.  In the event that experts are not available, remember to use the resources that you have.  Direct and cross examination of witnesses, your client, and investigators can be invaluable.
  
The defense lawyer should bring a pre-trial motion to suppress in every confession case, even if you are sure it will be denied.  Remember to emphasize any evidence of lengthy detention and interrogation, repeated interrogation sessions, deprivations of food, sleep or friends and family; failing to inform or misleading the suspect as to his rights and false allegations by the police.
+
The defense lawyer should bring a pre-trial motion to suppress a confession in every case, even if you are sure it will be denied.  Remember to emphasize any evidence of lengthy detention and interrogation; repeated interrogations; deprivations of food, sleep or friends and family; failing to inform or misleading the suspect as to his rights and false allegations by the police.
  
 
Again, always remember to interview all parties involved in the case!   
 
Again, always remember to interview all parties involved in the case!   
Line 191: Line 192:
 
'''Trial:'''
 
'''Trial:'''
  
Opening Statement: Establish False Confession
+
At trial, begin establishing a false confession during the opening statement.  Use photographic exhibits to emphasize the length and circumstances of the interrogation.  Use the opening statement as an opportunity to illustrate how the circumstances of the interrogation could have led the client to make a false confession; but, remember you are only supposed to be laying out what will be heard at trial, not arguing.  Try to recreate the interrogation for the jury, bring photographs of the room and create a timeline of the length.  Most importantly use what you have learned from interviews to effectively cross examine the prosecution's witnesses.  Then put your client on the stand and let them tell their story.  Remember you are trying to convince the jury that your innocent client was overcome by police tactics to the extent that your client confessed to a crime he did not commit.  
Photographic Exhibits
 
Cross-Examine Detectives/ Interrogators
 
Put Client on the Stand to tell their Story
 
 
 
At trial, begin establishing a false confession during the opening statement.  Use photographic exhibits to emphasize the length and circumstances of the interrogation.  Use the opening statement as an opportunity to illustrate how the circumstances of the interrogation could have led the client to make a false confession, but remember you are only supposed to be laying out what will be heard at trial, not arguing.  Try to recreate the interrogation for the jury, bring photographs of the room and create a timeline of the length.  Most importantly use what you have learned from interviews to effectively cross examine the prosecution's witnesses.  Then put your client on the stand and let them tell their story.  Remember you are trying to convince the jury that your innocent client was overcome by police tactics to the extent that your client confessed to a crime he did not commit.  
 
  
 
'''Final Thoughts:'''  
 
'''Final Thoughts:'''  
 
Understand the elements leading to false confessions
 
Recorded Interrogations
 
Follow-up Investigation
 
  
  

Revision as of 10:55, 16 June 2010