How Often Do False Confessions Lead to Criminal Convictions?

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Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney for false confessionsThose who are accused of committing crimes will often be unsure about their rights and the procedures followed when they are arrested and questioned by police officers. Unfortunately, this puts many people at a serious disadvantage, and they may say or do things that could be used against them in a criminal case. In far too many cases, police officers manipulate suspects into confessing to crimes that they did not commit, leading to convictions and lengthy prison sentences for those who are innocent. 

It is impossible to know how many people throughout the United States have been convicted based on false confessions. However, The Innocence Project, which has used DNA evidence to exonerate hundreds of people who have been wrongfully convicted, reports that false confessions were a factor in 29% of these cases. Those who are facing criminal charges or accusations will want to be sure to understand their rights and the ways they can avoid incriminating themselves.

Police Officers Are Allowed to Lie to Suspects

In most cases, false confessions occur because police officers mislead suspects or tell outright lies. The “Miranda rights” that protect suspects in the United States allow a person to decline to speak to police officers, while also giving them the right to have an attorney present during an interrogation. However, while police officers are required to inform suspects of these rights, they are not restricted from making misleading or false statements during an interrogation.

Police officers may tell a variety of different lies in an attempt to get a person to confess to a crime. They may inform a suspect that they have evidence showing that they committed a crime when no such evidence exists, or they may claim that other suspects or witnesses have provided statements contradicting a suspect’s claims. In many cases, officers will imply that a person will receive more lenient treatment if they confess. Nearly any type of deception is permitted, and officers will often do everything they can to manipulate a person into confessing to a crime.

False confessions often occur after a person has been subjected to hours of interrogation, and those who are sleep-deprived will be more likely to admit to a crime they did not commit, or they may even begin to believe officers’ claims and accusations. In cases involving confessions, prosecutors are likely to pursue more serious charges, and juries often find it difficult to distinguish between true and false confessions or determine whether confessions should be discounted because a person was coerced into admitting to a crime.

Contact Our Hartford Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of a crime, the best way to protect your rights and avoid incriminating yourself is to secure representation from an attorney as soon as possible. You have the right to have a lawyer present during an interrogation or when speaking with police officers. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, our Connecticut criminal defense attorney will advise you on what you should and should not say during your case, and we will help you determine the best defense strategy that will allow you to avoid a conviction. Contact us at 860-290-8690 to set up a free consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/29/opinion/false-confessions-police-interrogation.html

https://innocenceproject.org/dna-exonerations-in-the-united-states/

https://www.apa.org/about/policy/interrogations

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