Don’t talk to the police—except to tell them, respectfully, that you will not answer any questions and that you would like a lawyer.
James Duane, Los Angeles (CA) Times
Kash Register begins to cry after realizing he'll be freed after spending 34 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, in Los Angeles in Superior Court in Nov. 2013. (Los Angeles Times)
August 26, 2016 | Someday soon, when you least expect it, a police officer may receive mistaken information from a confused eyewitness or a liar, or circumstantial evidence that helps persuade him that you might be guilty of a very serious crime. When confronted with police officers and other government agents who suddenly arrive with a bunch of questions, most innocent people mistakenly think to themselves, “Why not talk? I haven’t done anything. I have nothing to hide. What could possibly go wrong?”
Well, among other things, you could end up confessing to a crime you didn’t commit. The problem of false confessions is not an urban legend. It is a documented fact. Indeed, research suggests that the innocent may be more susceptible than the culpable to deceptive police interrogation tactics, because they tragically assume that somehow “truth and justice will prevail” later even if they falsely admit their guilt. Nobody knows for sure how often innocent people make false confessions, but as Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski recently observed, “Innocent interrogation subjects confess with surprising frequency.”
James Duane is a professor at Regent Law School in Virginia Beach, Va. This essay is adapted from his book “You Have the Right to Remain Innocent,” forthcoming from Little A in September.
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Book review |‘ Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption’ ~ Bryan Stevenson, Rob Warden, Washington (DC) Post
- Criminal justice in America sometimes seems more criminal than just — replete with error, malfeasance, racism and cruel, if not unusual, punishment, coupled with stubborn resistance to reform and a failure to learn from even its most glaring mistakes. And nowhere, let us pray, are matters worse than in the hard Heart of Dixie, a.k.a. Alabama, the adopted stomping ground of Bryan Stevenson, champion of the damned.
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption | Ebook PDF Free Download
- Prison Without Punishment