CHICAGO COERCED CONFESSIONS ATTORNEY
Coerced Confessions Attorney in Chicago, IL
Three Types of False Confessions
Voluntary False Confessions
- They want to feel some sort of emotional anguish
- Mental illness generally gives them a warped sense of reality
- They want to be famous for some crime they didn’t commit
- They want to protect the person who actually committed the crime
Compliant False Confessions
- That police could release them sooner as long as they give some sort of confession
- Any sort of confession, whether it’s the truth or not, may lead to a less severe punishment
Persuaded False Confessions
What Police Interrogation Techniques are Coercive?
- Mental or emotional tricks
- Threats of more severe consequences if a suspect doesn’t say what happened during a crime
- Promises of less severe consequences if a suspect says what happened during a crime
- Withholding food, water, and sleep
- Not providing a suspect with breaks from interrogation
What Police Interrogation Tactics are Permissible?
- Lying to the suspect about anything. For example, law enforcement may lie about what evidence they have against the suspect. Officers could also lie by saying that the suspect’s friend or family member already confessed that they committed the crime. Lying can pull a statement out of a suspect, whether it’s true or false.
- Deceiving and persuading the suspect. Presently, this tactic is only allowed as long as police don’t “proximately cause a confession” according to court opinion from a 1998 case, People v. Musselwhite. This interrogation tactic is also a controversial one. In fact, Illinois and Oregon banned the use of deception during interrogations with minors according to the Innocence Project. Both state governors signed both laws in 2021, but they won’t go into effect until January 2022.
- Becoming friends with a suspect. Law enforcement may try to become friends with the suspect during an interrogation so that they can gain trust while making them feel more comfortable. The chances of a suspect telling the truth are greater when they feel more at ease with their interrogator.
The Reid Technique
- Inform the accused that the police have identified them as a suspect based on the evidence available so far. Allow the suspect to explain why the crime occurred.
- Try to put the responsibility on someone else or a set of events that led to the crime. Basically, police should create explanations that will psychologically justify or excuse the crime. Police can adjust these explanations to identify the one that the suspect responds to best.
- Try to reduce the amount of times a suspect denies the crime.
- At this point in the interrogation process, the accused will frequently state why they didn’t or couldn’t commit the crime. Attempt to use this denial to get them to confess what they’ve done.
- To make sure that the suspect is receptive, emphasize genuineness.
- The accused may become more silent and attentive. Shift the conversation’s focus to providing alternatives. If they start crying, say that this is an indication of a suspect’s guilt for committing the crime.
- Offer the “alternative question” with two possible outcomes, with one being more acceptable in society than the other. The suspect should take the more acceptable option, but they admit guilt regardless of which option they choose. The third option that police can always use is saying that the suspect wasn’t the one who committed the crime.
- To establish the authenticity of the confession, have the suspect repeat the admission of guilt in front of witnesses. Then produce supporting facts.
- Make sure to keep a record of the suspect’s confession. Then ask the suspect to create a statement either through audio, video, or writing.
What Can Prevent False Confessions from Leading to Wrongful Convictions?
How Recordings Can Benefit Innocent People
- Creating an undeniable record of what happened, what each person said, and what interrogation tactics an officer used.
- Deterring law enforcement from using coercion because if they do, it will be on record.
- Informing prosecutors, investigators, and judges if a suspect is mentally ill or just more vulnerable to coercion.
How Recordings Can Benefit Law Enforcement
- Preventing arguments about what the officer said or how the officer treated a suspect during an interrogation
- Keeping records of the suspect’s confessions which makes it more difficult for them to change their original story.
- Allowing law enforcement to focus on the interview instead of getting distracted by taking notes during the interrogation.
- Recording small details that would otherwise go unnoticed. This may help law enforcement in their investigation of the crime.
- Increasing public trust in law enforcement while lowering the amount of complaints against police officers.