A General Outline of Richard Leo's Testimony on False Confession Issues and Reid Responses

Written By: Reid
Jul 05, 2023

A General Outline of Richard Leo’s Testimony/Followed by Reid Responses

The following are examples of the testimony Richard Leo has made in a number of cases and our responses to his statements.

(Please note that we have a more extended document describing what Critics (social psychologists, defense attorneys, academicians, etc.) say about the Reid Technique on our website under Investigator Tips - What False Confession Experts Say About the Reid Technique and Our Responses.

Also see the Investigator Tip, The Disingenuous Testimony from Social Psychologists About the Reid Technique and What Do False Confession Experts Say in their Reports?

Leo uses four criteria to determine if a confession is false:

  1. If you could show that the crime did not occur (an example of a person being charged with the murder of a missing person who later shows up alive)
  2. or that it was physically impossible for the confessor to have committed the crime (for example if somebody has a time-stamped videotaped alibi of them in a store or a bank at the time -- at the exact time that you know the crime was committed, that that would be an example of a physical impossibility)
  3. or the true perpetrator was identified
  4. or there is scientific evidence that establishes the confessor's innocence

Leo “So, just to be clear, the risk factors for false confession, if they are present, create a risk that somebody will make a false confession; and if that person did make a false confession, they provide an explanation for why that person would have falsely confessed.”

“The analysis of risk factors is, were they present? And if they were, they create a probabilistic risk or a greater likelihood of a false confession……. They don't determine whether it's a false confession, and therefore one can't look to the risk factors to say this is or is not a false confession.”

Risk Factors:

  • Physical abuse/coercion
  • Threats of physical abuse
  • Threats of inevitable consequences
  • Promises of leniency
  • Juveniles
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Exhaustion/Fatigue
  • Denial of the chance to use the washroom or to get something to eat or drink
  • Psychological coercion
  • Denial of rights
  • Lengthy interrogation
  • Presumption of guilt
  • False Evidence Ploy
  • Minimization
  • Personality Traits - Suggestibility
  • Contamination
  • Violation of National Training Standards

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A General Outline of Richard Leos Testimony updated (357.84 KB)
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