Alaska court excludes testimony of Dr. Richard Ofshe

Written By: Reid
Mar 04, 2010
On February 17, 2010 the Alaska Superior Court, Third District, in the case of State vs. Williams, granted the prosecutor's motion to preclude the testimony of the defense expert on false confessions, Dr. Richard Ofshe, stating that his "testimony would not appreciably aid the court or the jury."

In this opinion the court references the case Vent v. State (67 P.3d 661 Alaska App. 2003) in which the Alaska Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's decision to preclude the testimony of Dr. Richard Leo on the issue of false confessions. The lower court had found that "Dr. Leo's testimony would not appreciably aid the jury in determining whether Vent made a false confession." The trial court judge was also "troubled by the fact that there was no way to quantify or test Dr. Leo's conclusions that certain techniques might lead to a false confession. He also concluded that jurors would be aware that some people do make false confessions and that this proposition could be developed by questioning and argument."
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