False Confessions

Written By: Reid
Jan 29, 2015
False confessions do occur. Although they happen infrequently, they often involve high profile cases. Whenever they occur it is incumbent on all investigators to examine the details of each case in order to learn the cause and effect relationship between what happened during the questioning of the subject and the subsequent false admission of guilt. Generally speaking, the overwhelming majority of false confession cases involve investigator behavior that exceeds the parameters established by the courts and professional best practices.

To guard against the possibility of a false confession, all investigators should adhere to the following core principles:

  • Always conduct interviews and interrogations in accordance with the guidelines established by the courts

  • Do not make any promises of leniency

  • Do not threaten the subject with any physical harm or inevitable consequences

  • Do not deny the subject any of their rights

  • Do not deny the subject the opportunity to satisfy their physical needs

  • Always treat the subject with decency and respect

  • Do not conduct excessively long interrogations

  • Exercise extreme caution when questioning juveniles and individual with mental disabilities

Here a number of websites that discuss false confession cases: