False Confessions

 

The average person has the most difficult time comprehending the fact that "wrongful confessions" are a prevelant cause of wrongful convictions. Why would a person confess to a crime he/she did not commit? That is insane! Really? What would you say if for 8 hours straight, every time you told the truth, you were told that you are going to the electric chair? When you say what they want you to say, false as it may be, you are promised relief from that possibility? Often these people are relatively young, vulnerable, and easily manipulated.

We have two primary sources for you to view, from PBS Frontline, about the "Norfolk Four" with excellent study aids, and 60 Minutes Chicago, the False Confession Capitol.

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Chicago: The False Confession Capitol

Similar to the Norfolk Four, this 60 Minutes article from December 9, 2012 goes through the stories of men who were only boys when they were told everything would be all right if they would only admit to something they did not do.

 

The Norfolk Four

In addition to the excellent video above, PBS Frontline has provided excellent resources on the study of false confessions. Click here.