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The Phenomenon of False Confessions in the Criminal Justice System

 Posted on April 20, 2023 in Criminal Defense

IL defense lawyerFalse confessions, or confessions to crimes that an individual did not commit, are well-known in the justice system. While it may seem strange or counterintuitive for someone to confess to a crime they themselves were not responsible for, there are several reasons people do so. For anyone charged with committing a crime, it is essential to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected. It is vital to speak with law enforcement only if an attorney is present, as this may reduce the likelihood of getting stuck in a vulnerable position, which can lead to false confessions.

Reasons Why False Confessions Occur

The following are reasons why false confessions occur, including:

  • Coercion and duress – One of the most common reasons people confess to crimes they are not responsible for is coercion and compulsion. This can include physical coercion, such as torture or abuse, or psychological pressure, such as threats, deception, or intimidation. When an individual is subjected to this kind of treatment, they may feel that confessing to a crime is the only way to end the abuse or to protect themselves or their loved ones.
  • Mental illness or intellectual disability – People with mental illness or intellectual disabilities are at a higher risk of making false confessions. This is because they may not fully understand the consequences of their actions or may be more susceptible to suggestion or manipulation by law enforcement. Additionally, people with mental illness or intellectual disabilities may be more likely to give inaccurate information during interrogations due to impaired cognitive abilities.
  • Desire for attention or fame – Sometimes, people may falsely confess to crimes to gain attention or notoriety. This can include people who are mentally ill or have a history of attention-seeking behavior. In other scenarios, someone may falsely confess to a crime to protect another person or to cover up their involvement in the crime.
  • Misunderstanding or miscommunication – Some false confessions may result from misunderstandings between the individual and law enforcement. For example, the individual may have given an ambiguous or confusing statement during an interrogation, and law enforcement may have interpreted that statement as a confession.

Contact a Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney

Remember, do not speak with the police unless there is a lawyer present. Moreover, if you have been charged with a crime, consider contacting the experienced Will County criminal defense lawyers with McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC. Call 815-727-0100 for a free consultation.

Source - https://innocenceproject.org/false-confessions-recording-interrogations/


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