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The problem of false confessions in Illinois

On Behalf of | Jan 28, 2016 | Criminal Defense

When people are suspected of committing a serious crime, police will sometimes interrogate them in the hopes of getting them to confess. A major problem with this is that some people will end up falsely confessing even though they are innocent.

False confessions may be elicited by law enforcement officers using the Reid Technique. This method is highly coercive and is designed to prompt people into confessing. Because of how effective it is, police are told to only use it if they are very certain the person being questioned is actually guilty, but law enforcement sometimes use it even when they are not.

People who have lower IQs are very susceptible to making false confessions. In many cases, they may become confused and believe that if they just confess, they will be allowed to return to whatever they were doing. Interrogations may last for hours and gradually break down the suspect’s will as the time passes. There are false confession experts who are able to review interrogation evidence in order to determine if the confession appears coerced and false. In some cases, defense attorneys may hire these experts to testify in trials if they believe their clients falsely confessed.

All people who are suspected of crimes have constitutional rights that they need to know. People have the right to remain silent. If they instead agree to be questioned, law enforcement officers can use any statement they make against them. If they say that they are invoking their right to remain silent and request a lawyer, all questioning must stop. Those who are being investigated for serious crimes may want to get help from a criminal defense attorney even before charges are filed.