From False Confession to Wrongful Conviction: Seven Psychological Processes

  title={From False Confession to Wrongful Conviction: Seven Psychological Processes},
  author={Richard A. Leo and Deborah Davis},
  journal={The Journal of Psychiatry \& Law},
  pages={56 - 9}
  • R. Leo, D. Davis
  • Published 1 March 2010
  • Psychology
  • The Journal of Psychiatry & Law
A steadily increasing tide of literature has documented the existence and causes of false confession as well as the link between false confession and wrongful conviction of the innocent. This literature has primarily addressed three issues: the manner in which false confessions are generated by police interrogation, individual differences in susceptibility to interrogative influence, and the role false confessions have played in documented wrongful convictions of the innocent. Although the… 

The Problem of Interrogation-Induced False Confession: Sources of Failure in Prevention and Detection

The most basic goal of police interrogation is to elicit a confession that leads to conviction. Sometimes, however, police interrogators elicit false confessions from factually innocent suspects. The

Interrogative Specialists and False Confessions: Debunking the Con Artist Myth

Within the criminal justice system, confessions are an extremely powerful form of evidence. Unfortunately, innocent people sometimes falsely confess to crimes they did not actually commit. Such

Cumulative Disadvantage: A Psychological Framework for Understanding How Innocence Can Lead to Confession, Wrongful Conviction, and Beyond

A novel framework to highlight the processes through which innocent people, once misidentified as suspects, experience cumulative disadvantages that culminate in pernicious consequences postconviction and even after exoneration is presented.

Lethal leverage: false confessions, false pleas, and wrongful homicide convictions in death-eligible cases

ABSTRACT Substantial attention to wrongful convictions has been developing since the 1990s. This research examines known cases of exonerations and factors that contribute to known wrongful

Interrogative Suggestibility

This chapter traces the history of the law surrounding false confessions, beginning with a discussion of the twentieth-century origins of the “voluntariness test.” With the recent development of

The Influence of Confessions on Guilty Pleas and Plea Discounts

The influence on confession evidence in trials is quite strong; triers of fact who hear confession evidence find these self-incriminating statements hard to ignore and in turn, vote to convict more

Wrongful Convictions: Reasons, Remedies, and Case Studies

Previous literature has indicated that wrongful conviction is estimated to occur in about 1 to 5 percent of all convictions in the United States. Wrongful conviction is defined as the conviction of a

Media Framing of Wrongful Convictions

Wrongful convictions are a major issue hindering the effectiveness and legitimacy of the criminal justice system. The topic has become a focus of media attention. Among the issues raised are the

Unmaking a murderer: behaviour sequence analysis of false confessions

  • D. KeatleyA. MaroñoD. Clarke
  • Psychology
    Psychiatry, psychology, and law : an interdisciplinary journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
  • 2018
Support is provided for behaviour sequence analysis as a new method to understand the structure of police interrogations and how psychological techniques may be used to gain false confessions.

When Exoneration Seems Hopeless: The Special Vulnerability of Sexual Abuse Suspects to False Confession

This chapter considers sources of vulnerability among innocent sexual abuse suspects to police-induced false confession. We suggest that sexual abuse suspects may be particularly vulnerable to false



Strategies for Preventing False Confessions and Their Consequences

Researchers have amply documented that contemporary methods of psychological interrogation can, and sometimes do, lead innocent individuals to confess falsely to serious crimes. The consequences of

The Consequences of False Confessions: Deprivations of Liberty and Miscarriages of Justice in the Age of Psychological Interrogation

This article studies the precise impact that false confessions have on criminal defendants. Using evidence from sixty cases of police-induced false confessions in which the defendant's confession is

Bringing Reliability Back in: False Confessions and Legal Safeguards in the Twenty-First Century

Confessions are among the most powerful forms of evidence introduced in a court of law, even when they are contradicted by other case evidence and contain significant errors. Police, prosecutors,

The Truth About False Confessions and Advocacy Scholarship

In 1998 Richard A. Leo and Richard J. Ofshe published a study of false confession cases entitled, The Consequences of False Confessions: Deprivations of Liberty and Miscarriages of Justice in the

Research and Expert Testimony on Interrogations and Confessions

In this chapter, the authors summarize the scholarly literature on false confessions and propose possible solutions to the problem of false confessions. The chapter begins by discussing some of the

The Psychology of Interrogations and Confessions: A Handbook

About the Author.Series Preface.Preface.Acknowledgments.Introduction. PART I: INTERROGATIONS AND CONFESSIONS. Interrogation Tactics and Techniques. Interrogation in Britain. Persons at Risk During

The Problem of False Confessions in the Post-DNA World

In recent years, numerous individuals who confessed to and were convicted of serious felony crimes have been released from prison - some after many years of incarceration - and declared factually

What's wrong with believing in repression?: A review for legal professionals.

Some courts in recent years have tarnished their credibility by willingly and blindly adopting the theory of repressed memory. Such acceptance can destroy the reputations of falsely accused

Communicating Promises and Threats by Pragmatic Implication

The present research examined the possible effects of two methods of police interrogation: maximization, a technique in which the interrogator exaggerates the strength of the evidence and the

Coerced Confessions and the Jury: An Experimental Test of the “Harmless Error” Rule

Prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Arizona v. Fulminante (1991), two studies evaluated the proposition that an erroneously admitted coerced confession can be considered