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Why do people make false confessions?

Why do people make false confessions?

| Nov 20, 2020 | New York State Criminal Defense

You hear about cases fairly frequently where someone insists that they are innocent, they get convicted anyway, and then that conviction gets overturned by DNA evidence. It’s clear that the person was right the whole time: They didn’t do it.

There are other cases, however, where the conviction gets overturned and it turns out that the person pleaded guilty. They confessed. They were clearly innocent the entire time, but they made a false confession. Why does this happen?

Police interference

While there are multiple reasons, ranging from confusion to mental illness to covering up for someone else, one of the major reasons to consider is the interference of the police. They may be able to coerce a confession, especially when dealing with young people.

For instance, there was one case where a group of teens had been accused of a violent crime. The police interrogated them by lying to them (which is legal), yelling at them, threatening them and even promising them that, if they confessed, they would get immunity.

We know now that the teens were innocent. However, the police interference was so successful that they got all five of them to confess to a crime that they never committed. This raises a lot of questions about how often this has happened when people weren’t later cleared by DNA evidence.

Working with professionals

One way to avoid an issue like this is to make sure you have an experienced, professional legal team on your side if you’ve been accused of a serious crime.

 

 

You hear about cases with a fair amount of frequency where someone insists that they are innocent, they get convicted anyway, and then that conviction gets overturned by DNA evidence. It’s clear that the person was right the whole time: They didn’t do it.

 

There are other cases, however, where the conviction gets overturned and it turns out that the person pleaded guilty. They confessed. They were clearly innocent the entire time, but they made a false confession. Why does this happen?

 

Police interference

 

While there are multiple reasons, ranging from confusion to mental illness to covering up for someone else, one of the major reasons to consider is the interference of the police. They may be able to coerce a confession, especially when dealing with young people.

 

For instance, there was one case where a group of teens had been accused of a violent crime. The police interrogated them by lying to them (which is legal), yelling at them, threatening them and even promising them that, if they confessed, they would get immunity.

 

We know now that the teens were innocent. However, the police interference was so successful that they got all five of them to confess to a crime that they never committed. This raises a lot of questions about how often this has happened when people weren’t later cleared by DNA evidence.

 

Working with professionals

 

One way to avoid an issue like this is to make sure you have an experienced, professional legal team on your side if you’ve been accused of a serious crime.