You've been arrested for a crime you did not commit. After a few hours in a small room with an overbearing detective, might you confess? Eight hours? Twelve hours? Fifteen hours? He or she insists you're the perp.
"I don't think so," says Virginia. "I'd say right off the bat that I want my lawyer present."
But many people, too many, eventually give in, for many reasons. Maybe they've been raised to respect authority. Maybe they're young or not too smart or anxious to please. Maybe they get tired. Maybe they've done something else and feel guilty. Maybe all they want is to get out of the tiny room with someone talking too close, too loud.
They know too many details about the crime. They must have been there. Maybe, or maybe the cop told them those details and they got the message.
I remember JFK's assassination. I know a 10-year-old who wondered if he might be arrested, even though he was in Ohio at the time. Could he have been there, done that, maybe in his sleep? Some 20-year-olds act like 10 year olds.
If you'd like to learn more about this fascinating topic, check out http://law.wlu.edu/lawcenter/page.asp?pageid=1688, the materials from a symposium held Friday, January 31.
You'll be able to watch the sessions soon at http://new.livestream.com/wlu/false-confessions-symposium. One of the most interesting segments is the talk on the Reid interrogation technique by Mr. Trainum, a retired D.C. Metropolitan Police Department detective.
Don't tell them I sent you!
2 weeks ago