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How police coercion can lead to wrongful convictions

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2021 | Uncategorized

Not all defendants on trial for committing a crime are guilty. Yet in certain circumstances, innocent people are found guilty for a crime they did not commit. Unlawful and unethical police coercion is just one contributing factor to this injustice.

It is important for people to realize how the questioning process works and determine whether the police used any unlawful methods to gather information. In some cases, a person may say they committed a crime that they did not have any part in.

What are false confessions?

Why would someone confess to a crime they did not commit? False confessions are statements signed by a person admitting that they did something that they actually did not. The confession may be either voluntary or coerced. Voluntary confessions may be signed by a person who has limited mental capacities. When people voluntarily admit to committing a crime they did not is an interesting topic, and usually involves strong feelings of guilt, delusion or a need to become known for something.

What is forced coercion?

According to the Innocence Project, false confessions are a phenomenon that occurs when suspects face the following circumstances during the interrogation process:

  • Use of physical or psychological force
  • Use of intimidation by officers
  • Telling the suspect that there is evidence that they committed the crime when there is not.
  • Telling the suspect that if they do not confess, they will face greater punishment

Some officers may use deprivation of sleep, food, sunlight and substances as a way to cause the suspect to have mental limitations. For example, if the suspect is a drug addict, they may withhold drugs so they are anxious to get out of the interrogation room. While suspects may leave at any time, they may not know this. Officers may tell the suspect that they can leave quickly if they sign the confession.