WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Monday, February 27, 2012

WHY INNOCENT PEOPLE CONFESS

TUESDAY UPDATE: WE TOLD YOU SO.
Diet sodas linked to increased risks for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Diet coke anyone? 




Why so few comments? You cannot be an assistant public defender and get through a week without a client telling you s/he was forced to confess. And yet so little chatter....


If you practice criminal defense, you know innocent people confess. If you are a member of the rest of the planet, (judges and prosecutors included) you can't conceive of an innocent person confessing to a crime. 
As criminal defense practitioners, that knowledge gap is our fault and we have the responsibility to educate the rest of the world that cares. 


The NY Times helped out over the weekend with an OP ED piece by David K Shipler, from whose book "Rights At Risk: The Limits Of Liberty in Modern America." the piece was adapted. 
From the article:


If you have never been tortured, or locked up and verbally threatened, you may find it hard to believe that anyone would confess to something he had not done. Intuition holds that the innocent do not make false confessions. What on earth could be the motive? To stop the abuse? To curry favor with the interrogator? To follow some fragile thread of imaginary hope that cooperation will bring freedom?
Yes, all of the above. Psychological studies of confessions that have proved false show an overrepresentation of children, the mentally ill and mentally retarded, and suspects who are drunk or high. They are susceptible to suggestion, eager to please authority figures, disconnected from reality or unable to defer gratification. Children often think...that they will be jailed if they keep up their denials and will get to go home if they go along with interrogators. ..
Officers are taught to use all the tricks and lies that courts permit within the scope of the Fifth Amendment’s shield against self-incrimination...When a skilled questioner splices it nonchalantly into conversation, the warning’s empowering message of choice can be lost on a suspect. Many false confessors have been routinely Mirandized in this perfunctory manner.
To get people talking, the Reid training also recommends questions that imply leniency without making explicit promises, and that reduce moral responsibility by blaming peer pressure: “Was this your idea or did your buddies talk you into it?” Interrogators are advised to pretend to have evidence but not to fabricate it. A suspect can be shown a card bearing a latent fingerprint and be told: “This is your fingerprint. We found it inside that stolen car.”
This is the fact that keeps us up at nights: Considering that DNA is available in just a fraction of all crimes, a much larger universe of erroneous convictions — and false confessions — surely exists.
Rumpole says: We now know that innocent people confess to horrible crimes. The science is there to back up the accusation. But what we as criminal practitioners do with that knowledge and empirical data is up to us. We can moan about the unfairness of it all, or we can fight back. How? Create  a lecture and offer to give it to a judicial conference. Write articles and offer them to judicial and prosecutorial publications. start a dialogue. Be persuasive. Do our job. 
See You In Court. 

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is all very quaint. But don't underestimate the power of a size 12 wingtip pushing your head through the floor as you convince even yourself that you did in fact bludgeon that widow to death. I am a very conservative type but I have grown thoroughly jaded when it comes to the police.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

AND YOU NEXT COUNTY COURT JUDGE IS ...

The JNC has sent the following five names to Gov. Scott for the replacement of the Norma Lindsey seat:

Tanya Brinkley
Judson Lee Cohen
Ivonne Cuesta
Carlos M. Guzman
Rodolfo A. Ruiz

The Gov. has 60 days to name her replacement from that list.

And your next Circuit Court Judge is .....

The JNC will interview the following 13 (including three County Court judges) to replace Judge Julio Jimenez:

Friday, March 16, 2012

- Paul Aiello
- Steven P. Befera
- Judson L. Cohen
- Michelle Ashby Delancy
- Ariana Fajardo
- Alan S. Fine
- Lisa Lehner
- Louis V. Martinez
- Bonnie Riley
- Alan D. Sackrin
- Andrew S. Hague
- Cristina Miranda
- Rodney Smith

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

having falsely confessed to a crime myself, i can tell u the defense bar is ill-equiped to deal with this type of situation. false confessions happen..the defense is not necesariy recognized in florida...false confession experts are expensive..etc...etc...this is an area where a lot of work needs to be done.

Anonymous said...

What about false denials? Why do people do that?

Anonymous said...

What do you call 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

A good start.

Unless you are an environmentalist; then you would consider this indiscriminate dumping of hazardous waste.)

Anonymous said...

Rump, I think it's important to note that the study authors found a correlation, not a causation. Furthermore, they state that there could be other causal agents unrelated to diet soda. Your ongoing criticism of diet beverages, with which I generally agree, would be more credible if you didn't spin these studies so much.

That said, I've cut down (a lot) on diet sodas because of the artificial sweeteners. We don't know yet what those things will cause.

Nonetheless, other than the aspartame problem, I don't see the logic that diet sodas would lead to obesity. Is it that the sweetness stimulates a desire for more sweets, causing diet soda drinkers to eat poorly? It certainly isn't the calories or carbs.

I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

What I find really strange is that many defendants who have already been through the system seem so willing to confess.

I always think - you should know better.

But then I wonder if maybe they've been screwed over so much and they feel that by cooperating this time it'll really make things easier for them.

Anonymous said...

Drinking a can of diet soda a day isn't likely going to hurt you. I've seen guys eat steak, fried foods, smoke cigars and live well into their
nineties.

Rumpole said...

1) most people don't drink a can of diet soda a day, but if you do the math, that is 356 a year, 3,650 a decade so yes, all those chemicals will hurt you; 2) Genetics can override almost anything. People eat fired food, drink scotch and smoke into their 90's. Sure some do. It's their genetics. But most who live that lifestyle die in their 50's or 60's. And I for one intend on overcoming my genetics and making it to my 90's.

My issue with diet soda is that at best most people think its a wash- that they're not hurting themselves or ingesting calories or sugar with the diet pepsi.
That is just not true. If you're pre-diabetic, that diet soda we now know can push you over the edge to diabetes, heart disease, etc. The fact is that nature intended us to drink water, water, water, juice and some wine. Ok- maybe not the juice. But the point is to drink water. Squeeze a lemon or lime or orange into it and you will be surprised at the health effects and how quickly you miss the soda.

Diet soda kills. You read it here first.

Rumpole said...

8:44 am- what we know is that obesity is caused by a multitude of factors. One factor is chemicals. When the body is polluted with chemicals it does not function properly and obesity is a side effect.

Diet sodas 1) stimulate your appetite so you over eat; 2) contain unnatural chemicals that your liver has never seen and was not designed to process. So your liver struggles with a poison it does not recognize and it does not work properly. Query- what organ produces cholesterol? A- your liver. So when you have high cholesterol ask yourself what you are doing to your liver.

Diet soda also now are linked to metabolic insulin resistance syndrome- (fat around the belly, diabetes, high blood pressure- and if you don't believe the article look at the all the people you see at McDonalds ordering a diet coke) and metabolic resistance syndrome is why many people are obese.

Anonymous said...

Funny to hear a guy who supposedly gave a false confession (7:55) post about how we need to do a better job identifying people like him.

Here's a tip...........NEXT TIME DON'T GIVE A FALSE CONFESSION.

Sheesh.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

Coca Cola Classic, always.

Anonymous said...

Pretend Dr Rump, I love you but dont give up your day job

Anonymous said...

Chris Lyons gets Ryan Braun's 50 game suspension overturned. Fist time in MLB history that a banned substance suspension is lifted. Way to go Chris!

The Sky is Falling said...

The reasons for the association are unclear, the authors said, and the results must be interpreted with caution.

“The message for diet soft drink drinkers is not to be alarmed,” said the lead author, Hannah Gardener, an epidemiologist at the University of Miami. “What we’ve found is an association, and it might be due to chance or other unmeasured variables.”

Anonymous said...

Take it out of the context of the police interrogation...
How many people have been accused of anything in their life by a loved one and just admit to it to stop the arguing? For example, your girlfriend accuses you of cheating 10 times and on the 11th you finally say "fine, yes I did it" because you know she has already made up her mind and won't stop until she hears what she wants/expects to hear. It is the same thing for some defendants, especially those who cycle through the system more often than not, that the only way to get the cops off their backs is to admit to something.

Anonymous said...

DOM spoke at lunch today at the Miami PD office for FACDL lunch.

The guy just practices at a different level.

Great program. I'm a cynic, but it really was inspirational.

If the guy writes a book, I'm buying.

Anonymous said...

Rumpy, I LOVE Coca Cola but only drink the diet stuff. Are you saying that it would be better to drink regular than diet? I can't give it up. Love the bubbles!

Anonymous said...

Rump
The private attorneys got their pass to go through security. Facdl miami made it happen. Give them some props.

Anonymous said...

8:44 here. Now you're talking, Rump. I can buy into the insulin issue, because the diet sodas have such a high level of sugars. This, in turn, spikes insulin, screwing up metabolism and causing the body to store the overdose of sugar as fat. That, I can buy.

It's not that I don't believe the article, it's that it does't say what you say it does. There's a big difference between causation and correlation, and the article/ study only suggests correlation ... not causation as your post suggests.

Anonymous said...

so telling the quality of the private bar that the issue of false confessions is secondary to the diet soda situation.

Anonymous said...

"You cannot be an assistant public defender and get through a week without a client telling you s/he was forced to confess."

And every DUI defendant says he only had two beers

And every drug possession defendant says it was planted

And every Batt LEO defendant says he accidently brushed the officer

And on and on and on...

Circle K