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Kids, Cops, and ConfessionsInside the Interrogation Room$
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Barry C. Feld

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814727775

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814727775.001.0001

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True and False Confessions

True and False Confessions

Different Outcomes, Different Processes

(p.228) Chapter Seven True and False Confessions
Kids, Cops, and Confessions

Barry C. Feld

NYU Press

This chapter reviews research on false confessions and contrasts them with routine felony interrogations. Studies of false confessions identify recurring elements: poor investigations that misclassify innocent people as guilty, confrontational questioning, use of false evidence, lengthy interrogations, and vulnerable populations. False-confession research identifies youths as among vulnerable populations. The chapter investigates the sequences of events and interrogation tactics that lead innocent people to inculpate themselves. False confessions occur when police erroneously misclassify an innocent person as guilty and then use confrontational tactics to elicit an admission. By contrasting the results with routine felony interrogations, this study provides a baseline of ordinary questioning against which to identify false confessions as extraordinary outliers of a different process. This will enable decision-makers to scrutinize more closely confessions in assuring their voluntariness and reliability.

Keywords:   false confessions, felony interrogations, confrontational questioning, false evidence, interrogation tactics, youth

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