Most of us never give the idea of false confessions a second thought. After all, why would someone confess to a crime they did not commit?
In truth, the subject is much more nuanced than it first appears. There are numerous psychological factors and external pressures that may lead to a false confession. Recognizing this is fundamental to upholding a criminal justice system that is fair. Confessions can indeed be coerced, and here’s why.
Police interrogations are no walk in the park
Anyone facing a police investigation is put in a vulnerable position, especially those who are innocent. A lengthy amount of time under intense investigation can make even the more composed person crack. Law enforcement, on the other hand, is used to this sort of situation, and they are not the ones under the spotlight.
While the objective of any investigation should be to establish the truth, this is not always how things pan out. If the police have mistakenly identified you as a suspect, they may do everything in their power to persuade you that you are guilty.
Being arrested can be a nightmare scenario and a common reaction is for the accused to simply want to go home as soon as possible. Often, those accused of a crime decide that telling the police what they want to hear is in their best interests. There is a common misconception that accepting guilt will somehow lead to the matter being dropped, but this is far from the case. If you are under suspicion, it is vital to remember your constitutional rights, including your Fifth Amendment right that protects you from self-incrimination.
Facing criminal charges can be daunting, but it is important to remember that you are not on your own. You have the presumption of innocence and understanding your legal rights is crucial.