A False confession is a great risk to Texans

Although not every defendant confesses, it is human nature to want to help law enforcement. When a person sits down with law enforcement, the person is sitting down with an individual who is trained in techniques to obtain a confession. Often times, the detective has a preconceived notion on what was done and by who. The sole reason the detective conducts such an interview is to obtain a voluntary confession. This confession will be one of the most important pieces of evidence at trial.

In Texas, the legislature added additional protections for the accused. Statements made during a custodial interrogation must be in writing and signed by the accused. Additionally, the detective or a magistrate must give the person certain warnings. Similar protections are in place for oral confessions. However these protections will not apply unless the person is in custody, which is a term with a specific legal definition.

Why is this so important? The innocence project has helped 311 innocent people be released from prison. Of those 311, more than 80 falsely confessed to the crime. It is human nature to want to help law enforcement. People will subject themselves to hours of interrogation voluntarily just to help law enforcement. Jurors often find a confession to be the most compelling piece of evidence. Additionally, law enforcement officers can lie to interviewees during an investigation.

When the police bring people in for questioning, it is important that people know the risks of the interrogation. Even the innocent admit to crimes under pressure. The exercise of constitutional right to counsel is not an admission of guilt. Once police have a confession, it is not something that a person can take back. Individuals can lessen the chance of a false confession by having counsel present with them.

If the police have contacted you or a loved one and would like to speak to an attorney, please call 817-231-0023.

For an audio interview with the author of Interview: Do Police Interrogation Techniques Produce False Confessions?, click here.


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