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Interrogations and False Confessions Case Study

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Updated: May 21st, 2020


A police is a state officer mandated to ensure there is law and order in the community by making sure that everybody follows the laws of a country. A confession is a testimony that reveals information not previously known or which had not been exposed fully. Therefore, it may be a link to a criminal event, a contribution to a case or a proof that something happened or did not happen (Kassin, Drizin, Grisso, Gudjonsson, Leo and Redlich 2010). Induction means to do something to happen without the willingness of the other party. Therefore, police induced confession refers to information offered to the police by criminals, suspects or the public through tactics developed by investigators.

False Confessions

This is not a new aspect in legal and psychological fraternities since it has plagued these departments for many years. It refers to the process of offering false information regarding a crime, suspect or situation in an attempt to associate or disassociate an individual from the activity. There are several factors that make individuals to confess in legal or psychological situations.

The most dominant reasons include the desire to be set free, show non participation and prove innocence before a court of law (Kassin et al. 2010). A confession is deemed false when it is later proved that nobody committed the alleged crime, the results from scientific tests reveal disparities in terms of blood or gene samples, arrest of a reliable suspect and when evidence shows that there was no connection between the confessor and purported crime.

Suspect Characteristics

These are characteristics that distinguish innocent civilians from those that may have participated in a crime. However, some of these characteristics may not apply in some situations since criminal evidence mutates according to the context and persons involved (Kassin et al. 2010). There are various issues that regulate suspect characteristics in all criminal proceedings including the following.

First, adolescence is a transitional period between childhood and adulthood and is usually accompanied with various emotional, physical and mental changes. Therefore, most confessions provided by adolescents are treated with cautious compared to those provided by children or adults. It is extremely difficult to establish the truth in confessions offered by adolescents.

Secondly, intellectual disability disallows anybody from being considered fit to offer credible information to the police regarding criminal investigations (Kassin et al. 2010). People may be willing to volunteer to offer information but their intellectual disabilities disqualifies them from participating in this activity. In addition, mental illness renders people unable to offer credible information regarding various happenings since there will be doubts about the credibility of their accuracy about factual aspects of these events. Other personality traits may also interfere with individuals’ assertions and lead to false evidence.

On the other hand, interrogation tactics also influence the credibility of evidence provided by suspects or the public regarding criminal activities. A confessor should not be interrogated for long hours since the individual will become tired and give false information to get out of confession rooms. In addition, interrogators sometimes present false evidence to confessors to manipulate their confessions to suit what the officers want to know regarding the subject under investigation (Kassin et al. 2010).

Moreover, minimization of facts given to confessors may interfere with the information being given since this does not identify the direction the case is supposed to take. Interrogations must be guided by basic facts through giving general information that links the crime with a suspect and reduce time wastage on irrelevant issues.

Lastly, the phenomenology of innocence affects the quality of confessions offered by suspects or the public. Most people assume that since they are innocent they do not need legal representatives to help them out of their cases. Therefore, they volunteer to give information that proves they are not connected with the crime being investigated. They forget that the interrogators ask questions to establish the link between them and the alleged crimes and not those that prove their innocence.


It is extremely unfair to rely on false evidence to convict or set a criminal free and at the same time it is also unfair to decline true confessions to drop or proceed with a criminal case. However, these decisions are determined by the quality of evidence available for the judges to make their final decisions.

There are various recommendations to ensure witnesses or suspects offer the right information regarding criminal activities (Kassin et al. 2010). They include video recording the process of interrogation to determine its accuracy, analyzing the mental and physical state of people offering confessions and making informed comparisons between evidence offered by the public and suspects.

There are chances that a criminal can be acquitted due to insufficient evidence presented by the prosecution or an innocent person be sentenced to prison due to the quality of evidence available to link the suspect with a crime. Therefore, investigators must conduct through research and assessment of evidence available before presenting suspects for trials.


Investigators rely on evidence to arrest and present suspects before the court of law. On the other hand, suspects and judges use all available evidence to prove participation or non participation in alleged criminal activities. However, the accuracy of evidence offered by each side determines the final turn of events and determines the judges’ decision to convict or acquit a suspect.


Kassin, S. M., Drizin, S. A., Grisso, T., Gudjonsson, G. H., Leo, R. A., and Redlich, A. D. (2010). Police-Induced Confessions: Risk Factors and Recommendations. Law and Human Behavior, 34, 3-38.

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