Innocent, But Guilty

The New York Times has an article about a recent study by University of Virginia Law Professor, Brandon L. Garrett, which details how innocent people provide detailed false confessions that lead to their conviction even in cases were DNA evidence cleared them prior to their convictions.

A quote from the article:

“An article by Professor Garrett draws on trial transcripts, recorded confessions and other background materials to show how incriminating facts got into those confessions — by police introducing important facts about the case, whether intentionally or unintentionally, during the interrogation.”

and

“Proving innocence after a confession, however, is rare. Eight of the defendants in Professor Garrett’s study had actually been cleared by DNA evidence before trial, but the courts convicted them anyway.”

Full Article: “Confessing to Crime, but Innocent”

In a related article, Peter Neufeld of the Innocence Project Co-Founder, discusses wrongful convictions.

A quote from the article:

“I’d say, just based on my own experience, that about half the time police and prosecutors bury their heads in the sand and insist that they were right no matter what the evidence says. Look at the New York City police in the Central Park jogger case. It’s right on point. They’re in terminal denial. They still haven’t got any insight. A woman is viciously attacked by somebody, raped, and left for dead. Five kids are picked up in the park that night, they’re all interrogated, the interrogations are not recorded but the ultimate confessions are. Later the kids say the confessions were coerced and that they’re innocent, but they get convicted.

Years later, DNA testing shows that some other guy who had three rape convictions and didn’t know any of these kids committed this rape. Everyone in the DA’s office who did the investigation has now concluded that this guy acted alone, and they vacated the convictions [of the youth]. The police department hired their own experts to write a bogus report saying, “The DAs were wrong, our confessions were valid, these guys must have been involved.” They just can’t get beyond that. It’s remarkable.”

Full Interview: “Reasonable Doubt: Innocence Project Co-Founder Peter Neufeld on Being Wrong”

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