Police Interrogations and False Confessions: Current Research, Practice, and Policy Recommendations
Although it is generally believed that wrongful convictions based on false confessions are relatively rare—the 1989 Central Park jogger "wilding" case being the most notorious example—recent exonerations of the innocent through DNA testing are increasing at a rate that few in the criminal justice system might have speculated. Because of the growing realization of the false confession phenomenon, psychologists, sociologists, and legal/law-enforcement scholars and practitioners have begun to examine the factors embedded in American criminal investigations and interrogations that may lead innocent people to implicate themselves in crimes they did not commit.
Police Interrogations and False Confessions brings together a group of renowned scholars and practitioners in the fields of social psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, criminology, clinical-forensic psychology, and law to examine three salient dimensions of false confessions:
- interrogation tactics and the problem of false confessions
- review of Supreme Court decisions regarding Miranda warnings and custodial interrogations
- new research on juvenile confessions and deception in interrogative interviews
Chapters include well-recognized programs of research on the topics of interrogative interviewing, false confessions, the detection of deception in forensic interviews, individual differences, and clinical-forensic evaluations.
The book concludes with policy recommendations to attenuate the institutional and social psychological persistence (and pervasiveness) of the various inducements and impediments that have informed law enforcement's interrogation techniques and the types of false confessions they encourage.
Introduction: Police Interrogations and False Confessions—An Overview
—G. Daniel Lassiter, Christian A. Meissner, Lezlee J. Ware, Jessica L. Marcon, and Kim D. Lassiter
- The Three Errors: Pathways to False Confession and Wrongful Conviction
—Richard A. Leo and Steven A. Drizin
- The Psychology of False Confessions: A Review of the Current Evidence
—Gisli H. Gudjonsson
- False Confessions, False Guilty Pleas: Similarities and Differences
—Allison D. Redlich
- Custodial Interrogation of Juveniles: Results of a National Survey of Police
—N. Dickon Reppucci, Jessica Meyer, and Jessica Kostelnik
- Four Studies of What Really Happens in Police Interviews
—Ray Bull and Stavroula Soukara
- Lie Detection: Pitfalls and Opportunities
—Aldert Vrij, Ronald P. Fisher, Samantha Mann, and Sharon Leal
- The Importance of a Laboratory Science for Improving the Diagnostic Value of Confession Evidence
—Christian A. Meissner, Melissa B. Russano, and Fadia M. Narchet
- The Wisdom of Custodial Recording
—Thomas P. Sullivan
- Videotaping Custodial Interrogations: Toward a Scientifically Based Policy
—G. Daniel Lassiter, Lezlee J. Ware, Matthew J. Lindberg, and Jennifer J. Ratcliff
- The Supreme Court on Miranda Rights and Interrogations: The Past, the Present, and the Future
—Lawrence S. Wrightsman
- Oral Miranda Warnings: A Checklist and a Model Presentation
- Evaluations of Competency to Waive Miranda Rights and Coerced or False Confessions: Common Pitfalls in Expert Testimony
—I. Bruce Frumkin
- Tales From the Front: Expert Testimony on the Psychology of Interrogations and Confessions Revisited
—Solomon M. Fulero
Conclusion: What Have We Learned? Implications for Practice, Policy, and Future Research
—Christian A. Meissner and G. Daniel Lassiter
Afterword: Deconstructing Confessions—The State of the Literature
—Saul M. Kassin
About the Editors
G. Daniel Lassiter, PhD, is a professor of psychology at Ohio University and a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. He received his doctoral degree in 1984 from the University of Virginia and held a visiting position at the University of Florida before arriving at Ohio University in 1987.
For more than 25 years, he has conducted research on perceptual mechanisms in social judgment and decision making. During this same period, he developed one of the first theoretically driven programs of scholarship aimed at examining the effect of presentation format on how mock jurors evaluate confession evidence, which earned him the 2010 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy from the American Psychological Association.
His research on the camera perspective bias in videotaped confessions has influenced model legislation for a videotaping requirement developed by the Innocence Project and is noted prominently in the recent policy paper on interrogations and confessions endorsed by the American Psychology–Law Society Executive Committee.
Dr. Lassiter's research has been supported by funds from the National Science Foundation and has resulted in numerous articles in major professional publications. He is the editor of Interrogations, Confessions, and Entrapment (2004) and is presently a consulting editor for the journals Law and Human Behavior, Legal and Criminological Psychology, and the Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology.
Christian A. Meissner, PhD, is an associate professor of psychology and criminal justice at the University of Texas at El Paso. He holds a doctoral degree in cognitive and behavioral science from Florida State University (2001) and conducts empirical studies on the psychological processes underlying investigative interviews, including issues surrounding eyewitness recall and identification, deception detection, and interrogations and confessions.
He has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and his research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Defense. He has served on advisory panels for the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and he currently serves on the editorial boards of several prominent academic journals, including Applied Cognitive Psychology, Law and Human Behavior, and Legal and Criminological Psychology.
He has also consulted on issues of eyewitness misidentification and false confession in numerous state and federal courts in the United States.
- Winner of the 2010 PROSE Award in Psychology
- Winner of the 2009-2010 American Psychology-Law Society Book Award