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Why Would Someone Ever Confess to a Crime They Did Not Commit? 

 Posted on March 16, 2023 in Criminal Defense

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1738605959-min.jpgFalse confessions have been a perplexing phenomenon in the criminal justice system for decades. Despite the prevalence of DNA evidence exonerating wrongly convicted individuals, false confessions remain a significant factor in wrongful convictions. Research has shown that false confessions occur for a variety of reasons, and understanding these reasons is critical to preventing wrongful convictions. Today, we will discuss the possible reasons as to why someone would ever confess to a crime they did not commit. Remember, if you are charged with a crime, contact a criminal defense attorney to understand your legal options moving forward.

Why Does it Happen?

One reason innocent individuals confess to crimes is police interrogation tactics. Police may use high-pressure tactics such as sleep deprivation, manipulation, or even physical force to extract a confession from a suspect. Fear, intimidation, and coercion can lead innocent individuals to confess to crimes they did not commit to end the interrogation and go home. Moreover, some individuals may feel pressure to confess crimes to protect someone they care about or avoid harsher punishment for a lesser offense.

Another reason for false confessions is mental health problems. Individuals with mental health problems such as schizophrenia, or intellectual disabilities, are more likely to confess to crimes they did not commit. They may lack the capacity to understand their legal rights or even the consequences of their actions. Moreover, they may be more susceptible to police pressure and more likely to agree with someone in authority, leading to false confessions.

Sometimes, a false confession can arise due to the desire for attention or fame. In some high-profile cases, individuals have confessed to crimes they did not commit to gain notoriety or media attention. For instance, individuals may admit to being a serial killer or notorious criminal to gain attention, even if they had nothing to do with the crime.

And lastly, false confessions can occur due to memory errors. Individuals may confess to crimes they did not commit because they genuinely believe they are guilty. Memory errors, such as faulty recall, suggestibility, or contamination, can lead to individuals to construct false memories and, in turn, confess to crimes they did not commit.

Contact a Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorney

To prevent false confessions and wrongful convictions, it is crucial to ensure police tactics are fair and impartial, that individuals with mental health problems receive appropriate accommodations, and that memory evidence is scrutinized in court. If you have been charged with a crime, contact the experienced Davis County criminal defense lawyers with Collins Rupp, P.C.. Call 385-777-2753 for a free consultation.


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