This article was cross-posted at Massachusetts Cop Block
As counterintuitive as it sounds, there are a many documented cases of innocent people confessing to serious crimes (like rapes, murders, etc.) when interrogated by police. The Innocence Project reports that about one quarter of people who have been exonerated by DNA evidence made false incriminating statements or gave false confessions that helped convict them.
How could this be? What would lead someone to do something as seemingly crazy as confessing to a crime they didn’t commit?
WBUR/90.9FM (Boston public radio) recently broadcast an excellent two-part program by reporter David Boeri which looks at some of the reasons why. The program, titled “Anatomy of a Bad Confession,” discusses how Worcester, Massachusetts police detectives used abusive interrogation techniques to coerce 16-year-old Nga Troung into confessing to a murder she did not commit. The program goes into detail about the interrogation techniques used by the detectives as well as the disturbing lack of accountability they have faced.
The whole program is worth a listen, so I won’t bother summarizing it any further. Use the links below to check it out:
Legal documents (.pdf format):
- Judge’s Ruling On Truong’s Motion To Suppress Statements
- Boeri’s Motion Seeking Interrogation DVDs
- Judge’s Decision To Grant WBUR DVDs