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Defending The Innocent: Interrogation and False Confession
By Richard J. Ofshe
Following on the Supreme Court’s rejection of physical coercion during
the mid-1900s, police were obliged to develop a new method of
interrogation. Their replacement for the third degree is called
psychological interrogation. Although detectives have traditionally
sought to keep what they do during interrogation secret and even today
are typically reluctant to testify forthrightly about their tactics,
stonewalling no longer works to hide the facts of interrogation from
judicial and public scrutiny.
In 1966 when the Supreme Court wanted to comment on interrogation in
Miranda,1 it had to turn for information to textbooks used to train
detectives. At that time there was no substantial body of empirical
social science research on which the Court could draw, and these texts
were the only available sources about what happened during a
Over the next four decades things changed dramatically.
Ever since researchers in Englan
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