The Champion

December 2007 , Page 10 

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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 psychological interrogation.

Over the next four decades things changed dramatically.

The Research

Ever since researchers in Englan

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