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Defending Unrecorded False Confession Cases
By Deja Vishny
Many criminal defense lawyers are filled with dread at the idea of
trying a confession case. They think the jury will never accept that
people give false confessions. They worry that jurors and courts will
always believe the word of detectives over their clients, viewing law
enforcement as professionals who are merely doing a difficult job and
have no incentive to lie on the stand to gain a conviction. The
experience of defense lawyers in motion litigation has taught them that
judges rarely, if ever, take the risk of suppressing the confession
because the crime is horrifying and highly publicized.
Lawyers who are lucky enough to practice in jurisdictions where
interrogations are tape recorded are able to listen to the recording and
pinpoint exactly how law enforcement agents are able to get suspects to
confess. For everyone else, the process of getting a confession is
shrouded in mystery; the police enter a locked room with a suspect who
is determined to ma
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