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The Champion

December 2016 , Page 40 

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Analyzing Videotaped Interrogations and Confessions

By Brian L. Cutler and Richard A. Leo

In Convicting the Innocent, published nearly 85 years ago, law professor Edwin Borchard1 summarized 65 cases of conviction of the innocent, documented the investigation and prosecution errors that led to the conviction, and recommended reforms that would reduce the risk of miscarriages of justice. Among the errors he identified were false confessions resulting from high-pressure interrogations, and among the reforms he recommended was the recording of interrogations. Approximately every decade thereafter another scholar identified new cases of wrongful conviction, a similar set of contributing factors, and a similar set of reforms.2 In the 1990s, the use of DNA as a forensic tool and the work of the Innocence Project ushered in an “innocence movement,”3 the results of which include the exoneration of hundreds of convicted-but-innocent citizens and a focus by some legislatures, police departments, and professional organizations on procedural reforms designed to reduce the

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