Confessions
Chapter 11
1
What exactly is an
Interrogation?

Smart Talk:
Contemporary Interviewing and Interrogation
By Denise Kindschi Gosselin
Questioning
initiated by law
enforcement
officers after a
person has been
taken into
custody or
otherwise
deprived of his
freedom of action
in any significant
way
11-2
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The opportunity to
interrogate must be
lawfully obtained
There must be an
absence of force,
threat of force, or
promise of leniency
There must be
compliance with
requirements for
warnings of
constitutional rights
to a custodial suspect
PRENTICE HALL
©2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Effects of Miranda on
Confessions

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Suspects frequently waive their rights
and choose to speak to interrogators
Suspects continue to provide confessions
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
Smart Talk:
Contemporary Interviewing and Interrogation
By Denise Kindschi Gosselin
May be at a lower rate than pre-Miranda
Clearance and conviction rates have not
been affected significantly
Fewer police officers may attempt to
interrogate
11-3
PRENTICE HALL
©2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Who Are Likely to Waive Their Rights Per Miranda?
Why Do People Waive Their Rights?


Smart Talk:
Contemporary Interviewing and Interrogation
By Denise Kindschi Gosselin
The vast majority of
suspects will waive
their rights per
Miranda in cases
where the officer
attempts an
interrogation.
 Some change
their mind
Suspects with prior
felony records are
least likely to waive
11-4
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Police use
techniques designed
to obtain waivers
Suspects are not all
the same,
personalities and
experiences dictate
who will waive
PRENTICE HALL
©2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Why Do

Smart Talk:
Contemporary Interviewing and Interrogation
By Denise Kindschi Gosselin
Suspects Confess?
Suspect paranoia is
the motivation that
suspects have
because they are
never sure of exactly
what information
investigators have,
they may attempt to
give false information
to lead investigators
in another direction
11-5
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To overcome feelings
of guilt and remorse,
as well as the fear of
retaliation or of losing
love.
A suspect becomes
entangled in the
decision on whether
to speak or invoke
the rights to silence
an attorney, making
those decision of
their perceived
probability of the long
and short term
consequences.
PRENTICE HALL
©2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Does a


Smart Talk:
Contemporary Interviewing and Interrogation
By Denise Kindschi Gosselin
Waiver Affect the Case?
No statistical difference has been
documented between those who
waived their rights and those who
did not in either subsequent
charging or severity of punishment
Those who waive are twice as
likely to have their case resolved
through plea bargaining
11-6
PRENTICE HALL
©2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
The Confession
Statement

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Always allow the perpetrator to read and
make corrections to their statement
Ask if they have anything else to say, the
majority will apologize

Smart Talk:
Contemporary Interviewing and Interrogation
By Denise Kindschi Gosselin
Have them put this in their own writing at
the bottom of the confession
11-7
PRENTICE HALL
©2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
False Confession Defined

Smart Talk:
Contemporary Interviewing and Interrogation
By Denise Kindschi Gosselin
A false
confession is a
written or oral
statement
acknowledging
guilt, made by
one who did not
commit the crime
11-8
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No solid estimate of
the number of false
confessions exists
A lengthy
interrogation of the
suspect, 16.3 hours
on average, is a
common factor in
those cases that
have been proven to
be false confessions
PRENTICE HALL
©2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Types of
False Confessions
Voluntary False Confessions

People who voluntarily provide false confession
without any external pressure from the police
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To escape an aversive situation
To avoid an explicit or implied threat
To gain a promised or implied reward
The suspect perceives immediate gains that
outweigh the long term consequences
Compliant False Confession

May result in cases of physical or psychological
torture
Internalized False Confession

Some suspects are susceptible to believing that they
committed the crime, even though they did not
Smart Talk:
Contemporary Interviewing and Interrogation
By Denise Kindschi Gosselin
11-9
PRENTICE HALL
©2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Reasons why some
don’t confess …

Inhibitors to confession
Fear of legal sanctions
 Concern about reputation
 Not wanting to admit to oneself
 Not want family and friends to
know
 Fear of retaliation

Smart Talk:
Contemporary Interviewing and Interrogation
By Denise Kindschi Gosselin
11-10
PRENTICE HALL
©2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Improving Interrogations




Smart Talk:
Contemporary Interviewing and Interrogation
By Denise Kindschi Gosselin
Follow the
facts of the
case
Know the
suspect
Preserve the
evidence
Use
psychology
instead of
coercion
11-11
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Do not focus or overrely on reading
suspect behavior
Place the suspect
vulnerabilities in
context to know if the
suspect understands
what is being said
Avoid contamination
by not showing crime
scene photos
Use minimization,
rationalization, and
projection
PRENTICE HALL
©2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Not an Interrogation
What is
situation?
Subtle Compulsion
 Minimal duress which is not the product of the
words or actions of the police
Traffic Stop
 An ordinary stop does not constitute custody
Sobriety Testing
 The privilege against self-incrimination does
not protect the person from being compelled
to produce real or physical evidence
A Stop and Frisk
 Is not considered a search nor is it custody
Smart Talk:
Contemporary Interviewing and Interrogation
By Denise Kindschi Gosselin
11-12
PRENTICE HALL
©2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Acceptable
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Interrogation Tactics
Conditioning
Deemphasizing
Persuasion
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
Smart Talk:
Contemporary Interviewing and Interrogation
By Denise Kindschi Gosselin
11-13
The officer is polite
and concerned about
the suspect
The officer minimizes
the potential
importance or may
blend the rights into
conversion
Convincing the
suspect to waive his
or her rights in order
to have the
opportunity to speak
about his side of the
situation
PRENTICE HALL
©2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458