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Monthly Archives: December 2012

False Confessions: 60 Minutes False Confession Capital

60 Minutes “False Confession Capital” airs tonight and will highlight the long trend of false confession cases that have plagued the Chicago area.  This will be another black eye for law enforcement.  It SHOULD be an alarm bell to agencies who continue to provide little or no training in interview & interrogation to their officers.  The training they do get is riddled with myths, disproved concepts and techniques debunked long ago by multiple social psychological studies.

What is really perplexing to me is the excuses you hear for such interrogation disasters.  Over the last 4 months I have read numerous accounts of false confession cases and here are the the most common excuses I hear from the police agencies (and also corporate loss prevention I might add… ATTENTION: A.S.I.S., A.C.F.E., Retail Industry – Loss Prevention Foundation, etc.).

1. “The interrogator used the technique wrong.”
2. “We don’t interrogate innocent people.”
3. “Innocent people don’t falsely confess.”
4. “The subject is responsible for false confessions.”
Here’s my conclusion to those stupid comments.
1. Then you must be “failing” as instructors of your technique.
2. Sounds like you have a pre-conception before you begin that the subject “has” to be guilty to begin with.
3. Right!  And nobody has bought a time share they didn’t want.
4. You were in charge of the interrogation.  If it goes wrong … YOU OWN IT!

FINALLY … let’s face it, the reason you keep having problems with the techniques you have been taught to use… THEY DON’T WORK!  To keep training your investigators in the same flawed techniques and expecting different results is insanity.

Time to take a VERY serious look at the interrogation technique(s) taught to investigators that for decades have been identified as being “chronically” responsible for false confessions. The public deserves it, officers should demand it or just like Chicago, the courts and the Justice Department will be on YOUR back!

At least that’s the way I see it…

Stan B. Walters, CSP
“The Lie Guy®”
The Interview Room

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