Prisoners’ Rights

In a regrettable decision (in the case of Shinn v. Ramirez), the Supreme Court made it more difficult for prisoners to bring claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. Many such claims have been brought by people who gave false confessions. They and others will now have a harder time establishing their innocence. Does the Court not realize that wrongful convictions are far more common than we used to think?

DUPED

Keep an eye out for Saul Kassin’s important forthcoming book, Duped. Saul is perhaps the world’s leading authority on false confessions and helped get me started as a false confessions expert.

Race and False Confessions

Earlier this month, three African-American men whose false confessions led to 24 years of incarceration were ordered released by a judge in New York. (I was involved in the case.) The connection between race and false confessions warrants more study by false confessions experts.

Reform

Looking forward to the Biden administration pursuing criminal justice reform, including addressing the problem of false confessions. While most false confessions occur at the state level, federal law enforcement also uses the interrogation tactics that contribute to false confessions.

Acquittal

Earlier this week, I testified in a homicide trial in South Carolina — the 37th case in which I testified as an expert on false confessions. The defendant was acquitted. Juries are becoming increasingly aware of the reality of false confessions.