A Michigan Court of Appeals recently vacated the conviction of Kenneth Grondin, whose murder conviction was based on what looks to me to be a false confession. Very good news.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case of Brendan Massey, which likely involved a false confession. Accordingly, Massey remains incarcerated despite two courts finding that his confession was coerced. Very disappointing.
Last week Marty Tankleff reached a $10 million settlement with Suffolk County, New York. Tankleff, who gave a coerced false confession to killing his parents, served 17 years in prison before his conviction was vacated. His was the first case I wrote up on this website, and one of the first in which I served as a false confessions expert.
The Innocence Project is up to 354 DNA exonerations, and reports that more than one fourth of the people wrongly convicted gave false confessions or at least made incriminating admissions.
Earlier this week I testified as a false confessions expert at a homicide trial in Connecticut. This is the 22nd jurisdiction in which I have been qualified as a false confessions expert witness.
My testimony last week at a trial in Alaska marked my 30th appearance as an expert witness on false confessions. The false confessions expert can, among other things, help a jury understand this counter-intuitive phenomenon.
Earlier this month, in the case of Dassey v. Dittmann, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld a state court’s determination that a confession to rape/murder by a minor was voluntary. Most encouraging, though, is Judge Rovner’s excellent dissenting opinion arguing that courts’ treatment of police trickery in a voluntariness determination needs to be rethought based on our increasing understanding of false confessions.