Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates, one of the leading firms for training interrogators, now acknowledges that the Reid Technique contributes to false confessions. Wicklander will no longer promote confrontational modes of interrogation.
My testimony last week in a case in Vermont means I have now been qualified as a false confessions expert in 17 states.
Billy Wayne Cope, who spent the last 16 years of his life imprisoned for a crime he almost certainly did not commit, passed away last month. Most neutral observers agree that Cope gave a false confession in a truly tragic case.
Courts increasingly permit defendants to offer a false confessions expert witness to educate the jury about (among other things) the interrogation methods that contribute to false confessions. I personally have testified in 25 cases to date.
Prosecutors often emphasize to the jury that the defendant waived his Miranda rights and agreed to talk. But what follows? People who give false confessions are, by definition, innocent. And most innocent people feel they have no reason not to talk.
After a homicide trial in New York last week, I have now testified as a false confessions expert in 16 states.
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, 99% of the growth in jail population over the last 15 years results from the detention of innocent people. Needless to say, false confessions contribute mightily to this problem.