A person may confess to a crime they did not commit, but that confession is sometimes not an action of self-autonomy. Some factors can influence people to make false confessions or testimonies:
The Reid Technique is used to interrogate individuals by first asking non-accusatory questions to establish whether that person was involved in the crime, and secondly asking accusatory questions to people believed to be culpable. In the second stage, the officer is trying to get an admission of guilt from the suspect.
Issues with the Reid Technique Interrogations
- The initial stage is based on largely on behavioral analysis to determine if someone was involved. This is problematic since non-verbal signs of lying are unreliable as indicators of deception.
- Compliance is encouraged, therefore an innocent individual often gives up their Miranda rights to seem compliant and avoid suspicion. Miranda rights protect individuals from incriminating themselves with their own words and lack of legal advising.
- Physical stressors, such as lengthy interrogations and lack of food or water, can wear down a suspect and coerce them to falsely admit their guilt.
Proof of a coerced testimony could be used to protect an innocent individual, therefore legislation that requires the recording of interrogations would help diminish punishment for false confessions extracted through coercion.