Every day people are accused of committing crimes in Texas, but most are considered innocent until proven guilty. There are times when a person may confess to a crime for many different reasons, but it is possible for someone to be coerced into confessing to a crime they did not commit?
According to the Innocence Project, there have been almost 360 overturned convictions since DNA evidence has been used to investigate old cases. Most of these involve some type of false confession, where an individual confesses to something even when they are innocent. While it may seem impossible for someone to do that, the following are common factors that can lead to a false confession:
- Fear that not confessing will lead to a more serious punishment
- Perceived threat of force or actual use of force by law enforcement officials during the interrogation
- Intimidation by law enforcement
- Limited education, mental limitations, exhaustion, hunger, stress, substance abuse and anything else that leads to a compromised reasoning ability of the accused
- Untrue statements about physical evidence and other devious interrogation techniques
Some states, including Texas, require that all custodial interrogations are recorded to stop officers from using any of the above techniques to coerce a confession out of a suspect. Many believe that recording custodial interrogations will protect both law enforcement and those who have been accused of committing a crime. Transparency on the part of law enforcement benefits the entire criminal justice system.
This can help ensure that innocent people do not go to prison even if they confess to crimes. If you have been accused of committing a crime, you may benefit from contacting a criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.
This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.