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How and Why the Innocent Confess to Crimes They Did Not Commit

The New York Times published a compelling article by John Schwartz on September 13, 2010 that focused on the puzzling behavior of innocent people confessing to crimes they did not commit. This disturbing phenomenon occurs more often than one might think, and is the direct result of overzealous and grueling interrogation.

Professor Brandon L. Garrett of the University of Virginia School of Law said that some kinds of people are simply "pressed beyond their endurance by persistent interrogators". These types of influential people include the mentally ill, mentally impaired, the young, and those simply ignorant of their constitutional rights. Custodial interrogations can last for extreme amounts of time, and if a lawyer is not requested by a suspect, one does not have to be provided.
Often, the police are so focused on their hunch that the suspect they have in custody is guilty that they use all their powers of persuasion to extract the most damning evidence of all-- the confession. Research has shown that even where DNA evidence proves a suspect innocent, juries will still convict if the suspect has confessed to the crime.
Of the 40 false confessions listed in the New York Times article, all of them occurred without an attorney present. If you or anyone you know is suspected of a crime, or has been asked by law enforcement to give a statement, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney such as Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney David Diamond to protect your rights.