False confessions provoked by the police is one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in the judicial system. From the late 1980s, six investigations have already tackled around 250 interrogation-provoked false confessions.
Is It Really Honesty or Fear?
The study conducted by Radelet and Bedau in 1987 revealed that false confessions were the third leading reason for unjust sentencing. In fact, Warden’s study published in 1987 even indicated it as the sole leading cause.
Among these studies, it reflected that these false confessions induced by the police usually happen more on high profile felonies, like homicides. Over 80 percent of the 125 false confessions gathered by Professors Richard Leo and Steve Drizin happened in homicide cases.
Because of this, the Innocence Project has documented over two-thirds of DNA-cleared homicide cases caused by false confessions. The United States alone have experienced 317 post-condemnation DNA exonerations. Since 2010, 38 states have won 250 exonerations. Nearly 30 percent of these DNA exoneration cases had innocent defendants that made incriminating declarations – causing them to confess or plead guilty.
Unfortunately, 18 of the 258 people who got exonerated through the help of DNA still had to serve time on death row. The average time they waste in jail is 13.5 years of their life, the average age is 27, while the common gender is male.
Among these convicts who were later proven as innocent, 74 percent were only released because they finally caught the real perpetrator, while 46 percent was because of the discovery of a new scientific evidence. With this long history of wrongful convictions, it’s a surprise that the judicial system still have not done anything to prevent it from happening again. Is justice just a game of luck, these days?