POLICE TRICKERY: THE FALSE EVIDENCE PLOY | HOW IT HURTS THE INNOCENT AND IMPACTS A JURY
Tulsa criminal defense attorney Stephen Cale explains tricks police use against people. The problem is that sometimes these tricks can send an INNOCENT person to jail or prison.
IntroductionI tell people to never talk to the police. There is a well-known law professor named James Duane who gave a presentation on the Top 10 Reasons Not to Talk to Police. Even jurists sitting on the highest court of the land know the danger of talking to police. The late Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson stated that no one should talk to police. Here*s what he said:
*Any lawyer worth his salt will tell the suspect, in no uncertain terms, to make no statement to the police under any circumstances.* * U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson in Watts v. Indiana, 338 U.S. 49 (1949)
The bottom line is that people * even innocent people * wind up in jail or prison because they have spoken to police. Police will use all kinds of tricks to get a person to confess *even falsely confess * to a crime. One kind of trick is called the False Evidence Ploy.
The False Evidence PloyA false evidence ploy is a claim by police that they have evidence that implicates the suspect. But in fact, the so-called evidence doesn*t really exist. Here are some examples:
* Identification testimony. In this type of false evidence ploy, an officer or detective will claim to have an eyewitness or video evidence that implicates the suspect.
* Scientific evidence. With this type of ploy, police will claim that they have DNA evidence, impression evidence fingerprint evidence or some other kind of scientific evidence.
* Demeanor ploy. This is a false statement by police that the suspect*s demeanor indicates, or points to, his guilt.
The Concern About False Evidence TacticsOne survey has revealed that 92 percent of detectives in the United States and Canada use false evidence ploys during interrogation. But more importantly, studies have shown that false evidence ploys increased the likelihood of false confessions.
Research has shown that false evidence ploys have been implicated in the vast majority of documented false confession cases. The fact that this type of ploy can produce a false confession is staggering when you look at how jurors evaluate confession evidence.
How Do Jurors Evaluate False Evidence?There has been a lot of research and study concerning how jurors evaluate confession evidence. In one mock jury study, participants read summaries of four criminal trials. Some of those summaries contained a confession, eyewitness identification, and character testimony. Some of those summaries did not contain a confession. As one might expect, confessions produced the highest conviction rates. Here*s what the studies also revealed:
* Jurors rely on confession evidence more than any other forms of evidence.
* Even if jurors rated a confession as less voluntary and believed that the confession did not affect their decision, they were still more likely to convict than jurors who did not read confession evidence.
Why Jurors Don't Understand False ConfessionsOne researcher says that jurors may not know much about police interrogation. Jurors also may accept the myth of psychological interrogation. This is the belief that people will not falsely confess unless there is some kind of mental illness, cognitive limitations, or physical torture. The research suggests three reasons why jurors find false confessions difficult to understand.
First, some jurors understand the degree to which police interrogation is manipulative persuasion. However, many state they know less than they should when asked to consider interrogation and confession evidence. That sounds like an uninformed jury handling the fate of a defendant.
Secondly, jurors find it hard to believe that suspects would go against their own self-interest confessing to something they did not do.
Thirdly, because the same jurors know that they would never falsely confess, they apply that same logic to their peers. That means they would apply the same logic to a person on trial.