False confession

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A false confession is an admission of guilt in a crime in which the confessor is not responsible for the crime. False confessions can be induced through coercion or by the mental disorder or incompetency of the accused. Even though false confessions might appear to be an exceptional and unlikely event, they occur on a regular basis in case law, which is one of the reasons why jurisprudence has established a series of rules to detect, and subsequently reject, false confessions. These are called the "confession rules." Plea agreements typically require the defendant to stipulate to a set of facts establishing he is guilty of the offense; in the United States federal system, before entering judgment on a guilty plea, the court must determine that there is a factual basis for the plea.


Interrogation techniques such as the Reid technique try to suggest to the suspect that he will experience a feeling of moral appeasement if he chooses to confess. Material rewards, like coffee, the cessation of the interrogation and a warm bed are also used to the same effect. In Canada, courts of law have also recognized as valid confessions that were acquired, even though the interrogators lied by suggesting they had substantial evidence against a given suspect when in fact they did not. It is then understandable that the high pressure generated may push innocent individuals to...
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