Is a False Confession a Crime in California?

May 05, 2022 by Madison Ferguson in California  Criminal Defense  
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False Confession in California

A false confession is a crime in California. It is the admission of committing a crime that, in actual sense, you did not commit. Many of these false confessions lead to wrongful convictions, which are reversed by the DNA evidence. They consistently lead to errors in the legal system and hence remain the most prejudicial source of false evidence, which ends up in a wrongful conviction.

Causes of False Confession

The reasons that lead to false confession are quite hard to understand since there is no single logic that causes confession. However, here are some of the commonly known reasons:

1. Police Induced Confession

When we are intimidated by the people in authority to change the confession and give a false one, we have no choice but to abide. These are the law enforcers; hence they have the authority to switch the case in their favor. You may be forced to accept a crime through a threat from the police officers during an interrogation.

2. Bad Interrogation Tactics

The law states a straightforward technique for interrogation of all suspects regardless of the crime. However, a new technique may be adopted to hide the truth. This could be a presentation of statements with wrong information regarding the availability of evidence that indicates the guilt of the suspect.

3. Circumstances

The suspect is sometimes pushed by certain circumstances such as illiteracy on law matters, stress, mental incapacities, and substance abuse. Many of us are ignorant of law issues; hence we are unfamiliar with human rights and freedom. This makes us very vulnerable when facing law enforcers.

4. Fear

Fear can be generated from the law enforcers or from the plaintiff. Suspects can also generate fear from within. We are created to fear failure; thus, the fear that a true confession may result in a severe punishment leads to a false confession to evade the punishment.

How to Recognize a False Confession?

False confessions can be identified if one can objectively identify them as false. Here are some of the ways to identify a false confession though only a few of the cases have the freedom of independent case evidence that gives the suspect the chance to prove their innocence beyond any reasonable doubt.

1. Ghost Crimes

This involves confessing to doing a wrongful act that did not actually happen. Such confessions are easy to establish since there are no crimes; hence no need for the confession and no need for there to be a case.

2. Double Placement

The suspect may argue to be in the physical place of the crime, yet it was impossible for them to be there in the first place due to the location differences. The suspect may have been in a different location when the crime occurred.

3. DNA Tests

When the crime scene is investigated under forensics, they are able to exclude the DNA of all people present at the scene. This may prove the suspect may have been innocent if their DNA is not present at the scene.

4. Real Suspect is Caught

Sometimes the true crime perpetrator is established and is found guilty of their action. This gives a clear picture of the true convict making your false confession a lie, and a crime.

How do we prevent wrongful convictions resulting from false confessions?

These confessions happen in the interrogation rooms, where the suspects are subjected to various questions concerning the crime. There are various ways to prevent convictions by allowing openness, honesty, and true feelings.

1. Recording Interrogation

The law enforcers should ensure that they are covering everything that the suspects say. This helps in future references. It also ensures the law was duly followed while applying the legal technique.

Observing Body Language

Sometimes our bodies speak something different from what we are saying. The involuntary and voluntary movements of the body, if keenly observed, may prevent a wrongful conviction. This is because someone speaking under fear tends to show it in various body movements and facial expressions.

Thorough Investigation

Various wrongful convictions result from a poor justice system that fails to investigate all the aspects of a crime. They hence end up making decisions fast based on the false evidence. A thorough investigation is necessary to filter out false investigations.

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How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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