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PSYC 3310 (64)
Chapter 7

Chapter 7.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 3310
Professor
Gwen Jenkins
Semester
Summer

Description
Chapter 7 - Police Interrogations and Confessions The Importance of a Confession:  Confession by defendant- admission of guilt, is most damaging evidence that can be presented @ trial  Cuz of such impact, courts must be wary about circumstances under which its obtained  In zeal to get admission of guilt, cops may intimidate innocent suspects The Forensic Psychologist and Police Interrogations:  Possible roles by considering clients o Consultant/employee of cop dept, then might educate cops about possibility of false confessions o If client is lawyer/judiciary, might be expert witness or author of consultation report on how use o coercion/trickery by cops lead to false confessions The Psychology of False Confessions:  Aren’t spontaneous/truthful  Most are negotiated, 20% recanted [suspect made incriminating statement to cop but later states it was false]  Some confess cuz desire to escape further interrogation  Or come to believe what cop as told them Three Types of False Confessions:  Recanted/disputed confessions aren’t necessarily false  Voluntary/coerced-compliant/coerced-internalized Voluntary False Confessions:  VFC- offered willingly w/o elicitation  May be instigated by desire for publicity/by generalized guilt or reflect some form of psychotic beh Coerced-Compliant:  CCC- suspect confesses even though knowing are innocent  May be given to escape further interrogation, gain a promised benefit [eg no prison time], or avoid threatened punishment  Compliance- inconsistency between ones public beh and ones private opinion  Third-degree tactics- extreme deprivation, brutality, torture o Led to many CCC  Now more commonly used procedures are more subtly seduce suspects o Psychologically oriented ploys  Apparent solicitousness/sympathy  Use of information/lying to suspects  Court concluded that confession only excluded if cops deception ‘shocks community’ or if the use of deception is relevant factor to whether confession was voluntary Coerced-Internalized:  CIC – innocent suspect confesses and comes to believe they’re guilty  Interrogation by cops is highly stressful experience that can create # of reactions, including state of heightened suggestibility in which ‘truth/falsehood become confused in suspects mind’  After confessing for instrumental gain, persistent questioning continues and cacused becomes increasingly confused/puzzled by interrogators apparent confidence in accused guilt  Suspect may come to ‘remember’ committing the crime [false memory]  Ppl who cant recall their actions @ time of crime of which are caused [eg due to binge drink] may be especially susceptible to such false memories  Hard to classify specific persons response as either CCC/CIC, especially in kids How Many Confessions Are False?: Wrongful Convictions:  Difficult to determine # cuz o Even if was coerced and accused retracts, a confession may be true o Confession may be false even if defendant is convicted/imprisons and never heard from again  False confessions occur more in highly publicised cases dealing with major crimes cuz cops devote more effort to solving People’s Self-Expectations:  Less women reflect possibility of false confession o Either they hold stronger convictions or men more often consider possibility of being coerced  Overconfidence in personal ability to resist coercion may lead jurors to give undue/erroneous weight to coerced confession False Confessions in the Laboratory:  Internalization and compliance occurs in lab settings  Many conform to authority figure when in coercive environment The Role of Police Interrogations in Generating Confessions:  Most cops recognize the intimidating actions are illegal and often counterproductive as ‘confessions’ created by coercion don’t stand scrutiny of judge in preliminary hearing  Some say requirement to tell right to silence/counsel has decreased conviction rate and more criminals are on street  Some cops ignore such rules  Greatest value of obtaining confession is that may lead to other incriminating evidence The Goals Of Interrogation:  Question suspects for 2 reasons: o Get info about case o Induce suspect to confess  Contrary to stereo held by some cops, handbook states main goal for interrogation of suspects by cops is gain info to further investigation  Overt threats/build up of stress can be counterproductive, danger that suspect become over-aroused and boomerang effect o Frightened respond by retreating/attacking, so suspect may withdraw cooperation or aggressively defy interrogator  Some say keep pressure on suspects who, close to point of deciding to confess, start to fidget/show confusion  But others say interrogator should lead suspect away from ultimate choice and take pressure off, so that isn’t faced with making choice until optimal point in questioning What Police Can and Can’t Do:  Pressure may put accused in emotional state that capacity for rational judgement is impaired  Cops can use trickery/lie to suspect/mislead Confession Evidence in the Canadian Legal System:  Court must consider 2 main factors in deciding whether to admit a confession o Voluntariness of statement  w/o fear of prejudice or hope of advantage and product of ‘operating mind’  if voluntary, truthfulness presumed, if follows threats then not o whether recipient of statement was person in authority  requires recipient to be a person involved in ‘arrest/detention/examination/prosecution’ of accused Methods of Interrogation:  Term interrogation initially used to describe all questioning whether in field or before/after arraignment o Term was preferred over interviewing cuz implies more active role by cop  But now prefer term interview cuz of powerful –ve connotations of term interrogation Manipulative Tactics:  3 major themes: o Minimization:  Interrogator offers sympathy/moral justification  Thus reconceptualises for suspect the attributional implications for crime by belittling its seriousness or providing face-saving external attribution of blame  Or shift blame to someone else eg victim/accomplice  Attributional manipulation o Maximization  Exaggerating seriousness of offence/magnitude of charges  Interrogator presume have firm belief about suspects culpability based on supposedly factual evidence  Falsify magnitude in hopes of obtaining denial that would implicate suspect  Eg I didn’t steal 80,000 only 20,000  Knowledge-bluff trick – pretend to have strong evidence eg DNA  Focus suspect on their physiological/nonverbal indicators of apparent guilty conscience  Dryness of mouth, fidget  Baiting questions – aren’t necessarily accusatory in nature but convey to suspects that some evidence exists that links them to the crime o Building rapport  Rapport building- emotional appeal, advise to show sympathy/understanding  Then try to persuade suspect that confessing is in own best interests  In a more elaborate version, 2 detectives using mutt-and-jeff tactic  Aka good cop/bad cop Observational Data on Interrogation Methods:  Detectives use avg of 2 tactics per suspect  1/more of the previous tactics were employed in 65% of interrogations  Most common approach: overwhelm suspect with damaging evidence to assert firm belief in his guilt, then suggest would be easier for all if admitted their role in crime
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