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Topic : 01/09 False Confessions

Number of Replies: 330
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Created on : Friday, January 05, 2007, 10:49:03 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1
Would you ever confess to a crime you didn’t commit? What if the authorities, police you thought you could trust, said that you committed a crime and that they had evidence to prove it? Would you begin to doubt yourself, even though you knew you were innocent? Dr. Phil explores the psychology of false confessions. After a young man was shot dead at a local pizza parlor, Jon, 24, found himself behind bars. He then spent six months in jail before being exonerated from murder charges. Why did he confess to a crime he didn’t commit? What role did the police play in his confession? Learn how the truth finally came out. Then, experts say some ‘fess up for fame, others do so to escape torturous interrogations. No one knows the art of getting confessions better than 29-year veteran New York City Homicide Detective Louis Scarcello. Hear about his interrogations and decide for yourself if the tactics used by law enforcement cross the line into coercion. Then, Marty Tankleff was just 17 when he was convicted of murdering his parents -- based on what he says was a police-coerced false confession. Sixteen years have passed with Marty still behind bars, but the question remains: Did he do it? Share your thoughts here.

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January 6, 2007, 6:40 am CST

this is SO common

I am glad to see that Dr. Phil is covering this topic. I used to wonder why the courts bothered with a trial, if someone confessed. But, now I know. IL. prisons are notorious for having these false confessions beaten, cohersed, or offered for little reason out of prisoners.
January 6, 2007, 8:23 pm CST

" I toally Agree"

Quote From: amynewtson

I am glad to see that Dr. Phil is covering this topic. I used to wonder why the courts bothered with a trial, if someone confessed. But, now I know. IL. prisons are notorious for having these false confessions beaten, cohersed, or offered for little reason out of prisoners.


I know i believe, REMAIN SILENT, even if you are innocent. Don't say anything until you have someone there for your best interest..Even an innocent person can have things turned around on them..

January 6, 2007, 9:07 pm CST

False Confessions

These false confessions would be not be so easy for the police to obtain if more people were educated on what their rights are.


People don't realise that they do not have to answer the police questions if they do not care to.  First they should ask if they are being charged with a crime at that time.  If not, they can get up and leave right there and then. 


If they are being charged with a crime, they still have the right to have a lawyer present.  Once this request is made the interrogation should come to an end right there.


Now if the police do not stop the questioning right there, then the person being questioned, should not say another word except for requesting that they want to leave or want a lawyer present.  If they are put into a position like this, as soon as possible, they should let their lawyer know what took place. 


It's surprising how many people do not know there legal rights when it comes to police interrogations. 


Stay strong & don't let them trample on your rights!

January 6, 2007, 9:26 pm CST

Falsely Accused of Racial Discrimination

I came to the Dr. Phil website in search of an aswer and support, but I wasn't sure where to post my message.  I am 25 years old, and back in September I was served with a Fair Housing complain on the basis of racism.  I was temporarily working at an apartment community between social work jobs.  One of our policies was to not show an apartment less than half an hour before the office closed.  I worked alone and am such a stickler for policy.  Over the summer, a couple had been waiting in the office.  It was less than half an hour before close, and I told them I was unable to show them an apartment.  They left seemingly very angry.  Three months later, I received the complaint from HUD. 


I spoke with a woman from HUD who told me the couple wanted to conciliate for $5000.  Being a social worker with lots of student loan debt, I just don't have the money to pay someone off  for tsomething I did not do.  When I continued speaking with the HUD investigator, I did not feel it was impartial.  She misstated things that were in the complaint about what the couple had said...  She called the couple's changed statements to her "typos." 


I haven't spoken to the investigator since, but after I would not conciliate, the couple added the corporation and other managers to their complaint.  On January 12, the investigator should complete the report that will go to a judge as to whether or not they are going to charge me with an act of discrimination.


This has never been far from my mind over the past few months and have been very difficult for me.  I know in my heart I did not discriminate---I've always dated, been friends with, worked with people of many different backgrounds.  My nature is to help people.  To be falesly accused and risk a fine for several thousands of dollars I just don't have at my age is absolutely devasting.  I've been through a lot in my life, but this is something beyond my control. 


As the time draws nearer, I am getting more and more scared of being charged with something I did not do...  I don't even know how to cope with this...  This could literally ruin many aspects of my life, let alone my mental well-being. 


A close friend and associate in the field told me I was an easy target because emotionally, I would have the most to lose and would appear to be the type of person who would conciliate just so I wouldn't emotionally suffer...  It is crazy.  I have spent my whole life trying to help people because I come from unfortunate circumstances....  I feel like my heart has been torn out, and I just don't even know how I will cope if I am charged with this... 

January 7, 2007, 6:37 am CST

Comment on False Confessions

This is an excellent topic and I am anxious to see this episode.  I have had one too many experiences with dirty cops and therefore in my opinion all cops are dirty cops.  I know that this is not true by far, but I have yet to have even one good experience with the police.  The one or two times that I have needed their assistance for this reason or that, I ended up being treated with a disrespect that went over and above any boundary.  I am a college educated female that works every day and takes care of my family, so I expect the consideration and respect from law enforcement that they so publicly portray.  Sorry for being so one-sided on this issue; however, I feel very strongly that law enforcement take their authority too far at every opportunity.


January 7, 2007, 3:22 pm CST

False Confessions

I'm so happy Dr.Phil is talking about this. I just started reading a book that is a true story. The author is John Grisham and the title of the book is called The Innocent Man. If you doubt that this stuff really does go on read this book. It is a real eye opener on our justice system. Good for you Dr. Phil
January 7, 2007, 8:01 pm CST

Still grieving

This topic is very upsetting to me! I am a support person for my son who is in prison. He, too, was 17 when he was arrested. The police officers had interrogated my son twice, before he had a chance to talk to me or an attorney (during a time when he had been treated for shock!) When I finally got a chance to talk to my son, he was in a Youth Facility (for his own protection, I was told, and there had been no charges brought against him). I advised him not to answer any more questions until he had an attorney present. I was out of state, and before I got there on the airplane, he had been charged as an adult and incarcerated in the adult correctional facility. I believe when he told the police officers that his mom told him not to answer any more questions until he had an attorney present, they immediately went after a grand jury indightment. He had no attorney until after I arrived there. There is much more that I could tell you, about how the police tried to question me after arriving there. There was also more than one incident where I believed the police were trying to intimidate me, during the time I was there for my son's trial. Even though I know in my heart there are good cops and bad cops, it angers me greatly that there is this abuse of power. I have written Dr. Phil two letters requesting any help he can offer for my son - it isn't enough to  have an attorney - you have to have the best money can buy, and they have to believe in their client. My son had a public defender because I couldn't afford the best. This is like a nightmare that has never ended - we are still living it almost nine years later. I have often said that if I could sit on a jury, I would be the person who would hang the jury. I got that chance, only to realize that it makes me ill to sit in a court room. And to be honest, I cannot be impartial under the circumstances. It is not guilt or innocence that is proven in the court room, in my opinion, only who plays the best game. And when you put a 17 year old behind bars, especially one with no previous encounters with law enforcement, the judicial system or corrections, it is even more difficult for them to cope - they are caught up in 3 bureaucracies! I think it is very wrong for the police to interrogate a minor without an adult or attorney present acting in their best interests. I am happy that Dr. Phil is bringing this to the American public's attention. The problem is, no one really wants to believe things such as this until it happens to them or someone they love, and then it may be too late. Believe me, my son and I know all too well. I think it is very possible for a 17 year old to be coerced into a false confession by law enforcement officers.
January 7, 2007, 8:05 pm CST

01/09 False Confessions

when some one confessises to a crime as horible as murder and they know they didnt do it they should receive the very same punnishment the guilty party would receive, not only have they lied and stoped officers from serching for the real guilty party, but they have allowed a murderer to stay atlarge possibly killing even more people.
January 7, 2007, 11:08 pm CST

Response to Afraid

I believe you missed part of the point - what happens if you get a police officer who goes over the line with interrogating a minor, for instance? You must have never had an encounter with someone in law enforcement who wants to show their power by bullying. Do you not believe that a law enforcement officer could bully someone who is innocent into confessing to a crime they did not commit? If you do not believe this is possible, then I guess you will just have to wait until you or someone you love has that experience. That is what I think is so sad about the whole situation - people refuse to believe it happens until they experience it for themselves.
January 8, 2007, 5:48 am CST

I can't believe that i would...

As i sit here right now, I'm thinking that I would never confess to something that I hadn't done. But, I am aware that it does happen. I think there are various reasons. I have heard of situations where the accused had a low I.Q. By the time an aggressive interaggator got through with someone like that, they were so confused that they didn't really know what was what. I also think that the very young could be easily worn down, and confess to something they didn't do. I am pretty convinced that I would never confess to something I didn't do.
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