The Pros And Cons Of False Confessions

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Is a man guilty until proven innocent or innocent until proven guilty? Many times during court procedures the idea of a man being innocent until proven guilty is thrown out the window. Most commonly, eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, and government misconduct have led to an unjust trial, automatically assuming the accused guilty. However the continued use of informants, and its inability to be curtailed, has led to a growing number of wrongful convictions. Even though judges attempt to keep trials fair and just to guarantee the accused’s rights, incentives continue to be given by prosecutors and police officers to elicit false testimonies from informants and put an innocent man behind bars. There are many incentives behind false informants coming forward and giving distorted statements including bribery, the promise of a reduced sentence, and coercion. Testifying falsely in exchange for an incentive – either money or a sentence reduction – is often the last resort for a desperate inmate. For someone who is not in prison already, but who “wants to avoid being charged with a crime” (The Innocence Project), providing false testimony may be a desperate measure to avoid incarceration. Although illegal, threats and coercion are also …show more content…

The growth in the sheer number of informants reflects the “increasing dependence of police and prosecutors on informants” (Natapoff). Because investigations and cases rely so heavily on informants, protecting and rewarding informants has become an important part of law enforcement. More fundamentally, police and prosecutors become invested in their informants' stories, and therefore may “lack the objectivity to know when their sources are lying” (Natapoff). This phenomenon explains in part why snitch testimony generates so many wrongful convictions: it permeates the criminal system and there are few safeguards against

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