Essay on Why Innocent Men Make False Confessions

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The story of Ryan Ferguson is a bizarre case that many find difficult to comprehend. In 2001, a murder was committed and although DNA evidence was left behind, no suspects were found. The case became cold, until two years later when an anonymous call came saying that the murderer was Charles Erickson. Apparently, Chuck Erickson blacked out the night of Halloween and thought that he may have committed the crime because he was in the vicinity of the scene. When interrogated his story was loose and full of doubts. The police tell him about the murder weapon and various details of the crime, including motive. Ryan and Chuck were 17 years old at the time and underaged drinking at a local college bar, a few blocks from the…show more content…
Jerry Trump’s wife could have given testimony that impeached her husband. The prosecution withheld this information in the first trial because Jerry Trump never did see well enough to identify anyone, as he initially told the prosecution. This time, Charles Erickson said that he had no recollection of what happened that night, just as he had initially said to police interrogators. How could this happen? How could a man confess to a murder that he did not commit? How could he implicate his friend in this fabricated story? How could another man give false testimony identifying a person he did not see? It sounds incomprehensible but this is not as farfetched as one would think. Logic says that no person would lie unintentionally and fabricate a story that would send them to prison, if it never happened. Many factors play vital roles in false confessions or testimony. Such as, investigator bias, fabrication and suggestions, memory retrieval, personality type and suggestibility, psychological processes, and physiological activity. Jurors are not privy to this research and, most likely, view false confessions as irrational. Modeling Investigator Bias Effect: Sociobehavioral Factors Narchet, Meissner, and Russian (2011) explain that investigators build schema toward culpability can structure the interview and increase the likelihood of a false
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