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Confessions



The pleasure of listening to Usher is the pleasure of listening to a singer who knows exactly what he's doing. 'Truth Hurts,' a seemingly innocent (if plaintive) 1970s throwback, turns nasty when the narrator suddenly reveals that the first two verses were full of lies. Which raises the question: are these supposed 'confessions' true? He loves toying with his audience this way, loves telling us exactly how bad he is, then daring us to believe him.[40]




Confessions


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BOOK 11 The design of his confessions being declared, he seeks from God the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, and begins to expound the words of Genesis 1:1, concerning the creation of the world. The questions of rash disputers being refuted, "what did God before he created the world?" that he might the better overcome his opponents, he adds a copious disquisition concerning time.


Confessions is a participatory installation that explores secular spaces for catharsis and consolation. Inspired by Japanese Shinto shrine prayer walls and the practices of Catholicism, Chang invites people to write and submit a confession on a wooden plaque in the privacy of confession booths. The anonymous plaques are then hung on the gallery walls. The project reappropriates religious rites for secular environments and examines the relationship between public space and emotional communion. The original, month-long exhibit in The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas collected over 1,500 confessions and included an original soundtrack by Oliver Blank. The project has since grown to over 20,000 confessions in other cities.


Eight men charged. Five confessions. But only one DNA match. Why would four innocent men confess to a brutal crime they didn't commit?In The Confessions, FRONTLINE producer Ofra Bikel (Innocence Lost, An Ordinary Crime) investigates the conviction of four men -- current and former sailors in the U.S. Navy -- for the rape and murder of a Norfolk, Va., woman in 1997. In the first television interviews with the "Norfolk Four" since their release, Bikel learns of some of the high-pressure police interrogation techniques -- the threat of the death penalty, sleep deprivation, intimidation -- that led each of the men to confess, despite the lack of any evidence linking them to the crime. (read more )


Map: U.S. exonerations involving false confessions by county, based on data for 245 recorded incidents. Red indicates the highest concentration, followed by yellow and, at the lowest frequency, green.


In the past 25-plus years, there have been 248 recorded exonerations involving false confessions, according to data from The National Registry of Exonerations. Of the 71 that originated in Illinois, 59 came from Cook County.


The Reformed Church in America (RCA) is a confessional church. This means that, as a denomination, we affirm specific statements of belief called creeds and confessions. These statements are biblically based and were written to respond to issues by explaining in detail what the church believes about those topics.


One week after the decision in Malloy v. Hogan, the Court defined the rules of admissibility of confessions in different terms: although it continued to emphasize voluntariness, it did so in self-incrimination terms rather than in due process terms. In Escobedo v. Illinois,337 it held inadmissible a confession obtained from a suspect in custody who repeatedly had requested and been refused an opportunity to consult with his retained counsel, who was at the police station seeking to gain access to his client.338 Although Escobedo appeared in the main to be a Sixth Amendment right-to-counsel case, the Court at several points emphasized, in terms that clearly implicated self-incrimination considerations, that the suspect had not been warned of his constitutional rights.339


As to the viability of Miranda claims in federal habeas corpus cases, the Court had suggested in 1974 that most claims could be disallowed,355 but such a course was squarely rejected in 1993. The subject mental trial right of the defendant, unlike the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule addressed in Stone v. Powell,356 and claimed violations of Miranda merited federal habeas corpus review because they relate to the correct ascertainment of guilt.357 The purposes of the Miranda rule differed from the Mapp v. Ohio358 exclusionary rule denied enforcement in habeas proceedings in Stone, the Court explained, because the primary purpose of Mapp was to deter future Fourth Amendment violations, a purpose that the Court claimed would only be marginally advanced by allowing collateral review.359 A further consideration was that eliminating review of Miranda claims would not significantly reduce federal habeas review of state convictions, because most Miranda claims could be recast in terms of due process denials resulting from admission of involuntary confessions.360


A puzzle is raised by cases of false confessions: How could an innocent on convincingly confess to a crime? Postconviction DNA testing has now exonerated over 250 convicts, more than forty of whom falsely confessed to rapes and murders. As a result, there is a new awareness that innocent people falsely confess, often due to psychological pressure placed upon them during police interrogations. Scholars increasingly examine the psychological techniques that can cause people to falsely confess and document instances of known false confessions. This Article takes a different approach, by examining the substance of false confessions, including what was said during interrogations and how the confession statements were then litigated at trial and postconviction. Doing so sheds light on the phenomenon of confession contamination. Not only can innocent people falsely confess, but all except two of the exonerees studied were induced to deliver false confessions with surprisingly rich, detailed, and accurate information. We now know that those details could not have likely originated with these innocent people, but rather must have been disclosed to them, most likely during the interrogation process. However, our constitutional criminal procedure does not regulate the postadmission interrogation process, nor do courts evaluate the reliability of confessions. This Article outlines a series of reforms that focus on the insidious problem of contamination, particularly videotaping interrogations in their entirety, but also reframing police procedures, trial practice, and judicial review. Unless criminal procedure is reoriented towards the reliability of the substance of confessions, contamination of facts may continue to go undetected, resulting in miscarriages of justice.


To be sure, Miranda warnings and these other doctrinal rules are insufficient to prevent false confessions. Allegations of physical coercion occur less frequently, but false confessions continue. If not using physical force, and not outright threatening or making blatant false promises, how are police getting innocent people to confess to crimes they did not commit? And why are courts seemingly powerless to stop it from happening?


False confessions are a problem of enormous consequence; ending them is an ethical and moral imperative. Reducing the risk of false confession and preventing injustices begin with the police to be sure, but responsibility for truly stopping them lies with all the stakeholders in the criminal legal system. 041b061a72


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