Among the most substantial evidence a prosecutor could present in a New Jersey courtroom would be a confession. Whether signed or delivered via a video recording, a suspect’s admission to a violent crime may lead to a guilty verdict. Such might be the case even when presenting a false confession. Suspects more frequently confess to crimes they did not commit than the public realizes. Police misconduct often plays a role in these miscarriages of justice.
Why false confessions may occur
A jury might find it hard to believe someone would confess to a crime they did not commit. The members may wonder why someone would give up a lifetime of freedom when innocent. Unfortunately, the average citizen who serves on a jury might not realize the deception that occurs during investigations and interrogations. The police, sadly, might coerce a confession that leads to someone making statements or signing confessions that are not accurate.
In some instances, a suspect might crack under the pressure of hours upon hours of questioning. The person could sign a confession hoping to end the immediate stress of the interrogation. The investigation may conclude, but the real problems now begin. Recanting the signed confession might prove far more complicated than the defendant ever realized. Such a false confession could even implicate other people who are also innocent, which is another terrible potential outcome.
Constitutional rights and confessions
The average citizen might not fully understand criminal law and constitutional rights related to privacy, self-incrimination, and protection from an oppressive government. Under the US Constitution, a suspect has the right to remain silent. Many do not understand that the police are under no requirement to read anyone the Miranda rights before an arrest. Therefore, the suspect could make incriminating statements, hoping to get out of a bad situation.
Allowing oneself to be questioned by the police at the station without an attorney present may result in disaster. The police could fool a suspect into making statements without requesting an attorney, leading to a more difficult time in court.
A criminal defense attorney could review the circumstances surrounding how the police procured a confession. The attorney might try to suppress the admission if the defendant’s rights were violated.