Advanced Criminal Law: Convicting the Innocent
Professor James R. Elkins College of Law
West Virginia University|Fall|2016|



False Confessions


Richard A. Leo & Steven A. Drizin, "The Three Errors: Pathways to False Confession and Wrongful Convictions," in G. Daniel Lassiter & Christian Meissner (eds.), Police Interrogations and False Confessions: Current Research, Practice, and Policy Recommendations (American Psychological Association, 2010) [online text]

Brandon L. Garrett, Contaminated Confessions Revisited, 101 Va. L. Rev. 395 (2015) [online text]

Class Videos

False Confessions: Introduction

False Confessions [9:12 mins.] [Vera Institute of Justice] [Saul Kassin, Professor of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice] [for a longer version of Saul Kassin's comments, see: Why Innocent People Confess] [29:47 mins.] [Kassin's presentation begins at 2:46 mins.]

Chris Ochoa

Chris Ochoa: A True Story of a False Confession [ 4:03 mins.]

Supplemental Videos: Chris Ochoa Interview [ 4:25 mins.] I Didn't Do It: Chris Ochoa [ 45:50 mins.]

Byron Halsey

Byron Halsey Exonerated [2:11 mins.] [coerced false confession]

Anthony Dansberry

Tricked Into Confessing To Murder [5:26 mins.] [Center on Wrongful Convictions]

Juan Rivera

The Case Against Juan Rivera [7:51 mins.]

Supplemental Videos: Convicted Despite DNA: The Juan Rivera Case [7:23 mins.] [Center on Wrongful Convictions] [jail house informant] Juan Rivera on False Confessions [5:21 mins.] Juan Rivera Released from Prison [3:35 mins.] Wrongfully Convicted: The Juan Rivera Story [8:14 mins.] Possible Changes in Interrogation Tactics to Prevent False Confessions [9:21 mins.]

False Confessions in Chicago

Chicago: The False Confession Capital [13:30 mins.] [60 Minutes] [juvenile false convictions] [featuring James Hardin, Terrill Swift, Robert Taylor, Jonathan Barr, Michael Saunders, Harold Richardson, Vincent Thames] [presenting six cases in which defendants were found guilty solely on the basis of coerced confessions]

False Confessions in the Central Park 5 Case

Central Park Five's Yusef Salaam: Donald Trump Needs to Be Fired from Running for President [17:39 mins.] [Democracy Now]

False Confession Videos

The Psychology of False Confessions
[15:33 mins.]

The System: False Confessions
[49:16 mins.] [Joe Berlinger] [Al Jazeera] [one of the cases featured involves Jeffrey Deskovic :: Jeffrey Deskovic speaks about False Confessions :: 4:53 mins. For additional videos on the Jeffrey Deskovic case, see the Deskovic entry: Case Studies: Short Studies Master File]

Wrongful Convictions: Rob Warden
[11:09 mins.] [discussing the Dennis Williams case] [TED Talk]

Why Would a Kid Falsely Confess to a Crime?
[15:53 mins.] [Joshua Tepfer, TED Talk]

False Confessions and Compensation
[5:47 mins.]

The Science of Justice
[1:10:06 mins.] [panel discussion, at 33:17 mins. , begins to discuss coerced false confessions; panelists include journalist Jim Dwyer, Innocence Project co-founder Peter Neufeld, forensic scientist Mechthild Prinz, psychologist Saul Kassin and law professor Ekow Yankah who discusses uncertainty in the courtroom] [discussion of false confessions ends at 54:28 mins.]

False Confessions Symposium
[1:42:54 mins.] [Washington & Lee] Panel 2 [1:01:02 mins.] Panel 3 [1:45:24 mins.] Panel 4 [1:28:02 mins.]

False Confessions: When the Innocent Confess and the Guilty Go Free
[1:39:38 mins.] [The Constitution Project]

Scott Bessler on False Confessions
[1:04:58 mins.] [Bessler is introduced by Mark Godsey, Director of the Ohio Innocence Project]

Dan Ringer Talks with West Virginia College of Law Professor Valenta Beety and Ifeoma Ike, a policy advocate with the New York Innocence Project [26:42 mins.] [The Law Works, West Virginia Public Broadcasting]

Courts Reactions to False Confession Evidence
[2:53 mins.]

A Defense Lawyer Talking about the Introduction of False Confession Evidence in Trials [1:27 mins.]

False Confessions: The Shame of the Legal System
[28:21 mins.]

Investigating and Litigating False Confessions in Post-Conviction Innocence Cases
[1:07:34 mins.] [panel discussion with presentations by Steve Drizin, Center on Wrongful Convictions, Chicago, Illinois and Laura Nirider, Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth, Chicago, Illinois]

Theories and Advocacy Strategies in False Confession Cases
[1:01:53 mins.]

Interviewing and Interrogation: 5 Keys to False Confession
[12:11 mins.]

Interrogation Tactics and False Confessions
[13:08 mins.] [audio]

Obtaining and Using False Confession Experts in Post-Conviction Claims
[1:05:05 mins.]

Don Connery on False Confessions
[46:31 mins.] [Don Connery, a Harvard-educated author and independent journalist, investigated and reported on a series of false-confession cases.]

False Confession: Episode of "Justice"
[9:45 mins.] [Episode of TV drama--"Justice"; fiction] Pt2 || Pt3 || Pt4 || Pt5 [app. 41 min.]

Why People Confess to Crimes They Didn't Commit
[3:04 mins.]

Why People Might Give a False Confession
[2:49 mins.] [Senna Austin, criminal justice professor]

Case Studies

Norfolk 4

Central Park 5

West Memphis 3

Brendan Dassey: "Making a Murder"

Brendan Dassey: A True Story of a False Confession
[2:06:28 mins.]

Brendan Dassey Police Interview: Interrogation Part #1
[56:03 mins.] Pt2 [1:47:54 ]

'Making a Murderer': Breaking Down Brendan Dassey's Confession
[8:31 mins.]

Raymond Santana|Central Park 5 & Erik Wilson|Norfolk 4

The Cases of Raymond Santana and Eric Wilson
[1:42:54 mins.] [Washington & Lee School of Law symposium]

Englewood 5 & Dixmoor 5

Overturn the Englewood 4 and Dixmoor 5 Convictions
[4:30 mins.]

Beatrice Six: Ada JoAnn Taylor

[5:45 mins.]

Ada JoAnn Taylor Describes the Interrogations that Led to her False Confession
[5:52 mins.]

Life After Exoneration

[3:25 mins.]

Melissa Calusinki

Melissa Calusinski pleads for new trial at hearing
[1:45 mins.] [ABC News] [coerced/false confession; 9 hrs. of interrogation]

Melissa Calusinski 'Ready To Come Home,' Father Says
[3:19 mins.]

Father Of Jailed Daycare Worker: Release My Daughter
[2:03 mins.]

Newly-Discovered X-Ray Scans Could Clear Daycare Worker In Toddler's Death
[3:16 mins.]

Melissa Calusinski: Detective "Made A Mistake"
[2:36 mins.]

New development could free woman convicted in toddler death
[5:03 mins.] [CBSN]

Melissa Calusinski Recalls "Nightmare" Interrogation In Toddler's Death
[4:06 mins.]

"48 Hours" investigates child care worker's confession in toddler death
[3:56 mins.]

Melissa Calusinski Case Front And Center In Lake County State's Attorney Race
[2:38 mins.] [CBS Chicago]

Wrongly Convicted
[58:54 mins.] [March 19, 2014] [Melissa Calusinski's father is interviewed] Pt1: Paul Calusinki & Attorney Paul DeLuca [59:02 mins.]

The Melissa Calusinski Interrogation
[1:27:46 mins.] Pt2 [35:22 mins.] Pt3 [24:40 mins.] Pt4 [24:41 mins.] Pt5 [24:41 mins.] Pt6 [1:27:48 mins.]

Michael Crowe

Miscarriage of Justice
[14:54 mins.] Pt2 [14:52 mins.] Pt3 [14:56 mins.]

Michael Crowe Case
[4:43 mins.]

Eddie Lowry

The Making of a False Confession
[2:54 mins.]

Johnnie Lee Savory

Johnnie Lee Savory Discusses His Confession (at Age 14) [5:24 mins.] Pt2 [5:33 mins.] Pt3: New Trial [4:29 mins.] Pt4 [3:30 mins.] Get Busy Living, or Get Busy Dying [In 2006, Johnnie Lee Savory was paroled and released after serving 30 years in prison.] [Journey for Justice] [Audio: Johnnie Lee Savory, in a 2008 interview tells his story] [Steve Drizin on justice for Savory]

Vanesa Gathers

First Woman Exonerated by Brooklyn's Conviction Review Unit
[7:40 mins.] [false confession]

Henry Lee McCallum

Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson Announces He Will Vacate Conviction of David McCallum [1l:18 mins.] [The David McCallum case involves false confessions, ineffective assistance of counsel]

The Bittersweet Taste of Freedom: Brooklyn man wrongfully jailed for 29 years
[2:03 mins.]

McCallum Talks to Huffington Post
[14:41 mins.] [David McCallum served 29 years in prison after being coerced into offering a false confession for the kidnapping and murder of a 20-year-old boy in 1985. ]

Henry McCollum, Leon Brown freed after 30 years in prison
[1:44 mins.] [McCollum's brother, Leon Brown, was also exonerated.]

Brothers freed after 30 years on Death Row
[2:20 mins.]

David & Me: Trailer
[1:58 mins.]

Wrongly Convicted Brothers Freed After 31 Years in Prison
[12:52 mins.]

2 Brothers Released From Prison After Spending 30 Years For A Rape & Murder They Didn't Commit [7:05 mins.]

DA Unashamed Of Wrongful Death Row Convictions
[5:20 mins.]

Innocent Man Spends Nearly 30 Years In Prison
[8:19 mins.]

Jeffrey Deskovic

Jeffrey Deskovic
[3:47 mins.] [NC Public Public Radio] [16 years in prison for murder and rape] [coerced false conviction; prosecutorial misconduct; misconduct by medical examiner]

Jeffrey Deskovic Talks Wrongful Conviction and Criminal Justice Reform
[5:44 mins.] [Al Jazeera]

The true injustice of wrongful conviction | Jeffrey Deskovic
[16:53 mins.] [TED Talk]

Jeffrey Deskovic Speaks before the New York State Legislature
[19:00 mins.]

Jeffrey Deskovic Talks About False Witnesses at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice
[16:15 mins.]

Jeffrey Deskovic Talks About DNA Databanks
[9:24 mins.]

Jeffrey Deskovic speaks about exoneree reintegration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
[32:07 mins.]

Jeffrey Deskovic Speaks About When Justice is Denied
[1:00:04 mins.]

Jeffrey Deskovic speaks about False Confessions
[4:53 mins.]

Reference Resources

False Confessions
[Innocence Project]

False Confessions
[Student Project, Cornell University]

Following New Evidence of Coerced Confessions, NYCLU Calls on Police to Videotape Interrogations Coerced Confessions [Prof. Richard Rosen, University of North Carolina School of Law, Presentation to, Public Defender Conference, May 14, 2008]

How to Get a False Confession in Ten Easy Steps
[Nathan J. Gordon, director of the Academy for Scientific Investigative Training, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; author of Effective Interviewing and Interrogation Techniques]

Police Interrogations and Confessions
[Saul Kassin] [an extensive collection of articles by Saul Kassin, all available online]

Untrue Confessions
[Paul Cassell]

Police Interrogation: Practices and Techniques

Richard A. Leo, Police Interrogation and American Justice (New Press, 2008)

Gisli H. Gudjonsson, The Psychology of Interrogations and Confessions: A Handbook (Wiley, 2003)

Joseph P. Buckley, Essentials of the Reid Technique: Criminal Interrogations and Confessions (Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2004)

David E. Zulawski & Douglas E. Wicklander, Practical Aspects of Interview and Interrogation (CRC, 2nd ed., 2001)

Stan B. Walters, Principles of Kinesic Interview and Interrogation (CRC, 2nd ed., 2002)

Don Rabon, Interviewing and Interrogation (Carolina Academic Press, 2005)

Fred E. Inbau,, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions (Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2004)

G. Daniel Lassiter, Interrogations, Confessions, and Entrapment (Springer, 2006)

Tom Wells & Richard A Leo, The Wrong Guys: Murder, False Confessions, and the Norfolk Four (New Press, 2009)

Nathan Gordon & William L. Fleisher, Effective Interviewing and Interrogation Techniques (Academic Press, 2nd ed., 2006)

Gregory DeClue, Interrogations and Dispute Confessions: A Manual for Forensic Psychological Practice (Professional Resource Press, 2005)

Reference: Articles

The Substance of False Confessions
Brandon L. Garrett, Stanford L. Rev., 2010

Contaminated Confessions Revisited
Brandon L. Garrett, Va. L. Rev., 2015 ,

Expert Testimony on Interrogation and False Confession
Brian L. Cutler, Keith A. Findley & Danielle Loney, UMKC L. Rev., 2014

Coerced Confessions
Richard A. Rosen, University of North Carolina School of Law
Public Defender Conference, 2008

Coerced/Nonvoluntary Confessions
Hollida Wakefield & Ralph Underwager

Alleged Cases of Wrongful Conviction from False Confessions
Paul G. Cassell, College of Law, University of Utah

The Truth About False Confessions and Advocacy Scholarship
Richard A. Leo & Richard J. Ofshe; a response to Paul Cassell's "Alleged Cases of Wrongful Conviction from False Confessions"

Use of False Confession Expert Testimony
Christopher H. Brown & Gregory DeClue

Expert Testimony on Interrogation and False Confession
Brian L. Cutler, Keith A. Findley & Danielle Loney

Coerced Internalized False Confession and Police Interrogations
France E. Chapman

Articles: Richard Leo

False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and Implications
Richard A. Leo, J. Am. Acad. Psychiatry Law, 2009

From False Confession to Wrongful Conviction: Seven Psychological Processes
Richard A. Leo & Deborah Davis, J. Psychiatry & Law, 2009

The Three Errors: Pathways to False Confession and Wrongful Conviction
Richard A. Leo & Steven A. Drizin

Inside the Interrogation Room
Richard A. Leo, University of San Francisco

Wrongful Convictions and False Confessions
Richard A. Leo

False Confessions and Legal Safeguards in the 2lst Century
Richard A. Leo, Steven A. Drizin, Peter J. Neufeld, Bradley R. Hall & Amy Vatner

The Consequences of False Confessions: Deprivations of Liberty and Miscarriages of Justice in the Age of Psychological Interrogation
Richard A. Leo & Richard J. Ofshe

The Problem of False Confessions in the Post-DNA World
Richard A. Leo & Steven A. Drizin, North Carolina L. Rev.

Police-Induced Confessions, Risk Factors and Recommendations: Looking Ahead
Richard A. Leo, , Law & Human Behavior, 2010

Strategies for Preventing False Confessions and Their Consequences
Richard A. Leo & Deborah Davis, chapter in Mark R. Kebbell & Graham M. Davies (eds.), Practical Psychology for Forensic Investigations and Prosecutions, 2006

Norfolk Four

Excerpts from Tom Wells & Richard A. Leo, The Wrong Guys: Murder, False Confessions, and the Norfolk Four (New Press 2008)

Defense Counsel in a False Confession Case

False Confession Defense
Don Murray, New York City