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Crime Science

Innocent Adults Are Easy To Convince They Committed a Serious Crime 291

binarstu (720435) writes "Research recently published [link is to abstract only; full text requires subscription] in Psychological Science quantifies how easy it is to convince innocent, "normal" adults that they committed a crime. The Association for Psychological Science (APS) has posted a nice summary of the research. From the APS summary: "Evidence from some wrongful-conviction cases suggests that suspects can be questioned in ways that lead them to falsely believe in and confess to committing crimes they didn't actually commit. New research provides lab-based evidence for this phenomenon, showing that innocent adult participants can be convinced, over the course of a few hours, that they had perpetrated crimes as serious as assault with a weapon in their teenage years."
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Innocent Adults Are Easy To Convince They Committed a Serious Crime

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 17, 2015 @08:11PM (#48841787)

    Is a gullible idiot.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @08:56PM (#48841989)

      Is a gullible idiot.

      Yes they are, and our justice system should take that into account. Confessions should not be admissible as evidence in court unless the jurors are given a full, uncut tape of the interrogation that led up to that confession. Way too many people have been tricked or pressured into confessing to something they didn't do. In the 1990 Central Park jogger case [wikipedia.org] several falsely accused, and subsequently convicted, teenagers claim that they were told they could go home if they confessed.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 17, 2015 @09:13PM (#48842079)
        Confessions should not be admissible as evidence in court unless the jurors are given a full, uncut tape of the interrogation that led up to that confession.

        Along with that, jurors should be allowed to directly question attorneys and witnesses.
        • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @09:39PM (#48842183) Homepage Journal

          And along with that, "plea bargains" should be absolutely forbidden. What they do is provide the prosecution tools to coerce and frighten victims of the system into admitting guilt for things they didn't do, at the same time as they take the determination of the individual's guilt out of the hands of a jury.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Opportunist ( 166417 )

            I never quite got why plea bargains are permissible in the first place. Either someone is guilty or he is not. It's one of the few things that are quite black and white, either someone committed a crime or he did not. Where does a plea bargain come in? Let's haggle over whether I did it partly or whether you want to punish me a little bit?

            What's that, a court of law or the Turkish bazaar?

            • by creimer ( 824291 )
              One could argue that there's a no need to have a court system. If a cop pulls you over for a traffic violation, you're guilty. No need to establish innocence or haggle over penalties. The cop blows your brains out on the side of road, saving the public some money in court costs and your dead body will remind potential offenders that there are legal consequences for violating laws.
            • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 17, 2015 @11:17PM (#48842543)

              It's one of the few things that are quite black and white, either someone committed a crime or he did not.

              A plea bargain is not someone saying they partially committed a crime, it is them admitting full guilt to a crime. The law frequently gives a range of punishments, e.g. upper and lower limits for fines or jail time, and the judge can pick something lower if the defendant saves everyone a bunch of time by just admitting it. Some laws also allow judges to remit or change the charges to a lesser crime depending on the circumstances too, especially if part of the plea bargain involves helping them catch other people. It has nothing to do with partly committing a crime, but what amount of punishments and exactly what charges are used. That said, it can pressure innocent people in tough situations to just accept guilt.

              • by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Sunday January 18, 2015 @12:23AM (#48842793) Homepage Journal

                It's one of the few things that are quite black and white, either someone committed a crime or he did not.

                A plea bargain is not someone saying they partially committed a crime, it is them admitting full guilt to a crime.

                In reality, a plea bargain is a strategic decision by a defendant or his lawyer that he would be better off taking a shorter sentence in a plea bargain than go to court, and get a much longer sentence if he loses.

                I've seen typical plea bargain of 6 months, which is time served, versus 15 years if he loses in court.

                Some judges insist on a legal fiction that the defendant is voluntarily admitting to the crime, but everybody knows that it's not voluntary and people are often forced to falsely admit to crimes to avoid the risk of a much worse sentence by a vindictive prosecutor.

                Lawyers have cases on file where people pled guilty to avoid a much longer sentence, and were exonerated afterwards.

                The courts are punishing people for exercising their constitutional right to a trial. The most outrageous thing is that the Supreme Court approved it.

                • Lawyers have cases on file where people pled guilty to avoid a much longer sentence, and were exonerated afterwards.

                  To give a sort of example for this: Let's say that I'm completely innocent, but I'm accused of some horrible crime. I'm looking at 40 years in prison. The prosecution offers me a deal of 'only' 1 year in prison even as I figure that while I'm likely to prove my innocence in court, there's a 5% chance I'll be found guilty anyways. Oh, and it'll cost approximately a year's income simply to fight it.

                  I'm actually statistically avoiding more prison time taking the deal. Personally, I'd fight all the way(fel

              • The law frequently gives a range of punishments, e.g. upper and lower limits for fines or jail time, and the judge can pick something lower if the defendant saves everyone a bunch of time by just admitting it.

                You misspelled "...and the judge can punish the uppity defendant for having the audacity to actually insist on due process!"

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Kaenneth ( 82978 )

              Plea Bargains save everyone time and money; as long a prosecutorial discretion exists, plea bargains will be possible. The alternative is the prosecutors office being required to pursue every single case. 5-17 year old took a nude picture of herself? Child Porn charges. kill in clear self defense? Murder charges. transpose two digits on your tax return? Tax Fraud charges.

              There wouldn't be enough people to serve on the juries for the people that missed jury duty!

              • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                by Anonymous Coward

                There wouldn't be enough people to serve on the juries for the people that missed jury duty!

                I heard a story about a pool of jurors that was told to go to the wrong room. The judge just ordered them all to be arrested for not showing up, and it took another judge to stop that process.

                At which point, all of the jurors had to be dismissed, because now they were pissed at the judge and the whole system.

              • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                by Anonymous Coward

                Plea Bargains save everyone time and money; as long a prosecutorial discretion exists, plea bargains will be possible. The alternative is the prosecutors office being required to pursue every single case. 5-17 year old took a nude picture of herself? Child Porn charges. kill in clear self defense? Murder charges. transpose two digits on your tax return? Tax Fraud charges.

                There wouldn't be enough people to serve on the juries for the people that missed jury duty!

                If the prosecutors office had to pursue every single case, then our laws would be changed so that things that shouldn't be illegal aren't. Instead we have so many laws that we can't possibly obey them all and have to hope that the presecutors and police will let slide the things we do. For example, my mother takes many different medicines for a chronic illness and when I was last visiting her I picked up her medicine as we were heading out for dinner. At some point while we were out a comment was made th

              • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Sunday January 18, 2015 @01:47AM (#48843043)

                The alternative is the prosecutors office being required to pursue every single case. 5-17 year old took a nude picture of herself? Child Porn charges. kill in clear self defense? Murder charges. transpose two digits on your tax return? Tax Fraud charges. There wouldn't be enough people to serve on the juries for the people that missed jury duty! There wouldn't be enough people to serve on the juries for the people that missed jury duty!

                GOOD! Then we might finally get some of these arbitrary, capricious, unconstitutional, bullshit laws off the books!

              • by theedgeofoblivious ( 2474916 ) on Sunday January 18, 2015 @03:49AM (#48843299)

                -or they would have to be more selective about what they prosecuted.

                5-17 year old took a nude picture of herself? Well I'd *like* to prosecute that, but I'm too busy prosecuting this other case.

                Kill in clear self defense? Again, I'd *like* to prosecute that, but I'm too busy prosecuting this other case.

                Can you imagine how horrible that would be?

            • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

              Money. It's much cheaper to convict through plea bargain, and therefore more prisoners can be convicted allowing for money transfer from state to private prisons.

            • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Sunday January 18, 2015 @03:39AM (#48843275)

              I never quite got why plea bargains are permissible in the first place.

              They're a form of punishment. Being forced to testify against yourself humiliates the accused and empowers the prosecutor. It dehumanizes the accused, by showing that no, he doesn't have any of those Constitutional rights. The prosecutor is, in effect, establishing his superiority to reality itself: pretend that what happened is what he said happened, or be severely punished.

              Plea bargains are basically a sadist's wet dream. And US legal system is built on the idea that justice is institutionalized sadism. Every single aspect of it is geared towards maximum harm to those caught in it, from criminal records (meant to extend punishment to infinity) to keeping people in death row for decades to uncertain methods of execution (as opposed to a simply breathing nitrogen) to private prisons (who have very incentive to make recidivism rate as high as possible). Hence the popular notion that everyone accused must be guilty, so you can enjoy watching the system grind them to bits with good conscience.

              Plea bargains are a symptom, but the disease itself is simply bloodlust.

              • by sjames ( 1099 )

                THIS!

                It's the same sadism that made the Romans enjoy watching people get eaten alive by lions. It may be 'civilized' and 'refined', but it comes from the same dark place.

          • by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Sunday January 18, 2015 @12:40AM (#48842859)

            "plea bargains" should be absolutely forbidden.

            You're assuming infinite resources. As it is, would you prefer a system where (1) your taxes now have to cover a 20-30-fold increase in state and federal courts (and prosecutors) needed to take all cases to trial; (2) on the other side of the bar, an even higher percentage of the population becomes criminal defense lawyers; and (3) you yourself end up on jury duty multiple times a year?

            Or, would you rather a world where the prosecutors just pursue the most egregious criminals given the limited resources they have, and put everyone else right back out on the streets with no deterrent whatsoever?

            I'm not suggesting the current plea-bargain system is optimal or that incremental changes aren't possible. What I am suggesting that you can't just throw out such a fundamental piece without stepping back and redesigning the entire system.

            • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Sunday January 18, 2015 @01:53AM (#48843053)

              Or, would you rather a world where the prosecutors just pursue the most egregious criminals given the limited resources they have, and put everyone else right back out on the streets with no deterrent whatsoever?

              YES, GODDAMNIT!

              That's EXACTLY what we want and what you should want -- unless you're a fucking totalitarian sociopathic boot-licker -- because we're living in a goddamn police state that contains 25% of the WORLD's prison population even though we only have 5% of the world's population overall. Damn right we need to only pursue the "egregious criminals," because in every civilized country on the planet, what you call the "egregious criminals" are the only criminals!

            • by Headw1nd ( 829599 ) on Sunday January 18, 2015 @11:58AM (#48844707)
              But the thing is plea bargaining is not a fundamental piece, it has only gained prominence in the last 100 years, and was popularized to handle the enormous amount of "crime" that prohibition created. We now recognize that the underlying cause of much of this crime - Prohibition - was bad law, so why are we clinging to plea bargaining? Probably because we are still clinging to prohibition, just in a different fashion.
        • by blackbeak ( 1227080 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @10:10PM (#48842297)

          Confessions should not be admissible as evidence in court unless the jurors are given a full, uncut tape of the interrogation that led up to that confession. Along with that, jurors should be allowed to directly question attorneys and witnesses.

          And informed of the jury nullification option.

        • Along with that, jurors should be allowed to directly question attorneys and witnesses.

          That is the way that military courts work. I have been on several court martial boards (juries), and we were allowed to ask questions directly to the attorneys, witnesses, and even the defendant (if he chose to waive his 5th amendment rights). It not only helped clarify issues, but it also sped up the trial, because the attorneys could tell from the questions what the jurors understood, and what the open issues were.

      • Well actually you can walk into a police office and tell them you just murdered somebody, but unless they can prove it you'll never go to court, never mind go to jail. Of course, you can act as a pretty good witness to your own prosecution (i.e. telling them where you buried the body) but again there has to be substantial evidence to prove that you yourself aren't lying (such as in the case of where the person is missing but there's no body.)

        • by nbauman ( 624611 )

          Well actually you can walk into a police office and tell them you just murdered somebody, but unless they can prove it you'll never go to court, never mind go to jail.

          Somebody actually did that and wound up getting convicted and sent to jail.

          As I recall, he was in one state (Florida?) and didn't have money to get home to another state (New York?) so he walked into a police station and "confessed" to a crime he never committed. He thought he could just revoke the confession when he got home, but it didn't work that way. Once you confess to something, the juries always convict.

          I think he was finally released after many years in jail.

          • In order for that to have happened, they had to have some other evidence that corroborated with what the guy was saying, either that or he just happened to guess some of the details of the crime that only the killer would have known (which that's actually happened before on people who weren't admitting to anything; they were tricked into saying things about the crime scene that only the killer should have known.)

            • by nbauman ( 624611 )

              I wish I had the actual news story to show you. The point was, he believed exactly what you do. But it wasn't true.

              He thought that he could confess, retract the confession, and they couldn't convict him without some other evidence, because he wasn't really guilty.

              He believed false convictions in a murder case just couldn't happen in this country.

              However, as the New Yorker article said http://www.newyorker.com/magaz... [newyorker.com] when a jury has a confession, they always believe it. Even if the suspect retracts it, eve

    • It's not about just gullibility.

      Anyone who's read or studied or even gone lightly over the research of Elizabeth Loftus will not be surprised by this and will know it's about more than just gullibility.

    • by ron_ivi ( 607351 )

      Is a gullible idiot

      So wonder how many of the GuantÃnamo confessions worked this way.

    • The average human being is a gullible idiot

      And half of them are even more gullible than that.

      • What's really shocking is that fully half the population has below-average intelligence!
        • Not true really. (Score:3, Informative)

          by denzacar ( 181829 )

          It seems like it is - on paper.
          In reality that bell curve is actually skewed to the right - due to the limiting effects of low intelligence and test error.

          The peak in the middle of the curve is actually a flat line, so the top of the curve is not a single person with a perfect IQ100, but millions of people scoring AROUND IQ100.
          Also, due to the built-in unreliability of the test itself, a certain percentage will certainly score less than their actual intelligence.
          Due to stress, various environmental and pers

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @08:13PM (#48841805) Journal

    Can't fool me. I didn't do it. I've got a record of the charges being dismissed.

  • by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@gma i l .com> on Saturday January 17, 2015 @08:20PM (#48841847) Journal
    What would be interesting would be to see what a polygraph says about their false memories. Can it distinguish between an event that occurred and one that was from a false memory? If not, that would be the final nail in the coffin.
    • No. Polygraphs measure your involuntary responses. Lying is stressful. Lying to people trying to tell if you're lying even more so. If you believe it, you'll pass the polygraph just fine.

      • I would fail the polygraph even if I was telling the complete truth. If you're a nervous person (and I can't imagine many people wouldn't be under those conditions), then you're screwed. Polygraphs are good for absolutely nothing; mere pseudoscience.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I did fail a polygraph even though I was telling the complete truth. It was a full scope polygraph for a Federal agency. The polygraph examiner - a LEO - then interrogated me for a bit, accusing me of various crimes that he thought I was likely to have committed. While I was disappointed in the outcome, I took advantage of the exchange to observe real-life interrogation techniques. I noted the following:

          1. Building up my ego. He told me that, with my experience, he thought I'd be an excellent candidate for

          • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
            Point of order, you didn't fail the test. You were told you failed. An actual failure must be documented, with the results given per-question and raw data given so a re-reading of the results is possible. You were interrogated. There's a difference.

            A "real" polygraph wouldn't follow the pattern you gave. He "accused" you of various crimes. In a "real" polygraph, the questions should all be presented before the test, so that no question is a "surprise". You may have been properly prepped, but the man
      • Actually, the Voight-Kampff test seemed to work pretty well in Blade Runner, but I wouldn't want to administer it.
    • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @08:59PM (#48842007) Homepage

      What would be interesting would be to see what a polygraph says about their false memories. Can it distinguish between an event that occurred and one that was from a false memory? If not, that would be the final nail in the coffin.

      What coffin? Polygraphs are a hoax intended to scare stupid criminals into confessing. It does even work on real memories, why would it work on false ones?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      During a polygraph examination, the polygraph is entirely a prop. At some point, the examiner will say something like "the machine says that's not true, are you really being completely truthful and forthcoming here?" The way you "fail" a polygraph examination is if you TELL the examiner that you were lying, and the polygraph is a prop to help him get you to do that. You could replace the polygraph with a crystal ball or a deck of tarot cards and the whole thing would work just the same way.

  • Reid Technique (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 17, 2015 @08:24PM (#48841867)

    Yes. It's called the Reid technique and the police in the US have been deliberately exploiting it for years to obtain false convictions.

    They know they are exploiting a psychological weakness. They do not care that innocent people are sent to prison. They simply want convictions.

    • Re:Reid Technique (Score:5, Interesting)

      by russotto ( 537200 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @09:17PM (#48842095) Journal

      It's called the Reid technique and the police in the US have been deliberately exploiting it for years to obtain false convictions.

      I've had that used on me. As soon as I realized what they were doing I called them on it (didn't know what it was called at the time) and they ended the interview right there. In Step 1 they implied they had certain evidence of my guilt and knew I was guilty; they screwed up Step 3 because I said I didn't do it, and somewhere in Step 6 or 7 realized they had no such evidence (because it didn't fit their alternatives) and called them on it.

  • by bradgoodman ( 964302 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @08:35PM (#48841911) Homepage
    I'm not an extreme (left/right) crackpot - but I've read a bunch of their rethoric with respect to "knowing your rights" when it comes to dealing with police - and there is a LOT of merit to it!

    This article speaks to the core of it.

    These types of "false confessions" always follow the same pattern. Police with little or no circumstantial evidence pulling innocent people into long interrogations. They are happy to talk - because they are innocent, and letting all the facts come out can only help, right?

    People need Serious education on how to handle situations like this. What to do and - NOT to do. What their rights are, and what will work best in their interests. Most of the time, the are involved in conversations that they have no obligation to have - and can leave at any time.

    • by OldSport ( 2677879 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @08:55PM (#48841981)

      Basically, don't talk to the police without a lawyer present. Period. I mean, I'm not going to stonewall a cop that pulls me over for a broken taillight, but if the line of questioning goes any further than what's immediately relevant to said taillight, that's when I shut up. And you can guarantee that I will be videotaping the entire encounter! Cops are under no obligation to tell you the truth about anything; it's up to you to know what your rights are in a given situation and assert them.

      • Again - people need to understand it in more depth - it's more than that. Thinks like: never consent to a search, always insist that you want to leave, how to ask if you are being detained. Also understanding the reasoning behind these things - and what their positive and negative consequences are are importiant - and not always intuitive.
      • by nbauman ( 624611 )

        Basically, don't talk to the police without a lawyer present. Period. I mean, I'm not going to stonewall a cop that pulls me over for a broken taillight, but if the line of questioning goes any further than what's immediately relevant to said taillight, that's when I shut up. And you can guarantee that I will be videotaping the entire encounter! Cops are under no obligation to tell you the truth about anything; it's up to you to know what your rights are in a given situation and assert them.

        According to the New Yorker story http://www.newyorker.com/magaz... [newyorker.com] after the police read a suspect his Miranda rights, only about a third exercise it. I couldn't figure out why.

        I have noticed that on a lot of TV police programs, the cops start interrogating the suspect and he doesn't exercise his right to be silent. They treat it as if it's an intellectual game and the suspect has to convince the cops of his innocence. It's like TV cop programs are propaganda for the cops to convince people that the "right

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It starts LONG before there are any Miranda rights - or an arrest. Often times because there is no cause for an arrest until the "suspect" tells the cop something to warrant an arrest, or consents to an otherwise unwarranted search, yielding incriminating evidence.

          You can see this stuff happening all the times on shows like "Cops" - and gets to the heart of things like the Ferguson protests. Things like "Stop and frisk", "Driving while Black" and DUI checkpoints. (If you don't understand everything about D

      • by rwyoder ( 759998 )

        Basically, don't talk to the police without a lawyer present. Period. I mean, I'm not going to stonewall a cop that pulls me over for a broken taillight, but if the line of questioning goes any further than what's immediately relevant to said taillight, that's when I shut up. And you can guarantee that I will be videotaping the entire encounter! Cops are under no obligation to tell you the truth about anything; it's up to you to know what your rights are in a given situation and assert them.

        Absolutely true, and here is an excellent 50 minute video with a law professor explaining why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    • It's not just people happy to talk. the interrogators are trained to catch certain signs that the interviewee is telling the truth. But if the cops miss those signs or choose to ignore them, the interrogation can go on for hours and hours, plenty long enough for people to be "brainwashed" into remembering crimes they never committed in great detail. It's kinda scary how far they can take someone with stress, sleep deprivation and hunger, in only a relatively few hours.

      Later Reid courses actually show a tape

  • by Patent Lover ( 779809 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @08:46PM (#48841957)
    ... is that the cops don't care who really did it. Assholes as usual.
    • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @09:46PM (#48842207) Homepage Journal

      cops don't care who really did it

      Neither do the prosecutors -- or the judges. For them, it's all about notches on the handle of their figurative pistol.

      Our justice system attracts some of the worst human beings among us. The very last thing you can expect from it, and from them, is "justice."

    • A lot of it is due to the Dunning-Kruger effect. The cops know you did it, because they arrested you. They wouldn't have arrested you if they were not sure you were guilty. They know they never make mistakes. And then they stop investigating the crime once they have someone to pin it on.

  • "I would first like to speak with an attorney before speaking with you."

    For those in the US, learn it, love it, use it. If you don't, you lose it.

  • except that the justice system is a sham and they're the unlucky victim today.

    They're adults. If anything, they realize how incredibly expensive it is to defend themselves in court and be found completely innocent.
    It's actually better to work out a plea bargin, thereby confessing to a another crime they didn't commit, and get the D.A. off their case from a financial standpoint.

    • by nbauman ( 624611 )

      That's not what the research says. http://www.newyorker.com/magaz... [newyorker.com]

      What happens is the cops wear the suspect down. They go on for hours, insisting that the suspect is wrong, that they have conclusive evidence, and that if they confess it will go better for them (or even that if they confess, they can go home). They try to get the suspect actually believing that he might have done it, if these authority figures say so with such confidence.

      The New Yorker story had an example of this:

      I saw this effect in a video of an interrogation that an Iowa defense attorney sent me. His client, a young man who was eighteen at the time of the interview, had been wrongly accused of molesting a three-year-old girl at the day-care center where he worked. The detective never raised his voice or appeared anything other than sympathetic. But, in under two hours, he had the young man saying that he had blanked out and fondled the little girl. As if in a trance, the young man said, “I know it happened but I don’t remember any of it. . . . I guess it must have happened.” After a break in the interrogation, during which the young man was allowed to see his sister, he retracted his confession and maintained his innocence. The district attorney dropped the charges.

  • If you are being officially questioned, there are only two things you need to say -
    1. Am I under arrest?
    2. I wish to speak with my lawyer.

    Very simply because they think you were either involved with or the prime suspect in a crime, and -
    1. The police officer is trying to solve a case/send something to the DA, and that is their first priority, the lawyers/court are there to determine what happened.
    2. Even if they don't get a confession for a serious crime, they may charge you with whatever they can, to provi

  • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @10:00PM (#48842265)

    It's not just a matter of people being idiots or people talking to police without a lawyer. There's a much deeper psychological thing going on here, and that's I think the point of the article. A famous case years ago in Iceland really illustrated this phenomenon. Six people admitted to their role in a murder in Iceland and this was thought to be an open and shut case. Several of the accused even showed police where they disposed of the body, and provided details on how they committed the murder. The problem was, none of them actually had anything to do with the murder, or any murder at all, and all the details they were remembering were not real at all. It's a very long but fascinating read. Yes they were manipulated and badgered (by well-meaning prosecutors who didn't see themselves as manipulative), but the crazy thing is that as a result they convinced themselves that they really did participate in this murder. Was this just a case of over-zealous police and prosecutors? Or was there something more to it?

    http://www.bbc.com/news/specia... [bbc.com]

  • From home I can click through to the full text as HTML [sagepub.com] but if I try to click through to the PDF it wants me to pay.

    This might be an error (or perhaps their server has a guilty conscience from a crime it did not commit?) but for now if you want to see the full text, there it is.
  • Derren Brown is a quite famous, not quite sure what I would call him, mind fucker I guess. He is English and has a number of shows where he messes with peoples heads to show what is possible.

    In one of those shows he convinced a person that he had committed a murder in the space of a couple of hours. He used reinforcing contact, sounds, disconcerting environments etc.

    Really something to watch.

  • 23 of them, motherfucker.

  • Entrapment? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by houghi ( 78078 ) on Sunday January 18, 2015 @06:18AM (#48843635)

    Is that still legal in the USofA?

    I also overheard a conversation where some cops-in-training where proud on how they learned how to get confessions out of people for things they did not do. Not get the truth out of them. To get confessions for things THEY DID NOT DO.

    Country was Belgium.

    When I did a reply on Usenet in an anti-abuse newsgroup of a link to childporn. I informed the police. I also informed the media when it wasn't gone after 2 days.
    I was asked to come in via the company where I worked and they tried to get me for:
    1) Spreading of childporn, because of the reply that still had the URL. (And that is why you must snip on quote correctly on Usenet.) When I told them I send them an email, they explained that their mailserver was broken.
    2) The tried to get me for falsification of my identity, because the email-provider did not have my correct address. Like anybody would give out that on some random website.
    3) They tried to get me for obstruction of the law, because I spoke to the press. If they would have just send me an autoreply, I would have done nothing. Obviously I had no idea that any investigation was going on. Also: they already KNEW who was the guilty person and were keeping it live just to get higher numbers. As the URL was already out, it ment that they were basically spreading childporn.
    4) They called my company from where I had done the posting and told them they needed my information because of a child case abuse.
    Luckily the COO was not an idiot and understood after 30 seconds when I told him what I had done and even asked me if he should block the info about who I was and wait for a court order. He could easily do that under Belgian law on the right to privacy. The CEO even offerd to pay for any lawyer if anything would come of it. It never did.
    Imagine that this would have been another company. I could have lost my job over someting I was trying to get solved. But then: They do not care. They were clueless and only interested in the numbers, not in stopping spreading those sick, sick, sick images that I can not unsee.
    When I left the police station after making clear that I was not afraid and that I did nothing do and they were basically idiots (also leaving me alone with evdence of other cases on the table) they asked me if I would keep the same login in the future. Only later did I realize that I did not know the difference between a login and an email address.

    From then on I NEVER saw anything illegal on the Internet anymore. EVER.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Sunday January 18, 2015 @10:16AM (#48844253)

    Never ever talk to the police if you could potentially be charged with a crime.

    Not a word.

    First, they tell you up front with the Miranda warning. "Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law." They very clearly do NOT say that anything you say can be used in your defense. And in fact, it cannot. For example, if you tell police something incriminating then that is evidence against you. However, if you say something exhortating then it is "hearsay" and inadmissible. That is what you say can ONLY be used AGAINST you and not for you. So there is literally no incentive to say anything given that nothing you say can help you. It can literally only hurt you.

    Second, the "memory" of what you said to police is evidence in a court case. Which means if you had a long conversation with the police in which you said nothing incriminating but they "remember" you saying something incriminating then basically it is your word about what you said versus theirs. Have fun with that. Where as if you said nothing and never said anything then it is a great deal harder for anyone to misremember something you said. Make sure all your statements go through your lawyer and are on record... and say as little as possible.

    Third, in any court case against you, you start out with the presumption of innocence. The less the police have to work with the harder it will be for them to build a case against you whether you did it or not. Give them NOTHING. Simply pleading the 5th and refusing to talk is a powerful defense against any police investigation and there really isn't anything they can do about it.

    Look at what the rich and powerful do whenever they are taken to court or sit before congress giving testomony. They basically say as little as possible if they say anything at all. Before a judge they'll just plead the 5th, challenge the prosecution to make a case, and then try to tear that apart while giving literally nothing up as to what they were doing unless they can shatter a bit of the prosecution's case. And before congress they'll just say "I don't recall" over and over and over again. Because that is basically the version of "I plead the 5th" that works in a congressional investigation.

    Do not. Talk. To. The. Police.

    I say this as a law abiding citizen that believe in law and order. But the court system is set up in such a way that the police are inherently adversarial rather then impartial. And statements to them are basically just statements to the prosecution. You are not talking to an impartial judge that will weigh both sides of anything you say. You are talking to an agent that is trained to find anything he can bust you with and do it the instant he's got something.

    So do NOT talk to the police.

  • by prefec2 ( 875483 ) on Sunday January 18, 2015 @05:33PM (#48846437)

    According to most comments here, the (I assume) US police force is not trying to solve crimes by collecting evidence, but instead they are only trying to get a maximum of convictions. If so, I wonder why there are no protests about it. The police force is part of the executive of a state. They are necessary to ensure the monopoly of power in the state and represent one pillar of a modern free democracy. They must adhere the law (even if it sucks), but they must not try to impress statistically. That would be a real considerable bias. Even in a police state you try to direct the suppression towards criminals and people who oppose the government, but the accusations here point to random (may be race biased) behavior. That would imply a broken system. So can someone explain why there are no demonstrations? Every day? Until the government fixes the situation? In the US, I heard, can elect the sheriff of their city. In that case it would be possible to elect someone who wants to fix it.

If you push the "extra ice" button on the soft drink vending machine, you won't get any ice. If you push the "no ice" button, you'll get ice, but no cup.

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