True Confessions

“… (W)hat tends to do in the wrongly convicted is the kind of evidence that seems clinching, that often is clinching—namely, eyewitness identifications and confessions. But the human memory is not a video recorder; eyewitness testimony is notoriously flawed. And although most of those who confess are guilty, people can and do confess to crimes they did not commit… Two simple measures could go a long way toward ensuring that findings of criminal guilt are genuine“, says Margaret Talbot, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation

. She suggests that lineups of criminal suspects be conducted sequentially instead of en masse, under the direction of police personnel who do not themselves know which of those in the lineup is the suspect; and that all interrogations be videotaped so that later reexamination can detect how much coercion had been used. The Atlantic