November 28, 2007
Innocence Project Director Discusses False Confessions
Thomas M. Cooley Law School Innocence Project Co-Director Marla Mitchell-Cichon recently wrote an opinion piece for the Lansing State Journal concerning false confession. Here is an excerpt:
When will we learn that innocent individuals can and do confess to crimes they do not commit? Sometimes they even plead guilty.
While we might find ourselves saying, "never," when imagining ourselves in such a situation, the truth is confessions and guilty pleas come from the mouths of the innocent. Of the 208 DNA exonerations nationally, more than 25 percent of the cases involved false confessions or guilty pleas.
Michigan should have learned this lesson in 2002 when Detroit native Eddie Joe Lloyd was found innocent and exonerated of the 1984 rape and murder of 16-year-old Michelle Jackson.
Lloyd was in a mental institution at the time of the investigation of the Jackson case. He contacted police because he wanted to help solve the crime. After three police interviews, Lloyd confessed to the crime. According to the police, Lloyd provided details of the crime that only the perpetrator could have known.
Hauntingly we have heard the same claims in the Claude McCollum case in Lansing. McCollum's "sleepwalking" confession also contained specific details of the crime. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
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