CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cutler, Findley & Loney on Expert Testimony on False Confessions

Brian L. Cutler Keith A. Findley and Danielle Loney (University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) , University of Wisconsin Law School and University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)) have posted Expert Testimony on Interrogation and False Confession (UMKC Law Review, Vol. 82, No. 3, 2014) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article examines the need and bases for expert testimony on false confessions in criminal cases. Drawing on social science research, the article first briefly assesses the role of false confessions in wrongful convictions, including the nature of the false confession problem and the impact of false confessions in producing false convictions as well as in tainting other evidence and other aspects of police investigations. The article then turns to admissibility standards that govern expert testimony and their application to false confession expert testimony. In particular it sets forth the typical standards used for assessing admissibility of expert evidence and then shows that, when those standards are applied objectively, appropriately framed expert testimony on false confessions should be admissible in most cases. In particular, the article discusses the research on false confessions to highlight the types of facts that experts can provide to juries. The article then addresses the most prominent systemic response to coerced confessions "the Miranda warnings." The article examines psychological research to demonstrate that Miranda provides very little protection against coerced and false confessions, and, therefore, cannot provide justification for dispensing with expert testimony.

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