Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Fifty years after Miranda v. Arizona, significant numbers of innocent suspects are falsely confessing to crimes while subject to police custodial interrogation. Critics on the left and right have proposed reforms to Miranda, but few such proposals are appropriately targeted to the problem of false confessions. Using rigorous psychological evidence of the causes of false confessions, this article analyzes the range of proposals and develops a realistic set of reforms directed specifically at this foundational challenge to the justice system. Miranda 2.0 is long overdue; it should require: warning suspects how long they can be interrogated for; delivering the warnings via a non-police intermediary, preferably a pre-approved audio-visual recording; recording all interrogations; varying the strength of warnings according to characteristics that make suspects differently susceptible; and reforming and simplifying the rules of waiver. This article establishes why each of these proposals most effectively combats the problem of false confessions and how they can be realistically implemented, without overly burdening police efficiency and efficacy.