CrimProf Blog

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

Friday, June 5, 2020

Strang on Inaccuracy and Involuntary Confessions

Dean A. Strang (University of San Francisco School of Law) has posted Inaccuracy and the Involuntary Confession: Understanding Rogers v. Richmond Rightly (Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 110, No. 1, 2020) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In 1961, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a confession's accuracy is irrelevant to its voluntariness. Almost all courts since have assumed or held that that a confession's inaccuracy also is irrelevant to its involuntariness. But both a proposition and its inverse may be true. Accuracy may be irrelevant to voluntariness, and inaccuracy may be relevant to involuntariness. This article explains why inaccuracy of a confession's details rightly often are relevant to the involuntariness of that confession. Nothing in Rogers forecloses consideration of inaccuracy as bearing on involuntariness, and practical experience suggests that courts should consider inaccurate details of a confession as a signal that its voluntariness may be in doubt.

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