False confessions: Why a conservative DA is urging law enforcement to stop lying to suspects
, 2022-09-27 02:30:01,
A new California law prohibits law enforcement from using threats or lies to get a minor to confess to a crime.
The law faced opposition, but now a conservative district attorney is urging law enforcement to voluntarily stop lying to all suspects due to an increased risk of false confessions.
With advances in genetic genealogy and DNA crime-fighting techniques, hundreds of wrongful convictions have been overturned. Data indicates nearly a third of those who were exonerated, had confessed to a crime they didn’t commit.
Many, including El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson, blame deceptive interrogation techniques. Pierson says he learned that lesson the hard way.
“This is a golden opportunity that we’re giving you right here by talking to you first,” an El Dorado County investigator said during a 1999 interrogation of Connie Dahl. “You don’t know what the other two are going to say,” the investigator said.
“You’re right,” Dahl replied.
It was Dahl’s confession, 15 years after the 1985 stabbing death of El Dorado County newspaper columnist Jane Hylton, that sent Dahl’s former boyfriend, Ricky Davis, to prison.
But 15 years after that, El Dorado D.A. Vern Pierson reexamined the evidence after listening to the decades-old interrogation and confession.
Investigators lied to Dahl, insisting they knew what happened, and described the scenario to Dahl.
“You don’t remember any of that?” the investigator said.
“You know what? I think…
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