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False Confessions in Mississippi - Essay Example

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In this essay, the author demonstrates false confessions occur due to a number of reasons. Also, the author describes why one of the reasons for false confessions relates to coercion error. Also, the author discusses the most common strategy used by police…
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False Confessions in Mississippi
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False Confessions in Mississippi False confessions are admissions to criminal offenses and subsequent narrative of how and why the crime occurred by confessors who in reality are not responsible. False confessions are common in judicial systems, but mostly go unnoticed and unrecorded. The difficulty in noticing false confessions relates to the tendency of police not to keep records of such occurrences, which makes it difficult for researchers and criminal analysts to study their underlying characteristics (Mississippi Innocence Project). Another reason for difficulty in detecting and understanding characteristics of false confession relates to the difficulty to believe evidence from an already falsely convicted person. False confessions have led to wrongful convictions of otherwise innocent individuals.
According to Mississippi Innocence Project, false confessions occur due to a number of reasons. One of the reasons for false confessions relates to coercion error. This occurs during interrogation when police employ strategies that compromise the ability of a suspect to resist admission of guilt. The most common strategy used by police is to lie that there is exceeding evidence attaching a suspect to a given crime and persuade a suspect that the only way is to confess. Police interrogators have also threatened suspects that about receiving heavier charges if they fail to admit and lighter charges if they confess responsibility for a crime that otherwise they are not.
Another reason for that leads to false confession relates to the desire by a confessor to cover-up for identity of actual criminal due to some implied importance or high stature of the given criminal (Mississippi Innocence Project). For instance, a body guard of a powerful politician who happened to shoot and kill a person can confess falsely to cover-up for the politician so as to preserve the criminal’s public reputation. Sometimes, the powerful politicians who happen to be true killer promise the person covering for them that they will follow the case and pay for bails.
False confession can also occur due to cognitive and personal disabilities that may hinder a confessor from memorizing clearly. People with cognitive malfunctions are vulnerable to admit to implied interrogative questions that require either “Yes” or “No” answers. Since prosecutors are smart and always intend to use their evidence to pin down a suspect, they tend to ask confusing questions that people with cognitive problems can respond falsely and lead to their conviction. Personality disorders such as depression can make person lose mental stability and confess falsely.
Mississippi State has numerous records of individual wrongly convicted because of false confession. One of the clear examples is Bobby R. Dixon who suffered a wrongful conviction in Forrest County in 1980 alongside Larry Ruffin and Phillip Bivens. Bobby confessed to charges of rape and murder and later pled guilty in an attempt to avoid death penalty, but imprisoned for 30 years. Investigations found that Bobby was innocent and the real perpetrator captured. Bobby left prison in 2010 on grounds of medical parole and later in the same year he died of cancer (Mississippi Innocence Project).
Arthur Johnson is another person wrongfully convicted in 1992 in Sunflower County with charges of rape and burglary. The court sentenced Arthur to 16 years imprisonment though DNA tests conducted in 2007 proved him innocent leading to his release in 2008. Further investigations with DNA profile led to the identification of a man responsible for the crime that led to the conviction of Arthur.
Kennedy Brewer is another victim of false confession that led to wrongful conviction 1995 and charged with rape and murder of girlfriend’s daughter. The court sentenced Kennedy to death through lethal injection, but DNA test carried later on evidence gathered from the scene of crime implicated another person. His exoneration came in February 2008 after serving 12 years imprisonment and being the fifth in death row (Mississippi Innocence Project).
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Mississippi Innocence Project. Dedicated to exonerating the wrongfully convicted and committed to criminal justice reform in Mississippi. 2014. . Read More
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