Defendants who confess to crimes rarely can go back into a courtroom and then say that their confession was coerced. This is especially true when the police have stopped looking for other suspects. Children are especially easy to get to confess to things they did not do because they just want the anxiety caused by the questioning to stop. Police will pressure them with more anxiety if they do not say what they want to hear and offer them incentives for confession, regardless of whether or not it is the truth. In this case, a teen confessed to shooting a clerk directly in the face during an armed robbery. He was plied with McDonald’s into the confession.
While juries will not listen to individuals who say they falsely confessed to the crimes, the courts will, especially children, and especially in a place like Chicago where there is a long history of police convicting suspects using torture and extortion.
In this case, the police told the teen that they would give him some McDonald’s if he told them he was there. The teen complied, ate the McDonalds, and was promptly charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, and enough felonies to put him behind bars for two lifetimes. Meanwhile, the teen was later able to prove that he was at a basketball game at the time of the shooting. It goes to show you just how useless police interrogations are at producing the truth and just how narrowly this boy dodged a bullet.
Suffice it to say, if he did not have a legit alibi, he would be facing murder charges right now. His parents have since filed a lawsuit against the police.
The Great Mystery of False Confessions
Even in cases where the confessions were videotaped and an audience can plainly see the coercion and how it works, juries struggle to understand why anyone would confess to a murder they did not commit. This is even the case when it is a child who has produced the confession. In cases where you have a particularly weak-minded suspect, the police will target them to confess on behalf of the other three, as happened in the West Memphis 3 case as well as the Making of a Murderer documentary. The confessions were drawn from children who have developmental disabilities and used to convict both the child and another suspect.
In the case of the West Memphis 3, the conviction was eventually overturned when HBO produced a scathing documentary of the police work involved in the prosecution of these children. The same has not proven true for those involved in Netflix’s Making of a Murderer.
False confessions happen because police lean on suspects who do not understand the consequences of what they are saying. They just want the situation to stop and go away and police lead them to believe that if they say the right thing, then they can go and it will all be okay. So they lie, tell the police what they want to hear, and then wind up in prison for the rest of their lives.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a serious crime in the Chicago area, call the Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your options immediately.