False Confessions

Jan 15, 2015

You would never confess to a crime you did not commit... would you?

That certainly is what most Americans believe.

But a question, then: Why is it that more than a quarter of inmates, later proven innocent by DNA evidence, had in fact once said they were guilty as charged?

We examine the phenomenon of false confessions. Including some high profile Virginia cases.

NOTE: This is an encore presentation, originally broadcast Febuary 3, 2014.

Jonathan Schapiro, J.D.
- Criminal Defense Attorney. Organizer of the January 30 - January 31, 2014 "False Confessions Symposium" at Washington and Lee University. Visiting Professor of Law at Washington and Lee.

Additional Contributors:
Bruce Cohen, MD - Forensic Psychiatrist. Consulting Psychiatrist to the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Director of Forensic Psychiatry Training, University of Virginia. Faculty member - Institute for Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy at UVa. Author of Theory and Practice of Psychiatry  [Oxford University Press].

James Trainum - Private consultant on law enforcement techniques. Former Homicide Detective in the Washington, D.C. police department.

Gerald Zerkin, J.D. - Capitol Resource Counsel, Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Virginia. Former co-counsel for Earl Washington, exonerated Virginia death row inmate who confessed to rape and murder.