Wed 28 Aug 2002
Another case where an innocent person spends years in prison for the crime he didn’t commit. In this one, the mentally ill defendant confessed to raping and strangling a young girl. Defense attorneys claim that the Detroit police department fed the man details of the crime which only the true killer would know, that he then worked into his confession. This case demonstrates not only the glaring fallability of the system, but the problem of confessions, a form of evidence that lay people find very persuasive, but which is actually highly unreliable. For more information on the phenomenon of false confessions, see Richard Ofshe’s article. There was also a great New Yorker article on this a few months back.