False Confessions by Juveniles in Union County NJ

Juvenile Crimes Attorney Serving Families in Clark, Roselle Park, Garwood, Elizabeth, Cranford, and across Union County NJ

False Confessions by Juveniles in Union County NJCriminal prosecutors and District Attorneys are trained and skilled in using interrogation tactics that put defendants on the spot. There is a wide range of evidence that youth are much more likely to falsely confess to crime as a result of prosecutor interrogation tactics than adults. This, of course, often leads to a false conviction, and the true culprit remains at large while an innocent juvenile is swept into the massive criminal justice system.

Young people in their children´s best interest and fair justice resolution should have a solid representation in every step of their case. Attorneys at The Law Offices of Edward Cooper have experience dealing with adolescent development and besides that have the specialized knowledge regarding juvenile court procedures. Reach us at (908) 925-9055 for an initial consultation.

The Reid Technique Used Against Youth Offenders

Police use of intense interrogation techniques to extract confessions has long been a topic of heated discourse — over five decades ago, the Supreme Court argued in Miranda v. Arizona that police techniques include “inherently compelling pressures which work to undermine the individual’s will to resist and to compel him to speak where he would not otherwise do so freely.” The Reid Technique, which is considered the most widely-used technique for interrogation in the world, draws confessions – many of them false – at a startling rate. The technique challenges claims of innocence in such a way that the accused feel trapped, at which point exchange for confession is offered. The US Supreme Court has noted that the potency of the psychological power the Reid Technique has over suspects elicits a startling number of false confessions.

Youth Are More Vulnerable to Suggestion Causes Increase in False Confessions

Youth’s brains are wired differently than those of adults. Youth are more vulnerable to suggestion and look for instant gratification, as opposed to weighing long-term consequences. Moreover, they are more likely to succumb to the reactionary effects of sympathetic nervous system response, the fight-or-flight fear-based response that wills a person to get out of a threatening situation in any manner possible, even if it means lying to do so.

Yet many interrogators do not change their methods when questioning youth. A report by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers noted an increased risk of false confession “due to juveniles’ vulnerability or susceptibility to outside pressures,” among other factors.

In addition to heightened vulnerability in the face of stifling interrogation tactics such as the Reid Technique, youth are also more likely to be provided information, true or false, in the absence of knowing their rights. In J.D.B. vs. North Carolina in 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that age is relevant when it comes to reading Miranda rights. Until this ruling, officials were interrogating and drawing confessions from youngsters without letting them know of their right to remain silent or have an attorney present.

Juveniles Vulnerability in Wrongful Convictions

In an interview for the Wall Street Journal, Steven Drizen of Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, which is compiling a National Registry of Exonerations, said that “juveniles are particularly vulnerable: they tend to be impulsive, they tend to be more focused on short-term gratification, like, ‘If I confess, can I go home?’”

According to a 2013 report by the Innocence Project and the National Registry of Exonerations:

  • 1 out of 4 DNA exoneration cases involved false confessions, and many of these were juvenile confessions.
  • Just over 10 percent of exonerations of adults had originally involved false confessions, while
  • 38 percent of exonerations of youth had originally involved false confessions.

The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law has recommended that, like the Supreme Court of New Jersey’s unanimous decision to educate jurors on eyewitness identification evidence, jurors be educated on confession evidence to prevent false confessions, particularly in youth trials.

Impact of a False Confession on Union County Criminal Cases

The impact a false confession can have on the false conviction of an innocent youth is astounding. There are numerous cases in which youth who confessed to a crime, despite there being overwhelming evidence to support his or her innocence, including DNA evidence, resulted in the conviction of the youth.

Get in touch with a Cranford Juvenile Specialist Attorney Today

It is essential to contact an attorney experienced in juvenile cases after a youth arrest or charge. Doing so can mean the difference between a false conviction – and a lifetime within the criminal justice system – and the youth’s rights and innocence protected.

At The Law Offices of Edward Cooper, we explore the letter of the law and make sure the juvenile and their families understand their legal options and are fully aware of the possible consequences of any and all decisions. Parents can trust us to protect the rights of their children. Call us at our Linden, NJ office (908) 925-9055 or visit our website to schedule a  confidential case evaluation.