You would never confess to a crime you did not commit… would you? That certainly is what most Americans believe. But 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?
Jonathan Shapiro, defense attorney and visiting professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, appeared on NPR affiliate WMRA's "Virginia Insight" show on Monday, Feb. 3, to discuss the problem of false confessions.
Listen to the segment online: http://myw.lu/1k7tDer
A symposium organized by Shapiro and held at W&L Law on Jan. 30 and 31, discussed the troubling phenomenon of false confessions in the criminal justice system, including some high profile cases.
Also appearing on the show were:
Bruce Cohen, MD – Forensic psychiatrist. Consulting psychiatrist to the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, director of forensic psychiatry training, University of Virginia, faculty member of the Institute for Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy at U.Va. He is also the author of "Theory and Practice of Psychiatry" [Oxford University Press].
James Trainum – Private consultant on law enforcement techniques and 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 and former co-counsel for Earl Washington, exonerated Virginia death row inmate who confessed to rape and murder.
"Virginia Insight," hosted by Tom Graham, is a live call-in show, and can be found at 89.9 in Lexington, 90.7 in Harrisonburg and 103.5 in Charlottesville.