Reading Assignments for 
False Confessions and Evidentiary Limitations


Nature of the Problem

    Confessions are viewed by jurors as compelling evidence of guilt.  But how often are confessions given by innocent individuals.  Read the following articles:

Leo and Ofshe, The Consequences of False Confessions

Robinson, False Confessions by Adults

You might also want to take a look at:

Conti, The Psychology of False Confessions

DeMarzo and deVise, Spotlight on False Confessions (series of articles in the Miami Herald)

The Law

Read Colorado v. Connelly


In many jurisdictions, evidentiary limitations are imposed on a defendant's ability to show that some other person was responsible for the crime.  In these jurisdictions, a defendant cannot introduce evidence that some other person had motive and opportunity to commit the crime unless the defendant can establish a "direct connection" between that other person and the crime.  As can be imagined, this has the potential to substantially limit what a defendant can do in his or her defense.  What justifies such limitations?  Are they constitutional?  The following excerpt addresses come of these issues:

Suni, Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar?