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Missouri 2023 Lesson Summaries

2023 Lesson 15 : Suggestibility in Interviews


Release Date:


This is an online technical skills course. This lesson gives a brief overview of the history and law surrounding involuntary confessions, describes the three types of false confessions and the motivations for each, explains how false confessions cause failures in many aspects of the criminal justice system, summarizes several major systems for conducting interviews and interrogations and explains the concerns with some of them, describes processes of suggestibility that occur in the general population such as “gap-filling” and memory conformity, lists characteristics of populations especially vulnerable to suggestion and provides guidance on questioning individuals with these characteristics, explains why self-regulation is required to resist acquiescing to an officer’s demand to confess, lists three circumstances that greatly reduce a suspect’s ability to self-regulate, describes how the use of false evidence can lead to false confessions and gives other reasons why officers should be cautious about using it during interrogations, describes ways that a false confession can negatively affect many areas of evidence gathering in a case, and provides best practices to obtain the maximum amount of accurate information from witnesses and suspects, including avoiding specific types of suggestive questioning, withholding evidence during an interrogation, and being aware of circumstances that are characteristic of the manner in which proven false confessions have been obtained.

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