Expert Psychological Testimony on the Psychology of Interrogations and Confessions

Part of the Perspectives in Law & Psychology book series (PILP, volume 20)


As the research in the field of the psychology of interrogations and confessions begins to grow, as evidenced by the impressive work in this volume, it is to be expected that defense attorneys will increasingly look to forensic psychologists of both social psychology and clinical psychology backgrounds to provide expert testimony to triers of fact in cases in which a false confession is alleged to have been made. In that sense, we can expect that the case law will parallel the development of case law in the area of eyewitness identification (Leippe, 1995; Penrod, Fulero, & Cutler, 1995), and will be subject to the same tests (the Frye test and the Daubert test, discussed below), and will be subject to the same sorts of arguments both for and against admissibility. These cases have already begun to be reported; it is the intent of this chapter to look at the state of the law in this area as of the middle of 2003. Supreme Court. The facts of the case, as set forth in the Supreme Court opinion, are not atypical of many confession cases. On August 7, 1981, a clerk at the Keg Liquor Store in Louisville, Kentucky, was shot to death, apparently during the course of a robbery. A complete absence of identifying physical evidence hampered the initial investigation of the crime. A week later, however, the police arrested Mr. Crane, then 16 years old, for his suspected participation in an unrelated service station holdup. According to police testimony at the suppression hearing, “just out of the clear blue sky,” Crane began to confess to a host of local crimes, including shooting a police officer, robbing a hardware store, and robbing several individuals at a bowling alley. Their curiosity understandably aroused, the police transferred Crane to a juvenile detention center to continue the interrogation. After initially denying any involvement in the Keg Liquors shooting, he eventually confessed to that crime as well.


Police Officer Expert Testimony Trial Court Eyewitness Identification Appellate Court 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologySinclair CollegeDaytonUSA

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