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Jon Peltier

Your title is misleading, and I don't think it's what you wanted to say.

If one were guilty, it wouldn't be a false confession, would it?

The article says nothing about how likely it is that an innocent person confesses (compared to a guilty person?).

The article still is troubling.

Kaiser

Jon: Good point. The title should just say "Innocence makes one make a false confession". It's a paraphrase of something one of the researchers said that I quoted in the book, and I probably got it half wromg.

The point is that the people who make false confessions often do so because they believe so strongly in their own innocence that they feel there will be other evidence that can rescue them despite making the confession (say when pressured with false lie detector test results).

It is without doubt that there are not too many such cases. Since any statistical decision making system will generate false positives, it is not surprising and unavoidable that such cases exist. Neither here nor in my book do I argue that we should have a system that has no false positives.

I think these articles help us understand the "cost" of such mistakes. It is difficult for us to really feel the pain of such mistakes until it happens to someone close to us, unfortuately. I really want to again commend people like the Innocence Project because they are trying to pick up after the "trade-offs" made by society.

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