Monday, January 19, 2009

False confessions here, there, and yon

Our pal Rage Judicata points to a Houston case where new DNA evidence appears to contradict a recanted confession by Charles Raby, who was convicted of murdering 72-year old Edna Franklin in 1994 and currently resides on death row. According to the Houston Chronicle, "recent DNA testing on genetic material found on Franklin’s blood-caked fingernails points to someone else, Raby’s lawyers contend."

In response, Rage poses a question discussed on Grits before, and which I think must bewilder every right thinking person who considers the issue of false confessions:
I just don't understand how someone not guilty of murder could confess to it. Or why he was sent to death row despite a confession--usually that gets you a plea. I can see confessing to theft to get out of jail time, but murder? Of killing a small, frail, woman?
The idea of confessing to such a monstrous act does seem inexplicable. Yet we see false confessions in even the most heinous of crimes.

For example, I couldn't imagine an innocent person admitting to a worse crime than Austin's Yogurt Shop murders, where four teenage girls were raped and murdered and the building torched to destroy the evidence. But some 50 different people confessed to that high-profile atrocity, most of whom police could easily show had nothing to do with the offense.

The reasons vary. Some were mentally ill. Some were weak minded people trying to please authority. And some of them succumbed to harsh or deceptive interrogation techniques, particularly by later-defrocked homicide detective Hector Polanco, who has a history of securing false confessions.

Robert Springsteen and Michael Scott confessed to the Yogurt Shop murders after long, grueling interrogation sessions. (For Michael Scott, it went on 20 straight hours). Those confessions led to their later-overturned convictions after they recanted and the courts wouldn't let the prosecution use their statements against one another. No other evidence implicated the pair.

In the Yogurt Shop case, recently tested DNA ultimately disproved the prosecution's original, convicting theory, and, just as with Raby, points to some heretofore unidentified perpetrator. You could say of the Yogurt Shop defendants, just as Rage said of Raby's case:
It will be interesting to see how the state explains the new DNA results and if their theory at trial was that he acted alone this may be just enough evidence for a new trial--or at least it would be if the CCA didn't allow new theories to be brought up on appeal, which they do in cases like this.
A new theory that explained why Raby's DNA wasn't found on the victim's defensive wounds would likely require the existence of an accomplice, which would contradict the eyewitness who saw Raby, alone, jump a fence (from across a yard, at night) around the time of the crime. In the Yogurt Shop case, I'm not sure what new theory (besides actual innocence) explains why the DNA of a confessed rapist wouldn't match the crime scene rape kit.

These are not isolated incidents. Yet another recent capital murder case, this one a quadruple murder in Collin County, endured an especially tortured investigation process thanks to false confessions by three different, unrelated suspects, none of whom authorities now believe were actually involved in the crime. (They're still in trial; one hopes, now, they've finally got the right guy.)

Like Rage, I think most of us can only shake our heads and admit we "don't understand how someone not guilty of murder could confess to it," though academic research is beginning to provide compelling explanations.

False confessions challenge our core assumptions. When Rage writes, "I can see confessing to theft to get out of jail time, but murder?," he's expressing what's probably most people's common sense reaction.

But in fact, when you look at the likely false confessions in the high profile cases discussed above, it almost seems they're more likely in a heinous case than in a petty theft. After all, nobody's going to spend 20 hours interrogating a shoplifter, so they might never be subjected to the level of coercion and manipulation that cause a murder suspect to succumb.

University of San Francisco law prof Richard Leo suggests recording interrogations would at least provide a record to evaluate later whether a confession was likely false, and certainly in Raby's case it would be nice to go back now - given the conflicting evidence - and hear what he actually told investigators when he confessed, and under what circumstances.

40 comments:

Courtney said...

more info on false confessions here: http://www.innocenceproject.org/understand/False-Confessions.php

good article, thanks!

Rage Judicata said...

I hate it when we post on the same subjects--you do it too well, and mine is pretty much anecdotal on topics like this.

And of course I know it happens. It still defies logic, however, and you could beat me with a rubber hose (I might even enjoy it) and I wouldn't confess to something that I did do, much less something like this that I didn't. I'm not even counting the insane, which this guy doesn't seem to be, but it still just goes against everything that I am to imagine confessing to a crime I didn't commit. I think that's why so many people have such a hard time accepting that false confessions are so common.

I think there's enough to get this guy off of death row, but without knowing the circumstances of the confession it's difficult to pass judgment at all. Hopefully there will be some light shed on it in the near future. I'll be interested to see what new theory of the case the prosecutors come up with post-judgment or on appeal to explain the new DNA.

Note to self: don't falsely confess in Texas.

Anonymous said...

It's easy for me to understand why someone would confess.

Convince the suspect that you have undeniable proof they're guilty, and then tell them that if they don't confess and cooperate, you'll seek a harsher sentence than if they had cooperated. This would probably work best if the person had a previous record or was mentally impaired.

Rage Judicata said...

and then tell them that if they don't confess and cooperate, you'll seek a harsher sentence than if they had cooperated.

Yeah, but he still got the death penalty. I know the cops don't do what they say they're going to do, but it seems a confession would get you a lighter sentence, not a capital one.

This would probably work best if the person had a previous record or was mentally impaired.

He's not impaired, from what I gather, and the "previous record" works both ways. He's no stranger to the system, and would most likely known to have ask for a lawyer.

We just don't know enough about the confession. I'd like to know exactly what he said.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Courtney, thanks, that page is an excellent resource. Here's a hyperlink.

Rage, thanks for the kind words. And if it wasn't 100% clear, I wasn't disagreeing with you and realize you weren't dismissing the possibility of a false confession. I agree we can't know for sure from the news story.

The Raby case is a great example why it's a good idea to record interrogations. If the confession was good, there'd be a record, and if it was coerced or manipulated, we could tell that too.

sunray's wench said...

There is another reason why someone might confess to a crime they did not commit: they know who did commit the crime and are prepared to spare them the trial/conviction/sentence. Some people have that level of loyalty, whether the rest of us feel it is misguided or not.

Rage Judicata said...

It was clear Grits, I was just commenting on the amount of evidence you bring with you.

I agree, this is a prime example of why they should be recorded. We'll never know what he said, only what he signed.

There is another reason why someone might confess to a crime they did not commit: they know who did commit the crime and are prepared to spare them the trial/conviction/sentence. Some people have that level of loyalty, whether the rest of us feel it is misguided or not.

Sure. There are all sorts of motivations, but there's no way that particular one applies. If the DNA was from one of his family, it would have shown. Otherwise, this guy's history indicates he has all the loyalty of Bill Clinton in an Arkansas trailer park.

Anonymous said...

Many in TYC and TDCJ are there because they confessed (plea bargained), when they were in fact innocent. DA's use the plea bargain by telling people they will seek the death sentence or the maximum punishment if they don't plead to a lesser charge. Those with no money or a usless appointed defense attorney, will plaed guilty to avoid a worse possible sentence, if they go to trial, as threatened by a DA. The files are full of records...I know I used to review many for appeals purposes. The system is misused by the government -DA's to make themselves look good; pee on truth and real justice.

Austintatious said...

Just to be clear in regard to the Yogurt Shop Murders confessions -- Mike Scott was interrogated over three days and gave up the goods on Day One after only a few hours. Everything after that was strictly providing the minutiae of information that the other nearly 100 false confessors had no clue about. Furthermore, the continued lie (not promulgated here) that Scott only confessed because Detective Robert Merrill held a gun to his head has long since been disproven. Scott had confessed everything a full 24 hours before the Merrill "gun to the head" incident, which, BTW, he was holding it upside down, pointing toward him (Merrill), not Scott, and he momentarily poked Scott in the back of his head with his index finger. Scott did not even flinch.

As for Springsteen's confession, his lasted less than three hours and he gave up the goods in under one hour. In fact, Springsteen appears quite obstinate during the entire investigation and appears to be trying to intimidate his interrogators instead of the other way around. He was in no way, shape, or form intimidated by the police officers, nor was he harassed, threatened, coerced.

The continuing myth that these poor little boys (who were fully grown men at the time of their confessions) were bullied, cajoled, and terrorized into giving these confessions is complete and utter defense propoganda.

As for the DNA samples, since when does lack of DNA automatically eliminate a suspect? Both men also confessed that they were not able to achieve erections at the crime scene and, therefore, did not rape the little girls. Hence, the abscence of their DNA comes as no surprise whatsoever. That does not rule out the possibility of even more assailants participating in this crime alongside these two young men.

Rage Judicata said...

It's good to see Rosenthal on the computer again...

123txpublicdefender123 said...

I love it when people say definitively that they KNOW they would never confess to something they didn't do no matter how much interrogation, torture, etc. they were put through. The fact is that you just don't know that until you have gone through it.

That's a nice fairy tale you've got going there, Austintatious. How many other confessors to the murders were there who were said to have known facts that "only the killers" would have known? Reminds me of the Ochoa/Danziger case with the Pizza Hut rape and murder where Ochoa's confession included facts that only the person responsible would have known. Danziger will be paying for that BS for the rest of his life.

Anonymous said...

"Furthermore, the continued lie (not promulgated here) that Scott only confessed because Detective Robert Merrill held a gun to his head has long since been disproven. Scott had confessed everything a full 24 hours before the Merrill "gun to the head" incident, which, BTW, he was holding it upside down, pointing toward him (Merrill), not Scott, and he momentarily poked Scott in the back of his head with his index finger. Scott did not even flinch."

Pardon the ingnorance Austintatious but why would the detective be holding his gun, upside down or otherwise during an interrogation? And he just happened to poke the guy in the back of the head with his index finger while doing it? Hmmm, well now that explains everything.

Austintatious said...

@123: How many other confessors to the murders were there who were said to have known facts that "only the killers" would have known? Who's to say? None of the early confessors were ever charged with the crime so I would presume the answer to your question is zero. Furthermore, confessors such as Shawn Smith and Alex Briones made confessions that the police tossed aside because they knew the young men were lying. In fact, other APD detectives, Mike Huckabay and John Jones, were the ones who got their confessions tossed because they were concerned about the involvement of Officer Hector Polanco.

Austintatious said...

@anon: Pardon the ingnorance Austintatious but why would the detective be holding his gun, upside down or otherwise during an interrogation? And he just happened to poke the guy in the back of the head with his index finger while doing it? Hmmm, well now that explains everything.

Merrill brought the weapon into the interrogation room to let Scott determine if he recognized it or not as one of the weapons used in the murders. Merrill informed and showed Scott that the gun had no ammunition. He then allowed Scott to hold the gun for several minutes before Scott placed it back on the table. Merrill then picked up the gun in the unusual position, showed it to Scott, and then poked him in the back of the head as Scott claimed he had done to one of the girls. The poke lasted nary a split second and, again, Scott did not even flinch. Not one iota. He did not get nervous. He did not begin crying in fear of his life. He did not all of the sudden begin spilling the beans as to his involvement in the murders of the girls. He did not holler for his lawyer. He did not cower in fear.

Besides, he had already fully confessed more than 24 hours earlier.

Hopefully, that will help clear up some of your ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clearing that up. Much obliged.

Rage Judicata said...

I love it when people say definitively that they KNOW they would never confess to something they didn't do no matter how much interrogation, torture, etc. they were put through. The fact is that you just don't know that until you have gone through it.

A threat to my family is the only thing that would make me do that under these circumstances. It's not like they put his nads in a vice, they kept him awake and thirsty. Third-world type torture is extremely rare in the US (no, I'm not saying it never happens, but it didn't happen to this guy), and short of that, I think I can say with certainty that I wouldn't confess to a murder I didn't commit. Believe that or not, but some people have fairly high constitutions and can take a little sleep deprivation and thirst. I'm sure my level of education is a tad higher as well, and that would contribute.

A Voice of Sanity said...

Does the term "Without Prejudice" have a legal meaning in the USA? If so, that's the only thing I would say or sign.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To 3:29, etc., the problem with assuming those confessions are good at this point is that they don't match the physical evidence in the case, which is one of the main ways false confessions are identified. The DNA from the rapist came from someone else. Period. So if you say these men "fully" confessed, how does that fit the prosecution's theory of the case? If it doesn't, the other most likely explanation is the confessions were false.

To credibly claim Scott and Springseen's confessions were true and accurate, at this point, you must explain why the DNA evidence contradicts them. One of them is erroneous - the forensics or the confessions.

Anonymous said...

1:55, you noted you used to review TYC/TDCJ cases for the purposes of appeals. Who does that now? I know of a few kids in TYC who desperately need appeals, particularly those who pled to sex crimes and will have to register following release.

As for pleading to something you didn't do, for many of these kids, it's about not having many options and not understanding the ones you do have.

Anonymous said...

Austintatious- You seem to have a lot of information that the rest of us do not have about the confessions of Robert Springsteen and Michael Scott.
I am a family member and I say you are incorrect in the facts you are quoting. I think you better get your facts straight before you continue to run your mouth.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

BTW, I should add 1) my last comment was directed at Austintatious; I didn't notice they'd left a handle. And 2) the issue with the DNA is that the presence of an unidentified suspect as a Yogurt Shop rapist destroys the prosecution's fundamental theory of the case. If the rapist wasn't one of the suspects they've identified, their whole case is based on a mistaken premise and someone else likely committed the crime. It's just not credible to claim that Scott and Springsteen are covering for some fifth accomplice at this late stage.

Anonymous said...

The reality is that people do confess to crimes they have not committed. Included but not limited to murder. It is easier to judge when you have never been closed in by the legal system, with no money, no seemingly person on your side to defend you. Locked in a room with cops pressing you, a prosecutor who continually delays court hearings so you sit in a jail cell enduring whatever, missing whoever - not getting a chance to that wonderfully made court appointed attorney who swears to defend you - as he shuffles to the back office with the prosecutor and in effort to clear his record as the DA and Judge arrange a luncheon - he accepts whatever...so the alleged criminal is forced to accept whatever. Hopeless, helpless and uneducated to the criminal actions of those highly titled people oathed to serve "justice". You talk and write about situations you don't know...about situations you have never encountered or even touched. Only judged from the sidelines. People do admit to crimes they have not committed....I know....

Austintatious said...

@GFB: the problem with assuming those confessions are good at this point is that they don't match the physical evidence in the case

Given the fact that the majority of the physical evidence was either burned up in the fire or washed away by the firefighters' water hoses, I find it difficult to rectify your claim.

Murders have been solved with far less physical evidence than in this case and without confessions of any sort. The main claim in this case is that the defendants' confessions were coerced, therefore, they are not guilty. If anyone sits down and actually watches the videotaped interrogations, it is rather obvious that there was absolutely no coercive behavior exhibited in either confession; physical or mental.

The DNA from the rapist came from someone else. Period. So if you say these men "fully" confessed, how does that fit the prosecution's theory of the case?

The prosecution's "theory" has nothing to do with the number of people involved. When Scott was tried, it was strictly his participation that was at issue. Same with Springsteen. Heck, testimony in regard to Maurice Pierce and Forrest Welborn was included in the trial. Welborn was never charged long before these trials and Pierce was eventually set free due to lack of evidence against him and a lack of a confession on his part. If APD was so gung-ho about getting these young men, they would have "coerced" Pierce into making a false confession as well. If anyone would have fallen into the stereotypical trappings of a pitiful defendant with a delinquent background, a substandard education, and susceptibleness to intimidationn it would have been him. But no, the alleged ringleader, did not buckle under the so-called pressure. Springsteen and Scott did.

To credibly claim Scott and Springseen's confessions were true and accurate, at this point, you must explain why the DNA evidence contradicts them.

But the DNA results do not contradict their confessions. Both men admitted they could not achieve erections, therefore, they did not sexually violate the girls. Subsequently, their DNA did not appear in the girls' vaginas.

Austintatious said...

@anon 7:24 - Austintatious- You seem to have a lot of information that the rest of us do not have about the confessions of Robert Springsteen and Michael Scott.
I am a family member and I say you are incorrect in the facts you are quoting.


I am a former criminal defense attorney who used to haunt the Travis County court rooms after I retired. The yogurt shop case fascinated me and I also believed the young men were being railroaded based on what I read in the local newspapers. After attending the trials I made a point of getting my hands on the full confession tapes from the judge. I watched them three times each and my very painful conclusion was that neither Springsteen nor Scott were coerced during their confessions. I have copies of the interrogations as well as written transcripts and have pored over them dozens of times.

While I am no fan of APD and completely understand they dropped the ball on solving these murders over and over, there is no way anyone can claim these confessions were coerced. Furthermore, the blatant lies promulgated by the defense team and the media in regard to the so-called "gun to the head" of Mike Scott is a complete fabrication and speaks volumes about the defense attorneys involved.

I think you better get your facts straight before you continue to run your mouth.

Based on the videotaped interrogation of your son, I would assume this is probably Mr. Springsteen's father. Now I see where your son inherited his confrontational and abusive demeanor.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

10:27 - You're talking in circles and simply blowing smoke when you say, entirely falsely, that "The prosecution's 'theory' has nothing to do with the number of people involved." That's either completely misinformed, splitting hairs that cannot be split, or else a flat out lie. It's just wrong to say the cases were made individually - each man's confession was used against the other (improperly) to secure the (overturned) convictions. So the prosecution theory of the case involved more than just one person, even if the cases were only tried one at a time.

DNA evidence now proves the prosecution's theory of the case was flat out, 100% wrong, or else the DNA would match one of the people they have long claimed committed the crime. Bottom line: It doesn't. The forensic evidence points to some, unknown individual who has never been identified or officially accused in the case. Where is that person? Why are you so unconcerned that they won't be brought to justice?

As for the alleged non-erections, first, please provide a source. That's not what the prosecutors have been claiming all this time. They've been claiming (before the DNA surfaced) that the defendants raped the women, but now we know to a certainty someone else did that, and nobody knows who. Their theory of the case has been utterly destroyed, if the forensics is accurate.

Match the DNA found in the victims vaginas and you'll identify the real perpetrator. Until then, the forensics simply don't fit the prosecution's theory of the case. They're either going to have to drop charges or come up with a new theory that implicates a different perpetrator who, at the moment, we've never heard of before.

Finally, while I appreciate the effort it took to review the material you describe, Richard Leo, a national expert on false confessions, reviewed the same material and says he believes with "every bone in my body" that Michael Scott's confession was false, identifying numerous trademark elements that cast doubt on its verity. If the forensics contradicted him, I'd be more likely to discount his assessment. But they don't; they contradict your position.

Austintatious said...

@GFB:

You're talking in circles and simply blowing smoke when you say, entirely falsely, that "The prosecution's 'theory' has nothing to do with the number of people involved." That's either completely misinformed, splitting hairs that cannot be split, or else a flat out lie. It's just wrong to say the cases were made individually

Throw out enough choices and you're bound to get one of them right, eh, Grits?

Of course testimony came into trial about each defendant, as well as others who were not convicted or arrested. Bottom line, however, which is "entirely true," is that the defendants' confessions are what got them arrested and convicted. Confessions which were in no way coerced.

each man's confession was used against the other (improperly) to secure the (overturned) convictions.

Their confessions were not used improperly, but rather the fact that the prosecution did not allow each defendant to testify in court so as to be cross-examined is why their cases were tossed.

DNA evidence now proves the prosecution's theory of the case was flat out, 100% wrong

No, unfortunately, you are incorrect and using absolute verbiage does not make it so. All the DNA tests prove is that the semen found in the Harbison sisters did not belong to Mike Scott or Robert Springsteen.

The forensic evidence points to some, unknown individual who has never been identified or officially accused in the case. Where is that person?

Exactly. It could have been a friend of the defendants and an accomplice. It could have been from a three-way the sisters had with another guy. It could have been from a cheating boyfriend who was sleeping with each girl. It does not automatically make the donor the killer nor does it in any way eliminate Scott and Springsteen as willing and active participants in the murders.

Why are you so unconcerned that they won't be brought to justice?

Your childish retort here is not worth responding to. This is a scoundrel's argument used in an attempt to smear your opponent. Impish and pathetic.

As for the alleged non-erections, first, please provide a source.

As I clearly stated before: the actual 18-hour videotaped confession of Michael Scott and the 3-hour videotaped confession of Robert Springsteen IV. Also, direct testimony in each trial, of which I did miss a single minute.

That's not what the prosecutors have been claiming all this time. They've been claiming (before the DNA surfaced) that the defendants raped the women, but now we know to a certainty someone else did that, and nobody knows who.

No, the actual testimony in court was that the girls were stripped naked, brutally executed with gunshots to the heads, stacked atop one another (excluding Amy Ayers), and lit on fire.

Their theory of the case has been utterly destroyed, if the forensics is accurate.

That was never their theory.

Match the DNA found in the victims vaginas and you'll identify the real perpetrator.

No, you won't. See earlier realistic explanation.

Until then, the forensics simply don't fit the prosecution's theory of the case.

Just saying it again and again does not make it true.

Richard Leo, a national expert on false confessions, reviewed the same material and says he believes with "every bone in my body" that Michael Scott's confession was false, identifying numerous trademark elements that cast doubt on its verity.

And you probably believe DNA "expert" Barry Scheck was spot on when it came to OJ Simpson or there really were weapons of mass destruction because the CIA "expert" claimed it was a slam dunk.

Experts who fill up courtrooms such as Mr. Leo have a product to sell - their viewpoints. That's why most trials will feature experts from both sides of the equation. Each with a differing viewpoint based upon the same evidence. Many of these experts make an incredibly handsome sum of cash to convince juries with "every bone in their body" that their viewpoint is the only correct one.

Color me unimpressed.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Austintatious, I threw out several options for your motives to give you the benefit of the doubt. I don't know why you've reached unwarranted, false conclusions that ignore forensic evidence, and I won't disparage your motives, but that doesn't overcome the contradictions in your arguments. The DNA evidence destroyed the prosecution's explanation of the crime because it points to a perpetrator that doesn't fit their theory. All the anonymous whining in the world doesn't change that.

As for your comment about Barry Scheck, now you're just spewing foolishness to misdirect attention from an ill-conceived argument. Scheck was Simpson's lawyer, not somebody presented as an expert. Either you don't fundamentally understand the role of an advocate in court, or you're intentionally misrepresenting the truth to score points. Whichever is the case, it's hard to take such comments very seriously.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

One more thing: You seem to believe Scott and Springsteen's confessions en toto. But if their confessions were true, why didn't either man mention the unknown perpetrator who we now know committed the actual rapes?

Do you really think they've been protecting some unknown party this whole time at the personal risk of the death penalty? That assumption is the only way your theory works, and it requires us to BOTH believe the damning parts of their confessions but to ignore the exculpatory parts. You just don't get to do both.

123txpublicdefender123 said...

The unindicted co-ejaculator strikes again! I doubt Roy Criner is laughing.

Austintatious: It could have been from a three-way the sisters had with another guy. It could have been from a cheating boyfriend who was sleeping with each girl.
I always love it when people (usually prosecutors or Court of Criminal Appeals judges named Keller) defend a conviction by calling the victims whores. It's so classy. Not to mention logical. Oh yes, I'm sure it's much more likely that two teenage girls--one of whom was just 15 years old--had a three-way with some other guy the day or night they just happened to be brutally murdered than that the semen in their vaginas was from their rapist-killer. Please.

Austintatious said...

@GFB: One more thing: You seem to believe Scott and Springsteen's confessions en toto.

Nothing I have written would lead a reasonable human being to make that conclusion. No confession, even if the perp was on videotape, will ever contain all of the correct information. It is impossible for one person to recall every single detail of any event in their life down to an infinitesimal certitude.

But the fact remains, Springsteen and Scott both, while more than a thousand miles away from one another, confessed to several details of the crime scene in willing, non-coerced confessions that were videotaped and signed off by each of them. Many of the details they provided were key to the crime scene such as the placement of the bodies, the stacking of the bodies, the separation of Amy Ayers from the stack, the cigarette pack used to prop open the back door, and plenty more. While certain details had been leaked out over the years, there was enough confessed to by Scott and Springsteen that had not been leaked as to point to their involvement in the murders of the four girls.

But if their confessions were true, why didn't either man mention the unknown perpetrator who we now know committed the actual rapes?

Again, who's to say how the sperm got there in the first place. And if DNA test results did indicate it belonged to the killers, Scott and Springsteen, their supporters and people like you would be claiming that the evidence was planted.

Austintatious said...

@txpd: You don't have much of an imagination for an alleged "public defender."

But since you are too sensitive for creative license, let's go this route -- it was planted by the defense. The samples have been sitting in the Judge's closet since the trials and anyone can have access to it.

Sound ludicrous? Of course. But this is the type of argument raised by defendants all the time. You should know that.

Please.

@Grits: Have you actually watched Springsteen and Scott's confession videotapes? Also, how come Mr. Leo has not claimed "with every bone in his body" that Springsteen's confession was coerced?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Austintatious, so now the only way your argument stands up is if the DEFENSE planted the evidence ... in the judge's chambers? That's patently absurd. You're beginning to sound like a raving lunatic.

To answer your questions, I've not seen the interrogation tapes, but your slanted descriptions are contradicted by accounts from those who have, and you've provided no sourcing or direct quotes to make us think you have direct knowledge. Also, Leo said he thinks Springsteen's was a false confession, too, but of a different brand than Scott's. See more on the distinction he made here.

You're absolutely right your argument about planting evidence is "ludicrous." Clearly 123txpublicdefender is right - you're obviously willing to make up lies about defense counsel or smear the victims as sluts (without a shred of evidence supporting the contention), basically claiming anything to justify getting convictions.

You've demonstrated with your last comments that yours is not a credible critique - just an example of someone who wants convictions at any cost, whether the defendants are guilty or not.

Unindicted co-ejaculator, indeed.

Anonymous said...

The resason many young men (18 - 20 year olds) confess to sexual assault of a child when they had sex with their willing teenage girlfriends is because Texas law does not differentiate their offense from forced, violent rape. They are told they will go to prison for 20 years without a plea or they are asked if they had sex with their girlfriend not even realizing it was a crime so they admit it. The laws need to diffentiate the circumstances in tese kinds of offenses.

Anonymous said...

I want Austintatious to read the book by Leo and the one by Gudjonsson. They point out how police can get a confession. It works when the subject is guilty, but also when the subject is not guilty. Confessions are gotten by police lies. Michael Scott says in his confession "I don't remember any of this". Leo calls this kind of confession a "persuaded false confession" Scott also says "Don't I need a lawyer?" That is the real injustice here. Why isn't Miranda necessary for a police interrogation? The inquisitor says: "No, you don't need a lawyer. You're not under arrest." We need to change state law to make Miranda applicable during a police "interview" (Interrogation). Scott also asks: "Can the police lie?" "No", the interrogator tells him. Then admits right there in court that he lied to get the confession. You really must read this book by Leo: Police Interrogations and American Justice.

Austintatious said...

From a raving lunatic to a one-sided biased buffoon. The fact that you cannot denote sarcasm speaks volumes toward your non-existent intelligence.

As I stated before, I have watched the videotaped interrogations three times. I have read all of the transcripts. I attended every day of each trial. I am a former criminal defense attorney (only, never worked for the prosecution). I went into the case believing these young men had been railroaded. I came out of it know ing they were responsible.

I cannot link to the video or the transcripts because they are not online. Get off your lazy ass and get your hands on them yourself before you profess to be an expert in this case. If you haven't watched the tapes, you truly have no idea what you are talking about.

Good luck defending the defenseless.

Rage Judicata said...

Those are not the sentiments of a career criminal defense lawyer.

Jackie Buffalo said...

I have never met a bigger bunch of liars and name callers in all of my life until I had to go down to the Frank Crowley Courthouse. Then my defense attorneys came to me and told me exactly what I had to say and that the judge had better believe me or I was spending two years in prison. I had a very sick, disabled child at home that needed me very badly at his side. What do you think I did? Then the prosecutor tried to drag me into some kind of argument with her in front of the judge because she knew that I knew that she knew what she was saying was a big fat lie. It's got to be some kind of sick game. Either way, my son is doing much better today but without a doubt he would not be alive today if I had been sent to prison.
jackiebuffalo.com

Anonymous said...

"I love it when people say definitively that they KNOW they would never confess to something they didn't do no matter how much interrogation, torture, etc. they were put through. The fact is that you just don't know that until you have gone through it."

I cannot agree more. If someone is taken to court over a charge, no matter the charge, but it is a serious one. The DA has made known that if a deal is not struck and a guilty plea not entered, then they will load up all the guns and come out blazing, then Christ himself would think twice about 'going for broke'.

I have a family, I took a plea once, because I was not willing to risk going to prison for even a moment. No matter how innocent I really am. Leaving my family was neither an option, nor a thought.

Place yourself there. When you are caught up in something unsavory, knowing that if full disclosure at the time of offense was known to you, you would have acted differently. Then remember that you provide for the family, provide for the ones that look up to you and give you un-restricted love. THEN tell me you would not admit to guilt for something lessor to the actual act you've been charged.

In regards to murder, one only has to look at mafia trials to know that sometimes prison for a crime you did not commit, is far better than what would happen to you on the outside if you tell the truth.

I guess what I am trying to say is everyone has a point that they will not cross, especially when you are facing consequences greater than what the other side is giving you.

Anonymous said...

I can only assume that Austintatious thinks I am a one-sided buffoon. Sorry, but I am not the same anonymous. Also, if you had really paid attention to those videotapes of Michael Scott, you would have recognized those statements. You see, I WAS there at Scott's trial also.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Austintatious, I never professed to be an expert on this case, but Richard Leo is, he's viewed the tapes, and he not only disagrees with you but he provides direct quotes, sourcing amd detailed fact based analysis to back up his claims.

By contrast, you've offered nothing BUT sarcasm and snide, unverifiable assertions that conflict with public news accounts. You offer no quotes from the confessions, no sourcing, and then deride others for not having read material you now say is unavailable. No one can verify a word you say and your crappy, attitude gives no one a reason to trust you're unbiased.

Take a look at the comment at 2:17 - if they can provide direct quotes to support a thesis that contradicts yours, you should be able to provide SOME documentation for your theory, which of course, to work, must contradict the confessions you insist are genuine.

I don't think it's credible that Scott and Springsteen are covering for an unindicted co-ejaculator that they (or the prosecuters) never mentioned in all this time. It simply begs credulity, as do many of your comments here.