False confessions, false guilty pleas: Similarities and differences.

01/2010; DOI: 10.1037/12085-003


This chapter compares and contrasts false confessions and false guilty pleas, paying particular attention to their estimated prevalence and the contexts in which they arise. A false confession is defined here as a statement provided to the police in which the person partially or fully admits guilt, or otherwise takes responsibility, for a crime he or she did not commit. A false guilty plea is defined as the acceptance of a plea offer from the prosecutor for a crime the person did not commit. Like false confessions, guilty pleas are acknowledgments for responsibility for the crime, particularly when the defendant has to allocute as a condition of the plea deal. False confessions and false guilty pleas are theoretically similar in their nature (i.e., taking responsibility for a noncommitted criminal act), underlying motivations, and often their consequences (e.g., a criminal record). However, there are qualitative differences between them as well. Although great strides have been made in understanding false confessions (e.g., Kassin & Gudjonsson, 2004; Lassiter, 2004), the topic of false guilty pleas has received almost no research attention, despite their known existence. Thus, an additional goal of this chapter is to spark empirical work on false guilty pleas, a problem arguably even larger than false confessions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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Available from: Allison D Redlich
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    • "" and " Did you have enough time to think about your decision to plead guilty? " The American Bar Association in Criminal Justice Standards 14.1 to 14.4 specify the topics that should be covered during these attorney–judge– defendant interactions and the responsibilities of each actor (see American Bar Association, 1999; Redlich, 2010a). The information that is asked of or told to defendants may be judge-specific, such that individual judges may routinely ask certain questions, whereas others may ask different types or numbers of questions. "
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    ABSTRACT: When defendants plead guilty, they are asked a series of questions (the plea inquiry) in open court to ascertain whether pleas are made knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily. There is a wealth of research on adjudicative competence, but little to none on the plea inquiry. Whereas competence is relevant to whether one has the ability to make knowing, intelligent, and voluntary decisions, the plea inquiry is relevant to whether one actually made such a decision. In the present study, 99 adult defendants who just pled guilty were interviewed and tested about aspects of the plea process. We found that whereas almost all defendants had little or no adjudicative competence deficits and claimed to have made a knowing plea decision, plea comprehension was generally poor. Two thirds of our sample was correct on less than 60% of questions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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