Do People Really Confess To Crime They Did Not Commit?

By: Wallin & Klarich

You might say to your self “I would never admit to a crime that I did not confess….no matter what the police did or say to me”. While that might be true for you, it is definitely not true for many people.


Experts in the field have studied “false confessions” for over 100 years. There are numerous shocking examples of people coming forth to confess to crimes they did not commit. In the famous “Lindbergh baby stealing case” over 200 people came forward to confess to the kidnapping and murder of the baby. Of course all of these we know were false confessions.

When actress Elizabeth Short was murdered in Los Angeles it was reported than fifty different men came forth to claim they were responsible for her murder. Once again all of these were false confessions.

If you were to listen to the tape recordings of many of these confessions they certainly sound “real”. However, they were all proven to be false.

In addition, there are many persons who are questioned by the police for hours who will make admissions or confessions to law enforcement for many reasons. In some cases they are offered “leniency” in exchange for telling the police what they want to hear. When a victim of a robbery identifies a suspect in a line-up that is often all the police need and they will do what ever it takes to obtain a confession from the person identified in the line up. It often does not matter if the suspect denies the allegations for hours or offers to present alibi evidence to show that he could not have committed the crime.

There is a movement taking place to permit expert witnesses to testify in any case where there is an admission or confession introduced by the prosecution at trial. Experts could render opinions as to why people confess to crimes they did not commit so jurors could make a determination if the case they were sitting on might be one of those cases. So far courts in California have not admitted such testimony.

So, the next time someone asks you whether you think anyone might admit to a crime they did not commit give some thought to the examples mentioned above.

Do you think experts should be allowed to testify about “confessions” in criminal cases? We would love your thoughts on this very interesting topic
If you or a loved one is accused of a crime, contact the Orange County criminal defense attorneys at Wallin and Klarich. Wallin and Klarich has many years of experience successfully defending clients. We will work to aggressively assist you through the process and investigating all aspects of your case and ensure that your rights are protected. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can be reached by phone at 1-888-280-6839 or fill out our intake form for immediate assistance. Call us today, we will get through this together.

Posted In: Law & Information