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Kiddies, confess for the nice officer

Mar. 30, 2000

Many of today’s youth, hardened by early exposure to violent video games, rap music, and Road Runner cartoons, lack a moral compass and are capable of committing blood-curdling assaults. Right?

Well, maybe. But the CLEVELAND FREE TIMES reports that some juveniles have confessed to serious crimes, including murder, only after being subjected to interrogation techniques that psychologists say shouldn’t be used on children. When grilling a suspect, police will lie about evidence they may have found, threaten, ask leading questions, and assure the suspect that a confession is the only way out. That may be the best way to get to the truth when the suspect is an adult who understands the consequences of his or her actions, but with children, say some experts, it’s a different story.

“That kind of leading questioning is absolutely the worst way to get truthful information from children,” says professor and supervising attorney Steven Drizin. One child confessed to a crime, his lawyer says, because he was anxious not to miss a birthday party.

Read the CLEVELAND FREE TIMES story here.

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WE'LL BE BLUNT

It is astonishingly hard keeping a newsroom afloat these days, and we need to raise $253,000 in online donations quickly, by October 7.

The short of it: Last year, we had to cut $1 million from our budget so we could have any chance of breaking even by the time our fiscal year ended in June. And despite a huge rally from so many of you leading up to the deadline, we still came up a bit short on the whole. We can’t let that happen again. We have no wiggle room to begin with, and now we have a hole to dig out of.

Readers also told us to just give it to you straight when we need to ask for your support, and seeing how matter-of-factly explaining our inner workings, our challenges and finances, can bring more of you in has been a real silver lining. So our online membership lead, Brian, lays it all out for you in his personal, insider account (that literally puts his skin in the game!) of how urgent things are right now.

The upshot: Being able to rally $253,000 in donations over these next few weeks is vitally important simply because it is the number that keeps us right on track, helping make sure we don't end up with a bigger gap than can be filled again, helping us avoid any significant (and knowable) cash-flow crunches for now. We used to be more nonchalant about coming up short this time of year, thinking we can make it by the time June rolls around. Not anymore.

Because the in-depth journalism on underreported beats and unique perspectives on the daily news you turn to Mother Jones for is only possible because readers fund us. Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism we exist to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

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Getting just 10 percent of the people who care enough about our work to be reading this blurb to part with a few bucks would be utterly transformative for us, and that's very much what we need to keep charging hard in this financially uncertain, high-stakes year.

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