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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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