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False confessions may happen in some cases

People in New Jersey who have watched the Netflix series "The Making of a Murderer" may be interested to learn that in a similar case of a false confession, the person who confessed was found not guilty, unlike the man profiled in the series. Some experts say it may have been because the person who was found not guilty had an expert in false confessions testify at his trial.

Both men had an IQ that was 70 or below, and both were subject to a method of extracting confessions known as the Reid Technique. Police normally only use it when they are certain the suspect is guilty, and they are not supposed to use it on vulnerable people such as children or people who are intoxicated. In both of these false confession cases, the men did not understand the gravity of their confession. In the case of the man profiled in the series, he was a teenager at the time and believed he would be able to return to school after he confessed to helping in a rape and murder case. The other man was an adult at the time, but he thought he would be allowed to go on a camping trip.

Another similarity is that neither man had "guilty knowledge." This is information that only the police and the actual perpetrator would know.

As these cases demonstrate, a person who is facing serious allegations may still have a number of avenues of defense available. An attorney may be able to discuss some of these options. Even a person who has made a confession may not be found guilty. Eyewitness accounts are often found to be unreliable, and these might be disputed in court. Illegally obtaining evidence or failing to observe the rights of the defendant may lead to the case's dismissal.

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