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What is a coerced confession?

If you are arrested in Illinois, you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. These rights must be read to you when you are taken into custody. It is the law. However, just because you are told you have these rights, it does not mean you understand them or that law enforcement cannot try to get you to give them up. It is in everyone's best interest to honor these rights, though. This is because when they are not honored, it could lead to a coerced confession, which in the end, hurts everyone involved.

According to the Innocence Project, there is an even deeper issue when rights are ignored or overlooked, which is coerced confessions. This is when you confess to a crime you did not commit. Often it is due to police interrogations and pressure. It is not against the law for law enforcement to trick suspects and use false information to try to get a suspect to confess. In some cases, false confessions are also due to misunderstandings, fear and intoxication. If you are mentally disabled, you may also confess without understanding what you are doing.

It has been shown that false confessions are made by one out of four people who end up being exonerated by DNA after a conviction. There are steps to prevent this from happening, though. Recording interrogations can be quite effective. It enables proof of what happened in the interrogation room and protects everyone, ensuring that justice really is served. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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