In yet another instance of police misconduct, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin in an article by Juliet Linderman titled Baltimore Found to be Chicago’s Sister City Regarding Police Misconduct reports on a series of massive abuses spanning many years by number of officers in the Baltimore police department. The federal prosecutor charged seven police officers with variety of offenses including racketeering, participating in a drug conspiracy, falsely filing for overtime, falsely detaining people, stealing their money and property, searching private property without a warrant, and many more.
On February 15, 2017, the Washington Post reported on an incident inside Montgomery County Jail in Dayton, Ohio on yet another shocking occurrence of police misconduct. In a video released by an activist, a detainee Charles Wade is being pepper sprayed at point-blank range while fully restrained in a chair. Mr. Wade filed lawsuit.
An interesting article appeared in ArsTechnica titled Here’s What a “Digital Miranda Warning” Might Look Like, in which the authors raise a question of whether the Miranda warning as we know it is effective (or as effective as it could be) in nowadays age.
He asks whether the 1966 warning should be modified to include warning against self-incrimination via digital technologies, such as a mobile phone, in light of the 2014 decision in Riley v. California (we wrote about it here, here, and here) and the ever increasing ubiquitous technology in our world. What do you think?
- Cyrus Farivar, Here’s What a “Digital Miranda Warning” Might Look Like, ArsTechnica.com (Dec. 29, 2016).
- Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 189 L. Ed. 2d 430 (2014).
- Riley v. California, LII Supreme Court Bulletin.
- Riley v. California, OYEZ Project.
- Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) (Oyez Project).
BY: Signe Skov Thomsen, Producer Assistant at the Good Company Pictures.
Would you confess to a crime you didn’t commit?
In the Closed Room is a documentary, currently in production with an anticipated completion date at the start of 2018, which is dedicated to the vital subject of false confessions. It is intended to raise awareness of the perpetual injustice caused by false confessions, to generate a vibrant debate that can ignite and lead to change, and to contribute to the much needed fight for a more transparent and just interrogation process.
For over two years Emmy-nominated director Katrine Philp has been following the defense attorney, Jane Fisher-Byrialsen (Korey Wise’s lawyer from the Central Park Jogger Case), as she fights to exonerate the wrongfully convicted and to raise awareness of the coercive and manipulative techniques that are being used during police interrogations.
The coerced confession of Brendan Dassey documented in the Netflix series Making a Murderer outraged the viewers. But, Dassey’s case is far from unique. According to the Innocence Project, 25% of overturned cases involve some kind of a false confession. Through three of defense attorney Jane Fisher-Byrialsen’s cases this documentary focuses on and uncovers the widespread phenomenon of false confessions.
Why do so many people admit to horrible crimes they did not commit? Why don’t they maintain their innocence? Those who broke under the pressure during interrogation shared that trained interrogators can get anybody to confess to anything – and often people get convicted with no other evidence than their own false confession.
As Jane Fisher-Byrialsen shared,
Although I believe that lawyers can do amazing things when they are willing to fight for their clients, I don’t always think that it is enough to make the larger changes that we need in society. Therefore I agreed to participate in this documentary in the hopes that it would raise awareness around the problem of false confession.
Similarly, as Dean Strang of Making a Murderer shared,
This important new documentary will help to spread understanding of the very real phenomenon of false confessions and help us to understand why they happen and what we can do about them.
The creators of the documentary kindly ask anyone who believes in this project and in the importance of bringing the issue of false confessions to the forefront of our criminal justice discussion, to please support the making of the documentary as every small or large amount makes a difference.
The New York Times editorial titled Chicago’s Grim Era of Police Torture offers a window into a “grisly period from the 1970s to the 1990s when the Chicago Police Department’s infamous torture crew rounded up more than 100 African-American men” who were brutally tortured until they confessed.