A lot of convictions are made because there is an overwhelming amount of evidence against a defendant. However, many trials only have the word of witness testimonies and the defendant.
It can often take many eyewitness stories to align or the defendant confesses to their crimes before a conviction is made, but witnesses and defendants can have their memories altered and influenced. The brain has a way of tricking people’s memories that have allowed law enforcement to take advantage of and convict innocent people.
Here’s what you should know:
False confessions of a malleable brain
Many people convince themselves that they could never confess to a crime they never did – after all, they didn’t commit it and would remember if they did – but it’s likely they still could confess and it often isn’t their fault. Your brain has this funny little flaw that makes it less accurate than most people think – which many people realize and then forget.
Memories don’t work exactly like a video, unlike what most people believe, it may actually be closer to a slideshow of images where you, the single viewer of your own memories, fill in all the details – this may be a result of its neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to store memories, however, memories fade and alter over the years and can be lost altogether
Memories may be tampered with no matter how strong the memory, and little by little a memory may be chipped away and changed completely. If someone wanted, they might suggest an event and provide new details that could cause your memory to alter the event – this can cause eyewitnesses and defendants to create false confessions.
Police may interrogate someone who they believe didn’t commit a crime but suspect they could get a confession. Law enforcement may lie and suggest there is an overwhelming amount of evidence against the defendant or suggest that there was an eyewitness to their crimes when there wasn’t.
Officers may fabricate evidence, intimidate or lead questions and, after much debate, stress, trauma and suggestive accusations, a defendant may admit to a crime they didn’t do.
If you believe you were led to confess to a crime you didn’t do, then you may need to reach out for legal help when building your defense.