December 8, 2008

New book explodes myth that innocent do not confess

Innocent people do not confess. Especially to rape and murder.

That is the belief of most people, including jurors, judges, attorneys, and even the very police detectives who induce false confessions. The Norfolk Four case is the perfect vehicle to challenge our misguided faith. And Tom Wells and Richard Leo are the ideal storytellers: Wells followed the case for seven years; Leo is a leading expert on the social psychology of police interrogation. The book is meticulously researched, through primary source documents and dozens of interviews.

The Wrong Guys: Murder, False Confessions, and the Norfolk Four
reads like a Stephen King novel but provides a step-by-step deconstruction of the bizarre case of the Norfolk Four, explaining the individual, situational, and systemic factors that converge in a typical false confession case.

More on the Norfolk Four case is online here; the publisher's web page is here. My longer review is forthcoming from California Lawyer magazine.

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