Confession Evidence

Confession evidence is highly potent, and its incriminating effects are difficult to erase. This entry describes the impact of confessions on jury verdicts, examines three concerns about the way in which juries evaluate confession evidence, and considers the steps that can be taken to ensure that jurors assess such evidence appropriately.

In cases where a confession is disputed, a judge determines the voluntariness and admissibility of the confession during a preliminary hearing. In the American criminal justice system, if a confession is deemed voluntary, it is then submitted for consideration to the jury. In some states, the jury is specially instructed to make an independent judgment of voluntariness and to disregard statements found to be coerced; in other states, the jury receives no such instruction. Either ...

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