Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Second Department

Legal Studies

Reader 1

Mark Costanzo

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Rights Information

© 2014 Nick H. Hwang

Abstract

This paper examines the methodology of interrogation in the United States, specifically the usage of the accusatorial Reid technique. Following a description of the Reid technique and its origins, the topic turns to an examination of how the usage of the method results in unacceptably high rates of false confessions and wrongful convictions. The next section discusses the recent increase in discovery and documentation of how often such mistakes occur, as well as the dire consequences which often involve the wrongful imprisonment or even execution of innocents. With the need for reform clearly established, the following sections discuss potential alternatives to the Reid technique as well as potential adjustments that can be made to provide better safeguards against false confessions. The paper then explains how suggested changes have all been empirically shown to reduce the rates of false confessions without compromising the investigative process, and recommends that the rest of the United States follow the example of the few states which have already passed legislation mandating such modifications.

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