Brian Leslie, a forensic Expert in Coercive Interrogation and Interview techniques with Criminal Case Consultants Inc. (www.criminalcaseconsultants.com), says false confession experts that testify in criminal trials educate the court primarily on the psychology of an interrogation. Juries, however, must also have a comprehensive understanding of how an interrogation is broken down and how the interrogator determined the “presumption of guilt”, which is a prerequisite, for conducting such an interrogation.
When police conduct criminal investigations using what Leslie refers to as a deductive method of investigation, it may result in the targeting of innocent persons based on many factors. This can happen when suspects are targeted based on uncorroborated or faulty information provided by eye witnesses, victims or questionable confidential informants. It may also eliminate the potential of considering critical exculpatory evidence. “Having a complete understanding of how a suspect was targeted initially by law enforcement is critical”, says Leslie, “These interviews need to be examined in detail by the expert in order to provide a court or jury with a complete picture”.
When a “presumption of guilt” is based on bias, inaccurate or unvetted information and not evidence, this will usually be discovered during witness or victim interviews. These types of interviews are fact finding and are conducted at an early stage of an investigation. How questions are crafted by the interviewer can reveal to an expert the complete overall picture of how a potential suspect was targeted in the first place. Relying on flawed information, may result in a wrong suspect being targeted, thus forcing an interrogator to resort to coercive methods during an interrogation increasing the potential for a false confession.
Brian Leslie is the CEO of Criminal Case Consultants Inc., Leslie, who has a previous law enforcement background is regularly retained as a forensic expert witness by the U.S. Military, State and Federal Public Defenders offices, as well as private attorneys on major felony and high-profile cases throughout the United States.