Over the years a number of misrepresentations and statements containing misinformation have been made about The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation by "false confession experts," academicians and the media. We have prepared a document for your use that lists these misrepresentations and then provides the correct information as detailed in our training manual or our books, including Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, 5th edition, 2011.
Click here for the document
Furthermore, in one of our Investigator Tips, "What Exactly is The Reid Technique of Interrogation," we address specific mischaracterizations of The Reid Technique by Gudjonsson and Leo -
Click here for the document
For the past several years the courts have viewed with skepticism the testimony of "false confession experts", repeatedly suggesting that there is no actual science to support their views but rather, anecdotal evidence. We have prepared an article that quotes several court decisions on this issue, as well as a list of some of the cases the following "experts" have been involved in:
Dr. Richard Ofshe
Dr. Richard Leo
Professor Saul Kassin
Dr. Solomon Fulero
Dr. Jarvis Wright
Dr. Robert Latimer
Dr. Allison Redlich
Dr. Rosalyn Shultz
Dr. Deborah Davis
Dr. Christian Meissner
Dr. Christopher Lamps
Dr. Gregory DeClue
Dr. Avak A. Howsepian
Dr. Bruce Frumkin
Dr. E. Clay Jorgensen
Dr. Jeffrey Vanderwater-Piercy
Dr. Scott Bresle
Dr. John DiBacco
Dr. Mark Vigen
Dr. Bobby Miller
Dr. Karen Fukutaki
Dr. Stephen Greenspan
Dr. Daniel Grant
Dr. Samuel Roll
Dr. Alan Hirsch
The following sections
address legal or academic issues that have been raised over the years
concerning interviewing and interrogation techniques.
We begin with a link that addresses several cases in which the courts point out unacceptable interrogator behavior, and then we describe some do's and don'ts for interrogators to be aware of.
Confession Admissibility Issues: Proper Interrogator Behavior
> Defending The Reid Technique®
> Lying About Evidence
> Trickery and Deceit Cases
> For the
(Including numerous examples of complete Dr. Osfhe testimony; court
decisions; motions to exclude testimony; Dr. Leo testimony, etc.)
information can be found in our books Criminal Interrogation and
Confessions 5th ed. and The Investigator Anthology.
Video presentation by Dr. Richad Leo in which he gives his description of the Reid Technique
More detailed information can be found in our books Criminal Interrogation and Confessions 5th ed. and The Investigator Anthology at http://www.reid.com/store2/list.html?searchtype=book
List of False Confession experts - click here for the complete list
Also see our legal updates for additional court decisions on the admissibility of false confession experts:
On their website, The Innocence Legal Team, offers a video presentation by Dr. Richard Leo of his description of the Reid Technique (which he also calls the Reid Method). The presentation can be accessed by clicking on the link labeled, Research on Coerced Confessions and Investigations, on their website at http://www.innocencelegalteam.com/attorney-training-seminars.php.
It should be noted that Dr. Leo misrepresents the essential elements of the Reid Technique - in fact, he includes in his description of the technique statements made to the suspect by the investigator that are clearly inappropriate and in violation of multiple court decisions. We address many of these misrepresentations in one of our Investigator Tips - What Exactly is The Reid Technique of Interrogation, which you can access on our website at http://www.reid.com/educational_info/r_tipsprint.html?serial=1309864251267367.
One note of interest, Dr. Leo suggests that an interrogator suggesting to the suspect in a homicide case that he may have acted in self-defense or that the shooting may have been an accident constitutes a coercive technique - the courts disagree.
In the recent September 2011 case of People v. Batiste (Sept. 2011), the Curt of Appeal, 1st District, Div. 3, California, the defendant claimed that his confession was coerced because it was the product of deception or implied promises of leniency by the officers. From the court's opinion:
"Batiste argued in the trial court that the officers made an implied promise of leniency when they suggested he might have acted in self-defense. That argument lacked merit. Here, as in People v.. Carrington (2009) 47 Cal.4th 145, 171, "suggestions that the ... homicide might have been an accident, a self-defensive reaction, or the product of fear, were not coercive; they merely suggested possible explanations of the events and offered defendant an opportunity to provide the details of the crime. This tactic is permissible. [Citation.] Moreover, any benefit to defendant that reasonably could be inferred from the substance of [the officer's] remarks was ' " 'merely that which flows naturally from a truthful and honest course of conduct,' " ' because the particular circumstances of a homicide can reduce the degree of culpability, and thus minimize the gravity of the homicide or constitute mitigating factors in the ultimate decision as to the appropriate penalty. [Citation]."
From Legal Updates for May 2009 see the following cases:
Click Here to View All Cases.
- Court excludes testimony of Richard Leo
- Court excludes testimony of Richard Ofshe
- Judge rejects Dr. Ofshe testimony
- Court limits testimony of Saul Kassin
From the Legal Updates for February 2009 see the following case:
Click Here to View This Case.
- Dr. Richard Ofshe testimony limited
From the legal Updates for Summer 2008 see the following cases:
Click Here to View All Cases.
- Courts limit or reject the testimony of expert witnesses Richard Leo, Richard Ofshe, Saul Kassin, Mark Castanza, Susan Garvey, Deborah Davis and Rosalyn Shultz on false confession issues
- Dr. Christian Meissner testifies on false confession issues - Jury finds defendant guilty
Court rejects expert testimony on false confession experts in four more cases
In the case of US v. Dixon, the Fifth Circuit US Court of Appeals upheld the district court's decision to reject the testimony of Dr. Gregory DeClue re the issue of false confessions, stating that "Here, the district court determined that Dr. DeClue added nothing more than abstract scientific nostrums. Dr. DeClue's proffered testimony did not apply recognized or accepted principles to Dixon's particular circumstances. Instead, it offered only the general proposition that false confessions can occur." Click here for the complete decision.
In the case of US v. Freeman, the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Services upheld the lower court's decision to reject the request for expert testimony on the issue of police interrogation techniques stating, "The military judge concluded that "none of the factors/practices identified [in an article] by Dr. Ofshe [one of the proponents of the theory] are particularly complex or counter-intuitive" and counsel "should require no expert assistance or testimony to elicit the pertinent facts and argue to the finder of fact why those facts make their client's admissions to the [AF]OSI unreliable...." Click here for the complete decision.
In the case of People v. Crews, the defense sought to call Dr. Solomon Fulero as an expert witness on the issue of false confessions. The Court held "that the subject of whether a person has falsely confessed 'does not depend upon professional or scientific knowledge or skill not within the range of ordinary training or intelligence,' and therefore, 'there is no occasion to resort to expert testimony.'" The Court also rejected the arguments by Dr. Saul Kassin who wrote in one of his articles that there are three reasons why jurors need the assistance of expert testimony in this area are:
"The Court finds these rationale are totally unpersuasive as to the need for jurors to receive expert testimony on this subject. The reasons set forth ignore the fundamental foundation upon which our adversarial system of justice is based. As already discussed, the Criminal Jury Instructions clearly contemplate that these are areas which jurors are fully capable of evaluating. The issues and arguments that are cited by Dr. Kassin are potential areas to cross examine a law enforcement witness that is testifying about an admission or confession." Click here for the complete decision.
- First, generalized common sense leads us to trust confessions, a behavior that breaches self-interest in a profound way (most people believe they would never confess to a crime they did not commit and they cannot image the circumstances under which anyone would do so.)
- A second basis for pessimism is that people are typically not adept at deception detection.
- A third basis for pessimism is that police-induced confessions, unlike other types of verbal statements, are corrupted by the very process of interrogation that elicits them -- designed for persuasion, even if false.
In the case of People v. Madrigal, the California Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld the lower court's decision to exclude the testimony of Dr. Avak A. Howsepian who at a hearing outside of the presence of the jury testified that the defendant suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder, attention deficit disorder, acute stress disorder, anxiety and depressive disorders and was therefore more susceptible to giving a false confession. Click here for the complete decision.
Five Courts Reject the Testimony of Richard Leo and Richard Ofshe
In the case of People v.Wroten Dr. Richard Leo testified that the interrogators suggested to the defendant "that the offense was accidental, thereby minimizing the suspect's perception of the consequences of an admission and implying that an accidental killing might result in leniency. This technique can increase the risk of a false confession." The court rejected this position and the jury convicted the defendant of first degree murder. In their review of the case the Court of Appeal, 2nd District, Division 2, California stated "There were also no promises of leniency made to appellant. The statements he points to as making such promises are at worst ambiguous and, in any event, did not pervade the interrogation. Detective Lait's statement that they were giving appellant a "million dollar opportunity" to explain whether the shooting was intentional or accidental contains no promise of benefit. While the detective stated that knowing whether the murder was intentional or accidental might make a difference in "how we proceed," he did not say it would benefit appellant or that it would make a difference as to whether they would proceed. Furthermore, after Detective Lait made those statements, appellant continued to deny involvement in the Mosley shooting....Those statements did not overbear his will to resist and proximately cause him to confess. Detective Garrido's statement that they wanted to get appellant "cleared up" was little more than encouragement to tell the truth." Click here for the complete decision
In the case of People v.Muratalla Dr. Richard Leo suggested that the defendant's consent to search may have been given as the result of improper police questioning techniques. The Court of Appeals decision stated that "Leo opined that threatening to arrest a suspect's girlfriend or to have the suspect's child removed in order to gain access to the suspect's residence would qualify as coercive threats. Such threats, if used to gain consent, would also affect the suspect's subsequent perceptions about whether the suspect should make statements during an interrogation." The trial court found that "under the totality of circumstances, Muratalla's consent to search was voluntary. The court found that assuming the officers had discussed the possibility of having DCFS take custody of the children and had handcuffed Dorame in Muratalla's presence, such conduct did not induce Muratalla "to do something that he otherwise might not have done." The court noted that it would have found Muratalla's consent to have been involuntary had the officers said to Muratalla that his son would be removed by DCFS and his girlfriend would be arrested unless he agreed to the search of his residence. But in the absence of such a direct threat by the officers, the trial court concluded that Muratalla's consent was obtained without police coercion." The Court of Appeals, 2nd Disrtict, California affirmed the trial court's decision. Click here for the complete decision.
In their decision in the case of People v. Cota, the Court of Appeal, 4th District, Division 3, California reported the following:
"During trial, defense psychological expert Dr. Richard Ofshe testified about interrogation tactics used by police in order to elicit confessions from suspects and factors that contribute to suspects making false confessions. During closing argument, the prosecutor read an excerpt from a law review article in which Ofshe was quoted as saying: " 'While a guilty party will likely be very unhappy that he is being accused and confronted with evidence that supports the accusation, he is somewhat insulated from shock because he has always been aware of possible detection and can understand that he has been caught. An innocent suspect is likely to experience considerable shock and disorientation during interrogation because he is wholly unprepared for the confrontation and accusations that are at the core of the process and will not understand how an investigator could possibly suspect him.'
The prosecutor then proceeded to argue, "[w]hen you look at this videotape [of the defendant's interview with Campuzano], ask yourself that question. Where is the shock of being accused of these horrific crimes? ... There isn't because the defendant knew what he did, period. And because this evidence is so compelling, because it is so compelling, the defense is grasping at straws.... And all they need to do is fool one of you. If they fool one of you, then the defendant is not held responsible." Click here for the complete decision.
In the case of Lyons v. State Lyons sought to have Dr. Richard Ofshe testify as an expert witness on false confession theory. Following a hearing outside the jury's presence at which Ofshe testified, the trial court ruled that it would not allow the testimony based upon the evidence in the case, because such theory had not reached a verifiable stage of scientific certainty, and because whether Lyons's inculpatory statements were the results of threats or coercion was a matter the jury could discern for itself. "This Court further observed in Riley that the admission of expert testimony based on the theory of false confessions was premature and unreliable inasmuch as there was insufficient scientific support and too many unanswered questions regarding such theory. Id. at 682-683(4), 604 S.E.2d 488. In short, false confession theory does not satisfy the evidentiary test in criminal cases set forth in Harper v. State, 249 Ga. 519(1), 292 S.E.2d 389 (1982)." Click here for the complete decision.
In the case of US v. Mamah the US District Court, N.D. Illinois granted the government's motion to bar Dr. Richard Ofshe's testimony, stating that "The jury will not be, and cannot be, assisted in any way by Dr. Ofshe's views in determining whether Mr. Mamah's version of the interrogation is more accurate than that of the interviewing agents, assuming material conflict. It is a classic jury function to determine the credibility of witnesses. That Dr. Ofshe can say some people confess falsely when faced with certain stimuli is not relevant to the jury's credibility determination function. Nor can Dr. Ofshe testify, as part of his work, what the specifics of the interrogation consisted of as related to him by Mr. Mamah. Mr. Mamah's statements to him about the interview would be inadmissible hearsay and could not be disclosed by Dr. Ofshe to the jury pursuant to Rule 703. Beyond that, Dr. Ofshe employs mere conclusory statements in his report about tactics used without specifics or elaboration. As is recited in Hall at p. 1344, conclusory statements without any explanation why the expert can contribute to the jury's understanding of the subject are also subject to exclusion. That is also the situation here." Click here for the complete decision.
Court Upholds Confession from Interrogator Using The Reid Technique - Jury Rejects Dr. Ofshe Testimony
In the case of State v. Tapke the Court of Appeals of Ohio upheld the defendant's confession which was obtained by an officer who was trained in The Reid Technique. Dr. Richard Ofshe testified about false confessions and attempted to describe The Reid Technique. The jury subsequently rejected his testimony and "chose not to discredit it [the confession]."
It is interesting to note that in his testimony Dr. Ofshe testified that as part of The Reid Technique interrogators are taught the following:
"So what police have learned to do is to communicate the message through a series of suggestions * * * the idea being to communicate the understanding that there's a deal on the table, but without ever explicitly saying here's the deal." He used the example of a person accused of GSI. He testified that the police would say something like this to a suspect: "[Y]ou're not a sexual predator; you're someone who needs treatment. What would you rather do, go to prison as a sex offender, or get some therapy in treatment."
It is interesting to note that the exact opposite is the case - we teach not to make any statements that refer to punishment, threats or promises of leniency (see Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, 4th ed., 2001), and in our training seminars we highlight the case, Com. v. DiGiambattista, 813 N.E.2d 516 (2004), in which the Massachusetts Supreme Court indicated that "what seemed to disturb the Court the most was the apparent reference to counseling which they felt "implicitly suggested to him that "counseling" would be an appropriate avenue for him to pursue after making a confession." In other words, if he confessed he would get counseling instead of jail." This is exactly what we teach not to do
Click here for decision
Court Rejects Testimony of Dr. Richard Leo
In the case of People v. Rathbun the Court of Appeals, Second District, California rejected the testimony of Dr. Richard Leo, stating in part:
The court ruled that Dr. Leo would not be permitted to testify, his testimony being irrelevant because, as acknowledged, none of the stated influences was present with regard to appellant's confession. The court also ruled based on Evidence Code sections 352 and 801, and Kelly, supra, 17 Cal.3d 24.
Click here for complete decision
Military Judge finds Dr. Ofshe theory regarding coervice interrogations was not based on rigorous scinetific analysis or even subject to scientific testing but was rather Dr. Osfhe's own subjective review of a group of particularly selected cases.
In the case of US v Wilson, the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Appeals upheld the trial judge's decision to exclude Dr. Richard Ofhe's testimony.
In their decision the Court of Appeals stated:
"In essence, the military judge found that Dr. Ofshe's theory regarding coercive interrogations was not based on rigorous scientific analysis or even subject to scientific testing but was rather Dr. Ofshe's own subjective review of a group of particularly selected cases. By way of example, at one point Dr. Ofshe testified that his theory concerning the impact of certain police interrogation techniques on the danger of false confessions was as intuitive as the fact that the sun will come up each day. Essentially he argues that we can't necessarily prove causation but we just know how it works. Id. at 5, Record at 1202.
The military judge's finding that the proffered theory was not scientifically sound was wholly supported by the affidavits of Professor Cassell and LtCol Slicner. Professor Cassell, after noting that he is familiar with Dr. Ofshe's research, opines that Dr. Ofshe's theories "have not been sufficiently tested ... have an unacceptably high rate of error ... depart from accepted standards ... and have not been accepted in the relevant scientific community...." Appellate Exhibit LXVII at 2. LtCol Slicner, opining more generally on research into the causes of false confessions, observes that to her knowledge there are no "scientifically reliable studies" that associate particular personality traits or the nature of the interrogation with false confessions. She opines that one cannot "hold so many unusual and diverse variables constant in order to study the effect of one or more clearly identifying variables." Appellate Exhibit LXVIII at 2.
Having determined that Dr. Ofshe's theory was not based on sufficient scientific rigor to be reliable and that it was not widely accepted within the relevant scientific community, the military judge went on to rule that the witness could testify only to his rather commonsensical opinions that "false confessions do occur" and that "some persons have, after certain techniques have been used, made false confessions." Appellate Exhibit LXXII at 5. The military judge then found, as the appellant asserts, that the opinions Dr. Ofshe could legitimately testify to were not beyond the experience of the average member and therefore of such minimal value as to be substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury. The underlying basis for the military judge's decision, however, was that Dr. Ofshe's expert opinion testimony was not scientifically reliable. We find, therefore, that there was ample evidence supporting the inadmissibility of Dr. Ofshe's expert testimony and that the military judge did not abuse his discretion when he excluded it."
Click here for full decision
Massachusetts Supreme Court finds Dr. Saul Kassin testimony inadmissible
In the case of Commonwealth v. Robinson, the Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld the trial court's decision to reject the testimony of Dr. Saul Kassin. Quoting from the Supreme Court's opinion:
"A hearing was held before the judge to consider the admissibility of the testimony of Professor Saul Kassin. The professor was offered by the defendant as an expert witness on the subject of the psychology of police interrogations and confessions. The judge refused to admit his testimony because it did not meet the "general acceptance" or "reliability" criteria required by Commonwealth v. Lanigan, 419 Mass. 15, 25, 641 N.E.2d 1342 (1994), and also because it concerned issues within the knowledge and experience of laypersons."
"Nevertheless, on cross-examination the professor conceded that there was no empirical data on the number of false confessions, and that there is no scientific basis for distinguishing true from false confessions. Indeed, he admitted that one of his articles stated, "Further research in the field is sorely needed.... [T]he current empirical foundation may be too meager to support recommendations for reform or qualify as a subject of scientific knowledge." The professor also said that, in fact, in mock jury experiments, jurors were able to distinguish accurately voluntary from involuntary confessions. He agreed that he could not say that lay people could not accurately assess the techniques that would cause false confessions."
"The judge concluded that Kassin's testimony did not meet the requirements set forth in the Lanigan case. We agree. As the judge stated, Kassin conceded that his opinions are not generally accepted, require further testing, and are not yet a subject of "scientific knowledge." One of his own publications admitted as much. Accordingly, his proposed testimony that certain interrogation techniques have previously produced false confessions does not meet either the general acceptance or reliability criteria established by the Lanigan case. The judge did not abuse her discretion in refusing to admit Professor Kassin's testimony"
Click here for full decision
COURT LIMITS RICHARD LEO TESTIMONY
In the case of Scott v. State 165 S.W.3d 27 March 24, 2005 the Texas Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's decision to limit Richard Leo's testimony.
"The court ruled that Leo would not be allowed to testify with respect to: (1) the post-admission narrative; (2) the types of false confessions, including persuaded false confessions, and the mental processes through which suspects progress; and (3) his opinion that any particular interrogation technique is coercive or would render a confession involuntary. Rather than accept the court's limitations on Leo's testimony, the defense elected not to call him as a witness.
On appeal, Scott complains only of the exclusion of Leo's testimony regarding persuaded false confessions. He argues that Leo's description of how an innocent person can come to believe that he is guilty and then create a false narrative describing his assumed guilty conduct mirrors the process, shown in the videotaped interrogation sessions, by which he came to confess his guilt of the yogurt shop murders. Scott contends that the court's exclusion of this testimony went to the very heart of his defense.
In its written order, the district court explained its ruling:
While this ruling may appear to be hairsplitting, it was designed in the Court's view to maximize the proponent's arguably legitimate use of the witness while restricting the witness from inappropriate areas. The limitation excluded areas where his novel science appears unproven and essentially untested, where he appeared to be exceeding his true area of expertise or sought to use terms of significant legal consequence that could confuse or mislead the jury, or where his testimony would not be of assistance to the trier of fact.
When the Court reviewed all material provided by the parties on this issue, the one clear impression left is that the area of false confessions during police interrogation is an area of study in its infancy with different views and countervailing opinions. There is a significant lack of empirical studies and those that exist are not specifically involved with actual police interrogation or appear not to be objective or complete."
Click here for the full decision.
US DISTRICT COURT REJECTS DR. LEO OPINION
In the case of Milke v. Schriro No. CV-98-0060-PHX-RCB the US District Court denied the petitioner's claim that her confession was obtained in violation of her Miranda rights and that the investigating officer fabricated her incriminating statements.
"Petitioner has attached to her merits brief a number of exhibits containing information that was not before the state court. These include a report from Dr. Richard Leo, Associate Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine. (Dkt.101, Ex. 28.) Dr. Leo impugns Det. Saldate's professionalism and opines that Saldate "may very well have fabricated or coerced a false or non-existent confession from [Petitioner]." ( Id. at 11.)
The PCR court's decision denying this claim was based upon its resolution of factual issues, including the relative credibility of Det. Saldate and Petitioner. These factual determinations were not objectively unreasonable and were the product of an adequate fact-finding procedure. Further, Petitioner has failed to present evidence rebutting the factual findings underlying the state court's determination that Petitioner waived her Miranda rights and that Det. Saldate did not fabricate her incriminating statements. This Court concludes, therefore, that the PCR court's decision was not an unreasonable determination of the facts under S 2254(d)(2) nor an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law under S 2254(d)(1). Therefore, Petitioner is not entitled to relief on this claim."
Click here for the full decision.
DR. LEO EXCLUDED FROM TESTIFYING AT TRIAL
In the case Vent v. State No. A-7647 Feb. 12, 2002 the Alaska Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's decision to exclude Dr. Leo's testimony. The Appeals Court stated:
"In the present case, after hearing Vent's offer of proof, Judge Esch determined that Dr. Leo's testimony would not appreciably aid the jury in determining whether Vent made a false confession. He indicated that he was troubled by the fact that there was no way to quantify or test Dr. Leo's conclusions that certain techniques might lead to false confessions. He also concluded that jurors would be aware that some people do make false confessions and that this proposition could be developed by questioning and argument.
. Our review of the authorities and the record convince us that there is merit to Judge Esch's questions concerning Dr. Leo's methodology and whether his testimony would appreciably aid the jury. We conclude that whether to admit Dr. Leo's testimony and the determination whether his testimony would appreciably aid the jury in this case is a question that fell within the broad discretion reserved to the trial court. We accordingly conclude that Judge Esch did not err in refusing to admit Dr. Leo's testimony."
Click here for the full decision.
Court Rejects Dr. Ofshe Opinion
In the case of People v. Ladell Deangelo Brown, the Court of Appeal, Third District, California affirmed the conviction of Brown who had admitted that he had shot the victim, Victor Jones. At trial Dr. Richard Ofshe "testified about research showing that modern interrogation techniques lead to false confessions. Ofshe opined that Overall [the investigating officer] induced defendant to admit he shot Victor accidentally or in self-defense by leading defendant to believe he would receive leniency. He noted that Overall never told defendant he remained subject to serious criminal liability under the felony-murder rule. Citing the totality of the circumstances, the court ruled that defendant's admissions were voluntary and denied the motion to suppress."
Click here for the complete decision.
Trial Court Decision to Exclude Dr. Richard Ofshe's Testimony Upheld on Appeal
In the case of Staye v. Angel Torres, July 2006, the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga County rejected Torres claim "that the trial court erred by excluding the testimony of interrogation expert, Dr. Richard Ofshe. The trial court excluded Dr. Ofshe's testimony based on the fact his opinion was irrelevant to the facts of the case. We agree. Dr. Ofshe specializes in determining the voluntariness of a confession. However, in the instant case, Torres did not claim his confession was involuntary, but claims he never gave a confession and that the detective fabricated his confession. Therefore, Dr. Ofshe's testimony as to whether the confession was voluntary was irrelevant. In fact, Dr. Ofshe even stated he had never previously testified whether a confession was fabricated by a detective."
Click here for the complete decision.
US District Court Dismisses Petitioner's Claim that Interrogation was Coercive (Dr. Ofshe was the expert witness for Petitioner)
In the case of Harold Wayne Nichols, Petitioner v. Ricky Bell, Warden, Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, Respondent, the United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee rejected the Petitioner's claim that "trial counsel failed to properly debrief him to find evidence of coercion," and that "the coercive nature of the interrogation process was demonstrated through the testimony Dr. Richard Ofshe..."
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In the case of People v. Smann, the Fourth District California Court of Appeal upheld the restrictions the trial court had placed on the testimony of Dr. Richard Leo. The trial court granted the prosecution's motion to limit the testimonies of Smann's expert witnesses, stating:
"[N]either expert, Dr. Leo or Dr. Weinstein, will be permitted to express an opinion as to whether, in his opinion, the defendant's confession was reliable or accurate, true or false, or the defendant's state of mind, given the overall method of investigation ."
For the complete opinion, click >
Jury Rejects Richard Ofshe Testimony in Employee Theft Prosecution
In the case The People v. Amy Marie Garvin, Court of Appeal, Sixth District, California. Feb. 10, 2005 the defense offered expert testimony from Dr. Richard Ofshe who testified that "a poorly done interrogation could produce a false confession. Poorly trained interrogators use false "evidence ploys" in conjunction with inappropriate psychological "motivators" to coerce false confessions without knowing that the confessions are false. These interrogators focus only on producing a confession without thinking about the guilt or innocence of the person interrogated." The jury rejected this testimony and found the defendant guilty.
For the complete opinion, click >
DECISION OF INTEREST
In the case of State of Florida vs Nathan Brinkley, on July 3, 2002
the Judge denied the defendant's motion to suppress his confession.
The defense had used Dr. Richard Ofshe as their expert witness.
In his decision the judge found that Dr. Ofshe's testimony lacked
credibility. Furthermore, after reading the transcript of dr. Ofshe's
interview of the defendant, the court found that "Dr. Ofshe
did, in fact, ask the defendant numerous leading questions, and
that he did indeed suggest to the defendant that he was bated, coerced
and improperly motivated during the interview."
For the complete opinion, click >
DECISION OF INTEREST
In the case of THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE CALIFORNIA vs. AMY MARIE
GARVIN Dr. Richard's Ofshe's testimony was rejected by the jury.
Here is both the Direct and extensive Cross Examination of Dr. Ofshe
from October, 2003. Click here
For the complete opinion,
here for PDF version (560k)
here for TXT version (320k)