Being interrogated by police in Pennsylvania can be intimidating and frightening, even for people who are completely innocent. Now imagine that you are a juvenile and police tell you that you can only go home if you confess. Interrogation tactics that involve outright lies are not illegal in this state, even though they have been shown to lead to false confessions.
Illinois bars police from lying to juveniles during interrogations
Recently in Illinois, lying to juveniles during police interrogations was made illegal. The new bill was signed into law on July 15, but it won’t go into effect until January. Some of the deceptive tactics that are banned under the new bill include:
- False promises of leniency
- Insinuating that there is criminal evidence
- Telling a juvenile they can go home if they confess
It’s important to note that the bill only applies to people under the age of 18 and is only applicable in the state of Illinois. While other states are looking into the issue of deceptive tactics during interrogation, there is no law against it in Pennsylvania.
Consequences of deceptive interrogation tactics
During an interrogation, a person may feel intimated and powerless while they are being questioned for hours without a criminal defense attorney. In this vulnerable state, a ridiculous lie about evidence that does not actually exist could lead to a false confession.
One notable example of false confessions took place in 1995 when four Chicago teenagers confessed to the rape and murder of a woman. Police reportedly told one of the teens that he could go home if he confessed. After spending 20 years in prison, the four men were eventually proven innocent by DNA evidence.
What happens if you falsely confessed?
The Illinois Innocence Project has documented 100 wrongful convictions that were based on false confessions. Because the issue of false confessions under interrogation is well known, you may be able to appeal your case on the grounds of a deceptive interrogation.