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What are the factors that can lead to false confessions?

Duress and coercion are easy ones to point to.  Chris Ochoa was told if he didn’t confess, they’d seek the death penalty.  He was told, over and over, he just needed to take responsibility, that they knew he was there, they knew he did it, they could prove he did it and if he didn’t confess he’d get the death penalty.  You can watch Chris Ochoa tell, in his own words, how this stress impacted his mother’s health until finally, he ‘confessed’ to end the ordeal.
Unfortunately, his ‘confession’ included implicating another innocent person, who was also convicted of the crime.

Another common theme amongst false confessions is a diminished capacity or mental impairment.  This may be a mental defect, such as in the case of Earl Washington, Jr.  Mr. Washington was asked, “Was the woman you killed black or white?”  When he responded, “Black,” the police said, “No!  Was she black or white?”  Mr. Washington now knew the correct answer was ‘white.’

Alternatively, diminished capacity may be chalked up to the immaturity of youth.  Michael Crowe  confessed to killing his sister after extensive questioning by police.  Evidence later proved he had nothing to do with the crime.  Michael was just a teenager.  Neither parent was with him while he was being interviewed.  You can watch Michael’s confession here:
False Confessions