When you are convicted of serious criminal charges, your whole life gets turned upside down. You most likely will serve jail time, maybe for years, and have a difficult time rebuilding your life when your sentence is complete. You wonder how your situation would be different if you hadn’t confessed to your crime. Maybe you feel police coerced you into a confession.
What can you do if a judge or jury convicted you, but police coerced your conviction? Can that prompt an appeal or getting post-conviction relief?
First, you need to realize that having a coerced confession isn’t that uncommon. According to the Innocence Project, 25% of overturned convictions involve a false confession.
You’ll need the help of an attorney to evaluate your case, to see if you can prove police coerced your confession.
Those accused of crimes offer false confessions for a number of reasons, including:
- They are young and vulnerable.
- They can’t reason well, due to stress, hunger, lack of education or lack of food or sleep.
- Police use force when interrogating them or threaten to use force.
- Police use devious or intimidating interrogation techniques.
- They fear not confessing will result in a harsher punishment.
What to do about a coerced confession
In some cases where suspects make false confessions, those who received convictions can have those overturned and have their record expunged.
If you feel police coerced your confession, you need to work with an attorney who understand post-conviction relief and can advocate for your rights. Getting post-conviction relief really can change your life if you confessed to a crime you didn’t commit.