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Innocent teens more likely to confess, leading to conviction


A teens worse nightmare, might include sitting in a room, with a police officer or investigator. Not knowing what they are being accused of, and not having their parents there to guide them. A reports found that teens more commonly confess to crimes they haven't committed compared to adults who were also innocent.

This means, teenagers are being locked up, despite being innocent. This not only steals part of their childhood, but sets them up for a rough adult life. After serving a sentence, they might get out of jail or prison and hope to start college and move on with life. However, many colleges will run background checks and might not admit a student purely because of a past conviction.

According to the report, 38 percent of teens under 18 who were later exonerated, were found to have provided false confessions. Although still too high, only 11 percent of adults that were exonerated had false confessions.

One expert said that teens are more likely to provide confessions because they see the short-term outcome as them being able to go home to their parents. In all reality, a confession could make a conviction easier and the teen might spend years in prison depending on the charges.

Speaking with an attorney can be a wise decision for anyone who is arrested. They can help the person understand their rights and prevent the accused from answering leading questions in a way that might result in an admission or provide further information to help authorities convict the person.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "False Confessions Dog Teens," Zusha Elinson, Sept. 8. 2013

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