Identifying the source of critical details in confessions


  • Martin D. Hill Ponce School of Medicine



confessions, interrogations, guilty knowledge


Interrogations leading to confessions can elicit both an admission of guilt and details to help validate the confession. Using a novel means of analysis, the interrogation was treated as a series of dynamic informational exchanges and the source of key details was identified. Questions and answers were classified according to the degree to which they provided information. Using a test case, in 212 of 340 questions the interrogators provided details to confirm or deny. In other questions, critical details were provided by the police without requesting confirmation. This pattern was reflected when the confession was divided into individual topics. None of the key, specific, verifiable details were provided by the confessor. This method of analysis is presented as a means of assessing the degree to which a confessor demonstrates guilty knowledge.



How to Cite

Hill, M. D. (2003). Identifying the source of critical details in confessions. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 10(1), 23–61.