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The following is a sample of the kind of analytical essay you are being asked to write.Although this essay ends up agreeing with the authors, one could have a well-argued paper that disagrees with them.This may seem obvious, but one could reasonably question whether it puts too much emphasis on protecting potentially innocent suspects and not enough on convicting potentially guilty criminals.
That is, I think one might reasonably object that they are overly focused on the possibility of false confessions without saying much about the utility of true confessions.
However, their specific proposal that interrogations be video-taped does not seem to diminish the ability of police to effectively interrogate suspects and, when possible, to elicit a confession.
Finally, Kassin and Gudjonsson note that aggressive interrogation tactics can often produce false confessions.
What makes these findings most troubling, according to Kassin and Gudjonsson, is the strong correlation between false confession and wrongful conviction.
We need to ask at what cost we are willing to limit the ability of police and Crown prosecutors to prosecute criminal suspects.
Imagine, for example, the following two systems: (1) Almost no innocent persons are ever convicted, but a very high percentage of recidivist offenders are able to escape conviction, (2) A very high percentage of offenders are caught and brought to justice; however, a small but non-negligible percentage (say 3%) of innocent persons are unjustly caught in the system and thus wrongly punished for crimes they never committed.
However, any system devised and implemented by humans must deal with the reality of imperfection.
The difficult moral question we need to ask is how we are to balance the needs of society to protect itself from criminals while at the same time protecting the rights of innocent persons.
Trial jurors, we are told, are inclined to give disproportionate weight to a confessions, even taking it to outweigh so-called hard evidence.
As a characteristic example, Kassin and Gudjonsson cite the case of Bruce Godschalk.