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Sleep deprivation’s impact on false confessions

Can sleep deprivation affect the outcome of a guilty plea? In this eye-opening video, we’ll explore the impact of sleep deprivation on decision-making, and how it can potentially affect the criminal defense system. Understanding these factors is crucial in ensuring a fair trial for all individuals.

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Speaker 1
00;00;00;01 – 00;00;01;08
Hi, everyone. Did you know sleep deprivation can lead to a false confession? This is Christina Williams with Just Criminal Law.
Speaker 2
00;00;09;01 – 00;00;10;07
And this is David Mann, legal storytelling specialist. That actually makes a lot of sense that, you know, being sleep deprived is going to make you not sort of think straight. And then bad things can result from that.
Speaker 1
00;00;21;01 – 00;00;22;00
Exactly. And 20% of violent crimes happen between the hours of midnight and 6am. So often, witnesses and suspects and victims are all being interviewed in the middle of the night.
Speaker 2
00;00;38;10 – 00;00;38;19
Yeah. So the crime itself has happened in the middle of the night maybe. And then they’re in the police station and doing what we’ve told them not to do, which is talk. But maybe their judgment just isn’t clear and they’re talking and then they’re saying things that are going to get them in trouble. Right?
Speaker 2
00;00;52;09 – 00;00;53;17
Right. So a lot of times these interviews or interrogations can last hours. And depending on, you know, the state of the person at the time of the alleged incident, maybe they’re already sleep deprived and perhaps they’ve consumed some drugs or alcohol. And so they find themselves talking to the police and not really considering the consequences of their statement.
Speaker 2
00;01;22;20 – 00;01;26;14
Yeah. So that would lead to them just saying false stuff. I mean, being confused, that kind of thing.
Speaker 1
00;01;30;09 – 00;01;35;03
Exactly. They are more vulnerable to answering leading questions. That is, you know, scenarios that law enforcement put to them. And they’re more susceptible to getting easily confused. And so, all of this equals unreliable information that can even get to the point where the police turn it into or characterize it as a false confession, or a confession that, in fact, ends up being false.
Speaker 2
00;02;03;11 – 00;02;05;08
Wow. That really would be serious. Do you have an example of how this has happened with a client of yours?
Speaker 1
00;02;08;15 – 00;02;10;11
Well, I was involved in a case where a client, you know, a young dad, early twenties, was at home with his children and one of them was injured. And so he ended up taking the child, along with the child’s mom, to the emergency room several hours later when the child seemed to not be able to be soothed and comforted. They realized, well, maybe he’s been injured. So they take him into the emergency room and, in fact, the child is injured. So medical professionals are mandatory reporters. And, you know, they are not sure how this injury occurred. So law enforcement gets involved.
Speaker 2
00;02;57;29 – 00;02;59;01
So the okay, so law enforcement is involved at that point. And as we pointed out in other videos, now the person who’s being accused of a crime has a lot of choices. They can either talk or not talk. Go down to the station or not go down to the station. But if it’s the middle of the night, you’re not thinking straight. That can’t be good. So what happened with this person?
Speaker 1
00;03;17;02 – 00;03;19;01
Right. So this person had been up all night with the child and then this was the early morning hours. And, you know, both parents are very concerned for the child. And what’s happened is actually uninentional, and an accident. However
in just thinking that the father is doing the right thing in trying to figure out what happened, he agrees to go to the station and talk to the police.
Speaker 2
00;03;41;05 – 00;03;43;14
Okay. And then what did he say?
Speaker 1
00;03;43;14 – 00;03;44;05
Well, you know, it’s just like we mentioned earlier. The interview, which is very, you know, friendly, soon turns into an interrogation, which is not so friendly. And the officers are blaming him for the injury to the child. And he feels horrible. And they start asking him leading questions, which you know, he just off the cuff agrees to, you know? Who knows what he’s thinking in the back of his mind. He’s worried about his son at the hospital. And the next thing you know, the police have created a narrative where, you know, he admits to getting too rough with the child. And, you know, those words never came out of his mouth. Those were the words of the police. You know, the child was upset and he was shooing him at different times of the night, trying to get him to go to sleep before the accidental injury occurred. And so, you know, they were talking about all this stuff and how frustrating it must have been, and just really building this narrative of what happened ultimately was because he was frustrated and angry and got too rough with the child. And those were never his words, but he didn’t disagree with what law enforcement said.
Speaker 2
00;05;13;21 – 00;05;14;15
So he might have had a more clearer head if it had been in the middle of the day and he’d been calmer. And I think what you’re saying here is that after the fact, when an attorney goes back and works with this defendant, they can find these parts of the story that don’t really addup or that may have been done under duress and sleep deprivation. And that’s where they need someone like you, right?
Speaker 1
00;05;32;13 – 00;05;33;22
Right., I mean, when we get, you know, a case where it really doesn’t look like the conclusions that the law enforcement officers are making match up with what the client says happened later on when, you know, they’ve had a chance to reflect on what they werre accused of and what they meant. When they answer those questions, we try to find out why. And so we can actually file to suppress those types of statements. There’s a couple of avenues to be able to do that if you have an experrienced attorney where you can keep those statements out or, in the alternative, you can help explain to the jury what really happened, you know, those are not the client’s words. These were, in fact, words that were fed to him. And he acquiesced or, you know, he just got confused about the question and law enforcement turned it into, you know, something that it wasn’t. But you really need an attorney who’s able to put that narrative together and help it make sense for the jury.
Speaker 2
00;06;35;23 – 00;06;36;17
And so that attorney should probably be you. How would they get ahold of you?
Speaker 1
00;06;39;18 – 00;06;40;07
Sure. We’ll include a link in the description where they can call, text, or chat with a member of my team, anytime, day or night. Here at Just Criminal Law, we know you only get one shot at justice. So make yours count.

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