Brenton Butler Interrogation Case Study

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After a twelve-hour interrogation, Brenton Butler confessed to the murder of Mary Ann Stephens. A key claim made by the defense attorneys in this case was that this was a false confession, and after reaching a verdict of not guilty, the jury clearly agreed. The factors that led the false confession were laid out in a scene during the documentary. Instead of using the interview to discover the truth, the interrogators specifically sought out a confession from the suspect. They began the interrogation with the presumption that Brenton Butler was guilty. In fact, when one of the police officers was asked if he was there to get a confession, he responded, “yes.” Over the course of this interrogation, the police officers physically and emotionally…show more content…
The defense attorneys used photographs of swelling and bruising on Butler’s face and back to corroborate his testimony. Glover, who was not investigating the case, was asked to assist in the interrogation because Butler was apparently ready to confession. During the course of the twelve-hour investigation Glover struck Butler multiple times, placed his hand on his gun, called him the ‘N’ word. These events took place in an interrogation room and in an isolated spot in the woods. This tactic is known as maximization. Brenton Butler was convinced that the more he denied, the harsher the consequences would be. During his testimony, Butler claimed that Glover held his hand on his gun and said that he would hit him every ten seconds that he didn’t confess. This led to a compliant false confession. Brenton knew very well what he was doing, but he felt that he needed to falsely confess to get himself out of the interrogation room. Thanks to scientific advances, we are now able to analyze DNA taken from crime scenes. This is significant because it enabled the wrongfully accused to prove that they did not commit the crime for which they falsely confessed. In 2004, Drizin and Leo studied 125 of these cases to determine the causes. Physical and psychological coercion have been found to induce false confessions, especially in children. Brenton Butler was 15 years old when he went into that
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