False Confessions Symposium Underway

The False Confessions Symposium is underway at Washington & Lee University School of Law in Lexington, VA. This symposium is examining the story of the Central Park Five, the Norfolk Four, and other cases involving false confessions. Speakers include Steve Drizin, a leading researcher in the field; Steve Northup, lawyer from Troutman Sanders who represented Erick Wilson of the Norfolk Four; Gerry Zirken, a Federal Public Defender who represented Earl Washington; Steve Rosenfeld, who represents another Norfolk Four defendant, and interrogation expert James Trainum.  The symposium was organized by Prof. Jonathan Shapiro, a Visiting Professor of Law at Washington & Lee and an experienced practitioner in the criminal law area.

You may watch the event live via a stream available here: http://new.livestream.com/wlu/false-confessions-symposium. Written materials for the event are available here: http://law.wlu.edu/lawcenter/page.asp?pageid=1688.

Here is the schedule:

Four False Confessions and How They Happened

9am – 10:30am

Professor Drizin presents a summary of  his research on false confessions cases and recounts the Central Park Five case.  Steve Northup recounts the Norfolk Four case. Brandon Garrett presents his research on wrongful convictions and false confessions.

Raymond Santana and Eric Wilson describe their interrogations. Excerpts from confessions played.

10:30am – 10:45am

Break

10:45 – 12:00pm

Jerry Zerkin recounts the Virginia case of Earl Washington, convicted of rape and murder and sent to death row based on a false confession, now exonerated.

Steven Rosenfield, Laura Nirider, and Jeffrey Aaron recount the Virginia case of Robert Davis who falsely confessed to the murder of a mother and her child, sentenced to 23 years and now waiting clemency.

12:00pm – 1pm

Lunch break

Police Interrogation – The Reid Technique

1pm –  2:45pm

James Trainum and Steven Drizin describe the Reid technique of interrogation.

Jonathan Shapiro describes defense of Fairfax County child sex-abuse case based on false confession, with excepts of confession played and commentary by James Trainum, Steven Drizin and Jonathan Shapiro.

Steven Drizin, Jonathan Shapiro, Steven Rosenfield, Jerry Zerkin and Stephen Northup discuss preparing the case for attacking a false confession.

2:45pm – 3pm

Break

The Fight for Exoneration – Law and Politics

3pm – 4pm

Panel discussion – Steven Rosenfield, Stephen Northup, Steven Drizin, Jeffrey Aaron and Jerry Zerkin describe the fight for exoneration in their cases, including the law and the politics.

4 – 4:30pm

Question and Answer, and closing comments

This event is sponsored by the Frances Lewis Law Center, Washington and Lee University Law School, and these Washington and Lee organizations: The Innocence Project, CONTACT, the Student Bar Association, the Black Law Students Association, the Federalist Society, the Criminal Justice Clinic, the National Lawyers Guild, and The Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice.

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