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  1. #1
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    Mark McClish & Statement Analysis

    I was surprised not to find a thread on McClish's statement analyses concerning this case. Anyway, if I'm not mistaken there, I'd be interested in what people have to say about his work.

    I contacted Mark personally regarding some suspect statements in the Keddie Murders case a couple of years ago, and though he is a busy man he kindly donated a few hours of his time to look the statements over, and at no charge.

    Knowing the case pretty well, I can say that Mark's analysis for both suspects was spot on. And what I liked was that where he could not say something for sure, he said so - I tend to trust a person who can admit they don't know or can't do something, where making stuff up would make them look better..

    Anyhow. That's why I'm particularly interested in opinions on his work with W Memphis documents. I found the ones on Misskelly's confession and Hobbs' deposition really interesting.

    http://www.statementanalysis.com/WM3/
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  2. #2
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    Thanks for these. I'll have to read them more closely when I have more time. At first glance, I'd place statement analysts in a similar category as profilers. I think they can be helpful and assist LE. I'm not sure how I feel about them being able to give evidence at trial in the form of expert testimony.

  3. #3
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    Somewhere I have my own analysis of the Misskelley "confession". I'll have to see if I can find it. Not sure I ever posted it here because I'm not sure if I can post a word document, which I think is how it's saved.

  4. #4
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    I found this one helpful also.

    http://www.dpdlaw.com/JessieFirstStatement.htm

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by reedus23 View Post
    Somewhere I have my own analysis of the Misskelley "confession". I'll have to see if I can find it. Not sure I ever posted it here because I'm not sure if I can post a word document, which I think is how it's saved.
    Just copy and paste! I'd love to see it, too!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Compassionate Reader View Post
    Just copy and paste! I'd love to see it, too!
    It's as long as the confession is and then some because of my added comments. That would be one super long post.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gheckso View Post
    I found this one helpful also.

    http://www.dpdlaw.com/JessieFirstStatement.htm
    That was a good dissection of the interview - difference is, Statement Analysis involves looking at the use of language itself for signs of deception. I get the feeling, though, that McClish, as a former LEO, was pretty riled about what he saw.
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  8. #8
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    Double post....

  9. #9
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    McClish's analysis is certainly more detailed, I find the link I posted to be helpful to new comers as it highlights the main discrepancies, not that they're hard to find.

  10. #10
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    It covers a lot more than language alone, also. I think it makes a very clear case for the problems happening with that interview.

    You know, deep down, I don't like Echols much and I don't know about the man he is today but the kids he -was-? I would not put an act of terrible cruelty past him, whether he actually did the triple murder or not (though I will always stand by the opinion that the 'Satanic cult' stuff was a farce, of frightening magnitude).

    But what constantly has me puzzled is how even people who are 100% convinced all three were guilty can read that 'confession' and not see that something isn't right with the techniques used. That (like people who try to make Echols out to be 100% misunderstood) generally says to me that reason's gone out the window somewhere..
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  11. #11
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    I think the general consensus from the "nons" is that he lied in his original statements to minimize his own involvement. Correct me if I'm wrong.
    ^I don't buy it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by gheckso View Post
    McClish's analysis is certainly more detailed, I find the link I posted to be helpful to new comers as it highlights the main discrepancies, not that they're hard to find.
    The one I did is certainly much more along the lines of what you posted as opposed to McClish's analysis. Really, just rambling thoughts as I read through it quite some time ago. Might not have been on my first reading through of it, but certainly early on. I'd be curious to see myself how my thoughts have progressed or changed from early on.

    ETA - I think I figured out how to attach it. I'll do so when I get home. Be curious to get everyone's opinions. Like I said, it was done relatively early on in my review of all the information.

  13. #13
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    Looking forward to it, reedus.
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Ausgirl View Post
    Looking forward to it, reedus.
    I'll second that emotion!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausgirl View Post
    But what constantly has me puzzled is how even people who are 100% convinced all three were guilty can read that 'confession' and not see that something isn't right with the techniques used.
    Well I've yet to come across such a person, let alone could I speak for them, but I'm far from impressed with how Gitchell and Ridge handled the interview. Of course reality never reaches perfection though, and in a podunk town like West Memphis few things come anywhere close. I mean you couldn't rightly expect the plods in Dubbo to handle such a situation notably better, could you?

    Regardless, your bringing up McClish while I was vacationed until this particular date for my lack of interest in mincing words is rather serendipitous. I stumbled across his page on Misskelley's initial confession back when I was first starting to take interest in this case, and since at that time I wasn't nearly familiar enough with the body of evidence to judge his conclusions regarding it, I checked his list of famous cases for a topic I had previously researched extensively and found he'd touched on the murder of JFK which occurred half a century ago on this day. I was rather perplexed to see Lee Harvey Oswald on the list though, being well aware of the fact there's scant actual documented statements from him between the time of JFK's murder and his own to work with, mostly just notes, reports, and testimony from those who were around him along with a few short comments recorded by the press. So I clicked the link with great curiosity, and was shocked to find McClish using Mae Brussell's The Last Words of Lee Harvey Oswald, which is essentially a work of historical fiction. McClish does note Brussell's warnings in that regard, but promptly proceeds to throw that caution to the wind and nitpick at variations in terminology such as gun/pistol and movie/picture show absent documentation of Oswald actually having used any of those particular words. Of course Oswald had plenty of secrets, but McClish's attempt to divine them from a compilation of what Brussell took him to have said based on the accounts of others falls flat on its face. So at that point I quickly lost interest in anything McClish had to say, which concluded my research into statement analysis until last night.

    Since the topic of statement analysis came up here though I figured I might as well look into the matter more, and in that regard I recommend the last section of chapter 5 in Language of Confession, Interrogation, and Deception and chapter 10 of Detecting Lies and Deceit. Also, Richard Leo, a colleague of Richard Ofshe at Berkeley who many are quite fond of here, wrote more recently on the topic in Police Interrogation and American Justice, referencing the aforementioned works among others and harshly concluding:

    But statement analysis is just another form of junk science. Despite its name, there is nothing scientific about so-called Scientific Content Analysis. Statement analysis in general and SCAN in particular are theoretically vague, if not vacuous (miller and Stiff, 1993; Shey, 1988; Shearer, 1999) The unstated theory of statement analysis appears to be that deceptive and and truthful people use different types of memory (i.e. real and nonexistent). Even if that is true, however, there is no reason to believe that this alone would cause a deceptive and truthful individuals to write and speak different, that they would do so in the specific ways that SCAN suggest, or that third parities could infer truth and deception from the speech patterns or language changes in a person's prewritten narrative independent of any case facts or knowledge of the individual's background or history.

    If the theory underlying statement analysis is based on little more than speculation, the empirical evidence for its claims is no better. Simply put, there is no empirical evidence for SCAN (Porter and Yuille, 1996; Shuy, 1998), just endless post hock illustrations and testimonials by Sapir and his former students (www.lsiscan.com, 2004; Scientific Content Analysis Handbook, 1990). Nor is there good reason to believe that there will be any validation for SCAN or statement analysis any time soon (Miller and Stiff, 1993; Shuy 1993; Shearer, 1999). As Ruger Shuy. (1998; 75) has pointed out "the accuracy of the detection of Deceitful language is... at about the level of chance." Moreover, SCAN completely ignores linguistic research on how people talk (Shuy, 1998). As with other Behavioral Methods of Lie Detection analyzed above, the value of SCAN and statement analysis lies simply in its utility as an interrogation technique.
    Granted, I've been unimpressed by Leo and Ofhse's claims of being able to divine lies from truth as well, not just in this case but also the other eight examples discussed throughout The Guilty and the "Innocent": An Examination of Alleged Cases of Wrongful Conviction from False Confessions, with The Facade of Scientific Documentation: A Case Study of Richard Ofshe's Analysis of the Paul Ingram Case providing further detail on another of those cases. Also, Reedus recently directed me to this appeal ruling which adresses Ofshe's attempts to explain away a confession of Larry Dewayne Hall, an admitted serial killer who has remained behind bars thanks to evidence used to convict him for one count of kidnapping which resulted in the death of 15 year old Jessica Roach, the charge he'd confessed to but which Ofshe attempted to explain away. So yeah, while I consider techniques used by law enforcement in this case far from ideal, they come out looking like Sherlock Holmes when contrasted with what I've seen from proponents of statement analysis and other techniques for evaluating the veracity of a suspect's words with little to no regard for the body of evidence surrounding them.
    Last edited by kyleb; 11-22-2013 at 03:00 AM.
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

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