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  1. #1
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    Is there an example case where new evidence has overturned a confession?

    Hi everyone, with the hysteria surrounding Kathleen Zellner and her apparent cast iron alibi for Steven Avery, does anyone know of any case in which new evidence came to light which led to exoneration, after a confession from one of the defendants?

    If you think about it, whatever 'New Evidence' is presented, if one of the protagonists in a crime admits to it, how can a verdict be over turned? It would mean that she would also have to get the confession ruled as inadmissible, and I have heard nothing to say Kathleen Zellner is representing Brendan Dassey, or plans to get his confession thrown out.
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  2. #2
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    Hoosen ~ See the subsection: "The Headless Lamb" in this Newsweek article. I believe Kathleen Zellner's overturned conviction of Kevin Fox may qualify as an affirmative answer to your question.

    In the case of Wisconsin v. Avery though, I believe that Brendan Dassey's confession was never presented as a part of the prosecution of Avery; therefore even Dassey's "recanting" of that confession would have no bearing on Steven Avery's impending appeal.

  3. #3
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    shadowraiths is offline LISK Liaison, Verified Forensic Psychology Specialist, infoSec Architect
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoosen_Fenger View Post
    Hi everyone, with the hysteria surrounding Kathleen Zellner and her apparent cast iron alibi for Steven Avery, does anyone know of any case in which new evidence came to light which led to exoneration, after a confession from one of the defendants?

    If you think about it, whatever 'New Evidence' is presented, if one of the protagonists in a crime admits to it, how can a verdict be over turned? It would mean that she would also have to get the confession ruled as inadmissible, and I have heard nothing to say Kathleen Zellner is representing Brendan Dassey, or plans to get his confession thrown out.
    One that comes to mind, and is, to my mind quite similar to Brendan Dassey's confession, is the case of Michael Crowe.



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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoosen_Fenger View Post
    Hi everyone, with the hysteria surrounding Kathleen Zellner and her apparent cast iron alibi for Steven Avery, does anyone know of any case in which new evidence came to light which led to exoneration, after a confession from one of the defendants?

    If you think about it, whatever 'New Evidence' is presented, if one of the protagonists in a crime admits to it, how can a verdict be over turned? It would mean that she would also have to get the confession ruled as inadmissible, and I have heard nothing to say Kathleen Zellner is representing Brendan Dassey, or plans to get his confession thrown out.
    This one is particularly sad.

    http://www.innocenceproject.org/case...chard-danziger

    From Wikipedia:
    "Although semen evidence had been collected, no DNA analysis was performed at this time. Both men received life sentences. Years later a man by the name of Achim Marino began writing letters from prison claiming he was the actual murderer. The DNA was finally tested and it did indeed match with Marino. In 2001 Ochoa and Danziger were exonerated and released from prison after 12 years of incarceration. While in prison, Danziger had been severely beaten by other inmates and suffered permanent brain damage."

  5. #5
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    Just to be clear -- confessions aren't 'overturned' per se. Legal decisions based on them may be overturned, however. And yes, there is a history of decisions based primarily on confessions being overturned. In my opinion, the second most likely reason is because the confession was from someone with some sort of a mental problem or vulnerability. But by far the main reason has been police coercion in an interrogation, or, and perhaps this is the same thing, predatory interrogation procedures. (There is a lot of literature on this available.)



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