Temple Law Review & the Pennsylvania Innocence Project present:

False Confessions

Intersecting Science, Ethics, and the Law

Friday, November 9, 2012
8:30 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Temple University, Beasley School of Law
Update: New Location
Klein Hall Room, 1719 North Broad Street
Room 2B

Symposium Materials

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A confession is considered the “golden standard” in a criminal prosecution. Jurors place great weight on evidence that the defendant actually confessed to the crime. Yet the Innocence Project estimates that approximately 25% of their cases resulting in exoneration after examination of DNA evidence involved people who made incriminatory statements about themselves, sometimes outright confessing to the crimes they did not commit.

Such statistics are jarring. After all, it seems illogical for an innocent person facing criminal charges, prison, or even death, to confess to something they did not do. Even more shocking cases involve people confessing to murdering family members, or suspects who actually claim to remember the heinous crimes which they could not possibly have committed.

Why are innocent people confessing? What is it about law enforcement methods, interrogation techniques, and trial procedures that make it possible for our justice system to convict not only the truly guilty but also the truly innocent? And how can we bring about effective systematic change, permitting law enforcement officials to seek “the golden standard” of the true confession, yet root out the false positives?

The Temple Law Review’s 2012 Symposium, False Confessions: Intersecting Science, Ethics, and the Law, seeks to intersect social science, ethics, and the law to find answers to these questions. The Symposium will take a multidisciplinary approach, featuring leading scholars and practitioners who will provide their insight in the interest of raising awareness, explaining new developments in the law and their scholarly research, and suggesting new policies to deal with the life-altering consequences of False Confessions.

Registration costs:

  • General $150
  • Temple Law Alumni Association Members $120
  • Government $120
  • Public Interest $65
  • Students $40
Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits offered: 4 substantive & 1 ethics.

Featured Speakers

 Keynote Speaker

Saul Kassin
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

 Special Lunchtime Presentation

Byron Halsey
DNA Exoneree

Additional Speakers

Marissa Boyers Bluestine

Innocence Project

Joseph P. Buckley III
John E. Reid and Associates

Jules Epstein

Widener School of Law

Steven A. Drizin

Northwestern University

Richard A. Leo

University of San Francisco
School of Law

Louis M. Natali, Jr.

Temple University
Beasley School of Law

Peter Neufeld

Innocence Project at
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Richard Ofshe

Professor Emeritus of Sociology
University of California, Berkeley

Edward Ohlbaum

Temple University
Beasley School of Law
Allison Redlich

School of Criminal Justice
University at Albany-SUNY

Jim Trainum

Criminal Case Review
& Consulting
 The Honorable
Franklin S. Van Antwerpen

U.S. Court of Appeals
Third Circuit


 Symposium Schedule*


Open Registration & Breakfast


Welcoming Remarks by Professor Lou Natali


Panel 1: Promoting Accuracy in the Use of Confession Evidence: An Argument for Pre-Trial Reliability Hearings to Prevent Wrongful Convictions

Speakers: Steven Drizin, Richard Leo, and Peter Neufeld


Welcome & Keynote Introduction by Dean Joanne Epps


Keynote Speaker: Saul Kassin




Panel 2: The Use of Deception and Other Ethical Implications in Interrogation Methods

Speakers: Lou Natali and Edward Ohlbaum, and Joseph Buckley of Reid & Associates


Break and Lunch Pickup


Lunch Presentation: Byron Halsey, Innocence Project Exoneree
Exonerated July 2007




Article Presentation: Overcoming False Confessions and Coerced Statements in the Dawning Age of Interrogation Recordation: “…There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’, It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls, for the times they are a-changin’”

Speaker: Professor Richard Ofshe


Panel 3: Special Issues in False Confessions

Speakers: Jules Epstein, Allison Redlich, Jim Trainum, and Marissa Boyers Bluestine


Closing Remarks

For more information, please contact  Yuliya Benina, Temple Law Review Symposium Editor, at

*Subject to change.