False confessions can also be obtained from healthy people through threats. In a civil lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office of Broward
County, Florida (Fort Lauderdale and Deerfield Beach) a witness recently testified that he spent sixteen months in jail after confessing
to a murder that he did not really commit, claiming the detectives threatened him with the electric chair if he didn’t confess and also
implicate two other innocent men. Furthermore, he claims to have cracked after only three hours of pressure from detectives who convinced
him that confessing was his only way out of the death penalty.i
Experts are scurrying to establish procedures that will make murder confessions trustworthy. The fact of the matter is that under
the standards of biblical truth in Torah/Pentateuch and the provisions of Talmud necessary to fulfill those scriptures, all
confessions—true, false, coerced or voluntary—are prohibited from being used as evidence in a capital case. We can see the wisdom
in this, especially when we experience the power of false confessions to overcome all other evidence to the contrary.
We must marvel at the wisdom revealed by biblical truth in the strict prohibition against confessions. Although the American ideal
for testimony in capital cases is that only reliable confessions would be allowed as evidence, the actual practice in America is that
even inherently unreliable confessions are freely allowed as evidence and are used by the prosecution because they are extremely
persuasive with juries. Both the ideal and the practice fall far short of the biblical standard, which would strictly prohibit any
confessions in a capital case, regardless of the circumstances.
In a current Florida case, from the same county that was investigated in the reports by the Miami Herald, confessions of both a father
and his son were used.ii The police arrested both the defendant and his then fifteen-year old son. The father attests that he was concerned
about his son’s condition, especially after the police fired off a gun right near the teenager’s head in order to scare him into talking.
The father agreed to say anything the police wanted if they would just release his son. He gave a taped statement that he had shot the
victim and the police then released his son. The defendant wrongly assumed that once he and his son were out of police custody, they
could get everything worked out.
… The father claims that there is no physical evidence or forensic evidence connecting him to the crime scene. The use of the father’s
own confession, given under duress for the sake of his child … was pivotal to the State’s case. The Florida Supreme Court denied the
defendant any relief, even though his attorney was discovered to have been addicted to and using drugs and severely abusing alcohol
during the time of preparation for his trial.iii The father has been on Florida’s death row for over seventeen years [at the time of
A confession given by the father under duress for the sake of his son would never be allowed under the biblical truth of Torah/Pentateuch
and the provisions of Talmud that fulfill those scriptural limitations.
The answer for us is clear. Biblical truth reveals that the American death penalty fails miserably when it comes to the prohibition
against using confessions in capital cases.
i Associated Press, “Innocent Man: I Confessed to Murder under Electric Chair Threat,”
Miami Herald, October 3, 2003.
ii Michael G. Bruno v. State of Florida, 807 So.2d 55 (Florida Supreme Court, 2001).
iii Bruno v. State.