Imagine the nightmare of being interrogated until you admit guilt for a crime you didn’t commit. Believe it or not, the problem of false confessions has been experienced by thousands around the globe. And it’s a problem that experts are only beginning to unravel.
Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions examines this true crime phenomenon through the eyes of two of the globe’s leading experts on interrogations — two lawyers who have dedicated their lives to understanding and solving the problem of false confessions. Hosted by Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin — renowned attorneys, co-directors of Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, and recognized figures from the smash hit Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer — Season One of Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions propelled Wrongful Conviction Podcasts to #1 in True Crime and #3 on the U.S. podcast charts using their unparalleled, firsthand access and actual interrogation audio to tell twelve true stories of false confessions.
Season Two takes listeners back into the interrogation room with twelve more engrossing, disturbing, and inspiring stories. This time, Laura and Steve invite us onto the front lines alongside them to learn not only why people confess to crimes they never committed, but also how the criminal justice system failed to prevent those injustices from turning into years of wrongful imprisonment. They bring in leading lawyers, experts, and formerly incarcerated people to talk about their personal struggles for justice in our criminal legal system. They show how injustice can spread from the interrogation room to the courtroom -- and even to the execution chamber. Their goal? To inspire listeners to join in their lifelong fight against wrongful convictions.
From the Norfolk Four, U.S. Navy enlistees who falsely confessed to murder after relentless hours of interrogation, to Ronald Kitchen, one of hundreds of Black men systematically and brutally tortured by high-ranking officers within the Chicago Police Department, the stories Laura and Steve tell in Season Two of Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions demonstrate one thing: despite the differences from one case to the next, each false confession, each wrongful conviction, and every day that passes during which an innocent person must wait behind bars is a call for change.
Laura Nirider is a Clinical Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago. Nirider represents individuals who were wrongfully convicted of crimes when they were children or teenagers. With her colleague Steve Drizin, her clients have included Brendan Dassey, whose case was profiled in the Netflix global docuseries Making a Murderer, and Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three, whose case was profiled in the documentary West of Memphis. In addition to her courtroom work, Nirider regularly publishes scholarly and practitioner-focused articles on interrogations and post-conviction relief. In partnership with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, she has co-authored one of the only existing juvenile interrogation protocols. She is also a frequent presenter on interrogations at defender and law enforcement training conferences around the country, as well as at public events, and has been featured in film and television programs on interrogations. Recently, she co-authored an amicus curiae brief that was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in J.D.B. v. North Carolina for the proposition that the risk of false confession is "all the more troubling...and all the more acute...when the subject of custodial interrogation is a juvenile."
Steven Drizin is a Clinical Professor at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, where he has been on the faculty since 1991. He served as the Legal Director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions from March 2005 to September 2013 and currently serves as the Center’s Co-Director. Professor Drizin’s research interests involve the study of false confessions, and his policy work focuses on supporting efforts around the country to require law enforcement agencies to electronically record custodial interrogations. Drizin co-founded the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY) in 2008, the first innocence organization to focus on representing defendants who were children or teenagers when they were wrongfully convicted. Together, Drizin and co-director Laura Nirider represent Brendan Dassey, a central figure in Netflix’s smash docuseries Making a Murderer.