Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Allison H. Turner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michelle Wade, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Angela Kline, Ph.D.


To reduce false confessions and guilty pleas, twenty-seven states have passed a law to have all custodial interrogations electronically recorded. According to the Innocence Project briefing book (2017) on the electronic recording of interrogations, electronic recording is audio and audiovisual (Innocent Project, 2017). This study explores the factors that lead to false confessions and guilty pleas in wrongful convictions. The literature explains how deprivation, coercion, violence, and evidence fabrication can lead to false confessions and guilty pleas. Using the comparative/experimental research approach to study two groups (27 states with recording laws and 27 states (including territories) with no recording laws), the study determines if the rate of wrongful convictions by false confessions through the number of convictions /exonerees amongst states that require police interrogation and those that have not done so, it is unknown if states that do not record determine if states the require interrogational recording have seen a decrease in false confessions and guilty pleas. The research questions are examined through a T-test, dependent and independent. Comparing the mean score of two separate measures of the same sample, the results prove if false confessions are reduced when police interrogations are recorded. The implications of these findings arise from the population source. Looking at the exoneration population of closed cases narrows the conclusion of false confessions to only those exonerated. Another population issue encountered in this research study is the unknown number of wrongful convictions not available in this sample or information on innocent and currently incarcerated individuals