Confess your sins to your lawyer or your priest, not the cops

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I am always amazed when people who confess to their crimes to the police will lie to me, their attorney.  I’ve heard that some people confessed because they think thought they would not get arrested if they told the truth.  Some of them thought they would get a lower sentence if they confessed.  I remember laughing when I heard a defendant say he should get a reduced sentence for confessing because he saved the prosecution a lot of work.  Unfortunately, the criminal justice system is not designed to reward people for confessing.  As a general rule, anything you say to an officer can and will be used against you.  Confessions simply limit the options and all but ensure a conviction.

On the other hand, defendants also have attorney-client privilege when speaking alone to an attorney.  The privilege means that when speaking to an attorney in an official lawyer-client relationship, anything you say to the attorney cannot be repeated without your consent.  The privilege does not apply if other people are present during the conversation.  Attorneys become the vaults for all the secrets.  Any attorney who violates the attorney-client privilege can have his or her license to practice law taken away.  The only time an attorney can disclose privileged conversations, other then when the client consents to disclosure, is when a client threatens to hurt or harm someone.

I’ve seen several cases with little to no evidence other than the defendant’s confession.  As long as the police properly read Miranda warnings, the confession is going to be admitted in trial.  It doesn’t matter if the police initially messed up, if the defendant confessed it’s hard to convince a jury he or she falsely confessed.  False confessions do occur, but they are extremely rare.  Most of the time confessions are made by people in the heat of the moment without thinking ahead.  If you have this overwhelming guilt and you feel you must confess to someone, confess to your lawyer or a priest, not the cops.

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