A Project of the University of Michigan Law School and the MDefenders Program

Motion section arguing that an adolescent client’s history of exposure to trauma is a factor in the voluntariness analysis that should lead to suppression of a confession

This draft motion section relies on psychological and neuroscientific research to argue that young people who have been exposed to trauma behave differently when interrogated and are more likely to give false, unreliable, and involuntary confessions such that past exposure to trauma should be an important factor in the voluntariness analysis. Pages 2-3:  Youth with […]

Amicus brief (a) explaining why Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma (SBS/AHT) diagnoses are not legitimate, (b) discussing the importance of biomechanical engineering experts in debunking the validity of SBS/AHT, and (c) collecting research about the causes of false confessions and forensic confirmation biases

Pg. 13 – noting that there is no reliable scientific study validating the hypothesis that shaking alone can cause bleeding in the brain and eyes and neurological impairment; accidents can cause these symptoms Pg. 14 – discussing thirty documented exonerations of innocent people wrongfully convicted based on shaken baby syndrome (and in 13% of those […]

Susceptibility of Adolescents to Influence

p. 18 – 23 incorporate research about the high susceptibility of adolescents to persuasion, especially by police. Amici argues that this makes adolescents more likely than adults to give false information to authority figures. Includes research on how adolescents respond to authority under stress.