A Michigan judge ruled today that two false confession experts couldn’t testify at the trial of a man accused of killing two people.
Jerome Kowalski is charged with shooting his brother and sister-in-law in 2008, and police videotaped him admitting guilt at the end of an interrogation. Kowalski’s attorney is seeking to present evidence regarding false confessions and the possibility that Kowalski gave a false confession under duress. At a pre-trial hearing the judge heard testimony from University of San Francisco law professor Richard Leo, a false confession expert, and psychologist Jeffrey Wendt.
District Court Judge Theresa Brennan called the testimony of two expert witnesses — a California law professor and a clinical psychiatrist — "unreliable and irrelevant."About 25% of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing involved a false confession or admission. Read about how false confessions happen – and the reforms that can help prevent them.
Defense attorney Walter Piszczatowski said he plans to appeal the ruling because his client's Sixth Amendment rights to present a proper defense were denied.
…Although Jerome Kowalski is videotaped as to saying, "I did it," attorneys claimed that there are some discrepancies in his statements and evidence at the crime scene.
Read the full story here. (Detroit News, 07/27/09)