Case Update: On October 31, 2016, Judge John Gibney of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia vacated the convictions of two members of the Norfolk Four, Joseph Dick and Danial Williams, after finding them innocent of the rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko in a September 26, 2016 Opinion, which stated: “By any measure, the evidence shows the defendants’ innocence – by a preponderance of the evidence, by clear and convincing evidence, by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, or even by conclusive evidence.” The September 26th Opinion can be accessed here; the October 31st Order can be accessed here; and the October 31st statement from the attorneys for Mr. Dick and Mr. Williams can be accessed here.
News Update: On October 27, 2010, Detective Robert Glenn Ford, the detective responsible for the wrongful conviction of the Norfolk Four, was convicted of multiple counts of extortion and lying to federal law enforcement officials. Read a press release issued by the legal team here
Proof of Innocence--> False Confessions
The Phenomena of False Confessions
When, as here, interrogators cross the line and employ suspect and improper interrogations tactics, even an average adult can be motivated to confess to a crime he or she did not commit. Research confirms that defendants do not immediately renounce false confessions after escaping the interrogation room. One study shows that 15 percent of defendants who made undisputedly false confessions pled guilty despite their innocence in order to avoid the risk of the death penalty or some other harsh sentence.
The Sailors’ Confessions Were False
Dr. Richard Ofshe, a sociologist and leading expert on interrogation, has focused his research and writing for nearly twenty years on the influence of interrogation tactics on a suspect’s decisions to falsely confess to a crime. Upon independent review of this case, he concludes that Detective Ford’s psychologically coercive interrogations tactics caused the sailors to give confessions that are false. In fact, Dr. Ofshe has said that this case is the “most egregious” he has encountered in his nearly twenty years of studying interrogation and false confessions.
- Dr. Richard J. Ofshe’s Biography, Summary, and Full Report: Interrogations and Confessions Analysis in the Case of the Norfolk Four
- Confession and Evidence Comparison Chart