DVD for Legal Practitioners
Honored by American Bar Association Silver Gavel Awards for Media & the Arts
This award-winning documentary examines police interrogation methods in unprecedented detail, through the use of police video documenting nearly 10 hours of interrogation of a murder suspect in 2008.
“SCENES OF A CRIME” has been used for legal education in professional conferences, Continuing Legal Education, and over 200 law schools and universities.
Legal Practitioners/Firms/Agencies may purchase the DVD for viewing by their employees (Terms and Conditions specified on checkout page).
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Steven A. Drizin, Northwestern University School of Law:
Professor and Assistant Dean at the Bluhm Legal Clinic
“What a powerful documentary! It speaks volumes to the corruptive power of confession evidence.
“Through a recent video-recorded police interrogation, the film examines the role that lies, promises of leniency, minimization, and fact-feeding play in extracting a murder confession that runs contrary to overwhelming medical evidence.
“Just as forcefully, the film presents the jury’s perilous duty in determining a verdict in a confession case without expert testimony on police interrogations.
“SCENES OF A CRIME is a step-by-step examination of a troubled criminal case that is both provocative and instructive for students in criminal law and justice.
“It is one of the best films to examine the modern psychological interrogation and the ways in which legally permissible interrogation tactics can lead a suspect to provide an unreliable confession. I can’t wait to use it as a teaching tool in my clinical course on wrongful convictions.”
Detailed product description continues below:
The DVD contains the Theatrical Version of the film (88 mins.) and a special Shortened Version (48 mins.) suited for viewers and settings with limited time. (Click for User Agreement – opens new page.)
The film examines the interrogation of a young African American father from Troy, New York – Adrian Thomas – whom police suspect of battering his 4-month-old son to death. Doctors treating the brain-dead infant misdiagnosed a skull fracture, and contacted law enforcement about “shaken baby” abuse.
The story is told from all sides of the case: detectives, prosecutors, defense attorneys, jurors, witnesses and the accused himself. Prof. Richard Ofshe, a pioneer in the study of police interrogation, analyzed video-recordings of the interrogation for the defense, and presents a detailed analysis in the film.
The police video shows that detectives didn’t resort to physical intimidation in the interrogation room, but instead deployed a wide array of intense – and potentially problematic – psychological techniques to win a confession from their unwilling suspect, including: false medical statements, promises of leniency, threats to pursue his wife, and demonstrations of violent acts that police might accept as “unintentional.” After 10 hours in the police station, Adrian Thomas eventually confessed.
Afterward, Thomas quickly recanted, and it was revealed that Thomas’s son suffered from a brain infection that was undiagnosed by doctors who touched off the investigation.
Ultimately a judge must rule on whether the defense can present Prof. Ofshe’s highly critical analysis to the jury – a still-evolving area of the law.
And a jury must decide whether police tactics led an innocent man to confess falsely to a horrendous crime.
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