On today's show former Washington, D.C., homicide detective James Trainum joins Felony Friday. James spent 17 years in homicide for the Metropolitan Police Department, before retiring in 2010. He was the lead detective on the high-profile Starbucks triple murder in Georgetown in 1997, which he eventually helped solve in 1999. He started his career as a firefighter and paramedic, before becoming a police officer. During his early years in law enforcement, James worked various job functions including patrol, undercover work, and burglary investigations. Finally, he made the move into homicide investigations. James recently published a book titled: How the Police Generate False Confessions: An Inside Look at the Interrogation Room.
Discussed on the show:
- James shares what led him to pursue a career in law enforcement and explains how he solved a high-profile homicide while investigating a robbery, which started his career as a homicide detective.
- There are three types of false confessions that James notes in his book, voluntary confessions, compliant confessions and internalized confessions. James explains how each occurs and the most common of the three.
- James shares the details of the Norfolk 4 case. It's a famous case that has been in the news recently because the falsely accused were recently exonerated. Detectives on the case interrogated four sailors into falsely confessing that they raped and murdered a woman. There was one major problem, none of the sailors' DNA matched the DNA found on the scene.
- Lastly, James discusses tactics and countermeasures that should be put in place to minimize the likelihood of a false confession.
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