Beliefs about secondary confession evidence: a survey of laypeople and defense attorneys

Kylie N. Key, Jeffrey S. Neuschatz, Brian H. Bornstein, Stacy A. Wetmore, Katie M. Luecht, Kimberly S. Dellapaolera, Deah S. Quinlivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We surveyed students, community members, and defense attorneys regarding beliefs about secondary confession evidence (i.e. when a third party tells authorities that a person has confessed to him or her) from jailhouse informants and other sources. Results indicated that laypeople perceive secondary confessions as less credible than other types of evidence (e.g. forensics, DNA, eyewitness testimony), and they are knowledgeable about factors that may influence the veracity of secondary confessions, such as incentives or previous testimony. However, they underestimated or were uncertain about how persuasive secondary confessions would be to themselves or other jurors. Compared to laypeople, defense attorneys were more sensitive about issues affecting the reliability of secondary confessions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology, Crime and Law
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018


  • Secondary confessions
  • defense attorneys
  • incentives
  • jailhouse informants
  • juror perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • General Psychology
  • Law


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