Criminally Yours: Lying To Get To The Truth, By Toni Messina

Above the Law writer takes a stand against police lying in interrogations.

Criminally Yours: Lying To Get To The Truth

By Toni Messina


A hot topic in criminal law is “false confessions.” Why would someone ever admit to a crime he didn’t commit? How could anyone be so naïve or stupid?

But not only does it happen, it happens more frequently than you would imagine. Why?

In large part because it’s legal for police to tell suspects the boldest lies in order to wrangle a confession from them. Among the most common lies are:

– “We’ve got you on video doing the crime, so you might as well admit it.”

– “This is only a small case, just say you did it and you’ll get a drug program.”

And the most powerful:

– “Just tell us you did it and you can go home.” How any perp with a sheet as long as his arm could believe this always astounds me, but many, addled by drugs, alcohol, or mental disease, do. They’re easy pickings for the cop.

Some confess truthfully, but some say whatever it takes just to go home.

The reaction of many when I tell them a confession pretty much dooms their case is: “But that isn’t fair. The police lied to me. They aren’t allowed to lie.”

Yes, they are.

Read more:

Video and acceptance speech of Larry Hammond at the 2015 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference – receiving the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Ninth Circuit (July, 2015)

Larry Hammond’s acceptance remarks on receiving the Ninth Circuit’s Professionalism Award in San Diego, acknowledging the generations of Arizona lawyers, law students, law school Deans, and volunteers who have contributed to the work of the Arizona Justice Project.

Click here for Video Link !

Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference - LAH Award

You are invited to Arizona Justice Project’s Celebration of Wrongful Conviction Day 2015!

October 1, 2015,  3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Reception To Follow  (Light snacks and refreshments)

@ ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Great Hall, 1100 S. McAllister Ave. Tempe, AZ 85281 (The Great Hall is located in Armstrong Hall, which is located at the southwest corner of Terrace and McAllister)

All are welcome to attend!

Arizona Justice Project Contact Info: (602) 496-0286 Main Line or

Wrongful Conviction Day

Larry Hammond received the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Ninth Circuit this past July in San Diego, pictured below!

Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference - LAH AwardNinth Circuit Judicial Conference - LAH Award II - Speaking

Larry Hammond, a Partner at Osborn Maledon in Phoenix, received the 2015 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Ninth Circuit. The award in part recognizes his work to establish the Arizona Justice Project, which he has chaired since its inception. The project has helped secure the release from prison of more than 20 Arizona inmates. Hammond specializes in white-collar and criminal defense and complex civil litigation. He received his law degree from the University of Texas in 1970.

ASU Post-conviction Clinic – helping inmates who are innocent but have been convicted of a crime

Host: Ted Simons

ASU Post-conviction Clinic

  • Arizona State University’s Post-conviction Clinic seeks to help inmates who are innocent but have been convicted of a crime. The clinic recently received a new grant from the National Institute of Justice.

Click here to see video.


Katherine Puzauskas – executive director of the Arizona Justice Project.

katie p

Robert Dormady – law fellow at ASU Law and program coordinator for the Post-Conviction Clinic


Category: Law   |   Keywords: wrongful, conviction, inmate, justice, innocent, law,

Former juror in Glossip case tells Fox 25 their verdict would change now.

A former juror who joined 11 others in convicting and condemning Richard Glossip to death says recent revelations demand a stay of execution, or more.  This news comes following a Fox 25 Investigation that reached out to the jurors who took part in the case.  Fox 25 is withholding the identity of the juror at that juror’s request.

Video Report:

fox 25By: Phil Cross, Investigative Reporter

Sharing: Innocence Project Client – Alan Newton Exonerated!

“When you’re incarcerated, it gets harder to defend yourself because you’re really dependent on other people to do all the leg work for you, find the witnesses and make the case.”

On July 6, 2006, Alan Newton was exonerated of rape, robbery, and assault charges. He had asked for DNA testing in 1994, and his request was denied because evidence had been presumed to be lost. In 2005, at the Innocence Project’s request, the district attorney’s office found the rape kit after an exhaustive search. Post-conviction DNA testing then proved that Newton was not the perpetrator of this crime.

Find out more: Click here.



EVENT PICTURE: Nicki, Carlos Arzate, Louis Taylor, Lindsay Herf (left to right)

A photo of our good friend and supporter Nicki, Carlos Arzate from the band “Carlos Arzate and the Kind Souls,” our former client Louis Taylor, and former JP DNA Project Manager and current Co-Director of the Wrongful Conviction Clinic at UofA, Lindsay Herf, at a concert where Carlos Arzate and the Kind Souls played live the song Carlos wrote about Louis Taylor and his case called The Ballad of Louis Taylor. If you haven’t heard the song, or watched the music video made by JP documentarian Lesley Hoyt-Croft, you should check it out




SAVE THE DATE: September 18, 2015 – Book Signing for Bills, Quills, and Stills: An Annotated, Illustrated, and Illuminated History of the Bill of Rights

Book Signing for “Bills, Quills, and Stills: An Annotated, Illustrated, and Illuminated History of the Bill of Rights”  Presentation by Robert J. McWhirter – Just What’s So Exceptional About America?:  Rights, “the People”, and the Bill of Rights


Where: Changing Hands Bookstore Phoenix, 300 W Camelback Rd, Ste 1 Phoenix, AZ 85013

(Near the intersection of W Camelback Rd and N 3rd Ave)

When:  Friday Evening, September 18, 2015 (the day after Constitution Day) at 7:00 PM.

Changing Hands Bookstore will be hosting Robert J. McWhirter for a presentation and book signing of his latest book,

Bills, Quills, and Stills: An Annotated, Illustrated, and Illuminated History of the Bill of Rights (ABA Press 2015).