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Why police interrogations everywhere should be closely scrutinized

Food deprivation, lying, bullying, prohibiting restroom breaks-you name it-police have done it all in an effort to obtain a confession or information out of a suspect. But these types of interrogation methods have been deemed unreliable simply because so many have yielded false confessions.

And a new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is yet more evidence that seems to confirm this theory.

The study conducted a sleep experiment involving 88 participants. Each was asked to complete various computer tasks over a 2 days period. After day one, half of all participants were dismissed to get some sleep to prep for day two. The other half stayed behind and purposefully kept awake watching TV, playing video games and snacking.

The next day, both groups reconvened. They were all then asked to sign a statement admitting to something that were initially instructed not to do-press the ESC key during the sessions.

Fifty percent of all sleep-deprived individuals signed the statement. Only about 15 percent of the group who got a full night's rest signed the statement.

Although this study compiled only a small subset of individuals and may not be a conclusive "smoking gun" link to sleep deprivation and false confessions, it does provide additional awareness about the information received from those who are deprived of sleep and other human cognitive abilities.

John Sutton is a veteran South Florida criminal defense lawyer and a Board Certified Trial Attorney who has been profiled on Dateline.

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