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A false confession is an admission of guilt in a crime in which the confessor is not responsible for the crime. False confessions can be induced through coercion or by the mental incompetency of the accused. Even though false confessions might appear to be an exceptional and unlikely event, they occur on a regular basis in case law, which is one of the reasons why jurisprudence has established a series of rules to detect, and subsequently reject, false confessions. These are called the "confession rules".

Sometimes sacrificial false confessions may be used to divert attention from the actual person who committed the crime. For instance, a parent might confess to save their child from jail. People may also confess to a crime, or plead guilty to a crime they did not commit, as a form of plea bargaining to avoid a harsher sentence. In some cases, people have falsely confessed to having committed notorious crimes simply for the attention that they receive from such a confession.

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