We not only send people to jail because of their confessions, they can be sent to jail because of mere suspicions.
My husband was given a “deal”: If you pass a polygraph test, we will charge you with possession instead of receipt of child porn. Receipt carries a 5-year mandatory minimum sentence while possession has no mandatory minimum, so he bit. The point of the polygraph was to find out if he had ever molested children. Naturally, in such a friendly environment (the ICE agent’s office) and with so little riding on the results (the next several years with his children, his life), he failed. Not because he lied but because that’s the way polygraphs work. So, because the poly gave them reason to think maybe he committed a crime for which they have no evidence, he is facing a sentence that even some actual proven and convicted molesters don’t face. For looking at pictures.
With some pushback from his attorney, they offered another what-a-deal: They will charge him with possession if he agrees to a 4-year prison term. Imagine our gratitude.
If anyone can tell me if the federal judge has any latitude at his sentencing–or is the judge bound to the agreement with ICE–I would appreciate it.