Confession, wifi data discussed in day 3 of motions hearing for Joseph Daniels

Posted at 8:42 AM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 22:44:46-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — As the third day of new motions hearings got underway in the case against Joseph Daniels, an interrogation expert discussed some techniques investigators may use in an interrogation.

Daniels initially confessed to killing his son, Joe Clyde Daniels, but later recanted that confession. His attorney, Jake Lockert, says he was coerced.

Interrogation expert Richard Ofshe spoke via Zoom Friday and talked about coercion methods that law enforcement uses to try to get a confession. He also said about 20-25% of people who are falsely convicted also falsely confessed.

Daniels' failed polygraph test was also brought up. But Ofshe said there's no scientific support for the efficacy of polygraph tests. He said a polygraph is generally considered to have, at best, a 70% accuracy rate, which is only 20% better than flipping a coin and a 30% error rate is unacceptable.

"Because [investigators] kept pushing him, Mr. Daniels didn't know it was unreliable... he had two other tests and he passed both of them," Ofshe said.

Ofshe said it's hard to say based on his findings that the confession could be accurate, and that what he says may or may not be true. He said Daniels was made vague promises that a confession might somehow make his situation better.

The prosecution countered by saying the report from Dr. Ofshe shouldn't be considered as he wasn't supplied all of the information from the case by the defense.

Another issue discussed was the use of wifi technology to determine the location of Daniels' cell phone at certain times. The prosecution argued that the data should be allowed as evidence to show where Daniels was on the night Joe Clyde went missing.

But his defense team says the data is unreliable as it doesn't show an exact location rather that his phone was connected to a router at a certain time.

Judge David Wolfe is expected to decide if his confession and other pieces of evidence will be allowed at trial next week.

Daniels is charged in the death of his missing son, Joe Clyde, who disappeared from his Dickson County, Tennessee home on April 4, 2018. Although the boy's body has never been found, he is presumed dead.

On Thursday, Daniels' attorneys argued that law enforcement acted with bias in their investigation and may have missed a lead in the case. However, Judge Wolfe disagreed.

At a motions hearing in April, prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to sever the cases of Joseph and Krystal Daniels into two trials. Joseph Daniels is set to stand trial first on June 1.