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Ex-nurse acquitted of 2003 murder after 12 years in prison

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It also pointed out that an investigator used the fact Nishiyama, who has a mild intellectual disability, had developed romantic feelings toward him to coerce a confession that matched circumstantial evidence.

There you go. Police using tricks to coerce a confession from an intellectually disabled person and throw her in prison for a crime she not only did not commit, but never existed in the first place.

No mention of course of any punishment for the officer who stole 12 years of her life.

31 ( +32 / -1 )

She served the entire 12 years, I hope she gets some reparations

26 ( +28 / -2 )

I only wonder how many other cases of wrongful conviction of innocents there are. Poor Ms. Nishiyama. This could happen to anyone.

24 ( +25 / -1 )

Hope to translate a saying correctly; "Better to have thousand culprits free than to have an innocent wrongfully convicted".

15 ( +16 / -1 )

"Nishiyama was indicted after admitting to killing the patient under police questioning in 2004, but she later retracted her confession, saying she had been coerced by investigators."

coerce -

1 to compel by force, intimidation, or authority, especially without regard for individual desire or volition:

They coerced her into signing the document.

2 to bring about through the use of force or other forms of compulsion; exact:

to coerce obedience.

3 to dominate or control, especially by exploiting fear, anxiety, etc.:

The state is based on successfully coercing the individual.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Hostage justice at its finest.

26 ( +27 / -1 )

Those responsible for her coercion and forced confession should get the inside of jail cell for a very long time. That, and pay damages for the next twelve years.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

98% conviction rate, you can see now how that works. I'd like to know how many crimes are not prosecuted? I'm guessing 98% when you relying on a confession (forced) rather than investigation things are going to go woefully wrong. Shogani.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

This poor woman.

The problem with the system here is that the police are often more focused on finding a party to be guilty, than finding the guilty party.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

The problem with the system here is that the police are often more focused on finding a party to be guilty, than finding the guilty party.

NPA motto: "We always get our man! ...or a man, at least. Sometimes a woman. Just as long as someone gets tossed in jail!"

13 ( +13 / -0 )

That is exactly why everyone should be against the death penalty.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Not mentioned in the article, but as well as coercing a confession, the prosecutors also sat on evidence that supported a not-guilty decision.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

The capital punishment advocates who are so vocal on other pages are strangely absent here...

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Japan’s despicable police force and justice system up to their old tricks.

This lady should be scathing in her criticism of them both yet I can’t see one quote to that effect.

And she should name officer’s and prosecutor’s names and sue.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Well, that's a pretty big "oops". Hope they publicly apologize and give her a big "oops" compensation for stealing 12 years of her life.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

A few months back, Justice Minister Masako Mori extolled Japan's "fair criminal justice system".

In this case too, we can see how "fair" Japan's justice system really is.

What a disgrace.

I really hope this person sues that corrupt investigator.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Thanks Rizdown.

Exactly my first thoughts after I read through this article.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

After years of innocent people being jailed not one prosecutor not one policeman has been jailed, even when there is evidence of forced confessions and hiding of evidence. Japan's justice system certainly doesn't rate the term "justice". Anybody living in Japan needs a music box just in case.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

And Japan thinks they're ready for the olympics. 12 years to realize she was duped? Come on Japan! Your system is beyond broken. Cops taking advantage of the unfortunate to get their way. Disgusting.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Japanese 'justice' system.

shudder

9 ( +9 / -0 )

So what's going to happen to cops and prosecutors responsible for this nightmare?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

In Japan, no one to perform an autopsy as a basic rule in case of suspect demise ? (Link that to Coronavirus free world)

Medieval justice.

I hope she gets compensated.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

12 years taken from her.

And just imagine if the death penalty cult had a say in the original case.

She deserves a massive payout. Not that money will ever compensate for this travesty of justice.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Capital punishment is for truly evil people.

Like mass murderers who aren't coerced wrongly into confessions, where all evidence clearly proves they killed all those (and probably more) they are charged with killing.

I'm not against physical castration for serial rapists either.

There is evil in the world.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Capital punishment is for truly evil people. 

I can imagine people who read of her ‘crime’ back in 2003 would have described it as ‘truly evil’.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I feel bad for her.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What really makes my head shake is that they let someone with a "mild intellectual disability" become a nurse in the first place. Still, we'll say she's sufficiently mentally competent for her tasks.

Ostensibly, the interrogator "banged on the table" and "acted like he would kick a chair", and that was when she decided to say she heard the alarm go off. Gee, say she's a victim all you want but what a surprising lack of mental fortitude. Can she hold herself together at the sight of blood?

Ostensibly, what then happened was that the duty colleague got a lot of pressure. But even at that point, she was in the clear. Until she chose to give her false confession, Ms. Nishiyama wasn't even a suspect, much less arrested.

Under the circumstances, I really cannot blame the judge for accepting her testimony at face value and not letting her reverse.

Based on information from:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/?post_type=news&p=2550076#.XnshLIgzaUk

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Kazuaki - there are tons of documented cases of people of good faith, good citizens being crumpled under the force of prosecutors / police despicable questioning.

One case I recall back in 2013 I believe where online threats were made to kill kids incl emperors grandchildren ( I think). The police arrested 4 people and 2 confessed under what apparently was extreme duress. It wasn't until the real perpetrator contacted the media (after months) and said they did it by hacking their computers - with evidence only he/she would have known.

So why did they confess? Who knows, but what it does mean is that confessions alone are simply unreliable and should only be used as an adjunct to concrete evidence, and not as the sole evidence in of itself.

This case scenario has been repeated time and time again.

I once read the account of an ex-prosecutor (25years) re this, and his stated reason for forcing confessions was simply because of poor policing abilities and it was easier.

Reams could be written about this and the unsavory tactics of prosecutors

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Nishiyama was indicted after admitting to killing the patient under police questioning in 2004, but she later retracted her confession, saying she had been coerced by investigators.

Here it is again! The old, “Confess or things will get worse for you!” ploy. How does a country keep a 95% conviction rate? With forced confessions, of course. Japanese lawyers must really suck at their jobs if they have to coerced and threaten the arrested to get a conviction.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

browny1Today 04:50 pm JST

So why did they confess? Who knows, but what it does mean is that confessions alone are simply unreliable and should only be used as an adjunct to concrete evidence, and not as the sole evidence in of itself.

In this particular case, the investigation started off as a case of professional negligence, with the suspicion being someone sleeping through an alarm. Since it is a crime of inaction rather than action, there will be no convenient forensic evidence.

I'll also point out that being nurses, they have access to gloves and full body wear, which will reduce the chance they'll leave suitable fingerprints even in a crime of action. And said fingerprints won't be all that probative, since they have valid reasons to touch the machines.

I will also note that while they were pressuring the other nurse, who was on duty, they did not seem to have arrested her on the negligence charges as soon as this Mika said she heard the alarm, which kind of goes against of grain of them being careless, or giving up on uncertain cases or any other negative implication, or overly eager to gain confessions by applying maximum pressure.

If anything, the real corrupter of the whole legal process was Mika by a false confession under a low pressure situation. Further, ironically, if they had just arrested the other nurse, Mika would not see her being "pressured", which will kill off the motive to make a false confesion.

If you make a false confession before you are even arrested, don't expect to escape jail.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

but she later retracted her confession, saying she had been coerced by investigators.

Japanese police coerce confession. In other news, water still wet. More at 11.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Kazuaki - thanks.

A knowledgable response but you failed to focus on my point of contention.

That is, confessions are often coerced and people for any number of reasons feel compelled to submit to such coercion and admit guilt where no guilt lies. My example case confirms this and as I stated 100s of such cases exist. It's no secret.

Re the nurses case and your supposition about this and that - access to gloves and wear, so what - your statement as follows is the real cruncher :

"..If anything, the real corrupter of the whole legal process was Mika by a false confession under a low pressure situation..."

So now we've gone the full monty and turned blame onto Mika.

Essentially saying : "It was your fault, you corrupted the legal process".

And you base this on what??? A low pressure situation??? How on earth do you know if the pressure situation for her was low or not? Based on what miracle of evidence and comprehension??? I'll leave it at that.

And I repeat - it is factual that police / prosecutors have overly relied on confessions for prosecution and in many many of these cases the confessions have been forced.

Evidence abounds. Not anecdotal.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Didn’t we go through this just a few months ago with Mr. .. what’s his name?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I met a Japanese fellow at the court in Kasumigaseki who police somehow coerced to sign a confession to a murder although he was quite illiterate, who spent 15 years in prison before evidence cleared him of guilt, he didn't get one yen compensation.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@talaraedokko

"Didn’t we go through this just a few months ago with Mr. .. what’s his name?"

Shhh~...we don't talk about him anymore! You disturb the "wa"!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

.....this case has raised a big question over how criminal justice works (in Japan)."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Under the circumstances, I really cannot blame the judge for accepting her testimony at face value and not letting her reverse.

I think it's less about the judge and more about the prosecuting process.

You don't think it's a problem that the prosecutors withheld evidence pointing to a non-guilty verdict, or was that the accused's fault too?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No comment.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Gee, say she's a victim all you want but what a surprising lack of mental fortitude.

Kazuaki, I have no idea what experiences you've had in life, but I can tell you that a Japanese man with power over you bellowing at you, screaming half-truths at you, and hammering a table with his fist is terrifying. It will make you lose all sense of rationality and make you focus only on what that man wants to hear, right now. I experience it only with bullying company superiors; I can't imagine how tough it would be if it were the National Police Agency.

It's easy to talk about a "lack of mental fortitude" when you're not in the situation yourself. That's why this system is so abusive. People who haven't experienced anything like it ignorantly reassure themselves that they would never break under such interrogation conditions if they hadn't done anything wrong, so someone who does break is clearly at fault somehow.

And this statement right here:

If anything, the real corrupter of the whole legal process was Mika by a false confession under a low pressure situation.

...is pathetic in how it makes excuses for the bullies doing the investigating. The "real corrupter" is the innocent nurse. Not the police officers who drag people off the streets, not the investigators who threaten physical violence; not the prosecutors who ignore new evidence in their all-consuming pursuit of a guilty verdict, justice and the truth be damned. No, it's that innocent woman: she's the real corrupter in this system!?

Just last night there was a TV show about a man who was falsely accused, harshly interrogated with all the physical and psychological torture, and concealment of exculpatory evidence, and everything else that we expect from the police, and sent to prison. After finishing his sentence, he sought redress from the legal system, and one of the prosecutors used basically the exact line you just did: "You were at fault too, because you falsely confessed."

People don't falsely confess because they want to corrupt the legal system; they falsely confess because they are tortured into doing so by a system that has all-powerful police and prosecutors who are drunk on delusions of their own infallibility and superiority. This system is completely indefensible and I have no doubt that its supporters will have nothing more rational to say in support of it than "leave Japan if you don't like it".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ThonTaddeo Today 10:03 am JST

Let's deal with this case instead of bringing other cases into it. If she was a suspect from the start and cracked at the 23rd day, sure, fine, valid point. Now for this one.

The original investigation was not for murder, but for professional negligence. A crime of inaction by not responding to an alarm. In this case, like in many others, there will be little if any objective evidence. Without someone willing to be a witness, this kind of crime will be unsolved. I'll also point out that she was not the duty nurse, and thus not the suspect.

Of course, no one said that they heard the alarm ring. From the viewpoint of the investigators, this may be true but it is also no secret that in these kinds of cases, colleagues are not that happy to sell one of their own down the river. If anything, if they actually sold the suspect really fast now you have to be suspicious because they might just really hate this suspect and see this as the perfect chance to get rid of him.

For the above reasons, a certain amount of pressure is an inevitable part of this kind of interrogation. Otherwise, you will have to sign your acceptance that this kind of case will be left unresolved, the perpetrator never caught and the victims' need for justice unsatiated.

As for your paragraph 1, all I can say is that even under pressure from your boss, there are things you will concede to and things you won't. I should hope your boss cannot, for example, bully you into murdering someone, though he may be able to bully you into working extra hours without pay.

Besides I don't see why a Japanese boss is automatically worse than say a Chinese boss in say his aggressiveness. Or are you saying Japanese as a group are more doormats than Chinese or Americans?

Despite the above, if the problem was the duty nurse getting convicted, then you may still have a case. I again note, however, that they did not jump to conclusions and just arrest duty nurse. And at this point, Mika is free.

Then she confessed. She was not even under interrogation at the time. She was free. She sank herself!

As far as the problem of criminal liability is concerned, in Japan, it is not a criminal offense for a defendant to lie. It is for a witness to lie.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Kazuaki

Careful where you go overseas.

Bullied remembers peoole like you.

And that would be well deserved because the poor nurse has undergone torture to confess.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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