CLAIRE HUIE/THREATS & PROMISES
THREATS & PROMISES tells the story of the two men who confessed and spent ten years in prison for the 1991 Yogurt Shop murder case, the biggest, unsolved murder case in Austin history. DNA testing led to the release of Michael Scott and Robert Springsteen in 2009 and all but exonerated them; however, the state of Texas still maintains that their confessions are valid and, 20 years later, is still looking for a way to connect them to the crime. The film explores the psychology of confession and attempts to explain why these men confessed to a crime they claim they didn’t commit.
THREATS & PROMISES follows, through observational footage, the personal stories of Jeannine Scott, a woman fighting to clear her husband’s name, and Robert Springsteen, a man who after a decade behind bars, is readjusting to life as a free man. Interview and archival footage tell the story of the Yogurt Shop case and bring to light the problem of false confession in the American criminal justice system.
This film educates audiences about why innocent people confess to crimes they didn’t commit, and it shows the aftermath of wrongful convictions and the struggles families face when their loved ones are torn from their lives. The world’s leading scholars on false confession analyze the recorded interrogations of defendants Michael Scott and Robert Springsteen, and explain how extreme persuasion and police deception can lead some people to confess falsely. Robert Springsteen participates in a reenactment of the interrogation that led to his confession, stopping at critical points to explain his rationale for incriminating himself during questioning.