This was a failure of what we'll call emotional forensics: the process of determining whether someone's reaction to a crisis is genuine.
It's not just an academic question. As The New Yorker's David Grann recounted in his recent examination of Cameron Todd Willingham, the man executed in Texas for an arson he almost certainly didn't commit, Willingham's reaction at the scene of the fire was alternately presented as evidence for and against him.
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