Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

A Law Professor Explains Why You Should Never Talk to Police

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Harry Cheadle writes at Vice:

James Duane doesn’t think you should ever talk to the police. Not just, “Don’t talk to the police if you’re accused of a crime,” or, “Don’t talk to the police in an interrogation setting”—never talk to the cops, period. If you are found doing something suspicious by an officer (say, breaking into your own house because you locked yourself outside), you are legally obligated to tell the cop your name and what you’re doing at that very moment.

Other than that, Duane says, you should fall back on four short words: “I want a lawyer.”

In 2008, Duane, a professor at Virginia’s Regent Law School, gave a lecture about the risks of talking to police that was filmed and posted to YouTube. It’s since been viewed millions of times, enjoying a new viral boost after the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer spurred interest in false confessions. His argument, which he’s since expanded into a new book called You Have the Right to Remain Innocent, is that even if you haven’t committed a crime, it’s dangerous to tell the police any information. You might make mistakes when explaining where you were at the time of a crime that the police interpret as lies; the officer talking to you could misremember what you say much later; you may be tricked into saying the wrong things by cops under no obligation to tell you the truth; and your statements to police could, in combination with faulty eyewitness accounts, shoddy “expert” testimony, and sheer bad luck, lead to you being convicted of a serious crime.

Duane’s book details several outrageous incidents just like that around the country, clearly showing the many ways the system is stacked against suspects. These include a proliferation of poorly written laws that make nearly anything a potential crime, rules that allow prosecutors to cherry-pick only the most damning parts of police interrogations at trials, and a little-known 2013 Supreme Court ruling allowing prosecutors to tell juries that defendants had invoked the Fifth Amendment—in other words, telling an officer you are making use of your right to remain silent could wind up being used as evidence against you. For that reason, Duane thinks that you shouldn’t even tell the police that you are refusing to talk. Your safest course, he says, is to ask in no uncertain terms for a lawyer, and keep on asking until the police stop talking to you. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 May 2017 at 6:55 pm

Posted in Law, Law Enforcement

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