What do you enjoy reading the most here on my blog?

Search My Blog

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Don't Talk to the Police!

I found this website while cruising Fark yesterday morning and started watching the first video. I was just so intrigued by it! I mean I've never been in a courtroom or arrested (came close once) or really talked to any lawyers for extended periods of time about this subject, but to watch these videos - it was a true eye-opener.

After watching these videos, you will never want to talk to the police. At all. Ever.

The first video is the law professor, James Duane, of the Regent University School of Law. He basically outlines all of the main reasons why you should never talk to a police officer about anything, in any capacity, when you are a suspect in a crime or accused of a crime or arrested for some crime. He also does this WITHOUT malice towards the police. It's not the police officer's fault, because it's YOUR fault for being an idiot and talking to them.

I think the most enlightening piece of this video is when Prof. Duane explains that anything you say to the police can be used AGAINST you in a court of law; it CANNOT be used FOR you. If you say something to the police that helps your case as a defendant, and your lawyer asks the police officer to corroborate it, it is inadmissable because it's hearsay.

There are a lot more compelling reasons, and I have to warn you that it is a 27-minute video. And it's just Part 1.

That's right - just the first part. Because the guy wants to be "fair" - he invited a POLICE OFFICER to take half of his hour's time to either agree or disagree and present whatever he wants to say on the subject of never talking to the police. So Officer George Bruch of the Virginia Beach Police Department gets 21 minutes to have his say. And he says that Duane is basically right. He just gets up there and admits the many ways that people are stupid and admit things to the police because they were stupid enough to talk to them in the first place.

He also gets to clarify certain nuances of his job and admits to several tricks he gets to use in order to get the confession he needs. The one that stood out most in my mind was something I already knew, but was illustrated brilliantly as Bruch was detailing how he fools people. He has a tiny little tape recorder in the interrogation room. He lulls people into false security by asking them if he can use the tape recorder to record the interview because he has poor handwriting or can't write fast or something. (Asking is a courtesy, since he can do whatever he wants and they have no right to say no to him taping the interview, and gives them false power.) Then if he's not getting what he wants, he reaches over, stops the tape recorder, and says, "Let's talk - off the record."

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "OFF THE RECORD". The interrogation room is always miked and always recorded and anything you tell a police officer at ANY TIME can be used against you. He also lists convincing people to write "apology letters" - which are of course handwritten confessions - and the fact that only one person on a phone conversation needs to know it's being recorded for it to be legal. Just him, the police officer.

The most enlightening piece of his segment for me was probably when he stated that he reads people their Miranda Warning - it's NOT a RIGHT - as well as the constant reminder that the police can LIE to you as much as they want during an interview.

To finish, the ACLU has a downloadable PDF 'bust card' with information on your rights when dealing with a police officer.

A brief rundown:
- If you are ever detained, the police can ask you for your name and in some states you CAN be arrested for not providing it. You CAN plead the right to remain silent if you think your name alone will incriminate you, which may be a defense in case you do get arrested in the end.
- If you're stopped in your car, you must show driver's licence and registration. Other than that (and your name), you don't have to answer a thing.
- You don't have to consent to any search of yourself, your car or your house. The limit is a "pat-down" of your clothing if they suspect a concealed weapon, and you can make it clear that you to not consent to any further search.
- You do not have to give consent for an officer to search your car if they have probable cause, but you should make it clear that you do not consent to a search. You cannot be arrested for simply refusing to consent to a search.
- You do not have to give consent for an officer to enter your house if they hear someone screaming for help or if they are chasing someone. If you are arrested in a building, you do not have to give consent for the police to search "close by", which is limited to the room you were in. Other than this, you do not have to let the police in unless they have a warrant signed by a judge - and always ask to see it if they claim they have such a warrant.
- If you refuse to consent to a blood/urine/breath test while being suspected of a DWI, your license can be suspended.
- You have the right to ask if you are being arrested. If you are, you have the right to know why you are being arrested. If you are arrested, the only information you have to give to the police is your name and address. Beyond that, you have the right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer.

I'm pretty sure all of that information is correct. Meanwhile, be aware that it's not just anything you SAY that can be held against you. Don't be difficult, don't be rude, and for the love of all that is good and holy - don't interfere or resist or be violent in any way.

You have the right to remain silent, but you also have the right to be stupid. It's your choice.

Please Digg this article and spread the word about the Fifth Amendment!

No comments: