Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday's Free Advice

I am not a lawyer or law enforcer. I do not give legal advice as a professional. Take and do with it what you will. This is knowledge that is known to be accurate and unknown by an amazing amount of people. I almost completed a criminal justice degree before I realized that I did not have the right temperament and heart to do that job daily. I discovered the part that changed me in the Psychology and Ethics phases of the course. It really made me think about how exactly this whole law and enforcement thing goes. Wasted time you say? No, not at all. I learned much about something I want absolutely nothing to do with and I am sharing it with you savvy people. This is just because I know how short attention spans are in this world we live in of sparkly and shiny everything. Sometimes we need a refresher.

What to expect in Police Interrogation and what things they say really mean 

1. "Good Cop/Bad Cop."

Perhaps the best known interrogation tactic is the good cop/bad cop ploy.  It goes like this:  The suspect is left alone in the interrogation room for a lengthy period.  You may think that you are alone, but don't think for one second that your every move, facial expression, and eye movement is not being documented and analyzed by CCTV or a detective that is nose to the glass on the other side of that mirrored window. They will use whatever they can against you always. The effect of this is the same as calling a time-out before a kicker sends one through the uprights to win a big game effectively "icing the kicker" and throwing his game off. Eventually, two detectives will enter the room, one of whom stands in the background. You should ask to speak to the "nice" one first if your balls are big enough. It really fucks with their heads. The other, of course, the "bad cop", will be as rude and as intimidating as is legally possible. When the suspect still will not answer questions, the bad cop will "lose his temper" and leave the room. Then, the good cop will sit down and, in an affable manner; attempt to befriend the frightened suspect. Eventually, of course, the good cop will stroke the suspect into confessing like a dumb ass. He's not your friend and could care less about your well being. Let him put on that smiling and nurturing Oscar winning performance and let him think he's got your trust, then smile and simply say "I invoke my right to counsel. Have a great day."


2.  "We need something to take to the district attorney."  

In this ploy, the detectives will calmly inform the suspect that this is an opened and closed case, and that they don't even need the defendant to say anything.  "If we take this case to the DA right now," the detective will say, "you will spend many years in prison.  But we're here to give you an opportunity to explain what happened. There are always two sides to the story, and if the DA hears your side, you'll get credit for it buddy."

Do not fall for this shit either. If it really were an air-tight case, you would not even be interrogated! They would just take the case to the District Attorney for charges. After the suspect gives his "explanation", it corroborates whatever evidence the state does possess, and then the police set about trying to prove that the defendant, in his confession, grossly understated his actual involvement. Once again, say nothing, invoke your right to counsel.

3.  "We just need to know what happened, and then we'll let you go."

The interrogation is characterized as a friendly conversation instead of a hard grilling... all part of a routine investigation. Do not fall for this one as well. If you are detained in an interrogation room, YOU ARE THE TARGET of the investigation. If, during the course of the interrogation, the police develop probable cause to arrest, you WILL NOT be going home. However, if you invoke your right to counsel, you may very well go home. Either way, it is better to spend a night in jail waiting for your lawyer than it is to confess to any crime that may result in many years in prison.

4.  "You're under arrest!"

You probably just screwed up via obvious DUI, contact breaking headbutt, or murder one. How you handle being interrogated can and likely will determine the eventual outcome of your case. Getting you to give up a confession is what police do. And they're good at it. Most importantly, remain silent. Invoke your right to counsel immediately.


 5.  "Do you know why I stopped you?" 

This is the classic traffic cop greeting. Just like all of the other questions, it's still a trick. If you say "no" he'll write on the ticket "Driver unaware of stop sign" If you say "yeah, I guess I was going a smidgeon fast there ole chap"  he'll write down "Driver admits exceeding posted limit." Either way, you lose. Best thing to do in this situation is to be polite and tactful with simply saying "Please tell me officer."

6. "You're not a suspect or anything. We just have a few questions."

Uhhh, that's great and all, but in this instance, YOU ARE A SUSPECT, or they wouldn't be asking you anything. And if you're not, they'll see if something you tell them will turn you into one. Invoke your right to counsel.

7. "If you haven't done anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about." 

Pssst, hey dude, If the police are asking you questions, you have something to worry about. Invoke your right to counsel.

8. "This is your chance to clear things up. Otherwise, all we have to put into our report is his/her side of the story."

What this means is "Hey dipshit, here is a perfect opportunity for you to incriminate yourself" If there is a side to your story, the place to tell it is in court, not to the cops, and the person to tell it is your lawyer. Invoke your right to counsel.

9.  "You can talk to us right here right now, or we can take you downtown"

This is a classic tactic. They want to see if you'll give it up with minimal effort on their part. You should always remember that they cannot take you anywhere unless they're arresting you.  If they had probable cause to arrest you, you'd already be on your way downtown. This one is ALWAYS a bluff. Invoke your right to counsel.

10.  "If you don't answer questions, we can charge you with obstruction of justice"

Here again, this one too is ALWAYS a bluff. Nobody and I mean absolutely nobody HAS TO talk to the police. You have the right to remain silent, and they know it. They are just really incredibly hoping that you don't. Invoke your right to counsel.

11. "Better talk now. Your friend told us everything, and if you don't give us your side, you are going to go down for all of it."

 If you haven't figured it out by now, the POLICE ARE ALLOWED TO LIE TO YOU during an interrogation. They are not required to tell you the truth and they DON'T! Did you know that even if you passed a lie detector test, they can tell you that you failed? (Never take a lie detector test by the way) So, when the cops tell you that your buddy rolled over on you, or that they found your fingerprints on a weapon, or that an eye witness put you at the scene, they're lying to see how you'll react. And, even if they are not somehow lying to you, you will not do yourself any good by admitting confession. You still want to invoke your right to counsel here.

12. "This is your last chance at saving yourself. Once you are protected by a lawyer, there isn't anything else we can do for you."

Now this one is funny... They cannot do anything for you even BEFORE you pony up with a lawyer. The police can't cut deals or make plea bargains. Only the prosecutor has that power and the prosecutor isn't allowed to speak with you without your attorney being present. What the police are really trying to do is to wiggle that worm of inducement out in front of you to try and get you to incriminate yourself so bad that there won't be shit your lawyer can do to defend you. Invoke your right to counsel.

13. "The truth shall set you free."

No, Nope, Negative, Niet, Nein... Not in the criminal justice system, it won't. (Especially if the truth somehow involves how much money was involved, specific times and dates, or locations involved with what you are being questioned about.) When they come at you with questions, the only correct answer is "I do not wish to make a statement, and I want to speak to an attorney." Say this as soon as you are arrested for anything. Say it firmly and tactfully and repeat as often as needed. Any other answer you provide besides that can be used against you, and it probably will!

I hope that none of you ever need this bit of advice, but if you do, USE IT, ya damn knucklehead!

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