I'm curious about these. I see footage of people being questioned and interrogated by cops on these true crime programs. Why would anyone agree to speak to a cop or get interrogated without a lawyer present? The cops use trick psychology, gang up, and can be verbally aggressive during these questionings -which can go on for hours. Why don't people just refuse to talk? I've never been in the situation, but I think if a cop ever took me to a closed room I'd refuse to talk without a lawyer present. I'm confused why others, especially guilty parties or those who already mistrust cops, talk. Any thoughts?
Honest citizen who just doesn't trust cops or law enforcement
Well, for one, not everyone that gets interrogated ends up charged with a crime. Sometimes they are trying to get the information they need to catch you, when they don't have it yet. Smooth talkers could use the interrogation to remove suspicion. It seems like most people screw up.
Cops try to trick people. My firm does criminal appeals as part of our practice. Cops are taught to lie and to deceive people they have under interrogation/in custody. They are trained to do this and freely admit it on the witness stand. One of the bigger lies that has been sold to the courts is the "it's not custodial interrogation because he wasn't under arrest" when "arrest" is generally defined as "would an ordinary person think that they were free to go?" and the answer is "no."
I try to impress this upon young people and my clients (criminal and non-criminal alike, but especially the non-criminals): THE POLICE ARE NOT AND NEVER ARE YOUR FRIENDS.
Nobody should EVER answer any police questions. You should answer any effort to question you with the question "am I free to go?" since you are likely being recorded. Keep asking until you get an answer. They don't have to read you Miranda rights until the point that they decide you're under arrest AND they are interrogating you; that point comes at a different time than you think it does. They can use anything you say up until that point against you and believe it, they will try to pry as much as possible out of you until it's very clear that you're under interrogation.
The popular notion of how these things go is so far from reality that the only way to protect yourself is to NEVER respond to police questioning without a lawyer present. It will never exonerate you, and never make you look innocent.
Good advice, r2, and I agree completely. Too few people understand how it works.
Yeah, we're fed those "If you are innocent you have nothing to hide" and "If you need a lawyer present you so have something to hide" bullshit that we believe it's true.
Everything R2 says is correct. It is a field I know backwards and forwards, and he or she nailed it.
You cannot talk yourself out of trouble with the police. You can only talk yourself into trouble with the police.
If they are talking to you and especially if you do not feel as though you are free to leave, you are already in deep, deep trouble. Don't make it worse.
One technique is to tell the suspect that all the cops want is information, that everyone knows he didn't do anything, and then get the suspect to admit to guilty knowledge -- "I was there, I saw what happened but I didn't do anything." Or, "I thought it was a robbery, then the other guy shot him!"
Now the suspect has implicated himself when he thinks he is talking himself out of something.
It is crucial to remember that incriminating statements often come from people who actually had nothing to do with the crime. They are saying things that will hurt them on the assurance of the police that they are not the targets and they will soon go home.
See link to the Central Park Jogger case for the most notorious case in recent memory of police chasing down what they thought happened and how they manipulated innocent people into incriminating themselves.
Once the courts refused to use interrogations that were the result of physical coercion, the cops worked up methods that take psychological coercion right to the legal and moral limit, often beyond any moral limit, not to get information only, but way too often to get the target of the questioning to agree to the picture the interrogator has of what happened.
Skilled interrogators, if you can get them to open up, will pretty much admit that they can overpower suspects to the point that they will incriminate themselves whether they have done anything or not. The weaker the suspect, age, education, social status, whatever, the easier it is to manipulate him.
The ethical interrogators understand how powerful their tools are and understand that in seeking justice they have to do what they do appropriately.
The cops and the DA's have taken an oath to protect the innocent after all, and that means watching out for the suspect being questioned to make sure his rights are protected, and to exonerate him if official, preliminary suspicion turns out to be misguided, but that duty gets lost way too often,
There is a ton of research on the professional level, meaning psychological studies in universities and a ton of practice guides for district attorneys and cops, plus the experience of more skilled cops, all of which gets passed around in seminars and on the job to enable cops to get information, both accurate and inaccurate, unfortunately, out of targets.
The best place to see how coercive the practice has become would be "Police Interrogation and American Justice" by Richard A. Leo.
By the way, the cops and DA's don't mind Miranda warnings. I never heard any of them complain that the warnings hindered them much.
They can give them in a way that makes them seem so matter of routine that the suspect thinks of them as just like finger-printing or some such, inconsequential.
The Brits do a better job, or did. After notorious miscarriages resulting from false confessions, the British have a custody officer who supervises interrogations plus defense council on call so if the defendant wants to talk to an attorney in the precinct he can.
The defense attorney position is being eliminated as being too costly, especially after Tottenham.
In the United States, you do not have an opportunity to talk to an attorney, even if you ask for one, unless you can pay a private one that is, until you are brought before a neutral magistrate, and that gives the police a 24 hour window, typically, to work with.
The U.S. equivalent of a duty officer, meaning a district attorney, will sometimes show up for questioning, but usually only on higher-profile cases.
As R2 said, don't take a sobriety test.
We need to have the courts or the legislature require video-taping of all interrogations.
R2 and r6 nailed it. I don't trust cops. Engaging in civil disobedience has taught me how fascist they are. They'll beat, stomp, and kick peaceful protestors without a second thought. The pack mentality that dominates the military extends to cops. Never, ever trust a cop. I say this as the niece of a cop. My uncle is a nice guy, but I hate to think about what he has done as "part of the job."
I made the mistake of allowing police question me without a lawyer present. Stupid move. In my case, I wanted to get things cleared up right away and didn't want to wait hours for a lawyer. But in hindsight, I would advise anyone being questioned to always have a lawyer there, even if it takes a while to get one.
Anyway, the whole good cop/bad cop thing is real. And it was so blatantly obvious, I laughed out loud during the "interview".
R7: You are right.
Here is how cops look at what is going on between them and demonstrators, in general, most cops, not all.
Part of the antagonism between cops and the public, especially demonstrators, is that they have a different political slant.
On the other hand, many of them didn't sign up for beating protestors and don't like it when they see another officer pepper-spraying women who were just trying to do go with the flow, if for no other reason than it makes policing harder for all cops.
But the cops see the streets as their domain. They are not going to take any shit from anyone on their streets.
Do not ever try to do anything on the streets that might in the least way seem disrespectful or threatening to a police officer unless you are prepared for injury and/or you are putting yourself on purpose into a civil-disobedience position.
Here is the reality: You have civil rights on the streets only to the extent that this cop at this moment and all his buddies who are on the scene or those the cops on the scene can summon want to grant you civil rights.
You have civil rights the way most of us think we have civil rights and the way the constitution gives us civil rights when you get in front of a judge in a courtroom and not before.
The police operate within an authoritarian mentality, which is similar to the army mentality, but which produces worse, more repressive results. The police in any country are almost always reactionary than the army.
The authoritarian model is also how corporations function, in muted form, and it is what all of us experience at work every day.
Corporations and the police in a corporate economy at least, can't function any other way, and the less opposition to corporate authority, the weaker the push back from unions, or O.S.H.A., e.g., the more exploitative the corporations can be and therefore the more efficient a corporation can be.
One reason Occupy Wall Street seems so all over the place, has such a free-form character and lacks precise demands, is that it lacks the authoritarian rule that has become so much a part of our lives that when we experience the lack of authoritarian attitudes, it seems strange, weird, maladjusted even, to see so many people without a command structure.
What it really is, is grass roots democracy working towards structure and goals.
Once you understand how authoritarian police are, that cops have to behave the way they do to do their work, and that their work determines how they think, you can understand why they naturally want to bust heads on a picket line while protecting scabs.
Their job is to pick sides, and they know what makes them comfortable -- people on strike are defying authority, the scabs are doing what corporate authority wants, and the cops are authority personified.
I grew up with cops in my family. Every single one of them was a bully with a badge. Racist, homophobic, and misogynist ASSHOLES.
If anyone has any doubt regarding the mentality of cops like the NYPD, check out their anonymous message board.
So if a cop takes me into an interrogation room and I tell him I won't speak without my lawyer present, the cop can keep me there for 24 hours until a lawyer arrives? Can't I just leave if I'm not under arrest? I'm confused.
I have met a lot of cops who were regular people hired off the streets of New York City who try to do the job the right way, who don't really like other cops, who won't socialize with other cops because a great many of them are like the ones you have known, and who want to get a pension and get out.
The job will warp even the best of recruits to some degree. We are all shaped by the work we do.
The individual cops who have decent attitudes aren't going to go to that message board.
Having said that, the only safe thing to do when you encounter a police officer is to do everything possible to avoid escalating the conflict because there is truth behind the stereotyping.
R12, you are very correct. The biggest assholes in a large department will flock together. Different departments also gave different "personalities." what is expected and/or tolerated in one place would get you fired in another.
Also, police pensions are under attack by the corporatists and most cops are union members. Many cops are more liberal than you think, especially now that it dawns on them that the Republicans aren't such good friends with them after all.
That Bologna guy in NYC was brass, not rank and file. The street cops are PISSED at him. Most cops truly do not understand the politics of the protests (same is true of many protesters bug that's another story). Here is what all cops want: to end his shift safe with all his squad. Most also want to put criminals in jail. Many truly want to help people. There are a small few like Bologna who enjoy hurting people to blow up their egos.
Good cops who are doing their jobs, risking their lives on a daily basis are nevertheless cursed, attacked, falsely accused, permanently injured, shot at and even killed. This is why they stick together.
How naive of you R10. Half the people in it are police plants and provocateurs, and it was probably one such who thought up the Brooklyn Bridge caper, which had nothing to do with occupying Wall Street.
It's always been disgusting that police are allowed to tell ANY lies to get people to confess.
Here's a typical police interrogation. They haul you in, you say you weren't at the scene of the crime but you were alone and nobody can vouch for you. They tell you (lying) they have 5 witnesses who can place you at the scene and why are you lying. You stick to your story. They keep you there all night, all day, no rest, no food, no water, no bathroom privileges. They put a gun on the table and imply they could shoot you and pretend it was an accident. They lead you to believe that whatever rights you thought you had, you now have none because you are in their hands and they'd just as soon as see you dead.
Of course they get fale confessions. Only experienced people who might really be guilty would see through them.
That's pretty much it.
Here is what more than one cop told me.
The search and seizure facts are often bullshit, faked and twisted around all the time -- the gun and the drugs are always in plain sight, e.g. on the seat of the car or the wind blows open the coat and the cop sees the gun, I actually heard that one, once.
Now everybody knows, including the judges, that that is bullshit. But the thing is, from the cops' perspective, the guns and drugs are not going to go back to the defendant if the search is bad, so they are off the street, and let's be honest, the guy did have guns and/or drugs.
In any case, usually there is a plea to be had before the search and seizure ends up in front of a judge who smells a rat.
If the search is iffy, that brings the plea down also. If it is drugs, then treatment is usually part of the picture unless we are talking weight.
The cops went on to say that while the search and seizure evidence is twisted, they don't mess with the statements -- those go right into police reports the way the defendant made them and they take the statements after they Mirandize the defendants.
So when I was new to the game I thought that meant the cops were straight-shooters with statement evidence who had respect for Miranda.
All they meant was that in the general case, the cops are good enough that they can work just about any defendant into saying just about anything if the cops work it right, even after they have given the guy Miranda.
Then they take notes of what they got the defendant to say, or have the defendant write it down, if he can write, that is, and send it off to the DA's.
There is no need to make up words for the defendant -- what you do is to make the circumstances of the interrogation produce the words you want the defendant to say.
That's why videos of all interrogations are so important and why police resist them.
But you know what, the jurisdictions that require it, the cops adapt. The cops still solve crimes and defendants still shit all over themselves.
This often happens when there is always a video or all interrogations, and the cops and the DAs say it works out -- you get guys to plead guilty a lot quicker when the DA's turn over a video tape of the interrogation process from start to finish to defense and there is the defendant admitting to stuff -- you get rid of a lot of cases that way because the cops can show the defense people that things were done right. Then the defendant takes a plea.
Great posts. Thanks.
"My firm does criminal appeals as part of our practice."
A sleazy defense attorney is going to lecture people about morality? Ha! How many murderers have you represented? Alan Dershowitz said he would have represented Hitler and I bet you feel the same way. Defense attorneys are sleazeballs who will do anything for a buck.
For every person who makes a false confession there are probably 1000 guilty people walking free (partly because of people like you).
In addition, if a cop shows up to your residence, he will probably say, "let's not talk about this on the front porch- may we go inside?" DON'T DO IT! The cops are now allowed to search your home.
[quote]For every person who makes a false confession there are probably 1000 guilty people walking free (partly because of people like you).
It was horrible the way the way cops tricked John Wayne Gacey into confessing. And he was an upstanding precinct captain in the local Democratic Party, no less!
"And he was an upstanding precinct captain in the local Democratic Party, no less!"
And Ted Bundy was a Republican.
Two can play that game.
Roland is such a gas bag.
r20, what's wrong, sweet cheeks? Bad batch of soda bottle meth? Shake harder next time.
And the answer to how many murderers I've represented would be a much smaller number than the answer to this question: "how many cops have I seen lie on the witness stand?"
Most of this stuff is obviously a bit too subtle for you, so here's some free legal advice from a sleazy defense attorney: next time you get pulled over, offer to take the physical field sobriety tests for the nice police officer to prove you're sober. Even if you haven't been drinking.
Refuse any test when stopped for DWI...NEVER, EVER, CONSENT TO ANYTHING that a POLICE OFFICER ASKES YOU TO CONSENT TO...SEARCH, FIELD SOBRIETY, ETC. On these "No Refusal" periods that somehow passed muster with the Supreme Court, and are popular in many jurisdictions BECAUSE OF THE NAZI INFLUENCE OF MAAD...EVEN REFUSE THAT; MAKE THEM FORCEFULLY TAKE YOUR BLOOD AGAINST YOUR WILL. Then, because of DURESS LAWS, the whole case will be thrown out when your Lawyer DEMANDS A JURY TRIAL.
I'm Not A Lawyer but I Play One On TV
R26, why should we refuse the test? Just wondering.
Another thing to not do, is if you are carrying Weed or some other illegal substance...NEVER, NEVER tell a cop that it's NOT YOURS! That will make the charge go from simple possession to POSSESION WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE!
Really great advice, r27, given the consequences of violating implied consent laws. You generally can't refuse a chemical test and keep your license.
When one of them hands you a free kitten, refuse the kitten! I'm not sure about puppies, though.
If the police get to the point where they want to do a test to see if you are intoxicated, through a field sobriety or chemical or whatever, they have already decided you are intoxicated, they have already gathered evidence that you are intoxicated, meaning their personal observations of your breath, what your eyes look like, and what your physical coordination is like.
If they want you to consent to a test, it is because they are going to arrest you. They have made that decision, and they are gathering more evidence to build their case. It doesn't make much sense to help them do their work.
For one thing, going along with what the police suggest (not order, that's different, if they order, do what they say, we don't want anyone to get hurt) alters your legal position from one in which they have to justify the additional intrusions they are about to make whether you consent or not.
Once you consent to a search, roadside sobriety, chemical or "Sure officer, I have nothing to hide, come on in and look around the house," or, "What do you want to know? I can explain what happened," your legal position shifts from having rights the police must protect to one of giving up rights in order to help the police conduct an investigation -- an investigation on you, and the courts will say you opened the door.
R20 is of the "If you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to fear" school of civil rights.
Or this: "Some kinds of criminals deserve rights, some don't, and we all can tell which is which without any stupid laws or civil rights getting in the way."
How about we have field sobriety tests you have to pass before you post?
Do you realize, and I bet most of you don't know this, I am not picking on R20 on this one, that the vast majority of criminal defense in this country is done by public defenders who are greatly overworked and get shit wages, a situation everyone in the profession admits?
The ones who continue year after year do it because they think everyone deserves a shot, not because they make money.
Thirty years ago, the wages a public defender made to start in NYC was something like 2/3rds what a Wall Street white-shoe law graduate would make, maybe 20K for the public defender, 28K for the Wall Street attorney.
Now it is something 45K/150K to start. If each does it for ten years, the public defender makes maybe 75K and the Wall Street attorney will be making a million, maybe two million, a year.
Those figures present an encapsulated description of how resources have shifted in this country. We have become a country with a reverse sliding scale of social benefits -- the more you make the more you can take from those who make less.
To the Wall Street attorneys, don't flame me. I know you work incredibly hard, that you have a very steep pyramid to climb if you want to stay where you are, and I know a million or even two million a year is not great wealth in this city, not for the hours you put in and the life you have missed working and not being with your families.
I know many, probably all of you, do pro bono work and hats off to you for that, and I speak sincerely.
My beef is with the incredibly rich people whose stock portfolios set the agenda for those firms, and the rich who can re-order society so that they get the best attorneys to create the laws that fuck the rest of us.
The defense attorneys you hear about, the ones the media drools over because if they talk about them and their headline cases then they can sell ads, the ones who get the big cases and who make big bucks do probably less than 10 percent of the cases, probably way less.
If a person is in jail on criminal charges, unless he is very wealthy he will be indigent very quickly, and a public defender steps in.
Then there is this. Probably 90 percent of the criminal cases get a public defender for the representation. If you are a public defender you have an obligation to represent the defendant that you get.
Part of the job of the public defender is stand up for the criminal the rest of society detests and take the heat.
Watch me get flamed for length, not substance, almost never that, but for taking time to lay out things that are often hard to explain.
R20 apparently has never heard of the consititution or does not care for it much.
It is extremely frustrating.
The protection of the rights of individuals against state power, going back to the Magna Carta, made capitalism the incredibly dynamic power it is today with all the benefits it has brought to mankind, along with the immense personal fortunes it has created and incredible abuses that it continues to generate.
You can't make an industrial revolution if the only people who can get a license to build a factory and sell its products are members of the royalty, and if the only place you can mine an essential mineral is on land locked up in primogeniture.
You have to break that lock on state power and establish a broad extension of personal rights.
The people doing the grunt work today protecting individual rights from state abuse are mostly public defenders doing criminal defense for those at the bottom of the economic pile, and most of those attorneys are on the left.
When they stand up for criminals with no money who are accused of distasteful acts, they are protecting the liberties that enabled the wealthy to amass the fortunes they made in the first place.
Of course now that the rich have theirs, they and their lickspittles have nothing for scorn for the hoi polloi and they especially hate the legal representatives who try to enforce civil rights for the individual.
What the rich mean by individual rights are liberties for them and their friends to do whatever they want so they can exploit the rest of us better, not for the 99% to have the benefits of civil liberties.
That's capitalism and its corporate government structure today: "I've got mine so fuck you."
I'm not quite understanding the advice to refuse a field sobriety test if, for instance, in some states/jurisdictions the refusal itself causes you to lose your license for a year.
What am I missing here?
I'm not understanding either , r37. Especially if you haven't even been drinking. Can cops MAKE you take the test? If you hVent been drinking how can it hurt you? Great posts ,Rollandtumbrell.
I find this info particularly helpful as I've never been in trouble with the law , but I gather criminals are wise to this information already interestingly enough.
When does one HAVE to go with a cop? Say for questioning or whatever?
We are making the assumption that when a cop asks a driver to perform a field sobriety test that the cop already has enough evidence to convict for drunk driving based on his observations of the driver to this point, otherwise he would have sent the driver on his way, but the officer would like to make the case stronger by making more observations.
So when a cop asks you to voluntarily do a field sobriety test, you are on your way to the precinct for more testing that will not be voluntary, and you will face criminal charges for DWI/DUI, depending on what the involuntary breathalyser or blood analysis shows. That is what is going to be happening.
Yes, you will lose your license for refusing the field test in most states. If you have reached the point where you have to make the decision about whether to refuse or not, you are already in deep shit.
Essentially, your license is toast as soon as the cop suggests a field sobriety test. Now you have bigger worries -- now it is all about damage control.
It may well make more sense to refuse to take field tests, thereby keeping the cop from gathering more evidence about your DWI and hope the test at the precinct can get challenged in court.
If the test at the precinct gets thrown out, then the evidence falls back on the officer making the observation. If you have not gone along with his request for a field test, you have given him less evidence to work with.
The jury may not like the standard, "Red and watery eyes, and slurred speech," especially if they don't like the cop and they like to drink while they are driving.
On the other hand, you don't want the cop to be able to say, "I asked him to walk a straight line, and he fell down," which may well come out of a field sobriety test.
If you beat the DWI, all you have left is a refusal suspension, which admittedly you are not going to beat, but that is miles better than a DWI conviction and the suspension that comes from that, usually, depending on the state.
Let's give cops a bit of a break on this one by noting this fact: most cops have better things to do than to ask a driver who appears to be sober to do a field sobriety test.
If a police officer tells you to go with him, you have to go with him, or risk getting charged with something he didn't have in mind in the first place.
It's fair to ask him if you are being arrested just so everyone is on the same page, but if a cop says "Let's go, you are coming with me," well the answer is obvious right? You are under arrest.
If the cop says he wants to talk to you, that is not the same as saying you have to go with him, and you can say, "No thank you."
The link has nothing to do with interrogations or field tests.
Absolutely worthwhile, and I may stick it into an Occupy thread, but it is mistake appearing on this thread.
Thanks for all this information. It's not something most people think about, or they get their idea of how cops act and treat people from TV shows. If I'm ever in a situation where I'm a person of interest (you never know), I'll ascertain that I'm free to go, then leave. If I'm not, then I'll request a lawyer, then say nothing until s/he arrives.
No one reason.
Among others (some applicable to the guilty, some to the not guilty, some to the guilty but of other things than that which they are eventually charged):
Promise of fairer treatment.
The discomfort of silence, need to unload.
Need to explain, explain away, which leads to more talking.
Guilt, need to unburden.
Need to justify actions which appear guilty, sometimes even ot onesself.
Need to cover up, sometimes criminal activity, sometimes criminal activity but not the criminal activity under investigation, sometimes non-criminal activity which is causing the accused despair and which has coincidentally led to his or her apprehension.
This often leads to a tangled web which the accused needs to keep talking to reconcile.
Loneliness, boredom, and, at times fantasy or projection of wrongdoing, especially for those who are mentally ill or intoxicated.
Identification with one's interrogator (especially in cases where one interrogator is seen as supportive while others are seen as hostile).
[quote]The discomfort of silence, need to unload.
Do not underestimate the need to fill the silence. I was a DOJ division attorney who interviewed a lot of witnesses. Using silence was a technique that was actually in a guidebook, no joke. And it works. Just looking at a person, hard, but not saying anything can be enough to make some people start chattering.
Very well put and apparently from someone in the field.
R20 and R22
The idea that defense attorneys get guilty people off on technicalities so they can walk the streets is not accurate and is a talking point from the right wing, and it doesn't come from any intelligent people on the right, but only from those who want an authoritarian government and don't let facts get in the way of the argument.
Probably 85% of the criminal indictments result in pleas, that type of statistic goes back over a century, much longer in England, so that leaves 15% of defendants who might possible get off at trial, and of those who go to trial, the conviction rate is typically 80-90% so there are only perhaps 5% of indicted criminal cases that can even be discussed along the lines of people who might be guilty and who got off.
So are you saying that because there is an acquittal rate of 5% of those charged that even then there are scads of defendants going free who should have been convicted and weren't?
So that means the state never, ever, makes a mistake in prosecution, essentially. So why have juries? Just round them up. If they get arrested they are guilty of something.
Usually, right-winger who don't want to mess around with civil rights for defendants think that there are too many rules about what evidence comes in and what doesn't.
Any judge, district attorney, or defense attorney will tell you that it is a lot easier to get an acquittal than to win a evidentiary hearing, and even if you win a hearing and get something suppressed, more often than not, the conviction goes through based on the evidence that remains.
Anytime someone says we are letting criminals walk the street, I want to ask them if they mean the criminals who made billions by gambling away the pension funds of unions and the mortgages of homeowners all over the land.
Of course those aren't the criminals they had in mind.
And then I ask them if they don't like exclusionary rules, then they must like rubber hoses and busting down doors to go through drawers and closets, because that is what it was like until the Warren Court came along.
Don't like how the cops built a case? Sue them in civil court for damages, although good luck getting a plaintiff attorney to visit you in state prison to get the case going.
The same mindset that wants to bar the courthouse to defendants and their attorneys want to do any with the planitiffs' bar in any case, so there will be absolutely no legal protection for anyone between the rich and the 99%.
-- When the rich steal from the poor it is business. When the poor steal from the rich it is robbery.
You cannot talk yourself out of trouble with the police.
You can only talk yourself into trouble with the police.
Repeat as needed.
I was pulled over for alleged drunk driving this year. The cop said I was swerving all over the road. I was stunned as I had both hands on the wheel, was going 40 miles an hour at most, and I don't drink. I swear he was just assuming I'd left a local bar or something. He really had no reason to pull me over but could see he really wanted to give me a ticket. He didn't, btw.
This is a great thread. If anyone has ever watched A&E's series "The First 48," they will see how treacherous the justice system is when people talk to the police. The real world cops aren't like Lennie Briscoe or Horatio Caine.
I've seen many cases in which a person who happened to be in the car when the driver decided to carjack and murder someone, was indicted (and convicted) of first-degree murder; while the actual murderer either never gets charged at all, or or gets a much lighter sentence.
Why? Because the guy in the passenger/back seat was terrified and guilt-ridden (maybe he suspected the friend would "only" rob or beat someone) and spills all to the cops, naming the killer and giving all the details. Meanwhile the murderer folds his arms and says blandly, "You'll need to talk to my lawyer about that." Or just "No" when asked if he wants to talk.
This is especially scary in Texas (who woulda guessed that?), where the Law of Parties makes everyone culpable for the act(s) of one:
[quote]Chapter 7.02 of the TX Penal Code says a person can be criminally responsible for another’s actions if that person acts with "the intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense" and "solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit the offense, whether the defendant actually caused the death of the deceased or did not actually cause the death of the deceased but intended to kill the deceased or another or anticipated that a human life would be taken". Furthermore, "If, in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators, all conspirators are guilty of the felony actually committed."
[quote]In other words, the LOP means that you can be convicted of guilt by association, even if you didn’t actually commit the crime, and even if you were not present at the crime scene, if you were involved in the planning or commission of the crime, although you did not know a murder was going to be committed.
No request for a field test, right?
The cop checked out the situation and saw no intoxication so didn't ask you to do a field test.
That's my point.
Similar thing happened to me. I caused a fender bender in a parking lot late at night and the hot-headed owner, a kid, who, let's be fair, was hot for a reason, thought I had been drinking and told the responding two officers what he thought.
Each officer came to my driver's window separately and asked me if I had been drinking and looked inside the car from the outside to look for open containers, roaches, needles, etc., which they can do. There was nothing to see.
The first cop, bad cop to the extent there was a bad cop/good cop thing going on, told me that if I had been drinking I might as well admit it, he was going to find out.
I don't drink, and I told him that. His partner, the good cop, then came over, did the same thing only a bit nicer, and despite alcohol being a prime candidate for causing such an incident given the time and place, the police had no reason to ask me for a field test and didn't.
See, most defense attorneys don't ever want to say, "If you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear," because that sounds wrong because it almost always is wrong, but that's pretty much what happens with field tests.
Field tests come up when the cops are damn sure you are fucked up when they come upon the scene.
Are there cops out there who do field tests? Have you ever done this, ever? Have you ever seen a driver who gave indications of being all fucked up, asked them to do a field test, he did just great, and you let him go? Is that possible?
How about this, if there are any cops out there. Do you ever ask a driver who gives no indication of being intoxicated to do a field test anyway?
I don't think it works that way.
I think if a cop asks you to take a field test, the arrest and the charges for DWI are on their way almost no matter what happens with the field test.
I would never say that the cops don't bust the chops of somebody just for the hell of it, but field tests for sobriety aren't where that stuff goes on, typically.
Try walking down the sidewalk being black or driving while being black and getting searched for guns or drugs, now that is where cops are interfering in people's lives, and people who aren't guilty of anything are getting targeted, and they should be outraged, and the rest of us should be afraid for the civil rights we all enjoy.
If you are driving sober, the chances of a police officer asking you to take a field test so he can know for sure you are not under the influence because he is mistaken and thinks you are under the influence is vanishingly small.
Obviously what happens all the time is that the person who is asked to take the field test is loaded, then that person is better off declining the test, and that is where my comments come in.
I think all RolandTumbrell posts should have a character limit.
Don't ever let them inside your premises either. If you must speak to them, step outside and close the door behind you.
There is a character limit on datalounge, actually. I hit it often.
Or maybe you are saying I should have a character limit of my own?
In this state you can refuse the field sobriety tests, which are merely tests designed to make you fail them( "I couldn't do that sober!" ) because they're designed to reveal your general lack of coordination or designed to confuse you with conflicting and changing instructions such that you're "unable to follow directions."
You cannot refuse the breath test because you automatically lose your driver's license. If you're pretty sure you will beat the breath test then the advice is to tell the cop you won't do the field tests, but you'll take the pbt now. If you blow a 0 he would then have to convince a judge he needs to get a warrant and bring you in. It wouldn't save you if you're under the influence of something other than alcohol, but at least it limits jury evidence.
[quote]A sleazy defense attorney is going to lecture people about morality? Ha! How many murderers have you represented?
Fuck you. Everyone, even the most evil among us, deserves the right to a fair trial.
Roland should be banned.
What they show on TV is absurd. There is a lawyer sitting there who says "Don't say anything" and thens sits by, mute, while his client confesses.
[quote]If they want you to consent to a test, it is because they are going to arrest you. They have made that decision, and they are gathering more evidence to build their case. It doesn't make much sense to help them do their work.
This implies that no one ever passes a sobriety test and is sent on their way. Is this really correct?
My friend got stopped sober and did a field sobriety test. The cops were extremely aggressive and gave the instructions wrong many times. They told me to go somewhere else during the test and I said I was staying as long as iit was legal. They lied and said he failed all the tests. Then he blew a .00 and they let us go, but said he couldn't drive home.
I think the police are going to have a field day with the neighbor who poisoned the dog. I give him ten minutes.
r57, it's impossible to say that nobody EVER passes a field sobriety test but they are designed to fail you in order to create probable cause for arrest (and subsequent transport to the station to do the Datamaster or blood test.)
You should hear the recordings of field sobriety tests. The primary tests they conduct here are 1) horizontal gaze nystagmus 2) one legged stand and 3) walk and turn. They don't bother with the alphabet test most of the time.
In my last case they based the arrest on the results of the walk and turn and HGN in a one-eyed guy with a prosthetic leg. I once got the FST (and ultimately the case) thrown out when my client failed the walk and turn when she had a middle ear infection and diagnosed vertigo. (She was not under the influence of anything; she had a shitty cold.)
Several years ago I had been drinking at a bar and happened to stop at White Castle on the way back home. Got pulled over afterwards, shirt off, drunk off my ass.
Cop wanted to do all the tests, which I did...but I didn't want to do the blow test. He turned into a worse asshole and said, "If you don't then I'll just take you in based on my observations of you."
I grudgingly consented, but blew out the sides of my mouth instead of blowing straight into the device (Asshole Cop was letting an obviously inexperienced cop administer the test).
He never showed me what it was, but obviously wasn't above the legal limit since he let me go.
When I got pulled over for drunk driving I immediately sobered up, and performed the field sobriety tests flawlessly.
I was totally wasted.
Thankfully that was 20 years ago and the cop didn't make me blow the breathalyzer. I never got cited.
Since then I've always walked or got a ride home
when I wanted to get drunk.
On the larger question, I've always heard it's a mistake to talk to cops. As others have noted, they are not your friends.
Very good thread. Our side has to know how to behave to resist efficiently both as individuals and as groups.
R55: Thanks. Now I know I am reaching people.
-- First they ignore you. They they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win. Ghandi
Sorry, Roland Trumbrell (rolling trubrils) I might agree with you on noncoperation with the police, but there is no way in hell I agree with your stupid political agenda.
The French Revolution is one of the most malign influences in human history. It inspired Stalin and the deaths of 20 million people and Mao and the deaths of 60 million and Pol Pot and the deaths of 2.5 million.
You are either an idiot, or a demon.
R64 - Most faulty inferential leap ever!
Roland ruins every thread she posts in because she either doesn't understand that a discussion is a ping pong game or she simply doesn't care how inconsiderate she is to continuously post full pages of her brain vomit monologues.
Who the fuck are you, R65? Read RT's posts in other threads and then talk to me about "faulty inferential leaps."
God how I loathe stupid-assed leftists, and I don't give a shit if I'm banned for another 6 months for saying so.
Somebody got my handle!
You and Ann Coulter, working from the same script, "All revolutions except 1776 ours were mistakes."
It's more of the same -- "We were right, we got ours. We are now the new rich and powerful. Everybody who got to the table late can go fuck themselves."
Revolutions are messy, that is true.
Ours gets better press because we control the press better -- the victors write the history after all.
The slaves and their descendants, Native Americans, and essentially anyone who has dark skin and is poor and happens to live any place in the world where our corporations can make a profit by killing people, mostly dark and poor, their numbers in the millions, these people have a different take on our revolution.
If you haven't notice, there are a lot more of them, the poor and dark, than there are of you, and the "them" are stirring.
They are stirring in Tunis, in Cairo, in Athens, in Tel Aviv, and in Manhattan.
Collar getting tight?
The interference of the back and forth is actually a good point, and I will work on my content and format to correct that.
Fewer long articles copied and pasted but instead a heads-up and a link is a step.
The forces of repression and privilege go absolutely batshit when they lose control of the message, don't they?
Well, I enjoy reading your stuff, RT, but then again, I was born before 1980, so I have an attention span longer than that of the average fruit fly.
Yeah, I'm a force of privilege and oppression.
Booga booga booga!
You are a fucking joke, like all the leftist commentariat I've ever come across.
What have you got?
Oooh, Mommy and Daddy didn't love me enough! Whaaa!
Evil corporations! Wall Street! Capitalism! Whaa!
What in the hell besides capitalism has advanced material circumstances for the majority of citizens of the world?
The natural state of humans, as Hobbes noted, is nasty, brutish, and short.
Criticism of the length in terms of making datalounge work for everyone comes from people who are being straight-forward, mostly straight-forward, that is, and merits consideration.
Hostility to the length comes from people who hate the ideas I put forward.
These posters show up in support of the very worst currents, the most destructive tendencies, in our society -- to keep the rich and powerful safe at the expense of those of us who have been shut out and put down for too long.
Obviously the opinions of those who are openly hostile don't mean anything to me -- I am not directing comments to them, even when I address them. That's an exercise in futility.
Returning to the subject, R71:
If the natural state of mankind is nasty, brutal, and short, what does that say about police interrogations and the role of state authority in general?
Do those in authority have a responsibility to work against the ugly qualities of human life you see as inevitable?
Most people here would say that government and the economy should work to make life easier and more pleasant, less nasty and brutal, than it would otherwise be for the great majority of people.
That has not been the situation for many years in this country, the quality of life for most of us has increased in nastiness and brutality, but it has gotten much better for the rich.
Some people suggest electing different leaders. That has not helped. Some people suggest changing the entire system, that may or may not help.
What do you suggest other than telling people who are complaining to "Shut up, there is nothing you can do, if the police want to talk to you, talk or get beaten -- that is what life is like and life sucks."
Because the great majority of people are not going to listen to that message -- they have already rejected it, if you haven't notice. They have moved on.
I don't even know what the fuck you are talking about, R73.
Are you suggesting the majority of people are getting called in for police interrogations?
Or that people getting interrogated should be treated more pleasantly? Why?
If you understood undergraduate political philosophy, you would know that people formed governments to protect themselves from wrongdoers. It was understood that citizens themselves could be put in that category, which is why we have many protections against false accusations.
The idea that it's government's responsibility to make life more pleasant for anyone doesn't even register with me. Stay the hell out of my life, and I will make it as pleasant as I want it to be.
The best part of your story R61 is that you were driving shirtless. LOL!!!
An economic system like the one we have now, that enforces shortages of necessities, that cannot exist without those shortages existing, must have a police force to keep order.
That's because when people line up to get things they will die without, and they see there isn't enough to go around, fights break out.
Your solution is to give the rich and powerful who run this government and the economy as a joint operation, to let the police do whatever is necessary.
If the cops, the FBI, and the CIA want clubs to bust heads, harsh interrogations, mass arrests, manipulation of the media, drone assassinations of citizens, renditions, they can have it, here or abroad.
Whatever works works, and the choice of methods is in the hands of the one percent.
The rest of the world is moving away from letting the rich use unmitigated force following rules and regulations, if any, they themselves determine through the political bodies they control.
To those of you who stand with the 99% and against the power of privilege, to those of you who understand that police power speaks for those who have power now and not for the 99%, there is a march today starting at City Hall at 5pm.
Here are some groups who have committed: MoveON, Working Families Party, United NY, Chinatown Tenants' Union, and the Transit Workers' Union. These groups stand in support and are turning out their members.
In Boston, 3,000 people attended a rally on Friday. In Boston today, the Massachusetts nurses' association has asked its members at the national convention of nurses to march with Occupy Boston.
All across the nation students are asked to leave classes at 2pm to show solidarity.
In Spokane, 500 people set up a tent city over the weekend before the police dispersed them(!)
To all those going to the demonstrations today or will be going. Be careful and alert.
Buzzflash has pointed out the obvious, see link.
Now that there is media attention, the FBI and the NYPD will do what it takes to break the movement. No Arab Spring in the United States. No Cairo movement will be permitted -- this has come down from Wall Street and Washington, from the very highest places.
The most damaging tactic used against us would be an agent provocateur acting out now that the cameras are on us.
One bomb thrown at one Bank of American can discredit the entire Occupy Movement -- that's the theory and it has been used at this moment in uprisings in essentially every single uprising throughout history.
We need peaceful assembly, and we need masses of people. See you at 5pm at City Hall.
-- They only call it class warfare when we fight back.
The NYPD and FBI Are Trying to Infiltrate Wall Street Protest to Discredit It: Of This You Can Be Sure
Here's the link
R71 is a fool. "Capitalism" only helped us when it was regulated and forced to pay workers a decent wage. "Capitalism" itself is essentially a nationalized currency market and a socialized credit market, with lots of government social engineering like patents, legal tender laws, corporations and other government inventions thrown in. Stop being so fucking ignorant. You are like a two year old.
Great thread bump.
I've never been pulled over by a cop.
I've heard you should place both your hands atop the steering wheel, where the police can see them
But I don't know if you should open the window or wait until the cop tells you to open it.
As a person of color who has been repeated harassed by cops (but never jailed or arrested) I'm thankful for all the advice here. And Roland, I really like your thoughtful replies. I'm glad you stand up to the yo-yos.
One question for defense attorneys: If a person says to a cop that they want an attorney before they'll answer any questions, where do you get an attorney? Unlike a rich person, most oeople don't have a lawyer on speed dial. Do cops let you look in a phone book, or is there one assigned to you from the public defenders office?
A person of color means every person, unless based on racist ideas of race being a variation of those without color; whites.
Cop hating thread was deleted. That had some interesting stories on not trusting officers of the law.
Bummer, R86. How does one save threads to read later? I've read that many posters have old threads they've saved on their computers.
R86, what was that thread called(anyone can answer)?
If you are a random witness to something (a robbery, accident, street fight) but are not involved, should you still get a lawyer before talking to the police?
I had a recent bizarre telephone conversation with a cop. Can anyone help me interpret it?
Situation: I was a hospice volunteer in his home, looking after his dieing father for the afternoon. The agreement was that I would stay until 6 p.m., when I assumed he would be home. Afterall, his dad was literally dieing before my eyes!
By 7 p.m., no one had showed up at the house. I called the hospice for advice. They suggested I contact the cop. I contacted the cop and asked if he would be coming home soon to take care of his dieing dad, and should I stay till then or leave?
This invoked a barrage of foul language and evil like I've never heard on the phone before. He kept repeating "THIS IS NOT A THREAT" followed by an obvious threat, such as "If you are still there when I get back, I will beat you into the floor and you'll be spending days in a pink jumper suit in jail." And "THIS IS NOT A THREAT, but I can make sure you have to eat off the floor while the guys on duty turn your stomach into a leaky bag."
Was there any legal or psychological reason he kept prefacing an obvious threat with "THIS IS NOT A THREAT"?
I grabbed my coat and got the hell out of there. This cop was obviously deranged, seemingly hoped his old man would be dead by the time he got back home, and would have enjoyed having an innocent hospice volunteer thrown in jail. As he said in closing "It will be my word as a cop versus yours. You're going down, asshole."
When I got home I called the hospice and they launched a big investigation. The cop and his poor dad were banned by the hospice for inappropriate treatment of a volunteer.
R2 why should we skip the field sobriety tests? What if it's a breathalyzer and you haven't been consuming any booze or alcohol at all?
I was in Brentwood last year, a very wealthy residential neighborhood of Los Angeles. I came upon a police car parked along the street. To me, that sends a chill down my spine, and I fear/loath cops for their chilly reputation towards gays.
I was shocked to see a little group of boys around 10-11, some with skateboards, having a happy little 1950's style happy conversation with the cop.
Then I realized again "Oh, yeah....I am in Brentwood. All these kids have super rich parents and the cops know their jobs could be on the line if they piss off one of the little darlings."
Meanwhile, in Central LA.......
What a bizarre story, R91. It just sounds like you ran into a complete psycho. How scary.
There is an old saying, "You can never talk your way out of trouble with the police. You only talk your way into trouble with the police."
Talking is evidence. If there comes a time when you are talking to the police to explain possible criminal conduct, that encounter is happening because they already think you did something, but they would welcome more evidence, otherwise they wouldn't be interested in hearing what you have to say.
It's the same with field sobriety tests. You don't encounter police officers who think you are sober and decide to give you a field sobriety tests, breathalyser or whatever just for the hell of it.
If a police officer decides to offer you a voluntary test, he already thinks he has evidence from his own observations that will convince a jury that you are under the influence. He would like more evidence.
Turn down that opportunity. See what R60 posted.
A field sobriety test is conducted under the control of the police officer. The tests and the officer can be unreliable. If you have a choice, get a blood test done so that it gets sent off to a lab.