Monday, June 19, 2006

The carry permit holder's most important tool

...may ironically be the cell phone. No kidding. Class last weekend repeatedly made the point that anyone who has the misfortune of needing to use lethal force to defend himself needs to call the police and his lawyer to make sure he doesn't end up on the wrong end of the law.

The reasons are twofold. First of all, people get nervous after a confrontation, and it's wise to have a lawyer help you answer questions. Second, and more ominously, the police are allowed to lie during interrogation.

I don't know how often suspects are lied to, but this bothers me. Yes, use vigorous interrogation methods to get information, but lying? As a fellow human being to "the blue," I cringe for them when I hear that some are encouraged to lie. It's just not healthy. As a possible juror, I'm also going to keep this in mind when I hear the testimony of a police officer. If you'll lie to get evidence, you're probably willing to lie about the evidence in court, too.


Marklark said...

I spotted a sheriff's deputy from my church coming out of an apartment complex the other day. He didn't look a bit happy. I couldn't wave, didn't honk, but did inquire whilst at church.

He said "If I could write tickets for 'Contempt of COP,' I could write 'em all day." :^/ Perhaps that gives you an insight into the less Godly of police officers.

Bike Bubba said...

Understood, but what I'm getting at here is not just a response to cruel treatment. What I'm getting at here is that many departments (most? who knows?) appear to be specifically training their officers to lie to people during interrogations. I'm talking about public policy, not emotional responses to mistreatment.

And if you want to stay sane and have your testimony accepted in court, you can't pull stunts like this.

Marklark said...

Did your instructor give any examples of the types of lies?

I've heard that one thing you shouldn't know is exactly how many shots you fired (if it was more than one, I suppose). Perhaps it would give you the appearance of control in the "heat of the moment."

Mercy Now said...

Well, this is why there's the court system. If a case ever gets to Fed or Supreme Court about this policy, all cases could be thrown out.

We have a case here in FL that all the DUIs convicted as a result of the breatherlizer were thrown out b/c the software company would not reveal its code as how they come up with the results. FL law states that to convict someone, you have to show proof (in this case formula). So b/c of proprietorship & greed, the guilty are now freed.

Bike Bubba said...

One prominent lie is to tell the suspect that if he doesn't talk to the police before he has a lawyer, it'll make him look guilty. Fact is that the police cannot introduce that in court because the suspect has a right to an attorney, period. Overall, a great # of the lies discussed involve hypothetical, and false, implications of refusing to talk to police, or falsifying evidence by "leading" the suspect.

Mercy, interesting....though I'd simply point out that if the algorithm used is that proprietary, that's why there is a place called the "Patent Office." It's simply not fair to say "this black box is accurate" without providing a reason why it should be, no?

Mercy Now said...

Yes, that was why the judge threw it out since the defendant's lawyer asked for how it got to the formula but the company refused.

As for the law, one of my friend's a police officer and I ask him a lot of questions on what's proper and what not when we watch a tv crime show or movie. He said that the citizen has a lot more rights than one thinks but the police never tells them except for the Miranda's right. The Miranda, of course, comes from police abuse. In the end, justice is no justice when it takes a crooked path to get there.

Red Bull said...

Police aren't trained or told to lie; however, they aren't there to tell you exactly what your rights are either.

Every person should know their rights beforehand, whether they are knowingly going to engage in a criminal act or not.

If you think that lying is a poor method of interrogation, don't go to SERE training.

As for the testimony of a police officer, he/she will testify as truthfully as anyone else. I'm surprised you're wondering about the veracity of a law enforcement officer, but not speculating on the defendant, someone who is either a criminal, or who has a defense lawyer telling him to lie.

Also, police officers usually only testify to what they saw or did, not what the person told them. Most of the time, after a police interview, the defendant writes down his/her statement. That statement is then reviewed by the defense lawyer. There shouldn't be any questions about that statement before trial.

Let's go a little easier on the police.

Bike Bubba said...

Red Bull, I don't know exactly what SERE training has to do with police interrogation. Care to elaborate?

My point is simple; if it is true that police officers are taught to mislead or lie to suspects during interrogation, I'm going to take their court testimony less seriously than otherwise. One cannot "turn off" that part of one's character during court actions.

Red Bull said...

Bike - police officers aren't taught to mislead or lie. At least I wasn't when I went through the academy. I think you watch too much TV.

Police officers simply tell the suspects what the law and courts mandate (ie Miranda). They then will tell them what will happen if they tell the truth, or what will happen if they lie and stonewall. Most of all, they try to empathize, sympathize, and/or rationalize with the suspect. You catch more flys with honey...

They will try to intimidate hard-core criminals - that's somtimes the only way to break them. For most others, they will treat them reasonably.

SERE = Survival, Evasion, Rsistance, and Escape Training. Had it during my time in the USMC. One part of the course is subjecting you to some of the "interrogation" methods that many foreign countries use. Makes lying look like child's play.

Bike Bubba said...

Red, my TV hasn't been on for months. I'm building on the testimony of a group of lawyers who worked together to get Minnesota's carry permit law passed, and who have noted that police interrogation is often based on false premises in their book on carrying here.

Or, let's build on your description; you mention SERE as a reason that we should be grateful that things are as mild as they are. And I am. I don't want to go to the Hanoi Hilton.

That said, however, "abstaining from torture" is a rather low standard, don't you think? And is it for no reason that we have the phrase "good cop bad cop" to describe deceptive interrogation techniques?

I'll be very glad, for what it's worth, if further investigation of further sources proves me wrong. However, I don't think that the testimony of experienced trial lawyers can be ignored here.