Confessed? Did the police lie to get your confession?
Can Police Lie to coerce a confession from you? You’ve probably seen the scene in a movie or on an episode of Law and Order: two friends, let’s call them Steve and Dave, get arrested for robbing somebody. The cops take them down to the station and put them in separate interrogation rooms. After about an hour or so the detective walks in to talk to Dave. Dave says, “I didn’t rob anybody. I have no idea what you’re talking about.” The detective says “well, you know, we have Steve down the hall and Steve spilled his guts. He told us everything. In fact, he told us it was all your idea, that you were the ringleader. And you know what? We have your DNA at the crime scene. A perfect match. Just tell us the truth, because we already know it.” Not only did Steve not tell the cops anything, the police have no DNA evidence either. Dave, freaking out, confesses to the crime.
Believe it or not, the tricks used by the detective in that example are perfectly legal. Courts throughout the country, including the United States Supreme Court, have held that the police may lie and use tricks to get a confession out of a suspect. Think of it as an ends-justify-the-means sort of thing. However, that doesn’t meant that there are no limits to what the police can do get a confession out of someone. For example, they can’t coerce a confession out of you by using physical violence, excessive sleep deprivation, or promises in exchange for the confession.
Anytime you find yourself in a situation where the police are questioning you do the simplest and easiest thing: don’t talk to them. Be polite and clearly tell them that you will not speak to them without a lawyer present. The odds of you talking your way out of something when you are already being interrogated are slim. Make your lawyer happy (and your case stronger) by pleading the 5th!
This is just one thing you need to worry about when dealing with an arrest. If you have any more questions Contact me and we’ll discuss it in detail…