Don’t Talk to Police

I know that it’s been said again and again but it bears periodic repetition: don’t talk to the police. Period.

Someday soon, when you least expect it, a police officer may receive mistaken information from a confused eyewitness or a liar, or circum­stantial evidence that helps persuade him that you might be guilty of a very serious crime. When confronted with police officers and other government agents who suddenly arrive with a bunch of questions, most innocent people mistakenly think to themselves, “Why not talk? I haven’t done anything. I have nothing to hide. What could pos­sibly go wrong?”

Well, among other things, you could end up confessing to a crime you didn’t commit. The problem of false confessions is not an urban legend. It is a documented fact. Indeed, research suggests that the innocent may be more susceptible than the culpable to deceptive police interrogation tactics, because they tragically assume that somehow “truth and justice will prevail” later even if they falsely admit their guilt. Nobody knows for sure how often innocent people make false confessions, but as Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski recently observed, “Innocent interrogation subjects confess with surprising frequency.”

People still mistakenly believe that the police are the good guys and that cooperating with them can only be beneficial if you’re an innocent person. In reality police are not the good guys, they’re the revenue generators for the State. Their goal of raising revenue can only be realized by charging people with crimes. So long as wealth can be expropriated it doesn’t matter to the State whether the person hauled in actually perpetrated the crime or not.

A false confession is just as good as a truthful confession to the police. Either one achieves their goal of raising revenue. That means any belief you have in justice prevailing is wrongly held.

When an officer wants to question you about something you should immediately shut up and lawyer up. Most politicians are lawyers and they have crafted the system to benefit lawyers. The downside is that you’re basically stuck handing money to lawyers if you’re accused of a crime. The upside is that a lawyer knows the ins and outs of the system far better than most police officers and can therefore provide you with decent protection (assuming they’re not incompetent). A lawyer, for example, knows what to say without confessing you were guilty of a crime. They also know the rules regarding admissible evidence and whether or not the police have a case without a confession. You (and me), as a layperson, are likely to naive about the legal system that you don’t even know what you don’t know. And that ignorance can land you in a cage for a crime you didn’t commit.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Talk to Police”

  1. Thanks for the link to yet another reminder never to talk to the cops!

    When an officer wants to question you about something you should immediately shut up and lawyer up.

    Depending on the situation, you may or may not need to lawyer up. I don’t think I’d pick up the phone unless things went beyond cop(s) wanting to talk to me.

    1. I’m at the point that if a cop asks me the time of day I instinctively reply with, “Talk to my lawyer.”

  2. Actually, I was just thinking about an absolutely evil interrogation method taught in my department. Pick the likeliest looking suspect and ask him to accompany you to the station to help fill out the report. Seat him near your desk. Offer a can of pop and an ashtray. Light his cigarette if he chooses. Next roll a sheet of paper into the typewriter and start typing; something, anything. Type the quick brown fox over and over.

    If you picked the right guy, pretty soon he leans across the desk and informs you that, “You know the victim was just asking for that burglary.” You nod and grunt affirmatively. He continues to tell you that there was all this stuff left out in the open and he and his buddies broke in the back door… About this time, I would tell the doofus that he shouldn’t be telling me this. The usual answer was something like, “Hey, you’re cool.” and he would continue the narrative.

    After awhile, the other officer, who had been recording all this nearby, would present himself and read the fool his Miranda rights and trot him off to the tender ministrations of the county jail. We had never asked a single question other than “Want a can of Coke?” They just could not shut up.

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