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  1. #1
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    Default The Credibility of the Viral Youtube Video "Don't Talk to the Police"

    A while back, a defense attorney and a former policeman turned law student (two different people, if it's not clear) gave speeches to a group of law students informing them why it's not in their or their clients' best interests to talk to police. The speeches were taped and put on youtube, and they have become very popular. (Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc) Both purport to be legal professionals in some kind, and the performance and presentation seems to be well-researched, thorough, and supported by their experiences.

    I know that many of the posters on this board are big fans of law enforcement (some current/former law enforcement) and post in ways that are friendlier to prosecutors and police than citizens who may be accused of a crime. I'm wondering how accurate and truthful you find the assertions on this video and how those of you who are more pro-law enforcement than those two would rebut their claims.

    Those of you who tend to side with the accused over the government, what parts of the video do you agree and disagree with, and how would you support/alter the video?

    Thanks for your time, and if I'm in the wrong board, please feel free to move this.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The Credibility of the Viral Youtube Video "Don't Talk to the Police"

    Since I don't have the 48 minutes and 40 seconds, Would you care to summarize?
    your island of serenity, amid this sea of insanity

    I can lead a donkey to the well of knowledge,
    but I can't make the JackAsh drink it.


    Roger

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The Credibility of the Viral Youtube Video "Don't Talk to the Police"

    It's not very difficult to figure out who the professor is, if you pay attention to the lecture. James Duane of Regent Law School. The police officer / 3L is George Bruch.

    There are no surprises in the video for anybody who has practiced criminal defense law. I lost track of the number of times I would read through a police report thinking, "They have nothing"... until I hit the confession. I've heard other police officers give similar presentations about their techniques for eliciting confessions, and my experience is that those techniques are highly effective.

    The presentation only touches on the subject of false confessions, but yes, in addition to making statements that turn out to be self-incriminating, at times people will confess to crimes they did not commit.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Credibility of the Viral Youtube Video "Don't Talk to the Police"

    The video has it's merits, but it also lacks the direction of cooperation. If I am under investigation and a few statements can clear my name on the scene, why refuse to say anything because I saw a video of "general advice" not to, it very well could result in me being arrested instead of cleared.

  5. #5
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    Lightbulb Re: The Credibility of the Viral Youtube Video "Don't Talk to the Police"

    RESPONSE TO QUOTED POSTER:
    I share the same sentiment. As an avid criminal justice reader (hobby), I've seen this advice countless times. What you put into words is precisely what ran through my head. I kept thinking "Yeah they can't technically use my silence against me, but I've already made myself look guilty in their minds." They shoulder the burden of proof but why hurt your self-presentation?

    CAN PROSECUTION MENTION YOUR "PLEADING THE 5TH":
    According to a Colorado defense attorney, they can't even mention your "i would like an attorney" in court. Is this true across the nation (state/federal)? Even if so, can they indirectly offer enough detail so the jury can deduce it? (basically a loophole).

    UNSPOKEN MOTIVE FOR "DON'T TALK TO POLICE"
    While I believe they are trying to help the accused, I wonder if there's also an unspoken motivation: $$$. By directing everyone to plead the 5th, that person gets arrested and he needs an attorney!

    POTENTIAL ATTORNEY BIAS:
    If somebody does cooperate and gets quickly cleared, why would he need a criminal defense lawyer? The lawyer will ONLY see those that didn't clear.

    ANOTHER BLOG WITH HIGHLY INSIGHTFUL COMMENTS/CRITIQUES:
    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archive....html#comments

    Quote Quoting BOR
    View Post
    The video has it's merits, but it also lacks the direction of cooperation. If I am under investigation and a few statements can clear my name on the scene, why refuse to say anything because I saw a video of "general advice" not to, it very well could result in me being arrested instead of cleared.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The Credibility of the Viral Youtube Video "Don't Talk to the Police"

    The issue is not that you can't help yourself by trying to talk your way out of things. Yes, if you say to an officer "I was going 80 in a 55 zone" and the officer has you clocked at 82, you've confessed and he can nail you for 25+ over. But some officers will give an honest driver a break, knocking some miles off the citation, and give the guy who plays dumb or remains silent the full ticket. If you later challenge the ticket in court, arguably the prosecutor might be disinclined to give you another break, but I'm not sure that it's worse to have the notation of "subject admits he was going about 80MPH" as opposed to "Subject claims he has no idea how fast he was going" or "When asked how fast he was going, subject refused to respond" - you're still probably hoping that the officer doesn't show up in court.

    Realistically speaking, you're not going to talk yourself out of a criminal charge. It's not impossible. The officer in the video indicates that it happened a few times in the thousands upon thousands of interrogations/interviews he's conducted. But my impression was that he can count those exceptions on one hand, with fingers left over. It's more likely that your statements won't hurt you (the lecture provides valid caution about how statements that you think won't hurt you may nonetheless suggest guilt or be used against you), but that doesn't get you out of the charge.

    I've seen interrogations that lasted an hour, two hours, or more summarized by the officer in a paragraph or two. No notes, no recordings, no way to establish context - just the officer's interpretation of the interview. The defendant's statement remains admissible, and you have nothing to work with on cross-examination.

    There are unusual circumstances when your pre-Miranda silence can be used against you. Think of the classic movie sequence, where you come into a room, see a body on the floor, stupidly pick up the murder weapon, and as you're leaning across the body to check for a pulse a dozen people burst into the room. An innocent person would be expected to blurt out something like "I didn't do it" or "This is not what it looks like". We're talking about some unusual situations.

    More likely, your exercise of your right to remain silent, or your insistence that any questions come through counsel or that you'll only agree to be interrogated if your attorney is present, may convince the police at best that you have something to hide and at worst that you're guilty. The point of the video is, that's their problem, not yours. For example, if you have an alibi, it doesn't disappear if you don't talk to the police. You and your lawyer can assemble the evidence and submit it to the prosecutor. If you don't have an alibi, or can't prove your alibi, you can talk until your blue in the face about how you were asleep in bed - it won't help.

    If you want to believe that lawyers want you to exercise your right to remain silent because it makes them money (as if you won't be hiring a lawyer after you confess and most likely limit your lawyer's options to negotiating a plea bargain), or that you're the genius who is going to talk himself out of criminal charges, the video is particularly apt. The professor and officer both pointed out that people like you aren't as smart as you think you are. And, sure enough, you're not.

    And if the investigation is being conducted by the feds, or in a jurisdiction in which you can expect to be criminally charged if found to be lying to a prosecutor, you do put yourself at risk of being charged over an inadvertent misstatement or because the prosecutor decides that your story is false. Or, as the video pointed out, you can try to protect your friends or save yourself from embarrassment even though the conduct that is under investigation turns out not to be criminal in nature and still end up behind bars.

    Let's take the abstract statement, "If I am under investigation and a few statements can clear my name on the scene" - tie that to a particular set of facts and see how well it works in practice. If you're a suspect, detained at a crime scene, what statements do you imagine will "clear your name on the scene"?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The Credibility of the Viral Youtube Video "Don't Talk to the Police"

    First of all, I'm talking in the context of being fully innocent. If I were factually guilty, Duane's advice is a no-brainer. I'm well aware that one cannot talk themselves out of criminal charges if they're suspects. These guys are hardcore interrogation pros. But if you look at Schneier's blog, a number of innocent people said they got cleared after talking to the police without a lawyer. It's THOSE people that lawyers never saw.
    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archive....html#comments

    I even got a bunch of actual police officers to offer their take. This is a forum where if you declare (on the signup page) that you're a sworn officer, you must send actual proof via fax/mail to the forum admin.
    http://forums.officer.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=134302

    Am I saying this video's invalid? Not one bit! It was a great presentation and I learned alot. Especially frightening is that damn rule of evidence. BUT, it doesn't seem to be an absolute blanket rule.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The Credibility of the Viral Youtube Video "Don't Talk to the Police"

    and here is one of the comments by one of the cops:


    My personal rule is this. If for some reason I am ever arrested, I'm not saying a word until my lawyer is there. If a person has this same philsophy, so be it.
    . I'm well aware that one cannot talk themselves out of criminal charges if they're suspects. These guys are hardcore interrogation pros. But if you look at Schneier's blog, a number of innocent people said they got cleared after talking to the police without a lawyer. It's THOSE people that lawyers never saw.
    and what harm is done if they refuse to talk to the officer? none. they are not going to become guilty because they didn't talk but they surely can talk themselves into appearing guilty or even confessing to guilt.

    bottom line: keep your mouth shut. It may result in a stay in jail but I would much rather spend a day or two or week in jail because I refused to incriminate myself than I would spend the rest of my life in jail because I did incriminate myself.
    I am not an attorney and any advice is not to be construed as legal advice. You might even want to ignore my advice. Actually, there are plenty of real attorneys that you might want to ignore as well.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The Credibility of the Viral Youtube Video "Don't Talk to the Police"

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    and here is one of the comments by one of the cops:




    and what harm is done if they refuse to talk to the officer? none. they are not going to become guilty because they didn't talk but they surely can talk themselves into appearing guilty or even confessing to guilt.

    bottom line: keep your mouth shut. It may result in a stay in jail but I would much rather spend a day or two or week in jail because I refused to incriminate myself than I would spend the rest of my life in jail because I did incriminate myself.
    Well it's straightforward if you're actually under arrest OR if they tell you that you're a suspect.

    When they initially approach you, they'll make it sound like a friendly "requesting information" kind of a thing. They won't even tell you that you're suspect. And in this scenario, you've done absolutely nothing wrong.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The Credibility of the Viral Youtube Video "Don't Talk to the Police"

    Quote Quoting crim309
    View Post
    RESPONSE TO QUOTED POSTER:
    I share the same sentiment. As an avid criminal justice reader (hobby), I've seen this advice countless times. What you put into words is precisely what ran through my head. I kept thinking "Yeah they can't technically use my silence against me, but I've already made myself look guilty in their minds." They shoulder the burden of proof but why hurt your self-presentation?
    Hey, welcome to expertlaw, stick around if you are an avid CJ fan. I am also, even took it as my major in College. You can learn alot here, as I know alot, but myself have learned some also.


    Some jurisdictions use pre miranda silence as an impeachment tool if the stand is taken, but most do not.


    The video, as I said, has some merits, some not so up and up. As a whole it means do not even engage is consensual conversation as it can lead to a line you don't want to cross. The average person does not know S&S law, so it is a very good starting point to learn from, but I personally know how to deal with such when stopped, so I do not have to be cautious in what I say.



    BOR, aka, Bill of Rights

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