We tend to think of police officers as the good guys, defending the streets from lawbreakers. They have an important job to do, though it’s often stressful, dangerous, and thankless. Police officers are part of the reason we feel a sense of security and safety on a daily basis. For that, they deserve our respect.
With that being said, they are motivated to find out who committed crimes and ensure that those people get punished. Even if you were just an innocent witness, they have tactics that can get you in a world of legal trouble. That is why you should never talk to the police without first consulting a lawyer.
This may sound counterintuitive. Police are the good guys. Good guys tell the truth. However, that isn’t always the case. All 50 states allow police officers to lie about evidence they found at the scene in an effort to get you to confess.
For example, let’s say you maintain your innocence, and they ask, “Well, why were your hairs found at the scene?” This question could be based on a lie. If you try giving an explanation of any kind, they can find a reason to use it against you.
A widely-publicized example is a group of men who are now known as the Exonerated Five, but were referred to at one point as the Central Park Five. Their story later became the subject of a Netflix show called “When They See Us.”
The five individuals confessed to police that they beat and raped a woman in Central Park. They spent thirteen years in prison until someone else came forward and DNA backed up the new statement.
According to the families of the five, police suggested the boys were witnesses opposed to suspects. Police were able to get confessions out of them through a combination of leading questions and lying to each boy that the others had implicated him.
One technique to get a confession is to interrogate a suspect for a long time. The North Carolina Law Review published a study in 2004 that looked at 125 cases where interrogation-induced confessions were proven false. Researchers found that 80% of the confessions were made after more than six hours of interrogation, with an average length of 16.3 hours. That’s well over half a day of police trying to get a confession.
This happened to a Virginia man named Robert Davis. He was questioned for more than five hours about a double homicide case before finally asking police what he could say to get him out of it. The interrogators told him he’d get leniency from the judge if he confessed, and that’s what he did.
Lawyers dedicate their professional lives to studying the law so they know how to help you. The best ones come with decades of experience. The lawyers at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat have seen it all and know how to help you no matter what situation you’re in with police. They will let you know what questions you should answer, when to stay silent, and when to tell police you are going to leave the interrogation.
For a free consultation, call (801) 532-5297.
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