Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-26-2012, 05:11 PM
oyster11 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 35

Is it ALWAYS better to "never talk to the police"?


I have searches online and almost all advices are, never talk to the police. Does it apply to all situations, though?

Sometimes the police might be far from certain who the perpetrator is, and they just treat you as a person of interest, so by asserting your right to remain silent as soon as they come to your door and ask questions about you, you are very likely to red-flag yourself and become suspect #1 and the cops, initally might just want to ask some questions, now highly suspect you are guilty and put much more resources into investigating you, making you worse off than if you actually talked with them.

What do you think of the scenario above? It seems to me it defeats the "never talk to the police" principle. Any thoughts? Inputs are welcomed.
  #2  
Old 12-26-2012, 05:16 PM
Colibri's Avatar
Colibri is online now
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 43,088
Since the OP is asking for opinions, let's move this over to IMHO.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator
  #3  
Old 12-26-2012, 05:19 PM
pkbites's Avatar
pkbites is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Majikal Land O' Cheeze!
Posts: 10,979
Quote:
Originally Posted by oyster11 View Post
I have searches online and almost all advices are, never talk to the police. Does it apply to all situations, though?
If you're the victim of something and called 911 I suppose you might want to talk to the police.


All the sites that say never talk to the police I've read have this basic attitude that the police want to make an arrest and it doesn't matter who it is just so long as they can clear the case. This is nonsense.
  #4  
Old 12-26-2012, 05:19 PM
Acid Lamp is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Kissimmee, Fl
Posts: 4,693
It is always better to be polite and cooperative with police until you feel they are either overstepping their bounds or you have become a suspect. At that point it is better to politely ask if you are being detained, arrested, or free to go. If you are not free to go then it is better to assert your right to counsel and keep your mouth shut.
  #5  
Old 12-26-2012, 05:26 PM
Blackberry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,715
But the problem is that you can't know which type of scenario you're getting into when the police come calling. Better to just keep your mouth shut. (So I say...but when the police knocked on my door the other day about a missing 2-year-old in my building, it's not like I wouldn't have told them if I'd known anything. I'm not a monster.)
  #6  
Old 12-26-2012, 05:26 PM
oyster11 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acid Lamp View Post
It is always better to be polite and cooperative with police until you feel they are either overstepping their bounds or you have become a suspect. At that point it is better to politely ask if you are being detained, arrested, or free to go. If you are not free to go then it is better to assert your right to counsel and keep your mouth shut.
The problem with this approach is, you might have already given away information that could incriminate yourself before you asserted your right to remain silent.
  #7  
Old 12-26-2012, 05:46 PM
Blake is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 11,049
If nothing in your history or circumstances makes you look like a suspect, the you also have nothing to fear form becoming "suspect #1". The police can investigate all they like, they will never find anything to build a case on.

If you do have something in your history or circumstances makes you look like a suspect, then the police can only find that out in one of two ways: either you tell them or someone else tells them. If you refuse to talk to the police, they can't find out from you. If the police are able to find out from other people, then you would have become a suspect even if you had talked to them.

So the only time that talking to the police can possibly help you is if you are in that tiny area where evidence exists that makes you look guilty, but talking to the police will prevent the from looking for that evidence. Those circumstances have certainly arisen in the real world on numerous occasions. But far, far more frequently talking to the police leads to people giving away evidence that leads to the police investigating further. And you have no way of knowing which situation you are in until after it happens.

In other words, the exhortation to "never talk to the police" is based on the odds. It is almost certain that, if you look have something that makes you look guilty, talking to the police won't stop them finding the evidence of your guilt. But if you don't talk to the police, they can't find it out from you. And if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear from an investigation. So the chances are much higher that you will harm yourself by talking to the police than by not talking to them.

Of course, if you are innocent, and you have an iron-clad alibi, and the police really are just making routine enquiries, you can usually save yourself a lot of trouble by talking to them. If you have a legitimate and provable reason for being somewhere and a cop asks, tell them and they will almost certainly be free to leave. Otherwise you'll probably be detained and they'll look for a reason to arrest you. You won't be charged, but it's far easier to simply get it over with and be on your way.

Last edited by Blake; 12-26-2012 at 05:47 PM.
  #8  
Old 12-26-2012, 05:49 PM
Johnny Bravo's Avatar
Johnny Bravo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The Swamp
Posts: 7,782
Here is a relevant video link.

It's long, but worth watching all the way through.

The basic gist is that, no, you should never speak to the police because anything you say CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU in a court of law. Whether you're guilty or not.

Last edited by Johnny Bravo; 12-26-2012 at 05:50 PM.
  #9  
Old 12-26-2012, 05:54 PM
Heracles's Avatar
Heracles is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Southern Québec, Canada
Posts: 1,624
I don't get it. If I were a police investigator and, in the course of an investigation, somebody asserted the right to silence and counsel, I would politely respect that right... and I would also consider that person as the primary suspect.
  #10  
Old 12-26-2012, 05:56 PM
Blake is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 11,049
Quote:
Originally Posted by oyster11 View Post
The problem with this approach is, you might have already given away information that could incriminate yourself before you asserted your right to remain silent.
And that is the danger. The reality is that if police ask you more than "Who are you", "Why are you here" and "Have you seen this suspect/victim/car", then you are already a potential suspect.

If a bank was robbed, for example, the police certainly wouldn't be overstepping the bounds by asking me where I was at the time. But they wouldn't ask that unless I was already a suspect. They also wouldn't ask if you knew a murder victim if you weren't a suspect.

By answering any of those simple questions you may well have incriminated yourself. Far better in those cases to refuse to talk.
  #11  
Old 12-26-2012, 05:59 PM
solosam is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 737
Avoiding the police is always better for YOU.

It may not be better for the victim.

But hey, it's a free country, so as long as you can live with yourself, nothing else matters.

Or so I'm told.
  #12  
Old 12-26-2012, 06:03 PM
Critical Mass is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 855
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Bravo View Post
The basic gist is that, no, you should never speak to the police because anything you say CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU in a court of law. Whether you're guilty or not.
Is that portion of an interview prior to being read your rights admissible in court?
  #13  
Old 12-26-2012, 06:04 PM
Blake is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 11,049
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heracles View Post
I don't get it. If I were a police investigator and, in the course of an investigation, somebody asserted the right to silence and counsel, I would politely respect that right... and I would also consider that person as the primary suspect.
So what? Why should they care what you consider them to be?

If you were a police investigator, and you had enough evidence to charge them, then you would charged them regardless of whether they had talked to you. And if you don't have enough evidence, then you can't charge them regardless of whether they had talked to you.

What a police investigator thinks of them is utterly irrelevant to the vast majority of people.

As i said above, the only possible way that refusing to talk can harm them is if the have something to hide, and you will stop making all inquiries if they talk to you. That has certainly happened on occasion, if there were incompetent investigators. But it is far, far less common than people incriminating themselves.

After all, you wouldn't be questioning someone if they weren't already a suspect.
  #14  
Old 12-26-2012, 06:04 PM
Ferret Herder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Suburbs of Chicagoland
Posts: 22,337
Quote:
Originally Posted by solosam View Post
Avoiding the police is always better for YOU.

It may not be better for the victim.

But hey, it's a free country, so as long as you can live with yourself, nothing else matters.

Or so I'm told.
The above-linked video suggests that one should talk to the police while with legal counsel. I'm pretty sure that doesn't prevent an actual criminal from being caught simply because you, an innocent person, are exercising a right.
  #15  
Old 12-26-2012, 06:30 PM
Martin Hyde is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 14,234
It's situational. I think there was a long thread here where a poster at the time was caught in a municipal park after hours talking with a girl, and the police showed up. They basically asked him who he was and he refused, and he got in a lot of trouble.

That was sort of based on his severe misunderstanding of what you're required to do for police who are detaining you.

It varies from State to State, but in all States it's pretty safe advice to say that you can:

1. Identify yourself if asked to by police. (In some States this can be legally required in certain circumstances, but even where not required it can do little harm unless you've got outstanding warrants.)

2. Assist police investigating something immediate and unrelated to you. Just a quick example...you're on the street and a cop runs around the corner and says "have you seen a guy in a red hoodie??" There's very little chance anything in that answer is going to incriminate you. Same thing if a police officer shows up at your door saying "have you seen this missing kid today, he is missing from this neighborhood?"

It's also pretty universally safe to say do not do any of the following:

1. Let police search your car or your home without a warrant. In some circumstances the police can do so without a warrant, but it's subject to some strict legal requirements. If the police insist on doing the search above your objections, do absolutely nothing to stop them but if you have access to a phone book or the Internet while the search is going on I'd be looking for a criminal lawyer in your area and calling them ASAP. Never fight the police, but if they do a search over your objections and they can't demonstrate there was a compelling reason to do so the evidence will be thrown out. There are specific legal doctrines involved in warrantless searches...if the police has legal right to do one then you're screwed either way and if not then trying to physically stop the search gets you in a world of physical and legal hurt.

2. Answer any questions other than identifying yourself while in police custody. A custodial interrogation means you need a lawyer's help, there is no such thing as a casual custodial interrogation and any questions you answer you may say something stupid that would lead the police to suspect you of a crime.

3. If you aren't being taken into custody but police want to take you in for voluntary questioning, refuse. They will either take you into custody or not (depending on what evidence they have), but there is never a time you should voluntarily go to the police department to speak with police about something they think you're involved in.

Even if I was involved in a self defense killing or something, I wouldn't volunteer anything even I knew the explanation would probably be sufficient to convince both the police and DA it was self defense. I'd just say, "I was in fear for my life, and I can explain the situation with the assistance of counsel."
  #16  
Old 12-26-2012, 06:34 PM
Seanette is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,665
Being that I'm a basically law-abiding citizen (OK, I occasionally do manage a minor traffic infraction, but haven't had a ticket in almost 20 years), I have no qualms about cooperating with law enforcement. I just don't have quite that level of catastrophizing paranoia.
  #17  
Old 12-26-2012, 06:41 PM
Boyo Jim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 36,997
There are plenty of situations where it's perfectly fine to talk to a police officer -- that is, when it's clear they are looking for a specific person, and that person is not you.

For instance, the store up the street has just been robbed, and the police are checking up and down the block to get some more info on where the person fled to. This happened to me in college. A op came by and said, "Did you see a guy in a red shirt running by here in the last few minutes?" If I had said "yes", presumably he would have asked a few more questions to get more details -- could I provide any more details about his appearance, which way he went, did he get into a car, or whatever. But I just said, "No, sorry" -- which was the truth, and the cop went on his way.

I suppose, had another person being questioned given wrong information -- like the guy ran into the store where I was working -- it's conceivable my answer might have led me into trouble. But the odds against that happening are pretty astronomical. And since this guy had just robbed a retail store up the street, I would rather help catch him, so he wouldn't rob me next time. And that means cooperating with the police.

Another time, more recently, I heard a woman screaming and called 911. In fact, she was running through the neighborhood screaming and a man was chasing her. He was caught, though the woman was badly beaten, and a few days later the police called me (as I was the first person to call 911) to try and get more details. All I could tell the officer was that I saw her through my window. She ran out of a gap between two buildings, turned and ran to the corner, turned again and ran up the street in front of my house. There was a guy maybe 25-50 feet behind her. It was dusk, they were both at least a hundred feet away, and I couldn't provide a good physical description of either -- not even their skin color.

I'm pretty damn sure I wasn't risking my freedom by talking to the police either time, if for no other reason that the 911 operator could herself hear the woman screaming in the distance when I made the first call.
  #18  
Old 12-26-2012, 07:16 PM
Blackberry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,715
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake View Post
If nothing in your history or circumstances makes you look like a suspect, the you also have nothing to fear form becoming "suspect #1". The police can investigate all they like, they will never find anything to build a case on.
Everyone has skeletons. Or at least I hope they do. Pretty boring person otherwise.

Quote:
Of course, if you are innocent, and you have an iron-clad alibi, and the police really are just making routine enquiries, you can usually save yourself a lot of trouble by talking to them.
What could be less trouble than not talking to someone?
  #19  
Old 12-26-2012, 08:25 PM
msmith537 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 27,643
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackberry View Post
Everyone has skeletons. Or at least I hope they do. Pretty boring person otherwise.
Most people manage to not be "boring" by not having some sort of secret undiscovered involvement in a felony

People who say "never talk to the police" are idiots who either constantly find themselves in trouble with the law or fantasize that they do.

Generally your best bet is to be polite and answer as factually and as acurately as you can.
  #20  
Old 12-26-2012, 08:35 PM
Blackberry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,715
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
Most people manage to not be "boring" by not having some sort of secret undiscovered involvement in a felony
That's not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying you could have some things in your past that might make you look sketchy even if you didn't have anything to do with the crime being investigated.

Quote:
People who say "never talk to the police" are idiots who either constantly find themselves in trouble with the law or fantasize that they do.
Or they just don't trust the justice system.
  #21  
Old 12-26-2012, 09:56 PM
oyster11 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
Most people manage to not be "boring" by not having some sort of secret undiscovered involvement in a felony

People who say "never talk to the police" are idiots who either constantly find themselves in trouble with the law or fantasize that they do.

Generally your best bet is to be polite and answer as factually and as acurately as you can.
Funny how you pretend to be smart. Have you ever dealt with police before? I guess not. You are likely to be the people who self-incriminate themselves by believing they can somehow talk out of the situation.
  #22  
Old 12-26-2012, 10:07 PM
cougar58 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 910
my best friend was a city cop...he invited me to go for some ride-alongs (highly recommended)

One night we have a car speeding towards us...we flip around, and I assume he sees that. he speeds up, but we were going lots faster. around a blind corner, we zoom by a bank (closed) and I see him, lights out, hiding in drive thru lane...so we circle back, approach from his blindside with lights out, and catch him.

rich lawyers kid. he went out of his way to say his dad was a lawyer, and that nothing we could tag him with, would ever hold up.

my friend, not upset at all, looks at me, and asks if I recall him ever saying anything about a ticket..In fact, he was about to be promoted to detective, and told weeks ago he stopped writing tickets, due to follow up working months later.

I said I was sure he had not. He told the kid he WAS just going to run a "28" on his info, and if he was clean, send him on his way. But he liked the kids idea better.

Kid got what he spoke up and asked for.

Another night we pulled a woman over...one headlight out...just a warning to fix in 5 days. She starts yapping about just having a short drive home from the bar, then she was going to call it a night...No cop writes warnings for DUI...her driving was fine, BTW.

Last edited by cougar58; 12-26-2012 at 10:09 PM.
  #23  
Old 12-26-2012, 11:11 PM
cougar58 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 910
Btw, this was in 1999. Seems most of the depts cars had video audio cameras near rear view mirrow, with sensitive mics outside....they come on when the lightbar comes on, or manually anytime...so anytime a cop is dealing with you, the car is recording what it sees and hears...no kidding, i could hear what the citizens were saying inside their car...when a cop pulls you over, they usually wait in the car to see if you are wanted...while they are doing this, you have already rolled your window down....when you do this, they are listening to whats being said in your car. Based on what the occupants of the car say, they now have probable cause to search.

Keep your windows up until the officer approaches, and only answer what he asks. He will then go back to the car, and once again be hearing you. "what a fat pig" , " god, please dont look in the trunk" will make for a long meeting. In fact, the "look in the trunk" prayer was actually from an episode of "real stories of hiway patrol". Cops had car stopped on I40 near Memphis, and the camera recorded the driver making this repeated prayer, when the driver "knew" cop could not hear....it was a near record drug bust.
  #24  
Old 12-26-2012, 11:26 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness's Avatar
Left Hand of Dorkness is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 41,572
Frankly, I'm not too worried about it. I'm a middle-class white guy with evidence of a kid and of my middle-class profession in my car and wallet. Chances are pretty good that a cop isn't going to try to pin something on me as the best suspect, the vast majority of the time. As long as I remain innocent of major wrongdoing, I'm happy to talk with the cops.

If I were a 20-year-old poor black man, I might well sing a different tune.
  #25  
Old 12-26-2012, 11:48 PM
notsoheavyd3 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by oyster11 View Post
Funny how you pretend to be smart. Have you ever dealt with police before? I guess not. You are likely to be the people who self-incriminate themselves by believing they can somehow talk out of the situation.
Hell, the cop in that video above largely makes that point. For those that haven't watched it the lawyer gives a cop time to give his point of view. He agrees with the lawyer, don't talk to him if you're smart. The cop says pretty much what you've said. He's got decades of experience doing interviews and he's interviewing people that basically have next to none. He's an expert and they're amateurs. He points out it turns out pretty much exactly you'd think it'd go if you went head to head with an expert in his own field.(IE not well for the amateur.)
  #26  
Old 12-27-2012, 12:01 AM
Blackberry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,715
Yeah, I really like that video, and I like this one too. It's kind of entertaining with the bad acting.
  #27  
Old 12-27-2012, 01:02 AM
oyster11 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cougar58 View Post
my best friend was a city cop...he invited me to go for some ride-alongs (highly recommended)

One night we have a car speeding towards us...we flip around, and I assume he sees that. he speeds up, but we were going lots faster. around a blind corner, we zoom by a bank (closed) and I see him, lights out, hiding in drive thru lane...so we circle back, approach from his blindside with lights out, and catch him.

rich lawyers kid. he went out of his way to say his dad was a lawyer, and that nothing we could tag him with, would ever hold up.

my friend, not upset at all, looks at me, and asks if I recall him ever saying anything about a ticket..In fact, he was about to be promoted to detective, and told weeks ago he stopped writing tickets, due to follow up working months later.

I said I was sure he had not. He told the kid he WAS just going to run a "28" on his info, and if he was clean, send him on his way. But he liked the kids idea better.

Kid got what he spoke up and asked for.

Another night we pulled a woman over...one headlight out...just a warning to fix in 5 days. She starts yapping about just having a short drive home from the bar, then she was going to call it a night...No cop writes warnings for DUI...her driving was fine, BTW.
Well that kid was being arrogant, that was why he was charged, but because he did not talk to the cop.

And I don't understand the second example. Were you saying the woman incriminated herself afterwards?
  #28  
Old 12-27-2012, 01:06 AM
the_diego is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4,322
Only a judge can force you to talk, right?
  #29  
Old 12-27-2012, 01:19 AM
Fear Itself is offline
Cecil's Inner Circle
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Flavortown
Posts: 35,983
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_diego View Post
Only a judge can force you to talk, right?
No one can force you to talk. Judges (and police, to a lesser extent) can impose consequences for not talking, but no one can force you to talk.
  #30  
Old 12-27-2012, 01:25 AM
the_diego is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4,322
Good you mentioned that. Threads like this confuse me. I always thought you don't just cooperate with the cops fully, you're supposed to volunteer information that may be useful to them.
  #31  
Old 12-27-2012, 01:56 AM
Blackberry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,715
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_diego View Post
Good you mentioned that. Threads like this confuse me. I always thought you don't just cooperate with the cops fully, you're supposed to volunteer information that may be useful to them.
And more likely than not, that won't ever cause you any problems. But you really, REALLY don't want to be the one it does cause problems for.

Google "Billy Wayne Cope". This poor guy lost literally every single thing that matters in life (his daughter to a vicious rape and murder, ALL of the rest of his family, his freedom, his reputation as a non-rapist and -murderer...EVERYTHING). And he's a previously law-abiding middle-aged white guy. Not a real bright one, but still. It's SO obvious he's innocent. How many other cases are there where the person is innocent but it's just less obvious for one reason or another? More than anyone would care to think. The Innocence Project has a bunch more stories, but almost all of them are cases where people were exonerated with DNA evidence, which obviously is not available with most crimes.
  #32  
Old 12-27-2012, 02:07 AM
drewtwo99 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,757
When my car broke down on the freeway in Oregon one year on my way home for Thanksgiving, two cops stopped by while I was waiting for my dad to come help tow my car back home the rest of the way. You can bet I answered their questions and let them know that I had help coming and that I was fine, no one else was with me, where I was going, etc. I can't imagine the world of hurt I would have been in if I just refused to answer any of their questions other than my name. They probably would have called a tow truck in and towed my car and then hauled me down for questioning.

So yes, sometimes it's better to talk to the police. Sometimes, they are actually trying to help you and make sure you are safe and taken care of.

Last edited by drewtwo99; 12-27-2012 at 02:07 AM.
  #33  
Old 12-27-2012, 02:21 AM
Boyo Jim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 36,997
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackberry View Post
...The Innocence Project has a bunch more stories, but almost all of them are cases where people were exonerated with DNA evidence, which obviously is not available with most crimes.
I heard an interview with Barry Shenk (sp?) where he pointed out that the Innocence Project finds that about a third of the people who ask it for help end up being proven innocent by DNA testing. That meant a couple of things to him. One was that the percentage of actual innocent people was almost certainly higher than that, but their innocence couldn't be demonstrated because there wasn't DNA evidence available to test. The other was more important IMHO. There's no reason to believe that the numbers of false convictions is any higher or lower for crimes involving DNA evidence than for other crimes, and so there are probably VERY large numbers of falsely convicted people in prison.

What he didn't say, and I don't know, is how or whether the available data can be extrapolated to a reasonable estimate. I suspect it can't be, or they would have come up with a number, and I don't believe they have. The people that the Innocence Project tries to help are AFAIK self-selecting -- they ask the IP for help with an appeal. Presumably there is a much larger percentage who don't ask for help, because they know they're guilty or because they know the nature of the evidence against them is not going to be disprovable with lab testing.
  #34  
Old 12-27-2012, 02:45 AM
Blackberry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,715
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
I heard an interview with Barry Shenk (sp?) where he pointed out that the Innocence Project finds that about a third of the people who ask it for help end up being proven innocent by DNA testing. That meant a couple of things to him. One was that the percentage of actual innocent people was almost certainly higher than that, but their innocence couldn't be demonstrated because there wasn't DNA evidence available to test. The other was more important IMHO. There's no reason to believe that the numbers of false convictions is any higher or lower for crimes involving DNA evidence than for other crimes, and so there are probably VERY large numbers of falsely convicted people in prison.
IMHO there are probably a GREAT many number of people who are in prison for crimes they did not commit, but most of them probably did commit other, similar crimes. That says nothing good for our justice system, but at very least it makes me feel less sad for them.

And then you have people who really didn't do ANYTHING like the crime they were convicted of. That's so sad I can hardly stand to think about it.
  #35  
Old 12-27-2012, 03:07 AM
Becky2844 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,779
Haven't read the thread yet because it's knee-deep, but as a former civilian employee at a police dept. I'd say Always be co-operative and Keep It Simple Stupid. (They're trying to assess a situation quickly and it's always wisest to answer direct questions without volunteering more info.)

To me, the line's drawn if they click the handcuffs around your wrists. Ask for a lawyer and then shut up.
  #36  
Old 12-27-2012, 03:13 AM
the_diego is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4,322
So if methods and techniques to proving or disproving beyond reasonable doubt have improved, shouldn't there be greater cooperation and transparency? Or does the opposite argument become valid: "I'm keeping my mouth shut."
  #37  
Old 12-27-2012, 03:20 AM
Blackberry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,715
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_diego View Post
So if methods and techniques to proving or disproving beyond reasonable doubt have improved, shouldn't there be greater cooperation and transparency? Or does the opposite argument become valid: "I'm keeping my mouth shut."
There's still a very long way to go before it's improved enough. Your user name suggests you might be Latino, but your posts in this thread make me think you must not be? Because if you were (and in the U.S.), it seems like you'd probably know this.
  #38  
Old 12-27-2012, 03:29 AM
the_diego is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4,322
i'm a filipino. in the philippines we are trained in english from primary level onwards. the name is a joke in reference to my 9-year old child, a girl. and being in a "third world" country i can see just how imperfect the system is.

funny though. other asians (the recently prosperous and therefore stupidly arrogant ones) call us the 'mexicans of asia.'
  #39  
Old 12-27-2012, 03:38 AM
Blackberry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,715
So you live in the Philippines now? I have no idea what the justice system is like there. I wouldn't imagine it to be too non-corrupt just based on the nature of justice systems in general and the fact that the Philippines is considered a developing nation, but I could be wrong. And obviously they wouldn't discriminate against non-whites like we do here in the U.S.
  #40  
Old 12-27-2012, 03:50 AM
the_diego is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4,322
The discrimination here is less sophisticated, usually dictated by economic and social standing, color, and outright popularity. That's with respect to the justice system. Justice comes very slowly to the poor man.

Other forms of discimination are more cosmopolitan. The blue chip companies will hire only graduates from the top-3 universities, ethnic Chinese families do not allow marriage to Filipinos of Malay stock, hold-outs from the days of Spanish colonization inter-marry, control of the military and police transfer from one batch of the military academy to another, depending on who's appointed to the top military post.

But swerving back to the topic, I've a feeling Filipinos hate their police force in a way Americans can't imagine. Every cop is bad. Every cop is for sale. Nothing is worth reporting to the local police station.
  #41  
Old 12-27-2012, 04:03 AM
Blackberry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,715
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_diego View Post
The discrimination here is less sophisticated, usually dictated by economic and social standing, color, and outright popularity. That's with respect to the justice system. Justice comes very slowly to the poor man.

Other forms of discimination are more cosmopolitan. The blue chip companies will hire only graduates from the top-3 universities, ethnic Chinese families do not allow marriage to Filipinos of Malay stock, hold-outs from the days of Spanish colonization inter-marry, control of the military and police transfer from one batch of the military academy to another, depending on who's appointed to the top military post.

But swerving back to the topic, I've a feeling Filipinos hate their police force in a way Americans can't imagine. Every cop is bad. Every cop is for sale. Nothing is worth reporting to the local police station.
When you say "color" do you mean ethnic Filipinos being relatively light- or dark-skinned? That's not something I've ever heard about the Philippines (not that I know a lot about it).

It sounds like maybe Filipinos hate cops like poor black Americans hate cops. You ever hear our saying, "Snitches get stitches"?

Interesting topic though, thanks for the info. Learning about criminal justice in other countries is a hobby of mine.
  #42  
Old 12-27-2012, 06:09 AM
half-elf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 293
Having heard the "never talk to the police meme" before, but never having had it explained in such detail, reminded me of something that made me curious while watching several CSI type shows on TV: the suspect ALWAYS starts by giving various excuses, stories, tales etc. When caught in a lie, or as soon as they realize that the police are on to them, THEN they clam up and say " I want a lawyer". So much so that it is kind of implied that when someone asks for a lawyer, it probably means that they're guilty.

So, have these people never heard that they shouldn't talk to the police, are they deluded about their ability to talk their way out of it, or is is PURELY a TV construct to move the story along?

Curious, non-US minds (well, mind) want to know!!
  #43  
Old 12-27-2012, 07:35 AM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Rural Western PA
Posts: 32,805
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackberry View Post
Everyone has skeletons.
I hardly have room in the closet for my jacket.

A friend, who is a long time cop, suggests lawyering up from the start. A cop knocks on my door and wants to ask me a few questions. I politely say, "as soon as my lawyer shows up". Doing otherwise has absolutely no upside for me, as I'm innocent of any crime.
  #44  
Old 12-27-2012, 08:30 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness's Avatar
Left Hand of Dorkness is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 41,572
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I hardly have room in the closet for my jacket.

A friend, who is a long time cop, suggests lawyering up from the start. A cop knocks on my door and wants to ask me a few questions. I politely say, "as soon as my lawyer shows up". Doing otherwise has absolutely no upside for me, as I'm innocent of any crime.
The upside for you is miniscule (a bad guy might get caught a little bit faster if you answer questions). However, everyone in your community experiences that same upside. A community in which everyone answers questions to the police forthrightly experiences a tremendous upside for everyone in the community, as criminals are caught faster throughout.

Another upside, of course, is that an attorney costs a few hundred bucks per consultation, right? If I'm being totally selfish, I'm still not going to grab my attorney every time a cop asks to speak to me, unless I have good reason to think I might be a suspect.
  #45  
Old 12-27-2012, 08:40 AM
cougar58 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 910
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I hardly have room in the closet for my jacket.

A friend, who is a long time cop, suggests lawyering up from the start. A cop knocks on my door and wants to ask me a few questions. I politely say, "as soon as my lawyer shows up". Doing otherwise has absolutely no upside for me, as I'm innocent of any crime.
One possible exception. Your next door neighbor is suspect in his wife being missing. He told the police he used the shovel (in his truck) to plant apple trees in his yard the first week in April. The plastic bags and duct tape were used to cover the trees when the temps dropped.

You recall that they argued the last week in March, and that immigrants planted the trees.
  #46  
Old 12-27-2012, 09:02 AM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Rural Western PA
Posts: 32,805
Quote:
Originally Posted by cougar58 View Post
One possible exception. Your next door neighbor is suspect in his wife being missing. He told the police he used the shovel (in his truck) to plant apple trees in his yard the first week in April. The plastic bags and duct tape were used to cover the trees when the temps dropped.

You recall that they argued the last week in March, and that immigrants planted the trees.
And I'd happily discuss this with my lawyer present.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Another upside, of course, is that an attorney costs a few hundred bucks per consultation, right? If I'm being totally selfish, I'm still not going to grab my attorney every time a cop asks to speak to me, unless I have good reason to think I might be a suspect.
If the police were constantly showing up at my door, yeah I'd worry about money. In reality though, at least for me, we're talking once or twice in a lifetime events.
  #47  
Old 12-27-2012, 11:17 AM
Blackberry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,715
Quote:
Originally Posted by half-elf View Post
So, have these people never heard that they shouldn't talk to the police, are they deluded about their ability to talk their way out of it, or is is PURELY a TV construct to move the story along?

Curious, non-US minds (well, mind) want to know!!
Okay, there are some sophisticated criminals, but most criminals are not too smart and get themselves into avoidable trouble regularly. It's long been baffling to me. I mean, do a little research into your trade, guys!

One thing I read in a law class that has stuck with me was an anecdote by a police officer that said he would regularly board Greyhound buses (Greyhound buses travel long distances) and ask passengers if he could search their bags. You may know that passengers transporting drugs or other contraband regularly take buses because airport security is much higher. Now, if you don't have any contraband, that's one thing (and I would SURE still refuse). But this cop estimated he'd asked 3000 people to search their bags and NOT ONE had refused. He had 0 probable cause and they could have just said no and that would be the end of it. But even the ones WITH contraband said okay. Obviously they didn't feel like refusing was really an option, even though it really really was.
  #48  
Old 12-27-2012, 11:54 AM
spifflog is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 2,446
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
And I'd happily discuss this with my lawyer present.

If the police were constantly showing up at my door, yeah I'd worry about money. In reality though, at least for me, we're talking once or twice in a lifetime events.
At ANY level do you know that the police are trying to make your life and mine safer and better??
  #49  
Old 12-27-2012, 12:34 PM
Ferret Herder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Suburbs of Chicagoland
Posts: 22,337
Quote:
Originally Posted by spifflog View Post
At ANY level do you know that the police are trying to make your life and mine safer and better??
Sure, most of them. Chicago has a long (and fortunately uncommon but still present) history, still ongoing, of pressuring or even torturing suspects into false confessions, just to get a conviction. So I'm not entirely sure why you think people should give up their rights on a whim if things look more serious than "which way did he go?!" or "are you OK?" or "do you know how fast you were going?"

And on a more likely outcome - I'm not going to agree to let a cop search my car for the hell of it and get busted because the sister-in-law we gave a ride to dropped some pills or pot in the back seat.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 12-27-2012 at 12:35 PM.
  #50  
Old 12-27-2012, 12:52 PM
YogSothoth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 14,000
Hijack, but I've always wondered if this was legal. Lets say I get handcuffed and thrown in the back of the police car. If I maneuver my hands so that they are cuffed in front of me and not behind me, and that's all (as in, I'm not trying to escape, only trying to be more comfortable), is that legal? Can they get me for additional charges if I simply shift my hands from behind to in front?
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:55 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017