can cops lie to you

Generally the answer is yes but what if instead of lying to get a confession they instead lie to gain entry and conduct a warrantless search of the suspects home. Like for example showing up and claiming there is a report of leaky gas pipes and asking to be able to search for the leak. Or pretending to be an EMT when someone in the suspects home has a medical emergency?

Wouldn’t that fall under illegal search and seizure? Of course you’ll prob have to resolve that when you go to court, if it gets that far.

Usually cops are able to get around that if you invite them in, sort of like vampires…

ISTM there have even been cases where cops posed as doctors or lawyers pretending to be working for a defendant, in order to trick defendant into saying self-incriminating things.

That should never fly. Here is one case where it didn’t: The trial court judge saw no problems, but the appeals court threw the entire case out.

Tennessee Cops Posed as a Defense Attorney To Get Suspect To Incriminate Himself, Radley Balko, Reason dot com, March 8, 2011 (regarding a 2008 case in Monroe County, Tennessee).

So, a court finds that cops shouldn’t lie to you about being a lawyer. From what I’ve seen, not unexpected: the courts have a view about the uniquness of Lawyers and the Legal Profession.

Rightly so. I can’t imagine a greater threat to civil rights than the situation presented. What’s next a cop who poses as a judge when the real judge goes to the bathroom and starts handing out death penalties?

Yes, I’ve heard similar arguments from Accountants and Electricians. It seems to be a common kind of self delusion.

I’m not any kind of lawyer, and I agree 100% wig drewder. I can’t imagine why you’re classifying it as a “delusion,” unless you’re actually okay with the police deliberately subverting a suspects right to legal representation.

In general it is OK to misrepresent certain facts in a case. It is frowned upon to use subterfuge to subvert someone’s Constitutional rights. What that constitutes is often defined at the state level. For instance here in New Jersey any hint of a promise of a lighter sentence for a confession will get the entire statement thrown out. Or really the promise of anything.

There are even some odd state rules. For instance here in NJ it is perfectly legal to tell a suspect, “We have you on video.” What is not allowed is saying, “We have you on video” and waving a DVD at him. I’m not sure why a prop makes it go beyond what the court will allow but it does.

Consent can be made to waive your 4th amendment rights. But it must be* informed* consent. Letting someone in who you think is the gas company is not informed consent. Sure you can get in that way but most likely anything you see or find will be thrown out.

Rereading that article I would have to say Gfactor did a very good job. Particularly because I agree with him. Something I have always said when these threads pop up regularly that lying or using subterfuge is a last ditch effort. TV makes it seem routine. If you bluff and are caught on it your credibility is shot and the suspect knows you have nothing. For instance if I say “We saw your car on video” and the suspect knows he borrowed his brother’s car that night he now knows you got nothing. Rather than moving him towards a confession it does the opposite. Or as Gfactor put it:

For that reason I would say that 99% of the time I tell the truth. Well for what the courts call intrinsic misrepresentations anyway. I do have to pretend at times to empathize with the suspect which as a SVU detective is not easy.

As Loach points out, a suspect person has a constitutional right to counsel. A cop who pretends to be a lawyer in order to get a confession is consciously subverting the suspect’s constitutional right. That’s why judges will react so strongly to it: it’s not that lawyers and judges have an inflated idea of the role of a lawyer; it’s that the constitution itself gives lawyers that special role.

As well, statements made to a lawyer are privileged, more so than any other statement. A cop who pretends to be a lawyer is relying on that special privilege to encourage a suspect to talk. If that were allowed in as evidence, it would badly damage the trust that a suspect should have that what they say to their lawyer is privileged.

TV tends to make people think that all detectives are rogue cops skirting the line between legal and illegal. Some do try to be clever and have used tactics that push the limits of what is constitutional. That is how we get case law. Mostly investigators will try to stay very clearly within the confines of the law and court rulings because there is nothing worse than seeing your hard work go down the drain because of a ruling in a suppression hearing.

And then having to explain it to the victim’s family…

Good question! Can Cops lie to us? Everybody Lies! Everybody dies! Both Facts! So far anyway’s! Both my Father and Uncle were CHP’s Thats California Highway Patrol! They would tell me stories all the time! And C.H.P.'s are only human! So they will lie! Normally speaking they have no need to! Cause they are the one’s asking the questions! But deception is a form of lying! and they would rig their cars with a switch to turn on head lamp off! so people would think? No way that’s a cop car! Theres a Head Lamp out! But I’ve known them both, Or Knew them! and they could spin some yarn! Means Lie! Often and then some! They would have pools to see who could write the most ticket’s or Pick up the most Dangerous felon? They made it fun! I’ll say this much I thank them both to this day! I’ve got myself out of at least 10 speeding ticket’s Just cause my Dad RIP and my Uncle were CHP’s! But CHP’s are a fine group of men! Out Of sheriff’s or any other Law enforcement official they are the nicest! My Opinion!

I just posted on Cops lying? One thing I did want to add! If a Police Officer ever asks you if you know why you were pulled over? And trust me nearly every time that will be the very first words out of their mouths! Always answer! No Sir! Remember everything you say can and WILL be used against you in a court of law! Don’t get smart ass with them! They are only doing their job! And trust me it’s not an easy job at all! I’ve done ride alongs! I’ve seen just about everything! But just like with anyone, you get caught in a lie and they are going to think all you say from then forward is a lie! Take Care Keep the road’s safe Don’t Drink and drive! God Bless You! Peace!


Your ! key is broken.

There is so much wrong with American interrogations and procedures, I would like it if we had a rule that any confession that is repudiated should simply not be brought up in court.

Too many people have given false confessions because after about a dozen hours of straight interrogation, they simply want it to stop. The Central Park Jogger case shows the major issue with confessions. Each of the five suspects were told (falsely) that the other boys in the case had confessed and claimed the suspect’s involvement. Most of the confessions were of the I was there, but the other were the real culprits variety. That is, each boy confessed being involved, but claimed to be a bystander. The DA used the confessions to prove all the boys were present at the time of the rape.

I don’t mind if the police lie to get evidence (that is, we have a statement someone saw you with the crowbar, so tell us where it is variety and not the we don’t need a warrant, so let us in variety). However, most of the time, the police lie to get a confession, and when that happens, I can’t trust the confession.

It’s a really shitty interview that stops with “I did it.” That is the starting point. Then you start asking for specifics. You think that detectives don’t understand that a simple “I did it” will be spun into a false confession by the defense? The key is to get specific information that corroborates the rest of the evidence.

Reminds me of the old Peanuts cartoon.

Dear? Pencil? Pal?
Today? I? had? a? good? day? at? school? We? learned? how? to? write? question? marks?