FQ about reality law enforcement TV shows

I watch “Lone Star Law” a lot. It follows game wardens around Texas. How much is real and how much is re-enacted or scripted, I have no idea. Whenever they issue a citation, they always say (paraphrased), “Sign here. This is not an admission of guilt but merely indicates that you’ll appear before the judge.” I understand why the wardens say it but I don’t understand why they show it every single time. Is there some legal requirement for the producers to show this over and over or is it just some strange editorial decision?

Editorial decision.

I don’t know anything in particular about how that show is done. Other than shows like Live PD that show raw footage, I think The First 48 is probably the most real of the police reality tv shows. I know for a fact that they do some re-enactments. My department was involved in a case in a minor way and they filmed a reenacted scene with us. The scene did not survive the editor.

Seems a lot like the Miranda warning when that case was decided by the Supreme Court. It got to be very repetitive, but the older cop shows always had the cop reading the rights. Now, I see shows with the suspect getting handcuffed and then shouting at the cops, “Don’t tell me that; I know my rights!” And the cops in the show stop reading it. Seems to me like a good way for the suspect to get the case kicked out of court. But I’m not a laywer.

The TV shows then and now show Miranda being used incorrectly to the point that (maybe most) people think the incorrect way is how it is supposed to be. I have had suspects laughing at me while being processed because they think they will get off because no one read them their rights. As a patrol officer I read someone their rights less than a handful of times. It just doesn’t come up much. When I was a detective it happened much more often. It certainly doesn’t have to be read every time handcuffs go on.

Yep. And I’ve brought this up on these boards ad nauseam. Law and Order really gets me. They’re fighting with the guy, huffing and puffing out of breath while still chanting Miranda. Please.

In Wisconsin we don’t have violators sign citations. We will, however, sometimes keep their driver license or ID in lieu of bond and issue a paper receipt that can also be used as a DL or ID.

Violators from out of state except states that border Wisconsin have to post bond as we are not a member of the national driver compact.

I’d assume that it also reduces the risk to producers of having some of the on-screen ‘talent’ later sue them for implying they were involved in some sort of criminal behaviour, if it clearly shows they are only being summonsed to answer a charge.

Not a fan of such shows but I’ve always wondered about what recourse someone had to later suing because they were only shown behaving / looking / talking like a dirt-bag but may have been found not guilty off-camera.

Don’t some of those shows get a release signed?

Also, if the conduct was done in public diminishes certain rights and privilege’s.

On “Lone Star Law”, at the end of the show they provide an update for each case. IE, the amount of the fine they paid, pending trial, never showed up for court l, etc.

Since some faces are blurred and some aren’t, they must get some releases signed. And then there’s always the re-enactments, which I’d guess makes up a small percentage of the cases but it’s hard to tell.

Not really. The “not an admission of guilt, sign here” line is to stop any argument up front from some guy saying that he ain’t signing shit because he didn’t do anything wrong.

Indeed. Often when I first meet a client, they tell me I will have an easy case because “the cop never read me my rights.” The reply is just as tiresome. Unless the officer questioned you in a custodial setting, he does not need to read you Miranda.

From my minor brush with the show I know that The First 48 only shows cases in which there is a conviction. Since they are embedded with big city homicide units they do a lot of filming that is wasted because no one ever gets charged.

And even then, it just means they wouldn’t be able to use the statements at trial. It doesn’t do anything about any other independent evidence they may have.

Moreover, many times the inculpatory statements fall under the problematic rubric of “spontaneous admission” - just because you are in custody, and just because a cop may not have issued a Miranda warning, does NOT mean that anything you might have blurted out (“I didn’t kill her man! I was just there to take some money! Theodore pulled the trigger!”*) is going to be suppressed.

*”And that’s why they are charging you with felony murder, and you don’t have a defense”