Re: What can the police lie about while conducting an interrogation?

The opposite question: I heard it somewhere that it is a crime to lie to the police. While it seems like a pretty bad idea, can you be prosecuted for making false statements during questioning?

By the Feds, yes. Never heard it happening in a state case.

I would think you could be charged with “obstruction of justice”. False statements to the police can also be used against you in court, to impugn your credibility.

Could be worse, the police could act like the Japanese police which interrogate suspects more than 10 hours a day for 23 days per charge behind closed doors and without a lawyer.

Just because you are a judge does not mean you have a lifetime appointment. In fact that is very rare.

I don’t have to read your book I do it for a living. I know what is and isn’t allowed in my state and all interviews have to be recorded. I clearly state that states can be more restrictive than the Supreme Court mandates. That was my entire point. You can’t make blanket statements about what the police are allowed to do because it is different depending on which state.

Again laws differ from state to state but it depends on the lie. For instance lying and saying you didn’t do it wouldn’t be a crime. Lying and giving information that someone else committed the crime could be. So is lying about your identity to avoid arrest.

Police can lie in an interview. They can mislead, too. In fact, they often mislead a suspect into believing they know more than they do. It’s good police work.

They can’t lie in the courtroom though. At least, not with immunity.
The only person allowed to lie in the courtroom is the DA (prosecutor). In fact, he’s expected to lie. By lie, I mean promote facts that he merely assumed may have happened, regardless of whether he has any rational reason to believe they actually happened. The DA is free to be as creative as he chooses with respect to interpreting the evidence.

You can in Colorado. There’s a law against “attempting to influence a public servant.” I think it’s an incredibly stupid law, because it’s so extremely broad. Any reasonable person would think that such a law would apply mainly to attempted bribery, but this one covers just about everything you could possibly imagine, and probably a bunch of stuff that you couldn’t imagine.

Here’s an example.

CRS 18-8-306:
“Any person who attempts to influence any public servant by means of deceit or by threat of violence or economic reprisal against any person or property, with the intent thereby to alter or affect the public servant’s decision, vote, opinion, or action concerning any matter which is to be considered or performed by him or the agency or body of which he is a member, commits a class 4 felony.”

The counsel for the defendant is also allowed to be creative with the facts, primarily in opening and summation. There are some limits, though, and either attorney has the right to object to outrageous assertions made by the opposition.
But my question might pertain to something like forfeiture. If I am stopped by an officer and he asks me if I have any cash in the car, am I going to tell him that I have four thousand dollars? Hell no, because I know he will just take it and make me jump hoops to get it back.

Not so. A prosecutor has an ethical obligation to see that justice is done, not to get a conviction by lying, shading the truth or interpreting the evidence only in ways that are helpful to his case.

“The United States Attorney [or any prosecutor] is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor - indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one.” Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78 (1935).

Do all prosecutors meet this high ethical standard? Alas, no.

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