Do Not Talk To The Police!

From The Hard Truth Blog by Brian K. Lutes, September 25, 2008

It is THE HARD TRUTH that In my 6 years of working as a law enforcement officer I never ceased to be amazed at how stupid the average criminal suspect was and how ignorant they were of their Constitutionally protected rights.

Naturally with a background in law enforcement I am drawn to television shows such as COPS and one of the absolute best real life police programs I have ever watched, The First 48 on the A&E network. The program airs on Tuesday & Thursday evenings.

The cameras go along with real Homicide Detectives as they investigate murders. There are no actors, no reenactments, no scripts. Just plenty of stupid, most often guilty, suspects.

The First 48 is so entitled because most murders are solved within the first 48 hours of their commission. If a murder is not solved within that time frame the chances that the culprit will be caught are cut in half. That is a fact.

One of the things that strikes me in watching the Detectives go about trying to solve the case is how often the police have absolutely no hard evidence against their suspects. By hard evidence I mean fingerprints, DNA, gun shot residue on hands, eyewitness identifications, etc.

Most often the police get “tips” from acquaintances of the victim that the victim had an argument with someone recently or they recently broke up with a boyfriend or some other small piece of information that the detectives use to go talk with the suspects.

Most often the Detectives ask the suspects to come to the police station to “talk” with them and answer a few simple questions. By the time the Detectives get to their “suspects” they have formed an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the person, but do not have enough evidence to arrest, let alone convict, them and need the “suspect” to talk (confess).

This is where the stupidity steps up front & center. Almost every time the “suspect” voluntarily shows up at the police station to “talk” with the police. Now keep in mind that the “suspect” knows they committed the crime. The police think the guy did it, but they don’t know for sure. But the “suspect” knows for sure they did it and yet they show up voluntarily. This is just plain stupid!

The detectives get their suspect in the office, offer them coffee or soda and make small talk to make the guy comfortable. They will then begin talking about the case and say what a shame it is that this crime happened and how the victim didn’t deserve what happened to them. Now remember that the police most often have no actual evidence against the guy at this point, but they tell him they do and that they know he committed the crime. They will then tell the suspect that they want to help him get this off his chest and “things will go easier on you if you confess”. All of which are lies and the part about things going easier on them may be illegal under the PA cases of Commonwealth v. Gibbs, 520 Pa. 151, 553 A.2d 409 (1989) & Commonwealth v. Purnell, 412 Pa. Super. 462, 603 A.2d 1028 (1992).

However, the police are legally allowed to lie about the evidence they have against a suspect in their efforts to get a suspect to confess according to a ruling by the US Supreme Court in the case of Oregon v. Mathiason,  429 U.S. 492, 97 S. Ct. 711 (1977) and lie they will.

Most often the suspect will begin crying and that is when the Detective will move closer to the suspect and tell them “I know this is hard” and put his hand on the suspects shoulder so it seems that he cares.

Now, this is the very important part because the suspect is not under arrest at this point and the Detective has NOT ASKED HIM ANY QUESTIONS DESIGNED TO ILLICIT AN INCRIMINATING RESPONSE. Therefore the police do not have to tell the suspect that he has a right to remain silent, does not have to talk to them, has the right to an attorney as laid out in the case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602 (1966) and in fact can get up and walk out of the police station.

But, does the idiot “suspect” ask the Detective if he is under arrest? Does he ask for a lawyer? NO! The idiot spills his guts and admits to everything because he believed the Detective when he said he had evidence against him. The idiot “suspect” would never have been tricked if he had not talked to the police, which he did not have to do.

My point with this is: Our freedoms as Americans are protected to a tremendous degree thanks to our Founding Fathers writing our Constitutions with a healthy fear of an overbearing government that did not recognize some of the rights we enjoy such as the right against self incrimination (5th Amd .of the US Constitution & Article 1, Section 9 of the PA Constitution), the right against unreasonable search & seizure (4th Amd. of the US Constitution & Article 1, Section 8 of the PA Constitution), and many others. And, as a result we do not have to talk to the police so DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE! Especially if you committed the crime.

Now, please understand that I have no desire to see criminals, especially murderers, go free in any way. But it pains me greatly to see my fellow Americans, good, bad , or ugly, totally ignorant of the protections and rights that our Founding Fathers handed down to us and thousands of our soldiers have died for.

There is a reason it is very hard for our law enforcement agencies to deprive us of our freedoms and hard earned money. That reason is because we are a free people blessed by God to live in a Constitutional Republic where our government can exercise only the very few and well defined powers that we the people have delegated to it. This cannot continue if we are ignorant of our rights and too stupid to know that we do not have to talk to the police.

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