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Do Police Officers Deceive?

Police officers have difficult jobs that often involve investigating reported crimes. An important part of investigation involves interviewing people who may be suspects of a crime. 

During interviews of suspects, the officer may decide to misstate facts in order to provoke a reaction or admission from the person being interviewed. Maybe the officer will say there is physical evidence (like fingerprints, DNA or video) proving the suspect committed a crime when no such physical evidence exists. Or the officer may tell the suspect that there is an eyewitness to the crime when there is none.

The officer’s deception invokes an reaction in the suspect, which often leads to a confession. Or it compels the suspect to deny the allegations but admit something else. It is a powerful emotional ploy used to extract a confession, and it is a perfectly legal practice.

The legality of the practice of deception used to extract a confession does have limitations. An officer may not lie to you about your rights.  Nor may the officer tell you that your statement will not be used against you or promise to go easy on you if you spill the beans (only a prosecutor can make deals).  Or provide you with false facts that are so emotionally impactful that they lead to a coerced confession. 

If a police officer wants to ask you questions, it is likely because the officer is investigating reported illegal activity.  You should call an attorney right away to get advice about how to handle the situation and consider asserting your right to remain silent.


 

Lady Justice