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Old 03-07-2008, 12:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Should cops be able to lie to suspects to get them to confess?

I think under enough duress, anyone can confess to anything. So no, I don't necessarily agree with these tactics. Does this not come under entrapment?
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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"Your buddy confessed, He said it was all your idea"

I don't see anything wrong with that.
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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"We have your mother in the next room. We're going to charge her with this if you don't confess."

That's a great way to get me to beat the shit out of a cop and then get charged with assaulting an officer.

So yeah, no.
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 03-08-2008, 03:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Why would you confess to something you didn't do unless the duress was physical pain? Then you'd be lying as well and to what purpose?
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thingstodo
Why would you confess to something you didn't do unless the duress was physical pain? Then you'd be lying as well and to what purpose?
I agree with Will. This is a can of worms that can't taste good. Once you start lying about the wrong stuff to the wrong sort of people, like the mentally incompetent, what justice will there be?
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It's certainly not entrapment. That's when the cops seduce or entice you to commit a crime, most notably a crime you would not have commited on your own had you not been enticed or seduced.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augi
Once you start lying about the wrong stuff to the wrong sort of people, like the mentally incompetent...
or republicans...
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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we should be asking whether or not the police force should be abolished entirely.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strange Famous
we should be asking whether or not the police force should be abolished entirely.
But a military government doesn't only lie, they often exact "justice" through execution without trial.

In other words, I don't think this is the question to be asking.


Oh, were you thinking something else could take its place?

* * * * *

Lying to a suspect should render any confession invalid due to the condition of it having been garnered under false pretenses.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:51 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I don't think its quite so cut and dry.

Should they be able to lie to get a legitimate confession out of someone? Yes. The conditions under which they admit to committing a crime doesn't detract from the crime they've committed.


Should they be able to lie and force a FALSE confession for the sake of finding someone to pass off the blame onto for their own benefit? Of course not. It's not even a confession at that point.
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Old 03-08-2008, 11:10 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChassisWelder
I don't think its quite so cut and dry.

Should they be able to lie to get a legitimate confession out of someone? Yes. The conditions under which they admit to committing a crime doesn't detract from the crime they've committed.


Should they be able to lie and force a FALSE confession for the sake of finding someone to pass off the blame onto for their own benefit? Of course not. It's not even a confession at that point.
This is the problem. Lying to get a confession places a condition on such a confession that could easily render it invalid in court. A confession in response to a falsehood I'm sure is easily reduced to meaningless by a good lawyer.

Lies can be used as threats: "You will get the death penalty if you don't confess to being an accomplice. You will be charged for the murder instead. Would you rather a prison term or death row?" What if this person is innocent and doesn't want to die? What if he's been interrogated to exhaustion? What if they're afraid? What if it were impossible to actually do this, charge the suspect for the murder? Lies can be coercive and should invalidate any information derived from them.
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Old 03-08-2008, 11:13 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I think it's not quite as simple as "lie" or "no lie." The cops ought to be able to tell some lies, in some ways, in some situations, but not other lies, in other ways, in other situations.

"We have your buddy in the next room, and he implicated you. Want to tell your side?" Seems OK to me.

"If you don't give us the information we want, we'll make sure they take your kids away." Not so much.

Also, tactics are another issue. Lying may or may not be okay. Refusing to let a suspect go to the bathroom? Not okay. Interrogating him in a hot, stuffy room without giving him water, for like eight or ten hours? Also not okay.

We don't want to strip the police of all their potential advantages in obtaining a confession, but we do want to limit the ways in which the process can be abused.

Also, I'm just throwing this out here, it might help if we had laws that made more sense. Threatening someone with jail is okay in theory, but could go terribly wrong with the kind of draconian sentencing guidelines that we have in the US. Also, cops way too often end up rolling right over some guy to get information, just because they can squeeze him by prosecuting him for some minor drug offense. We get rid of draconian sentencing and stupid drug laws, I'd be more inclined to give the cops free rein on jamming people up in order to get information.
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Old 03-09-2008, 08:36 AM   #14 (permalink)
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silence is golden. You have a 5th amendment right for a reason. Use it and keep your mouth shut. The 'justice' system isn't just anymore and hasn't been for decades.

a sidenote, since it is a violation of the law to lie to federal agents, giving them a false confession now places you in jeopardy of a crime no matter where you go from there.
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:35 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levite
"We have your buddy in the next room, and he implicated you. Want to tell your side?" Seems OK to me.
That is okay because the cops are not trying to coerce you into making an admission of guilt.

Quote:
"If you don't give us the information we want, we'll make sure they take your kids away." Not so much.
That is not okay because they are attempting to coerce you into making an admission of guilt. No different than slamming your head into the table repeatedly until you scream, "Okay, I did it!!!!"

My 'sea lawyer' knowledge is that a suspect isn't threatened with jail. He is advised of the charges he faces and the maximum jail sentence that can be imposed. That sentence could be reduced if he agrees to sing.

Of course, everything I've just said I learned from Law & Order, so I could be mistaken, but T's must be crossed and I's must be dotted, otherwise, a good defense lawyer will eat them alive.
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:16 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UKking
entrapment
Once again, Internet discussion proves that 99% of people have no idea of what entrapment is, and especially how it relates to the legal system.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strange Famous
we should be asking whether or not the police force should be abolished entirely.
No, we shouldn't.
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuasiMondo
My 'sea lawyer' knowledge is that a suspect isn't threatened with jail. He is advised of the charges he faces and the maximum jail sentence that can be imposed. That sentence could be reduced if he agrees to sing.
Cops cannot reduce charges, only the prosecutor can do that.
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:22 AM   #17 (permalink)
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In Canada this is governed by the R. v. Oickle Supreme Court decision:

Quote:
First, the court must consider whether the police made any threats or promises. Iacobucci states that whether there is a quid pro quo for the confession will usually determined whether it was voluntary. Second, the court must look for oppression. That is, where there is distasteful or inhumane conduct that would amount to an involuntary confession. Third, The court must consider whether the suspect has an operating mind. The suspect is sufficiently aware of what he or she is saying and who they are saying it to. Lastly, the court can consider the degree of police trickery. While trickery in general is allowed it cannot go so far as to "shock the community".
It seems like a sensible decision to me. Plenty is weighed when determining the admissibility of confessions.
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:47 AM   #18 (permalink)
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It's a cat and mouse game played out by law enforcement in every state. When it becomes readily apparent the suspect is lying it's pretty common to use lies to trip up the original lies. Is it right? I don't know. I have trouble with the whole ends justifies the means mentality and I've seen too many times where those in authority have abused that authority. But the bottom line is it's not normally illegal for the police to use misinformation and out and out lies in an attempt to get you to incriminate yourself.

I remember reading an article in a National Sheriffs Association magazine about a case where two officers put a piece of paper on a copy machine that read "you're lying" and ran two wires out to some type of hat. They put the hat on a guy and told him it was a lie detector test. Every time they asked him a question they hit the copy button and showed him the "test" results. Within a couple questions he was telling them what happened, how it happened and who helped him.

Guess if you're that dumb you deserve what you get.
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Old 03-09-2008, 01:17 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tully Mars
I remember reading an article in a National Sheriffs Association magazine about a case where two officers put a piece of paper on a copy machine that read "you're lying" and ran two wires out to some type of hat. They put the hat on a guy and told him it was a lie detector test. Every time they asked him a question they hit the copy button and showed him the "test" results. Within a couple questions he was telling them what happened, how it happened and who helped him.

Guess if you're that dumb you deserve what you get.
This was also done in The Wire... which was the best show on television until season 5
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Old 03-09-2008, 01:53 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace_O_Spades
This was also done in The Wire... which was the best show on television until season 5
Life and art? I'd guess the real event happened first. I read the story in the 80's. Not sure how long The Wire's been on the air.

The back page of this magazine used to have odd and funny stories.

One story detailed a deputy who'd been called out to a large family farm in the middle of, let's say Iowa since I can't remember the state. Anyway after driving many miles out to this isolated farm he talks to the farmer who explains someone broke into his barn. The deputy asks to see damage. He's taken out to a huge barn with a door that's been smashed in. It's half full of livestock and half equipment and a shop area. In the shop area there's a really large RV, top of the line RV. The RV has a section of garden hose sticking out of its side. Next to it there's a couple empty gas cans, about 15-20 empty beer cans and what appears to be vomit. The deputy asked if the gas can belongs to the farm? Nope. The beer? Yep.

He says "Well, no big mystery here. Someone ran out of gas and broke in here trying to find some, drank a few of your beers and got sick before they could finish stealing your gas."

"Close but not exactly" says the farmer.

"And why not?" replies the deputy.

"Because that hose isn't sticking out of the gas tank it's in the sewer vent access."
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Old 03-09-2008, 03:29 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tully Mars
Guess if you're that dumb you deserve what you get.
Yeah, like those assholes who have Down's sydrome. They all deserve to be locked up, right?
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Old 03-09-2008, 03:29 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
First, the court must consider whether the police made any threats or promises. Iacobucci states that whether there is a quid pro quo for the confession will usually determined whether it was voluntary. Second, the court must look for oppression. That is, where there is distasteful or inhumane conduct that would amount to an involuntary confession. Third, The court must consider whether the suspect has an operating mind. The suspect is sufficiently aware of what he or she is saying and who they are saying it to. Lastly, the court can consider the degree of police trickery. While trickery in general is allowed it cannot go so far as to "shock the community".
Unfortunately, this has about a 2% chance of actually working in the USA. The courts have almost consistently ruled in favor of government interests, or in the case of a defendant whose guilt is barely in question, say it serves the interests of justice to provide qualified immunity to any government agent that has broken a law to enforce the law.
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Old 03-09-2008, 03:46 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inBOIL
Yeah, like those assholes who have Down's sydrome. They all deserve to be locked up, right?
Yes, I believe that is what I said. All mentality ill and handicapped people are assholes and should be put in prison. When that task is complete I think we should hunt down all the cute puppies in the world and make a bunch of nice coats.
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Old 03-09-2008, 03:59 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tully Mars
Yes, I believe that is what I said. All mentality ill and handicapped people are assholes and should be put in prison. When that task is complete I think we should hunt down all the cute puppies in the world and make a bunch of nice coats.
You said (or implied) that someone who's stupid enough to be fooled by a lie that the average person would see through deserves to be imprisoned. Did I read that wrong?
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Old 03-09-2008, 04:09 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChassisWelder
I don\'t think its quite so cut and dry.

Should they be able to lie to get a legitimate confession out of someone? Yes. The conditions under which they admit to committing a crime doesn\'t detract from the crime they\'ve committed.


Should they be able to lie and force a FALSE confession for the sake of finding someone to pass off the blame onto for their own benefit? Of course not. It\'s not even a confession at that point.
How do you draw the line between a legitimate confession and a false confession? I\'m not sure if it would be that cut and dry...
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Old 03-09-2008, 04:15 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inBOIL
You said (or implied) that someone who's stupid enough to be fooled by a lie that the average person would see through deserves to be imprisoned. Did I read that wrong?
I implied something in jest regarding people who lack basic thought process skills. You added to that a comment equating assholes to people with Downs Syndrome. I figured as long as we were taking things to the next absurd level I'd add killing cute puppies to mix.
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Old 03-09-2008, 04:25 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tully Mars
I implied something in jest regarding people who lack basic thought process skills. You added to that a comment equating assholes to people with Downs Syndrome. I figured as long as we were taking things to the next absurd level I'd add killing cute puppies to mix.
I see. I didn't realize that you were joking.
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:58 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksuddeth
Unfortunately, this has about a 2% chance of actually working in the USA. The courts have almost consistently ruled in favor of government interests, or in the case of a defendant whose guilt is barely in question, say it serves the interests of justice to provide qualified immunity to any government agent that has broken a law to enforce the law.
2% eh? Is that directly from the agency of statistics pulled out of your ass? I kid, I kid...

In any case, as I see it one of the main differences and (in my opinion) fundamental flaws with your judicial system is that you elect your judges. When someone is afraid of being re-elected they have a nasty habit of politicizing the law and hence "justice" becomes what's en-vogue at the time, and usually individual rights suffer... That's an entire debate onto itself that probably requires its own thread.

And our appointment process is flawed and in need of overhauling... I'm under no delusions our system is perfect. Nevertheless, I don't believe you should be able to play politics with the Charter (our Constitution).
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:56 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Oh please. Of course they have to lie. How many witnesses lie? (I know nothing, I've seen nothing.) How many readily give up information?

If a family member was assaulted or missing or worse -- and there was a "person of interest" being questioned, you wouldn't advocate bending the truth to try to get information?

And if you're a parent of at least two kids close in age who tend to band together, sometimes you just might have to resort to special tactics to get at the truth.
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:36 AM   #30 (permalink)
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To those opposing lying to get the truth out of a suspect: what do you suggest in its place?
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:59 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasereth
To those opposing lying to get the truth out of a suspect: what do you suggest in its place?
I think there has to be a difference between outright lying and general police trickery. The ultimate goal would be tripping someone up who is offering contradictory testimony, and straight up quality interrogation with full video/sound monitoring so a judge can determine the admissibility of the confession.

However, as this is less than normal, given how two faced some offenders are, lying generally suffices to get people to confess if they think it will save their ass.

It sets a strange precedent though, that it is okay for our authority figures to lie and be dirty and underhanded in pursuit of justice. Raises integrity and role model issues. But really, is that anything new?
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