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There are now 22 comments... what are your thoughts?
  1. pingo1387 says

    So . . . if you’re not in custody, anything you say (whether to the cops or not) is presumed to be of free will. When in custody, anything you say is presumed to be a compelled statement. But when in custody and having been read your rights, your statements are once again presumed to be of free will. Is that right?

  2. Librarian says

    That’s how I’ve understood it, and that seems to be in line with what Nathan said on the previous page about it. (Presently the last comment made there.)

  3. David S. says

    I don’t understand. Maybe we’ll get into this latter, but I recall a case where the FBI interrogated a man about his child porn habit at FBI headquarters, and the court ruled they didn’t have to read him Miranda because he started out at a job interview and in the suspect’s mind, he was still being interviewed, and the last question before he left the building (while the FBI was on the way to his house with a warrant) was “this won’t disqualify me for the job, right?”. And the suspect’s opinion that he was free to live and was not being detained was held as controlling, and no Miranda was necessary.

    • !?!?!, who discusses porn and/or illegal activities in a job interview? For a job at the FBI I’d be suspect they’d hold an illegal mp3 against me. For child porn I’d be worried about being arrested or lynched for bringing it up to the wrong person.

        • “Federal investigative agents will tell you that some cases are hard to solve. Some cases require years of effort—chasing down false leads and reigning in flighty witnesses. Others require painstaking scientific analysis, or weeks of poring over financial records for a hidden clue. And some cases are never solved at all—the right witness never comes forward, the right lead never pans out, or the right clue never turns up. This is not one of those cases. The defendant, Dominick Pelletier, admitted during a job interview with the FBI that he had pornographic pictures of children on his home computer.”


        • You do see “World’s Smartest Criminals” TV shows — except they’re called things like “Unsolved Crimes”.

          (Yes, some of the people in prison are Mensa members — just because the’re more intelligent than kther people doesn’t make them any less human or foolhardy.)

      • You should read “Spy the Lie,” a book written by FBI agents about identifying lying behavior, it will tell you why that man admitted to what he did so easily to the interviewer, and felt good about possibly getting the job in spite of it.

    • Actually, this fits exactly. The suspect had no reason to believe he was in custody, therefore there was clearly no police duress (as opposed to other kinds of duress), therefore it’s non-custodial and acceptable. QED.

  4. KW says

    Nathan, can you consider squeezing in a frame or two for (fake) legal notices (such as jury notices) via email?

  5. I understand that you say these things to help us protect our rights and not be arrested.

    That being said, I can’t help but shake the feeling you really don’t trust the cops 100%

    • He’s a defense lawyer. Of course he doesn’t.

      And to be honest, nobody should. I like to give police the benefit of the doubt, but even I don’t believe they’re always right.

      • I was a prosecutor for about 10 years before this, and my attitude is no different now than it was then. I’m just trying to give it to you straight — what the law really is, and how it really works.

        Police officers aren’t bad people. They’re mostly decent folks trying to do the right thing while doing a hard job, and making sure to get home in one piece. For the most part, they really try to make sure they arrest the right person.

        But they’re only human. Sometimes they make mistakes, and think the wrong guy did it. They stop looking for the right guy, because they think they’ve got him.

        And right or wrong, they are allowed to deceive and trick you into giving them evidence that will help convict you. They’re not neutral investigators — they’re adversarial. They’ve taken sides. And if you’re being interrogated, you’re on the other side. They’re not your buddy, they’re not trying to help you out, they’re not trying to figure things out — they’re trying to get you to convict yourself.

        That’s just the way it is.

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