Watch This Video Before You Make The Biggest Mistake Of Your Life!

Police interrogations are accusatorial and confrontational. Police are not looking for the truth. Rather, they are designed to coerce you to make a confession, even if it is a false confession. The Innocence Legal Team has the experience and know-how to keep confessions from being admitted into evidence before the jury.  If the statement is the product of coercion, it is legally unreliable and cannot be used for any purpose in the case.

POLICE INTERROGATIONS

click to see the video

THE INNOCENCE LEGAL TEAM PRESENTS

POLICE INTERROGATIONS

I'm Dr. Richard Leo. I want to thank those at Psych law for inviting me to speak as part of their continuing education program for criminal law specialists. I'm an associate professor of criminology and psychology at the University of California at Irvine. I'm obtained by Ph D doctorate degree from the University of California, Berkeley. My doctoral thesis was a study of the techniques used by American police agencies in the interrogation of suspects.

In brief, I was allowed to attend 122 police interrogations at the Oakland Police Department in Northern California and witnessed another 60 interrogations by video tape in two other Bay Area police departments. I also attended five introductory and advanced interrogation training courses, including an advanced interrogation training course at the federal law enforcement training center in Glencoe, Georgia where all federal police, with the exception of the FBI are trained as well as the introductory and advanced interrogation training courses from the Chicago based training firm Reed and Associates. I have published numerous research articles, book chapters and books on police interrogation and confession. It was because of one of those articles that I was invited to attend the federal law enforcement training center.

My research has been found to be scientific in numerous state, federal and military courts. As of July, 2004 I have testified more than 100 times in 17 different states. On each occasion I have been required to establish the scientific foundation for my research. On two occasions I have testified for the California state attorney general's office for a case in which the defense was alleging that their client was innocent because three juveniles had confessed to the same crime. My role was to explain to the jury how police interrogation works and can lead to false confession from factually innocent individuals. I have given dozen of lectures on police interrogation and false confession to numerous professional organizations, including judges, prosecutors, police, psychologists and criminal defense attorneys. I have taught interrogation training courses to police investigators in Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

My research has been found to be scientific in numerous state, federal and military courts. As of July, 2004 I have testified more than 100 times in 17 different states. On each occasion I have been required to establish the scientific foundation for my research. On two occasions I have testified for the California state attorney general's office for a case in which the defense was alleging that their client was innocent because three juveniles had confessed to the same crime. My role was to explain to the jury how police interrogation works and can lead to false confession from factually innocent individuals. I have given dozen of lectures on police interrogation and false confession to numerous professional organizations, including judges, prosecutors, police, psychologists and criminal defense attorneys. I have taught interrogation training courses to police investigators in Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

someone else or by the police department to which they belong. The Reed method was not based upon scientific or systematic research, it was created to replace the third degree or the rubber hose in the basement of a police station when the courts put an end to the third degree in the early 1940's.

Now, the first thing to know about the Reed method is that there is a big difference between interviewing and interrogation. Interviewing is something police do to witnesses, victims and potential suspects. It involves asking friendly open ended questions in a non-accusatorial and non-confrontational manner. The purpose of an interview is to get the truth and as much information as can be helpful in figuring out the truth and investigative leads. The idea is ask questions in a manner that is not leading, suggestive or manipulative. The interviewee should feel at ease and should do most of the talking in an interview.

By contrast an interrogation is a very different activity. Police interrogate criminal suspects only when they presume the guilt of a suspect and the purpose of the interrogation is to get incriminating statements, an admission or a confession. It is not necessarily to get the truth. Remember, the idea is that police detectives already know the truth or the detective thinks he knows the truth, i.e. that the suspect is guilty and so the purpose of interrogation is to confirm what the interrogator believes.

As a result, the interrogation is accusatorial and confrontational. The detective is supposed to do most of the talking and the detective uses specialized interrogation techniques whose purpose is to manipulate a suspect's perception and includes leading and suggestive, sometimes even coercive questioning methods. The ultimate goal of an interrogation is to move the suspect from denial to confession. The Reed method is simple to understand. The main idea as put forward by the Reed school is that the interrogator needs to change the suspect's mind set by raising their anxiety and changing their perceptions about what will happen to them depending on whether they confess or not. The Reed method seeks to accomplish through a few primary interrogation techniques.

First, the interrogator seeks to isolate the suspect from the environment in which the suspect feels comfortable and from any social networks or outside support. So the interrogator takes the suspect to the interrogation room, which is typically in a remote room in the police station and sometimes lets him stew before questioning. The idea here is to isolate the suspect and eventually to show the suspect that he, the interrogator, dominates and controls the interaction.

Second, the interrogator accuses the suspect of committing the crime in a confident unwavering manner. As mentioned earlier, once the detective decides to interrogate, he has made up his mind that the suspect is guilty and the sole purpose of the interrogation is to get incriminating statements, an admission, and/or a confession. Not to entertain the suspect's alibi, denial or even

reconsider whether the suspect is innocent or guilty. As a result, the interrogator will not only repeat his accusations often, but he will also cut off the suspect's denials, the idea being that the less the suspect is able to verbalize his denials, the more likely he will eventually be able to break.

Third, the interrogator will attack the suspects alibis or denials as illogical, impossible, inconsistent and/or contradicted by case facts even if it is not and confront the suspect with real or fabricated evidence, a technique that is known as the "evidence ploy". The purpose of attacking the suspect's alibi or denial and confronting the suspect with real or fabricated evidence is to convince the suspect that he is caught. That there is no way to escape the fact that everyone will think he is guilty and no one will believe his alibis or denials. In short, is to convince the suspect that he has no choice but to cooperate with the interrogator.

Fourth, the interrogator in the Reed method confronts the suspect with what are called "themes". A theme is a psychological excuse or justification for why someone would have committed an act. So, for example, in a murder case the interrogator may suggest the theme of an accident or self defense. Slide 7.jpg That the suspect committed the crime accidentally or in self-defense to make the suspect feel that he is less blame worthy or culpable for the underlying act, i.e., the death of the victim and therefore make it easier for the suspect to admit to the killing. The technique of using a theme culminates in the use of a good theme and bad theme which in some ways is like the technique good cop/bad cop. The idea is to contrast the good theme, for example killing in self defense or as an accident Slide 8.jpg with the bad theme, for example, being a first degree premeditated cold blooded murder, to give the suspect the sense that there are only two choices in terms of how the crime will be defined and what will be the consequences to the suspect and that is in his best interest to take the good choice. Sometimes the good theme and bad theme even imply that if you accept the good theme you might have no culpability or minimal culpability. For example, the officer will state that all he needs to know is whether the defendant raped the woman or was it consensual sex. The officer will want to know if you molested the child intentionally or were you so drunk that you weren't aware of what you were doing and it was unintentional. The officer keeps repeating that if you chose the good theme we can understand. Everyone makes those kinds of mistake or accidents. The officer never offers the choice that the alleged event didn't occur. He keeps portraying the good thing as being in the suspect's best interest.

The Reed method of interrogation can lead individuals who are completely innocent slide 3.jpgto sometimes either come to doubt themselves and their memory and/or to make false statements, false admissions or false confessions. When an innocent individual comes to doubt their memory or make a false confession it is of course highly counter-intuitive. What can clearly see how this can happen if one understands the process of interrogation because the Reed method of interrogation if misused on an innocent suspect can lead the innocent suspect to perceive their

situation in a way that makes sense to question their memory or agree to a false account. How can this happen? It happens because the Reed method of interrogation is intended to cause a suspect to think they are caught, they are trapped and there is no way out of the interrogation. They will inevitably be arrested, prosecuted and convicted no matter what they say or do in the interrogation room. This is why the interrogator exudes confidence, repeats the accusation soften, cuts off or rejects any denials, attacks the suspect's alibi, sometimes relentlessly or explanations and confronts the suspect with real or false evidence. The idea is to convince the suspect that the case against him is air tight, objective and irreversible. No matter what the suspect says or does he is going to be arrested and prosecuted. Individuals who are naive or inexperienced with the police or who have no idea that police can lie and make up evidence as well as individuals low intelligence or high suggestibility may come to doubt their memories in the interrogation room especially in response to false evidence ploys because they may come to believe that despite the fact that they have no memory of committing the crime they must have done something because the police are unrelenting, attacking their explanations and alibis mercilessly and the police say they have all the objective evidence that everybody is going to believe, makes them look guilty. Slide 5.jpg

Common false evidence ploys include the police having the suspect's fingerprints or saying that they have the suspect's fingerprints, the suspect's DNA was found on the alleged victim or telling the suspect that his DNA was found on the alleged victim, telling a suspect that an eyewitness can identify him or her, telling the suspect that their alleged accomplice has blamed them to the police, or whatever else the police want to make up and insist falsely incriminates the suspect. The reason the Reed method can lead innocent suspects not only to doubt their memory, but also to make false statements or a false confession is because once a suspect is moved to the point of hopelessness as a result of the accusations, attacks on his alibi and explanations and the evidence ploys. He may come to perceive he really has very little choice in the matter. If the suspect believes the interrogator, whether or not he continues to deny committing the crime, he will perceive that he is trapped, caught and powerless that no matter that he is innocent he will get convicted. If a suspect believes this then the good choice and bad choice offered by the interrogator's use of themes may be persuasive. Given the fact that the suspect perceives he is caught and there is no way out even if he is innocent he may feel compelled to take the good choice making him appear less culpable in order to avoid the bad choice which would make him appear more culpable since he believes he is going to get convicted anyway and as the interrogator is either implying or explicitly suggesting the good choice will led to less punishment, a lower a charge and/or a lower sentence or possibly no charges at all, than the bad choice which will lead to more punishments, for example a higher charge and/or higher sentence. If the detective's use of the Reed method of interrogation is successful in moving someone to this mind set then it may make sense indeed the suspect may perceive it as in his self interest to make

a false admission or confession slide 6.jpg to avoid an inevitably higher charge or sentence even though he or she is completely innocent.

An innocent suspect can be led to say and possibly believe that it must have happened while he was asleep because he has no memory of it, it must have happened while he was blacked outdrunk because he has no memory of it or is led to believe or can be made to believe that if he just agrees that something accidentally happened it will be in his self interest. The Reed method of interrogation can be very psychologically coercive on both suspects that are guilty and suspects that are innocent.

The Innocence Legal Team
Criminal Defense Lawyers
Criminal Defense Attorneys
Criminal Defense Law firm