Articles Posted in Police Interrogation

People often ask what they should say to police officers who want to speak with them.    Other than simply confirming your identity, don’t talk with the police or any other law enforcement officers conducting an investigation without first speaking with a lawyer.

It may come as a shock, but the police can and will lie to you.  I don’t say that to disparage the police.  They certainly perform a vital function in our society and I’m personally grateful for most of what they do.

But, unlike in England and many other countries, the police in the United States are permitted to lie to you about many things when conducting an investigation.  I’ve had cases where the police have lied to my clients and then the clients unfortunately commented on, or tried to explain, the lie.  In those situations, many of those clients have made their case much more difficult to defend. In other cases, my clients made statements that seemed innocuous to them, but later proved to damage their case.  Under most circumstances it is therefore highly inadvisable to talk with the police for the following reasons.

In November 2017 I blogged on the topic of talking to the police.  In that blog, I explained it’s rarely advisable to speak with the police about your criminal case.  Regardless of whether you’ve yet been arrested, it’s usually in your best interest to remain silent and to not talk with the police until you’ve consulted with your lawyer.  Some recent arrests underscore why you shouldn’t talk with the police in connection with your sex crime case.

Seventeen men ranging in age from 19 to 77, including two Disney employees and a former middle school principal, were arrested in November 2019 in connection with a child pornography investigation in Polk County, Florida.  The operation, called “Guardians of Innocence IV: Fall Haul 2019,” was conducted by undercover detectives and a computer crimes team. Many of the arrests resulted from referrals from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

Among those arrested was Brett Kinney, aged 40.  Mr. Kinney was a guest experience manager at Disney World, where he had worked for the last 15 years.  Kinney was charged with 24 counts of possession of child pornography. Mr. Kinney told the officers he was addicted to child pornography and had been viewing it for 22 years.

While Mr. Kinney might have thought his comments to the police might help him, instead they most likely harmed his case.  His statements indicate he had a very long-term child pornography addiction which, due to its two decade duration, would be difficult to treat.  Because of his long-term pornography addiction, the prosecutor and/or the judge in Mr. Kinney’s case would be very concerned about his risk of reoffending after his arrest.  To manage the risk of Mr. Kinney reoffending, they would be inclined to seek a lengthier prison and probationary term than if he were at a lower risk of reoffending.   So, Mr. Kinney’s well-intended statement to police provided a basis for a longer prison term in his case. Continue reading

Has a detective either called or left their card on your door asking you to speak with them about an incident?  Or, has a detective asked if you’ll come down to the station “to clear things up”?  You’re not told you’ll be arrested.  The detective sounds reasonable and sincere.  The inevitable question to me is “should I speak with them?”  My answer almost always is a resounding “No.”  Let me explain why.

The police want to speak with you because they have evidence indicating to them you’ve committed a crime.   No matter how innocent you are, you most likely will not talk yourself out of being arrested.  Even when in doubt, the police often exhibit a “arrest now and sort it out later” mentality.  This explains why some people who are arrested subsequently have their cases dropped.

As you’ve heard repeatedly, you have a constitutional right to remain silent.  Don’t be afraid to exercise your rights.    In almost all circumstances, talking with the police will not only fail to prevent your arrest, but it will make your case worse.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve represented people who made my job much more difficult because they naively thought they’d just go in to explain what really happened and they’d then be free to leave.  Instead, they were arrested at the conclusion of the interview and, worse yet, they inadvertently strengthened the State’s case against them in the process. Continue reading

Contact Information