References About Police Lying and Dishonesty:

Less familiar are a number of more refined approaches that are amply evident in law enforcement training manuals. None is more revealing nor more influential than the latest edition of a book Earl Warren drew on from his conclusions—Criminal Interrogation and Confessions by Fred Inbau and John Reid. And thanks to social psychologist Richard Ofshe of the University of California, Berkeley, and criminologist Leo, studies of actual police practice—including the eponymous Reid technique—also now exist. By analyzing hundreds of interrogations, videotape recordings, and transcripts, Ofshe and Leo have drawn aside the curtain that customarily obscures the interrogation room, exposing the often mesmerizing, sometimes disturbing theater that unfolds therein.

And make no mistake, it is theater. Those who developed the Reid Technique characterize their brand of interrogation as "the undoing of deception," on the assumption that all suspects employ subterfuge. But what the manual promotes is a more encompassing and, at times, insidious form of deceit: It teaches police to create a make-believe world of ever-increasing disorientation and discomfort from which the suspect's only hope of escape is to admit guilt. As befits a stage, the interrogator mounts a performance, and the greater the "histrionic skill," as another manual puts it, the more likely a confession. The initial step is always the same: misrepresenting the nature of questioning. As Inbau and Reid baldly advises, "Avoid creating the impression that you are an investigator seeking a confession or conviction." In other words, do precisely what the Warren Court had thought it was curtailing—convince suspects that they are not facing an adversary but instead someone who is looking out for their interests.


* Jurors determine guilt or innocence and often liability based on an officer's investigation and testimony.

The societal benefits of creating a public policy of police honesty are enormous. If all parties in the criminal justice system believe that police officers would not lie at the risk of losing their careers, issues of credibility regarding police will be greatly reduced, leading to more successful prosecutions, a reduced number of constitutional violations, and fewer liability cases and losses. In addition, officers are increasingly reluctant to cover for fellow officers who have committed acts of misconduct because of increased moral and ethical standards as well as the risk of discipline. If lying for a fellow officer will lead to almost certain termination, such a policy might in time eliminate the "code of silence" completely.

Washington State officers are now on notice that if they are found to be intentionally untruthful, they will be terminated as a matter of public policy. This case law will presumably be taught to all recruits and in-service officers, putting them on notice that if they lie they will not be police officers anywhere in the state.

Some might argue that lying is a natural part of law enforcement work. It is undeniable that officers lie while working undercover and very often while conducting investigations and interrogations, as well as when using trickery for legitimate law enforcement purposes. However, a clear line can be drawn between sanctioned lying and prohibited lying. That clear line could be that police officers found to have lied intentionally in an official document such as a police report, statement, or affidavit or in an official proceeding such as an internal affairs investigation, administrative hearing, or in court will be terminated as a matter of public policy, as such officers cannot work effectively and should therefore not be allowed to work within the law enforcement profession.

Until such public policy is adopted by the state in which an agency is located, the best way to encourage honesty is to have a clear code of conduct stating that officers who are untruthful will be subject to termination for a first offense and to implement this code standard in a consistent manner.


Unspoken Rules of the legal process:

Rule 1: Almost all criminal defendants are, in fact, guilty.

Rule 2: All criminal defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges understand and believe Rule1

Rule 3: It is easier to convict guilty defendants by violating the Constitution than by complying with the Constitution, and in some cases, it is impossible to convict guilty defendants without violating the Constitution.

Rule 4: Almost all police lie about whether they violated the Constitution in order to convict guilty defendants.

Rule 5: All prosecutors, judges and defense lawyers are aware of Rule 4.

Rule 6: Many prosecutors implicitly encourage police to lie about whether they violated the Constitution in order to convict guilty defendants.

Rule 7: All judges are aware of Rule 6.

Rule 8: Most trial judges pretend to believe police officers who they know are lying.

Rule 9: All appellate judges are aware of Rule 8, yet many pretend to believe the trial judges who pretend to believe the lying police officers.

Rule 10: Most judges disbelieve defendants who claim their Constitutional rights have been violated even if they are telling the truth.

Rule 11: Most judges and prosecutors would not knowingly convict a defendant who they believe to be innocent of the crime charged (or a closely related crime).

Rule 12: Rule 11 does not apply to members of organized crime, drug dealers, career criminals or potential informers.

Rule 13: Nobody really wants justice.

Written by an attorney in Winston-Salem, North Carolina