Miranda: when familiarity does not equal understanding

One could argue that popular shows such as Cops, The Closer and the various permutations of Law & Order have increased the public’s familiarity with Miranda rights and police practices. Anyone who has watched just a few of those shows probably recognizes this scene: a police officer handcuffs a suspect while intoning, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you…”

A recent study by Rogers and colleagues examined how well pretrial defendants and college students actually understand Miranda rights and police practices.… Read More

Videotaping interrogations could have foreseeable complications

The integrity of our criminal justice system is closely linked to the methods used to elicit confessions. This is one reason the American Bar Association and others support the videotaping of interrogations. As I mentioned in my last review, taping can deter interrogators from using inappropriate or illegal methods.

Unfortunately, videotaping is not without complications. For example, research has consistently demonstrated that the angle of the camera influences a viewer’s perception of the voluntariness of the statement and the suspect’s guilt.  … Read More

The supreme court recognizes juveniles and adults are different. do police?

Interrogation techniques can help law enforcement officials discover crucial information about a case, sometimes even leading to confessions. Although the law offers some guidance regarding which methods can be used to obtain confessions, less is said about how to factor developmental maturity into interrogation approaches.

In this compelling study, Kostelnik and Reppucci divided law enforcement officials into two groups – those who were Reid Trained (RT—see below) and those who were not.… Read More