Taking a knee.

According to twitter today El Presidente is trying to pressure NFL owners to prevent their players from “taking a knee” during the anthem. NFL commissioner Roger Goddell has penned a letter to NFL owners telling them the players should stand.

I’m sure it’s just an odd coincidence those two things happened within hours of each other. Sometimes things fall out of the sky like that.

Just like the coincidences I see in court. Like, the one where all the clients I’ve ever represented who got pulled over for minor traffic offenses but ended up laying on the deck with tazer electrodes stuck in their skin were African American.

Just an odd coincidence as well. I’m sure that, in the tens of thousands of cases I’ve touched, if a white guy ever stayed on the cell phone after Continue reading “Taking a knee.”

A Quick Guide to Some of the Rights of “Those People” (AKA All of Us) for Newspaper Commentors and Twitterers Who Have Only Heard About The Second Amendment.

Amendment 1:

If you want to worship a goat or tree or potato chip, you can. But the government can’t force you to worship a goat or tree or Dorito.

The government can’t tell you what you can say.

The #lamestream #fakenews media can write what it wants, and the President can’t stop them.

You can hang out with whichever of your friends you want- even if your mom hates them. You can even protest together.

Amendment 2:

Amendment 3:

Continue reading “A Quick Guide to Some of the Rights of “Those People” (AKA All of Us) for Newspaper Commentors and Twitterers Who Have Only Heard About The Second Amendment.”

5 Expert Tips For Talking To The Police, and A Bonus 6th That Will Blow Your Mind!

The police want to talk to you. Maybe they’ve called you. Maybe they’ve stopped by your house. Maybe they’ve even pulled you over and arrested you for DUI. What are you going to do?

Sounds like a tricky situation? Not if you take this splendid advice. Utilize these pro tips and never worry again.

Tip 1: Don’t talk to the police.

Sure, they’re being nice. They just want you to come down to the station “to clarify some things” or answer some questions to “make sure you’re o.k. to drive tonight.”  That’s all totally legit as they’d never lie to you, but the smart money says you should just shut up and not help them out (because if you talk, you will).

Tip 2: Don’t talk to the police.

They want your name and identification? Fine. Give it to them.  They want to know where you were last night or how many dead people are in your crawl space? Just a thought, but maybe you shouldn’t tell them.

I know it sounds simple, but they’re not just going to come out and ask why 41 kilos of crank are in your pants. Plus, they’re not going to believe you when you say they’re not your pants. So, maybe it’s not best to walk down the path to certain confession. Don’t start talking to them no matter what they tell you they want to know.

Tip 3:  Don’t talk to the police.

In case you missed the first two tips, here’s the fail-safe third one. Try it some time. Lawyer up, shut up.

You might want to start writing these down. It’s getting complicated.

Tip 4: Don’t talk to the police.

Have you ever walked into a place you’ve never been, in a city you’ve never seen and been struck with an eerie feeling of familiarity?  You know you’ve never been there, but it’s too familiar for you to have not experienced it before?  Some call that Déjà vu. I call that Tip 4. Why have you even read this far? Do you not get the point?

Tip 5: Don’t talk to the police.

If you can just go explain yourself you can talk them out of charging you with that murder rap, right? 5 minutes of your slick tongue and they’ll realize you didn’t kill him. Or if you did you did it in self defense.  There had to be a great reason. He’s not dead for no reason, right?

Let’s be honest, there are times when you might be able to talk yourself out of something. It’s happened.

Not to you, though. You don’t know what the police know. You don’t know what information they’re really after.  Unless you’ve dealt with the police often enough to become fearless around them, you’re out matched. Just don’t.

BONUS Tip 6: Hire a lawyer. Let them talk to the police.

You didn’t pay for 6 tips, but I’m going to give you one anyway.  That’s the kind of guy I am. I’m a giver.

It’s a two-part tip, too.

Part 1 of Tip 6: Just don’t talk to the damn police already.

Part 2 of Tip 6: If you’re determined to talk to the police, hire a lawyer to sort it all out for you.


If you enjoyed these tips, be on the lookout for my next post, “The 6 effective legal tips most often ignored (And the 6th tip is a two-part shocker)!”

Let’s Pretend The Truth Is Important (For Just A Minute, Anyway).

Kids who may be victims of abuse are put through something called a “victim sensitive interview.” Since children, in theory, don’t necessarily want to talk about being abused the entire interview process is a staged affair with few onlookers (that the child knows about, anyway) in a comfortable setting.  These interviews are (or should be) conducted by investigators with lots of training as conducting them wrong runs the potential double-hazard of either not getting enough information from the child, or getting suggested (ie. unreliable) information from the child.

We spend millions of dollars each year in an attempt to get objectively genuine information from children who may not know how or may not want to discuss what happened.We want the truth from those kids and we want it in a way that it can’t be questioned.

That makes sense.

There is no shortage of studies explaining both best techniques to produce the most reliable information as well as the techniques that produce garbage information. There are experts who have dedicated their careers to the study and even set up labs to test the suggestibility of interviewed subjects.

There’s a lot of time, money, and effort spent ensuring the truth comes out- after all, if the interviewer screws it up the consequence may be failing the most frail and vulnerable of people.

Potential abusers go through interviews, too. They’re not called “victim sensitive interviews” because they aren’t anything like the “victim sensitive” process. They’re called “interrogations.”

Since potential defendants, in theory, don’t necessarily want to talk about being abusers the entire interrogation is a staged affair.  It typically takes place in a spartan room devoid of comfort which may have a couple of investigators and who knows how many more watching over a video monitor.

These interviews are conducted by a trained investigator using a psychologically suggestive technique called the Reid Technique. Like the victim sensitive interview techniques, the Reid method has been studied and analyzed for years yielding no shortage of people who’ve acquiesced to the psychological games and confessed to crimes (even murder) that they factually did not commit.

While it can be reliable it also can be extremely unreliable- with the difference often not being in the training of the interrogator, but rather the interrogator’s preconceived belief of what the defendant should be saying.

If the risk of a poor child sensitive interview technique is an abuser going free, decades of exoneration have shown us that the risk of poor Reid Technique is caging up people that the police have already determined are guilty even when they aren’t.

Notwithstanding the number of both practical (ie. Numbers of “confessed” criminals being declared actually innocent in post-trial proceedings) and scholarly negative review of interrogations done with Reid, it’s still commonplace in interrogations throughout the country. You’d think that a system which so poorly distorts the truth might be jettisoned in favor of something more reliable but, sadly, the system is focused only on “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” (and not truth).

Both victim sensitive interviews and interrogations use well-researched methods to try and convince people who’d remain quiet to tell their deepest secrets to strangers.  The stark contrast in reliability between the two has less to do with the subject of the interaction than it does the beliefs and leading nature of person conducting the interview.  This is troubling.

What actually happened or what was actually in somebody’s mind should be more important than the beliefs of the interviewer, and it only makes sense that we should be constantly working on better and more objective ways to get at that information.

Of course, we would only do that if the truth really matters. Which, with respect to the criminally accused, it likely never will.

 

Before We Kill Dylann Roof Let’s At Least Pretend To Give Him A Fair Process.

I don’t want Dylann Roof to die. I know that if anybody in the country right now deserves to die, it’s probably Dylann Roof.

However, killing him is putting a seal-of-approval on the legal journey that led him to death row. From the police investigation, to the pretrial motions, trial and death sentencing hearing, we shouldn’t give ourselves the power to kill people if they haven’t had the benefit of an accurate and precise system at every step of the way. Continue reading “Before We Kill Dylann Roof Let’s At Least Pretend To Give Him A Fair Process.”