August 19, 2014

Ignition Interlock Do's and Don'ts - and Don'ts

Alice_05a-240 Wide.jpgImage by Sir John Tenniel ("Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (1865)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Since 2009, New York has required drivers convicted of driving while intoxicated to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in any vehicle they either own or operate. Per Section 1193(1)(b)(ii) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, the minimum period of this restriction will be 6 months, and it can be longer.

You'll have to submit an affidavit at sentencing. In this affidavit you'll either provide detailed information about any vehicle you own, or certify that you have no vehicle. The court will give you ten days from sentencing to get an IID installed in any applicable vehicle, but from the moment you're convicted you must have one in any vehicle you drive. For this reason it's recommended that you get one installed before sentencing.

There's another reason to get it installed early, if you decide that it's inevitable. You get credit for this period even if you haven't been sentenced yet. (Before you do it, however, be warned: the wording of the statute suggests that - once you get it installed - "the period of interlock restriction" has commenced, whether you've been sentenced or not.)

Complying with the interlock requirement costs money, of course, although financial assistance in is available for low-income drivers. A 'financial disclosure report' is available through New York's Division of Criminal Justice Services. Drivers requesting assistance should fill it out and submit it to the court prior to installation, if they're getting it installed early, and in any case prior to sentencing.

Once you have your IID installed, all you have to do is figure out how to live with it. And this may or may not be a problem for you, if our clients' experience is anything to go by. Some of them have had no issues at all. Others have found the devices a chronic headache.

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July 31, 2014

DUI/DWI In New York - Relicensing Litigation

Stop Castle 2.jpgImage: LeCours Chertok & Yates, LLP, (incorporating an image entitled "Amberly Castle" by Nathaniel Buck, Samuel Buck (British Museum) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

As we've noted before, New York's Department of Motor Vehicles has 'gotten tough' on drivers with a history of alcohol-related incidents. New rules were introduced as an 'emergency' measure in 2012, and drivers with three or more alcohol-related incidents on their driving records found their applications to be relicensed denied, in some cases permanently. Thanks to these rules, New York may be the toughest state in the union when it comes to relicensing after an alcohol-related conviction.

The new regulations were challenged, of course. Article 78 of New York's Civil Procedure Law and Rules provides a vehicle for testing the legality of administrative actions, and aggrieved (former) motorists have taken full advantage of it. At least five of these Article 78 petitions have made it through the system, from initial filing to (predictable) denial: Brown v. New York State Dept. of Motor Vehicles in Nassau County; Gaebel v. New York State Dept. of Motor Vehicles in Sullivan County; Carney v. New York State Dept. of Motor Vehicles, in Rensselaer County; and Acevedo v. New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and Allen v. NYS Dept of Motor Vehicles, both filed in Albany County.

Petitioners have raised many objections to the new regime, some of them reflecting the petitioners' desperate circumstances. Messrs. Gaebel and Carney quite frankly asserted - among other things - their 'hardship'; Mr. Carney, for instance, claimed in Rensselaer County Supreme Court that the "permanent loss of his license is disproportionate to the offense" for which he lost it, and that judicial relief was "necessary to ameliorate the harsh imposition of this sanction by DMV." He also argued that DMV's rules violated the equal protection clause of the US Constitution because a lifetime look back necessarily discriminated against older drivers; they'd had more time to mess up. Mr. Gaebel pointed out that a

back injury requires him to attend doctors' appointments and there is no public transportation to permit him to get to these appointments on his own. At present, the Petitioner indicates that he is not even eligible to get a conditional license, which would permit him to drive to his medical appointments.

Acevedo v. New York State Dept. of Motor Vehicles is representative of these cases. (You can link to the decision, above.) Mr. Acevedo's petition was filed in the Supreme Court, Albany County, in April of 2013. A decision was handed down in February of this year.

The petitioner, as summarized by the court on page 3 of its (printed) decision, had attacked on many fronts:

[He] maintains that the regulations conflict with the provisions of VTL §§ 510, 1193, and 1198 (among others). He asserts that they violate the Separation of Powers doctrine; and that the underlying enabling legislation is unconstitutional, as an overly broad delegation of legislative authority. In the alternative, he contends that the Commissioner [of Motor Vehicles] exceeded her authority as delegated by the legislature. The petitioner also alleges that the new regulations violate his right to due process; that they constitute an illegal Ex Post Facto law; that they are arbitrary and capricious; and that [DMV's] delay in processing petitioner's application was illegal and improper.

Unfortunately, the court's response to these arguments amounts to a very articulate, carefully reasoned - and 40-page-long - bronx cheer. The regulations are not an 'illegal Ex Post Facto law', per the court. Nor do they violate drivers' right to due process. DMV hasn't exceeded its authority as delegated by the legislature - and the legislature did, indeed, have the power to delegate that authority, etc.

This is not necessarily the final word, in any of these cases: there are two levels of appellate court in New York that can - and probably will - consider these issues. There's also, potentially, a federal court challenge.

But for now, the regulations stand, and for drivers subject to these regulations, the results can be tragic. To be fair, though, the rules only apply to drivers with three or more lifetime alcohol-related incidents, and that means you do have to meet DMV more than half way. You get not one, but two, bites at the apple before the apple bites you back.

July 13, 2014

Intrusions - Warranted and Unwarranted - to Order

You might be asking, if you saw the news segment above, "did I really hear that?" Could the Commonwealth of Virginia really have planned to take pictures of a minor's engorged member (having first chemically induced the engorgement)? You might also ask, if you're a New Yorker, "could anything like that happen here?"

As for the Virginia incident, the situation does seem a little murky, but the lawyer and the guardian ad litem for the minor clearly say it happened. The Washington Post has said so, as well. The Manassas (Virginia) City Police Department, the agency investigating the minor's alleged crime (which supposedly involved 'sexting'), did issue a press release denying the story. But after the uproar caused by the original story, the Washington Post published a Follow-up article quoting a police official as saying "We are not going to pursue it" and further stating that the police department intended to let the warrant expire. That surely would indicate that the original story was true.

It's not surprising that the police would ultimately get cold feet in this affair, quite apart from the unpleasant publicity. Given that the accused in the Virginia case is only 17, the creation of the proposed photo - as noted by the guardian ad litem in the first Post piece - would actually appear to constitute the production of child pornography. For instance, under Virginia law 'child pornography' is defined as "sexually explicit visual material which utilizes or has as a subject an identifiable minor." 'Sexually explicit visual material', in turn, includes any "visual representation which depicts . . . sexual excitement" in a minor. Add the fact that the whole point of the police exercise proposed here was to 'depict sexual excitement' in the minor defendant, et voilà...

However, it won't astonish anyone familiar with Virginia that the police set out to make the picture in the first place. The term 'trans-vaginal ultrasound' is still closely associated with the Commonwealth; and Just last year, Virginia made a desperate attempt - ultimately unsuccessful - to revive its law forbidding 'crimes against nature'. (A 'crime against nature' would include most sex acts between two persons that cannot lead to pregnancy).

There's no real reason why the same scenario couldn't arise in New York, though. In fact, something somewhat similar has already happened here, as we'll discuss below.

Continue reading "Intrusions - Warranted and Unwarranted - to Order" »

July 6, 2014

The Cop and the King of the Cannibal Isles

Cakobau.jpgCakobau (1815 - 1883). Photo by Francis H. Dufty (1846-1910) (National Library of Australia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


"Woman pudding and baby sauce, Little boy pie for second course, He'd swallow them all without any remorse, The King of the Cannibal Islands."

Anon. 19th Century Song


People respond to the utterly alien in various ways. Natives of the south seas, for instance - and their supposed eating habits - have been a stock cartoon theme for generations. 'The King of the Cannibal Islands' is a 19th century song - decidedly 'un-P.C' - that was taught to New York school children as recently as the 1960s. It's a very silly piece, as you'll note from the lyrics above, and from more than one rowdy rendition on YouTube.

What was the source of all this material? In the 18th and 19th centuries Europeans and North Americans came in contact with peoples, including certain Pacific Islanders, who practiced cannibalism: peoples who, for ritual and/or terroristic purposes, sometimes killed and ate other human beings. That children's song, for instance, might or might not refer (obliquely, per a Popular Science article from 1895) to an actual Fijian paramount chief named 'Thakombau' or, more properly, Seru Epenisa Cakobau. Cakobau converted to christianity and worked to end cannibalism in Fiji, and so naturally became known as the 'cannibal king'.

Clearly, people can find a real cannibal funny, if the cannibal lives far enough away, or is long dead. But the key to feeling comfortable with someone - if that someone might feel comfortable with the idea of eating you - is distance. We don't necessarily laugh at the utterly alien when we find it next door - and even a theoretical cannibal 'creeps us right out', if he might be cruising our streets.

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June 26, 2014

9-Zip! Cell Phone Searches Require Warrants (Unless...)

Cell Phone and Hand.jpegImage: LeCours Chertok & Yates, LLP
The US Supreme Court has decided that the search of a cell phone - as a general rule - can't be conducted without a warrant. The decision, Riley v. California, has had a lot of media attention, including coverage in the New York Times and the Guardian. The Guardian article provides a link to the opinion, but for convenience, we include a direct link to it here.

All nine justices concurred in the ruling, and eight of them joined in the opinion by Chief Justice Roberts. 'The Supreme Court Justices Have Cellphones, Too', as the Times pointed out this morning (this was the title of an op-ed piece by commentator Linda Greenhouse).

Concluding that "privacy comes at a cost," the Court concedes at page 25 of the opinion that "our decision today will have an impact on the ability of law enforcement to combat crime." Cell phones are excellent ponds to fish in, after all. Officers may find evidence that will help them convict you of the offense for which you've been arrested. They may find evidence of other offenses they might not otherwise have known about.

And, of course, they may also find things that will just humiliate you if they're made public. Officers may or may not have been exploiting this power for private ends routinely. But the potential is always there, as shown by a case reported in the Houston Chronicle some years ago. While searching a young woman's cell phone 'incident to arrest', an officer found that she had some racy photos of herself stored there. The officer downloaded them, and showed them to his buddies and co-workers.

You can see why, as was evident in another Times piece from April, there was a lot of nervousness as to how Riley would come out.

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June 18, 2014

History of Crime

Hogarth.jpegImage: William Hogarth [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

When you have a minute, take a look at "Computing Crime and Punishment" by Sandra Blakeslee in the New York Times. (You'll find it well worth your while, if only for the 1871 mugshot that accompanies the piece.) The article is a discussion of research made possible by the online publication of The proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913. Named for the street it's located on ('Old Bailey') the Old Bailey is the central criminal court in London. The courthouse was built in 1673 and its staff has been keeping meticulous records ever since.

Computational analysis of those records, according to Ms. Blakeslee, indicates a change over time in the way the British criminal justice system has treated different sorts of crime. The article is especially concerned with changing attitudes in the 18th and 19th centuries toward violence. At the end of the 17th century, apparently, violence - whether perpetrated by members of the public or by the state - was considered normal, everyday, and just-to-be-expected. By the 19th century, there was a consensus that violence was most emphatically not 'normal'. In the 1840s, the Proceedings tell us, "only those found guilty of the most serious offences (murder, wounding, violent theft, arson, sodomy) were sentenced to death (though only murderers were actually executed)..."

To illustrate this shift toward humanity and away from brutality - and particularly away from the brutal punishment of property crime with the same severity as violent crime, Ms. Blakeslee mentions the case of John Ward, put to death in 1765 for stealing a watch and a hat; she points out that, not long afterward, a woman who slowly tortured a servant to death got the same punishment. The case does, in one sense, support her contention. We can guess that had the prosecution taken place in 1840 instead of 1765, Mr. Ward would have survived his brush with the law.

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June 9, 2014

Self Reporting and New York Licenses - The Devil's in the Details

Bosch TwoMonsters.jpgImage: Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450-1516) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It's easy to get confused when it comes to your criminal or driving history (and those elements of either that might count as both). Life is long, but memory isn't.

As of March of this year, prosecutors no longer have to rely on their own memories or guess about the 'rest of the story', when it comes to your driving history. According to an announcement by the Governor, prosecutors now have access to an abstract of your driving record that includes not just the moving violations you have been convicted of, but everything you have been accused of in the last ten years, as well.

You and your attorney, however, are still pretty much on your own. The abstract DMV prints out for you, will likely list only violations - and then only those that occurred within the last four to five years (except for alcohol-related convictions, which stay on for ten).

Relying strictly on your memory can have bad consequences. One case that recently came to our attention involved a driver relocating from another state, who apparently 'over-reported' on a license application. The application was denied, because of New York's current 'three strikes' policy (see our entry of October 1, 2012). The driver had claimed to have three out-of-state alcohol-related convictions.

It only occurred to the driver after the denial that it might be a good idea to get a driving history from the prior state. A review of that record, however, revealed no mention of a third conviction. This jogged the driver's memory: one of the three charges had actually been dismissed.

What do you do when you've made a mistake of this kind? Well, you may be able to submit a new 'Driver History Disclosure' to DMV. But remember that it's essential to be truthful on these applications. If you 'under-report' (or 'over-correct' when you find you've made a mistake), you can find yourself - as a representative of DMV pointed out - with a whole new level of problem.

So, if you're relocating from another state, it's a good idea to do a search of the National Driver Register before you submit your license application to make sure you haven't forgotten anything. The National Driver Registry (NDR) is administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington, DC. According to its web page,

NDR is a computerized database of information about drivers who have had their licenses revoked or suspended, or who have been convicted of serious traffic violations such as driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. State motor vehicle agencies provide NDR with the names of individuals who have lost their privileges or who have been convicted of a serious traffic violation.

New York's Department of Motor Vehicles has prepared an Individual's Request for National Driver Register file Search. For a $10 fee DMV will verify your signature and submit the request for you. Or you can sign the request in the presence of a notary public and submit it to the National Driver Register yourself. If you submit it without going through DMV, there is no fee.

April 19, 2014

Driving in New York - An Obstructed View

In a departure, we have made this - our 50th entry - a video entry. The topic is Section 375(30) of New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law. This statute forbids operating a vehicle with an 'obstructed view'.

We referred to some judicial opinions in the video, without citing them by name. We're providing links to some of those opinions below.

People v. Lew was a decision declaring Section 375(30) unconstitutional. (As noted in the video, however, you shouldn't count on any court following that opinion).

People v. O'Hare was decided by the Appellate Division, Second Department, in 2010. The court ruled that an air freshener, hanging at dashboard level, having been suspended from the rear-view mirror by a string one-tenth of an inch thick, did not violate Section 375(30).

We were unable to find a free link to Commonwealth v. Penn, the Virginia decision that described an air freshener hanging from a rear-view mirror as a 'stop me if you want to' sign. The citation for the opinion, if you want to look it up in a law library, is 61 Va. Cir. 25 (Circuit Court, City of Winchester 2003).

State v. Barrow found that a pair of miniature boxing gloves, measuring 3 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches, would 'materially' obstruct a driver's view.

The principle that multiple air fresheners hanging from the rear-view mirror warrants a ticket - and enhanced scrutiny - comes from a 2001 Ontario County Court opinion, People v. Glover. We must regretfully report that we are unable to provide a link to this decision, either. The only cite we can provide is 2001 NY Slip Op. 40089(U) (for 'unreported').

We hope you found (or find) the video enjoyable and informative.

March 30, 2014

Snowmobiling while Intoxicated (and Overly Free-Wheeling Four-Wheeling), Etc.

Snowmobile.jpgIn our entry of March 13, 2014, we discussed 'boating while intoxicated' and/or the consequences of whetting your whistle on the water. We look this week at the sorts of trouble you can get into - without getting your feet wet - all in the name of having a good time.

The law clearly tries to cut the recreational vehicle user some slack. As we pointed out last time, convictions for 'boating while intoxicated' or for 'snowmobiling while intoxicated' aren't currently reported to DMV. And, as we'll see below, you can get away with some things on your own property that would be offenses anywhere else. Things have tightened up a bit over the last ten years, though.

Once upon a time, you couldn't commit vehicular assault or vehicular homicide with a boat or a snowmobile. We're linking here to People v. Davis, an appellate decision from 1991. The court there considered (and dismissed) the argument that a snowmobiler might be convicted of vehicular homicide.

Decisions like Davis were implicitly overruled by 'VaSean's Law', which was passed in 2005, and made changes to the laws concerning vehicular assault and homicide (see, for instance, Penal Law Sections 120.03 and 125.12). These statutes now explicitly apply to boats, snowmobiles, and all-terrain vehicles.

Like so many things, of course, one of the keys to committing these crimes is alcohol. So we thought we'd examine some of the mischief you can do with an All-Terrain Vehicle, after we say good bye to winter with a brief glance at snowmobiling while intoxicated.

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March 13, 2014

Boating While Intoxicated (and Other Recreational Crimes)

Homer_Bermuda.jpeg

A recent story in the Utica Observer Dispatch reminds us that it isn't always winter in upstate New York. Spring will come, the piece suggests - a time when snowmobilers will regretfully put away their noisy machines, and boaters will again take to the mountain waters.

It also reminds us that alcohol and just about any recreational activity don't mix.

The story concerns Janelle Nixon, who was accused last summer of ramming another boat with her own, while drunk, and injuring two people. She was not accused of harming anyone intentionally. "Very simply," said her attorney, who was quoted in the article, "she had never driven a boat before, was unsure where the controls were and what they actually did." There was also evidence, apparently, that she had been drinking.

Ms. Nixon ultimately pled guilty in Herkimer County Court to assault in the third degree and 'boating while intoxicated'; these are misdemeanors. She had faced even more serious charges, according to an earlier article in the Adirondack Express.

Those original charges had included operating a vessel while intoxicated; operating a vessel with .08 percent or more of 1 percent of alcohol; and two counts of vehicular assault in the second degree. The alcohol-related charges are both misdemeanors, but vehicular assault 2nd is an E felony; the maximum sentence is 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.

'Operation of a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs', more commonly known as 'boating while intoxicated', is defined in Section 49-a of New York's Navigation Law, and its language closely tracks that of the state's DWI/DUI statute, Section 1192 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law. Operating a vessel when you're impaired by alcohol to any extent is a violation. This parallels subsection (a) of Section 1192. And, as in subsections (2), (3) and (4) of 1192, operating a vessel with .08 percent or more of 1 percent of alcohol and/or 'in an intoxicated condition' and/or 'impaired by the use of a drug' is a misdemeanor, if it's a first offense. A second conviction of any of these - initially misdemeanor - offenses within 10 years is a felony.

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February 27, 2014

More 'Polite Coercion' - Confessions, Lies, and Videotape in New York

Goya Witches.jpegIn our entry of January 15th, we discussed two pending Court of Appeals cases testing just how far law enforcement can go, when it comes to misrepresentation, mendacity, and prevarication.

Both cases, People v. Thomas and People v. Aveni, were decided last week, and both came down in favor of the defendant, although they'd arrived at the Court of Appeals in very different postures.

Thomas reversed a decision by the Appellate Division, Third Department. That decision, in turn, upheld a ruling by the Rensselaer County Court which denied the defendant's motion to suppress a videotaped confession.

In People v. Aveni, on the other hand, the Court of Appeals dismissed the prosecution's appeal from an Appellate Division (Second Department) decision reversing a trial court ruling that denied suppression. (Aveni also touches, incidentally, on the issue discussed in our February 6th entry; Mr. Aveni had been convicted of criminally negligent homicide for injecting the decedent, allegedly, with the drugs that had killed her.)

In both cases, the defendant was essentially told that his confession could save the decedent's life. In neither case was that true.

Continue reading "More 'Polite Coercion' - Confessions, Lies, and Videotape in New York" »

February 14, 2014

Urban Legends and Appearance Tickets in New York

Daumier Attrib 2.jpeg It's a snow day here in upstate New York. The schools are all closed, and throughout the Capital Region, children are at home watching TV, while their parents shovel snow and try to coax them outside.

Now, adults tend to think that snow storms are natural phenomena and that school closures are a natural consequence of heavy snow. But fourth graders know better. A nine-and-a-half year old we know has explained how she herself brings about snow days, and it's a simple, three step process. (1) Leave four spoons in the freezer overnight; (2) flush three ice cubes down the toilet; and (3) sleep with your pajamas inside out, and backwards.

Not that adults are immune to magical thinking. "The judge has got to dismiss this ticket," one man assured us. "The trooper wasn't wearing his hat when he gave it to me. If the trooper isn't wearing his hat, the ticket's no good, right?" This shows a touching and naive faith in human nature, but it's a myth.

There is actually some mystery surrounding traffic tickets, as we'll get into below. For one thing, where do troopers get the authority - with or without the stetson - to issue them for traffic violations they didn't witness themselves? But while the Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) requires that a ticket be issued "by a police officer or other public servant authorized by law to issue same," it says nothing about hats.

Continue reading "Urban Legends and Appearance Tickets in New York" »

February 6, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman and New York Law: When is an overdose Homicide?

Arrest Sourced.jpegThere has been a lot of coverage and commentary concerning the recent death - apparently by drug overdose - of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the noted actor. One article that raised an interesting issue was published a few days ago in the Guardian. It concerns the attempt to find out exactly who had provided the drugs that killed Hoffman. Per the article:


The New York police department's intensive effort to determine the source of the drugs in an apparent accidental overdose is unusual. Courts have found in past rulings that under state law drug dealers can't be held liable for a customer's death.

Some quick research suggests that this is more or less correct. A 1972 decision immediately turns up - People v. Pinckney - an appellate division ruling later affirmed by the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals. The court in Pinckney reviewed New York's overall statutory scheme for dealing with drug offenses. Noting, first, that it was comprehensive and, second, that it didn't include enhanced penalties for drug sales just because the use of the drug resulted in the death of the customer, the court concluded that New York's Penal Law does "not make the act of selling a dangerous drug, which, when injected . . . , causes the death of the user, a homicide."

But it's a bit more complicated than that, as we'll get into below.

Continue reading "Philip Seymour Hoffman and New York Law: When is an overdose Homicide?" »

January 31, 2014

The Scourge of Unlicensed Back Rubs in New York

Adam and Eve Attrib.jpegAn article in the Saratoga Springs Saratogian caught our eye recently, for a couple of reasons. One was an apparent irony in the charges, which we'll get into below. The other, admittedly, was nosiness: the story involves 'the Happy Angel Spa' - a business located on our very street - and charges that arose, according to police, because 'the Happy Angel Spa' "was not just a massage parlor."

We presume that the defendants here are innocent, but what might 'not just a massage parlor' mean? Well, one of the defendants has been accused of Prostitution. That term can cover a lot of ground: it includes any form of sexual conduct (or an offer to engage in sexual conduct) in exchange for a fee. 'Sexual conduct', defined here in the context of sex crimes, would, in turn, include just about anything you could imagine.

Prostitution is a class B misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is three months in the county jail or a year's probation and/or a fine. ('Patronizing a prostitute', although it's not charged here, would actually be more serious; it's a class A misdemeanor. That can cost a year in jail, or three years' probation.)

Prostitution is not the most serious charge faced by the 'Happy Angel' defendants, though. It's one thing to perform an act - like exchanging money for sex - that's completely illegal. It's quite another - and far more serious, in this case - to do something that's completely legal but that you, personally, aren't authorized to do. And that's where the irony comes in.

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January 15, 2014

Police Interrogations and Polite Coercion

Officers 480 x 580.jpg

Photo Credit: Tillman B. Johnson, Sr. (Texarkana Gazette) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

You sit in a dimly-lit interrogation room across from a police investigator. He is interviewing you in connection to a serious crime. You finish telling your side of the story and lean back in your chair. With an expression of intense concentration the officer asks you (for the second/umpteenth time?) if you committed the crime. You say, of course, that you did not do it. Out of the blue the officer, stumbling over his words, asks you a bizarre non sequitur: "And, uh--I--you know, you, you're giving me, uh, what do you think should happen to somebody like this?"

How are you supposed to respond to that question? What does he even mean? What is happening here? You have just witnessed the clumsy application of a police interrogation technique meant to make you exhibit some sort of sign of anxiety. While you respond to the officer's questions he is on the lookout for you incriminating yourself by shifting in your uncomfortable seat, or by flicking some lint off your sleeve. A single inadvertent motion and that investigator may have now pegged you as a liar--and quite possibly guilty of whatever crime is being investigated.

Where this technique came from has been in the news, lately, along with such questions as whether it's good for anything but getting false confessions, and the proper role - if any - of lying and cheating in the criminal justice system. We'll get into that below.

Continue reading "Police Interrogations and Polite Coercion" »