I recently reviewed You Have The Right To Remain Innocent by Professor James Duane. The book is only 119 pages. Duane posted a highly viewed lecture on YouTube titled “Don’t Talk to Police”. In this short book, Duane articulately and concisely explains why you should not talk to officers investigating a crime.
He explains that humans are subject to what psychologist call confirmation bias. Confirmation bias occurs when one comes to a conclusion and then contemplates that the conclusion may be faulty. It is much easier to convince yourself that you did not make a mistake than it is to admit that you may not have been correct. One may misremember, recall nonexistent details, or persuade themselves things occurred that didn’t to corroborate their story.
Duane’s book is filled with sites to creditable sources and studies. He explains ‘the most recent and comprehensive investigation, which took a careful look at 250 prisoners exonerated by DNA evidence, found that 16% of them made what’s called a false confession: admitting to the commission of a crime that they did not commit.’ In 2015 the author of Contaminated Confessions wrote an updated review in the Virginia Law Review.
Duane speaks of the overcriminalization that is occurring. There are tens of thousands of laws of which you could have possibly violated. He quotes Supreme Court Justices that echo his warning and succinctly states: ‘In other words: ‘the deck is stacked heavily against you, and you have no idea what you are up against.’ Duane goes on to say that people incorrectly believe that there are rules that restrict officers from using deception, informing you that they have more information than they do, or trying to trick you otherwise but that people are wrong. He cites the United States Court of Appeals, concerning promises police make to those they interrogate, has ruled that a promise of immunity is no good unless it is authorized by an Assistant United States Attorney in the case of United States v. Flemmi, 225 F3d 78, 91 (1st Cir. 2000).
Duane is highly skeptical of eye witness identifications. Out of hundreds of wrongly convicted people that were later exonerated by DNA evidence, 76% were mistakenly identified by an eyewitness. In a study of over 250 cases in which a defendant was later exonerated by DNA evidence, forensic evidence was used to help convict an innocent suspect 74% of the time.
He explains the difficulty and inaccuracy cross-racial identifications are riddled with and how it has caused innocent men like Earl Ruffin to be wrongfully convicted.
Don’t plead the 5th, Duane advises as it could now be used against you thanks to Salinas v. Texas.
He advises the reader that pleading the 5th is now more complicated than ever and that you should simply, clearly, and unequivocally state, ‘I WANT A LAWYER’ and repeat it until the cops realize you know how the judicial system works.
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