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  01/26/2018Clarifying Misrepresentations About Law Enforcement Interrogation Techniques
Over the years social psychologists, defenses attorneys and some academicians have offered a number of criticisms of current law enforcement interrogation practices, and, in particular, the Reid Technique. Some of these criticisms are:

• the goal of an interrogation is to get a confession whether it is true or not
• investigators use minimization tactics in which they offer the suspect leniency if he confesses, and harsher punishment (maximization) if he does not
• investigators oftentimes interrogate innocent people whom they have erroneously classified as guilty
• investigators use coercive tactics and procedures to secure confessions
• investigators feed crime details to the suspect so that the authenticity of their incriminating statements is difficult to assess
• investigators lie to the suspect about evidence
• investigators do not modify their tactics when questioning juveniles or mentally impaired individuals
• the interrogation is designed to make the suspect feel isolated and hopeless so that he sees no way out except to confess
• the Reid Technique is a guilt presumptive approach

In this paper we will address each of these criticisms and set the record straight as to exactly what we teach with respect to law enforcement interrogation techniques, and the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation in particular.

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  12/28/2017How defense attorneys describe the Reid Technique in the courtroom - and where they go wrong
In Radilla-Esquivel v. Davis (December 2017) US District Court, W.D. Texas the defense attorney made a number of erroneous assertions about the Reid Technique.  His statements (taken from the US District Court opinion) are in blue in the attached document, with the correct information detailed thereafter
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  12/18/2017Federal Appeals Court upholds confession of “Making a Murderer” subject Brendan Dassey

In Dassey v. Dittmann (December 2017) the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, upheld the admissibility of Brendan Dassey’s confession, ruling that the “state court’s determination that defendant confessed to murder voluntarily was not an unreasonable application of Supreme Court precedent.”  From the Court of Appeals decision: 

Whether Dassey's confession was voluntary or not is measured against a general standard that takes into account the totality of the circumstances…. Some factors would tend to support a finding that Dassey's confession was not voluntary: his youth, his limited intellectual ability, some suggestions by the interrogators, their broad assurances to a vulnerable suspect that honesty would produce leniency, and inconsistencies in Dassey's confession. Many other factors, however, point toward a finding that it was voluntary. Dassey spoke with the interrogators freely, after receiving and understanding Miranda warnings, and with his mother's consent. The interrogation took place in a comfortable setting, without any physical coercion or intimidation, without even raised voices, and over a relatively brief time. Dassey provided many of the most damning details himself in response to open–ended questions. On a number of occasions he resisted the interrogators' strong suggestions on particular details. Also, the investigators made no specific promises of leniency. 

After the state courts found the confession voluntary, a federal district court and a divided panel of this court found that the state courts' decision was unreasonable and that Dassey was entitled to a writ of habeas corpus…. The state courts' finding that Dassey's confession was voluntary was not beyond fair debate, but we conclude it was reasonable. We re–verse the grant of Dassey's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. 

…. Turning to the techniques used in the interrogation, the investigators told Dassey many times that they already knew what had happened when in fact they did not. Such deception is a common interview technique. To our knowledge, it has not led courts (and certainly not the Supreme Court) to find that a subject's incriminating answers were involuntary…. Also, most of the incriminating details in Dassey's confession were not suggested by the questioners. He volunteered them in response to open–ended questions. 

…. The requirement that courts take “special care” in analyzing juvenile confessions does not call for habeas relief here. The state appellate court met the requirements for analyzing juvenile confessions by considering Dassey's age, his intellectual capacity, and the voluntary absence of his mother during the interrogation. The state court noted that the officers read Dassey his Miranda rights and that Dassey later remembered his rights and agreed to talk anyway. The court assessed coercion in relation to Dassey's vulnerabilities, including his “age, intellectual limitations and high suggestibility.” The court did not limit its inquiry to only whether the most abusive interrogation techniques were used. The court examined the tones and volumes of the investigators' voices, finding that the officers “used normal speaking tones, with no hectoring, threats or promises of leniency,” though they did prod Dassey to be honest and sought to establish a rapport with him. The court even considered Dassey's physical comfort by noting he sat on a sofa and was offered food, drink, and restroom breaks. 

Click here for additional details from the court’s opinion

click to get to the full Appellate Court Decision

  11/08/2017Massachusetts Supreme Court confirms that minimization/maximization techniques are acceptable
In the case of Commonwealth v. Cartwright (Novemebr 2017) the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts stated that “  …. we have not acted to prevent police investigators from suggesting to a suspect being interviewed that the investigators are convinced, based on evidence, of the defendant’s guilt…. Nor have we concluded that an interviewing officer's efforts to minimize a suspect's moral culpability, by, for example, suggesting theories of accident or provocation, are inappropriate, or sought to preclude suggestions by the interviewers “broadly that it would be better for a suspect to tell the truth, [and] ... that the person's cooperation would be brought to the attention of [those] involved.”
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  11/05/2017Why the Reid Technique® Method Continues to be the Most Effective Means Available to Learn the Truth
One of the fundamental precepts of the Reid Technique is to use sound reasoning, understanding and empathy to motivate subjects to tell the truth.  John Reid started using this approach over 70 years ago and it is as effective today as it was then. 

John Reid was a visionary who was ahead of his time.  He demonstrated the effectiveness of treating people, even those who have committed heinous crimes, with decency and respect.  John Reid tried to see the good in all people and tried to understand why they would commit their crimes.  John had the patience and insight to understand the pre-existing thought process of others and he was able to use this insight to make an emotional connection with a subject and gain a level of trust and understanding that made it possible for him to engage in the art of persuasion to motivate even the most hardened criminal to tell the truth.  

John developed a systematic approach that would protect the innocent, identify the guilty and motivate the guilty to want to tell the truth.  He did this without the use of threats or promises of leniency.  He did it by tapping into pre-existing rationalizations that originated in the mind of the suspect.  John’s understanding of human behavior allowed him to empathize with those who made bad decisions and committed a variety of crimes.  

Today there are critics who have a very shallow understanding of the psychology of the Reid Technique and create a false narrative by suggesting that the inappropriate tactics used by investigators over the years are part of the Reid method….nothing could be further from the truth, as illustrated by our core principles: 
  • Always conduct interviews and interrogations in accordance with the guidelines established by the courts
  • Do not make any promises of leniency
  • Do not threaten the subject with any physical harm or inevitable consequences
  • Do not deny the subject any of their rights
  • Do not deny the subject the opportunity to satisfy their physical needs
  • Always treat the subject with dignity and respect
  • Do not conduct excessively long interrogations
  • Exercise caution when interrogating juveniles, suspects with a lower intelligence or suspects with mental impairments
For over seventy years through our training programs John E. Reid and Associates has been providing investigators with the techniques and skills necessary to conduct effective investigative interviews and interrogations. 

We have listed a number of facts regarding the Reid Technique® method for your review: 

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  11/03/2017Legal Updates Fall 2017

The Legal Updates Fall 2017 column contains cases which address the following issues:

  • Federal Appeals Court upholds confession of “Making of a Murderer” subject Brendan Dassey
  • Massachusetts Supreme Court confirms that minimization/maximization techniques are appropriate
  • The value of recording interrogations – demonstrating a knowing waiver of rights
  • The value of recoding interrogations – demonstrating a violation of rights
  • The value of recording interrogations in determining custody
  • Value of recording interrogations in examining the claim of intoxication
  • Value of recording to assess understanding and waiver of rights
  • Value of recording interrogations to determine if the suspect’s will was overborne by promises of leniency
  • Court rules that the use of the Reid Technique did not violate the defendant's due process rights
  • Court finds juvenile confession involuntary: noting that as in the Elias case, the investigators did not appropriately change their approach for a juvenile interrogation
  • Court rejects the testimony of Dr. Brian Cutler on false confession issues

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  11/01/2017The November - December Investigator Tip: FACTUAL ANALYSIS
Factual analysis can be defined as estimating the probability of a suspect's guilt or innocence based on investigative findings.  Each investigator uses factual analysis to narrow the scope of suspects - to eliminate innocent suspects and to focus the investigation around a particular suspect most likely to be guilty. 

As an introduction, factual analysis is divided into five component parts: Opportunity/Access, Attitude, Motivation, Biographical Information, and Evidence.

Click here to access the complete Tip




Cr. No. 16-055 WES


September 11, 2017


You should be aware of certain comments made by Chief Judge, William E. Smith, of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island in the above referenced case  regarding the Reid Technique in deciding the defendant's motion to suppress incriminating statements.  Among other things, the defendant, Jordan Monroe, claimed that the Reid Technique rendered his statements involuntary.  Judge Smith followed the established legal precedent in finding that the use of the Reid Technique did not violate the defendant's due process rights, and rejected the defendant's claim.  However, Judge Smith personally sided with the position taken by some criminal defense attorneys and a few law professors, who question the voluntariness of any incriminating statements made by a suspect while being questioned by law enforcement officers using the Reid Technique.

Click here for the opinion.

  09/12/2017The Reid interrogation technique successfully used in India

We have conducted several training programs in India.  This week our interview and interrogation techniques were used to successfully resolve a high profile case:

"Kochi: The Kerala police team probing the February 17 actress assault case used modern scientific methods to collect evidence. The case diary submitted in court to counter the accused-actor Dileep’s bail plea revealed the use of ‘stool pigeon’ and ‘Reid Method' techniques for the probe over a period of six months."

The article is entitled “‘Stool pigeon’ & ‘Reid Method’: how police employed scientific techniques to corner Suni"

Click here to access the story

  09/01/2017Sept/Oct Investigator Tip - The fundamental foundation of the Reid Technique of Interrogation: Empathy and Understanding

The Reid Technique consists of a three-phase process beginning with Fact Analysis, followed by the Behavior Analysis Interview (which is a non-accusatory interview designed to develop investigative and behavioral information), followed by, when appropriate, the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation.  While all subjects in an investigation are interviewed, very few are interrogated. 

Once it is determined by the investigative information that the subject is involved in the commission of the crime, the interrogation begins by advising the subject of the investigation results.  The investigator then begins to develop what we refer to as a theme in which we offer the subject a “moral excuse” for the suspect’s commission of the offense or minimizing the moral implications of the conduct. 

Click here for the Investigator Tip.

  8/31/2017The Legal Updates Summer 2017
The Legal UpdatesSummer 2017 column contains cases which address the following issues:

  • Objectionable interrogator tactics
  • Court allows testimony of false confession expert Dr. Richard Leo
  • Court limits the rebuttal testimony on false confession issues of Professor Paul G. Cassell to the testimony of Dr. Richard Leo
  • The language of the Miranda warnings – how precise does it have to be?
  • Court excludes the testimony of Dr. Charles Honts on false confession issues
  • Court excludes the testimony of Dr. Solomon Fulero because “it invades the province of the jury”
  • If the police have possession of the defendant’s car keys and cell phone, is he free to leave the station?
  • Defendant’s incriminating statements were inadmissible because the Miranda warnings were deliberately delayed
  • 13 factors to consider in determining whether a police interrogation was coercive
  • The value of video recording the interrogation
  • Does a subject have to be advised of his Miranda rights when questioned at a Fish, Wildlife and Park’s game check station?  No
  • Court emphasizes the need to exercise  “special caution” when assessing the voluntariness of juvenile confessions

Click here for updates.

  07/10/2017There are Good Interrogations and There are Bad Interrogations
The International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training published the following article , “There are Good Interrogations and There are Bad Interrogations” by Joseph P. Buckley, president of John E. Reid and Associates: 

Every day we read about law enforcement successfully solving criminal cases by a combination of talking to people; developing forensic evidence; interviewing and, when appropriate, interrogating suspects. In many cases, however, there is limited or no forensic evidence or witness testimony that implicates a specific person as the perpetrator so the investigators have to rely extensively on their interviewing skills to develop investigative information that can lead them to the offender.

Once the investigators make contact with the suspected offender, they will generally conduct a non-accusatory fact finding interview to develop investigative information, such as his activities at the time of the crime; his alibi; his relationship to the victim; his knowledge of the crime scene, etc. If the information developed during this interview and the subsequent investigation indicate the subject’s likely involvement in the commission of the crime, the investigators will initiate an interrogation. 
A good interrogation is characterized by the following elements:

Click here for the full article

  07/03/2017July - August 2017 Investigator Tip Cognitive Interviewing
Cognitive interviewing is a memory retrieval procedure designed to enhance recall when interviewing a victim or witness.  Unlike hypnosis, which involves placing the subject in an altered state of consciousness, cognitive interviewing relies on retrieving memories that are stored in different areas of the brain by cognitively stimulating various neural pathways.  This phenomenon is familiar to all of us.  A certain song, smell or taste may remind us of a memory long since forgotten.  On the drive home from an unfamiliar location, seeing one familiar object oftentimes stimulates recall of upcoming buildings, intersections or landscapes that would not otherwise be remembered.

Click here for the complete article.

  06/21/2017Four Reid Training Programs awarded National Certification
The International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement has establish a rigorous evaluation process for the review and certification of law enforcement training programs.  John E. Reid and Associates has successfully achieved National Certification for these courses:

Major County Sheriffs’ Association Endorses IADLEST NCP

“As an association dedicated to the continuing education of our members, we are very happy to embrace a new, and very high standard, for law enforcement training. The NCP seal will make it easier to select training programs that we know have been critically examined in order to meet the threshold required for NCP endorsement.”

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens
President, Major County Sheriffs’ Association

  06/07/2017'Fake facts, deceptive editing and omission of key evidence.' Making a Murderer prosecutor Ken Kratz breaks his silence about never-before-revealed proof that Steven Avery IS guilty and accuses the producers of duping viewers
A story by the this week published extensive excerpts form their interview with the prosecutor, Ken Kratz, regarding his new book.  
"The producers of hit documentary Making a Murderer duped millions of viewers into wrongly believing convicted killer Steven Avery is innocent by fabricating facts, omitting key evidence and using deceptive editing practices to misrepresent even courtroom testimony, according to a bombshell new book.
Using evidence never before revealed, maligned chief prosecutor Ken Kratz attempts to 'set the record straight' in the controversial case by proving Avery is guilty of the violent 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach.”

Click here for the complete article.

  06/05/2017“There’s a lot of gold in the Reid interrogation manual and on and we really really encourage you guys to go up there and cite that material.”

Defense attorneys were encouraged to use the information on our website ( and our book, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions (5th ed. 2013) as a reference for proper police practices that should be followed when interrogating a suspect.

In July 2014, at the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys conference, there was a presentation entitled, “ Theories and Advocacy Strategies in False Confession Cases.”  The presenters were Steve Drizin, Center on Wrongful Convictions, Chicago, IL; Laura Nirider, Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth, Chicago, IL.

Here is a transcript of Laura’s comments regarding the value of the information on our website and in our book for attorneys to review in preparing their briefs to point out best practices.

“Other things we cite when we are writing this stuff up legally, ah, this is beautiful right, we love as Steve says finding law enforcement sources to support our positions.  John E. Reid and Associates, the marketers of The Reid Technique of Interrogation have a great website,, I encourage you all to go there, there’s a lot of great material on there, there’s actually, and in their book as well, this is from their book their interrogation manual:

 “The interrogator must avoid any expressed or intentionally implied statement to the effect that because of the minimized seriousness of the offense, the suspect is to receive a lighter punishment.”

Basically don’t tell them that if you confess you’re gonna, things are going to go better for you.  This is wonderful.  We cite this in all of our briefs.  This is like law enforcement best practices, don't’ promise leniency in any way, right.

Ah, this one is great….it’s a little like… this is ah again from the Reid interrogation manual:

“Consider an innocent rape suspect who is falsely told that DNA evidence positively identifies him as the rapist.” 

Of course Reid says:

“Will this false statement cause an innocent person to suddenly confess?  Of course not. However, (says Reid) consider t he false statements were then used to convince the suspect that he would be found guilty of the crime and sentenced to prison.” 

Well we saw that in Robert Davis, didn’t we?

“Further suppose the investigator tells the suspect that if he cooperates by confessing he will be afforded leniency.”

Again we saw that in Robert Davis.

“ Under these conditions, (says Reid) it becomes much more plausible that an innocent person may decide to confess not because, solely because,  fictitious evidence was presented but because that evidence was used to augment an improper interrogation technique.”

The threat.  Beautiful.  Cite it everywhere.  Don’t combine lies and threats, that’s what Reid says.  That’s what police officers should be doing.  I use it whenever I have an interrogation where the police officer did just that.

And they go on and on and on.  Most of these are from the book as well:

“Don’t use deception with youthful suspects or individuals with low social maturity.”

“Don’t use an accident theme to get the person to sort of admit to  accidentally having done the crime.”

“Use extreme care when questioning juveniles.”

“If the suspect agrees to take a polygraph as soon as possible”

You saw that with Robert Davis remember in the first clip he said please bring up the polygraph I’ll take it I’ll show you I’m innocent to Reid that’s a huge indicator of innocence.  That’s important to Reid. And that’s something that should be embraced as well.

And of course t hey say:

“Don’t try to persuade a suspect that they committed a crime and just don’t remember it.”

There’s a lot of gold is the point of all this.  There’s a lot of gold in the Reid interrogation manual and on and we really really encourage you guys to go up there and cite that material.  Same thing on contamination.  This is something that law enforcement and defense attorneys should be able to agree upon it is just a bad practice for the officers to tell the suspect how the crime happened during the interrogation.  Right? As the people from the video said the interrogator from the Robert Davis video said, it defeats the purpose of…. and John E. Reid has some great quotes on that that we put into our brief as well.  It is imperative they say not to disclose information about a crime during the interrogation.  It is imperative that that information comes out of the suspect’s mouth, otherwise any statement you get loses evidentiary value.

There’s, and again I think I already talked about this I won’t mention it again there is law enforcement recognition from John E. Reid and Associates that juveniles are more vulnerable during interrogation.  And there is a beautiful publication, a beautiful publication from the I nternational Association of Chiefs of Police called “Reducing Risk: An Executive Guide to Juvenile Interviews and Interrogations” and it is everything that a defense attorney would ask for in terms of a law enforcement statement of best practices  on how to question a juvenile….. 

The IACP document that Laura references can be found on this page at the entry dated 01/16/2016.

  06/04/2017The Juvenile Law Center, Wicklander-Zulawski and Professor Garrett refer to Reid as the “leading law enforcement training firm” and quote from the Reid book to reference proper juvenile interrogation techniques
In the case Brendan Dassey v. Michael Dittman, the Juvenile Law Center, Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates and Professor Brandon L. Garrett filed an Amici Curiae Brief in support of Appellee, filed in
December 2016. In their brief the state the following:

Reid & Associates, Inc., developer of the Reid technique of interrogation and leading law enforcement training firm, also instructs law enforcement officers to

Take special precautions when interviewing juveniles or individuals with significant mental or psychological impairments[sic]  Every interrogator must exercise extreme caution and care when interviewing or interrogating a juvenile or a person who is mentally or psychologically impaired. Certainly these individuals can and do commit very serious crimes, but since many false confession cases involve juveniles and/or individuals with some significant mental or psychological disabilities, extreme care must be exercised when questioning these individuals and the investigator has to modify their approach with these individuals. Furthermore, when a juvenile or person who is mentally or psychologically impaired confesses, the investigator should exercise extreme diligence in establishing the accuracy of such a statement through subsequent corroboration. In these situations it is imperative that the interrogator does not reveal details of the crime so that they can use the disclosure of such information by the suspect as verification of the confession's authenticity.

Further on they reference “Fred E. Inbau, John E. Reid, Joseph P. Buckley & Brian C. Jayne, CRIMINAL INTERROGATIONS AND CONFESSIONS 352 (JONES AND BARTLETT, 5THED. 2013) (hereinafter Inbau, Reid, et. al) (The use of fictitious evidence “should be avoided when interrogating a suspect with low social maturity or a diminished mental capacity” because “these suspects may not have the fortitude or the confidence to challenge such evidence . . . and may become confused as to their own possible involvement, if the police tell them evidence clearly indicates they committed the crime.”).”

They also state, “Reid and Associates specifically instructs its interrogators to avoid interrogations centered on “helping” the suspect because some courthave interpreted such statements as implied promises of leniency, ....... Inbau, Reid, et. Al, supra, at 331.

  06/01/2017Legal Updates Spring 2017

The Legal Updates Spring 2017 column contains cases which address the following issues:

  • Promise suspect would not be put on the sex offenders’ list rendered his confession involuntary
  • The statement “You can say the truth, explain what happened and they can work with you when the time comes to go see a judge. It will be less charges.” was not a promise of leniency
  • Promise of leniency coupled with threat to defendant’s wife resulted in a coerced confession
  • The statement, “I feel like I should have an attorney” was not an unequivocal request for an attorney 
  • Court finds investigators’ behavior “shocking to the conscience” 
  • Ten hour questioning period was not coercive
  • Court upholds rejection of false confession expert as not relevant; also that second advisement of rights not necessary after a 6 hour gap between questioning
  • The results of psychological tests (Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale) do not square with reality
  • Court rejects testimony of false confession expert Dr. Richard Leo as “faux science” 
  • A suspect does not have to be aware of all the crimes he will be questioned about to make a valid rights waiver
  • Court finds confession was coerced and involuntary
  • The statement “I don't know, just, I'm done talking. I don't have nothing to talk about” was an unequivocal invocation of the right to remain silent

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