CLICK here for info on new 5th edition of Criminal Interrogation and Confessions
05/18/2017The Development of the Non-Confrontational Interview

John E. Reid and his colleague, Northwestern Professor of Law Fred E. Inbau, developed the non-confrontational interview as an integral part of any questioning of a suspect.

The following excerpts are from the second edition of their book, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, published in 1967 (the first edition was published in 1962 but was revised after the US Supreme Court’s 1966 decision, Miranda v. Arizona).

When discussing how to approach and question a subject regarding possible involvement in the commission of the crime under investigation, the authors recommend that the investigator “assume a neutral position and refrain from making any statement or implications one way or the other until the subject discloses some information or indications pointing either to his innocence or his guilt.”

In conducting this non-confrontational interview the authors state, “The subject must be questioned and engaged in conversation in order to permit the [investigator] to study his behavior and conduct, to search for significant remarks or contradictions in his statements, and to check his statements in the light of known facts and circumstances.”

Reid and Inbau suggest that the following questions should be part of this interview:

  • Ask the subject if he knows why he is being questioned
  • Ask the subject to relate all he knows about the occurrence, the victim, and possible suspects
  • Obtain from the subject detailed information about his activities before, at the time of, and after the occurrence in question
  • Ask the subject if he ever thought about committing the offense in question or one similar to it
  • Ask the subject whether he is willing to take a lie-detector test

These guidelines and questions developed into what is today an integral part of the Reid Technique - the Behavior Analysis Interview.

In all investigations we teach to conduct a non-accusatory, non-confrontational Behavior Analysis Interview with each subject to determine whether or not an interrogation is appropriate.



05/10/2017Reid announces collaboration with iRecord

John E. Reid & Associates has always advocated for the proper treatment of all suspects during an investigation. We teach that every suspect needs to be treated in a respectful and lawful manner.

One of the tenants of THE REID TECHNIQUE® is that an investigator should never make any promise of leniency or in any way threaten a suspect to obtain an admission of guilt. Any admission that is obtained needs to be properly substantiated. 

An important way to document that a suspect interview and interrogation is conducted properly is by recording the process. To help promote this, Reid is pleased to announce our collaboration with the iRecord Company.

IRecord is the premier provider of recording software and video equipment for Law Enforcement Agencies and Child Advocacy Centers. They provide secure, high quality recording solutions that can be adapted to interview rooms of all types.

Our goal in working with iRecord is to encourage the recording of suspect interviews and interrogations and to provide investigators the skills necessary to conduct effective, lawful interrogations.

Reid invites any agency that installs an iRecord system to send one of their investigators through our 4-Day Interview and Interrogation seminar for free. We will also allow any agency that currently uses an iRecord system to send someone through our training for free.

To obtain additional information about the iRecord Company and their services you can go to their website at iRecord.tv. You can also receive further details about our collaborative free seat policy by contacting Toni Overman.


toverman@reid.com

04/11/2017The Reid Technique - Celebrating 70 Years of Excellence
Founded in 1947, the Reid Technique has become the gold standard for proper interview and interrogation procedures.

Our Core Principles are as follows:
  • 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

Click here for full story.

04/09/2017REID'S RESPONSE TO W-Z's MARCH 6, 2017 PRESS RELEASE

REID'S RESPONSE TO W-Z's

 

MARCH 6, 2017 PRESS RELEASE 

 


We are responding to Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates' (W-Z) recent public announcement that it will no longer be offering the Reid Method in its law enforcement training program.  After teaching the Reid Method for the past 33 years under a license agreement with John E. Reid & Associates, W-Z is now attempting to discredit the Reid Method as having “fallen under scrutiny due to its potential risk for eliciting false confessions,” a false narrative often advanced by defense attorneys.

 


Over the past 50 years, several hundred thousand law enforcement officers have taken our course.  It is regarded by the law enforcement community as the gold standard in interviewing and interrogating suspects in criminal investigations.  Using the Reid technique does not result in false confessions.  Just the opposite is true.  False confessions result when suspects in criminal investigations are interrogated using methods which we specifically advise NOT TO USE. 



Click here for our complete response

UPDATE: 21 MARCH 2017

Calibre Press article by Owner Jim Glennon re the WZ Press Release


Does Reid & Associates teach officers a confrontational method of interviewing and interrogating that results in false confessions? I ask that question because recently they were basically accused of that. Or rather-the method they teach was accused of that.

So does their method result in false confessions? Not at all.

First it's important to address this at the outset: I have absolutely no relationship whatsoever with Reid & Associates, who I believe to have the premier interview and interrogation training program in the country. I have, however, been to more than a half a dozen classes, seminars and lectures conducted by them over my 30-year career.

Click here for complete article



03/14/2017The International Encyclopedia of Interprersonal Communication includes an excellent article entitled, Interrogation.
The International Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Communication, First Edition, edited by Charles R. Berger and Michael E. Roloff (2016) includes an excellent article on current interrogation methodology by Stanley M. Slowik, president o Stanley M. Slowik, Inc.  Here is the article’s Abstract:
Interrogation is the art of persuading a guilty person to tell the truth.  Discussion includes interrogation behaviors that distinguish truth and deception, differences between interviews and interrogations, admissions and confessions, false expectations and false promises of leniency.  Interrogation methodologies are examined within the context of legality and effectiveness. 

Click here to access the article.

01/25/2017How the Courts View the Reid Technique

As we move into 2017 we will be celebrating 70 years of excellence.  John E. Reid founded the company in 1947.  Over the last seven decades the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation has become the gold standard of the industry.

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.  In their presentation they stated that Reid is the gold standard on proper procedures, and that they regularly review reid.com and our materials to establish best practices and to point out what other investigators did that was improper.  They specifically reference our cautions re the questioning of juveniles.

We have prepared a PDF document and a Power Point program detailing the Core Principles of the Reid Technique and how the courts view the Reid Technique.  Here is the content of the material:

-  Core Principles of the Reid Technique                                                           

-  What is the Reid Technique?                                                                          

-  How the Courts View Minimization                                                              

-  How the Courts View Misrepresenting Evidence to the Suspect                  

-  How the Courts View Being Friendly and Empathetic with the Suspect      

-  How the Courts View the Alternative Question                                            

-  Several Courts have Admonished Investigators for Not Following Reid Guidelines

-  Federal Court - No Basis for the Claim that the Reid Technique is coercive

-  False Confession Expert Testimony About the “Coercive” Nature of the Reid Technique is Rejected 

-  Reid as the Gold Standard 

Click here for the Power Point program

Click here for the pdf

How Courts View the Reid Technique Dec 2016.pdf



01/16/2017States that require electronic recording of interrogations

Attorney Thomas Sullivan has done extensive work on promoting the value of electronically recording interrogations and he has extensively surveyed police departments around the country to determine the extent of recording interrogations.  Attorney Sullivan has provided a list of 23 states and the District of Columbia that require that interrogations be electronically recorded. 

Click Here

Attorney Sullivan has also provided a Model Recording Act adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.  


Click here for Model Recording Act

01/16/2017Recording Juvenile Interrogations in Illinois

Click below for a  copy of the legislation that modifies The Juvenile Court Act of 1987, expanding the requirement to electronically recored juvenile interrogations in Illinois.

 
Also, here is a link to the Chicago Police Department  Special Order regarding the electronic recording of interrogations of juveniles under 18 years of age:  

Click here for Copy of Legislation

01/06/2017Excellent example of how false confession experts misrepresent what we teach in the Reid Technique

In State v. Tapke  the Court of Appeals of Ohio upheld the defendant's confession which was obtained by an officer who was trained in The Reid Technique. Dr. Richard Ofshe testified about false confessions and attempted to describe The Reid Technique. The jury subsequently rejected his testimony and "chose not to discredit it [the confession]."

It is interesting to note that in his testimony Dr. Ofshe testified that as part of The Reid Technique interrogators are taught the following:

"So what police have learned to do is to communicate the message through a series of suggestions… the idea being to communicate the understanding that there’s a deal on the table, but without ever explicitly saying here’s the deal.” He used the example of a person accused of GSI. He testified that the police would say something like this to a suspect: "[Y]ou're not a sexual predator; you're someone who needs treatment. What would you rather do, go to prison as a sex offender, or get some therapy in treatment."

It is interesting to note that the exact opposite is the case - we teach not to make any statements that refer to punishment, threats or promises of leniency and in our training seminars we highlight the case, Commonwealth v. DiGiambattista, in which the Massachusetts Supreme Court indicated that "what seemed to disturb the Court the most was the apparent reference to counseling which they felt "implicitly suggested to him that "counseling" would be an appropriate avenue for him to pursue after making a confession." In other words, if he confessed he would get counseling instead of jail." This is exactly what we teach not to do


Click here for the complete decision

01/01/2017January/February 2017 Investigator Tip: Ten

Physical coercion, torture, duress, denial of rights, threats, and promises of leniency are the poison pills of legally admissible, reliable, and voluntary confessions.  Obviously we should not engage in such behaviors or any tactics that could render a confession involuntary.  This article is intended to assist the professional investigator by outlining statements and techniques that should be avoided so as to insure the integrity of the subject’s confession.


Click Here

10/26/2016Dr. Richard Leo Testimony In Jimerson v. State (June 2016)

In Jimerson v. State (June 2016) Dr. Richard Leo testified about police interrogation techniques and specifically referenced the Reid Technique.  The following is a discussion of several statements that Dr. Leo made during his testimony (as stated in the court’s decision) and our response. Dr. Leo’s statements are in italics.


To view the testimony and response, click here

10/25/2016The suggestion that the Reid Technique is prohibited in Great Britain (or any country) is a false statement

In a recent court case (Radilla-Esquivel v. State) and an article discussing false confessions, there were references that “the Reid Technique is prohibited in some countries.”  That is a false statement. 

 


Click here to read why this is false...

09/08/2016September/October 2016 Investigator Tip: When Co-Offenders Are Being Interrogated Consider ìPlaying One Against the Otherî

"When two or more persons have collaborated in the commission of a criminal offense and are later apprehended for questioning, there is usually a nagging fear on the part of each participant that one of them will "talk." Individually, each of them may feel confident of his own ability to evade detection and to avoid confessing, but they generally do not experience a comparable degree of confidence with regard to the co-offender's ability or even willingness to do so. Uppermost in their minds is the possibility that one of them will confess in an effort to obtain special consideration.”


Click here for the complete tip.

08/31/2016Dr. Richard Leo report describes his view of false confession issues and police interrogation techniques

In a recent report in an alleged false confession case, Dr. Richard Leo describes his view of current law enforcement interrogation techniques and the various issues associated with false confessions. Dr. Leo’s comments are reflective of the current approach that most false confession experts take when they discuss the issue.


Click here to view the key elements of the report.

08/16/2016Westlaw recognizes the Reid Technique
In their annual publication, Law of Confessions 2016, published by Thomson Reuters Westlaw, the authors include the following comments in their discussion of interrogation approaches:
 
“Coercion can be psychological as well as physical.  This does not typically involve intimidation.  Modern police eschew these techniques, not just because they are unlawful, but because they are ineffective.  Police have been trained to use the “Reid technique,”  which calls for police to be patient and understanding, break down the suspect’s resistance to confessing by expressing confidence in the defendant’s guilt, and providing the suspect with explanations for the crime that place blame on others or rationalize the criminal behavior.” The authors then go on to detail the decision in U.S. Jacques, 744 F.3d 804 (1st Cir. 2014) which found that the various techniques that we teach “all fall safely within the realm of permissible” procedure that the courts have sanctioned.


08/15/2016The confession of Brendan Dassey (ìMaking a Murdererî) ruled to be involuntary

In Dassey v. Dittmann (August 2016) the US District Court, E.D. Wisconsin, ruled that Brendan Dassey’s confession was involuntary.  Brendan Dassey’s confession to involvement in the murder of Teresa Halbach was depicted in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer”.  The District Court ruled that the confession was the result of promises of leniency.

The District Court stated that, “the state courts unreasonably found that the investigators never made Dassey any promises during the March 1, 2006 interrogation. The investigators repeatedly claimed to already know what happened on October 31 and assured Dassey that he had nothing to worry about. These repeated false promises, when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey’s age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult, rendered Dassey’s confession involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.”

From the District Court’s opinion:

The court must look to all relevant facts to determine whether Dassey’s March 1 confession was voluntary. The interview occurred mid-day rather than in the early morning hours, or at a time when Dassey might expect to be asleep… The questioning was not particularly prolonged. Although Dassey was in the interview room from about 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., the relevant questioning spanned less than three hours…  Dassey was left alone for less than two hours, the longest single stretch being about 50 minutes. He was offered food and beverages. Although the interview occurred in a police station, it was in a “soft interview room,” with carpeting and upholstered furniture as opposed to a room with an uncarpeted floor, a hard table, and chairs. Wiegert advised Dassey of his rights under Miranda, including the right to not answer questions, to stop the questioning, and to have an attorney appointed for him and present during any questioning.

Dassey exhibited no signs of agitation or distress throughout the interview (he sobbed only after being told he was under arrest). The investigators maintained calm tones, never using aggressive or confrontational tactics. If these were the only relevant facts, they would tend to support a finding that the March 1 confession was voluntary. But when assessed against all of the circumstances of Dassey’s interrogation, these facts are overshadowed by far more consequential facts.

For starters, Dassey was a juvenile – only 16 years old – at the time of his confession.

Also significant is the fact that investigators questioned Dassey without the presence of a arent or other adult looking out for his interests.  It is true that neither federal law nor the United States Constitution requires that the police even inform a juvenile’s parents that the juvenile is being questioned or honor a juvenile’s request that a parent or other adult (other than a lawyer) be present during questioning…  However, because “[i]t is easier to overbear the will of a juvenile than of a parent or attorney, ... in marginal cases–when it appears the officer or agent has attempted to take advantage of the suspect’s youth or mental shortcomings–lack of parental or legal advice could tip the balance against admission.”

Not only did Dassey not have the benefit of an adult present to look out for his interests, the investigators exploited the absence of such an adult by repeatedly suggesting that
they were looking out for his interests: “I wanna assure you that Mark and I both are in your corner, we’re on your side ...” and “... I’m your friend right now, but I ... gotta believe in you and if I don’t believe in you, I can’t go to bat for you.”

Moreover, Dassey’s borderline to below average intellectual ability likely made
  him more susceptible to coercive pressures than a peer of higher intellect… Although he attended regular education classes, Dassey received special education support services.

Ten years earlier, his IQ was assessed at an overall score of 74.

Crucial in the voluntariness analysis is what the investigators told Dassey at the beginning of the interrogation. Fassbender assured Dassey, “from what I’m seeing ... I’m thinking you’re all right. OK, you don’t have to worry about things.”  In isolation, such a statement would not be a problem. Based on what the investigators actually knew at that time, they very possibly believed Dassey to be merely a witness.

However, less than two minutes later, Wiegert assured Dassey, “We  pretty much know everything[.] [T]hat’s why we’re talking to you again today.” … The combination of these statements, that the investigators already “pretty much know everything” and that Dassey did not “have to worry about things,” is an entirely different matter. The investigators were not merely telling Dassey, “Based upon what you have told us so far, we don’t think you have anything to worry about.”  Rather, what they told Dassey was, “We already know what happened and you don’t have anything to worry about.”  The investigators’ assertions that they already knew what happened and assurances that Dassey did not have anything to worry about were not confined to an isolated instance at the beginning but rather persisted throughout the interrogation.

Dassey’s conduct during the interrogation and his reaction to being told he was  under arrest clearly indicate that he really did believe that, if he told the investigators what they professed to already know, he would not be arrested for what he said.

The investigators’ statements were not merely ambiguous promises to Dassey that cooperating would lead to a better deal or that the investigators would “stand  behind” him or “go to bat” for him, … Rather, the investigators’ collective statements throughout the interrogation clearly led Dassey to believe that he would not be punished for telling them the incriminating details they professed to already know. While at one point Wiegert did rotely say, “We can’t make any promises...” this single, isolated statement was drowned out by the host of assurances that they already knew what happened and that Dassey had nothing to worry about.

Thus, the state courts’ finding that there were no “promises of leniency” was “against the clear and convincing weight of the evidence….”

 
The Supreme Court has long recognized that a false promise is a powerful force in overcoming a person’s free will…. Consequently, “[a] false promise of lenience is ‘an example of forbidden [interrogation] tactics, for it would impede the suspect in making an informed choice as to whether he was better off confessing or clamming up.’”


More than merely assuring Dassey that he would not be punished if he admitted  participating in the offenses, the investigators suggested to Dassey that he would  be punished if he did not tell “the truth.”
   Especially when the investigators’ promises, assurances, and threats of negative consequences are assessed in conjunction with Dassey’s age, intellectual deficits, lack of experience in dealing with the police, the absence of a parent, and other relevant personal characteristics, the free will of a reasonable person in Dassey’s position would  have been overborne. Once considered in this proper light, the conclusion that Dassey’s statement was involuntary under the totality of the circumstances is not one about which “fairminded jurists could disagree.”

That said, the court does not ascribe any ill motive to the investigators. Rather than an intentional and concerted effort to trick Dassey into confessing, what occurred here may have been the product of the investigators failing to appreciate how combining statements that they already “knew everything that happened” with assurances that Dassey was “OK” and had nothing to worry about collectively resulted in constitutionally impermissible promises.


Click here for the complete decision

07/19/2016Success with Reid - reunited with her fatherís American Memorial Flag
One of our Investigators, Corporal Steve Purdy (a graduate of your 4-day class in Branson West, MO on Feb 3-6, 2015), recently received international media coverage for a juvenile interview he did which enabled a victim 1,700 miles away to be reunited with the American Memorial Flag that draped her Dad’s casket in 1969.
Purdy, when asked about his success in the interview room, attributes “The Reid Technique” for this and the dozens of other successes he’s had since graduating from your course. I’m going to send you a link to a local coverage of the event but it was also covered by 42 other media outlets including the UK (Daily Mail), The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and the Seattle Times (to name a few).
Thank you for your work.
Tom McLain,Chief of Police,Willard, MO

(link to coverage referred to in the testimonial)

07/11/2016Military court decisions re interrogation issues
Military court decisions re interrogation issues
 
Over the years we have posted on our website numerous military court decisions that dealt with a variety of interrogation issues.  For example:
 

Military Court supports Reid Technique

 

In US v. Freeman the U.S. Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction of Freeman for "one specification of false official statement and one specification of assault with a means or force likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm." In reviewing the investigator's interrogation techniques (which he had identified as The Reid Technique) which elicited an incriminating statement from Freeman, the Court found that "We find no basis to conclude that the AFOSI overbore the appellant's will in eliciting the incriminating statement. Despite the fact that the interrogation was relatively lengthy, we conclude the circumstances do not evidence coercion within the meaning of Mil. R. Evid. 304. Additionally, none of the trickery which the agents employed appears to have been calculated to produce a false confession; rather, it is generally consistent with standard police practices." 

 


Click here for additional cases

06/01/2016Dr. Thomas Grissoís Understanding and Appreciating Miranda Rights
In Middleton v. State (Jan 2016) Dr. James Barnard testified for the defense. He prepared two reports, one was a psychological evaluation and the other examined Middleton's competency to waive his Miranda rights.

Dr. Barnard administered an instrument entitled “Dr. Thomas Grisso's Understanding and Appreciating Miranda Rights.” Dr. Barnard testified that Middleton's total score was 13 out of 30, more than two standard deviations below the mean. He testified that, although Middleton could paraphrase portions of Miranda, he “showed a very significant weakness in terms of his ability to intelligently apply knowledge of Miranda, to novel situations.” Dr. Barnard stated that it was difficult to reconcile his findings during the testing with what he saw on the confession video. He explained that there is no correlation between having had Miranda warnings administered in the past and actually understanding them. He also stated that there are no validity scales for Grisso’s Miranda test.


Here is some information on the Grisso Instrument, Understanding and Appreciating Miranda Rights:

06/01/2016The Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI) technique

In the January 2016 issue of Police Chief magazine, there was an article entitled “Using Science to Increase Effectiveness of Sexual Assault Investigations”. 


Highlights of the article include the following:

05/24/2016ìI Did Itî - Confession Contamination and Evaluation
Police Chief magazine published a “web-only article” earlier this month entitled, “I Did It” - Confession Contamination and Evaluation.  In the article the author, James Trainum, highlights a false confession case and effectively articulates the various issues that investigators must be aware of that can contribute to false confessions and identifies red flags that might suggest the possibility of a false confession.
 
 

Click here for the article.

05/19/2016Detective erroneously associates ìsleep deprivationî with the Reid Technique
In Crafton v. District of Columbia, et. al., Defendants (September 2015) reference is made by the interrogating detective that when questioning the suspect, Kim Crafton, he connected a “lengthy, grueling 17-hour videotaped interrogation…during which he used flawed techniques of interrogation, including sleep deprivation, that he had been taught by the Metropolitan Police Department, known as Reid training.”  We certainly want to set the record straight that under no circumstances or at anytime in any of our training programs or publications or books have we ever advocated sleep deprivation as an interrogation technique.  Furthermore, we point out in our book that if the subject remains adamant in their denials after a 3 to 4 hour period the investigator should re-evaluate the situation - he may be dealing with an innocent suspect.  We teach that an excessively long interrogation can be a significant factor in false confession cases.
 
It is interesting to note that in this same case the detective acknowledged developing alibi information in this case that established the innocence of the suspect, Kim Crafton, that he did not disclose to the suspect’s attorney.
 

Click here for the complete opinion.

04/30/2016Legal Updates Spring 2016
Legal Updates Spring 2016 The Legal Updates Spring 2016 column contains cases which address the following issues:
  • Detective erroneously associates “sleep deprivation” with the Reid Technique
  • Plaintiff claims Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism framed him for murder
  • Lying about DNA evidence is not coercive
  • Use of falsified documents purporting to represent the official results of a state-police lab’s DNA examination was coercive
  • Court finds that the investigator fabricated the plaintiff’s confession “out of whole cloth”
  • Promises to the defendant he would not face criminal charges if sexually touching a seven-year-old child was a mistake or accident was coercive
  • Expert should have been allowed to testify re defendant’s mental disabilities on issue of confession reliability
  • Suggesting to the defendant that he might get a better deal if he was “first to the table” and that he should consider the impact it would have on his son if he was in prison were not coercive statements
  • Value of video recording the interrogation to demonstrate confession voluntariness
  • Questioning the defendant at the scene of a stabbing was not custodial interrogation
  • Minimizing the seriousness of the crime is not coercive
  • Defendant suffering from withdrawal is capable of giving a voluntary confession
  • The value of video recording the interrogation to refute false claims of promises of leniency
  • Promises of leniency and threats of the death penalty are coercive
  • If invocation of right to remain silent is ignored (“I'm done talking. I don't wanna talk no more.”) the resulting confession is inadmissible
  • 7 hour interrogation not coercive

Click here for updates

03/29/2016The Legal Updates Winter 2016
The Legal Updates Winter 2016 column contains cases which address the following issues:
  • California Supreme Court upholds rejection of Dr. Richard Leo testimony
  • The value of videotaping the interrogation in disputing intoxication claim
  • Confession voluntariness: ambiguous invocation of right to remain silent and rejection of claim of coercive police tactics; rejection of exhaustion claims
  • Court upholds suppression of incriminating statements because Detective read Miranda rights in a "garbled' manner
  • Investigator's pre-Miranda statement rendered the subsequent waiver coerced and involuntary
  • Military Appeals Court upholds decision to deny defendant's request for assistance of expert in coercive interrogation techniques
  • Intrinsic falsehoods do not create a coerced confession
  • Ambiguous invocation of right to remain silent; and, police officer's implication that defendant might see the outside again if he confessed to a robbery gone bad instead of a premeditated murder was not an inducement rendering his confession involuntary
  • Expert should have been allowed to testify on the factors influencing the reliability of the defendant's confession
  • The statement "[i]f I am under arrest, take me to my bunk; all these questions, we can just skip them because I want to go to court" was an unambiguous invocation of his right to remain silent
  • Value of videotaping interrogation to demonstrate defendant's demeanor; lying about DNA evidence not coercive
  • South Dakota adopts the "trustworthiness" standard to determine whether admissions are admissible and sufficient to support a conviction in criminal cases
  • Threat of being raped in jail contributed to a coerced confession
  • Defendant's statement that he had a personal lawyer and that "[C]an we get him down here now, or ...?" was not an unambiguous request for a lawyer
  • Reference to the possible prosecution of his son did not render the confession inadmissible

Click here for updates

03/27/2016TASER Exposure and Cognitive Impairment: Implications for Valid Miranda Waivers and the Timing of Police Custodial Interrogations
In the above referenced article the authors suggest that an individual who has experienced TASER exposure will experience reduced cognitive functioning. As a result the authors question the abilities of an "average" suspect to make a knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver of their Miranda rights for up to 60 minutes following the TASER exposure.
Click here for the study

01/25/2016Rebutting a Murderer: Facts Proving Steven Avery is Guilty
In response to the Netflix series, Making a Murderer, Dan O'Donnell, who originally covered the Steven Avery trial as a news anchor and reporter, and is releasing a 10-part podcast series on iHeart Radio rebutting many of the claims made by the Netflix show along with presenting other facts as to why he thinks Steven did it.
Click here to hear the 10 part rebuttal

01/18/2016Making of a Murderer: The Reid Technique and Juvenile Interrogations
Here is the opening paragraph of our January/February Investigator Tip: "In the Netflix program, Making a Murderer, which examines the conviction of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey for the sexual assault and murder of Teresa Halbach, there is a reference made by Brendan Dassey's defense attorney, Mark Fremgen, that "the police are taught a technique by Reid in Chicago to elicit confessions, not get to the truth." Clearly Mr. Fremgen is misinformed or is intentionally misstating the facts."
Click here for the complete tip

01/17/2016Cases By Category
On a regular basis over the last 10 years we have published on our website and through our quarterly newsletter legal updates of current cases which address relevant interview and interrogation issues. The Investigator Tip for Sept/Oct and Nov/Dec is a 300+ page document in which we have attempted to categorize those hundreds of cases into a number of categories for easy reference. We will continue to update this list on a regular basis.

Categories:
  • Expert testimony on witness credibility
  • Pre-arrest Silence
  • Court decisions re inappropriate/impermissible investigator statements
    • In general
    • References to suspect's family members
    • Threats
    • Promises
  • Court decisions re appropriate/permissible investigator statements
    • In general
    • Accident scenario/Self-Defense
    • Deception
    • Minimization
    • Suggestion of reduced charges
    • References to suspect's family members
  • Physical factors that render confession inadmissible
  • Court decisions regarding the testimony of false confession experts
    • Richard Leo
    • Richard Ofshe
    • Saul Kassin
    • Deborah Davis
    • Bruce Frumkin
    • Christian Meissner
    • James Walker
    • James Stark
    • Pamela Auble
    • Alan Hirsch
    • Samuel Roll
    • E. Clay Jorgensen
    • Christopher Lamps
    • Jeffrey Vanderwater-Piercy
    • Bobby Miller
    • Karen Fukutaki
    • John Di Bacco
    • Mark Vigen
    • Scott Bresler
    • Robert Latimer
    • Solomom Fulero
    • Mark Costanzo
    • Daniel Grant
    • Rosalyn Shultz
    • Susan Garvey
    • Allison Redlich
    • Tom Wright
    • Gregory DeClue
    • Shawn Roberson
    • Michael Fuller
    • David Mantell
    • Jorey Krawczyn
  • Examples of erroneous testimony regarding the Reid Technique
  • Value of video recording
    • What the courts say about recording
    • Admissibility of video recorded statements
  • Interrogation room setting
  • Length of interrogation
  • Investigator pattern of practice considerations
  • Juvenile considerations
  • Polygraph examination issues
  • Mental capacity - affect on incriminating statement
    • What constitutes mental retardation?
  • Attorney negligence re not using false confession expert
  • Miranda issues
    • In general
    • Referring to Miranda rights as a formality
    • Miranda on a roadside stop
    • Request for attorney when not in custody
    • Request for a lawyer before advisement of rights
    • Telling suspect his attorney is at the station
    • Fifth warning not required
    • Ambiguous/unambiguous invocation of rights
    • Determining custody
    • When is re-advisement necessary?
    • Do inmates need to be advised of Miranda rights?
    • Incriminating statements to undercover police
  • Courts and The Reid Technique
  • The totality of circumstances
  • False confessions - defendant characteristics
  • Gudjonsson suggestibility test
  • Pragmatic implication
  • Confession corroboration
    Click here for the Sept/Oct and Nov/Dec 2015 Investigator Tip

01/16/2016International Association of Chiefs of Police publish guide for the questioning of Juveniles
The IACP has published a document entitled, Reducing Risks: An Executive's Guide to Effective Juvenile Interview and Interrogation. Among their recommendations, the authors point out the importance of making sure that young subjects understand the Miranda advisement, and that interrogators refrain from using deception during the interrogation. We agree. From our book, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions (5th edition) we state the following:

Precautionary considerations
A general distinction can be made between childhood (1-9) and adolescence (10-15). While both groups will be motivated to lie to avoid consequences associated with acts of wrongdoing, psychologically they are operating at quite different levels. It is our general recommendation that a person under the age of 10 should not be subjected to active persuasion techniques during interrogation (themes, alternative questions). At this age the child is susceptible to suggestion and is motivated to please a person in authority. The interaction between the investigator and child should be limited to a question and answer session which is centered on factual information and simple logic. Although children in this age group generally have good memory skills, it is selective and the investigator must be cautious in forming opinions of deception based on inconsistent recall. In this younger age group the primary difficulty with respect to interrogation is the child's undeveloped level of social responsibility and inability to comprehend the concept of future consequences; their lives focus around "here and now" concepts.

On the other hand, most adolescents have developed a sense of social responsibility to the extent that they know if they admit committing a serious crime they will suffer some future consequence. For this reason a confrontational interrogation may be used with this age group involving some active persuasion. The extent of persuasive tactics should not be dictated by the seriousness of the crime, but rather the maturity of the child.

When a child is taken into custody and advised of his or her Miranda rights, the question of whether the child is capable of making a knowing and voluntary waiver of those rights may arise. Certainly a child under the age of 10 is incapable of fully understanding the implications of waiving Miranda rights. Younger adolescents also may fall into this category. When a juvenile younger than 15, who has not had any prior experience with the police, is advised of his Miranda rights, the investigator should carefully discuss and talk about those rights with the subject (not just recite them) to make sure that he understands them. If attempts to explain the rights are unsuccessful, no interrogation should be conducted at that time. The same is true for a person who is mentally or psychologically impaired.

Courts routinely uphold the use of trickery and deceit during interrogations of adult suspects who are not mentally impaired. Within the area of trickery and deceit, clearly the most persuasive of these tactics is introducing fictitious evidence which implicates the suspect in the crime. As we state in Chapter 15, this technique should be avoided when interrogating a youthful suspect with low social maturity or a suspect with diminished mental capacity. These suspects may not have the fortitude or confidence to challenge such evidence and, depending on the nature of the crime, may become confused as to their own possible involvement if the police tell them evidence clearly indicates they committed the crime. Factors such as the adolescent's level of social responsibility and general maturity should be considered before fictitious evidence in introduced.

The ultimate test of the trustworthiness of a confession is its corroboration. The admissions, "I shot and killed Mr. Johnson" or, "I forced Susie Adams to have sex with me" may be elicited from an innocent juvenile (or adult) suspect. These admissions only become useful as evidence if they are corroborated by (1) information about the crime the suspect provides which was purposefully withheld from the suspect, and/or, (2) information not known by the police until after the confession which is subsequently verified.

Here is a link the IACP publication

01/16/2016The Legal Updates Fall 2015
The Legal Updates Fall 2015 column contains cases which address the following issues:
  • What constitutes an intellectual disability? What is mental retardation?
  • Is it coercive to tell a subject that it was important for him to tell the investigators how the child was injured so he could get proper treatment when the investigators knew that the victim was brain dead and would not recover?
  • Court rejects defendant's claim he confessed because of the physical problems and confusion caused by his diabetes
  • The defendant's Miranda rights were not rendered fatally defective by fact that he was not specifically advised that he had the right to have an attorney present "before and during questioning"
  • Court should have allowed testimony on false confessions
  • Investigator's comments that he thought the victim was telling the truth during the videotaped interrogation of the defendant did not constitute plain error
  • Lying about evidence - saying a witness placed the defendant in the victim's car - was not coercive
  • Court rules that threats to the defendant's ability to maintain contact with his infant daughter were psychologically coercive - the totality of circumstances
  • Defendant's statement that he wanted to speak with his uncle, whom he considered "better than a freaking attorney," before answering any further questions was a clear invocation of his right to remain silent
  • Value of video in demonstrating the fallacy of the defendant's allegations about the investigator's behavior
    Click Here for Legal Updates 2015

  • 11/18/2015Why Training with John E. Reid & Associates is so Valuable!
    Mark Holloway, developer of Thin Blue Training interviewed our Vice President, Lou Senese regarding interviewing and interrogation training and why it is so important.

    To listen to the podcast click here and choose TBT:4 Interview and Interrogation with John E. Reid and Associates.

    Click Here to Listen to PODCAST!

    11/11/2015Court admonishes investigator for not following Reid guidelines
    In this case the Appeals court pointed out several prescribed Reid procedures that were not followed by the investigator, resulting in a confession that was found to be involuntary:

    1. A non-accusatory interview was not conducted before initiating an interrogation

    2. The investigator misrepresented the case evidence when questioning a 13 year old

    3. There was no corroboration of the incriminating statement

    4. There was contamination - disclosing details of the crime


    In People v. Elias (June 2015) Court of Appeal, First District, Division 2, California the court concluded that "the prosecution failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Elias's inculpatory statements were voluntary, and the trial court therefore erred in receiving the statements in evidence." In this case a 13 year old had made incriminating statements about sexually touching a child under the age of 14.

    The interrogation of the defendant took place in an office in the elementary school building; lasted about 20 to 30 minutes; and, concluded when the investigator "suggested Elias might have touched A.T.'s vagina because he found it exciting or just because he was curious, Elias rejected the first suggestion and, to [the investigator's] comment, "[b]ut you did it," said, "[f]or curiosity." Elias thus accepted [the investigator's] alternative theory that he touched the bare skin of A.T.'s vagina for three to four seconds, in the midst of playing a video game with her brother, merely "out of curiosity."

    In reviewing the questioning of the defendant the Appeals Court pointed out several times that the investigator did not follow the guidelines for proper interview and interrogation procedures outlined our book, Criminal Interrogations and Confessions.

    In their opinion, the Appeals Court stated that "no evidence corroborated his incriminating statements." In their discussion of the issue of corroboration the court stated:

    "The best form of corroboration is the suspect's revelation of information only a guilty suspect would know. (Inbau et al., Criminal Interrogation, supra, at pp. 354-356.) Thus "[t]he admissions, 'I shot and killed Mr. Johnson' or 'I forced Susie Adams to have sex with me' may be elicited from a juvenile (or adult) suspect. These admissions become useful as evidence if they are corroborated by (1) information about the crime the suspect provides which was purposefully withheld from the suspect, and/or, (2) information not known by the police until after the confession which is subsequently verified." (Id. at p. 255.) Corroboration is "[t]he ultimate test of the trustworthiness of a confession." (Ibid.)"

    The court went on to state later in their opinion that "One of the ways police facilitate false confessions is by disclosing specific facts regarding the crime during the interrogation process, inducing the suspect to adopt these facts and thus accurately "confirm[ ] the preconceived story the police seek to have him describe."... The use of this suggestive technique--referred to as "contamination" has been found to be coercive and to have overcome the will of subjects, particularly those who are young or otherwise vulnerable. From the court's opinion:

    "As one of the authors of Criminal Interrogation has said, "[I]t is imperative that interrogators do 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. In each case there should be documented 'hold back' information about the details of how the crime was committed; details from the crime scene; details about specific activities perpetrated by the offender; etc. The goal is to match the suspect's confession against these details to establish the veracity of the statement." (Combating Contamination, at pp. 847-848, quoting Joseph P. Buckley, The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation, in Tom Williamson ed., Investigative Interviewing: Rights, Research, Regulation 190, 204-05 (Willan 2005).)"

    In discussing the investigator's use of deception during the interrogation (misrepresenting the evidence) and the fact that such a practice is inappropriate for this juvenile, the court quotes from Criminal Interrogation and Confessions:

    "The authors of the text expounding the Reid Technique candidly admit that "[m]any of the interrogation techniques presented in this text involve duplicity and pretense. To persuade a guilty suspect to offer an admission against self-interest, the investigator may have to falsely exaggerate confidence in the suspect's guilt, sympathize with the suspect's situation, and display feelings toward the suspect or his crime that are far from genuine. The investigator may suggest a face-saving motive for the commission of the crime, knowing it is not true. In some cases an investigator may falsely imply, or outright state, that evidence exists that links the suspect to the crime." (Inbau et al., Criminal Interrogation, supra, at p. 351.) But, as we have said, the text makes it eminently clear that such deceptive techniques "should be avoided when interrogating a youthful suspect with low social maturity " because such suspects "may not have the fortitude or 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." (Id. at p. 352, italics [emphasis] added.)

    Later in their opinion the court points out that the investigator violated "a basic tenet of the Reid Technique meant to reduce the likelihood of inducing false confessions" - conducting a non-accusatory interview of the defendant before engaging in an interrogation. The court further stated:

    "As underscored in the opening pages of the current edition of the text expounding the Reid Technique, an "interview" is "nonaccusatory," its purpose "is to gather information," "it may be conducted early in an investigation," "it may be conducted in a variety of environments," the conversation should be "free flowing and relatively unstructured," and "the investigator should take written notes." (Inbau et al., Criminal Interrogation, supra, at pp. 3-4.) On the other hand, an "interrogation" is "accusatory" and "involves active persuasion," it "is conducted in a controlled environment" and "only when the investigator is reasonably certain of the suspect's guilt," and the investigator "should not take any notes until after the suspect has told the truth and is fully committed to that position." (Id. at pp. 5-6, italics [emphasis] added.)

    "Proponents of the Reid Technique, and virtually all interrogation manuals, counsel that interrogation should almost never be undertaken without the benefit of a previous interview: "Absent a life-saving circumstance the investigator should conduct a non-accusatory interview before engaging in any interrogation. During the interview the investigator can establish rapport with the suspect, assess their credibility, develop investigative information and establish a behavioral baseline. Also, during the interview the suspect is more likely to reveal information that can be used to develop an interrogation strategy." (quoting from the Reid Position Paper at www.reid.com).
    Click here for the complete decision.

    10/22/2015The Inside Information Checklist
    In the August 2015 issue of The Police Chief magazine (published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police) Dr. Gregory DeClue has written an article entitled "The Inside Information Checklist." In this article Dr. DeClue careful examines the issue of false confessions, and in particular, the phenomena of "police contamination" - the disclosure by the investigators to the suspect of details concerning the commission of the crime. Dr. DeClue discusses the importance of "Holdback" information - details about the commission of the crime that the investigators agree to "hold back" and not reveal to anyone that they interview or interrogate during the investigation so as to use the disclosure of such information by the suspect as confirmation of the authenticity of his confession. Dr. DeClue has designed a Holdback List that he recommends investigators should use to document the holdback information in the case.



    Dr. DeClue recommends that all sessions with the suspect be recorded so that a review of the recording can identify whether the "holdback" details of the crime offered by the suspect were, in fact, from his own knowledge of the crime or if they had been disclosed to the suspect by the investigators. Specifically, Dr. DeClue states:

    "A review of the recording should answer important questions about the validity of the confession. Did the suspect provide inside information regarding the details of the crime?

    Did the suspect include some or all of the known details that were included on the Holdback List? If so, which of those details were never mentioned by the police during their interaction with the suspect?

    Did the suspect provide the details in response to open-ended questions or only in response to leading questions? For each detail provided by the suspect, was the detail an accurate match to independently collected evidence? Did the suspect provide information regarding details not known by the police prior to the interview or interrogation? If so, has subsequent investigation corroborated the suspect's story? Does each detail provided by the suspect accurately match independent evidence, or not?

    If the investigation has been conducted in a conscientious manner, these are very straightforward questions. The Inside Information Checklist (IIC), as shown in Appendix 2, provides a way to organize the details of an investigation, including the details of the suspect's statement, to see if the suspect provided accurate, independently verified details that demonstrate knowledge of inside information about a crime to which he or she has confessed."

    Click here for the complete article.

    10/15/2015Proper Persuasion - Reid article is the cover story for the August 2015 issue of Security Management magazine
    In the August 2015 issue of Security Management magazine from ASIS International, the cover story, "Proper Persuasion" is an article written by David Buckley - one of our senior instructors. Here is an excerpt:
    AUG 2015 | SECURITY MANAGEMENT

    Proper Persuasion

    COVER STORY | BY DAVID M. BUCKLEY

    DAVID M. BUCKLEY IS A SENIOR INSTRUCTOR AT JOHN E. REID & ASSOCIATES, INC., WHERE HE IS ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS. HE HAS BEEN TEACHING INTERVIEWING AND INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS AND IS THE AUTHOR OF HOW TO IDENTIFY, INTERVIEW & INTERROGATE CHILD ABUSE OFFENDERS AND COAUTHOR OF THE BOOK, ELECTRONIC RECORDING OF INTERROGATIONS

    Using persuasive techniques, rather than traditional interrogative methods, can help an investigator elicit the truth from a subject.

    MOVIES AND TELEVISION consistently portray interrogators as insensitive, aggressive brutes who use verbal threats, physical force, and false promises to get the information they seek. Think Jack Bauer of 24. But the process of interrogation has evolved significantly over the last few decades, so images associated with the word do not always accurately represent current tactics.

    A proper investigative interview does involve questioning, but it is not conducted in a forceful or threatening way. There are a number of important techniques an investigator should cultivate to achieve the ultimate goal of the interview: eliciting the truth from the subject. Maintaining a nonaccusatory tone is critical; the subject must feel comfortable disclosing important facts. A particular line of questioning should be followed to keep the interview from feeling like an interrogation, but also to convince the subject that it is in his or her best interest to tell the truth. Finally, the use of positive persuasion is a cornerstone of the investigative process. This technique includes seven steps, and the second step, the development of persuasive statements, is highlighted in this article. Examples of interview techniques taken from a real-life scenario are included throughout to illustrate how the interviewer can use these best practices to conduct successful investigations.


    Click here for the complete article

    10/15/2015Review of Reid 90 minute online training program
    ASIS International published a review of our 90 minute online training program, "The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation for Investigators - Parts 1-7" in the August 2015 issue of Security Management. Here it is:

    Book Review: The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation for Investigators
    8/17/2015 by John E. Reid and Associates, Inc.; Reviewed by James "Rick" Youngblood, CPP
    Appears In August 2015 Print Issue

    The Reid Technique is a well-known method for interviewing and interrogating subjects. John E. Reid and Associates began developing the technique in 1947, and the company claims that its process is the most widely used approach to questioning subjects in the world. The Reid Technique is most often taught via multiday, in-person classes; now the company is offering a condensed online training program that provides a detailed overview of the Reid Technique and covers many aspects of interviews and interrogations.

    Early on, it explains the difference between an interview and an interrogation and discusses when to use which type of questioning. Students learn the types of questions that should be asked in the early stages of an interview and lines of questioning that can be used to extract the information needed from the person being interviewed. It details how those aspects are different for an interrogation, including asking leading questions, direct questions, and more. Details are included for room setup, including where to place the interviewer, interviewee, and any witnesses.

    Staged interviews and interrogations, using actors as interviewees and investigators, illustrate the messages of the presentation. They follow the process of what would take place during a real interview or interrogation.

    Adding to the learning experience are handouts for each part of the instruction. The handouts contain some good initial information pertaining to the individual sections. As the program progresses, students will be able to fill in the blanks to complete each handout.

    The seven parts of the program include an overview, behavior symptom analysis, nonverbal behavior, verbal behavior, investigative interviewing, interrogation, and a summary. This training program is a valuable tool for those new to the investigative process and others at the intermediate level.

    Reviewer: James "Rick" Youngblood, CPP, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, security, and loss prevention. He has conducted countless interviews and interrogations in many settings. Youngblood has authored numerous articles and worked as a professor teaching security management for more than 10 years, including online courses. He is vice chair of the ASIS Crime Prevention and Loss Prevention Council and a member of the Investigations Council. He is the author of the new book A Comprehensive Look at Fraud Identification and Prevention.
    Click Here for the complete article

    08/01/2015Legal Updates for Summer 2015
    The Legal Updates Summer 2015 column contains cases which address the following issues:
    • Court admonishes investigator for not following Reid guidelines
    • Value of video recording interrogation to determine competency to waive rights
    • 10-year-old can make voluntary waiver of rights and can understand the wrongfulness of his acts
    • The effectiveness of an anticipatory invocation of the Miranda-based right to counsel
    • Court rejects claim that as a foreign student defendant did not understand the Miranda rights
    • Court does not allow Dr. Craig Haney to testify about false confessions
    • Military court upholds denial of request for false confession expert assistance
    • Competency and the value of video recording the interrogation
    • What constitutes interrogation?
    • Human Lie Detector testimony inadmissible
    • Confession found inadmissible due to promise of no jail and help finding shelter for defendant and her children to live
    • Testimony regarding threat of deportation of family members should have been admitted; could cause a coerced confession
    • Failure to record the interrogation was a violation of Wisconsin law, but harmless error
    • The application of the Garibay test to determine confession admissibility from a non-native English speaker
    • Testimony by the investigator that the defendant's answers during a police interview were evasive was acceptable
    • Testimony of Dr. James Walker re false confession was not persuasive
    • An 'implicit waiver' of the 'right to remain silent' is sufficient to admit a suspect's statement into evidence
    • The defendant's claim that he could not read the Miranda waiver form because he did not have his glasses was disproved by the video of the interrogation

    Click here for updates

    06/17/2015The Reid Technique - A Position Paper
    As the world leader in teaching interview and interrogation techniques, The Reid Technique is commonly challenged by defense attorneys and interrogation critics. We have prepared a position paper that will provide you with information to respond to these challenges. In this paper we address the following topics:

  • The core principles of the Reid Technique
  • Best Practices
  • Why false confession experts criticize The Reid Technique
  • What the courts say about false confession experts
  • What the courts say about The Reid Technique
  • The best way to guard against false confessions
    Click here to access this position paper.

  • 06/01/2015Legal Updates for Spring 2015
    The Legal Updates Spring 2015 column contains cases which address the following issues:
    • Court rules that a minimal understanding of Miranda rights is sufficient to make a knowing and intelligent waiver
    • Court excludes the testimony of Dr. Deborah Davis regarding false confessions
    • Aggressive behavior does not lead to a coerced confession
    • Defendant not under arrest in his home even though his movements are monitored
    • The propriety of utilizing a suspect's family member during an interrogation
    • "[n]o arrest, no matter how lawful or objectively reasonable, gives an arresting officer or his fellow officers license to deliberately manufacture false evidence against an arrestee"
    • Confession voluntariness - a case study
    • Prosecutor inserts false confession in police interrogation transcript
    • Failure to call expert witness to testify about false confessions was not basis for finding of ineffective counsel
    • Statements inadmissible because the investigator advised defendant he would protect him from going to jail
    • Court admits the confession the defendant made to the victim's mother in a child abuse case
    • Value of video to help determine if schizophrenia caused "unknowing or involuntary" responses
    • "I just as soon wait until I get a public defendant or whatever" ruled an unequivocal invocation of request for an attorney
    • Intoxication (methamphetamine ice, cocaine and beer) did not render incriminating statements inadmissible: value of video
    • Lying to a suspect and "playing on his emotions" does not render the confession inadmissible

    Click here for updates

    05/11/2015International Research Validates the Core Elements of the Reid Technique
    Over the years numerous international research studies have been conducted on the Reid Technique ñ here are a few that include research from Japan, Korea, Spain, Canada and the US. All of the studies establish the validity of various core elements of the Reid Technique.
    Click here for details.

    04/13/2015High Value Detainee Group research validates the core principles of The Reid Technique
    From the Scientific American (Vol. 26, Issue 23) an article entitled, "How to Extract a Confession...Ethically" confirms the basic tenant of the Reid Technique - always treat the subject with understanding and empathy.

    In 2009 President Barack Obama convened the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG), made up of cognitive and social psychologists and other experts. This winter the HIG released its findings in a special issue of Applied Cognitive Psychology.

    The research concluded the following:
    • Coming across as empathetic causes interrogation targets to open up more
    Since 1947 the core principle of the Reid Technique has always been to treat the suspect with empathy and understanding. In our book, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions (5th edition, 2013) in Chapter 6, Qualifications, Attitude, and General Conduct of the Investigator, we state the following:

    Treat the suspect with decency and respect, regardless of the nature of the offense. No matter how revolting or horrible a crime may be (such as a sexually motivated, brutal killing of a small child), the suspect should not be treated or referred to as a despicable, inhumane individual. A sympathetic, understanding attitude and interrogation approach is far more effective. In one of many cases that could be used to illustrate this point, a sex offender, after his confession, said, "I would have told the officers about this earlier if they had only treated me with some decency and respect."

    Many of the findings of the HIG research confirms the Reid Technique, including their conclusion that the investigator should "tell your target a story about what he or she did, leading the person to believe you already know what happened." This is exactly what we do in the development of our interrogation theme. In Chapter 13, The Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation, we state that the theme development should focus on describing the suspect's behavior in light of reasons and motives that will psychologically justify or excuse his behavior - reinforcing "the guilty suspect's own rationalizations and justifications for committing the crime."

    04/13/2015Author corrects misrepresentation of the Reid Technique
    In PsycCRITIQUES (Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, American Psychological Association) M. Dyan McGuire reviews the book, "The Miranda Ruling: its Past, Present and Future" by Lawrence Wrightsman and Mary Pitman. In her review Dr. McGuire points out the misrepresentations that Wrightsman and Pitman make about the Reid Technique in their book.

    The assertion that the Reid technique does not train people to determine if a suspect did not commit the crime is also factually incorrect (p. 145). As a "graduate" of the basic and advanced Reid training courses, I know that a considerable amount of time is spent on this subject, including viewing the interrogation of an innocent person to evaluate behavioral and linguistic cues of truthfulness. Moreover, John E. Reid and Associates' (2010) current training manuals cover behavioral assessment for both truth and deception (Senese, 2009).
    Click here for the complete book review by Dr. McGuire.

    03/18/2015Legal Updates for Winter 2015
    The Legal Updates Winter 2015 column contains cases which address the following issues:
    • Court did not allow David Mantell to testify as an expert on false confessions
    • Defendant was not denied effective assistance due to trial counsel's failure to develop and present expert witness testimony concerning claimed involuntariness of his confession
    • Defendant was not denied effective assistance due to trial counsel's failure to develop and present expert witness testimony concerning claimed involuntariness of his confession
    • Court finds expert testimony regarding false confession phenomenon was not admissible
    • Violation of Garrity rule nullifies admissibility of incriminating statement
    • The importance of accurate translations by the interpreter - erroneously suggesting a lesser punishment if defendant confessed
    • Defendant should have been advised on his rights before questioning in the pat-down room
    • Investigator's statement that it was time for the defendant to "come to Jesus" was not a coercive statement
    • Court excludes the testimony of Dr. Jorey Krawczyn on false confession issues
    • Use of a psychologically-oriented techniques during questioning is not inherently coercive; request to have his mother in the room was not an assertion of his right to remain silent
    • Investigators failed to honor the defendant's invocation of his right to silence
    • Videotaped interrogation admissible even though investigator repeatedly accused defendant of lying
    • Suggesting to the defendant that the stabbing death was self-defense does not render the confession involuntary
    • Employing deceptive practices to elicit a confession are not coercive
    • 13-year olds statement "Could I have an attorney? Because that's not me" Was an Unequivocal and Unambiguous Invocation of his Rights
    • Preamble to the advisement of rights undermined the subsequent Miranda advisement

    Click here for Legal Updates 2015

    02/10/2015Why 'Tell me why you did it' is a failed technique
    Lou Senese, Reid VOP, just published a brief article in PoliceOne.com entitled ìWhy ëTell me why you did ití is a filed technique.
    Click here for the article:

    02/10/2015Court offers scathing rejection of false confession expert Dr. Alison Redlich
    In People v. Oliver (July 2014) the Supreme Court, Kings County, New York rejected the testimony of false confession expert Alison Redlich. In their opinion the court stated the following:

    "Dr. Alison Redlich, one of a small group of social scientists who have repeatedly proffered themselves as experts on the subject of false confessions, describes herself as an expert in "the areas of social influence, decision making, scientific methods, and specifically interrogation techniques and confession." She asserts that her testimony "will give jurors a more accurate understanding how to weight [sic] the confession itself and how to avoid using inaccurate cues and assumptions to judge the truthfulness of the confession and/or the defendant's testimony about his confession," yet her proffer makes no reference to the defendant at all, nor to the particular circumstances of this case. Instead, she has provided what appears to be a general treatise on the subject of false confessions. For that reason alone, her proposed testimony does not meet the threshold standard required by the Court of Appeals-that the proposed testimony be relevant to the particular facts of the case before the court.

    Moreover, while Dr. Redlich has impressive academic credentials, there are serious reasons to question the extent of her expertise, the legitimacy of the theories she propounds, and her objectivity.

    ... the Court is not required to accept Dr. Redlich's assertion that her theories are "generally accepted among scientists," especially since many of the researchers she includes in that group are the very researchers whose testimony has been consistently rejected by New York courts. ( See cases cited infra.). As some of those cases make plain, the "relevant scientific community" is not at all unanimous about false confession research, the methods employed by Dr. Redlich and her colleagues, and the conclusions they reach. Dr. Michael Welner, a board certified psychiatrist, is of the opinion that false confessions are "rare events," and that the only way to determine whether a confession is actually false is through DNA testing that disproves the guilt of the confessing defendant.... He dismisses the theories Dr. Redlich and her colleagues advocate as "soft science," pointing out that some of the research actually relied on newspaper reports of cases as sources of allegedly false confessions.

    There is even dissension among the researchers that Dr. Redlich cites. One of them, Dr. Saul Kassin, has conceded that there is no "scientific basis for distinguishing true from false confessions," that "further research in the field is sorely needed," and that lay people may be able to assess whether confessions are in fact false.... Dr. Redlich herself has admitted that her theories cannot be tested empirically.

    ... Dr. Redlich's report is filled with speculation, unsupported theories, and advocacy rather than expertise. There is no empirical support for many of her assertions.

    ... A review of her curriculum vitae reveals that Dr. Redlich has never worked in any law enforcement capacity, nor does she articulate the basis of her theoretical expertise. She is nonetheless critical of law enforcement in general, and police interrogations in particular, which she describes as "confidence games" with "strategies based on the manipulation and betrayal of trust." Given these views, it is difficult to envision an interrogation of which she would approve. In any case, while she is a critic of the police, the Court does not accept her statement that she is an expert in police methods, at least insofar as this case is concerned."
    Click here for the complete decision.

    02/10/2015Courts affirm interrogation techniques that are often mischaracterized by false confession experts
    Courts affirm interrogation techniques that are often mischaracterized by false confession experts

    In our Legal Updates Summer 2014 we have several cases that we wanted to highlight for our audience that specifically affirm interrogation techniques that false confession critics often mischaracterize and associate with false confession topics.

    1. Misrepresenting evidence:

    False confession experts ofttimes testify that when the police misrepresent evidence to the suspect (for example, that there was a DNA match) there is a high probability that it will cause a false confession. In actuality it is not the misrepresentation of evidence that is the impetus, but rather the "aggravating circumstances" otherwise present during the interrogation. Here are two cases addressing the issue of misrepresenting evidence to the suspect.

    In Jefferson v. State (July 2014) the Supreme Court of Nevada found that "Jefferson's argument that his confession was rendered involuntary by the detectives' deceptive interrogation techniques is unavailing. Jefferson argues that the detectives misrepresented DNA evidence by exaggerating what DNA evidence could reveal to them and the time frame in which they would learn the information. However, "an officer's lie about the strength of the evidence against the defendant is, in itself, insufficient to make the confession involuntary."
    Furthermore, in US v. Graham (June 2014) the US District Court, N.D. Georgia, pointed out that misrepresenting evidence is "one factor to consider among the totality of the circumstances in determining voluntariness." ... However, "[c]ourts have been reluctant to deem trickery by the police a basis for excluding a confession on the ground that the tricks made the confession coerced and thus involuntary."

    The court points out that there are a number of cases in which statements elicited from a defendant in response to police deception were found involuntary,.... but "these cases all involve significant aggravating circumstances not present here, such as, subjecting the accused to an exhaustingly long interrogation, the application of physical force or the threat to do so, or the making of a promise that induces a confession."

    In other words, it is not the misrepresentation of evidence that is the genesis of a coerced or even false confession, but the "aggravating circumstances" present during the interrogation.

    2. The accident scenario:

    False confession experts ofttimes testify that when the police suggest to the suspect that the shooting may have been an accident, it is tantamount to a promise of leniency and that it is likely to cause an innocent person to confess. Here are two cases addressing the issue of suggesting that the die may have been caused accidentally.
    In State v. Turner (May 2014) the Nebraska Supreme Court held that misinformation by police officers during the defendant's interview that felony murder would receive a lesser sentence than premeditated murder did not overcome defendant's will so as to render his confession involuntary based on purported promises of leniency. From the court's opinion: "Turner argues that his confession was involuntary because it was induced by an implied promise that he would receive a lesser sentence if he confessed that the shooting was accidental. As evidence of this implied promise, he points to Ficenec's statements that it made "a big difference" how and why the shooting occurred..." After an examination of the totality of circumstances the court rejected this argument and found the confession admissible.

    In Smith v. State (June 2014) the Supreme Court of Georgia held that statements by the police detectives during a custodial interrogation to the effect that shooting the victim was an accident in response to the victim lunging at the defendant did not constitute a slightest hope of benefit that could render defendant's confession inadmissible.

    3. Confession voluntariness:

    In People v. McIntyre (May 2014) the Colorado Supreme Court laid out 13 factors that they consider in the evaluation of the voluntariness of a confession:

    1. whether the defendant was in custody;

    2. whether the defendant was free to leave;

    3. whether the defendant was aware of the situation;

    4. whether the police read Miranda rights to the defendant;

    5. whether the defendant understood and waived Miranda rights;

    6. whether the defendant had an opportunity to confer with counsel or anyone else prior to or during the interrogation;

    7. whether the statement was made during the interrogation or volunteered later;

    8. . whether the police threatened [the] defendant or promised anything directly or impliedly;

    9. the method [or style] of the interrogation;

    10. the defendant's mental and physical condition just prior to the interrogation;

    11. the length of the interrogation;

    12. the location of the interrogation; and

    13. the physical conditions of the location where the interrogation occurred.



    02/10/2015Compendium: Electronic Recording of Custodial Interrogations
    On their website the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has published an extensive compendium of the laws and court decisions regarding the electronic recording of custodial interrogations. Here is the article:

    "There are few aspects of police work more important than questioning arrested suspects in felony investigations. To a large extent, our criminal justice system depends upon the accuracy of how the results are reported including all statements, physical actions, facial expressions, and tones of voice of individuals under interrogation.

    During the past decade there has been an increasing use of electronic recording equipment by law enforcement to record their interrogations of felony suspects from the Miranda warnings on. Subsequently, there has been concurrent support for legislation and court rules governing these recordings, to ensure statewide consistency in police and sheriffs' practices and procedures. For example, in 2003, there were two state supreme courts that required recording of custodial interrogations and four others followed suit.

    Tom Sullivan, NACDL member and partner with Jenner & Block, compiled the Compendium and provides an introduction to the project below."


    • PDF version of the complete compendium.



    • The State Map features the most up to date information on pending/enacted legislation and case law, in each state.


    • To view the national organizations that have taken formal positions regarding the practice of electronic recording, click here.


    • To view the foreign countries that have recording statutes and rules, click here.


    02/10/2015Charles Piper, CRT new article: Needles in a paystack: Physician submits $500,000 in false claims
    Mr. Charles Piper, Certified in the Reid Technique, has published an article in Fraud magazine entitled, Needles in a paystack: Physician submits $500,000 in false claims. Here is a link to the article

    On January 9, 2013 we posted a notice in the What's New column for two other articles by Charles Piper:


    Two very informative fraud articles written by Charles Piper, Reid graduate and Certified in the Reid Technique (CRT)


    Mr. Charles Piper has written two excellent fraud articles for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners which we are linking to with their permissions:

    "10 popular health care provider fraud schemes" Jan/Feb 2013 Click here


    "Finding the bid riggers: 12 red flags of contract and procurement fraud" July/Aug 2012
    Click here


    Charles has authored book on fraud investigations entitled: Investigator and Fraud Fighter Guidebook: Operation War Stories

    Click Here for Book

    02/10/2015Japanese research confirms Reid approach
    In the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation we have always espoused a nonjudgmental, neutral and objective demeanor by the investigator during the interview and an empathetic, understanding approach during the interrogation - building rapport with the suspect and letting the suspect now that anyone in similar circumstances might have done the same thing.

    Recent research in Japan confirms that building relationships with the suspect "gets the best results" and minimizes the chances of a false confession.
    Click here to read the story

    02/10/2015Can a subject's silence be used in trial as an indication of his guilt?
    Earlier this year an article entitled, Silence Is No Longer Golden: How Lawyers Now Advise Suspects in Light of Salinas v. Texas, was published in The Champion (a publication from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers). In this article the authors describe the US Supreme Court decision in Salinas v. Texas as follows: "In a 5-4 decision, Salinas held that a witness, whom police subject to a noncustodial questioning without Miranda warning, cannot rely on the Fifth Amendment unless he expressly invokes it. That is, if a witness remains silent in the face of such questioning, the prosecution can, at trail, introduce his silence as substantive evidence of his guilt. And further, the police do not have to inform the witness in advance of his right against self-incrimination."

    Click here to access the complete article



    Click here to access the US Supreme Court Salinas decision

    02/10/2015Toronto Sun Gets It Wrong
    In a recent article entitled, "Peel Regional Police investigative techniques questioned" the author, Sam Pazzano, makes a number of erroneous statements about The Reid Technique, primarily based on the information he received from two lawyers involved in the Mikey Spence case. Here is the email that we sent to Mr. Pazzano:

    Mr. Pazzano,

    I just read your article entitled, "Peel Regional Police investigative techniques questioned" and was very surprised that with your extensive discussion of The Reid Technique you did not call our office to ask us about the technique that we have been teaching to the law enforcement community for over 50 years. At the very least I would think that you would want to confirm whether or not the description of the Reid Technique given to you by lawyers James Fleming and David Schulman was, in fact, accurate.

    Let me clarify a few of the errors in your article.
    The Reid Technique is built on a core of principles that include the following:

    1. Always conduct interviews and interrogations in accordance with the guidelines established by the courts
    2. Do not make any promises of leniency

    3. Do not threaten the subject with any physical harm or inevitable consequences

    4. Do not deny the subject any of their rights

    5. Do not deny the subject the opportunity to satisfy their physical needs

    6. Always treat the subject with dignity and respect


    In your article you quote Fleming and Schulman as stating that "The Reid Technique presumes the person is guilty." That simply is not the case. The Reid Technique, when applied as we teach the process, should always begin with a non-accusatory interview designed to develop investigative and behavioral information. During this interview process (which some investigators equate with the PEACE model) the investigator plays a neutral and objective fact finder. It is only when the investigative information and evidence indicate that that a subject may be withholding or fabricating relevant information that an interrogation would take place. Accusing a subject of lying should never be the first contact with a subject.

    In your article you state, "In Canada, there have been a number of high profile cases where police interrogators using the Reid technique created false confessions, some of which resulted in wrongful convictions." That is absolutely not true. False confessions are not caused by the proper application of The Reid Technique, they are caused when the investigators engage in behavior that the courts have deemed to be coercive - threats of harm or inevitable consequences; promises of leniency; denial of a subject's rights; and excessively long interrogations to name a few. In reality, the Canadian courts, including the Supreme Court, have consistently upheld the techniques that we teach.

    In the case of R. v. Amos (2009) the Ontario Superior Court upheld the techniques that the interrogator successfully used to obtain a confession, many of which are elements of the Reid Technique. For example, when discussing the interrogator's efforts to minimize the suspect's moral responsibility, the court stated the following:

    There is nothing problematic or objectionable about police, when questioning suspects, in downplaying or minimizing the moral culpability of their alleged criminal activity. I find there was nothing improper in these and other similar transcript examples where [the detective] minimized [the accused's] moral responsibility. At no time did he suggest that a confession by the subject would result in reduced or minimal legal consequences. Those questions did not minimize the offence anywhere close to the extent of oppression within the meaning of Oickle and other authorities. In using the words "this is your opportunity" to tell your story, and statements to the effect that "your credibility is at its highest now", and in asserting to the accused that he would not be as credible ten months down the road at trial when he had "spoken to lawyers", and the like, the detective was making an approach to the accused's intellect and conscience.

    In R. v. Oickle, (2000) the Canadian Supreme Court overturned a lower court's suppression of an arson confession and expressed implicit approval of many of the interrogation techniques utilized in The Reid Technique. In Oickle, the Court of Appeals suggested that the interrogator's understanding demeanor improperly abused the suspect's trust. The Canadian Supreme Court disagreed stating,

    "In essence, the court [of appeals] criticizes the police for questioning the respondent in such a gentle, reassuring manner that they gained his trust. This does not render a confession inadmissible. To hold otherwise would send the perverse message to police that they should engage in adversarial, aggressive questioning to ensure they never gain the suspect's trust, lest an ensuing confession be excluded."

    Furthermore, in Oickle, the Court of Appeals concluded that the police improperly offered leniency to the suspect by minimizing the seriousness of his offense. The Supreme Court again disagreed stating,

    "Insofar as the police simply downplayed the moral culpability of the offence, their actions were not problematic."

    In Oickle the Supreme Court offers support for the investigator's necessity to be less than truthful in persuasive efforts during an interrogation. It referenced to the often cited decision of Justice Lamer who wrote, "The investigation of crime and the detection of criminals is not a game to be governed by the Marques's of Queensbury rules. The authorities, in dealing with shrewd and often sophisticated criminals, must sometimes of necessity resort to tricks or other forms of deceit and should not through the rule be hampered in their work. What should be repressed vigorously is conduct on their part that shocks the community." (Rothman v. The Queen, 1981)

    In the Reid Technique we teach that when a suspect appears to be debating whether or not to tell the truth, the use of an alternative question can be a very effective means to obtain the first acknowledgement of the truth. Examples of an alternative question include, "Have you done this many times before or was this just the first time?", "Did you blow that money on drugs and partying, or did you use it to pay bills?", "Was this whole thing your idea or did you get talked into it?" It is important to recognize that none of these alternative questions address real consequences the suspect may face. This concept is emphasized repeatedly during training in The Reid Technique, including several examples of improper alternative questions. An example of an improper alternative question is, "If you planned this out and it was premeditated then we're talking first degree murder. That means spending the rest of your life behind bars. On the other hand, if this happened on the spur of the moment then it's just manslaughter." Clearly this alternative question is telling the suspect that if he confesses to manslaughter he will be sentenced less harshly. It is improper and could be used as grounds to suppress a confession.

    In Oickle, the Court of Appeals expressed concern that the use of an alternative question implied a threat or promise of leniency. In refuting this argument, the Canadian Supreme Court offers a clear test of whether or not an implied threat or promise crosses the legal line to where an ambiguous statement may invalidate a confession. In their opinion they state,

    "The most important consideration in all cases is to look for a quid pro quo offer by interrogators, regardless of whether it comes in the form of a threat or a promise."

    A relevant passage from R. v. Rennie illustrates excellent insight into the criminal mind:

    "Very few confessions are inspired solely by remorse. Often the motives of an accused are mixed and include a hope that an early admission may lead to an earlier release or a lighter sentence. If it were the law that the mere presence of such a motive, even if promoted by something said or done by a person in authority, led inexorably to the exclusion of a confession, nearly every confession would be rendered inadmissible. This is not the law. In some cases the hope may be self-generated. If so, it is irrelevant, even if it provides the dominant motive for making the confession. There can be few prisoners who are being firmly but fairly questioned in a police station to whom it does not occur that they might be able to bring both their interrogation and their detention to an earlier end by confession."

    There are always two sides to every story - as a reporter I thought that would be a paramount concern of yours - to present both sides.

    Joseph P. Buckley
    President
    John E. Reid and Associates

    01/29/2015False Confessions
    False confessions do occur. Although they happen infrequently, they often involve high profile cases. Whenever they occur it is incumbent on all investigators to examine the details of each case in order to learn the cause and effect relationship between what happened during the questioning of the subject and the subsequent false admission of guilt. Generally speaking, the overwhelming majority of false confession cases involve investigator behavior that exceeds the parameters established by the courts and professional best practices.

    To guard against the possibility of a false confession, all investigators should adhere to the following 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 decency and respect

    • Do not conduct excessively long interrogations

    • Exercise extreme caution when questioning juveniles and individual with mental disabilities


    Here a number of websites that discuss false confession cases:

    http://courses2.cit.cornell.edu/sociallaw/student_projects/FalseConfessions.html

    http://www.innocenceproject.org/understand/False-Confessions.php

    http://www.truthaboutfalseconfessions.com/

    http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictions/issues/falseconfessions/

    >http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/the-confessions/false-confessions-and-interrogations/

    http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/librarysite/garrett_falseconfess.htm

    http://listverse.com/2013/05/22/10-controversial-convictions-based-on-false-confessions/

    12/03/2014Research indicates a 97.8% accuracy rate at detecting deception
    A recent study published in Human Communication Research by researchers at Korea University, Michigan State University, and Texas State University -- San Marcos found that using active questioning of individuals yielded near-perfect results, 97.8%, in detecting deception.

    An expert using the Reid Technique interrogated participants in the first study, this expert was 100% accurate (33 of 33) in determining who had cheated and who had not. That kind of accuracy has 100 million to one odds. The second group of participants were then interviewed by five US federal agents with substantial polygraph and interrogation expertise. Using a more flexible and free approach (interviews lasted from three minutes to 17 minutes), these experts were able to accurately detect whether or not a participant cheated in 87 of 89 interviews (97.8%). In the third study, non-experts were shown taped interrogations of the experts from the previous two experiments. These non-experts were able to determine deception at a greater-than-chance rate -- 79.1% (experiment 1), and 93.6% (experiment 2).

    Previous studies with "experts" usually used passive deception detection where they watched videotapes. In the few studies where experts were allowed to question potential liars, either they had to follow questions scripted by researchers (this study had no scripts) or confession seeking was precluded. Previous studies found that accuracy was near chance -- just above 50%.

    "This research suggests that effective questioning is critical to deception detection," Levine said. "Asking bad questions can actually make people worse than chance at lie detection, and you can make honest people appear guilty. But, fairly minor changes in the questions can really improve accuracy, even in brief interviews. This has huge implications for intelligence and law enforcement.
    Click here for the study

    12/03/2014Legal Updates Fall 2014
    The Legal Updates Fall 2014 column contains cases which address the following issues:
    • Court allows surreptitious video recording of incriminating statement into evidence
    • Court rules that Dr. Shawn Roberson would not be allowed to testify on false confession issues at trial
    • Counsel's failure to retain expert witness on false confessions was matter of reasonable trial strategy
    • Social Security Fraud
    • Failure to develop and present expert testimony on false confession issues is does not indicate ineffective counsel (value of video taping interrogation)
    • Value of video recording to demonstrate confession voluntariness
    • Court rejects testimony of forensic psychiatrist that defendant fits the profile of someone who would be susceptible to giving a false confession
    • Police are not required to give Miranda advisement of persons they suspect or question, even in a police station, absent custody
    • Court rejects the suggestion that a loss of visitation rights was coercive
    • Juvenile interrogation - confession volutariness issues
    • Repeated implied promises of leniency nullify confession admissibility
    • Defendant who scored 53 on IQ test can give a knowing and intelligent waiver of his rights
    • Court finds confession was result of coercive police interrogation - the importance of using extreme care when questioning an individual with limited mental capacity
    • Confession voluntariness and the exclusion of clinical psychologist at guilt phase (value of video recording)
    • Pre-arrest silence cannot be used as substantive evidence of guilt

    Click here to Review Updates

    09/30/2014Legal Updates Summer 2014
    Legal Updates Summer 2014 The Legal Updates Summer 2014 column contains cases which address the following issues:
    • Investigator's statement that felony murder would receive a lesser sentence than premeditated murder did not render confession involuntary
    • Video of interrogation demonstrates that juvenile did not make a knowing and intelligent waiver of his rights
    • Confession rendered involuntary when defendant told he could not get a fair trial because of his race
    • Value of recording: Video of interrogation contradicts defendant's claims
    • US Supreme Court finds Florida test to determine intellectual disability as factor for eligibility for execution unconstitutional
    • Investigators operated at the "outer bounds of permissible conduct"
    • Confession was coerced when investigators threatened to have Child Protective Services take defendant's child away
    • Defendant claims statements were involuntary because he had been given morphine, hydrocodone and promethazine
    • Colorado Supreme Court examines 13 factors that should be considered in evaluating whether a confession was coerced
    • "the law permits the police to pressure and cajole, conceal material facts, and actively mislead"
    • PA Supreme Court rules that expert testimony of false confessions invades the province of the jury
    • Does interrogating a suspect in a police car create a custodial environment?
    • Confession voluntariness - lying about the evidence
    • Georgia Supreme Court rejects the idea that a suggestion that the shooting was an accident constitutes a hope of leniency
    • Court offers scathing rejection of false confession expert Dr. Allison Redlich
    • Electronic recording of the confession is not required
    • Bible in the interrogation room is not coercive

    Click Here to Review Updates

    08/14/2014Not so Fast - the Central Park Jogger case
    As everyone knows the Central Park Jogger case has become a high profile "false confession" case - highlighted by the documentary Ken Burns did about the case.

    Not so fast. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal sheds some very interesting light on the case. The story was written by Michael Armstrong who is of counsel at McLaughlin & Stern. He has served as Queens County district attorney and chief counsel to the Knapp Commission investigating corruption in the New York City Police Department.
    Click Here to View

    07/15/2014From Law and Order magazine: The Reid Technique Webinar - The Reid Technique Delivered Right to Your Training Room
    In the June 2014 issue of Law and Order magazine the editorial staff profiles the new online training program developed by John E. Reid and Associates for investigators. As the article states, "The three-hour Reid Technique webinar is an excellent summary of the 40-hour instructor led classroom course. It serves as both an introduction to Th4e Reid Technique and as a refresher to the course."
    Click here for the compete article.

    07/15/2014The Hunting Of Man: Lies, Damn Lies, And Police Interrogations
    Miller W. Shealy, Jr., Associate Professor of Law, Charleston School of Law, has just published an article entitled, The Hunting Of Man: Lies, Damn Lies, And Police Interrogations, in which he discusses and then support the use of deception by investigators during their interrogations. Here is the article's Abstract:

    ABSTRACT

    The job of the police is to stop crime by stopping criminals. It is a real life, deadly cat-and-mouse game where the hunter and the hunted spar for advantage and success. To accomplish its goals, law enforcement can draw from a vast array of technologies, stratagems, and devices. One of the primary weapons in the law enforcement arsenal is deceit. Criminals, like most prey, are lured into clever traps set by police. The police create circumstances and situations that are designed to prompt the criminal suspect into revealing incriminating information. This is obvious in the use of confidential informants, undercover police officers, and other common police tactics. Suspects are "tricked" by police into revealing themselves. A controversial aspect of this kind of police "trickery" occurs in the interrogation context. What may police tell suspects to "trick" or prompt them into confessing? Can a police officer misrepresent the strength of the case against the suspect? Can an officer lie about the nature of incriminating evidence? Can an interrogating officer disguise his or her identity during the interrogation and pose as a family friend, priest, or someone friendly to the accused? This article will examine current police practices in the context of recent Supreme Court cases and social science findings. I will argue that certain deceptive techniques are appropriate in the interrogation context. If appropriately utilized, "trickery" of a certain type does not unreasonably increase the risk of false confessions and is an appropriate tactic in the hunting of criminals.
    Click here for the complete article.

    06/17/2014US Attorney General issues policy memo regarding recording interrogations
    In a Memorandum regarding "Policy Concerning Electronic Recording of Statements" dated May 12, 214 the US Department of Justice, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, stated the following:

    "This policy establishes a presumption that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and the United States Marshals Service (USMS will electronically record statements made by individuals in the circumstances set forth below."

    "The presumption applies only to interviews of persons in FBI, DEA, ATF or USMS custody. Interviews in non-custodial settings are excluded from the presumption."

    This policy takes effect on July 11, 2014.
    Click here for the Memorandum.

    06/17/2014HumInt Collection: A look through noncoercive field questioning and screening of jihadist combatants
    Two of our senior instructors, William Schrieber and Philip Mullenix, co-authored a new article just published in the Marine Corps Gazette entitled, HumInt Collection: A look through noncoercive field questioning and screening of jihadist combatants. Here is the beginning of the article:

    Marines whose military occupational specialties (MOSs) include field questioning and screening of jihadist suspects must operate within the interrogation parameters defined in Field Manual 2-22.3, Human Intelligence Collector Operations (Department of the Army, Washington, DC, September 2006) ("the Manual").

    Field questioning (also known as tactical questioning) is defined in section 1-17 of the Manual as expedient initial questioning for information of immediate tactical value, generally performed by members of patrols. Screening as described within section 1-18 of the Manual is generally performed by experienced collectors, usually within a controlled environment, to identify the level of knowledge, level of cooperation, and placement and access of a given source relative to information of high intelligence value.

    As a human intelligence (HumInt) collector engaged in field questioning and/or screening, the Marine has a responsibility to adhere to the Manual's five phases of a HumInt questioning session: planning and preparation; approach; questioning; termination; and reporting.
    Click here for the complete article ("Reprinted courtesy of the Marine Corps Gazette. Copyright retained by the Marine Corps Gazette.")

    06/02/2014Legal Updates Spring 2014
    The Legal Updates Spring 2014 column contains cases which address the following issues:
    • Defendant is entitled to discovery of evidence relating to officer's alleged propensity to obtain confessions through coercive conduct
    • Standard questions that solicit from the custodial suspect basic identifying information do not require an advisement of rights
    • Video identifies improper interrogation - confession suppressed
    • Video contradicts defendant's claim he was too intoxicated to waive his rights
    • Court confirms that The Reid Technique consists of proper interrogation procedures
    • The criteria to be considered in determining custody for a juvenile suspect
    • Testimony of Dr. Deborah Davis on false confessions excluded by the court
    • Testimony of Dr. Allison Redlich on false confessions excluded by the court
    • Undercover agents do not have to advise a suspect of their Miranda rights
    • The value of recording an interrogation to demonstrate voluntariness
    • Value of recording to demonstrate the totality of circumstances and voluntary nature of incriminating statements
    • Investigator should not be allowed to testify about the defendant's credibility
    • Denial of juvenile suspect's request to see mother during interrogation did not render the confession inadmissible
    • Anatomy of a false confession case
    • Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale found not to meet Fry test - there is not acceptance of the GSS in the forensic psychology community
    • Combination of assertion the defendant's daughter would suffer without an admission and an implied promise of leniency yield involuntary confession
    • Equivocal invocation of rights: "[t]he context of the recorded statement clearly indicates that [Piatnitsky] was willing to speak with the detectives, just not on tape."
    • Court should have allowed Dr. Richard Ofshe to testify in general about false confessions
    • Investigators did not follow suggested guidelines when interrogating mentally deficient individual as detailed in Reid training manual and text, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions

    Click here for Legal Updates Spring 2014

    05/20/2014Arguing for Statewide Uniformity in Recording Custodial Interrogations
    The American Bar Association has recently published an article by Attorney Thomas Sullivan that discusses the need to establish uniform recording guidelines, Arguing for Statewide Uniformity in Recording Custodial Interrogations. The article contains a detailed listing of state by state custodial recording requirements, and begins as follows:

    "In light of the widespread agreement that recordings of custodial interrogations are a valuable tool for our system of criminal justice, an issue remains as to how the practice should be instituted. There are two schools of thought: Some contend recordings should be adopted pursuant to guidelines (a.k.a. best practices) recommended by state law enforcement authorities and/or state police and sheriff associations. Others contend it is preferable to have a state statute or state supreme court rule that provides for recording under circumstances that apply uniformly throughout the state. This article examines both proposals and the reasons that favor state statutes and supreme court rules."
    Click here for the complete article

    05/19/2014Investigators did not follow suggested guidelines when interrogating mentally deficient individual as detailed in Reid training manual and text, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions
    In US v. Preston (May 2014) the US Court of Appeals the court stated, "Today we consider the voluntariness of a confession given by Tymond Preston, an intellectually disabled eighteen-year-old. To elicit this confession, the police, among other tactics, repeatedly presented Preston with the choice of confessing to a heinous crime or to a less heinous crime; rejected his denials of guilt; instructed him on the responses they would accept; and fed him the details of the crime to which they wanted him to confess. Under the totality of the circumstances, including Preston's intellectual disability, we conclude that the confession that resulted from this questioning was involuntarily given and should not have been admitted at trial."

    From their opinion the court stated:

    Preston was eighteen, with an IQ of sixty-five. The two officers realized early in the interrogation that Preston suffered some sort of intellectual disability, as his initial responses gave them cause to believe that he had an impairment. They therefore inquired directly if he was "disabled." Preston did not understand the word "disabled," and so asked its meaning. That he had to ask for an explanation of a common word itself suggests the extent of his cognitive impairment. After the officers explained the word's meaning, Preston agreed that he was disabled, elaborating that he was not able to complete his schooling as a result.

    Summarizing the evidence regarding how the intellectually impaired respond to contemporary police interrogation methods, several scholars have listed "seven common characteristics" of such people, including (1) "unusual[ ] susceptib [ility] to the perceived wishes of authority figures"; (2) "a generalized desire to please"; (3) difficulty "discern[ing] when they are in an adversarial situation, especially with police officers," who they generally are taught exist to provide help; (4) "incomplete or immature concepts of blameworthiness and culpability"; (5) "[d]eficits in attention or impulse control"; (6) "inaccurate views of their own capacities"; and (7) "a tendency not to identify themselves as disabled" and to "mask[ ] their limitations ."

    "[A]s interrogators have turned to more subtle forms of psychological persuasion," and away from physical coercion, "courts have found the mental condition of the defendant a more significant factor in the 'voluntariness' calculus." ... It simply "takes less" in terms of sophisticated police interrogation techniques "to interfere with the deliberative processes of one whose capacity for rational choice is limited than it takes to affect the deliberative processes of one whose capacity is not so limited."

    Among the police tactics used here were several recommended by a manual on police interrogation, see Fred E. Inbau, John E. Reid, Joseph P. Buckley & Brian C. Jayne, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions (5th ed. 2013) ("Reid manual"), from which both the officers who interrogated Preston were trained. The officers, however, sometimes disregarded the manual's cautions about the tactics they used.

    For example, using one of the recommended approaches, the two officers asked Preston a number of questions that presented him with two alternatives as to how the crime was committed. See id. at 293-303. "Both alternatives are highly incriminating, but they are worded in such a way that one alternative acts as a face-saving device whilst the other implies some repulsive motivation." Gudjonsson, supra, at 19. In this instance, Preston was asked to choose, for example, whether he was a monster--a sexual predator who repeatedly preys on children--or if the abuse of the child was a one-time occurrence.

    These questions were derived from similar exemplars in the Reid manual. Reid manual, supra, at 296-97, 298. The manual, however, suggests that the inculpatory alternatives technique recommended may be unduly coercive when used for suspects of seriously impaired mental ability: it trains agents in the alternative questioning method with the understanding that "no innocent suspect, with normal intelligence and mental capacity, would acknowledge committing a crime merely because the investigation contrasted a less desirable circumstance to a more desirable one and encouraged the suspect to accept it." Reid manual, supra, at 303 (emphasis added). The psychological evidence regarding Preston's intellectual disabilities confirms this assessment by indicating that he is confused by complexity, abstraction, and multiplicity, and likely to acquiesce in suggestions made by the questioner. As a result, recognizing that where one is asked "a or b," one can answer "neither one," rather than acquiescing in one or the other, could well have exceeded his intellectual abilities.

    The agents coupled the techniques of alternative questioning, providing suggestive details, and repetitious and insistent questions with other techniques that the Reid manual specifically cautions against. The Reid manual specifically warns that the questioning "should not be, in any way, based on leniency if the more understanding alternative question is accepted." Reid manual, supra, at 300 (emphasis added). It also cautions that when questioning people of low intelligence, investigators should avoid offering promises of leniency or using deceptive interrogation techniques due to the vulnerability of this group. Id. at 332-33, 352, 429.

    Assuredly, interrogating officers can make false representations concerning the crime or the investigation during questioning without always rendering an ensuing confession coerced. ..... But false promises stand on a different footing. In particular, the Supreme Court has observed that "the test of voluntariness" is "whether the confession was extracted by any sort of threats or violence, or obtained by any direct or implied promises, however slight, or by the exertion of any improper influence."

    The types of deception used here, which primarily related to considerations extrinsic to the suspect's guilt or innocence, are particularly problematic when used on a person with an intellectual disability. Intrinsic falsehoods, which relate to the facts of the crime itself or of the investigation--such as falsely informing a suspect that the victim had survived and identified the suspect--do "not lead [the suspect] to consider anything beyond his own beliefs regarding his actual guilt or innocence, his moral sense of right and wrong, and his judgment regarding the likelihood that the police had garnered enough valid evidence linking him to the crime." .... But here, the police did not simply inflate the amount of incriminating evidence against Preston. Instead, they suggested falsely that if he confessed, his admissions would not be used against him--he could "move on" after apologizing to the child, rather than being punished. This approach "interject[ed] the type of extrinsic considerations" more likely to "distort[ ] an otherwise rational choice of whether to confess or remain silent." .... The intellectually disabled are more susceptible to such extrinsic deception tactics.

    Accordingly, we conclude that the district court erred in admitting Preston's confession.
    Click here for the complete decision

    04/28/2014Special Warfare article: Interrogation Theme Selection for Jihadist Combatants
    Phil Mullenix, one of our senior instructors for our specialized military training program, Instructional Programs In Non-Coercive HUMINT Collection, has published an article entitled, Interrogation Theme Selection for Jihadist Combatants in the April - June 2014 edition of Special Warfare
    Click here to access the publication - Phil's article starts on page 12

    4/23/2014Court confirms that The Reid Technique consists of proper interrogation procedures
    In US v. Jacques (March 2014) the US Court of Appeals, First Circuit, upheld the lower court's opinion that a confession obtained by interrogators using elements of the Reid technique was voluntary and admissible. (We reported on the lower court's opinion in the Legal Updates Fall 2011.) In this opinion the US Court of Appeals stated the following:

    "Finally, Jacques claims that Mazza and Smythe overbore his will through their use of the "Reid technique," including exaggerating their evidence and minimizing the gravity of his suspected offense, in obtaining a confession. Extreme forms of deception or chicanery by the police may be sufficient to render a confession involuntary.... Nevertheless, "the use of chicanery does not automatically undermine the voluntariness of a confession." Id. This court has consistently recognized that "some degree of deception ... during the questioning of a suspect is permissible."

    Specifically, "a confession is not considered coerced merely because the police misrepresented to a suspect the strength of the evidence against him." Clanton v. Cooper, 129 F.3d 1147, 1158 (10th Cir.1997); see also Frazier v. Cupp, 394 U.S. 731, 739 (1969) (finding that the police's "misrepresent [ations]" of a co-defendant's alleged incriminating statements were, "while relevant, insufficient in our view to make this otherwise voluntary confession inadmissible."); Holland v. McGinnis, 963 F.2d 1044, 1051 (7th Cir.1992) (finding "the fact that the officer misrepresented ... the strength of the evidence" to be "one factor to consider among the totality of circumstances in determining voluntariness"); Green v. Scully, 850 F.2d 894, 903 (2d Cir.1988) (finding police officer's "assert[ion] that he already had a strong case against petitioner" insufficient to render the ensuing confession involuntary). As the Seventh Circuit has noted, "[o]f the numerous varieties of police trickery, ... a lie that relates to a suspect's connection to the crime is the least likely to render a confession involuntary." Holland, 963 F.2d at 1051.

    In this case, the agents' statements exaggerating the quality of their evidence, minimizing the gravity of Jacques's offense, and emphasizing the negative media attention that would attend Jacques's trial all fall safely within the realm of the permissible "chicanery" sanctioned by this and other courts. Jacques points to no federal authority supporting a finding of an involuntary confession under similar circumstances.... Considered in the full circumstances of this case, Mazza and Smythe's interrogative tactics did not amount to coercion in violation of Jacques's Fifth Amendment rights."
    Click here for the complete decision

    03/31/2014Attorney Thomas Sullivan list of law enforcement agencies recording interrogations
    For years now Attorney Thomas Sullivan has been collecting information as to which law enforcement agencies are electronically recording their interviews and interrogations. In addition he has prepared a list of states with recording statutes and rules.

    Click here for Department List

    Click here for State List

    03/13/2014Legal Updates Winter 2014
    In the Legal Updates Winter 2014 contains cases which address the following issues:
    • Expert testimony on witness credibility excluded
    • Confession suppressed because suspect was advised that no matter how many robberies she committed all the sentences would run concurrent
    • Court finds that the suspect's physical condition during the interrogation rendered his confession inadmissible
    • Threat to arrest defendant's mother and aunt rendered incriminating statement inadmissible
    • Statement to the effect that the defendant had a "chance to reduce the potential charges or sentencing" if he showed remorse and confessed did not render the confession inadmissible
    • Threatening deportation was coercive
    • Court bars Dr. Richard Leo from testifying: proposed area of expert testimony has not reached the "level of scientific reliability"
    • The statement to the suspect that "It would be worse for you" if you did not talk to law enforcement was coercive
    • Repeatedly threatening a seventeen-year-old with the death penalty is "objectively coercive"
    • Video recording protects the confession
    • Lying about DNA evidence did not make the confession inadmissible
    • Telling a suspect he failed a polygraph test does not render the confession inadmissible
    • "Small" interrogation room (10 x 10) was not coercive; suggesting the juvenile victim initiated the sexual contact was not coercive
    • Lengthy and persistent questioning does not render a confession inadmissible; accident versus intentional act was a "red herring" but not coercive

    Click here for Legal Updates 2014

    03/11/2014New Reid book: A Field Guide to The Reid Technique

    A Field Guide to The Reid Technique, co-authored by Brian Jayne and Joseph Buckley, provides a wide range of guidance for numerous investigation, interview and interrogation situations regarding the application of The Reid Technique. Here is the detailed Table of Contents:

    Table of Contents

    CHAPTER 1. Overview of The Reid Technique
    Historical Development
    Factual Analysis
    Behavior Symptom Analysis
    Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation

    CHAPTER 2. Factual Analysis
    Evaluating One-on-One Allegations .
    Evaluating the Truthfulness of a Reported Sexual Assault .
    Evaluating the Suspect Who Accepts Responsibility for the Crime
    Don't Overlook The Person Who Reported The Crime
    The Significance of Identifying Precipitators During a Criminal Investigation
    Evaluating Inconsistencies Within An Account
    Assessing Attitudes: The Victim Mentality
    Catching a Suspect in a Lie Not Always a Symptom of Guilt
    Willingness to Repay Stolen Funds Not Always an Indication of Guilt

    CHAPTER 3. Interview Room Setting and Environment
    Designing an interview / interrogation room
    Creating a temporary interview room
    Having a third person in the interview room
    Electronic Recording of Interviews and Interrogations

    CHAPTER 4. Basic Interviewing Procedures .
    Eliciting A Subject's Willingness to Submit to a Voluntary Interview
    Interviewing vs. Interrogation
    Developing an Interview Strategy
    Establishing Rapport With A Suspect
    Conducting a Custodial Behavior Analysis Interview
    Maintaining Objectivity During an Interview
    Question Formulation Guidelines
    The Importance of Pursuing Communication with Others During an Interview
    Do You Invite People to Lie to You?
    Are You a Good Listener?
    Considerations for an Investigator's Attire

    CHAPTER 5. Behavior Symptom Analysis
    General
    The Role of a Subject's Attitudes in the Detection of Deception
    Using Baseline Behaviors to Establish "Truthful" Responses
    The Importance of Context Within Behavior Symptom Analysis
    The Influence of the Investigator's Demeanor on a Subject's Behavior
    Behavior Symptom Analysis During Roadside Interviews
    Innocent Suspect's Responses During Interrogation
    Nonverbal
    Evaluating a Subject's Posture During an Interview
    The Role of Eye Contact During Interpersonal Communication
    Neurolinguistic Evaluation
    Evaluating Hand Behavior During an Interview
    Incongruous Behaviors
    Paralinguistic
    Paralinguistic Communication
    Laughter and the Detection of Deception
    Verbal
    Interpreting Verbal Phrases
    Evaluating Omission Within a Suspect's Statement
    Evaluating Admissions Against Self-Interest
    Word Games Deceptive Suspect's Play
    Quoting Statements in an Open Account: Truthful or Deceptive?
    The Significance of Listing in Behavior Symptom Analysis
    The Significance of Specific Denials During Interviews and Interrogations

    CHAPTER 6. Psychological Aspects of Detection of Deception
    If a Lie is Repeated Often Enough, Can a Person Come to Believe the Lie is True?
    Good vs. Bad Liars
    Investigating Attention-Motivated Fabricated Crimes
    The Esteem-Motivated Offender
    The Role of Defense Mechanisms in the Detection of Deception
    The Role Of Consequences in Detecting Deception
    The Role of Motivation in Detection of Deception Research
    The Psychopathic Suspect

    CHAPTER 7. Specialized Interviewing Techniques
    Investigating Issues of Intent
    Investigating Possible Fabricated Claims
    Selecting The Proper Issue in a Child Physical Abuse Investigation .
    The Use of an Interpreter During an Interview
    Interviewing Witnesses
    Taking a Statement from a Victim or Complainant
    Conducting an Exit Interview
    Issues to Consider Regarding Possible Suicidal Suspects
    Interviewing the Elderly Suspect
    Handling The Angry Suspect
    Eliciting and Evaluating an Alibi
    The Bait Question in the Age of Computer Technology
    Going Directly from an Interview into an Interrogation
    Considerations With Respect to the Use of Evidence During an Investigation

    CHAPTER 8. The Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation
    Interrogating a Suspect on the Issue of Identity Theft
    Interrogations of Children
    The Importance of the Transition Statement During an Interrogation
    The Use of Third Person Themes
    The Use of Rationalization During an Interrogation Theme
    The Use of Evidence During an Interrogation
    The Use of Visual Aids During an Interview or Interrogation
    Responding to a Suspect's Request to See Evidence During an Interrogation
    The Use of Trickery and Deceit During Interrogation
    Selling The Suspect on the Benefits of Confessing
    Selecting The Proper Alternative Question
    The Use of the Restitution Question During an Interrogation
    Distinguishing Between Admissions and Confessions
    The Importance of Corroboration Within a Confession
    Proper Techniques for Witnessing a Confession
    Documenting Field Confessions
    Electronically Recorded Confessions

    CHAPTER 9. Legal Aspects of Interviewing and Interrogation
    What Exactly is the Reid Technique of Interrogation
    Miranda, Article 31 and Constitutional Advisements
    Civil Liabilities Associated With False Confessions
    Guarding Against Claims of False Imprisonment
    Interogation Procedures: Promises of Leniency
    The Danger of Threatening Inevitable Consequences
    Legal Considerations When Asking an Alternative Question
    Lying to a Suspect : How Far Can the Investigator Go?

    CHAPTER 10. False Confession Issues
    False Confession Cases: The Issues .
    Motives for False Confessions
    The Importance of Accurate Corroboration Within a Confession
    Research Review: The Lie, The Bluff and False Confessions
    The Use of the Accident Scenario During an Interrogation
    The Feasibility of an Analytic Assessment to Identify False Confessions

    CHAPTER 11. Best Practices of The Reid Technique
    A Quick Guide to Best Practices for the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation
    Interview Before Interrogation
    Common Errors in Evaluating a Suspect's Truthfulness Through Behavior Symptom Analysis
    Use Caution Before Expressing an Urgency for a Suspect to Confess
    The Importance of a Written Statement

    CHAPTER 12. Miscellaneous Topics
    The Polygraph Technique Part I: Theory .
    The Polygraph Technique Part II: Value During an Investigation
    The Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA)
    Screening New Employees
    The Importance of the Employment Application
    Verifying an Employment History During A Pre-employment Interview
    Background Investigations Conducted Over the Telephone
    Testifying on a Suspect's Behavior Symptoms
    Click here to order

    03/11/2014Study finds that false confessions were not statistically associated with wrongful convictions
    In the November/December 20134 issue of Corrections Today, an article entitled, "Wrongful Convictions: Causes, Prevention, Impact and Outlook for Corrections" reports on the results of a study funded by the National Institute of Justice in which they identified 10 statistically significant factors that contributed to the conviction of innocent persons. The report did not find that false confessions were one of those factors.
    Click here for the article

    02/17/2014Japanese research confirms Reid approach
    In the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation we have always espoused a nonjudgmental, neutral and objective demeanor by the investigator during the interview and an empathetic, understanding approach during the interrogation - building rapport with the suspect and letting the suspect now that anyone in similar circumstances might have done the same thing.

    Recent research in Japan confirms that building relationships with the suspect "gets the best results" and minimizes the chances of a false confession.
    Click To Read Full Story

    02/15/2014Canadian attorney shows his ignorance regarding The Reid Technique
    In an article entitled, "Reid" it and weep - coercive interrogations the norm in Canada, published in the Ottawa Citizen, the author, Attorney Solomon Friedman displays his lack of understanding of The Reid Technique, describing it as a process designed to obtain confessions - even from the innocent. Here is an email that we sent to Attorney Friedman and the editors of the Ottawa Citizen:

    I was shocked at your lack of understanding as to what constitutes The Reid Technique as you described in your article, "'Reid' it and weep - coercive interrogations the norm in Canada."

    I am equally shocked at the lack of credibility displayed by the editors in publishing such an article as "News" - implying that it is an objective reporting of the facts. Most "news" stories attempt to provide a balanced report for the readers to evaluate. We were never contacted for any comment or to provide any information relevant to this column.

    If you (the author) had read any of our books, publications or articles on our website you would have discovered the following:

    The core elements of The Reid Technique have been upheld by a number of Canadian Courts, including the Supreme Court. Here is a brief discussion of several relevant cases:
    Click here for the complete email

    01/21/2014Legal Updates Fall 2013
    The Legal Updates Fall 2013 contain cases which address the following issues:
    • Statement the defendant would be taken home if he was honest did not require exclusion of the statement
    • Court expresses concerns interrogation was not recorded
    • Value of recording - defendant claimed interrogator's hostile and aggressive tone of voice led to a coerced confessionValue of video recording interrogation
    • Detective's statements during the interrogation telling defendant that he thought she was lying were admissible
    • Expert testimony allowed on the impact of opiate addiction on confession reliability
    • 12-year-old should have been advised of his Miranda rights
    • Value of video in protecting a confession
    • Referring to Miranda rights as a formality does not jeopardize the waiver
    • What level of intoxication renders a confession inadmissible?
    • Invocation of defendant's children as a method to get a confession ruled not coercive
    • Interrogator's statements that defendant's ability to "speak plainly," "face-to-face" with his "case agent" would be of limited duration and, critically, would evaporate when "the lawyers [got] involved" should be avoided, but do not create a coercive environment

    Click here for Legal Updats Fall 2013

    12/17/2013New Yorker magazine profiles John E. Reid and Associates
    In the December 9, 2013 issue of New Yorker magazine an article entitled, "The Interview" was published in which the author, Douglass Starr, profiled John E. Reid and Associates. "Today, John E. Reid and Associates, Inc., trains more interrogators than any other company in the world. Reid's clients include police forces, private security companies, the military, the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and the Secret Service - almost anyone whose job involves extracting the truth from this who are often unwilling to provide it. The company interview method, called the Reid Technique, has influence nearly every aspect of modern police interrogations, from the set up of the interview room to the behavior of detectives."
    Click here for additional information.

    11/20/2013The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation for Investigators
    The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation for Investigators John E. Reid and Associates, Inc., has developed a three hour online training program for Investigators.

    This seven part online training program was specifically designed for a wide variety of investigators, including law enforcement, government (both investigative and regulatory agencies) and the private sector.

    This online training program will provide the Investigator with a solid foundation in The Reid Technique - which is widely considered to be the most effective interview and interrogation process in the world. In this program the Investigator will learn the core elements of the Reid Technique, which include how to structure the investigative interview utilizing both investigative and behavior provoking questions; how to assess the credibility of the information provided by a subject during the interview process; and the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation. The Investigator will be provided with specific references to additional resource material in each of the program segments.

    The program is delivered as a PowerPoint presentation with voice over, interspersed with video clips to illustrate the material. Each part comes with a handout that is designed for note taking to enhance the learning experience, and includes a review of the material covered in each individual program.
    Click here for a description of each of the seven program parts and additional details about the program.

    11/20/2013The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation for Criminal Justice Students
    John E. Reid and Associates, Inc., has developed a three hour online training program for Criminal Justice Studenrts.

    This seven part online training program was specifically designed for Criminal Justice Students. The basic curriculum for criminal justice students oftentimes contains references to the Reid Technique - which is widely considered to be the most effective interview and interrogation process in the world.

    In this program the criminal justice student will learn the core elements of the Reid Technique, which include how to structure the investigative interview utilizing both investigative and behavior provoking questions; how to assess the credibility of the information provided by a subject during the interview process; and the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation.

    The student is provided with specific references to additional resource material in each of the program segments. This seven part program will not only familiarize the criminal justice student with the Reid Technique, but will give the student a solid foundation of interviewing and interrogation skills for future professional endeavors.

    The program is delivered as a PowerPoint presentation with voice over, interspersed with video clips to illustrate the material. Each part comes with a handout that is designed for note taking to enhance the learning experience, and includes a review of the material covered in each individual program.
    Click here for a description of each of the seven program parts and additional details about the program.

    11/05/2013The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation for School Administrators
    John E. Reid and Associates, Inc., has developed a three hour online training program for School Administrators.

    This seven part online training program was specifically designed for School Administrators, including Principals, Assistant Principals, Deans, and any school official involved in resolving investigative issues.

    This online training program will provide the School Administrator with a solid foundation in The Reid Technique - which is widely considered to be the most effective interview and interrogation process in the world. In this program the School Administrator will learn the core elements of the Reid Technique, which include how to structure the investigative interview utilizing both investigative and behavior provoking questions; how to assess the credibility of the information provided by a subject during the interview process; and the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation.

    The program is delivered as a PowerPoint presentation with voice over, interspersed with video clips to illustrate the material. Each part comes with a handout that is designed for note taking to enhance the learning experience, and includes a review of the material covered in each individual program.
    Click here for a description of each of the seven program parts and additional details about the program.

    09/30/2013Juvenile False Confessions
    In a recent publication from Northwestern Law they highlight three articles that address the issue of Juvenile False Confessions:

    Why Do So Many Juvenile Suspects Confess to Crimes They Didnít Commit? published in Juvenile Justice Information Exchange September 23, 2013. Available at http://jjie.org/why-do-so-many-juvenile-suspects-confess-to-crimes-they-didnt-commit/105372/

    False Confessions Dog Teens published in The Wall Street Journal September 8, 2013. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324906304579036901493013302.htm

    In juvenile justice, kids need protection from false confessions published in The Christian Science Monitor August 26, 2013. Available at http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2013/0826/In-juvenile-justice-kids-need-protection-from-false-confessions

    09/29/2013An Updated Second Edition of the Best-selling Resource on the Reid TechniqueÆ of Interviewing and Interrogation now available
    Practiced worldwide, the Reid TechniqueÆ is the leading approach to interview and interrogation practices. Since 1962, hundreds of thousands of investigators have received training in the Reid Technique through Criminal Interrogation and Confessions. The updated, abridged version of this best-seller is now available in a new edition from John E. Reid and Associates, Inc.
  • The updated second edition of the best-selling Essentials of the Reid Technique: Criminal Interrogation and Confessions teaches readers how to identify and interpret verbal and nonverbal behaviors of both deceptive and truthful people, and how to move toward obtaining solid confessions from guilty persons using the Reid Technique. The Reid Technique is built around basic psychological principles and presents interrogation as an easily understood nine-step process. Separated into two parts, What You Need to Know About Interrogation and Employing the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation, this book will help readers understand the effective and proper way that a suspect should be interrogated and the safeguards that should be in place to ensure the integrity of the confession.
    Click here for the updated page !!!

  • 09/29/2013Eight new PowerPoint presentations for your review
    Eight new PowerPoint presentations for your review. We have prepared 8 brief PowerPoint presentations for your review which address several current issues involving the Reid Technique and interrogation practices.
    Click Here To Watch

    09/11/2013Legal Updates Summer 2013
    The Legal Updates Summer 2013 contain cases which address the following issues:
    • Witness Credibility
    • Statementís such as ìpeople who were honest with the police would be helped differently than those who lied about their guiltî led to an inadmissible confession
    • Kansas Supreme Court recommends electronic recording of interrogations
    • Court rules that polygraph examination is not a search
    • Court rejects the testimony of Dr. Bruce Frumkin
    • Low score on IQ tests does not mean the suspect is incapable of making a voluntary confession
    • The value of video recording ñ intoxication and sleep deprivation
    • The value of video recording ñ Spanish speaking defendant and intoxication
    • California Supreme Court upholds exclusion of testimony by Dr. Richard Leo ñ the proffered testimony was ìextremely speculativeî
    • Attorney not negligent for deciding not to use false confession expert at trial
    • Improper interrogator behavior
    • Court excludes the testimony of Dr. Richard Ofshe on false confession issues ñ no requirement to record interrogation
    • A promise of leniency: ì[e]verybody gets a clean slate when they turn 17î
    • Court allows Dr. Richard Leo to testify on false confession issues
    • Fish and Game officers did not have to make an advisement of rights on a roadside stop
      Click here for Legal Updates Summer 2013

    08/27/2013Illinois Governor Quinn signs bill expanding recording of police interrogations
    On August 26, 2013 Illinois Governor Quinn signed into law legislation that "expands on legislation passed in 2003 mandating the recording of homicide interrogations. The new requirements will take effect in phases over the next three years, and by June 2016, police will have to record interrogations of people suspected in any of eight violent felonies, including aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated battery with a gun and armed robbery."
    Here is an article from the Chicago Tribune on this legislation:

    08/13/2013Recent article in Juvenile Justice Information Exchange
    An article entitled, "Let's Change How Police Question Young Suspects," points out several cases that raise questions about the interrogation tactics used:

    "ÖÖ 17-year-old Codey Wayne Miller, diagnosed with borderline mental retardation, confessed to choking his mother to death. He did this after an officer threatened him with the death penalty ó a legal impossibility given the Supreme Courtís 2005 holding that capital punishment for juveniles is cruel and unusual punishment and, thus, unconstitutional. The judge who ordered Millerís confession to be suppressed called the interrogation techniques used against the teen ìmind bogglingî and ìabsolutely incredible.î

    Similarly, 19-year-old Knoxville resident Carlos Campbell confessed to playing a role in a series of drive-by shootings after police investigators warned he would be gang raped in prison on a daily basis if he did not admit his involvement. A judge recently denied Campbellís motion to suppress the confession, and itís unclear whether there will be an appeal.

    A third Tennessee case involves a 14-year-old with no arrest record, Jonathan Ray, who confessed to setting a house fire that killed his mother. He did this after police told him his Miranda rights were meaningless because his stepfather ó who lacked legal custody ó had already given them permission to question him. The juvenile court judge suppressed the confession, but the case has not yet been resolved."


    Click here for the complete article.

    08/13/2013Reid training is 'incredibly beneficial'
    In a recent testimonial received by our office, the following comments were offered:

    "I want to thank you for all of your efforts in bringing this quality training to Brewer, Maine. It truly was a pleasure to work with you on this project and your efforts really put this together.

    The training was an incredible success. We had officers in attendance from around the state of Maine and the feedback was consistent, they loved the training and found it incredibly beneficial.

    As we had discussed, the Reid program sells itself. It is truly a system that is proven, is practical, is learnable, and works. Providing officers with these skills does make a difference on the impact they can make on crime and in keeping our communities safe."

    We will definitely host this school againÖ..

    Thank you again, Chris

    Captain Christopher M. Martin
    Brewer Police Department
    151 Parkway South, Brewer, ME 04412

    07/30/2013 5 reasons witnesses won't ID offenders (and how to beat them)
    PoliceOne.com today published an article by Senior Instructor and VP, Louis Senese, entitled "5 reasons witnesses won't ID offenders (and how to beat them)".
    Click here for the complete article.

    07/26/2013Legal Updates Spring 2013
    In our Legal Updates Spring 2013 column we feature cases that address the following issues:
    • Counsel was not ineffective for failing to present testimony of false confession expert
    • Military Appeals Court upholds decision to exclude testimony of false confession expert ñ Dr. Christian Meissner
    • Human Lie Detector evidence
    • Recording interrogations not required in Pennsylvania; false confession expert testimony excluded
    • Circumstances that indicate juvenile interrogation was not custodial
    • Colorado Supreme Court abandons the corpus delicti rule and puts in its place, the trustworthiness standard
    • Illinois Supreme Court also addresses the corpus delicti rule
    • How much corroboration is needed to support the trustworthiness of a confession?
    • Improper offer of leniency nullifies a confession
    • When a suspect is not in custody no need to stop questioning when they request an attorney
    • ìthe very outer limit as to what tactics law enforcement may employ when performing a custodial interrogationî
    • What constitutes mental retardation?
    • Court precludes Dr. Richard Ofshe from testifying as an expert witness on false confessions
    • Juvenile interrogation ñ voluntariness considerations; value of video recording
    • Court rejects the claim that the ìReid techniqueî caused an involuntary confession; jury rejects Dr. Leo testimony
    • The value of recording interrogations
    • Faulty District Attorney strategy re the advisement of rights
    • Value of recording interrogations to discredit defendantís allegations

    Click here for Legal Updates Spring 2013

    7/25/2013 Canadian court decisions related to interview, interrogation and confession issues
    For several years now Gino Arcaro has been writing a column for Reid Institute Members that we have posted on our RI Members page about various Canadian court decisions that are related to interview, interrogation and confession issues. We are listing several of them for our general audience. We have listed below the titles of several of these columns, and then a link to a document that will give you the first few paragraphs of the article then a link to the complete piece.
    • July 2012---Attack on Reid technique fails. Failed attempt to prove a false confession.
    • June 2012---"Significance of Exculpatory statements from the Stafford homicide"
    • May 2012---Offer of help may jeopardize confession admissibility
    • March 2012---The balance of power: close the "Sophistication Gap."
    • January 2012---"Stick to offence, not defense"
    • October 2010---Right to Silence versus The Caution - The mystery
    • November 2010---Oct. 8, 2010 - Landmark Decision Day Part I
    • November 2010---No cross-border right to lawyer/right to silence: Oct. 8, 2010 ñ Landmark Decision Day Part 2
    • May 2009---Admissibility of young person's confession. Traditionally unlawful inducements are not always strong enough to exclude.
    • January 2009---The 24-hour Clock: The relationship between sec. 503 C.C. and the duration of an interrogation Part 1

    Click here for a document detailing these articles that Gino Arcaro wrote for reid.com.

    07/23/2013Confession Contamination
    In an article entitled, Combating Contamination in Confession Cases, the authors carefully examine the problem of false confession cases, with a particular emphasis on the problem of DNA exoneration cases in which the defendants had falsely confessed, and yet their confession contained details of the crime that only the guilty person should have known.

    The initial focus of the article is a review of the book, Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong, by University of Virginia law professor Brandon L. Garrett, in which he carefully examined the first 250 DNA exoneration cases.

    In their review the authors state the following about Garrett's research:

    "Garrettís analysis and findings concerning false confessions are nothing short of groundbreaking. At the beginning of his foray into the case materials, Garrett expected that the DNA exoneratesí confessions would lack detail and be riddled with errors (pp 18ñ19). Stunningly, he found just the opposite: in thirty-eight of the forty false confessions he studied, the confessions were detailed and ofter factually accurate descriptions of the criminal acts (pp 19ñ20). If these men are truly innocent, Garrett asks the reader, how is it that they were able to give such detailed and accurate confessions? His answer is that their DNA-proven false confessions were ìcontaminatedî forms of evidenceóas tainted and unreliable as contaminated physical evidence."

    "In the confession context, contamination is the transfer of inside informationónonpublic details about the crime that only the true perpetrator could have knownófrom one person to another person during a police investigation.32 The problem of contamination in false confession cases usually arises during interrogation itself, when the interrogator pressures a suspect to accept a particular account of the crime storyóone that usually squares with the interrogatorís preordained theory of how the crime occurred. The interrogator then uses leading questions, deliberately or inadvertently, to suggest specific facts about the crime to the suspect, which are then parroted back in the form of a confession. The presence of these types of specific facts in the suspectís confession lends it credibility and creates an all-important illusion of corroboration."

    As we have emphasized in our training and publications for decades, it is critical for interrogators to withhold relevant details of the crime so that when the suspect offers those details they can be used to substantiate the veracity of his statements.


    Click here for the complete article.

    07/23/2013Terrorism, Miranda, and Related Matters
    In April of this year, the Congressional Research Service published a document entitled, Terrorism, Miranda, and Related Matters by Charles Doyle, Senior Specialist in American Public Law.

    From the Introduction:

    "In Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court held that no statement made by an individual during a custodial interrogation may be admitted into evidence against him at his criminal trial, unless he was first warned of his relevant constitutional rights and waived them.1 In New York v. Quarles, the Court later held that the Miranda rule was subject to a ìpublic safetyî exception.2 Throughout this period, federal law stated that following arrest a suspect should be presented to a magistrate and advised of his rights without ìunnecessary delay.î3 Confessions made during the course of any unnecessary delay are generally inadmissible at the suspectís subsequent criminal trial.4 The realities of contemporary terrorism are such that some have questioned whether these general rules can be, and should be, reexamined and adjusted."
    Click here for the complete article.

    07/22/2013The Reid Technique in Canada
    (The following was sent by email to hundreds of our Canadian Graduates. We are posting it here in case we did not have your email address)

    Please forward to your law enforcement colleagues and Crown Attorneys

    Dear Canadian Reid Graduate,

    Over the recent years there have been a number of negative Canadian media reports referencing The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation, oftentimes in regards to the issue of false confessions. In all of the stories they have attributed interview tactics and procedures to the Reid Technique that we do not teach, and, in fact, teach not to do. The core elements of The Reid Technique have been upheld by a number of Canadian Courts, including the Supreme Court. Here is a brief discussion of several relevant cases:
    (Click here for the complete document)

    07/22/2013Dr. Richard Leo offers erroneous testimony about The Reid Technique (part 2 of 2)
    In a deposition he gave in April 2013 Dr. Richard Leo made numerous erroneous statements about the Reid Technique and repeatedly mischaracterized the Reid process.
    Click here to access Dr. Leo's deposition

    07/22/2013Dr. Richard Leo offers erroneous testimony about The Reid Technique (part 1 of 2)
    In a deposition he gave in April 2013 Dr. Richard Leo made numerous erroneous statements about the Reid Technique and repeatedly mischaracterized the Reid process.
    Click here for our responses to his testimony.

    07/17/20132 Recent Reviews of the Reid Seminar
    These are 2 recent reviews that we received about our Reid training programs.
    click here to read

    07/14/2013 Law and Order magazine highlights Reid Interview and Interrogation books
    In the May 2013 issue of Law and Order magazine four Reid books were highlighted
    Click here for the article

    7/12/2013A National Survey of Eyewitness Identification Procedures in Law Enforcement Agencies
    The National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice in March 2013 published the results of an extensive survey of numerous police agencies on their current eyewitness identification policies, practices and training, and the degree to which agencies have adopted the guidelines published by NIJ in 1999.
    Click here.

    07/10/2013 The Alameda County (CA) District Attorney's Office has published an outstanding and comprehensive article on Miranda Invocations.
    In their recent newsletter the AELE (American for Effective Law Enforcement) highlighted the Alameda County (CA) District Attorney's publication of an article discussing Miranda invocations
    Click here.

    07/01/2013July/August Investigator Tip: A Quick Guide to Best Practices for the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation
    The July/August 2013 Investigator Tip focuses on a discussion of interrogation best practices, including when to conduct an interrogation; room setting guidelines; proper and improper interrogation tactics; use of fictitious evidence; and much more.
    Click here to access the Investigator Tip

    03/24/2013"Your efforts in this area make our nation a better place to live. "
    The following is a testimonial that our office recently received:

    My name is Ernest D. Clevenger, I am the Chief of Police of the Belpre (Ohio) Police Department. I am a thirty-one year veteran of law enforcement in Ohio. I have served with the Belpre Police Department since 1982. I served as a shift supervisor for uniform patrol from 1984 to 2009, when I was promoted to Chief of Police. During my tenure with the Belpre Police Department, I have interviewed and interrogated hundreds of individuals on various crimes and scenarios. I have come to a firm belief that an officerís ability to conduct a successful interview with a suspect is one of most vital and primary activities an officer can perform during any investigation.

    Upon assuming the office of Chief of Police, one of my foremost goals was providing training to our officer cadre in techniques of interviewing and interrogation. After researching the topic, I determined that the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation Course was a viable class of instruction. Though my officers (some with several years of road experience) seemed slightly dubious over the benefits of the course prior to attendance. I make the arrangements and started scheduling officers for the course(s) as they came about near to us and manpower allowed their attendance.

    One of my officers who attended the course had been working on a felony case, a week prior to attending the course. He had interviewed the suspect in the case with no luck and the suspect was stonewalling him at every turn. Two day after returning from the course he again scheduled a formal interview with the suspect in the case. In less than 15 minutes he had the suspect confessing on audio/visual tape, and a written confession within the hour. All of my officers that attended the course returned enthusiastic and eager to apply what they had learned. Almost to a man, they had similar results during their interviews with suspects after their training.

    Additionally, our standing within the local law enforcement community has risen over the past four years. We are surrounded by other LE agencies that are 2-to 5 times larger than our agency in manpower. But, we are looked upon as true peers in that, when our agency investigates a crime within our jurisdiction, we get results. Our officers are now working with the Multi-Agency Crime Task Force and are well thought of, respected and making a positive effect upon crime in our area.

    I credit this in no small amount to be due to having skilled officer interviewers because of the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation Courses.

    I wish to convey my heart-felt appreciation of your expertise and willingness to share your experience and training with my officers and the law enforcement community as a whole. Your efforts in this area make our nation a better place to live. Please continue to provide this instruction to others in the law enforcement community. I consider the Reid Technique training in interviews and interrogation to be a ìgold standardî in the field.

    Respectfully,
    Ernest Clevenger
    Chief of Police


    03/20/2013"My entire department is extremely grateful for the work your organization provides."
    The Tazewell County Sheriff, Brian Hieatt, made this statement in a letter he wrote to our office after one of our staff, Mr. Richard Byington, helped their department solve a four year old double homicide case.
    Click here to see Sheriff Hieatt's complete letter.

    03/04/2013New Comment From Graduate
    The following is a recent testimonial that we received from one of our graduates:

    When I went to the Reid Basic interview and interrogation class I returned and was confronted by three deputies who had interviewed a female in reference to taking checks from a mailbox and writing them. The three had no luck in obtaining a confession. I was told "You went to this interview and interrogation class, show us it works."

    I obtained a copy of the case file and reviewed it. I met with the suspect and began to work, within 5 minutes she was crying and gave a full confession. I thought this was a fluke. I continued with the Reid program and noticed my confession rate almost doubled within a very short period of time.

    Since I have attended the Advanced Reid class I have again raised my confession rate. In multiple instances my interview and interrogation has followed other attempts and resulted in confession. I feel this is one of, if not the best and most useful class I have attended in my 20 years.

    Thanks Reid, you've made interviewing and interrogation more productive. I have recommended this training to any LEO that would listen. I have had a lot of "Thanks for the tip" since.

    Lieutenant David Lansdale
    Garvin County Sheriff's Office
    201 W. Grant Avenue
    Pauls Valley, Oklahoma 73075

    01/17/2013Legal Updates Winter 2013
    In our Legal Updates Winter 2013 column we feature cases that address the following issues:
    • The value of recording interrogations; implication of a lighter sentence rejected
    • No requirement to record interrogation in Second Circuit
    • U.S. District Court excludes the testimony of Dr. Richard Leo: "his theories are both unreliable and irrelevant"
    • Value of video recording interrogation: pregnancy did not affect defendant's ability to understand what was going on
    • Court excludes the testimony of Dr. Debra Davis on the issue of false confessions
    • Does a request for a lawyer before Miranda warnings are given require the investigators to stop questioning the suspect?
    • Statements to the defendant that his denials were "bullshit" and that he was "kind of screwed" and that he was "fucked" were not threats
    • Ohio juvenile not statutorily entitled to counsel during an interrogation which occurs prior to invocation of court's jurisdiction
    • Can a suspect who claims he was in the "midst of a psychotic break from reality" during the interrogation give a voluntary statement?
    • Interrogator's "empathetic and caring demeanor" was not coercive
    • Interrogator deception that "crosses the line"
    • Fifth Miranda warning not required
    • Police do not have to tell suspect defense counsel is present if suspect waived his rights
    • The value of recording: examining the issue of mental illness on the admissibility of a confession
    • Do statements such as, "these things happen, it is ok"; "we don't believe you had any intentions of doing it" and "a tragic accident occurred" offer a promise of leniency?
    • Improper promise of leniency- treatment in lieu of jail

    Click here for Legal Updates Winter 2013

    01/09/2013Two very informative fraud articles written by Charles Piper, Reid graduate and Certified in the Reid Technique (CRT)
    Mr. Charles Piper has written two excellent fraud articles for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners which we are linking to with their permissions:

    "10 popular health care provider fraud schemes" Jan/Feb 2013 Click here

    "Finding the bid riggers: 12 red flags of contract and procurement fraud" July/Aug 2012 Click here

    01/08/2013New Article In Police Chief Magazine
    Police Chief magazine article entitled, "Garrity Warnings: To Give or Not to Give, That Is the Question"
    Click here for the article.

    12/18/2012Reid Graduate Killed in the Line of Duty
    The following is an email sent to one of our senior insturctors, James Bobal, published with the author's consent:

    Jim,

    This is Sgt. Ray Essary from the Shelby County Sheriff's. I was an attendee at the recent seminar in Memphis at the Sheriff's Training Academy.

    I wanted to let you know one of the class members, Memphis Police Department Officer Montoiya Lang was killed in the line of duty on Friday morning, 12-14-12, while serving a narcotics search warrant. She was the young black lady on the second row, very nice looking and very quiet, she was seated to your left. She is the first female MPD Officer ever killed in the line of duty.

    Sorry to contact you with bad news. Thought you would like to know.

    On a more positive note, I have gotten confessions this last week on a false report for a home invasion and a child molester acting as a youth music minister grooming a young lady for two years before the sexual assault took place. Proud to have used the newly learned skills.

    Again, sorry for the bad news.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    Sergeant Ray Essary
    Shelby County Sheriff's Office
    Memphis, Tn., 38013

    10/28/2012Hurricane Sandy
    John E. Reid and Associates has re-scheduled our New York City training program that was to take place this week October 30 - November 2 due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy. The new dates for the training seminar are November 27 - 30, 2012. Click here for details about the program or to register for the seminar

    In the meantime if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us at 800-255-5747 ext 24 or info@reid.com

    10/11/2012Legal Updates Fall 2012
    In our Legal Updates Fall 2012 column we feature cases that address the following issues:

    • Court finds that the research by false confession expert Dr. Richard Leo utilized "unreliable methodology" and was prone to inaccuracy or bias
    • Jury rejects testimony from Dr. James Waker of false confessions and suggestibility
    • Testimony from defense expert Dr. Stark on false confessions excluded
    • Court excludes the testimony of defense expert Dr. Bruce Frumkin because it would "lead to confusion and misunderstanding."
    • Jury rejects testimony that the Reid Technique risks unreliable and untrustworthy statements
    • Supreme Court of New Jersey finds no evidence to suggest that using the Reid Technique when questioning juvenile "deprived A.W. of any of his rights or overbore his will"
    • Juvenile confessions - the need to consider the totality of circumstances
    • The need to have clear and unequivocal Miranda waiver forms for juveniles
    • Interrogator's reference to mitigating circumstances, including the fact that the shooting may have been an "accident" or from a "fit of rage" "fall far short of being promises of lenient treatment in exchange for cooperation"
    • "If for some reason you went in [the restaurant] to do a robbery and somehow the gun went off [accident]" was not a statement that suggested leniency
    • Lying about evidence such as minimizing the victim's injury, and telling the defendant gun shot residue and eyewitnesses showed that he was the shooter, would not cause an innocent person to confess
    • Calling the defendant a liar during an interrogation does not violate the rule which prohibits a witness from giving an opinion on whether another witness is telling the truth
    • Incriminating statements admissible even though police deceived defendant about what offenses they were investigating
    • Telling a suspect he could be charged with the more serious crime of lying to the police can nullify the confession
    • Does the statement that questioning could go the "easy way" or the "hard way" constitute a threat? Not when the statement is viewed in context.
    • Confession inadmissible when police tell the suspect (in custody) that he has to hire an attorney in order to have representation during the interrogation.

    Click Here for the article.

    09/29/2012Another example of how false confession experts misrepresent the Reid Technique - Richard Leo and Deborah Davis
    In an article published earlier this year, The Problem of Interrogation-Induced False Confession: Sources of Failure in Prevention and Detection, the authors, Dr. Richard Leo and Deborah Davis, continue the trend of misrepresenting the tenets of The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation.

    On page 19 of the article the authors state, "Finally, specific investigations of the effects of training in the "Behavior Analysis Interview" developed and promoted by Inbau, Reid and colleagues in their manuals and training materials and seminars have shown that the training decreases accuracy relative to untrained controls (Kassin & Fong, 1999)."

    The facts are exactly the opposite. When trained interviewers evaluated the responses of 80 different subjects in real-life Behavior Analysis Interviews they achieved an accuracy rate of 86% for truthful subjects and 83% for deceptive subjects (see Criminal Interrogations and Confessions, 5th ed, page 102 - NSA study). Furthermore, it has been demonstrated in the last several years that accuracy in detecting deception increases significantly with real-life subjects when the interviewer understands the context in which the interview was conducted, and when the interviewer has been properly trained in the in the field of behavior symptom analysis (Blair 2010 and Hartwig 2006 - details on page 103 in Criminal Interrogation and Confessions).

    Click here for the complete discussion of these misrepresentations

    09/29/2012CBC story on The Reid Technique
    The Canadian Broadcasting Company recently did an 18 minute report on interrogation practices - specifically the Reid Technique - called Truth, Lies and Confessions. The report is very negative about the Reid Technique as they discussed two cases, but misrepresented the Reid Technique in a number of ways. Here is a link to the story: http://www.cbc.ca/thenational/indepthanalysis/truthliesandconfessions/

    Here is a copy of the email that we sent to the CBC:

    Dear Mr. Schlesinger,

    I just had the opportunity to see the CBC report, "Truth, Lies and Confessions" in which you were the reporter. There are several misleading statements made about the Reid Technique that I would like to address.

    Dr. Tomothy Moore, interviewed for the report, states that "the Reid Technique is guilt presumptive" - the exact opposite is true. The Reid Technique always begins with a non-accusatory interview. During this interview it is imperative that the investigator maintain a neutral and objective attitude - the interview is designed to develop investigative information that can be subsequently investigated and/or compared to the existing investigative information to help determine the subject's possible involvement in the commission of the crime. In many investigations no one is ever interrogated because the investigator never believed, based on the interview and investigative information available, that he/she saw the perpetrator. The report is very dishonest by failing to tell the audience that this non-accusatory interview is the first step in the process - the report clearly presents the accusatory interrogation process as the initial contact that the investigator has with the subject - in actuality, to do that would be utterly absurd and negligent.

    There are a number of basic principles that we teach that the investigator should follow when they reach the stage of conducting an interrogation:

    Do not make any promises of leniency
    Do not threaten the subject with any physical harm or inevitable consequences
    Do not conduct interrogations for an excessively lengthy period of time
    Do not deny the subject any of their rights
    Do not deny the subject the opportunity to satisfy their physical needs Be sure to withhold information about the details of the crime from the subject so that if the subject confesses he can reveal information that only the guilty would know
    Exercise special cautions when questioning juveniles or individuals with mental or psychological impairments * The confession is not the end of the investigation - investigate the confession details in an effort to establish the authenticity of the subject's statement
    Always be in compliance with the guidelines established by the courts

    It was stated in the report that the Reid Technique "shows no interest in learning the truth, but the goal is to seek a confession." We clearly state the exact opposite in our book (which you held in your hand) "Criminal Interrogation and Confessions" - on page 5:

    "The purpose of an interrogation is to learn the truth. A common misperception exists in believing that the purpose of an interrogation is to elicit a confession.... If the suspect can be eliminated [from suspicion] based on his or her behavior or explanations offered during the interrogation, the interrogation must be considered successful because the truth was learned."

    Finally, the report suggest that it is more effective to conduct a non-accusatory interview in which the investigator tries to build rapport with the subject and develop the truth about the relevant investigative information without any accusations or psychological trickery (referred to as the PEACE Model) - this is exactly what we do in the Reid Technique by beginning with the interview process as outlined above - a process you conveniently did not mention in the story.

    While false confessions can occur, if the proper protocol and principles are followed, they will be a rare occurrence.

    09/29/2012Court finds that the research by false confession expert Dr. Richard Leo utilized
    In the case People v. Kowalski (July 2012) the Michigan Supreme Court ruled as follows:

    "The circuit court excluded the testimony of two experts regarding the occurrence of false confessions and the police interrogation techniques likely to generate them as well as the psychological characteristics of defendant that allegedly made him more susceptible to these techniques.

    We hold that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion by excluding the expert testimony regarding the published literature on false confessions and police interrogations on the basis of its determination that the testimony was not reliable, even though the subject of the proposed testimony is beyond the common knowledge of the average juror."

    From the Supreme Court's opinion:

    "The circuit court examined the manner in which Leo analyzed the confessions that he determined to be false:

    [Leo] starts with the conclusion that the confession is false and then he works backwards.... He doesn't take into consideration why someone might falsely confess, other than because of a police interrogation technique.... [A]nd there are reasons why people would falsely confess, they might be trying to protect someone.... He hasn't determined a reliable means to have a study group consist of innocent people who wrongfully confess that weren't mentally ill or youth.

    The circuit court criticized this methodology for failing to compare true and false confessions and identify factors that contribute to false confessions but not true confessions. As the circuit court stated, "[I]f true and false confessions can be derived from the same police interrogation techniques, [how] is it possible to blame police interrogation techniques with any degree of reliability?" Given what the circuit court considered to be inadequacies of Leo's data and methodology, the circuit court concluded that Leo's testimony was unreliable.

    Nothing in the circuit court's analysis placed the exclusion of Leo's testimony outside the range of principled outcomes. The circuit court properly considered all stages of Leo's analysis and found it unreliable at every stage. With regard to the data underlying Leo's testimony, the circuit court reasonably determined that its sources were unreliable because they were prone to inaccuracy or bias and, in nearly all instances, had not been subjected to the rigorous standards of scientific peer-review. Additionally, the circuit court raised multiple legitimate concerns about the "manner in which [Leo] interpret[ed] and extrapolate[d] from those data." The unreliable methodology, as the circuit court described, resulted in conclusions consistent with Leo's own preconceived beliefs rather than testable results consistent with an objective, scientific process. Therefore, because the exclusion of Leo's testimony was a reasonable and principled outcome, the circuit court's decision did not amount to an abuse of discretion. The Court of Appeals came to the same conclusion after making similar observations about the data and methods underlying Leo's studies, and we thus affirm the lower courts' decisions to exclude Leo's testimony
    Click here for the complete decision.

    09/29/2012Without a doubt, the 3 days I spent attending a Reid seminar were so instrumental in conducting proper and successful investigations.
    I was an Internal Affairs Special Agent for the Justice Department. I attended a 13 week criminal investigator training course at FLETC in Brunswick, Georgia, and the training was quite good. However, at the conclusion of the training, I was required to attend a Reid Seminar, which I did in Denver, Colorado. In the next four years, I conducted approximately 1400 sit down interviews and/or interrogations. Without a doubt, the 3 days I spent attending a Reid seminar were so instrumental in conducting proper and successful investigations. Thank you for providing this very useful training which can be immediately applied once on the job and in the chair.

    Michael Smith
    North Augusta, South Carolina

    09/29/2012Interrogators should exercise special precautions when interviewing juveniles or individuals with mental or psychological impairments
    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.

    The following are excerpts from our book, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, 5th edition, published in 2011, on this topic.


    Click here for the complete article

    09/29/2012A Compendium of law relating to the electronic recording of custodial interrogations
    This article, written by Thomas Sullivan and published in the March/April of Judicature, the publication of the American Judicature Society, details the current laws and judicial decisions related to electronic recording of custodial interrogations of felony suspects.

    A Compendium which summarizes Attorney Sullivan's current knowledge of the law and practice in each of the states and several federal investigative agencies, as well as references to national organizations that have endorsed recording, and a bibliography of articles on the topic can be found at http://www.ajs.org/ajs/publications/Judicature_PDFs/955/ajs_955_compendium.asp

    Furthermore, Attorney Sullivan has advised us that he offers his assistance in connection with passage of recording legislation. He favors the Uniform Electronic Recordation of Custodial Interrogations Act, adopted in 2010 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, available at http://www.law.upenn.edu/bll/archives/ulc/erci/2010final.htm
    Click here for the article.

    09/29/2012What is the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale ("GSS")?
    In the case State v. Wright (Jan 2012) Dr. Daniel Martel. a forensic neuro-psychologist, testified about his use of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale, and from the court opinion, described GSS as follows:

    "In this case, Dr. Martell was asked to evaluate Defendant's vulnerability to change his answers, his suggestibility, and malleability as applied to a police interrogation. Dr. Martell testified that he evaluated Defendant for about three hours focusing on the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale ("GSS"), memory testing, tests for malingering, and a neuropsychological interview. After evaluating Defendant, Dr. Martell opined that Defendant had difficulties in school, a verbal comprehension deficiency, and likely has a learning disability in reading and math.

    Dr. Martell described the GSS suggestibility scale as a test of the degree of vulnerability a person has to suggestions that may contaminate or influence that person's ability to recall an event. According to his testimony, a person's degree of suggestibility is permanent, but being high on heroin or other factors could temporarily make someone more suggestible. The test is administered by telling the subject a story, asking the subject to recall the story from memory, asking the subject to recall it again after thirty minutes, and then asking the subject a series of suggestive questions that may or may not be answerable from the story. After the questions, the test administrator determines a score based on how many mistakes the subject made and then asks the subject to answer the questions again and to try to be more accurate. The administrator uses this process to develop a yield score, i.e. a measure of how much the subject yields to suggestion. For example, after initially being asked "Did the assailant in the story use knives or guns?" and answering "guns," the subject is again asked the same question. If the subject responds by saying "knives" the second time, then the yield score is greater, showing an increased propensity to yield to suggestion. The GSS provides, among other things, a "shift score" which measures the subject's susceptibility to change (shift) his answers after being admonished by the test administrator."
    Click here for the complete court decision

    09/29/2012Commentary: Detection of deception researchers need to collaborate with experienced practitioners
    by Joseph Buckley, President of John E. Reid and Associates

    Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition April 2012

    "In their research report entitled, "Eliciting cues to deception and truth: What matters are the questions asked" authors Aldert Vrij and Par Anders Granhag state that future detection of deception research efforts should be conducted in a way that "better mirror the situations in which practitioners assess veracity" than they have in the past, and that "deception researchers should collaborate with experienced practitioners." I agree."
    Click here for the complete article

    09/20/2012Canadian Judge finds interrogation process to be 'oppressive' - mislabels as The Reid Technique
    Earlier this month a lower court judge in Alberta, Canada in the case R. v. Chapple, found that a confession obtained after an 8 hour interrogation was inadmissible because the interrogation process was so oppressive that the suspect's will was overborne, leading her to say "what the police wanted to hear". The investigating officers testified that during their interrogation they conducted the interview "using aspects of the Reid Technique." Unfortunately, the judge made the mistake of assuming that everything the investigators did was part of The Reid Technique.

    For example, the interrogation in this case was reported to be 8 hours long, during which the suspect "asserted at least 24 times that she wanted to remain silent." In our book, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions (5th ed 2011), we point out that if there is no progress within a 3 to 4 hour period and the suspect remains adamant in their denials, the interrogator must re-assess the situation. Furthermore, we teach that the suspect's rights must be scrupulously honored.

    The Reid Technique was described as a "guilt-presumptive" procedure - to the complete contrary, we teach investigators to take a neutral, non-accusatory stance at the start of an interview with the aim of developing investigative and behavioral information. If the investigative information indicates the suspect's probable involvement in the commission of the crime then an interrogation becomes appropriate. We teach that the first contact with a subject should never be an accusatory interrogation.

    It should be noted for reference that numerous Canadian courts have supported the basic approaches that we spouse in the Reid Technique when we reach the interrogation phase - such as displaying empathy and understanding toward the suspect during the interrogation. For example, in R. v. Oickle, the lower court suggested that the interrogator's understanding demeanor improperly abused the suspect's trust. The Canada Supreme Court disagreed stating, " In essence, the court [of appeals] criticizes the police for questioning the respondent in such a gentle, reassuring manner that they gained his trust. This does not render a confession inadmissible. To hold otherwise would send the perverse message to police that they should engage in adversarial, aggressive questioning to ensure they never gain the suspect's trust, lest an ensuing confession be excluded."

    In the Reid Technique we teach that the investigator should minimize the moral seriousness of the suspect's behavior. In Oickle, the Court of Appeals concluded that the police improperly offered leniency to the suspect by minimizing the seriousness of his offense. The Supreme Court again disagreed stating, "Insofar as the police simply downplayed the moral culpability of the offence, their actions were not problematic."

    In a more recent case, R. v. Amos, the court stated, "There is nothing problematic or objectionable about police, when questioning suspects, in downplaying or minimizing the moral culpability of their alleged criminal activity. I find there was nothing improper in these and other similar transcript examples where [the detective] minimized [the accused's] moral responsibility. At no time did he suggest that a confession by the subject would result in reduced or minimal legal consequences."

    False or coerced confessions are not caused by the application of the Reid Technique, they are usually caused by interrogators engaging in improper behavior that is outside of the parameters of the Reid Technique - using improper interrogation procedures - engaging in behavior that the courts have ruled to be objectionable, such as threatening inevitable consequences; making a promise of leniency in return for the confession; denying a subject their rights; conducting an excessively long interrogation; etc.

    As one U.S. District court stated, "In sum, the proffered expert testimony to the effect that the Reid technique enhanced the risk of an unreliable confession lacked any objective basis for support whatever." US v. Jacques, (2011).

    For additional information see an article we wrote about two Canadian court decisions regarding the elements of the Reid technique on our website at http://www.reid.com/educational_info/canada.html.

    Also, several months ago we prepared a document for our website entitled, Clarifying Misinformation about The Reid Technique.
    click here for a copy

    08/02/2012New Review of the ìMust-Haveî Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, Fifth Edition
    The recently published Fifth Edition of Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, by the late Fred E. Inbau, the late John E. Reid, Joseph P. Buckley, and Brian C. Jayne, was reviewed for the June issue of Security Management magazine. According to reviewer and former FBI Special Agent, Kevin D. Eack,

    This valuable resource is a "must have" for those who engage in investigative interviews and interrogations. While it contains advanced material for the experienced investigator, it is also a valuable and ready resource for the beginner in the profession. Well organized and well indexed, the publication walks the reader through the verbal, nonverbal, and behavioral aspects of investigative interviews and interrogations....this publication should be on the desk or nearby shelf for every security or law enforcement professional engaged in investigations.


    Read the full review from Security Management magazine.

    Reviewer:
    Kevin D. Eack is a former FBI Special Agent, former Illinois state prosecutor, and former member of the Illinois State Police. With a total of 28 years in law enforcement, and a significant level of experience as an investigative senior executive, Kevin is presently the chair of ASIS International's Council on Global Terrorism, Political Instability and International Crime.

    About the book:
    Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, Fifth Edition presents the Reid Technique of interviewing and interrogation and is the standard used in the field. The updated Fifth Edition presents interviewing and interrogation techniques, based on actual criminal cases, which have been used successfully by thousands of criminal investigators. This practical text is built around simple psychological principles and examines interrogation as a nine-step process that is easily understood by the reader.
    Learn more about the Fifth Edition

    08/01/2012Legal Updates Summer 2012
    In our Legal Updates Summer 2012 column we feature cases that address the following issues:
    • "I've given you what I'm gonna give you." "[I] "ain't saying nothing no more" Do these statements represent unequivocal invocations of the right to remain silent?
    • Unambiguous request for an attorney: "I mean, but can I call one now? That's what I'm saying."
    • What constitutes an implied promise of leniency?
    • Hawaiian Constitution does not require recording of custodial interrogations
    • The importance of discussing the Miranda rights with a juvenile suspect
    • Confession voluntariness - the "totality of circumstances" and the value of recording interrogations
    • "If you work with me, we can make these [charges] go away." Does this
    • statement constitute a promise of leniency?
    • Failure to call a false confession expert does not constitute ineffective counsel
    • The value of video recording in determining the ability of a suspect with a low IQ to make a knowing and intelligent waiver
    • Telling the suspect that the victim had accused him of a more serious crime is not a coercive tactic - even though the victim had not made such an assertion
    • Court considers criteria to determine if a 15-year old student was in custody when questioned by the police at school
    • Defendant's confession to two "inmates" who were undercover detectives held admissible
    • Court finds that Dr. Richard Leo's proposed testimony potentially confusing and misleading
    • Can the police lie to a suspect by telling him that they are not recording the interrogation when they actually are?
    • Impermissible promise of leniency
    • Confession voluntariness: factors to consider

    Click here for the complete article

    07/01/2012New Canadian legal column available for Reid Institute members
    Attack on Reid technique fails. Failed attempt to prove a false confession.

    R. v. Pearce (2012) MBQB[1]

    By Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc.



    I. Introduction

    Picture this: You're investigating a homicide. No suspects. It becomes a cold case. Six months later, a victim's friend contacts you and says he may have information relevant to the case. After interviewing him, you suspect he may be involved. He consents to a polygraph test and passes.
    The suspect contacts you again. This time he confesses that he had an argument with the victim and hit the victim with a golf club. The fact that a golf club was the murder weapon was not disclosed to the public.
    You charge the suspect with manslaughter. The confession is your entire case. What should you anticipate at the trial? A defence of false confession. That's what happened in this case.
    ()()
    Why would an innocent person falsely confess to a crime? In 15 years of policing, of which six years were detective work, I interrogated hundreds of people. No one falsely confessed. I've testified at countless voir dires. The defence of false confession was never raised in any one of my cases. I have no direct experience with false confessions.

    The Supreme Court of Canada, in R. v. Oickle, acknowledged that although false confessions are rare, the problem of false confession is real and can't be ignored. In Oickle, the SCC explained the taxonomy of false confessions, five leading causes of false confessions. One is not the product of interrogation. The other four are.

    In a nutshell, a false confession is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when coercive interrogation meets an extremely vulnerable personality. A false confession is the confluence of extremes - extremely aggressive tactics and an extremely compliant personality. There's much more to the psychological study of false confessions but that summarizes the problem for the purpose of this article.

    False confession is a defence. It's raised by the accused during a voir dire to determine the admissibility of a confession the Crown tries to introduce. This case is an excellent point-of-reference of how the defence works and doesn't work. The accused was charged with manslaughter. The only evidence implicating him was a confession that he made to police. During the original voir dire, the confession was admitted as being voluntary and Charter-violation free. The defence took the position that his confession to police was not true. The defence called two psychologists at his trial intending to provide expert opinion evidence regarding false confessions in general and that the confession in this case was false. The issue was whether the expert opinions of both witnesses were admissible. They weren't - neither witness passed the expert witness test. That started a chain of events beginning with the failed "test" making their expert opinion inadmissible and culminating with the failure of the defence of false confession.

    The issue of false confession places two challenges on the police; (i) it takes full measures to prevent one, and (ii) Be prepared for the possibility of the defence of false confession being raised. The starting point is understanding the concept of a false confession. You can't prevent what you don't understand. Study Oickle in depth.


    Click here for the article.

    06/01/2012New Canadian legal column available for Reid Institute members
    New Canadian column for Reid Institute Members: "Significance of Exculpatory statements from the Stafford homicide"
    R. v. Rafferty, 2012 ONSC 1162 (CanLII) Feb. 16, 2012

    By Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc.

    Introduction: No evidence is stronger than a true confession. A properly obtained, true confession is the best evidence you can get. But, the rules of evidence regarding statement admissibility may be the most complex in all of Canadian criminal law. No statute explains how to get a confession. No statute even explains the rules of confession admissibility. The only way to become an expert in confession admissibility is to study case law. Case law holds the secret to getting true confessions. To become an expert interrogator, you have to become an expert case law researcher. There's no way around the study of case law. If you don't have an expert understanding of case law, you don't have an expert understanding of interrogation. The reason is simple - case law has all the answers to interrogation. Case law has the solution to interrogation. But how can police officers be expected to study the mounds of case law when they're busy fighting crime?

    This case involves a voir dire in the Tori Stafford homicide, the horrific murder of an 8 year old that dominated the news for months. I decided to include most of the judgment verbatim for two reasons: (i) so absolutely nothing gets lost in translation. (ii) You, the reader, have to read the judgment to make full sense of it. (iii) There's no way to condense it. (iv) to prove my point about the complexities of rules of evidence and how case law has all the answers and solutions that solve the mystery of how to get true confessions in Canada.


    Click here for the article.

    05/30/2012Expert witness testifies that the frequency of false confessions is one hundredth of one percent.
    In the murder trial of Adrian Thomas in Troy, New York, the prosecution's expert witness at the Frye hearing, Professor Paul Cassell, conclusively opined that
    according to FBI figures, there are 900,000 arrests per year which, over a 23-year period add up to 20 million. [the expert witness] divided this figure by 60, which was the number of confessions that Dr. Ofshe had identified as false in a 1996 article. From this, [the expert witness] concluded that the frequency of false confessions is one hundredth of one percent.

    Click here for the complete story

    05/30/201284% of surveyed participants rate the Reid seminar better than any other training that they received on interview and interrogation techniques
    84% of surveyed participants rate the Reid seminar better than any other training that they received on interview and interrogation techniques

    In April 2012 we included the following survey question in our course announcements: "How would you compare Reid training to other interview and interrogation training you've received? 84% of the respondents reported that the Reid training was better than any other training that they had received on interview and interrogation training - only 1 person felt that it was not as good as other training that he had received. Here is what some of the survey respondents said:

    Even the training I received at the MSTC in Aurora Colo, could not compare.. Best money ever invested

    I have taken many interiewing courses over the years. All of them teach how to determine if a person is being deceptive. Reid is the only course that goes the "extra step" spending many hours on the logistics of how to obtain a confession.

    By far the greatest confession rate thu the roof

    I have attended numerous interview and interrogation trainings. This is hands down the best class.

    The best constructed and organized system of interviewing I've ever been trained in. Very comprehensive in human behavior.

    Your training was far more comprehensive than other I&I trainings I have attended. It was also presented in a manner that worked very well with my learning style.

    Excellent training. A must have for any law enforcement conducting interviews. I would highly recommend this training.

    So good I would attend again and would still learn more.

    Comparing average law enforcement training and FBI training to Reid, Reid has done the research, applied a linear and logical format and sought to reasonably accomplish the task at hand. FLETC also has amazing Interview and Interrogation training and I have found ONLY these two formats to be well-developed.

    1. How would you compare Reid training to other interview and interrogation training you've received? Reid training was

    Complete Results
    ResponseNumber of Response(s) / Response Ratio
    Much Better85 / 52.7%
    Better51 / 31.6%
    Equal13 / 8.0%
    Not as Good1 / <1%
    Other11 / 6.8%
    No Responses0 / 0.0%
    Total161 / 100%


    05/14/2012Example of how false confession experts misrepresent the Reid Technique - Dr. Solomon Fulero
    In the case State v. Wright (Jan. 2012) Dr. Solomon Fulero, Professor of Psychology at Sinclair College, offered testimony about the Reid Technique - his testimony (quoted below) provides a perfect example of how "false confession experts" misrepresent what the Reid Technique is - oftentimes attributing to the Reid Technique tactics that we teach should never be used by any interrogator. After the quoted testimony of Dr. Fulero we provide some brief comments (in blue).

    "Dr. Fulero testified regarding the Reid technique--a police interrogation method used to elicit confessions by making suspects believe that confessing is in their best interest."

    The Reid Technique consists of a three phase process including Factual Analysis in which the investigator attempts to determine possible suspects based on motive, alibi, relationship to the victim, possessing the knowledge necessary to commit the crime, the presence of any incriminating evidence, etc; non-accusatory interview designed to develop investigative and behavioral information to determine investigative direction, followed by, when appropriate, an accusatory interrogation. The interrogation component is last element in the Reid Technique.

    "According to Dr. Fulero, the Reid technique usually involves the use of a bare interrogation room, containing only a desk and chairs, located within a maze of hallways at a police station."

    We emphasize that in both the interview and the interrogation phase of the Reid Technique be conducted in a quite, private environment with a minimum of distractions - we never talk about locating the interview room "within a maze of hallways at a police station."
    Click here for the complete description of Dr. Fulero's testimony and our responses.

    05/06/2012Miranda: Admissibility of Expert Testimony on False Confessions; Failure of Expert To Offer Case and Fact-Specific Basis for His Expert Testimony; Exclusion of Pro-Offered Expert Testimony; Dr. Ofshe People v. Bedessie, No. 46 (N.Y. Court of Appeals, March 30, 2012).
    Attorney James Manak writes a monthly legal column for our Reid Institute Members - the heading above is the focus of his April 2012 column - because it deals with how the N. Y. Court of Appeals viewed the testimony of Dr. Richard Ofshe in the Bedessie case, a false confession expert, we thought the general readership would be interested in a few of the observations by the court that Attorney Manak included in his column.

    "In this appeal, the New York Court of Appeals was asked for the first time to consider the admissibility of expert testimony proffered on the issue of the reliability of a confession. While in a proper case expert testimony on the phenomenon of false confessions is admissible, the expert here, Dr. Richard J. Ofshe--an expert well known to Reid alumni--did not propose testimony relevant to this defendant or her interrogation. As a result, the court ruled the trial judge did not abuse its discretion when it declined to hold a Frye hearing (admissibility of scientific evidence) to assess whether any principles about which the expert proposed to testify were generally accepted in the scientific community, or to permit the expert to testify."
    Click here for extended excerpts from Attorney Manak's column

    05/01/2012New Canadian Column
    Offer of help may jeopardize confession admissibility

    R. v. Gilbertson (2012) BCSC[1] 20-04-12


    Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc.

    Part I - Editorial

    As business owner, I find this case to be an outrage. In a nutshell, a convenience store clerk went to work, trying to make an honest living. The clerk then faced death by being robbed at knifepoint. After an investigation, the accused was arrested and was interrogated twice by two separate officers. Here's the first shocker (verbatim from the judgment): "According to the accused's evidence, he had smuggled some speed into his cell the night before, and had it with his breakfast, which was shortly before the interview commenced." Unbelievable.
    Then, the accused confessed. Again, verbatim from the judgment: "He said he was threatened to do the robbery because he owed money to a dope dealer. He explained that he did the robbery to help pay off his drug debt... he agreed that the photo of the man in the convenience store was him."
    The British Columbia Supreme threw out the confession because of the way the interrogating police officer offered to personally help the accused person with his drug addiction.
    As an ex-detective, I've been in interrogation rooms, I've testified at voir dires, I was testifying at trials since the Charter's rookie season. I have experienced outrageous decisions where crime victims were all but forgotten and the severity of the crime ignored. By the time I finished the reading the Gilbertson judgment, the same thing happened - I had to remind myself that a victim's life was threatened during a major crime.
    This article is divided into three parts:
    Part 1: this editorial,
    Part 2: the case & ruling
    Part 3: conclusion - practical application


    Click here for the article.

    05/01/2012Three new articles on Canadian cases posted on the Reid Institute Members page
    We have posted three new articles by Gino Arcaro discussing Canadian interrogation cases on our Reid Institute Members What's New page:
    • "Confession at gunpoint: The chain of events affecting admissibility"
    • "The balance of power: close the "Sophistication Gap"
    • "Three strikes and Statement's out"

    Click here to access these articles

    04/30/2012Criminal Interrogation and Confessions 5th edition now available as an e-book. Save 40%.
    The publisher of Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, 5th edition, has now made the leading text in the field of interviewing and interrogation available as an e-book for the remarkable price of $74.95 - a savings of 40% from their standard text price of $125.95.
    Click here for the details and to download your copy

    04/18/2012Legal Updates Spring 2012
    In our Legal Updates Spring 2012 column we feature cases that address the following issues:
    • Defendant does not have to actually speak to invoke the right to remain silent
    • Statement to suspect that he "should explain his mistake so that his daughter did not have to grow up without her dad" rendered the confession inadmissible
    • Suspect told he would "only be a witness if he had merely been present but had not been a shooter." - is this a promise of leniency?
    • Court finds testimony from Dr. Bruce Frumkin inadmissible on whether the defendant has a propensity to make a false statement
    • Is this statement an unambiguous invocation of the suspect's right to counsel - "I'd like an attorney present. I mean but I can't afford one. So I guess I'll just speak to you now. I don't have an attorney."
    • "I don't want to say anything more" is an unambiguous exercise of the defendant's right to silence
    • If a juvenile is questioned in a police car, is he in custody? In this case the court said no.
    • Rationalizing a defendant's actions (self-defense/accident) in such a way that he "might hope that he would not be charged with murder" did not render the confession inadmissible
    • Court finds that interrogators are permitted to use minimization techniques
    • Court excludes the testimony of Dr. Richard Leo: "the proposed expert testimony was little more than speculation."
    • Court does not allow Dr. Richard Ofshe to testify on false confession issues
    • Court excludes testimony of social psychologist on false confessions
    • Two courts reject the claim of ineffective counsel because an expert witness on false confessions was not called
    • Court finds use of a videotape as a prop during an interrogation acceptable
    • Interrogating a suspect after continued denials not coercive
    • Confession voluntariness: telling defendant length of punishment and misrepresenting evidence
    • Fourteenth Amendment does not require law enforcement to videotape custodial interrogations
    • Is the request by a 15 year old to speak to their mother (in a custodial setting) tantamount to requesting an attorney?

    Click here for Legal Updates Spring 2012

    04/02/2012NY's top court rejects appeal of confession (Rejects Dr.Ofshe testimony of false confessions)
    By MICHAEL VIRTANEN
    Associated press

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's top court on Thursday upheld the child rape conviction of a Queens woman who said her confession was coerced by a lying detective and whose expert witness on false confessions was kept out of the trial.

    The Court of Appeals' 5-2 ruling concluded the expert's proposed testimony that social science research shows false confessions have a correlation with certain police interrogation techniques "had nothing to say that was relevant to the circumstances of this case."

    The trial judge said the jurors were competent to draw their own conclusions based on their life experiences about whether the statement was voluntary, and he did not see how Dr. Richard Ofshe's testimony about proven false confessions would help them.

    Click here for the complete article on this decision


    It should be noted, that while the court rejected the testimony in this case, is did state the following in their opinion:

    "In this appeal, we are asked for the first time to consider the admissibility of expert testimony proffered on the issue of the reliability of a confession. While in a proper case expert testimony on the phenomenon of false confessions should be admitted, the expert here did not propose testimony relevant to this defendant or her interrogation. As a result, the trial judge did not abuse his discretion when he declined to hold a Frye hearing to assess whether any principles about which the expert proposed to testify were generally accepted in the scientific community, or to permit the expert to testify."
    Click here for the complete opinion

    04/01/2012Confession at gunpoint: The chain of events affecting admissibility.
    By Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc.

    I. Reality

    The world of frontline policing will not always guarantee peaceful conditions to question a suspect. During life-and-death emergencies, the police will need to get information at lightning-speed. In those cases, information obtained in the blink of an eye can be the difference between saving a life or losing it.

    In R. v. Hatch (2012), during a lengthy complex investigation, the accused made a total of 7 statements, the first at police gun-point, upon police arrival at an emergency call that turned out to be a homicide investigation. The first statement was ruled involuntary because a gun was pointed at the suspect while he answered. How does a gun-induced initial statement affect the rest of the statements?
    Click here for the complete opinion

    03/11/2012Misrepresentations made about the Reid Technique - the correct information
    Over the years a number of misrepresentations and statements containing misinformation have been made about The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation by "false confession experts," academicians and the media. We have prepared a document for your use that lists these misrepresentations and then provides the correct information as detailed in our training manual or our books, including Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, 5th edition, 2011.
    Click here for the document

    03/01/2012 New Canadian column for Reid Institute Members: The balance of power: close the "Sophistication Gap."
    by Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc.

    R. v. Tshitenge Masuku (2011)

    Experience versus inexperience. The balance of power with respect to an interrogator and a suspect has become one of the major factors that affect the voluntariness of a confession and its admissibility. The problem facing the police is that the experience gap is inherent to most interrogations; the imbalance of experience-power is hard to avoid. I will devote as many articles as possible toward this subject because it will continue to be used as defence argument at a voir dire.

    Some of my past articles have shown examples of how the power imbalance has caused a confession to be excluded as evidence. This case is different. It deals with an example of an admissible confession where the defence argued for exclusion based on the potential effect of an experienced detectives tactics on overcoming the will of a "younger, despondent, tired, cold, afraid, unwell accused who attempted on many occasions to remain silent and was refused his request to return to his cell... the defence paints a picture of a fragile young man, pitted against a veteran police detective and accordingly, contends that the statement should be excluded." This quote represents the type of defence arguments police can expect in the future.

    This case is one point-of-reference example of a failed defence. It's part of my ongoing research to help police officers find a strategic solution to the investigative problem of "power imbalance."
    Click here for the complete article

    02/27/2012NY Times article references John E. Reid and Associates as teaching interview and interrogation techniques consist with court decisions
    In their February 23, 2012 article, "Why Do Innocent People Confess?" in the discussion of false confessions the author points out that John E. Reid and Associates teaches interview and interrogation techniques that are consistent with judicial decisions and guidelines. For example, when reading the Miranda rights, the United States Supreme Court has stated that there is no requirement "that the content of the Miranda warnings be a virtual incantation of the precise language contained in Miranda." The US Supreme Court has also stated with respect to the misrepresentation of evidence that it is "while relevant, insufficient in our view to make this otherwise voluntary confession inadmissible. These cases must be decided by viewing the 'totality of circumstances'." Clearly an interrogator can not make any promises of leniency to a suspect in return for a confession, but as one court stated, " There is nothing problematic or objectionable about police, when questioning suspects, in downplaying or minimizing the moral culpability of their alleged criminal activity. I find there was nothing improper in these and other similar transcript examples where [ the detective] minimized [the accused's] moral responsibility."
    For proper interview and interrogation techniques see Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, 5th edition on our website

    02/22/2012Supreme Court says prison inmates don't have to be read rights in different investigations
    By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 10:15 AM

    WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court said Tuesday investigators don't have to read Miranda rights to inmates during jailhouse interrogations about crimes unrelated to their current incarceration.

    The high court, on a 6-3 vote, overturned a federal appeals court decision throwing out prison inmate Randall Lee Fields' conviction, saying Fields was not in "custody" as defined by Miranda and therefore did not have to have his rights read to him.
    Click here for full decision

    02/08/2012Detection of Deception Research - Why Academic Studies Yield Such Poor Results
    Most defense experts who testify on the issue of false confessions state that law enforcement investigators interrogate people whom they believe are lying to them based on the behavior that they displayed during the initial investigative interview. The experts go on to say that the majority of studies show that there are no reliable behavioral indicators of truth and deception. Consequently, investigators oftentimes interrogate people who are actually innocent, which then leads to false confessions.

    In most detection of deception research there appears to be a fundamental lack of understanding of how verbal and nonverbal behaviors exhibited by a subject during an interview are evaluated by practitioners in real life settings. Most academics conducting research seem to work on the underlying presumption that there is a behavior - verbal and/or nonverbal - that is unique to deception. There is not. Any attempt to evaluate a subject's behavior for indications of deception must be considered in the context of the situation and the potential influence of a variety of factors. To do otherwise would be a fruitless endeavor.

    Here are a few of the principles of behavior symptom analysis as practiced in the field that academic researchers fail to consider.

    There are no unique behaviors associated with truthfulness or deception. The behavioral observations an investigator makes of a suspect do not specifically correlate to truth or deception. Rather, they reflect the subject's internal emotional state, cognitive processes, and internal physiological arousal experienced during a response. The emotional states most often associated with deception are fear, anger, embarrassment, indignation, or hope (duping). The cognitive processes may reveal concern, helpfulness, and confidence versus offering an unrealistic explanation for the crime, being defensive, or being overly polite. There are also internal physiological responses that cause external behavioral responses such as a dry throat, skin blanching, pupillary dilation, or blushing. Observed in isolation, certainly none of these behaviors should cause an investigator to conclude that a subject is telling the truth or lying.
    Click here for the complete article on this decision

    02/01/2012New Canadian legal column available for Reid Institute members
    "Three strikes and Statement's out" is the new February article written by Gino Arcaro M.Ed. B.Sc for the Reid Institute members web page. Here are the first two paragraphs of th article:

    R. v. Nakamura and Vincent (2011)

    Introduction

    This case provides an excellent example of:

    (i) how the new Grant model works to determine sec. 24(2) Charter admissibility

    (ii) how important it is to accurately distinguish between suspect and potential witness

    (iii) what not to say when a suspect removes consent during an interview

    This judgment was the ruling in response to a voir dire wherein the Crown tried to prove the voluntariness of statements made by two co-accused persons, Nakamura and Vincent, who were both charged with robbery and one was also charged with aggravated assault.

    The Crown alleged that the co-accused persons, both aged 19, along with a 17 year-old, planned to rob the complainant, of his drugs and money. According to plan, Vincent phoned the complainant to arrange for the purchase of some marijuana. The complainant arrived at the arranged meeting place, the Aquatic Centre, where the drug deal was to happen. Upon arrival, the complainant was allegedly attacked and "viciously assaulted" by Vincent's two co-accused's, one of whom was Nakamura. Nakamura allegedly stabbed the complainant in the face and stomach while the 17 year-old allegedly clubbed the complainant with a baseball bat. When the assault began Vincent left the scene. The incident was recorded on a security camera.

    This article examines only the ruling on Vincent's statement, without confusing it with the Nakamura ruling, because of the volume of interrelated issues. The focus of this article is on the lessons learned from that ruling.
    Click Here to View

    01/27/201290% of responding agencies who record their interrogations find the recordings to be helpful
    In January 2012 we included a survey question with our emails announcing the location of a Reid seminar - here are the results

    1. Does your organization video or audio record your interviews?
      • Yes - 190 (67.8%)
      • No - 90 (32.1%)
    2. If yes, for the majority of cases, has the recording been
      • Helpful - 176 (90.7%)
      • Detrimental - 8 (4.1%)


    01/16/2012IACP model policy for recording interrogations
    In an article by Beth Warren entitled, "States move to require recordings of homicide confessions" she reports that eighteen states require police to record interrogations, at least in homicide cases, and she also reports the following:

    "The "International Association of Chiefs of Police has adopted a model policy for handling major crimes that states: "Interrogations and confessions shall be recorded in their entirety starting with the interrogator's entrance into the interview room and concluding upon departure of the interrogator and suspect.

    "Such electronic recordings can help protect both the suspect(s) and interviewing officers against potential assertions of police coercion or related interrogation misconduct, and may increase the likelihood of successful prosecution."

    The National District Attorneys Association agrees. Executive director Scott Burns said prosecutors used to oppose it.

    "Now a lot of defense attorneys and defendants are opposing it," said Burns, a veteran Utah prosecutor. "It's more compelling, powerful evidence," he said.
    Click here or the complete article:

    01/13/2012Thank you for the most valuable tool in my cop toolbox
    We recently received the following from a past participant:

    "I recently retired from my department. Early in my career as a detective, and before the internet, I heard of your program. And I had the good fortune to be sent to both courses. In the course of time, I used the techniques that I was taught. Two recollections come to my mind. First, after trial a young prosecutor in his office commented on my summary of the defendant's confession, "How the hell do you do it?" Second, on my last day as I looked in my bathroom mirror asked myself the question. My answer was, NO! I never put an innocent person in jail. Thank you for the most valuable tool in my cop toolbox."

    I remain grateful,
    Robert Muncy
    LEO/I ret.

    01/13/2012New Canadian legal column available for Reid Institute members
    "Stick to offence, not defence" is the new January article written by Gino Arcaro M.Ed. B.Sc for the Reid Institute members web page. Here are the first two paragraphs of th article:

    R. v. CÙtÈ (2011) SCC

    I.Don't criticize a defence lawyer's advice.

    Stop bad-mouthing defence lawyers to suspects during an interrogation. This is the most important message that comes from this decision regarding interrogation. This is another in a long-line of case law decisions that shows the court's zero-tolerance for police officers denigrating defence lawyers and their advice to clients. The SCC has given the police leeway in the right to remain silent but not about denigrating defence lawyers. One of the biggest mistakes you can make during an interrogation is criticizing a defence lawyers's advice.

    R. v. CÙtÈ involved a homicide. The accused was charged with second degree murder. The SCC acquitted her. The statement to police was excluded as well as the physical evidence. The accused walked away scot-free because of what the SCC described as "systemic disregard for the law and the Constitution" and, "disturbing and aberrant police behaviour."


    Click here for this article.

    01/07/2012Legal Updates Winter 2012
    In our Legal Updates Winter 2012 column we feature cases that address the following issues:
    • "Testimony of expert regarding interrogation techniques was irrelevant."
    • Promise to keep the suspect's name out of the media will not invalidate the confession
    • Court finds the proposed testimony on false confessions does not meet the Frye test
    • Police should not destroy notes of any pre-interview interrogation
    • If properly done a polygraph examination does not have a coercive impact on a suspect's confession
    • Polygraph examiner's behavior did not render the suspect's confession involuntary
    • 13 hours between waiver and incriminating statements
    • "Incessant questioning or demands to tell the truth" do not render a confession inadmissible
    • Questioning a suspect four times over a 60-hour period of custody did not render the confession inadmissible
    • Is telling a suspect "that if he cooperated and told the truth, he would get more points off his ultimate sentence under the federal Sentencing Guidelines" a promise of leniency that nullifies the confession?
    • Leading questions which contain crime details can jeopardize the reliability of a confession
    • Failure to offer testimony of a false confession expert was insufficient reason to find trial counsel's performance deficient
    • Two and one-half hours between initial interview (and advisement of rights) and the second interview without a re-advisement did not cause the rights to "grow stale."
    • 17 hour interrogation not too long while police are still investigating the case
    • "I will tell you everything" is not an inculpatory statement
    • Is a request to talk to his mother invoking the defendant's right to remain silent?
    • Confession found inadmissible - police violated Miranda and improperly misrepresented evidence to the suspect

    Click here for Legal Updates Winter 2012

    01/05/2012How A Teen's Coerced Confession Set Her Free
    That is the title of a story NPR produced yesterday which focuses on the interrogation of a 16 year old mother on whether or not she killed her 13 month old son. The judge, Worcester Superior Court Judge Janet Kenton-Walker, reviewed the videotaped interrogation and found the confession to be inadmissible - not a voluntary statement.
    Click here for the complete NPR story

    01/01/2012New 5th edition of Criminal Interrogation and Confessions now available

    Criminal Interrogations and Confessions, Fifth Edition presents the Reid Technique of interviewing and interrogation and is the standard used in the field. This updated Fifth Edition presents interviewing and interrogation techniques, based on actual criminal cases, which have been used successfully by thousands of criminal investigators. This practical text is built around simple psychological principles and examines interrogation as a nine-step process that is easily understood by the reader.

    New and Key Features of the updated Fifth Edition:

    • The text contains updated photographs throughout to illustrate behavior symptoms; the proper room setting and positioning; as well the placement of electronic recording equipment.
    • Every chapter of the text includes updated information.
    • Chapter 9 (Behavior Symptom Analysis) contains new research that has been conducted on the efficacy of behavior symptom analysis, as well as building for the reader the behavioral model of the truthful individual versus the subject who is withholding or fabricating relevant information.
    • Chapters 7 through 12 discuss in detail how to build the investigative interview, including the proper use of both investigative and behavior provoking questions, as well as guidelines for evaluating the credibility of allegations, and the proper use of follow-up and bait questions.
    • Chapter 15 (Distinguishing between True and False Confessions) has been updated to include new cases throughout and contains two new sections; "The Issue of False Confessions in the Courtroom - The Testimony of Expert Witnesses" and "The Issue of False Confessions in the Courtroom - Court Decisions".
    • Chapter 17 discusses all of the legal issues related to interrogation and confession law, including Miranda, the meaning of custody, the use of threats and/or promises, the use of deception, and confession voluntariness. The chapter contains updated legal references including 2011 court decisions.


    Table of Contents

    Part 1 Preliminary Considerations
    1. Distinctions between Interviews and Interrogations
    2. Obtaining and Evaluating Factual Information
    3. Case Solution Possibilities
    4. Initial Precautionary Measures for the Protections of the Innocent
    5. Privacy and the Interview Room
    6. Qualifications, Attitude, and General Conduct of the Investigator
    Part 2 Interviewing Techniques
    1. Preparation and Starting the Interview
    2. Formulating Interview Questions
    3. Behavior Symptom Analysis
    4. Precautions when Evaluating Behavior Symptoms of Truthful and Untruthful Subjects
    5. The Behavior Analysis Interview
    6. The Use of Specialized Questioning Techniques
    Part 3 Interrogation Techniques
    1. The Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation
    2. Recommendations for Interrogators
    3. Distinguishing between True and False Confessions
    4. Testifying on a Confession
    5. Interrogation Law


    Click here for the complete Index



    Click here to order.

    12/13/2011
    In the November 2011 issue of Law and Order magazine the Editorial Director, Ed Sanow, wrote an extensive article about The Reid Technique - he had recently attended one of our 3 day seminars. The seven page article details the essential elements of the Reid Technique. In the author's closing paragraph he states the following:

    "Every detective should attend the course. And not just new detectives. It will help every detective who has had the guilty suspect sitting right in front of them, but just couldn't get the confession. The three-day course is also excellent for all patrol officers and sheriff's deputies in smaller towns and cities without detective units - where the sam patrol officer takes the initial call, performs the investigation, and conducts the interview. The Reid Technique deserves its legendary status in law enforcement." (emphasis added)
    Click here for the complete article.

    12/12/2011The danger of feeding information to a suspect during an interrogation - Juan Rivera conviction overturned
    One of the key guidelines that we teach in our courses and books is that the investigator should conceal details about the crime so that when a suspect confesses and provides those concealed details they can be used to corroborate the confession. If the investigator reveals the details about the crime in the interrogation through the use of leading questions, "She had a multi-colored shirt on, right?" (from the Rivera case) it eliminates the use of that information to corroborate the suspect's confession.

    In their opinion overturning the conviction of Juan Rivera (based primarily on DNA evidence) in paragraph 44 of their opinion the court expresses their concern for the use of leading questions during the interrogation and the validity of the subsequent confession.
    Click here for the court's opinion.

    11/30/2011New York Times article of false confessions
    On November 27, 2011 the New York Times published an extensive article on several false confession cases. The focus of the article is on several cases from Illinois involving subsequent DNA testing. One item of note in the article is the statement that, "In his 2011 book, ''Convicting the Innocent,'' Brandon Garrett, a law professor at the University of Virginia, examined most of the case files for the first 250 DNA exonerations. Garrett found that 76 percent of wrongly convicted prisoners were misidentified by a witness and half the cases involved flawed forensic evidence. The testimony of an informant, often a jailhouse cellmate of the accused, was pivotal in 21 percent of the cases. Perhaps most surprising, 16 percent -- virtually all of whom were subjected to interrogations lasting several hours and, in many cases, days -- confessed to crimes they didn't commit."

    As we have noted in our training programs and publications, excessively long interrogations increase the possibility of false confessions. If no progress has been made within 4 hours, the investigator should re-consider the subject's status, particularly if the suspect's denials remain adamant and persistent. Certainly interrogations can exceed 4 hours when new evidence is developed; when the suspect changes their story; when the suspect makes a partial admission; etc., but absent any of these or similar circumstances, great care should be exercised when interrogations exceed about 4 hours.
    Click here for the complete NY Times article.

    11/30/2011Canadian article critical of the Reid Technique - our response
    On November 25, 2011 an article was written by Joseph Brean in the National Post on line newspaper in Cab=nada, critical of the Reid Technique. Click here for the complete article -

    Here is the response that we sent to the author:

    Dear Mr. Brean,

    Your recent article, "You're guilty, now confess: False admissions put police's favourite interrogation tactic under scrutiny" in the National Post News does not accurately reflect the full context of the Canadian courts' view of the interrogation techniques that we teach, and is misleading on our position regarding the issue of false confessions.

    At the outset, we make very clear in any and all of our training programs (and written materials) that the only interrogation techniques that an investigator can use are those approved by the courts (Canadian/US respectively).

    Secondly, when the interrogation is conducted in a manner consistent with the guidelines established by the courts, the community is served by the resolution of cases.

    In an article that we wrote we have included comments from the Supreme Court of Canada on the type of techniques that we include in our training - http://www.reid.com/educational_info/canada.html. A balanced article would have included many of these comments rather than the passing statement you made.

    Furthermore, in both the 4th and now 5th edition of our book (just published), Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, we included an extensive chapter on the issue of false confessions, entitled, "Distinguishing between True and False Confessions" which includes a litany of safeguards that should be put in place - http://www.reid.com/store2/detail.html?sku=cic4th.

    In addition, a part of our training manual addresses the issue of false confessions:
    Click Here

     Critics of the Reid Technique often misrepresent what we teach - in a recent article that we wrote we point out some of these issues: http://www.reid.com/educational_info/r_tips.html?serial=1309864251267367&print=[print]

    Finally, as you reference, the PEACE model is essentially the first phase of the Reid Technique:
    Click Here

    Joseph P. Buckley
    President
    John E. Reid and Associates
    800-255-5747 ext 19

    10/26/2011Legal Update Fall 2011
    The fall 2011 legal updates include cases which address the following issues:
    • Court rejects the proffered testimony of Professor Alan Hirsch; no basis to say the Reid Technique enhances the risk of unreliable confessions
    • The value of video recording an interrogation ñ discredits defendantís allegations
    • Court rules that accident scenario is not coercive
    • Does a statement to the defendant that his children would be removed from the house unless he cooperated with the investigation render the confession inadmissible?
    • Defense decides not to call Dr. Ricard Leo as an expert witness
    • Court rejects claim that defense counsel was ineffective because they did not introduce an expert witness on the issue of false confessions
    • Court rejects the testimony of an expert in police procedure regarding the use of the Reid interview technique
    • The ìunderwear bomberî did not have to be advised of his Miranda rights due to the public safety exception
    • Is a student in custody when he is asked by school officials to accompany the police for questioning?
    • What statements constitute a promise of leniency?
    • References to religion during an interrogation do not result in a coerced confession
    • Juvenile interrogation: The statement that you are ìnot going to be under arrestî and that ì[y]ou're gonna walk out of here one way or the other. * * * You're not under arrest.î was found to be coercive
    • Court limits the testimony of expert witness Dr. Samuel Roll on the issue of false confessions
    • Does the suspectís invocation of their right to remain silent without the assistance of counsel preclude the police from attempting to obtain incriminating information from them? The Oregon Supreme Court said no.
    • Court rejects the testimony of expert witness Dr. Christopher Lamps on the issue of confession voluntariness
    • A social worker's interview of juvenile at youth home, during which he confessed to crimes, was not custodial interrogation

    Click Here for Cases

    10/20/2011Case clarifies United States Supreme Court decision in Garrity v. New Jersey
    In the July, 2011 case of US v. Callahan, the US District Court. N.D. Georgia, provided a very detailed explanation of the US Supreme Court's decision in Garrity re the use of compelled statements in a criminal prosecution as it applied that decision to the Callahan matter. The US Supreme held in Garrity that the admission of compelled statements was unconstitutional because the statements were inadmissible under the Due Process Clause as coerced confessions, and the state's threat to fire police officers unless they gave statements was an unconstitutional condition
    Click here for the complte decision

    10/20/2011Does an interrogation that exceeds 6 hours mean that the resulting confession was coerced?
    Dr. Richard Leo has espoused the position that interrogations that exceed 6 hours result in coerced confessions. The basis for this statement can be found in an article he co-authored with Steven Drizen in March 2004, entitled "The Problem of False Confessions in the Post-DNA World" (North Carolina Law Review) in which they examined 125 cases that they found in the prior 33 years that they classify as false confession cases. When the length of 44 of these interrogations were reviewed (apparently no time for the length of the interrogation was reported for the remaining 81 cases) they found the following results:

    Length # People %
    Less than 6 hour 7 16%
    6 to 12 hours 15 34%
    12 to 24 hours 17 39%
    24 to 48 hours 3 7%
    48 to 72 hours 1 2%
    72 to 96 hours 1 2%
    The article goes on to say that "The average length of interrogation was 16.3 hours, and the median length of interrogation was twelve hours."

    It is clear that if the median length of these 44 interrogations was 12 hours, the statement that interrogations that exceed 6 hours necessarily result in coerced confessions is not supported by the data.

    As in every case, the courts consider the "totality of circumstances" and do not view the length of interrogation as a definitive factor regarding the admissibility of a confession
    Click here for the complete article

    10/12/2011Video presentation by Dr. Richad Leo in which he gives his description of the Reid Technique
    On their website, The Innocence Legal Team, offers a video presentation by Dr. Richard Leo of his description of the Reid Technique (which he also calls the Reid Method). The presentation can be accessed by clicking on the link labeled, Research on Coerced Confessions and Investigations, on their website at http://www.innocencelegalteam.com/attorney-training-seminars.php.

    It should be noted that Dr. Leo misrepresents the essential elements of the Reid Technique - in fact, he includes in his description of the technique statements made to the suspect by the investigator that are clearly inappropriate and in violation of multiple court decisions. We address many of these misrepresentations in one of our Investigator Tips - What Exactly is The Reid Technique of Interrogation, which you can access on our website at http://www.reid.com/educational_info/r_tipsprint.html?serial=1309864251267367.

    One note of interest, Dr. Leo suggests that an interrogator suggesting to the suspect in a homicide case that he may have acted in self-defense or that the shooting may have been an accident constitutes a coercive technique - the courts disagree.

    In the recent September 2011 case of People v. Batiste (Sept. 2011), the Curt of Appeal, 1st District, Div. 3, California, the defendant claimed that his confession was coerced because it was the product of deception or implied promises of leniency by the officers. From the court's opinion:

    "Batiste argued in the trial court that the officers made an implied promise of leniency when they suggested he might have acted in self-defense. That argument lacked merit. Here, as in People v.. Carrington (2009) 47 Cal.4th 145, 171, "suggestions that the ... homicide might have been an accident, a self-defensive reaction, or the product of fear, were not coercive; they merely suggested possible explanations of the events and offered defendant an opportunity to provide the details of the crime. This tactic is permissible. [Citation.] Moreover, any benefit to defendant that reasonably could be inferred from the substance of [the officer's] remarks was ' " 'merely that which flows naturally from a truthful and honest course of conduct,' " ' because the particular circumstances of a homicide can reduce the degree of culpability, and thus minimize the gravity of the homicide or constitute mitigating factors in the ultimate decision as to the appropriate penalty. [Citation]."

    09/19/2011Why Offenders Confess - new article published by Reid VP Louis Senese
    In the October 2011 issue of Blue Line magazine (published in Canada), our company Vice President, Louis Senese, has published an article entitled, Why Offenders Confess. Here are some excerpts from the article:

    Understanding the many roads to success

    Threats and promises work in obtaining admissions, such as "Tell me you did this and you'll keep your job" or "Tell me you did this or you're going to jail right now I have friends on the inside that owe me, get it?" are illegal. The obvious problem with these statements is that they may cause an innocent individual to admit to crimes they have not committed. To properly obtain a legally acceptable confession, such tactics must obviously be avoided.

    The question then becomes, what would legally persuade a guilty offender to confess? In my three plus decades of experience and our firm's six decades of practice we have observed 10 primary factors that contribute to a suspect's decision to admit one's wrongdoing. They are not mutually exclusive and, in fact, several may simultaneously affect a decision to confess. Understanding them will help investigators elicit legally acceptable co-offenders.
    Click here for the complete article

    09/12/2011You Gentlemen truly are an important asset in the Global War on Terrorism.
    To the Fine Gentlemen of John E. Reid & Associates,

    I attended your Basic and Advanced Course in Anchorage, AK under the superb instructing abilities of Mr. Mike Adamec. His ability to convey the themes used within the Reid Technique combined with his professional somewhat self depricating humor remains with me today and I believe it shall always. I am currently assigned to Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as the Collection Operations Manager. I utilize the Reid Technique wherever possible throughout my Interrogations conducted here on the island. Anatomy of Interrogation Themes sits next to me at my desk. I just wanted to say thanks and I look forward to attending another seminar whenever I return stateside. You Gentlemen truly are an important asset in the Global War on Terrorism. Thank you.

    The quickest way to the Truth, is to Reid between the lines....

    SFC Jesse Duke Lenard
    JTF GTMO
    J2 HOC

    09/12/2011The International Investigative Interviewing Research Group founded in 2007
    The International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (iIIRG) was founded at the University of Teesside in collaboration with the Norwegian Police University College, Oslo and later, with the Centre for Forensic Linguistics, Aston University. It brings together academics and practitioners from around the world who research investigative interviewing of victims, witnesses, and suspects of crime. A major benefit of the group is that it promotes links between academics and practitioners, helping to focus research directly onto real-world problems and set research agendas. The iIIRG is open to all professionals involved in investigative interviewing who can contribute to this complex and intriguing area of research.

    Here are links to their Bulletin publications:
    Their website is http://www.iiirg.org/.

    09/01/2011Sign up to receive our Newsletter and Investigator Tips
    We publish a quarterly newsletter which typically features a number of legal updates, and every two months we publish an Investigator Tip. When these items are published we email them to all of those who have signed up to receive our email communications. Here are examples of the email version of our May/June 2011 Investigator Tip (Interviewing Witnesses) and the July/August Tip (What is the Reid Technique?)
    Click Here if you would like to sign up to receive our emails.

    09/01/2011Delaware Health and Social Services extolls the benefits and value of Reid Training
    In May of this year we presented our three day training program on The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation for the Delaware Health and Social Services Division of Adult Protective Services. We recently received a letter from the Division Administrator who related the favorable experience that they had in using the techniques that they leaned in the training to solve cases, concluding with the statement that:

    "This Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation worked perfectly for the social worker. Your training gave my staff the tools and confidence to obtain a positive outcome to the case.

    Again, thank you for bringing this valuable training to the State of Delaware."
    Click here for the complete letter.

    08/01/2011Legal Update Summer 2011
    The sumer 2011 legal updates includes cases which address the following issues:
    • The Supreme Court holds that a child's age properly informs the Miranda custody analysis
    • Elements to consider in determining a juvenile's ability to make a knowing and intelligent waiver of his rights
    • 16 year-old's confession upheld - example of factors to consider in juvenile interrogation
    • Court rejects the testimony of Professor Alan Hirsch - no evidence the Reid Technique produces false confessions
    • Jury rejects the testimony of Dr. Richard Leo
    • Dr. Richard Ofshe testifies
    • Court rejects the testimony of Dr. Richard Ofshe
    • Court rejects psychiatrist Bobby Miller, M.D., as an expert witness on false confessions
    • Court does not allow Dr. Karen Fukutaki to testify as an expert witness on confession voluntariness
    • Court rejects the testimony of Dr. Sol Fulero
    • Court excludes the testimony of Dr. Mark Costanzo
    • Court rejects expert testimony of defendant's limited mental capacity and suggestibility
    • What constitutes a promise of leniency?
    • The difference between "limited assurances" and promises of leniency
    • If you do not tell the truth, "Life has ended." Does this statement constitute a threat?
    • Confession made to company investigators ruled inadmissible because it was the result of a promise not to prosecute
    • The detective's statement that "[i]f you admit to things, you make mistakes, you made a bad choice; but if you deny this, in my book, you are a criminal," was merely moral urging...not a promise of leniency
    • The statements, "I have no intention of putting you in jail tonight" and "If you have a problem, we can help you.... I promise you, I will do everything I can to help you. " were not promises of leniency.
    • Is the statement "...you might be charged with one thing you know there's plea agreements and things they can work out a deal" a promise of leniency?
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court decides not to require electronic recording of interrogations
    • Can an intoxicated suspect make a voluntary confession?
    • Can "days of drug use and sleep deprivation" render a confession inadmissible?
    • Three cases address the "objective criteria" for determining custody - US v. Hughes, State v. Campfield and Commonwealth v. Truong
    • Does the statement, "You mind if I not say no more and just talk to an attorney about this." represent an unequivocal request for an attorney?
    • Does a suspect have to be advised of his Miranda rights after a 15 hour interlude between interrogation sessions?
    • Court rules that a "mildly mentally retarded" individual can make a knowing and intelligent waiver
    • Characteristics of a defendant who gave a false confession
    • Reference to "God forgiving the suspect" did not render the confession involuntary
    • There is no expectation of privacy for phone calls in police interview room

    Click Here for Cases

    07/01/2011 Investigator Tip for July-August 2011 - What Exactly is the Reid Technique of Interrogation?
    Part One

    Despite the availability of specific information in books, training manuals and on our web site about the Reid Technique of interrogation, it is routinely mis-characterized. The following description from an article by Gudjonsson and Pearse is representative.1

    The Reid Technique of interrogation consists of essentially three steps. Custody and isolation (i.e., the suspect is detained and isolated, anxiety and uncertainty are generated in order to weaken resistance).Confrontation (i.e., the suspect's guilt is assumed and he or she is confronted with alleged incriminating evidence that may or may not be genuine; denials are rejected, even if they happen to be true, and the consequence of continued denial is emphasized), and minimization (i.e., the interrogator tries to gain the suspect's trust and provides face-saving excuses for the crime, including suggesting that it was an accident or that the victim deserved it)."
    Gudjonsson wrote this article as an attempt identify which questioning procedure, the Reid Technique or the PEACE model (which is essentially a non-accusatory interview) produced more false confessions. Indeed, this is an important area of research, but to accurately answer the question, the techniques must be correctly described. This web tip will identify which aspects of Gudjonsson's description are accurate and which are not.


    Click here for the complete Tip.

    06/01/2011CONVICTING THE INNOCENT Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong - a new book examining the issue of innocent people being wrongly convicted
    In this new book written by Brandon Garrett, a law professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, explores the circumstances surrounding 250 wrongly convicted individuals exonerated by DNA. In 76% of the cases eyewitnesses wrongly identified the accused. Furthermore, " Garrett found invalid forensic testimony in 61% of the trials where an analyst testified for the prosecution, including overly confident claims of matching bite marks, shoe prints and hair samples." In 16% of the cases the accused had falsely confessed.
    Click here for a review of this book.

    05/31/2011Court rejects the testimony of Professor Alan Hirsch - no evidence the Reid Technique produces false confessions
    In the case of US v. Jacques, May 2011, the US District Court of Massachusetts rejected the proffered testimony of defense expert Professor Alan Hirsch on the issue of false confessions, stating, in part, that:

    "This court excluded Professor Hirsch's testimony on two principal grounds: (1) he lacked specialized knowledge that would assist the jury in understanding or weighing the evidence; and (2) his testimony was not based on sufficient facts or data and did not involve the application of reliable principles or methods to the facts of this case."

    In his testimony Professor Hirsch indicated that the Reid Technique generated false confessions, but could provide no evidence to support this position as the court pointed out:

    "Professor Hirsch's criticism of the Reid technique appeared, at one point in his testimony, to be that it increased the overall number of confessions, both true and false. (Dkt. No. 262, Tr. 2/3/11, at 35 ("I want to be very clear that, number one, the Reid Technique is too effective. The problem is not that it's ineffective. It breaks down guilty suspects. The problem is that it also breaks down innocent suspects.").) Again, he failed to point to any data supporting even this position, which does not address the central issue here: the relative frequency of false confessions and the factors contributing to it.

    In sum, the proffered expert testimony to the effect that the Reid technique enhanced the risk of an unreliable confession lacked any objective basis for support whatever. Although Professor Hirsch insisted that "there is a wealth of information about the risks of the Reid technique," he could point to none. (Dkt. No. 262, Tr. 2/3/11, at 132.) It is true, as able defense counsel pointed out, that all science is not the same, and in the area of false confessions the kind of strictly mathematical support available in other areas may be lacking. But some objective basis other than say-so must be offered, and none was."
    Click here for the complete decision.

    05/17/2011New study demonstrates 97.9% accuracy for behavior provoking questions
    In a new study out of Spain, researchers demonstrated the value of using behavior provoking questions during investigative interviews.

    Participants were 85 students from the University of Spain. Thirty-five were assigned a naive group, and received no instruction on interpreting behavior-provoking questions. Forty-eight were assigned an informed group and received instruction on response models to the BAI questions. When reading the verbal response to 15 behavior-provoking questions from a verified innocent and guilty suspect in the same case, all but one (97.9%) of the informed group correctly identified the innocent suspect. While the naive group identified the innocent person above chance levels, there was a statistically significant difference in accuracy rates between the naive and informed group. This study clearly points out the value in using behavior provoking questions and being trained in the proper evaluation of the responses
    Click here for the study.

    04/20/2011Legal Updates Spring 2011
    The Legal Updates for Spring 2011 include the following cases:
    • No Federal due process requirement to record the interrogation
    • Police must tell suspect undergoing custodial interrogation when his attorney arrives
    • Court rejects the testimony of expert witness Dr. John DiBacco on the issue of coercive interrogation techniques
    • Suspect asks for an attorney - the interrogation stops - suspect says shortly thereafter he wants to talk without an attorney
    • Court rejects the argument made by expert psychologist Dr. Mark Vigen that the defendant was susceptible to police manipulation
    • Court upholds confession after suspect told he has two choices - cooperate and we will talk to the DA, don't cooperate and we will not talk to the DA
    • The value of recording interrogations
    • Police cannot promise drug treatment in lieu of incarceration
    • A confession does not constitute a per se bar to establishing a prima facie case demonstrating that DNA testing would establish actual innocence
    • The meaning of interrogation - can you tell a suspect he has been implicated in the crime after he has asked for an attorney?
    • California Court of Appeals finds that "Dr. Leo's proffered testimony, presented in a vacuum, created a substantial danger of confusing the issues or misleading the jury"
    • Does "hope of benefit" nullify a confession?
    • Court rejects the testimony of Dr. Sol Fulero on false confession issues
    • Court finds confession inadmissible due to interrogator threats and promise

    Click here for the Legal Updates Spring 2011

    04/15/2011The suspect claims the police "softened him up" by acting friendly - was his confession coerced?
    In the Reid Technique one of our central principles is to always treat the suspect with respect, and to express empathy and understanding towards the suspect's situation. In the case of Sanchez v. McDonald (March 2011) the defendant claimed that his confession was coerced because "the detectives 'softened him up' by acting friendly." In their opinion the US District Court, California, stated that "The Court is unaware of any Supreme Court authority where an officer building rapport with a suspect in a friendly manner would cause a resulting confession to be considered involuntary. Petitioner states the detectives informed him that cooperation would be to his benefit, but their remarks were not threatening or coercive. Such questioning certainly does not violate the Constitution." Click here for the complete decision.

    It is interesting to note in the case R. v. Oickle, (2000), the lower court suggested that the interrogator's understanding demeanor improperly abused the suspect's trust. The Supreme Court of Canada disagreed stating, "In essence, the court [of appeals] criticizes the police for questioning the respondent in such a gentle, reassuring manner that they gained his trust. This does not render a confession inadmissible. To hold otherwise would send the perverse message to police that they should engage in adversarial, aggressive questioning to ensure they never gain the suspect's trust, lest an ensuing confession be excluded."

    04/15/2011UPDATE - What do the courts say about the testimony of false confession experts?
    (On August 13, 2010 we posted the original article on this information. Since that time we have updated the list with some new names and cases).

    For the past several years the courts have viewed with skepticism the testimony of "false confession experts", repeatedly suggesting that there is no actual science to support their views but rather, anecdotal evidence. We have prepared an article that quotes several court decisions on this issue, as well as a list of some of the cases the following "experts" have been involved in:
    • Dr. Richard Ofshe
    • Dr. Richard Leo
    • Professor Saul Kassin
    • Mark Castanza
    • Dr. Solomon Fulero
    • Dr. Jarvis Wright
    • Dr. Robert Latimer
    • Dr. Allison Redlich
    • Dr. Rosalyn Shultz
    • Dr. Deborah Davis
    • Dr. Christian Meissner
    • Dr. Christopher Lamps
    • Dr. Gregory DeClue
    • Dr. Avak A. Howsepian
    • Dr. Bruce Frumkin
    • Dr. E. Clay Jorgensen
    • Dr. Jeffrey Vanderwater-Piercy
    • Dr. Scott Bresle
    • Dr. John DiBacco
    • Dr. Mark Vigen

    lick here for the complete article

    03/09/2011New organization of the cases in our Legal Updates by topics will make it easier for our readers to access
    Over the past several years we have published Legal Updates on a variety of cases that deal with interrogation issues. We have recently categorized them by topic so as to make it easier for you to locate a case that you might be interested in. Here are the topical headings:
    • Permissible/Impermissible Police Interrogation tactics - click here
    • What constitutes a promise of leniency? - click here
    • The use of trickery and deceit during an interrogation - click here
    • To what extent does the suspect's IQ impact on his ability to make a Miranda waiver? Click here
    • How long can an interrogation last - how many hours - before it becomes coercive? Click here
    • How young can a juvenile be to make a knowing and intelligent waiver? Click here
    • If an inmate is going to be interviewed about a crime unrelated to what he has been incarcerated for, does he have to be advised of his rights? Click here
    • What do the courts say about the testimony of false confession experts? Click here


    03/09/2011Testimony on False Confessions to New York State Justice Task Force
    In front of a New York State Justice Task Force subcommittee on false confessions, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner testified to a stark lack of science informing the understanding of false confessions, but proposed a number of solutions to ensure the integrity of justice and protection of the vulnerable from confessing falsely. Speaking before a group of district attorneys, judges, policymakers, and representatives from The Innocence Project, Dr. Welner, Chairman of The Forensic Panel, drew from comprehensive study of the behavioral science literature, his experience in examining disputed confessions in over ten states and federal courts, and his research on exonerations to educate subcommittee members about the state of the science of disputed confessions. The New York State Justice Task Force is a permanent task force created by the Chief Judge of the State of New York to examine the causes of wrongful convictions and recommend reforms.
    Click here to read more.

    01/20/2011Winter 2011 Legal Update
    The Winter 2011 Legal Update includes cases which address the following issues:
    • Learning disability does not preclude a knowing waiver of the Miranda rights
    • Court does not allow the testimony of Dr. Richard Leo; the value of videotaping
    • Lying about evidence (number of witnesses that identified suspect) did not render confession inadmissible
    • Court rejects confession obtained after a deliberate two-step interrogation approach
    • Court rejects the testimony of Dr. Scott Bresler on false confession issues
    •  Confession inadmissible when police ignore request for an attorney
    • Court rejects confession obtained after suspect was promised by the interrogator that he would testify for the suspect
    • Is the statement "Hey man. I don't want to give nothing about nothing." an unambiguous request to remain silent?
    • The value of recording interrogations
    • When does questioning become custodial?
    • Length of interrogation is one factor to consider in the totality of circumstances
    • Court rejects forensic psychologist Bruce Frumkin's testimony as to the defendant's ability to make a knowing and intelligent waiver of his rights
    • The value of an electronic recording of the interrogation when a defendant claims that he confessed because he was "susceptible to psychological coercion"
    • Telling a suspect that he is lying is not coercive

    Click here for the Winter 2011 Legal Update.

    01/17/2011New Reid training program now available
    In order to meet the needs of those organizations and individuals who conduct investigative interviews but may not engage in any type of accusatory interrogation, John E. Reid and Associates has developed a specialized two day training program entitled, The Reid Technique of Investigative Interviewing. This new training program focuses on how to most efficiently and effectively conduct a non-accusatory investigative interview, and how to assess the credibility of the information that was developed during the interview.
    Click here for more information

    01/04/2011Book recognizes John E. Reid and Associates as the leader in interview and interrogation training
    The book, Interrogations, Confessions, and Entrapment, Volume 20, by G. Daniel Lassiter, contains the following:

    "...to be sure, many urban police have received general instruction in interrogation methods and the law since the 1930s and 1940s as part of their basic academy training.

    But specialized interrogation training courses did not appear until 1974 when Reid & Associates began offering introductory courses.

    Since then, interrogation training has been a regular feature of detective training, and has become institutionalized in police work more generally.

    ....As with Inbau and Reid interrogation training manual, Reid & Associates have become the most influential training center for professional interrogators in the United States.

    Reid & Associates advertise that these courses are "on the cutting edge of the most sophisticated and updated material on interrogation offered anywhere" and their students "will received training from instructors" who are "considered some of the best interrogators in the world" (Reid, 1994).

    01/01/2011Investigators Tip: Jan.Feb. 2011
    One of the most controversial aspects of criminal interrogation involves the use of trickery and deceit. While Federal and State Supreme Courts routinely uphold confessions that were obtained from interrogations during which the suspect was falsely told that there was incriminating evidence...
    Research Review: The lie, the Bluff and False Confessions

    12/30/2010UPDATE - What do the courts say about the testimony of false confession experts?
    (On August 13, 2010 we posted the original article on this information. Since that time we have updated the list with some new names and cases).

    For the past several years the courts have viewed with skepticism the testimony of "false confession experts", repeatedly suggesting that there is no actual science to support their views but rather, anecdotal evidence. We have prepared an article that quotes several court decisions on this issue, as well as a list of some of the cases the following "experts" have been involved in:
    • Dr. Richard Ofshe
    • Dr. Richard Leo
    • Professor Saul Kassin
    • Mark Castanza
    • Dr. Solomon Fulero
    • Dr. Jarvis Wright
    • Dr. Robert Latimer
    • Dr. Allison Redlich
    • Dr. Rosalyn Shultz
    • Dr. Deborah Davis
    • Dr. Christian Meissner
    • Dr. Christopher Lamps
    • Dr. Gregory DeClue
    • Dr. Avak A. Howsepian
    • Dr. Bruce Frumkin
    • Dr. E. Clay Jorgensen
    • Dr. Jeffrey Vanderwater-Piercy
      Click here for the complete article

    12/29/2010Model Bill for Electronic Recording of Custodial Interviews
    In their 2009 article, "Recent Developments: The Consequences of Law Enforcement Officials' Failure to Record Custodial Interviews as Required by Law,' authors Thomas Sullivan and Andrew Vail offer a model bill for electronic recording of custodial interviews. In their introduction the authors state that in this model bill they "recommend that the trial judge permit the prosecution to introduce evidence of all unrecorded interviews; if the failure to record is not justified under the law, and if the case is heard by a jury, the judge must give instructions explaining the greater reliability of electronic recordings of custodial interviews as compared to witnesses testimony about what occurred."
    Click here for the article.

    12/23/2010Reid graduates solve missing person case
    Detective Thomas Martin and Detective Stefan Schindler from the Clayton County Police department in Georgia recently solved a missing person case using the Reid Technique. As Detective Martin said in an email to our office, "I use the Reid technique all the time and recently got a suspect to confess...and he actually took us to where he put the body. This case was a missing person investigation which led to a homicide at this time." He went on to say, "Without Reid this was not possible on this case and others I have worked in just 6 short months after taking the class. Channel 2 in Atlanta reported on the case last Friday
    here is the story

    12/23/2010New Canadian column discusses the Right to Silence
    Right to Silence versus The Caution - The mystery by Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc.

    Here's an open-book test:
    1. Find the phrase "Right to Silence" in a Canadian statute.
    2. Where is the phrase "Right to Silence" printed in the Charter?
    3. What statute explains what to say to an arrested person about the "Right to Silence?"

    Answers:
    1. You won't find it.
    2. Nowhere.
    3. None.
    Imagine being a police officer. You arrest a person for a major crime. You intend to interrogate him to get the all-important confession. What is the exact "Right to Silence" instruction? How exactly do you say, "You have to right to remain silent" and "You don't have to talk to me."

    Incredibly, there is no statutory law that answers these questions. Instead, you have to sift through mounds of case law to find out exactly how to tell an arrested person that s/he does not have to talk to you.
    Click here for the complete article.

    12/02/2010Fall Legal Updates 2010
    The Legal Update for Fall 2010 features 22 cases which address such issues as:
    • Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the trial court should have allowed false confession expert Dr. Solomon Fulero to testify
    • Court rules that interrogation lasting more than 4 hours does not render confession inadmissible, and that exhorting the defendant to be truthful so that "his sins would be forgiven" was not coercive
    • Proper handling of a juvenile (13 year old) interrogation
    • Dr. Richard Leo's testimony of false confessions properly excluded
    • Court up holds Miranda waiver of a 12 year old
    • Connecticut Supreme Court declines to require electronic recording of interrogations
    • Military court rules that it was error to exclude the testimony of Dr. Richard Ofshe on the issue of coercive interrogation techniques
    • Telling a suspect that his cooperation would be to his benefit is not coercive, and lying to a suspect about the evidence against him does not render a confession inadmissible
    • Iowa Supreme court encourages video taping of custodial interrogations
    • Telling the suspect the nature of the charge - capital murder - and that he can help himself by telling the truth does not render the confession inadmissible
    • Is the statement "we are here to listen and then to help you out," an implied promise of leniency?
    • 10 hour interrogation of a suspect with a low intellect and lacking sleep should have been admissible
    • Court rejects defendant's claim that his confession should have been suppressed because he confessed in exchange for a promise of a family visit
    • Court limits the testimony of false confession expert Dr. Solomon Fulero
    • "[T]here is nothing inherently wrong with efforts to create a favorable climate for confession."
    • What constitutes custody for an 11 year old?
    • The value of videotaping an interrogation
    • The importance of considering the totality of circumstances in deciding the voluntariness of a confession
    • Court excludes the testimony of psychiatrist Dr. Robert Latimer
    • "What if I want my lawyer present first?" Does this statement constitute a request for an attorney?
    • Military court limits the testimony of Dr. Christian Meissner on the defendant's "heightened suggestibility and manipulation" as a result of his interrogation
    • Military court upholds the decision to exclude Dr. Richard Ofshe's testimony

    Click here for full list

    11/23/2010Canada will not adopt the American rule-book on Miranda Rights.
    In a new column for our Members only page Gino Arcaro has written an article on several significant Canadian Supreme Court decisions. Gino's article is entitled, Oct. 8, 2010 - Landmark Decision Day, and begins as follows:
    No free trade of constitutional rights. Canada will not adopt the American rule-book on Miranda Rights.

    On Oct. 8, 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada released a trilogy of case law decisions regarding interrogations related to major crime investigations. All three cases involved major crimes - two homicides and a series of attacks on women. The decisions confirmed that:
    1. An adult offender does not have the right to have a lawyer present during interrogation.
    2. The police may ignore the suspect's decision to remain silent while trying to change the suspect's mind about that decision. Invoking the right to silence is not absolute or final.
    3. Adult offenders don't have the right to a second opinion - a re-consultation - after they speak to a lawyer, if the nature of the investigation remains unchanged, e.g., the victim dies, thereby changing the severity of the offence.

    Click here for Parts One and Two of this article.

    10/04/2010New York Magazine article on a false confession case solved with the help of John E. Reid and Associates
    In an article entitled, "I Did It' Why do people confess to crimes they didn't commit?" the author details the case of Frank Sterling who falsely confessed to the murder of Viola Manville. In this case John E. Reid and Associates senior interrogator and instructor, Richard Byington, worked on behalf of the Innocence Project to interrogate the actual murderer and obtian a confession from that person, which was instrumental in the eventual release from prison of Frank Sterling.
    Click here for the article.

    08/13/2010What do the courts say about the testimony of false confession experts?
    For the past several years the courts have viewed with skepticism the testimony of "false confession experts", repeatedly suggesting that there is no actual science to support their views but rather, anecdotal evidence. We have prepared an article that quotes several court decisions on this issue, as well as a list of some of the cases the following "experts" have been involved in:
    Dr. Richard Ofshe
    Dr. Richard Leo
    Professor Saul Kassin
    Mark Castanza
    Dr. Solomon Fulero
    Dr. Jarvis Wright
    Dr. Robert Latimer
    Dr. Allison Redlich
    Dr. Rosalyn Shultz
    Dr. Deborah Davis
    Dr. Christian Meissner
    Dr. Christopher Lamps
    Dr. Gregory DeClue
    Dr. Avak A. Howsepian
    Dr. Bruce Frumkin
    Click here for the complete article

    08/09/2010Detection of Deception: Research vs. Reality
    Over the years researchers in the academic community have conducted a number of research studies on an investigator's ability to detect deception; more specifically these studies have attempted to determine if the nonverbal and verbal behavior symptoms that are used by practitioners to help them assess the credibility of suspects are, in fact, reliable indicators of truth or deception.

    In the overwhelming majority of these studies the results have been rather dismal, essentially suggesting that nonverbal behaviors (and to a lesser extent verbal cues) offer little value in assessing a suspect's credibility. (Bond and De Paulo," Accuracy of deception judgments", Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2006.)

    In light of these results, why would field practitioners place any reliance on the behavior displayed by a suspect during an investigative interview for indications of truth or deception? One reason is that the vast majority of research studies do not mirror the context and structure of real life interviews that are conducted in the field, and, as a result, have very little relevancy to the real world.
    Click here for the complete article.

    08/09/2010Summer Legal Updates 2010
    The Legal Update for Summer 2010 features 32 cases which address such issues as:
    • Court upholds confession in which investigators lied about the strength of their evidence during interrogation
    • Court limits testimony of Professor Saul Kassin on false confession issues
    • Court rejects expert testimony of E. Clay Jorgensen, Ph.D.
    • How much corroboration is needed in a confession?
    • How long is too long for an interrogation?
    • Can a 12 year old make an intelligent and knowing waiver of their rights?
    • Can a "mildly mentally retarded" individual make a knowing and intelligent waiver of their rights?
    • Confession voluntariness - "If you don't tell the truth you will go to jail and lose your family
    • Court finds test on suggestibility was "not a valid and reliable test to determine a person's suggestibility to admit to a crime"
    • Confession voluntariness - "We are here to help you, we are the only ones who can help you."
    • Juvenile interrogation - the importance of discussing the Miranda warnings with the juvenile suspect
    • Confession voluntariness - suggesting defendant would receive counseling and lenient treatment if he admitted to the sex offenses did not invalidate the confession
    • Confession voluntariness - court rejects the concept of pragmatic implication
    • Confession ruled inadmissible when investigators ignored custodial suspect's request to stop
    • Juvenile confession found inadmissible
    • Police statement that they were not going to pursue any charges against the suspect, after advising him of his Miranda rights, renders the confession involuntary
    • Court denies expert psychiatric testimony that, based on defendant's background and the circumstances surrounding the interrogation, he confessed to a crime he did not commit
    • Can a person diagnosed as "schizoid paranoid affective schizophrenia" make a knowing and intelligent waiver of their Miranda rights?
    • Court listens to but rejects Dr. Richard Leo's testimony that the interrogation was "psychologically coercive and the detectives "went over the line." Also, "suggesting possible justifications for a homicide (such as self-defense) is not coercive."
    • Statements like "try to get something going"; I want to help you put your "best foot forward" do not constitute promises of leniency.
    • Statements like "being the guy that's not being completely honest" and being the "odd-man out" and "left out in the cold," do not imply a threat or dire consequences.
    • Can an interrogator's repeated invocations of offers to help the suspect render a confession inadmissible? Yes.
    • Court rejects suppression hearing testimony of Dr. Richard Ofshe
    • Court does not allow expert testimony by Dr. Jeffrey Vanderwater-Piercy concerning false or coerced confessions
    • Court rejects the claim that a coercive environment was created when the investigators mentioned the gravity of the offense and the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence and then told the suspect that if he cooperated he might benefit
    • Court excludes the testimony of Dr. Richard Ofshe
    • A statement to the defendant that "if his girlfriend was charged, and if she stayed in jail, there was a possibility that social services could take her children away" was not coercive
    • Value of electronically recording interrogations - "I'm going to hang your ass if you don't start telling the truth."
    • Court expresses concerns when the entire interrogation is not electronically recorded
    • After a Daubert hearing a trial court rules that Dr. Richard Ofshe's testimony was inadmissible




    06/14/2010Research confirms detection of deception substantially better than chance if viewed in context
    In their new research article, "Content in Context Improves Deception Detection Accuracy" the authors (J. Pete Blair, Timothy R. Levine and Allison S. Shaw) report on 10 studies that they conducted regarding the investigator's ability to detect deception when the interview is placed in context. They conclude that " Nonverbal leakage in the studies presented here is constant across conditions because only contextual information was varied (except in Study 6). The results of the tests presented here are overwhelming. When judges were asked to make deception judgments with some meaningful contextual information, they performed significantly better than chance and significantly better than 40 + years of research suggests they would. Clearly, knowledge of the environment in which deception occurs facilitates accurate deception judgments beyond what is possible based on observations of nonverbal leakage. Given the large amount of variation explained by the differences in environments (context), deception theories will be enhanced by explicitly recognizing the impact of context."

    In the Reid Technique we teach that there are four rules to be followed in the evaluation of a subject's behavior symptoms:
    1. Establish the subject's normal Behavioral patter and then look for changes from that norm or baseline
    2. Read all nonverbal behavior for timing and consistency
    3. Read behavioral cluster - the overall behavioral pattern - not single, isolated observations
    4. Always evaluate behavior symptoms in conjunction with the case evidence and facts
    .

    Clearly the high accuracy rates we achieve is based on the fact that a subject's behavior should never be evaluated as a single determining factor, but always in context - always in conjunction with the case facts and evidence.
    Click here for a copy of the Blair, Levine and Shaw study.

    05/12/2010Research confirms Reid Behavior Analysis Interview (BAI) structure
    In our book, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, we devote Chapter 8, Formulating Interview Questions, to the topic of the importance of asking open-ended questions in the investigative Interview (BAI). The chapter contains such sections as:
    • Asking an initial open question
    • Phrasing open questions
    • Eliciting a full response
    • Evaluating the response to an open question
    • Clarifying the open account
    • Asking direct questions
    • Asking follow-up questions
    In the training manual that we provide to the students who attend our seminar on The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation we devote several pages to the Cognitive Interview process (which is designed to help enhance the victim and/or witness' memory of the event) as well as the importance of evaluating a witness or victim's account by beginning with a broad, open ended question, such as:

    "Pleas tell me everything concerning your injuries."

    "Please tell me everything that you did after 6:00 p.m. last night."

    Recent research has confirmed the value of these techniques. In a study conducted by Dr. Brent Snook and Kathy Keating of the psychology department at Memorial University of Newfoundland, their results, which will be published later this year in the journal Legal and Criminological Psychology, conclude, in part, that "officers interviewing witnesses are potentially reducing the amount of information retrieved by talking too much, asking too many closed-end questions, and failing to adhere to science-based methods for mining memory." The authors furthermore state that "only about 6% of the interviewers' questions were considered open-ended; that is, encouraging a broad range of response beyond a simple yes or no or other narrowly restricted replies. "We estimate that between 20 and 30% of all questions asked should be open-ended," the researchers state.
    Click here

    05/01/2010Investigators Tip: May-Jun. 2010
    In 1998 David Lykken wrote a book titled, ìA Tremor in the Blood: The Uses and Abuses of the Polygraph Techniqueî. In it, he advocated the use of his own ìGuilty Knowledge Testî and attacked the existing Control Question Technique by initially offering a naÔve description of control question theory. He then picked apart his own implausible theory. The uninformed reader was left with the forgone conclusion: ëOf course the control question polygraph technique is invalid, look at how faulty the underlying theory is.í
    Responding to Defense Expertsí Characterization of Interrogation

    05/01/2010Reid helps the Innocence Project secure the release of a wrongfully convicted man
    Frank Sterling was convicted of the 1988 murder of an elderly woman. DNA testing eventually implicated another person - Mark Christie who was in jail serving a life sentence for murdering a 4 year old child.

    The Innocence Project contacted John E. Reid and Associates and asked us if we could provide an investigator who could interview and interrogate Mark Christie about the 1988 murder. We sent one of our staff investigators and seminar instructor, Richard Byington, to meet with the Innocence Project and then eventually with Mark Christie. Rich obtained a full corroborated confession from Mark Christie. Several days later Rich went back up to Rochester with the DA's chief investigator to re-interview Christie who again gave a full detailed confession. The decision was then made to let Sterling out of jail. He was released on April 28, 2010.
    Click here for a copy of the press release issued by the Innocence Project.

    05/01/2010Admissibility of statements from impaired drivers - New Canadian Legal Column
    Impaired driving is one of the most common crimes investigated by frontline police officers. However, the subject of questioning an impaired driver, and the admissibility of the personís statement is usually not at the forefront of impaired driving case law. And yet, the ambiguity surrounding these topics makes case law a necessity . This case has a useful, practical purpose for frontline officers.
    Click here to access the complete column.

    05/01/2010What is the PEACE model for interviewing?
    Several years ago the United Kingdom adopted a set of interviewing guidelines called the PEACE model. These guidelines consist of five distinct parts (corresponding to the acronym "PEACE"):

    Preparation and Planning: Interviewers are taught to properly prepare and plan for the interview and formulate aims and objectives.

    Engage and Explain: Rapport is established with the subject, and officers engage the person in conversation.

    Account: Officers are taught two methods of eliciting an account from the interviewee:
    * Cognitive Interview: used with cooperative suspects and witnesses.
    * Conversation Management: recommended when cooperation is insufficient for the cognitive interview techniques to work.

    Closure: The officer summarizes the main points from the interview and provides the suspect with the opportunity to correct or add information.

    Evaluate: Once the interview is finished, the information gathered must be evaluated in the context of its impact on the investigation.

    The guidelines do not allow for any accusatory interrogation. Is the PEACE model an effective alternative for the current interview and interrogation techniques currently practiced by most law enforcement investigators in North America?
    click here for a discussion of this issue.

    05/01/2010The North Virginia Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors presents 1 day Reid seminar
    The North Virginia Chapter of the IIA will present a one-day seminar on The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation presented by Joseph Buckley, president of John E. Reid and Associates on June 8, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia.
    Click here for details

    05/01/2010Two new U. S. Supreme Court decisions on Miranda
    The following 2 cases United States Supreme Court Cases were reported in Law Enforcement Legal Review - March/April 2010

    Court Adopts Bright Line Rule on When Police Can Re-Question a Defendant After an Initial Invocation of the Right to Counsel

    Maryland v. Shatzer (08-680, 2010)

    http:www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-680.ZS.html

    A police officer attempted to question defendant in 2003 while he was incarcerated at a prison pursuant to a prior conviction, about allegations that he had sexually abused his son. Defendant exercised his right to have an attorney during the interrogation, so the officer terminated the interview. Defendant was released back into the general prison population, and the investigation was closed. Another detective reopened the investigation in 2006 and attempted to interrogate defendant, who was still in prison. Defendant waived his Miranda rights and made inculpatory statements. He was then convicted of child sexual abuse. The court below ruled that under Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477 (1981) the defendant could not be interrogated the second time because of his invocation of the right to counsel in 2003.

    Reversing, the United State Supreme Court ruled that since defendant experienced a "break" in Miranda custody lasting more than two weeks between the first and second attempts at interrogation, Edwards did not mandate suppression of his 2006 statements. The court ruled that if a defendant is released from Miranda custody he can be reproached by the police for interrogation. The release back into the general prison population after the sex crime investigation constituted a "break" in Miranda custody, the Court said.

    The police, however, must wait at least 14 days after a break in Miranda custody before they can re-approach a defendant in order for the defendant to get back to a "normal" life, which in this case was a return to the general prison population. Thus the Court has adopted a 14-day "bright line" rule for a break in Miranda custody, after which the police can re-approach a suspect who has previously invoked his right to counsel.

    Court Clarifies the Language of Miranda Warnings

    Florida v. Powell (No. 08-1175, 2010)

    http://www/law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-1175.ZS.html

    In Miranda the Court held that an individual must be "clearly informed," prior to a custodial questioning, that he has, among other rights, "the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation." In this case the police read defendant his rights from their standard Miranda form, stating, inter alia: "You have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any of our questions" and "[y]ou have the right to use any of these rights at any time you want during this interview." Defendant then confessed. The court below ruled the advice the defendant received was misleading because it suggested that he could consult with an attorney only before the police started to question him and it did not convey his entitlement to counsel's presence throughout the interrogation.

    The Court reversed, holding that the advice satisfied Miranda. By informing that defendant that he had "the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any of [their] questions," the officers communicated that he could consult with a lawyer before answering any particular question. And the statement that defendant had "the right to use any of [his] rights at any time [he] want[ed] during th[e] interview" confirmed that he could exercise his right to an attorney while the interrogation was underway. In combination, the two warnings reasonably conveyed the right to have an attorney present, not only at the outset of an interrogation, but t all times. The Court declined to adopt or endorse any particular formulation of the Miranda warnings. The warnings are sufficient if they convey the essential rights required by Miranda, and reviewing courts are not required to "examine [them] as if construing a will or defining the terms of an easement. The inquiry is simply whether the warnings reasonably 'convey to [a suspect] his rights as required by Miranda."

    04/19/2010Legal Update April 2010
    In this legal update we are providing you with information on several cases from late 2009 and earlier this year. Here are the issues addressed:
    • Court upholds confession in which investigators lied about the strength of their evidence during interrogation
    • Court limits testimony of Professor Saul Kassin on false confession issues
    • Court rejects expert testimony of E. Clay Jorgensen, Ph.D.
    • How much corroboration is needed in a confession?
    • How long is too long for an interrogation?
    • Can a 12 year old make an intelligent and knowing waiver of their rights?
    • Can a "mildly mentally retarded" individual make a knowing and intelligent waiver of their rights?
    • Confession voluntariness - "If you don't tell the truth you will go to jail and lose your family"
    • Court finds test on suggestibility was "not a valid and reliable test to determine a person's suggestibility to admit to a crime"
    • Confession voluntariness - "We are here to help you, we are the only ones who can help you."
    • Juvenile interrogation - the importance of discussing the Miranda warnings with the juvenile suspect
    • Confession voluntariness - suggesting defendant would receive counseling and lenient treatment if he admitted to the sex offenses did not invalidate the confession
    • Confession voluntariness - court rejects the concept of pragmatic implication
    • Confession ruled inadmissible when investigators ignored custodial suspect's request to stop
    • Juvenile confession found inadmissible

    Please click here to access the Update

    03/04/2010Alaska court excludes testimony of Dr. Richard Ofshe
    On February 17, 2010 the Alaska Superior Court, Third District, in the case of State vs. Williams, granted the prosecutor's motion to preclude the testimony of the defense expert on false confessions, Dr. Richard Ofshe, stating that his "testimony would not appreciably aid the court or the jury."

    In this opinion the court references the case Vent v. State (67 P.3d 661 Alaska App. 2003) in which the Alaska Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's decision to preclude the testimony of Dr. Richard Leo on the issue of false confessions. The lower court had found that "Dr. Leo's testimony would not appreciably aid the jury in determining whether Vent made a false confession." The trial court judge was also "troubled by the fact that there was no way to quantify or test Dr. Leo's conclusions that certain techniques might lead to a false confession. He also concluded that jurors would be aware that some people do make false confessions and that this proposition could be developed by questioning and argument."
    Click here for the complete opinion

    03/01/2010New Canadian column for Reid Institute members: Admissibility of statements from impaired drivers
    In this article Gino Arcaro discusses the case of R. v. Slavchev (2010) - "Impaired driving is one of the most common crimes investigated by frontline police officers. However, the subject of questioning an impaired driver, and the admissibility of the person's statement is usually not at the forefront of impaired driving case law. And yet, these topics are just as important as others about which case law is written. This case has a useful, practical purpose for frontline officers."
    Click here for the complete article

    02/15/2010An Analysis of the Confession of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad in the Development of Themes for the Interrogation of Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorist Suspects
    In this article, Louis Senese, vice president of John E.. Reid and Associates, and Philip A. Mullenix, a former instructor of the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation(R) and a practicing Chicago attorney, review and analyze the confession of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad for insight into the justifications used by terrorists so as to offer suggestions for theme development in the future interrogations of Al Qaeda terrorists.

    As they state in the article, "KSM's own statements, both prepared and extemporaneous, illustrate how his mentality and beliefs helped him to justify and admit his murderous conduct before a military tribunal. It stands to reason that KSM's disclosure of his own mentality, beliefs, and rationalizations can serve as a model for successful theme development for use during the interrogation of other All Qaeda suspects." Click here for the complete article.

    Previous to this article, Attorney Mullenix published an article entitled, Interrogation Strategies for an Unconventional Extremist Enemy. This article focuses on "an overview of strategies for the interrogation of extremist terrorist suspects." Click here for the complete article.


    02/03/2010CEA Information booklet now available
    The Computer Employment Applications (CEA) information booklet is now available. The following is the Table of Contents which describes the information contained in the booklet. You can access the CEA information booklet by clicking here.

    Table of Contents
    • About Computer Employment Applications (CEA)
    • The Value of CEA
    • Additional attributes of the CEA
    • Primary Areas of Inquiry
    • Details on the Areas of Inquiry in CEA Series 705
    • CEA Demo
    • CEA Development
    • What Applicants Say About CEA
    • Survey of 4,151 Applicants Who Completed the CEA
    • When To Use The CEA Pre-employment Interview
    • Using CEA as the Primary Job Application
    • Using CEA After the Written Job Application
    • Maximizing the Value of CEA
    • Research
    • Independent research by a U.S. Federal Agency Validates the Effectiveness of the
    • CEA Interactive Interview - 566 interviewed
    • Study - 130 Applicants Interviewed
    • Study - 171 Applicants Interviewed - Federal Bureau of Prisons Study - 209 Consecutive Sheriff Department Applicants
    • Study - 147 Applicants for a Financial Institution
    • Study - 100 Police Department Applicants
    • Study - Comparison of Information from CEA's Drug Interview to the Outcome of the
    • Applicant's Drug Test - November 2006
    • Comparison of Applicant Substance Abuse Admissions to Probable Urinalysis Test
    • Outcomes (Excerpts from Research Study)
    • Additional Case Examples of CEA Applicant Interviews
    • CEA Report
    • Fees

    CEA Study Attached

    02/01/2010Canadian court supports the Reid Technique
    In the case of R. v. Amos (2009) the Ontario Superior Court upheld the techniques that the interrogator successfully used to obtain a confession, many of which are elements of the Reid Technique. Gino Arcaro has written a very insightful article describing the techniques used in this interrogation and the court's assessment of these techniques. For example, when discussing the interrogator's efforts to minimize the suspect's moral responsibility, the court stated the following:
    There is nothing problematic or objectionable about police, when questioning suspects, in downplaying or minimizing the moral culpability of their alleged criminal activity. I find there was nothing improper in these and other similar transcript examples where [the detective] minimized [the accused's] moral responsibility. At no time did he suggest that a confession by the subject would result in reduced or minimal legal consequences. Those questions did not minimize the offence anywhere close to the extent of oppression within the meaning of Oickle and other authorities. In using the words "this is your opportunity" to tell your story, and statements to the effect that "your credibility is at its highest now", and in asserting to the accused that he would not be as credible ten months down the road at trial when he had "spoken to lawyers", and the like, the detective was making an approach to the accused's intellect and conscience.
    From Mr. Arcaro's article, "The confession was ruled voluntary - there was no Charter violation. The primary detective was a "highly articulate, skilled interrogator." The officer testified that his "method of interrogation is an amalgam of his experiences in interviewing many accused persons over a number of years. He utilized some features of the so-called 'Reid Technique.' He had no physical contact with the accused at any time prior or during the interview. He did not physically threaten the accused. He engaged in lengthy monologues and called the accused by his first name."The interrogation included 11 strategies:
    1. Direct Positive Confrontation
    2. The Use of Deceit by the Interviewer
    3. Minimizing Moral Responsibility
    4. Moral Inducements
    5. Condemning Others in Order to Ease the Responsibility of the Suspect
    6. Commenting on the Accused's Credibility at his Trial
    7. Highlighting the Accused's Redeeming Qualities
    8. Quid Pro Quo
    9. Comments on the Legal Process
    10. Right to Silence
    11. Power Imbalance

    Click here for the complete article and the court's analysis of the techniques the interrogator utilized.

    01/29/2010NY Judge excludes false confession expert - supports The Reid Technique
    In the Manhattan trial of Natavia Lowery, accused of killing Linda Stein, the court rejected the proposed testimony on false confessions of Ohio forensic psychologist Solomon Fulero, stating that, "Fulero would have nothing to contribute that a jury, properly guided by careful instructions, could not determine for themselves." The judge further stated that, "Fulero's offered nothing of scientific or evidentiary value to support his claim that the Reid technique leads to an increase in false confessions."
    Click here for additional detail.

    01/20/2010Anatomy of the bait question in interviews Part 1
    Written by:
    Louis C. Senese, Vice President, John E. Reid and Associates

    The bait question is a non-accusatory question in which the possible existence of incriminating evidence is implied for the purpose of enticing the subject to change or consider changing his original statements. The bait question may be based on real or fictitious evidence.
    Click here for the complete article

    01/01/2010New Canadian Law Column: The connection between an exculpatory statement and forming reasonable grounds.
    I. Make the Call

    You are a uniform officer on patrol.

    You stop a man. He resembles a man you know to be wanted. You know an arrest warrant exists for the man he resembles. The stopped man tells you that he is the brother of the wanted man. But, the resemblance can't be ignored.

    Make the call. Arrest him or let him go?

    Is he lying? Realistically, do you have the time and resources investigate this claim? Or do you let him go - a huge risk if he is lying.

    An arrest warrant creates another paradox in the countless catch-22 situations in frontline policing. An arrest warrant "commands" the arrest of the person named on the warrant. That means no discretion - when an officer finds the named person, the arrest must be made. There is no discretion about letting him go at the street-level. No release - no decision. Bring him to the police station. Violating that "command" is a serious issue - obstruct justice. And, it's negligent because of the potential danger of repeat crime.

    But, preventing wrongful arrests is just as important as upholding public safety - the balance between privacy and protection. That's why reasonable grounds of identity has to be proved to make the arrest.

    Nature complicates frontline policing. Sometimes, a wanted person has brothers. Brothers resemble each other. When does a resemblance constitute reasonable grounds? When does a resemblance need more investigation?
    Click here for the complete story

    11/04/2009Legal Update Summer 2009
    The Legal Update for Summer 2009 features 32 cases which address such issues as:
    • Court rejects testimony of Dr. Richard Leo on false confession issue
    • Expert testimony on fabrication of confessions by inmate informants rejected
    • Court rejects claim confession was involuntary due to marijuana and alcohol use
    • Court upholds Miranda waiver by 15 year old
    • Court upholds Miranda waiver of 14 year old
    • Appeals court reverses admissibility of a confession from an 11 year old because of the interrogator's behavior
    • Ambiguous request to stop the interrogation - "this conversation is over"
    • Ambiguous request for an attorney - "I don't know if I need an attorney or not"
    • Court rejects claim that officers created an environment that caused defendant's will to be overborne
    • Court finds that interrogator conduct "overbore" defendant's will and rules that the confession is inadmissible
    • "Custody does not occur merely because the suspect submits to and fails a polygraph test"
    • Confession suppressed when suspect questioned in his home without Miranda advisement
    • Telling the suspect that the prosecutor will be advised of their cooperation does not constitute a promise of leniency; suggesting the homicide was an accident or self-defense was not coercive
    • What constitutes a threat during an interrogation?
    • What constitutes permissible deception by the police during an interrogation?
    • A fake polygraph test did not render involuntary the defendant's incriminating statement
    • Can an interrogator tell a suspect "this is just between you and me" when, in fact, the interrogation is being recorded and the recording will be used against the suspect?
    • What IQ score precludes a defendant from making a knowing and intelligent waiver of their rights?
    • No federal requirement to electronically record interrogation
    • Confession ruled inadmissible because of faulty advisement of rights
    • Juvenile's confession ruled inadmissible because of several violations of the Texas Family Code
    • Confession found inadmissible due to threats and promises from the investigators
    • Court rejects opinion of defense expert, Dr. Christopher Lamps, on coerced confession and waiver of rights issues
    • Value of video taping the interrogation
    • Court finds confession inadmissible because the Miranda rights were not properly explained to the defendant - a 15 year-old with "borderline intellectual functioning"
    • Interrogators misrepresentation of evidence is insufficient to make the otherwise voluntary confession inadmissible
    • Interrogator's repeated references that he could help the suspect rendered the confession involuntary
    • The interrogator's implication of leniency in exchange for cooperation is not coercive
    • Telling the suspect that if he tells the truth it could be in his benefit to do so and exaggerating the strength of the evidence against him does not render a confession involuntary
    • Court refuses to let Dr. Jarvis Wright testify on false confessions
    • Court rejects claims that there was an unambiguous request for an attorney; that the defendant's mental problems caused him to be more receptive to police coercion; and, that the fact the police lied about the evidence was coercive

    Click here for Complete List

    10/22/2009Reid Interview Software now available
    John E. Reid and Associates is pleased to announce the availability of the Computer Employment Application (CEA) - a software program that will interview your job applicants for you. The CEA is web based so that the applicant can access the CEA 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

    The CEA is not a static list of generic questions, but is an expert system that interviews applicants just as an experienced interviewer would, specifically responding to the applicant's answers and utilizing the appropriate follow up questions to develop additional information. The CEA functions as an interactive application that segues to appropriate lines of questioning and fact gathering dependent on the applicant's response to the initial question. This built-in expertise encourages and makes it easier for the applicant to provide complete and accurate data and, because of its structure, helps to minimize embellishments or omissions that frequently occur on written application forms.

    THE VALUE OF THE CEA

    The CEA provides a structured, objective and consistent interview process. The CEA is designed to explore the applicant's answers so as to ascertain the complete truth. By identifying high risk applicants early in the process, the organization will save a significant amount of time and money. The CEA provides better information than a more thorough interview or traditional background investigation.

    PRIMARY AREAS OF INQUIRY

    The CEA questions the applicant thoroughly in the following areas of inquiry:
    • Applicant Personal Information
    • Education
    • Employment Activities (Work History)
    • Military History
    • Dishonest Conduct
    • Integrity
    • Criminal Record
    • Undetected Crimes
    • Driving Convictions Last 5 years
    • Pending Law Enforcement Charges
    • Use of Drugs Illegally (in compliance with ADA)
    • Purchase/Sale of Drugs Illegally
    • Alcohol Use (job related - in compliance with ADA)
    A written report is issued for every applicant detailing the information provided by that individual in all of the areas of inquiry.
    For additional information click here

    10/07/2009New 4 part article on the Canadian Supreme Court decisions which have revised the framework for Charter violations, the meaning of
    Section 24(2) Charter: Rule changes - the "revised framework." Part 1

    Introduction

    The Supreme Court of Canada changed the rules again, in a series of landmark decisions released on July 17, 2009. However, unlike the NHL, the criminal justice system cannot shut down for a year to re-group. Rule changes in frontline policing happen at an alarming rate and are on-going.

    The landmark cases are:
    R. v. Grant
    R. v. Suberu
    R. v. Harrison
    R. v. Shepherd
    The changes include:
    1. A "revised framework" for determining the admissibility of evidence obtained after a Charter violation. 
    2. Re-wording of the definition of "detention."
    3. Four points-of-reference regarding "how to apply" the revised framework.
    Click here for Part 1.

    Section 24(2) Charter: rule changes - the "revised framework" Part 2 contemporary rules for "Investigation Detention"

    Investigative detentions are not created equal. There are two classifications of investigative detentions: Charter detention and non-Charter detention.

    The right to counsel applies to Charter detentions - the suspect must be informed of the right to counsel when a Charter detention occurs. Conversely, the right to counsel does not apply to a non-Charter detention - the suspect does not have to be informed of the right to counsel.

    The differences between Charter detention and non-Charter detention are: (i) duration (ii) place (iii) type of questioning: purpose, extent and content dialogue, and (iv) exit access: whether the suspect was free to leave at any time.

    Click here for Part 2

    Section 24(2) Charter: rule changes - the "revised framework" Part 3.1 - contemporary rules for "Investigation Detention"

    I. Make the Call

    You are a uniform police officer on patrol

    4:00 pm: Radio broadcast #1: male person attempting to use a stolen credit card at the liquor store, 2825 Brooklyn Road. A back-up officer is sent.

    4:05pm: Radio broadcast #2: the backup arrives first, before you. She informs you by radio that two male suspects are present.

    4:08 pm: Arrival. The back-up officer is already inside the liquor store. Investigation reveals the following: 
    - upon entering the store, you see the officer, one employee, and two men.
    - the officer is at a cash register talking to the store employee and one of the men (suspect #1)
    - the second man (suspect #2) walks past you and says, "He did this, not me, so I guess I can go." This man walks to the door and is leaving.
    Click here for Part 3.1

    Section 24(2) Charter: rule changes - the "revised framework" Part 3.2 - Implied demand: Applying Grant

    I. Implied Demand: point-of-reference

    "Wait a minute. I need to talk to you before you go anywhere."

    In R. v. Suberu (2009), the SCC applied the Grant 3-step decision-making model to decide whether this police statement constituted an "implied demand." It did not.

    II. Two Stages of Investigative Detention

    In R. v. Suberu (2009), the SCC divided an investigation detention into stages: (a) pre-exploratory questioning (the pedestrian stop - the initial stage), and (b) post-exploratory questioning (Charter detention - formal interrogation). This common-sense approach makes investigative detention a work-in-progress, a process that changes from investigative detention into a sec. 495 CC arrest or a release.

    Investigative detention is built in stages. Each stage is defined by the volume of information. The starting point of investigative detention is uncertainty, during the hectic moments following a crime-in-progress. Every investigative detention starts with limited information - mere suspicion - and leads to a decision: make a sec. 495 arrest or release. The decision depends on belief - the amount of information known or not known - all with a time clock ticking.

    The twin-goals of investigative detention are self-protection and find the truth. This requires changing the belief from mere suspicion to either reasonable grounds or no belief of connection.

    Investigation detention progresses only if more incriminating evidence is obtained - more information is learned. As additional evidence connects the suspect to a crime, the detention lengthens, triggering the need for the right to counsel. Click here for part 3.2

    Section 24(2) Charter: the "revised framework" for determining the admissibility of evidence Part 4.1: Investigative detention not justified on a "hunch"

    I. The sec. 24(2) Charter Pendulum Swings Back

    On July 17, 2009, the SCC reversed a controversial Ontario Court of Appeal decision in R. v. Harrison which dealt with the police seizure of 35 kg of cocaine during a traffic stop. Despite a "flagrant" Charter violation, the Ont. CA had admitted the seized cocaine because the offence was more severe than the Charter violation. This ruling marked a significant sec. 24(2) Charter pendulum swing.

    However, in July of this year, by applying the new sec. 24(2) Charter decision-making model established in R. v. Grant (2009), the Supreme Court of Canada excluded the drugs, allowed the accused's appeal, and acquitted the accused.

    Click here for part 4.



    08/18/2009Newspaper article on Reid seminar
    Reid seminar instructor Sergio Parisi recently presented our four day training program on The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation for the Floyd County Prosecutor's office. From an article on their web page the News and Tribune wrote "Local detectives received "world-class" training in the art of interrogation and interviewing this week at Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg."

    "The weeklong seminar -- which teaches investigators how to evaluate verbal and nonverbal behavior and various techniques for obtaining information through asking questions - was sponsored by the Floyd County Prosecutor's office and hosted by Ivy Tech's criminal justice program."

    "Prosecutor Keith Henderson said resources have been poured into forensic sciences as new technology develops, but interviews and interrogations are still equally as important to an investigation."
    Click here for the complete newspaper article.

    06/20/2009New Canadian column - Relationship between Polygraph, Right to Counsel, and Confessions
    I. The polygraph paradox

    A polygraph test is both part of the interrogation process and a separate, specialized interrogation strategy. In some investigations, it is the entire interrogation. In others, the polygraph test is one stage of a questioning pathway.

    Polygraph tests are usually scheduled when only mere suspicion connects the suspect to the crime. The accused attends the police station by consent as a suspect, not under arrest. Although the right to counsel is required by law only after a person is detained or arrested, suspects consenting to a polygraph test are usually informed of the right to counsel before the test even though this is not required by law.

    The inadmissibility of polygraph test results, combined with the consent requirement form a complex relationship between the test and confession admissibility. A crucial part of this complicated relationship is the right to counsel. In most cases involving a polygraph test, where a confession is obtained, the accusedís status changes. After a confession is made, the officerís belief changes to reasonable grounds, changing the accused personís status from a voluntary visitor to an arrested person.

    The question becomes, ìIs the original right to counsel before the confession sufficient or does the right to counsel have to repeated after the confession?î
    Click here for the complete story

    06/01/2009Police did not coerce defendant's incriminating statements by conducting fake polygraph test in response to defendant's demands for examination (Sims, Acting P.J.)
    People v. Mays C.A. 3rd; May 8, 2009; C057099

    In their opinion the court stated "It is well established, the court noted, that a confession is involuntary if it results from coercive policy activity, the issue being whether the defendant's will was overborne. Thus police deception during an interrogation does not necessarily invalidate incriminating statements. A psychological ploy is prohibited only when, in light of all the circumstances, it is so coercive that it tends to result in a statement that is both involuntary and unreliable.

    Here, the deception was a mock polygraph. The use of a mock polygraph, the court of appeal concluded, was not likely to produce a false confession. Mays may have believed that polygraphs were perfectly accurate, as he testified, but that was not a belief induced by the police.

    Further, the trickery was not particularly coercive because, even after he saw the fake test results, Mays continued to deny involvement in the crime. Instead, he simply admitted being present at the scene wearing particular clothes. Other evidence gave that admission weight, namely the surveillance photo and other witness testimony identifying the shooter as a male dressed as Mays admitted he was. Therefore, the court said, May's ability to admit being present, while steadfastly denying participation, demonstrated that his will was not overborne by the police ruse."
    Click here for the complete story

    06/01/2009Court did not commit error in excluding defense expert's testimony regarding false confessions
    Wright v. State S09A0324 (04/28/09)

    HEADNOTE: The Supreme Court vacated Kayla R. Wright's aggravated assault conviction, holding that the charge merged as a matter of fact with Wright's malice murder conviction. However, the Court affirmed Wright's convictions for murder and concealing the death of her newborn infant, holding that the trial court did not err in excluding a defense expert's testimony based on Wright's failure to comply with discovery requirements and her failure to satisfy the evidentiary test in criminal cases with regard to the false confession theory and the Reid method. The Court also held that, under the totality of the circumstances, the trial court did not err in admitting Wright's confession that her baby was breathing and whimpering after birth; the physical evidence, witnesses testimony regarding Wright's comments, appearance and behavior after the baby's birth and her statements supported her convictions; the trial court properly allowed the medical examiner to opine on the cause and manner of the baby's death, based on the investigative history and his autopsy findings; the trial court did not abuse its discretion in giving curative instructions, rather than granting a mistrial, after the state referred to a non-existent live-birth certificate when questioning a witness; and Wright failed to show that her defense counsel were deficient.
    Click here for the complete story.

    06/01/2009
    Incriminating statements made after a polygraph examination can be admissible In the case of State v. Dressel (May 2009) the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the admissibility of incriminating statements that were made after a polygraph examination.
    Click here for the complete story.

    05/20/2009New Canadian column - Admissibility of young person's confession. Traditionally unlawful inducements are not always strong enough to exclude. R. v. S.E.V. (2009)
    By Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc.

    I. The Pendulum Swings

    The sec. 24(2) Charter pendulum has not always swung fairly. The pendulum was unbalanced for years, in favour of the defense. Growing evidence shows the pendulum swing is balancing out.

    II. Interrogation Reality

    Among the countless interrogation challenges facing investigators, the following are three facts of reality:
    1. Interrogation strategies change during interrogation, sometimes from one extreme to another.
    2. Release is a prominent factor that affects a suspect's decision whether to confess or not.
    3. A series of inducements do occur during most interrogations. The key is the strength of the inducment and the relationship between that strength and the decision to confess.
    These issues all occurred in R. v. S.E.V. (2009).
    Click here for the complete article

    05/05/2009Legal Updates May, 2009
    The Legal Update document for May 2009 includes cases addressing the following issues:

    Ambiguous attorney request

    Court excludes testimony of Richard Leo

    Court excludes testimony of Richard Ofshe

    What constitutes a threatening statement that renders a confession involuntary?

    Judge rejects Dr. Ofshe testimony

    Court limits testimony of Saul Kassin
    Click Here for the complete document.

    04/28/2009Child abuse cases focus of training
    'The Woodward News Online' just published an article about the Reid training program, The Reid Technique of Investigative Interviewing(R) for Child Abuse Cases. conducted by David Buckley.
    Click here for the article

    04/14/2009US Supreme Court rules that confessions obtained after six hours by federal investigators may not be admissible
    On April 6, 2009 in the case of Corley v. US, the United States Supreme court ruled the following:

    "We hold that S 3501 modified McNabb-Mallory without supplanting it. Under the rule as revised by S 3501(c), a district court with a suppression claim must find whether the defendant confessed within six hours of arrest (unless a longer delay was "reasonable considering the means of transportation and the distance to be traveled to the nearest available [magistrate]"). If the confession came within that period, it is admissible, subject to the other Rules of Evidence, so long as it was "made voluntarily and ... the weight to be given [it] is left to the jury." Ibid. If the confession occurred before presentment and beyond six hours, however, the court must decide whether delaying that long was unreasonable or unnecessary under the McNabb-Mallory cases, and if it was, the confession is to be suppressed.

    In this case, the Third Circuit did not apply this rule and in consequence never conclusively determined whether Corley's oral confession "should be treated as having been made within six hours of arrest," as the District Court held. 500 F.3d, at 220, n. 7. Nor did the Circuit consider the justifiability of any delay beyond six hours if the oral confession should be treated as given outside the six-hour window; and it did not make this enquiry with respect to Corley's written confession. We therefore vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for consideration of those issues in the first instance, consistent with this opinion."
    Click here for the complete opinion.

    04/01/2009Your work (Reid and Associates) has done more to bring about professional policing in America than all other law enforcement advancements in the past 30 years.
    Dear Joseph,

    You are very welcome. I feel a personal debt to the Reid program. It has helped me resolve several heinous, unsolved crimes. And more importantly, families of victims have gone from being fearful, frustrated and angry, to living with peace of mind and a sense that justice has been done. I took the Basic Course in 1989, and the Advanced in 1992. I was an active polygraphist from 1993 - 2002. I have personally seen the Reid program transform the ability of law enforcement to solve crimes. I am now in the twilight of my police career, and I am looking forward to the next chapter in life. In my mind, your work has done more to bring about professional policing in America, than all other law enforcement advancements in the past 30 years.

    My very best to you,

    Chuck Kopp
    Bristol Bay Borough Police Department

    03/25/2009Court rejects expert testimony on confessions (Dr. Deborah Davis); upholds confession admissibility (Reid Technique)
    In the case of People v. Gallo, Dr. Deborah Davis testified for the defense at the suppression hearing (click here for a copy of her Power Point slides) but the court rejected the effort to suppress the confession, stating that the interrogator "used a technique [Reid Technique] he learned in his police training, and his use of it followed what the courts have deemed to be permissible."
    Click here for the complete decision.

    03/25/2009New Canadian column Part 2 of The 24-hour Clock: The relationship between sec. 503 C.C. and the duration of an interrogation
    The 24-Hour Clock: The relationship between sec.503 C.C. and the duration of an interrogation. Part 2

    By Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc.

    I. The Changing Boundaries

    Imagine playing on a football field with changing boundaries. There are sidelines and end zones but they move. Often, they change form game to game. In some cases, the sideline gets closer. In others it gets further away. There are lines on the field but you can't actually see them. They are not painted on. Often, you have to guess what is in-bounds and what is out-of-bounds. And the goal posts move.

    Interrogating a suspect is much like the "changing boundaries" scenario. The line between voluntary and involuntary confessions often gets blurred. This creates an investigative paradox: the absence of discernible boundaries creates considerable strategic latitude. The police do not have to walk on eggshells, worrying about every word they say during questioning, especially during the questioning of a murder suspect. Obviously, limits are imposed and a balance has to be achieved. But, the field does not always tilt against the police R. v. Ansari (2008) is an excellent example of the changing field. This case involved:

    i. Three separate statements made by a murder suspect during three interrogations involving three different officers each with a different questioning strategy/approach;

    ii. Questioning styles ranging from passive/friendly to aggressive/"berating" that included substantial persuasion to try to change the suspect's mind about his right to silence;

    iii. The complexities of a major crime investigation including the reality of the "24-hour clock" imposed by bail hearing laws governed by sec. 515 Criminal Code.


    Click here for the complete decision.

    03/03/2009Defendant claims confession was coerced because interrogator was sympathetic, understanding and tried to justify his criminal act - court upholds confession
    In the case of State v. Parker, the Court of Appeals of South Carolina stated that "Few criminals feel impelled to confess to the police purely of their own accord without any questioning at all.... Thus, it can almost always be said that the interrogation caused the confession.... It is generally recognized that the police may use some psychological tactics in eliciting a statement from a suspect.... These ploys may play a part in the suspect's decision to confess, but so long as that decision is a product of the suspect's own balancing of competing considerations, the confession is voluntary."

    "Excessive friendliness on the part of an interrogator can be deceptive. In some instances, in combination with other tactics, it might create an atmosphere in which a suspect forgets that his questioner is in an adversarial role, and thereby prompt admissions that the suspect would ordinarily only make to a friend, not to the police." Miller v. Fenton, 796 F.2d at 604 (3d Cir.1986), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 989, 107 S.Ct. 585, 93 L.Ed.2d 587 (1986). "Nevertheless, the 'good guy' approach is recognized as a permissible interrogation tactic." Id. (holding confession admissible despite interrogating officer's "supportive, encouraging manner ... aimed at winning [appellant's] trust and making him feel comfortable about confessing."). See also Beckwith v. United States, 425 U.S. 341, 343, 96 S.Ct. 1612, 48 L.Ed.2d 1 (1976) (interrogator had sympathetic attitude but confession voluntary); Frazier v. Cupp, 394 U.S. 731, 737-38, 89 S.Ct. 1420, 22 L.Ed.2d 684 (1969) (confession voluntary when petitioner began confessing after the officer "sympathetically suggested that the victim had started a fight.")."
    Click here for the cmplete decision.

    03/03/2009Case demonstrates the care and caution that must be exercised in the interrogation of juveniles
    In the case of 12 year-old Anthony Harris the Ohio Fifth Appellate District court "unanimously overturned Judge Kate's decision. The police had violated Anthony's Fifth Amendment rights: He had been in custody, the Miranda warning was improper, and the confession had been coerced." This case illustrates the importance of developing independent corroboration form suspects. particularly juveniles. According to this article the "prosecution couldn't cite one fact given by Anthony that only the killer would know."
    Click here for the article describing this case.

    03/03/2009Common Mistakes Made During Investigative Interviews and Interrogations
    In a recent issue of their newsletter PoliceOne.com published an excellent article by Louis Senese, VP of John E. Reid and Associates, on some of the common mistakes that we see investigators make during their interviews and interrogations.
    Click here for the article.

    02/22/2009New Canadian column: The 24-hour Clock: The relationship between sec. 503 C.C. and the†duration†of an interrogation
    In his new article for the Member's page, Gino Arcaro discusses how long an interrogation can last according to Canadian law.

    I.†††††††††††††† Interrogation Time limit

    What is the time limit for a police interrogation?

    How long can the police interrogate an arrested person?

    There is no concrete time limit in Canadian law. The answer is found in the combined effect of:
    1. †††††††††††††† sec. 503 Criminal Code,
    2. ††††††††††††† sec 515(11) C.C.,
    3. †††††††††† sec. 9 Charter, and
    4. ††††††††††† R. v. Oickle (2000) SC.C.
    5. †††††††††††† R. v. Storrey (1990) SC.C.
    6. ††††††††† R. v. Singh (2007) SC.C.
    7. ††††††††† R. v. Manninen (1987) SC.C.

    Click here for the complete decision

    02/22/2009Legal Update February, 2009
    The Legal Update document for February 2009 includes cases†addressing†the following issues:

    Ambiguous lawyer request

    Two cases regarding an ambiguous request to invoke Fifth Amendment right to remain silent

    Two cases regarding the value of video recording an interrogation

    The use of Trickery and Deceit

    Faulty Miranda Warnings

    Confession suppressed because interrogators ignored request to stop the questioning

    Confession from defendant with mild retardation (I.Q. 65) upheld

    Confession found involuntary when interrogator misrepresented the charge

    Does feigned sympathy and rationalizing the defendantís criminal behavior render a subsequent confession inadmissible?

    No basis for ineffective counsel for failing to call expert witness to testify on false confessions ñ two cases

    Juvenile confession found inadmissible ñ Miranda , length of interrogation and other problems

    What constitutes custody?† Two cases

    Juvenile interrogation in school ñ was Miranda required?† Does a deceptive offer to help render the confession inadmissible?

    Dr. Richard Ofshe testimony limited

    Does a suspect have to be told he is a suspect when he is advised of his Miranda rights?

    Click Here

    02/17/2009New Seminar: Creating a Safe Learning Environment for Children
    John E. Reid and Associates offers this one-day training seminar which discusses the problem of child molesters targeting students within the school environment and identifies appropriate responses and offers solutions. This seminar will identify and discuss the methodologies and seduction techniques employed by the child molester in the various chat rooms and on the World Wide Web. Additionally, the seminar examines the topics of child erotica, child pornography, and their use by the child molester.

    The seminar will discuss the development of a Model Child Protection Management Policy, guidelines for the supervision of programs that involve students and the implementation of sample child protection legislation such as the Illinois Internet Safety Curriculum Act.
    Click here for complete details.

    12/26/2008Two New Canadian Legal Columns
    Reid Institute Members will find 2 new Canadian legal columns on the Members What's New page. The first column discusses the case R. v. L.T.H (2008) S.C.C. Young offenders' waiver of right to counsel

    I. Synopsis

    "This case imposes the onus on police officers to determine any "significant factors" that affect a young offender's cognitive ability to understand the right to counsel and the waiver of the right to counsel. "Significant factors" include learning disabilities and previous experience with the criminal justice system. In other words, the police have a mandatory obligation to determine if a young offender has a learning disability before deciding on the language to use to instruct him/her of the right to counsel and before an interrogation begins. The 4 key points of this case are as follows:" Click here for the complete column.

    The second column: "Frontline Interrogation: Solving the "mere suspicion bind"

    R. v. Digiacomo (2008)[1] Admissibility, into evidence, of a loaded gun despite Charter violations

    I. Synopsis

    This case involves the admission of a loaded gun seized following the commission of three Charter violations by the police. The decision is further evidence of the sec. 24(2) Charter pendulum swing - a pattern of court decisions to admit tainted evidence when the severity of the offense outweighs the severity of the Charter violation.

    II. Mere Suspicion Bind

    Case study: You are a police officer assigned to foot patrol at a large festival in a congested urban area. At 1:00 a.m., a pedestrian tells you that there is a possible disturbance, about one block ahead, involving a crowd of people. You and your partner walk there. You see a large crowd forming. No actual disturbance is in progress but tension obviously exists. One man makes eye contact with you as he "walks away" from the crowd.

    How do you investigate this?" Click here for the complete column.

    12/01/2008PoliceOne.com publishes new Reid article
    In their Street Survival Newsline newsletter PoliceOne.com has published a recent article by Reid VP Louis Senese, "Incest: Anatomy of Interrogation Theme Selection and Development."
    Click here for the article

    11/03/2008
    In the October 2008 issue of The Police Chief magazine the Chief's Counsel column is entitled, DNA Exoneration Cases May Breed "Failure to Train" Claims. In the article the author states:

    "A chief is likely to be added as a party to any civil rights lawsuit that results from alleged wrongdoing by that chief's police officers, regardless of whether the chief had any direct involvement in the officers' conduct. One of the most common claims that the chief was negligent in training the officers and that this failure resulted in the violation of a citizen's civil rights."

    "The U. S. Supreme Court has developed a stringent set of guidelines for determining municipality liability in failure-to-train cases. Following Monroe v. Pape, the Supreme Court implemented a new policy creating liability for municipalities for the actions of their employees."

    "A municipality cannot be held liable in a failure-to-train claim if a comprehensive training program is present and followed."

    "Chiefs may be found liable under Section 1983 if they fail to have officers trained in areas that the chiefs knew or should have known would likely result in violations of citizens' civil rights. Some areas are obvious, such as use of force, search and seizure, arrests, and interrogations."

    11/03/2008Success With Reid
    Dear Mr. Buckley,

    I would like to take this opportunity to commend Chief Chuck Gruber for his professionalism and expertise on his recent presentation to the Rockford Police Department. Chief Gruber spent two-and-a-half days instructing on "Use of Force" to our Senior Command Staff, Supervisors, as well as Attorneys from the City of Rockford Department of Law, Winnebago County States Attorney's Office, the Police Benevolent and Protective Association Unit 6 Board Attorneys and members.

    I received numerous positive comments on Chief Gruber's knowledge of subject matter and his connection to the class. In addition, Chief Gruber took additional time for a half-day session with our Legal Director and Senior Command Staff to discuss managing the "Use of Force" process.

    You and the entire John Reid staff should be proud of the professional work Chief Gruber provides on behalf of your company. Job well done!

    Sincerely,

    Chet Epperson Chief of Police
    Rockford, IL


    11/03/2008Two new Canadian columns
    We have added two new columns about Canadian legal decisions to the Reid Institute Members page. Here are the initial paragraphs for each column:

    The Quality of Lawyer Consultation: What constitutes enough legal advice?

    Part 1: R. v. Osmond (2007) BCCA by Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc.

    I. Overview

    This is the first part of a research series that reviews complex, contradicting right to counsel procedures centered on the British Columbia Court of Appeal decision in R. v. Osmond (2007). This paper includes a brief version of the actual case. The complete version of the Osmond decision will be explained in Part 2. Although the Osmond decision is binding only in British Columbia, it is persuasive in other provinces.

    The 5 key points of the case are:

    • A 13 year-old girl was beaten to death.
    • DNA evidence linked the accused to the crime scene.
    • The accused was arrested and informed of his right to counsel. Legal Aid was contacted and a Legal Aid lawyer gave him advice in less than 5 minutes.
    • The accused confessed.
    • The BCCA excluded the confession because: the Legal Aid advice was insufficient, constituting a sec. 10(b) Charter violation
    The Osmond decision relates to a continuum of cases explained in this article.

    The Quality of Lawyer Consultation: What constitutes enough legal advice?

    Part 2: R. v. Osmond (2007) BCCA[1] (the long version) by Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc.

    I. The short version

    Part 1 explained, briefly, the circumstances surrounding R. v. Osmond and explained how the decision fits within a continuum of cases.

    Part 2 reviews in depth, the complex, contradicting right-to-counsel procedures centered on the British Columbia Court of Appeal decision. The complete decision is included for the purpose of forming a point-of-reference regarding the issue of quality of lawyer consultation. Following the conclusion, a lengthy case law review, taken directly from the B.C.C.A. decision, is included. This supplementary material is provided for the benefit of the student, teacher or police officer, to assist in understanding the Court's contradictory rulings.
    Click here for the complete articles

    11/03/2008The Arab Naming Convention
    In the March/April 2008 edition of the National Academy Associate (the publication of the FBI National Academy Associates) they published a very informative article about the basis and formulation of Arab names - The Arab Naming Convention.
    With the permission of the Academy we are reprinting this article - click here.

    10/15/2008Legal Updates -†Summer†2008
    In the legal Updates for Summer 2008 the following case topics are discussed:

    • Courts limit or reject the testimony of expert witnesses Richard Leo, Richard Ofshe, Saul Kassin, Mark Castanza, Susan Garvey, Deborah Davis and Rosalyn Shultz on false confession issues
    • Dr. Christian Meissner testifies on false confession issues - Jury finds defendant guilty
    • Police misrepresent evidence against suspect - Court upholds confession - two cases
    • Employer found guilty by jury of false imprisonment
    • Does the length of the interrogation impact on the admissibility of the confession?
    • Interrogator statements - what can and cannot be said
    • Mental impairment and IQ re the waiver of Miranda rights
    • Corroborating elements in an arson case
    • Unambiguous request for lawyer
    • Do the Miranda warnings require the interrogator to tell the suspect he has the right to an attorney during the interrogation?
    • The Value of Recording Interrogations

    Click Here to View All Cases

    09/24/2008Hiring the Best seminar testimonial
    On behalf of Lower Pottsgrove Township Police Department, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for conducting the seminar, "Hiring the Best," in Pottstown, Pennsylvania on April 1, 2008.

    This is the first time Lower Pottsgrove Police Department hosted any type of seminar of this magnitude. Thanks to you and John Reid and Associates, this program was a huge success.

    As you know, we had a very respectable turnout (40 attendees) from agencies across Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey. The success of this endeavor certainly has a positive reflection of Lower Pottsgrove Township, and for that alone we greatly express our gratitude for helping us make this a positive experience. Your presentation was professionally done, instilling a positive image of John Reid and Associates. Your seminar is certainly an advertisement in itself of the great things that Reid and Associates has to offer to the law enforcement community. We look forward to working with your agency in the future.

    Respectfully,
    Michael A. Foltz
    Detective Sergeant/ Officer-in-charge

    09/01/2008Reid Institute Members - new Canadian column - "Fresh Start" and the "Pendulum Swing"
    Reid Institute Members - new Canadian column - "Fresh Start" and the "Pendulum Swing"

    In Gino Arcaro's 2007 3-part interrogation series he addressed the issue of admissibility of statements made after consulting with a lawyer, when a Charter violation had occurred prior to consulting a lawyer. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in R. v. Lewis (2007) that a "fresh start" is required to separate pre-and post-consultation (with a lawyer) interrogation.[2] Two questions and their resolution were considered during the Lewis trial:
    1. Are post-consultation statements admissible after pre-consultation questioning violates section 10(b) Charter?
    2. How can you negate the effects of the section 10(b) Charter violation? How can you rectify the pre-consultation Charter violation?
    The answers:
    1. If the two parts of the interrogation are connected the post-consultation statements will likely be inadmissible. If they are disconnected, the post-consultation statement will not be affected by the Charter violation and will likely be admissible (assuming the statement is voluntary).
    2. You can make a "fresh start" following the lawyer consultation by severing the pre-consultation and post-consultation questioning.
    He expands on this issue in view of the court's decision in R. v. Wittwer (2008) SCC[1].
    Click here for complete article

    07/15/2008Canada Supreme Court rules that police are not immune from liability under the law of negligence
    In the case of Hill v. Hamilton‑Wentworth Regional Police Services Board (2007) the Canada Supreme Court ruled that:
    1. The police are not immune from liability under the law of negligence and the tort of negligent investigation exists in Canada.
    2. Police officers owe a duty of care to suspects. Their conduct during an investigation should be measured against the standard of how a reasonable officer in like circumstances would have acted. Police officers may be accountable for harm resulting to a suspect if they fail to meet this standard.
    This was not an interrogation case but focused on the way photo lineups were conducted.† It points out the importance of properly obtaining confessions in all cases.
    Click here for full article

    07/01/2008New article on the BAI published in the International Journal of Police Science & Management
    Joseph Buckley (president of John E. Reid and Associates), Frank Horvath (professor emeritus, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University) and J. P. Blair (assistant professor of criminal justice at Texas State University) co-authored an article on the BAI entitled, The Behavioural analysis interview: clarifying the practice, theory and understanding of its use and effectiveness. Here is the abstract:

    The Behavioural Analysis Interview (BAI) is the only questioning method that has been developed specifically to help investigators sort those who are likely to be 'guilty' from those who are not. In its typical application the BAI is a pre-interrogation interview that is used to focus interrogational effort; however, it also can be used independently in order to circumscribe investigative efforts in those cases in which there is a fixed and relatively large number of 'suspects'. In this paper an overview of the BAI process is provided and the findings and limitations of the extant bodies of field and laboratory research on the BAI are discussed. The paper concludes with suggestions to guide future research on the BAI.
    Click here for full article

    06/03/2008Article reviews false confession cases
    In an article entitled, "The Problem of False Confessions in the Post-DNA World" authors Steven Drizin and Richard Leo analyze 125 false confession cases.
    Click here for the complete articles

    05/22/2008Article describes how criminal defense attorneys should attack confession cases
    In their publication, Champion magazine, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have published an article entitled, Defending Unrecorded False Confession Cases, in which the author presents a detailed approach for how defense attorneys should challenge confessions:

    "Challenging a confession -- both in motion hearings before a judge and to a jury once a suppression motion has been denied -- is an essential skill for any criminal defense lawyer. Because confessions are powerful evidence that leads courts and juries to convict clients, and because law enforcement invests a lot in obtaining confessions in the most serious cases, every criminal defense lawyer must learn how to best defend these cases."
    click here for full article

    05/12/2008Announcing The 2008 Reid Conference for Investigative Training
    The 2008 Reid Conference will be held in Oak Brook, Illinois from September 29th to October 1. The following topics and speakers are tentatively scheduled:

    Identifying Micro-Facial Expressions presented by Paul Ekman, Ph.D. Paul Ekman Group

    Major Causes of Investigative Failures presented by D. Kim Rossmo, Research Professor Texas State University

    Geographic Profiling of Criminal Predators presented by D. Kim Rossmo, Research Professor Texas State University

    Anticipating Courtroom Challenges to a Nine-Step Interrogation presented by Philip A. Mullenix, Attorney at Law

    The Importance of Using Case Facts in Determining Truth or Deception presented by J. Pete Blair, PhD Texas State University

    Investigating Child Abuse Injuries presented by Robert H. Farley, Detective Cook County Sheriff's Department, retired.

    The cost for the 3-day Conference is $275.00 for Reid Institute members and $375.00 for non-members. Additional information about the topics and speakers will be posted on our web site. The Conference will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in Oak Brook, Illinois. To register for the Conference please call 800-255-5747, extension 12 or 24.
    Click here for more information

    05/07/2008 Reid Institute Members - Two new Canadian Columns are available: "Prosper Warning: Part 1" and "Prosper Warning: Part 2"
    By Gino Arcaro B.Sc., M.Ed

    I. Executive Summary
    It is a common occurrence for an arrested person to invoke the right to counsel by asking to consult with a lawyer then change his mind and waive the right before consulting with a lawyer. When this happens, the police have a mandatory obligation to read the "Prosper Warning" to the arrested person before interrogating him. Since the inception of the "Prosper Warning" in 1994, a string of case law derivatives have emerged including two recent decisions by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal in R. v. Basko (2007)[1] and R. v. Weeseekase (2007)[2].

    Both cases include:
    1. important points-of-reference for frontline police officers, and
    2. significant case law review for research purposes.
    Prosper Warning Part 1 explains the Basko point-of-reference circumstances and its derivative cases. Part 2 will explain the Weeseekase point-of-reference and its derivative cases including how Basko is applied.
    Click here for compete article

    05/07/2008PoliceOne.com publishes two new Reid articles
    In their Street Survival Newsline newsletter PoliceOne.com has published to recent articles by Reid staff: Understanding and Investigating Child Physical Abuse by Robert H. Farley, and Murder: Anatomy of Interrogation Theme Selection and Development by Louis Senese.
    Click here for the complete articles

    03/09/2008 Reid Institute Members - The new Canadian Column is entitled, "Act on your suspicions: The Section 24(2) Charter pendulum
    This case law decision involves a frontline interrogation relative to a vehicle search that violated s. 8 Charter, resulted in a large drug seizure, and the admission of the drugs as evidence because of a paradigm shift in the way s. 24(2) Charter was applied by the Court. This case not only marks a common sense change in the application of s. 24(2) Charter, it is a point-of-reference case that applies s. 24(2) Charter the way it was intended.

    Although this case does not directly involve a formal interrogation and confession, the ruling is significant because it will likely affect how s. 24(2) Charter will be applied in the future to the admissibility of any evidence. The derivative cases that may emerge will be monitored to determine the long-term effects, if any, on the admissibility of confessions.
    Click Here for complete article

    02/24/2008Reid Institute Members - The new Canadian Column is entitled,
    I.Review of Singh

    This case is a derivative of the landmark right to silence decision released three months ago, in R. v. Singh (2007) SCC.

    To briefly review the key points: In November, 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada made the following major ruling, in R. v. Singh (2007) regarding the right to silence: A police officer may continue to question an arrested person who has invoked the right to remain silent.

    Five key points emerge from this rule:
    1. Invoking the right to silence does not automatically end an interrogation.
    2. It is not a sec. 7 Charter violation for the police to ignore an arrested person's right to remain silent and to persuade the accused to change his mind.
    3. Considerable persistent questioning is allowed after the right to silence is invoked.
    4. The police are entitled to continue questioning after the right to silence is invoked "so long as their conduct does not reach the point where the suspect's will is overborne and his statement is no longer voluntary." An "overborne will" is defined as being "deprived of an operating mind." It means incapable of making meaningful decisions - the free will to make choices. In other words, as long as the accused has an operating mind and has decision-making capacity, "persistent" interrogation may continue.
    5. A sec. 7 Charter violation occurs only if an arrested person invokes the right to remain silent and the police interrogation techniques cause the arrested person to lose his decision-making capacity. In Canada, an interrogation must stop only when the suspect's operating mind is deprived - when he loses the ability to make sound decisions.

    Click here for the complete article.

    02/11/2008Reid Institute Members - The new Canadian Column is entitled, "Young Offender Confessions: 'right' versus 'required'.
    Reid Institute Members - The new Canadian Column is entitled, "Young Offender Confessions: 'right' versus 'required'. By Gino Arcaro B.Sc., M.Ed

    I. sec. 146(2)(b)(iv) and sec. 146(6) YCJA

    Among the numerous controversies surrounding young offender laws is the admissibility of young offender confessions. One of the interrogation issues centers on how to properly instruct a young offender about waiving the presence of a third party consultant, in accordance with sec. 146(2)(b)(iv)Youth Criminal Justice Act. Another related issue is what constitutes a "technical irregularity" under sec. 146(6) YCJA.

    Three laws govern the admissibility of young offender confessions and statements:
    1. common law "confession rule" relating to voluntariness
    2. Charter provisions including right to silence, right to counsel, reason for arrest and sec. 24(2)
    3. Statutory protections created by the Youth Criminal Justice Act, including section 146 YCJA.
    The first two laws apply to both adult and young offenders. The third law applies only to young offenders, increasing the complexity of young offender confession admissibility.
    Click here for full article

    02/11/2008Legal Updates for February 2008
    We have reviewed 9 cases that relate to such issues as the interrogator referring to religion during the interrogation; misrepresenting evidence during the interrogation; ambiguous requests for an attorney; the value of video recording interrogation; and 4 court decisions that reject experts' testimony of the issue of false confessions.
    Click here for the details on these cases.

    01/01/2008Five Courts Reject the Testimony of Richard Leo and Richard Ofshe


    In the case of People v.Wroten Dr. Richard Leo testified that the interrogators suggested to the defendant "that the offense was accidental, thereby minimizing the suspect's perception of the consequences of an admission and implying that an accidental killing might result in leniency. This technique can increase the risk of a false confession." The court rejected this position and the jury convicted the defendant of first degree murder. In their review of the case the Court of Appeal, 2nd District, Division 2, California stated "There were also no promises of leniency made to appellant. The statements he points to as making such promises are at worst ambiguous and, in any event, did not pervade the interrogation. Detective Lait's statement that they were giving appellant a "million dollar opportunity" to explain whether the shooting was intentional or accidental contains no promise of benefit. While the detective stated that knowing whether the murder was intentional or accidental might make a difference in "how we proceed," he did not say it would benefit appellant or that it would make a difference as to whether they would proceed. Furthermore, after Detective Lait made those statements, appellant continued to deny involvement in the Mosley shooting....Those statements did not overbear his will to resist and proximately cause him to confess. Detective Garrido's statement that they wanted to get appellant "cleared up" was little more than encouragement to tell the truth." Click here for the complete decision

    In the case of People v.Muratalla Dr. Richard Leo suggested that the defendant's consent to search may have been given as the result of improper police questioning techniques. The Court of Appeals decision stated that "Leo opined that threatening to arrest a suspect's girlfriend or to have the suspect's child removed in order to gain access to the suspect's residence would qualify as coercive threats. Such threats, if used to gain consent, would also affect the suspect's subsequent perceptions about whether the suspect should make statements during an interrogation." The trial court found that "under the totality of circumstances, Muratalla's consent to search was voluntary. The court found that assuming the officers had discussed the possibility of having DCFS take custody of the children and had handcuffed Dorame in Muratalla's presence, such conduct did not induce Muratalla "to do something that he otherwise might not have done." The court noted that it would have found Muratalla's consent to have been involuntary had the officers said to Muratalla that his son would be removed by DCFS and his girlfriend would be arrested unless he agreed to the search of his residence. But in the absence of such a direct threat by the officers, the trial court concluded that Muratalla's consent was obtained without police coercion." The Court of Appeals, 2nd Disrtict, California affirmed the trial court's decision. Click here for the complete decision.

    In their decision in the case of People v. Cota, the Court of Appeal, 4th District, Division 3, California reported the following:

    "During trial, defense psychological expert Dr. Richard Ofshe testified about interrogation tactics used by police in order to elicit confessions from suspects and factors that contribute to suspects making false confessions. During closing argument, the prosecutor read an excerpt from a law review article in which Ofshe was quoted as saying: " 'While a guilty party will likely be very unhappy that he is being accused and confronted with evidence that supports the accusation, he is somewhat insulated from shock because he has always been aware of possible detection and can understand that he has been caught. An innocent suspect is likely to experience considerable shock and disorientation during interrogation because he is wholly unprepared for the confrontation and accusations that are at the core of the process and will not understand how an investigator could possibly suspect him.'

    The prosecutor then proceeded to argue, "[w]hen you look at this videotape [of the defendant's interview with Campuzano], ask yourself that question. Where is the shock of being accused of these horrific crimes? ... There isn't because the defendant knew what he did, period. And because this evidence is so compelling, because it is so compelling, the defense is grasping at straws.... And all they need to do is fool one of you. If they fool one of you, then the defendant is not held responsible." Click here for the complete decision.

    In the case of Lyons v. State Lyons sought to have Dr. Richard Ofshe testify as an expert witness on false confession theory. Following a hearing outside the jury's presence at which Ofshe testified, the trial court ruled that it would not allow the testimony based upon the evidence in the case, because such theory had not reached a verifiable stage of scientific certainty, and because whether Lyons's inculpatory statements were the results of threats or coercion was a matter the jury could discern for itself. "This Court further observed in Riley that the admission of expert testimony based on the theory of false confessions was premature and unreliable inasmuch as there was insufficient scientific support and too many unanswered questions regarding such theory. Id. at 682-683(4), 604 S.E.2d 488. In short, false confession theory does not satisfy the evidentiary test in criminal cases set forth in Harper v. State, 249 Ga. 519(1), 292 S.E.2d 389 (1982)." Click here for the complete decision.

    In the case of US v. Mamah the US District Court, N.D. Illinois granted the government's motion to bar Dr. Richard Ofshe's testimony, stating that "The jury will not be, and cannot be, assisted in any way by Dr. Ofshe's views in determining whether Mr. Mamah's version of the interrogation is more accurate than that of the interviewing agents, assuming material conflict. It is a classic jury function to determine the credibility of witnesses. That Dr. Ofshe can say some people confess falsely when faced with certain stimuli is not relevant to the jury's credibility determination function. Nor can Dr. Ofshe testify, as part of his work, what the specifics of the interrogation consisted of as related to him by Mr. Mamah. Mr. Mamah's statements to him about the interview would be inadmissible hearsay and could not be disclosed by Dr. Ofshe to the jury pursuant to Rule 703. Beyond that, Dr. Ofshe employs mere conclusory statements in his report about tactics used without specifics or elaboration. As is recited in Hall at p. 1344, conclusory statements without any explanation why the expert can contribute to the jury's understanding of the subject are also subject to exclusion. That is also the situation here." Click here for the complete decision.

    12/01/2007Criminal social psychology research confirms the foundation of the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation - theme development
    In a recent article entitled Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice: How Neutralization Theory Can Inform Reid Interrogations of Identity Thieves, the authors point out that the foundation of the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation (specifically theme development) is grounded in strong psychological principles - in this case neutralization theory.

    As the authors state:

    "Themes are the heart of interrogations in that they serve to psychologically excuse the suspect's behaviors. By voicing excuses as to why the suspect's behavior is acceptable, interrogators may be able to break down some of the existing mental, psychological, and physical barriers. Once the suspect realizes that interrogators understand and are sympathetic to the situation, there is a greater chance the suspect will discuss the crime or incident. The objective of the interview is to uncover the truth, and themes are one of the most effective methods to get the suspect to explain the act or situation in question (Leo 1996).....

    As previously explained, themes are detailed scenarios developed by interrogators that are based on the neutralization (or neutralizations) that offenders use to make sense of their actions. By increasing their knowledge on the varying types of neutralizations that offenders use for different types of crimes, interrogators will increase their chances of obtaining confessions. In what follows, we show how research examining the neutralizations used by identity thieves can inform and guide police in their interrogations using the Reid Technique." Click here for the complete article.
    Click here for the complete article.

    11/17/2007Reid Institute Members - The new Canadian Column is available on the Members What's New page - it is entitled, "Obtaining a confession "no matter what" after right to silence invoked, may be acceptable."
    R. v. Singh (2007)[1] S.C.C. - Right to Silence Part 2
    By Gino Arcaro B.Sc., M Ed.

    I. Summary

    The bold strategy of obtaining a confession from a murder suspect, "no matter what," may be acceptable even if it requires persistence that ignores and changes the suspect's intention to remain silent, as long as the police conduct does not negate the suspect's ability to exercise his free will.br>
    On Thursday, November 1, 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada made a landmark ruling that significantly expands police interrogation strategy. The SCC upheld the 2002 second-degree murder conviction of a person who shot an innocent bystander. The primary issue before the court was determining the extent of police persistence that may be used to obtain a confession, when an accused repeatedly invokes his right to remain silent.br>
    The case, R. v. Singh, deals with a homicide investigation that began when a bystander was shot through the open door of the bar by the accused after the accused had been kicked out for fighting. During interrogation, the accused repeatedly invoked the right to silence, telling the detective that he did not want to answer questions. The detective persisted. The accused changed his mind and made certain statements.
    Click here for complete article

    11/01/20072008 Schedule
    The 2008 schedule for The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation classes is now available on our web page
    2008 Schedule

    10/16/2007Court Rejects Testimony of Dr. Richard Leo
    In the case of People v. Rathbun the Court of Appeals, Second District, California rejected the testimony of Dr. Richard Leo, stating in part:

    The court ruled that Dr. Leo would not be permitted to testify, his testimony being irrelevant because, as acknowledged, none of the stated influences was present with regard to appellant's confession. The court also ruled based on Evidence Code sections 352 and 801, and Kelly, supra, 17 Cal.3d 24.
    Click here for the complete decision

    10/16/2007Court Upholds Confession from Interrogator Using The Reid Technique ñ Jury Rejects Dr. Ofshe Testimony
    In the case of State v. Tapke the Court of Appeals of Ohio upheld the defendant's confession which was obtained by an officer who was trained in The Reid Technique. Dr. Richard Ofshe testified about false confessions and attempted to describe The Reid Technique. The jury subsequently rejected his testimony and "chose not to discredit it [the confession]."

    It is interesting to note that in his testimony Dr. Ofshe testified that as part of The Reid Technique interrogators are taught the following:

    "So what police have learned to do is to communicate the message through a series of suggestions * * * the idea being to communicate the understanding that there's a deal on the table, but without ever explicitly saying here's the deal." He used the example of a person accused of GSI. He testified that the police would say something like this to a suspect: "[Y]ou're not a sexual predator; you're someone who needs treatment. What would you rather do, go to prison as a sex offender, or get some therapy in treatment."

    It is interesting to note that the exact opposite is the case - we teach not to make any statements that refer to punishment, threats or promises of leniency (see Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, 4th ed., 2001), and in our training seminars we highlight the case, Com. v. DiGiambattista, 813 N.E.2d 516 (2004), in which the Massachusetts Supreme Court indicated that "what seemed to disturb the Court the most was the apparent reference to counseling which they felt "implicitly suggested to him that "counseling" would be an appropriate avenue for him to pursue after making a confession." In other words, if he confessed he would get counseling instead of jail." This is exactly what we teach not to do
    Click here for the complete decision

    10/16/2007Legal Updates for October 2007
    We have prepared a Legal Update that reviews a number of different court decisions that impact on a variety of issues concerning confession admissibility, expert witnesses and interrogation practices
    Click here for the October 2007 Legal Update.

    10/15/2007Jeffrey Deskovic was wrongfully convicted of murder. During the investigation Mr. Deskovic gave a false confession. The Westchester County (NY) District Attorney's office did an analysis of what went wrong
    In part the report states as follows:

    Police and Prosecutorial Tunnel Vision - The police focused too early on Deskovic as their prime suspect due, in part, to an inaccurate NYPD profile of the offender. Because they believed he was guilty, detectives interrogated Deskovic in a manner that improperly exploited his youth, naivetÈ and psychological vulnerability, thereby eliciting a false inculpatory statement. The prosecution, which, like the police, believed it had its man, failed to undertake a necessary reassessment of its case when scientific facts emerged (e.g., DNA and hair evidence) that appeared to exculpate Deskovic. Specifically, the record indicates that all investigation ceased after police obtained Deskovic's purported confession. The prosecution apparently did little or nothing to corroborate the theories it employed to square the scientific evidence with Deskovic's guilt.
    To review the report in its entirety Click Here

    10/15/2007Reid Institute Members - The new Canadian Column is available on the Members What's New page ñ it is entitled, ìFrontline Interrogations: Solving the ëmere suspicion bindí
    In the case of R.†v.†L.B. (2007) Ont. C.A. Gino Arcaro writes:

    The best way to introduce and summarize this case is to quote the Ontario Court of Appeal in the judgment of R. v. LB, a decision released on Sept. 5, 2007:

    This case involves a loaded handgun in the possession of a student on school property. Conduct of that nature is unacceptable without exception. It is something that Canadians will not tolerate. It conjures up images of horror and anguish the likes of which few could have imagined twenty-five years ago when the Charter first came to being. Sadly, in recent times, such images have become all too common ñ children left dead and dying; families overcome by grief and sorrow; communities left reeling in shock and disbelief.

    The judgment reversed the mystifying acquittal of a young offender who had possession of a loaded firearm on a school property. This is significant for three reasons: (i) it represents the first formal case law recognition of how severe the social problem of campus violence has become; (ii) it serves as a strategic point of reference regarding the complexities of frontline interrogation, providing a solution to the ìmere suspicion bindî; and (iii) it gives the police considerable leeway in their efforts to protect school campuses.
    Click here for the complete decision

    10/15/2007Value of Reid Training
    Throughout the year we receive feedback from†hundreds of our seminar graduates on the value of attending our seminar on The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation - here are two recent ones:

    Good morning,

    I wanted to let you know how much your training helped me during a complicated interview I conducted just a few weeks after taking your course.† I am a Child Protective Services Investigator in Fairfax County Va.†Shortly thereafter, I was called to investigate a suspected case of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome. I† arrived at the hospital and found that no officer had responded. The Doctor who had made the complaint was very convinced that this Mother had been systematically been poisoning her 3 year old child. The doctor had attempted to have cameras installed in the room, but had been unable to convince the hospital due to legal concerns. I arrived and the decision was made that I would do the interview. I was told ahead of time that it is very difficult to get someone with Munchausen to admit to what they have been doing, but fresh out of Reid I was anxious to try. I spoke with the mom for about 1 and 1/2 hours. I was able to walk her though the steps just as I had learned. At the end of the hour she told me what she had been doing to her baby! I could tell from my training and watching her body language that she was going to tell me. It is a very exciting to see something like that unfold in front of me. After the interview, we restricted mom from all contact with her child.† The child, who had stopped walking and eating any solids, was within 24 hours waddling down to the playroom and eating hamburgers. It was truly an amazing feeling. I taped the interview and have since shared it with others. Of course giving my Reid experience all the credit! I am hoping to be able to attend your advanced training at some point. The skills I learned have been invaluable. Thank you so much.

    Sincerely,Lisa Alexander
    Fairfax Child Protective Services

    Brian,

    Thank you so much for the Reid book that you gave me a couple of weeks ago at the seminar in Minnesota.† I have been to a lot of training seminars and this class was right up at the top of the seminars that I have attended (and I have been to some good seminars).† I am actively encouraging our detectives to come back to using the Reid technique.† A lot of them are telling me that they use portions of Reid, but after attending the class, it is my belief that the model must be followed perfectly to maximize truthful information.† Thank you again.

    Michael D. Wentzell
    Assistant
    Carver County Attorney

    Art,

    My name is Ryan Atkinson and I recently attended the 3 day Reid seminar and 1 day advanced seminar in Owasso, OK.† I am employed by the Stephens County Sheriff's Office. When I returned home, I had the opportunity to use the Reid technique in a 10 year old rape and sodomy case.† I am extremely happy to report that the technique worked.† First, I interviewed the suspect and found his responses, non-verbal behavior, and paralinguistic responses to show deception.† After the interview, I left the room and reentered after a short break.† When I reentered the room, I began the interrogation and got a confession in under 5 minutes.† I can't begin to explain how†it felt when†I got the confession.† I truly appreciate the wonderful class and priceless information that Reid has to offer.††


    08/13/2007Forensic Interviewing for Attorneys
    In conjunction with the Lawyer's Institute of Forensic Interviewing John E. Reid and Associates now offers to attorneys a continuing education program in advocacy which adapts non-coercive criminal interrogation methods for the elicitation of information within forensic settings of depositions, jury selection, direct/cross examination, and witness statements. This one-day training seminar has been accredited by the MCLE Board for 5.5 General CLE hours.
    Click here for details.

    08/13/2007Reid Institute Members - The June and July Canadian Columns: Right to Counsel: making a "fresh start" - Parts 2 and 3 R.v. Lewis (2007) (Ont. C.A.) are on the Members Whats New page
    The June column is Part 2 of a three-part series that examines the growing frequency of pre-consultation and post-consultation interrogations and statements. Specifically, this case applies the interrogation "fresh start" concept that is needed to disconnect post-consultation interrogation from pre-consultation interrogation.

    The July column is the final part of three case series that explores the evolution of the interrogation "fresh start" concept that is needed to separate pre- and post-consultation interrogation. R. v. Lewis (2007) was released on May 8, 2007, and shows the current state of how the concept is applied in contemporary case law decisions.
    Click here to access the Members Log in page

    08/12/2007Massachusetts Supreme Court finds Dr. Saul Kassin testimony inadmissible
    In the case of Commonwealth v. Robinson, the Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld the trial court's decision to reject the testimony of Dr. Saul Kassin. Quoting from the Supreme Court's opinion:

    "A hearing was held before the judge to consider the admissibility of the testimony of Professor Saul Kassin. The professor was offered by the defendant as an expert witness on the subject of the psychology of police interrogations and confessions. The judge refused to admit his testimony because it did not meet the "general acceptance" or "reliability" criteria required by Commonwealth v. Lanigan, 419 Mass. 15, 25, 641 N.E.2d 1342 (1994), and also because it concerned issues within the knowledge and experience of laypersons."

    "Nevertheless, on cross-examination the professor conceded that there was no empirical data on the number of false confessions, and that there is no scientific basis for distinguishing true from false confessions. Indeed, he admitted that one of his articles stated, "Further research in the field is sorely needed.... [T]he current empirical foundation may be too meager to support recommendations for reform or qualify as a subject of scientific knowledge." The professor also said that, in fact, in mock jury experiments, jurors were able to distinguish accurately voluntary from involuntary confessions. He agreed that he could not say that lay people could not accurately assess the techniques that would cause false confessions."

    "The judge concluded that Kassin's testimony did not meet the requirements set forth in the Lanigan case. We agree. As the judge stated, Kassin conceded that his opinions are not generally accepted, require further testing, and are not yet a subject of "scientific knowledge." One of his own publications admitted as much. Accordingly, his proposed testimony that certain interrogation techniques have previously produced false confessions does not meet either the general acceptance or reliability criteria established by the Lanigan case. The judge did not abuse her discretion in refusing to admit Professor Kassin's testimony"
    Click here for the complete decision.

    08/12/2007Defense experts on false confessions acknowledge lack of scientific foundation for their opinions.
    In the case of Commonwealth v. Robinson, the Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld the trial court's decision to reject the testimony of Dr. Saul Kassin, because as the Supreme Court stated,

    "The judge concluded that Kassin's testimony did not meet the requirements set forth in the Lanigan case. We agree. As the judge stated, Kassin conceded that his opinions are not generally accepted, require further testing, and are not yet a subject of "scientific knowledge." One of his own publications admitted as much. Accordingly, his proposed testimony that certain interrogation techniques have previously produced false confessions does not meet either the general acceptance or reliability criteria established by the Lanigan case. The judge did not abuse her discretion in refusing to admit Professor Kassin's testimony"

    "Nevertheless, on cross-examination the professor conceded that there was no empirical data on the number of false confessions, and that there is no scientific basis for distinguishing true from false confessions. Indeed, he admitted that one of his articles stated, "Further research in the field is sorely needed.... [T]he current empirical foundation may be too meager to support recommendations for reform or qualify as a subject of scientific knowledge."

    In the case of Edmonds v. State, the Court of Appeals of Mississippi upheld the trial court's decision to reject the testimony of Dr. Allison Redlich. From their opinion the court stated:

    "After a day-long, pre-trial Daubert hearing on whether Dr. Redlich would be allowed to testify, the trial judge entered an order finding that Dr. Redlich's proposed testimony did "not satisfy the dictates of Mississippi Rule of Evidence 702 and will be excluded." In its order, the court pointed out that "Dr. Redlich admitted that there is no empirical test available to determine whether a confession is truthful or not. Redlich also admitted that the hypothesis of false confessions cannot be tested empirically. Dr. Redlich testified that it would be impossible to do an empirical test of false confessions because to do so would require taking juveniles to police stations and accusing them of crimes they had not committed. The court found that, overall, "Redlich indicated that there was very little study of false confessions and juveniles."
    Click here for the complete decision

    08/12/2007Update on Legal Cases - Update August, 2007
    On a regular bases we will list under this link new legal decisions that address Miranda, confession voluntariness, false imprisonment, juvenile interrogations, expert witness that challenge police interrogation techniques, and many other related issues.† We will date the update so that you will know when new cases have been added to the page.† If you learn of any case decisions in your jurisdiction that†you think would be important for us to post, please send them to my attention:† Joseph Buckley at jbuckley@reid.com, or I can be reached at 800-255-5747 ext 19.
    Review All Cases for August 2007

    08/12/2007Military Judge finds Dr. Ofshe theory regarding coervice interrogations was not based on rigorous scinetific analysis or even subject to scientific testing but was rather Dr. Osfhe's own subjective review of a group of particularly selected cases.
    In the case of US v Wilson, the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Appeals upheld the trial judge's decision to exclude Dr. Richard Ofhe's testimony.

    In their decision the Court of Appeals stated:

    "In essence, the military judge found that Dr. Ofshe's theory regarding coercive interrogations was not based on rigorous scientific analysis or even subject to scientific testing but was rather Dr. Ofshe's own subjective review of a group of particularly selected cases. By way of example, at one point Dr. Ofshe testified that his theory concerning the impact of certain police interrogation techniques on the danger of false confessions was as intuitive as the fact that the sun will come up each day. Essentially he argues that we can't necessarily prove causation but we just know how it works. Id. at 5, Record at 1202.

    The military judge's finding that the proffered theory was not scientifically sound was wholly supported by the affidavits of Professor Cassell and LtCol Slicner. Professor Cassell, after noting that he is familiar with Dr. Ofshe's research, opines that Dr. Ofshe's theories "have not been sufficiently tested ... have an unacceptably high rate of error ... depart from accepted standards ... and have not been accepted in the relevant scientific community...." Appellate Exhibit LXVII at 2. LtCol Slicner, opining more generally on research into the causes of false confessions, observes that to her knowledge there are no "scientifically reliable studies" that associate particular personality traits or the nature of the interrogation with false confessions. She opines that one cannot "hold so many unusual and diverse variables constant in order to study the effect of one or more clearly identifying variables." Appellate Exhibit LXVIII at 2.

    Having determined that Dr. Ofshe's theory was not based on sufficient scientific rigor to be reliable and that it was not widely accepted within the relevant scientific community, the military judge went on to rule that the witness could testify only to his rather commonsensical opinions that "false confessions do occur" and that "some persons have, after certain techniques have been used, made false confessions." Appellate Exhibit LXXII at 5. The military judge then found, as the appellant asserts, that the opinions Dr. Ofshe could legitimately testify to were not beyond the experience of the average member and therefore of such minimal value as to be substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury. The underlying basis for the military judge's decision, however, was that Dr. Ofshe's expert opinion testimony was not scientifically reliable. We find, therefore, that there was ample evidence supporting the inadmissibility of Dr. Ofshe's expert testimony and that the military judge did not abuse his discretion when he excluded it."
    Click here for the complete decision

    06/01/2007Testimonial for new Reid seminar - Investigating Use of Force for Field Supervisors
    The Chief of Police from Roselle, IL, James R. Kruger, recently attended the "Investigating Use of Force for Field Supervisors" seminar and had high praise for the instructor, Chief Charles Gruber, and the content of the material:

    "Recently I had the opportunity to attend Reid's "Investigating Use of Force for Field Supervisors" class conducted by Chief Charles Gruber. Knowing Chief Gruber's qualifications and expertise in this area I was not surprised to find the course to be topical and timely for our profession today.

    The issues covered take into consideration the differences in communities and agencies as well as their corresponding cultures so that there is not a cookie cutter approach. He also brings years of experience investigating use of force incidents across the country from the on street conduct all the way to the policy level. While the subject matter is complex, Chief Gruber breaks it down in a systematic approach for the field supervisor.

    Our organization is currently sending the entire management team as an organizational change initiative to institutionalize the methods Chief Gruber advocates in the proper investigation of a use of force event by our officers. We owe it to our community and our police officers to insure that the rights of our officers as well as the public are protected.

    I believe it is essential for all law enforcement administrators to avail their street supervisors as well as their command staff the opportunity to attend this course. The material presented not only gives the supervisor the tools necessary after a use of force event, but training and policy considerations for commanders prior to such an event. I would recommend this course to all of my colleagues and look forward to a sequel focused on command staff officers in the future.

    06/01/2007Researchers Continue to Get it Wrong
    In the June, 2006 issue of , Dr. Aldert Vrij published an article entitled, "An Empirical Test of the Behaviour Analysis Interview." In this article Dr. Vrij (and colleagues) conducted a test of what they believed to be the BAI in an effort to determine the effectiveness of the process in identifying truthful and deceptive subjects in a mock theft case. However, in their description of the BAI it was clear that they did not understand the BAI process and actually misrepresented it. When our office wrote to Dr. Vrij (and Brian Cutler, the editor of Law and Human Behavior) about his erroneous statements and misrepresentations in his article, Dr. Vrij responded by suggesting our book was poorly written regarding our description of the BAI process. (Dr. Vrij apparently read only one chapter in the book rather than all six of the chapters that discuss interviewing techniques, and never attended a Reid seminar or contacted our office for information).

    In our effort to have the publication, Law and Human Behavior, publish a clarification Editor Cutler stated "I do not believe the corrections that you note rise to a level that require a published erratum or commentary."
    Click here to read our letter to Dr. Vrij about the errors in his article.

    06/01/2007Court did not err in excluding testimony of Allison D. Redlich, Ph. D. concerning confession voluntariness
    In the case of Edmonds v. State, the Supreme Court of Mississippi upheld the Circuit Court's decision to exclude the testimony of Allison D. Redlich, Ph.D., "concerning involuntariness of confessions because, during the extensive Daubert hearing held by the circuit court, Dr. Redlich herself admitted that her theories could not be empirically tested."
    Click here for the complete decision.

    06/01/2007Judge was reversed for not examining the voluntary nature of a confession
    In the case of Commonwealth v. Miller, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts found that the trial judge committed reversible error for not conducting an evidentiary voir dire hearing re the voluntariness of the confession. "In this case, tried to a jury in the District Court, it was very much a live issue whether the defendant's confession was of free will and rational intellect, or instead was elicited by oppressive interrogation techniques of the in-house investigators of the defendant's employer, Home Depot. "Once a defendant has presented evidence that the statements at issue were made involuntarily, the burden is on the Commonwealth to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the statements were made voluntarily." Commonwealth v. Selby, 420 Mass. 656, 663, 651 N.E.2d 843 (1995). Notwithstanding troubling evidence concerning isolation*837 and coercive questioning-enhanced in effect by the defendant's mental condition and distraught reactions-the trial judge did not conduct an evidentiary voir dire hearing, and did not independently assess the voluntariness of the confession. Instead, the judge reasoned, such issues were to be left for the jury's deliberation.

    In the absence of the defendant's confession, the Commonwealth's proof of the defendant's guilt was far from strong, and from all that appears in the record, the defendant's confession was integral to conviction. Because the confession was critical evidence, perhaps outcome determinative, we reverse."
    Click here for the complete decision

    06/01/2007Court upholds confession in which police lied about the incriminating evidence
    In the case of People v Minniti the Illinois Appellate Court upheld a confession that resulted from an interrogation in which the police misrepresented the evidence against the suspect. "The defendant contends that his statements were involuntary because they were the result of police trickery. The trial court found that there were three instances of police deception. The police lied to the defendant when they told him that there was (1) satellite imagery showing someone go from the defendant's home to the victim's home on the night of the murder and (2) DNA evidence, matching him, found inside the victim. The police also misled the defendant's father when they told him they wanted to do a routine follow-up interview of the defendant but did not inform him that they had DNA evidence from the victim's bathroom indicating that the defendant had been present inside the victim's home. While we do not condone Officer Gardner's tactics, the trickery here does not render the defendant's confession involuntary. See People v. Martin, 102 Ill.2d 412, 427, 80 Ill.Dec. 776, 466 N.E.2d 228 (1984) (explaining that police deception does not invalidate a confession as a matter of law but rather is only one factor to consider when making a determination of voluntariness). The trial court found that there was no evidence that the deception induced the defendant's confession."
    Click here for the complete decision.

    06/01/2007May Canadian Column: Right to Counsel: making a
    I. The issue: split interrogation
    On May 8, 2007, the Ontario Court of Appeal released a decision in R.v. Lewis (2007) that will be explain in a three-part series. The central issues is a split interrogation, referring to a questioning process divided into two parts by a lawyer consultation that occurs during the interrogation. The first part of the interrogation is the pre-consultation questioning, where the accused invokes his/her right to counsel (RTC) and questioning begins without providing the accused with a reasonable opportunity to consult with a lawyer, resulting in a section 10(b) Charter violation. The second part is the post-consultation questioning referring to the interrogation that resumes after the accused exercises the RTC.
    Click here for the complete decision.

    05/05/2007New! - PoliceLink.com Partnership
    As part of our continued commitment to officer safety and career advancement, John E. Reid & Associates has partnered with PoliceLink.com, the nation's law enforcement community, to provide training articles for all PoliceLink members. The articles, authored by John E. Reid & Associates instructors, provide the latest in investigative techniques, law enforcement training and legal information. In addition to training resources, PoliceLink offers numerous resources for the law enforcement community, including jobs, scholarships, news, networking opportunities and entertainment. Membership is free.
    To sign up, go to www.policelink.com

    04/26/2007TV Station Does Story on Reid Seminar
    'The Reid Technique of Investigative Interviewing for Child Abuse Investigations'

    9-news in Syracuse NY reports how local police attend Reid training to step up their efforts to protect children after a music teacher was arraigned on charges of abusing half of the children at a local school.


    View Segment Here

    04/26/2007When a custodial suspect says, 'I don't want to give up any right, though, if I don't got no lawyer.' must the interrogator stop?
    In the case of State v. Gobert, the Texas Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's conclusion that this was an unequivocal invocation of the right to counsel:

    "At issue is Gobert's statement, "I don't want to give up any right, though, if I don't got no lawyer." The trial court concluded that this was an unequivocal invocation of the right to counsel during questioning. The court orally announced its findings and conclusions in the reporter's record:

    I just don't find anything that is unequivocal [sic] about the statement "I'm not going to waive any rights if I don't got no lawyer." I mean, I think that that's as unequivocal as I can imagine a statement being."
    Click here for the complete decision

    04/25/2007Subject Interview Sheets now available for Reid Institute Members
    As a member of the Reid Institute you can download a copy of our Subject Interview Sheet as often as you need to at no charge.
    Click Here

    04/21/2007Continued exhortations to tell the truth and references to religious beliefs do not render a confession inadmissible
    In the case of State v. Blank, the Supreme Court of Louisiana relied on the videotape of the interrogation to uphold the admissibility of a confession the defendant claimed was coerced as a result of the interrogators references to the defendant's deceased mother, appeals to his emotions and religious beliefs, as well as repeated exhortations to tell the truth. The court stated the following:

    While defendant's factual allegations are accurate, he does not show that any of the state's conduct coerced his admissions or rendered the confession involuntary. Our review of the videotapes and the verbatim transcript does not show the officers exercising any type of coercion which would at all indicate that this confession was involuntary. To the contrary, the vast majority of the interview was extremely benign on the part of the officers and Blank was treated very well throughout. In response to defendant's specific examples of coercive conduct, it is evident from the record that defendant did not request food during the interview, during which, notably, none of the interrogators stopped to eat a meal. Despite intermittent statements expressing fatigue and or physical discomfort, defendant never requested to terminate the interview. Moreover, for the most part, officers accommodated defendant when possible, providing him drinks, allowing him to use the restroom and heating the interrogation room. While at first the officers denied defendant's request to smoke, after he smoked a cigarette while he was alone in the bathroom, they continued to let him smoke, and he was allowed to smoke before he confessed to any crimes. As to the references to defendant's deceased mother, appeals to a defendant's emotions and/or religious beliefs typically do not render an ensuing confession involuntary. See e.g., Johnson v. Trigg, 28 F.3d 639, 644-45 (7th Cir.1994) (confession voluntary even though 14-year-old defendant of below average intelligence saw police arrest terminally ill mother before confessing); United States v. Miller, 984 F.2d 1029, 1031-32 (9th Cir.1993) (confession voluntary even though officer, a Mormon bishop, lectured to Mormon defendant that religious tenets required repentance and restitution for wrongdoing). This claim lacks merit.

    Defendant also claims that the officers' relentless exhortations that he tell the truth in conjunction with false suggestions indicating that they possessed forensic evidence of his guilt, illegally coerced the confession. Defendant claims that during the interrogation, officers used the word "truth" no less than 30 times, including several communications in which they urged that he answer their questions truthfully. Courts have routinely held that a mild exhortation to tell the truth, or a remark that if the defendant cooperates the officer will "do what he can" or "things will go easier," will not negate the voluntary nature of a confession. State v. Petterway, 403 So.2d 1157, 1159-60 (La.1981); State v. Magee, 93-0643, pp. 3-4 (La.App. 3d Cir.10/5/94), 643 So.2d 497, 499; State v. English, supra at 1364.

    In this case, although the officers repeatedly admonished defendant to tell the truth throughout the interrogation, they did not promise him anything in exchange for the confession except for the suggestion that he could clear his conscience. Notably, in State v. Lavalais, supra at 1053, this Court held that an officer's comments to the defendant that he would likely receive more favorable treatment if he confessed as opposed to failing a polygraph examination did not constitute inducements rendering the subsequent confession involuntary. See also State v. Rochester, 301 S.C. 196, 391 S.E.2d 244, 247 (1990) (advice to defendant from polygraph examiner that it would be "in his best interest to tell the truth" does not render ensuing statement inadmissible). In this situation, defendant fails to show the existence of coercion rendering the statement involuntary.
    Click here for the complete decision


    04/18/2007Offer to work with police in exchange for favorable recommendation to prosecutor upheld
    In the case of State v. Moore, the Washington Court of Appeals ruled that:

    "Here, the trial court found that the offer to Moore (to work with the police in exchange for a favorable recommendation to the prosecutor) was made post- Miranda, but not necessarily before or after the confession (which was also post- Miranda). A mere promise of leniency, without more, is not enough to invalidate a confession. State v. Riley, 19 Wn. App 289, 297-98, 576 P.2d 1311 (1978). At best, all that was promised here was a recommendation of leniency, which was offered in exchange for informant work, not for the confession. Because no evidence of coercion for a confession is in the record, the findings of fact support the conclusion that the offer did not invalidate Moore's confession.

    Moore also claims that her statements were not voluntary because there was a "display of a weapon." Appellant's Br. at 10. The State responds that no testimony indicated that weapons were drawn while the officers spoke with Moore post- Miranda. The mere fact that the officers were armed, as officers usually are, was not in itself coercive."

    Click here for the complete decision.

    Failure to allow 17 year old to call his mother nullifies confession

    In the case of People v. Westmorland, the Illinois Appellate court upheld the suppression of a 17 year old's confession, stating that:

    "There were, however, some quite unsettling aspects of the interrogation. The officers made no attempt to locate defendant's parents when they arrested him and also denied his two requests during the interview to speak to his mother. Defendant was "immature" for his age and "wide-eyed." With defendant already vulnerable from the complete denial of parental contact, Galason raised his voice during the interview and said, "I don't give a shit if you go to jail or not." This was the conduct that, in the trial court's words, "terrified" defendant. Under the totality of the circumstances, which encompass both defendant's individual psychological makeup as well as the officers' conduct, we agree with the trial court that defendant's will was overborne."
    Click here for the complete decision


    04/01/2007Reminder to Reid Institute Members - New Canadian Law Column, April 2007
    Available Reid Institute Members be sure to log on to the Members site and the Member's What's New column for "The level playing field": Admissible Inducement confession R.v. Spencer (2007) S.C.C.
    Click here to access the Members Log in page

    03/30/2007Court Clarifies an Ambiguous Request for an Attorney
    In the case Davis v. State, decided March 23, 2007 by the Texas Court of Appeals, the court examined the issue as to whether or not the defendant made an unambiguous request for an attorney during a custodial interrogation:

    "But, an officer need not stop his questioning unless the suspect's invocation of rights is unambiguous, and the officer is not required to clarify ambiguous remarks." Id. The suspect's comments must "clearly manifest his desire to remain silent." Mayes, 8 S.W.3d at 358. The totality of circumstances surrounding the interrogation and alleged invocation must illustrate that the suspect actually invoked his right. See Dinkins v. State, 894 S.W.2d 330, 351 (Tex.Crim.App.1995).

    The totality of circumstances surrounding the interrogation and Davis's alleged invocation of his right indicate that Davis never unambiguously invoked his rights to remain silent or terminate the interrogation. Davis's counsel all but conceded at the suppression hearing that Davis's initial "invocation" was ambiguous-i.e., that Davis " either was expressing to you that he did not want to talk any further or that he did not want to talk about a particular topic." (Emphasis added.) Moreover, Davis then immediately followed his assertion, "I really don't want to talk about it," with the statement, "I mean, I ain't the one that did it." Davis reinitiated any interrogation with his immediate denial of wrongdoing made less than a second after the alleged invocation of his right to terminate. By following an ambiguous invocation of his right to silence or to terminate the interview "with more speech, separated by little more than a breath, it is clear [he] resolved [his] dilemma; in short, [he] wanted to talk. Thus, we do not find this initial comment of appellant to be an unambiguous assertion of the right to remain silent."
    Click here for the complete case.

    03/30/2007The Value of Video Recording an Interrogation
    Here are three new cases that illustrate the value of recording an interrogation so that the court can effectively evaluate the claims made by a defendant on appeal:

    In State v. Blackwell, the Louisiana Court of Appeal found that:

    "After reviewing the record, we find no error in the trial court's denial of the defendant's motion to suppress his confession. Based upon Detective Brown's testimony and the detailed confession itself, we conclude that defendant's confession was freely and voluntarily made. The record and the evidence, particularly the videotaped statement, (emphasis added) reveal that the thrust of comments and questions by the detectives during the defendant's statement was that defendant would have an easier time if he told the truth. Rather than promises or inducements designed to extract a confession, these comments were "more likely musings not much beyond what this defendant might well have concluded for himself."

    "Therefore, we find the detectives' comments do not constitute illegal inducements sufficient to render defendant's confession involuntary. It is well settled that suggestions that a defendant would be better off by cooperating are not "promises or inducements designed to extract a confession." Additionally, a confession is not rendered inadmissible because officers "exhort or adjure" an accused to tell the truth, provided the exhortation is not accompanied by an inducement in the nature of a threat or which implies a promise of reward."

    "Although the detectives repeatedly advised the defendant that he could receive psychological help and/or treatment if he showed remorse for the offenses, they did not, in any way, promise or lead the defendant to believe that he would not be prosecuted and incarcerated for the crimes. Instead, the detectives merely advised the defendant that psychological help would be available to him and that they would even recommend he receive the help if he so desired. A statement by a law enforcement officer, prior to a confession, that cooperation would be communicated to possible prosecuting authorities, is not a sufficient inducement to render a subsequent confession inadmissible." Click here for the complete decision.

    In the case of Smith v. Texas, the Texas Court of Appeals when examining the issue of whether the defendant mad an unambiguous request to terminate the interrogation, found that:

    "Here, after a careful review of the videotaped statement, we agree with the State that appellant did not say, "I just want to end this and get something to eat because I'm hungry," or, "I'm going to stop this and go upstairs and get something to eat," but rather appellant stated, "Man. Whatever's gonna happen, cause I'm just ready to go up there and eat," and, "Could I go upstairs because I'm hungry?" Neither of these statements constitutes an unambiguous invocation of his right to end the interview. The statements indicate only that appellant was hungry and wanted to eat, not that he wanted to end the interrogation. We conclude, therefore, that appellant did not unambiguously invoke his right to end the interview, and Officer Anderson did not violate appellant's rights when she continued to question him. Click here for the complete decision.

    In the case Hudson v. Commonwealth, the Supreme Court of Kentucky examined this issue of what constituter's an implied promise of leniency and found that:

    "Regarding the "implied promises of leniency," Detective Shearer testified at the suppression hearing that neither he nor Detective Schoonover made any promises as to the crime with which Hudson would be charged, the sentence he would ultimately receive, or any leniency he might receive in the court system. And Hudson fails to identify any promise made-except for vague promises to get him help and to inform superiors in the police department and the Commonwealth's Attorney's office of his cooperation-or any threat made-except for a vague threat that the detectives would not accept a plea agreement if he did not confess. Naturally, the detectives were not ultimately responsible for whether Hudson received a favorable plea offer. But the record also shows attempts by the detectives to clarify for Hudson that the court system, not they, would determine the outcome of the case.

    In essence, Hudson points to no explicit promises of lenient treatment for his confession. He does point to the detectives mentioning in the interview several examples of killers being charged with crimes less than murder or being treated psychiatrically without being convicted. Apparently, as a result of hearing these examples, he alleges he "understood the police to tell him that if he confessed to the crime, he would be evaluated and most likely charged with manslaughter rather than murder." Even if the detective's discussion of these examples led Hudson to believe that he would be more likely to receive a lesser charge or sentence if he confessed, this did not render his statement involuntary" Click here for the complete decision

    03/18/2007New Reid On-Line Product
    To help investigators develop their interviewing and interrogation skills we have made all 5 of our audio training programs available on line (a $330 value) for an annual subscription fee of $65! With your one year subscription you will be able to listen to all of the programs (over 12 hours of training) as often as you like. You will also be able to view and print the Study Guides that accompany each of the five audio programs - 225 pages of valuable information.
    For more details on this fantastic new program or to order, click here.

    03/18/2007 Georgia Supreme Court finds testimony on false confession theory not reliable
    In the case of Crawford v State, the Georgia Court of Appeals held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to allow expert testimony on the false confession theory, "which is unreliable and has not reached a verifiable stage of scientific certainty."† In the report of this decision†it was noted that in the case of Riley v State, 278 Ga. 677, 681-683 (4) (604 SE2d 488) 2004 the Georgia Supreme Court has upheld a trial court's refusal to admit expert testimony on the false confession theory because the theory is not reliable.
    Click here for details.

    03/18/2007Court of Appeals attempts to clarify what constitutes an implied promise of leniency
    In the case of†State v Copley the Ohio†Court of Appeals ruled that the interrogator's statements to the†defendant that jail is not for everybody, that everybody deserves a second chance, and that counseling is a way for a person to get that second chance rise to the level of an implied promise of leniency.† However,the court found that when these statements were coupled with other factors they were insufficient to render the defendant's confession involuntary under the totality-of-circumstances test.
    Click here for†the complete decision.

    03/18/2007Trial Court's decision to refuse to allow defense expert to testify on the credibility of defendant's confession upheld
    In the case of Flowers v State the Supreme Court of Arkansas upheld the admissibility of the defendant's confession, even though he claimed an IQ of 57-62, and upheld the trial court's decision to refuse to allow the defense expert to testify that the defendant's IQ range precluded him from making a competent waiver of his Miranda rights.
    Click here for the complete case.

    03/18/2007US District Court upholds admissibility of incriminating statements†even though subterfuge was used as to the purpose of the interview
    In the case of US v Rosen the US District Court, E.D. Virginia found that the incriminating statements made by the defendants were admissible even though the investigators misrepresented the reason for the interview and even indicated at one point that the interviews†did not relate to a criminal investigation.† In their decision the court stated, "No Supreme Court or Fourth Circuit decision has ever suppressed a defendant's statements on the sole ground that false statements by law enforcement officers to the defendant rendered the statement involuntary. At most, courts consider police deception or trickery as one factor to consider in a totality of circumstances assessment of voluntariness."
    Click here for the complete case.

    03/09/2007Reminder to Reid Institute Members - New Canadian Law Column, March 2007 Available
    Reid Institute Members be sure to log on to the Members site and the Member's What's New column for False Reality - False Confessions R. v. Osmar (2007) (Ont. C.A.)
    Click here to access the Members Log in page

    03/01/2007New Seminar: Investigating Computer Facilitated Crimes Against Children
    The Internet has become the new schoolyard for child molesters seeking girls or boys to victimize. For 2007, Robert Hugh Farley presents an intensive training seminar that illustrates the growing problem of sexual predators that target children via the Internet and cell phones. The seminar will identify and then discuss the methodologies and seduction techniques employed by the child molester in the various chat rooms, social networking sites and on the World Wide Web. Additionally, the seminar examines the topics of child erotica, child pornography, and their use by the child molester. Lastly, the seminar presents interview and interrogation techniques that can be used specifically in child exploitation investigations involving the online predator or the preferential child molester.
    View More Details

    02/27/2007Does house arrest constitute custody for Miranda purposes?
    In the case U.S. v Cano, Slip Copy, 2007 WL 496704, W.D.N.C., 2007 the United States District Court, North Carolina ruled that house arrest with electronic monitoring is not per se "custody" in the context of Miranda. In their opinion they placed a great deal of reliance on United States v Conley "the seminal case in this Circuit" which had rejected the notion that an incarcerated person is "automatically always in 'custody' within the meaning of Miranda.
    Click here for the complete decision.

    02/26/2007What constitutes a promise of leniency?
    In a recent case, U.S. v Kasey, the US District Court D. Arizona examined the issue of what statements constitute a promise of leniency that would render a confession inadmissible. They found that such statements as:

    "You can help yourself out by telling the truth."

    "[T]his is probably going to be a 50-year-to-life-type count. You know you need to mitigate, try to help yourself out...."

    "And they'll give the benefit for standing up. Because that's the way the Federal system works for cooperation with the Government. That's the way it works. You get the benefits for doing that. It shows a truthfulness. Whether the truth hurts, you get a benefit for the truth, and the truth can hurt. It's not fun talking about this kind of stuff."

    "You just need to make a decision if you want to do something like that to explain to the world why this went down. But it's up to you. I mean, this is to help you. It's not going to help me, I don't need the help."

    "They're young like you are. They are trying to do whatever they can to rectify a bad situation and make it in their best interest, and I would do the same thing".

    "There's just a huge amount of evidence and when we work with the Apache Detectives and us, that's the kind of cases we put together. And they're very thorough, very solid. So you're young, you need to do something that's going to help you out."

    The court stated, "A promise only vitiates consent if it is "sufficiently compelling to overbear the suspect's will in light of all attendant circumstances." Id. at 1366. Reciting possible penalties or sentences does not render a statement involuntary. United States v. Haswood, 350 F.3d 1024, 1029 (9th Cir.2003).

    Here, the agents told Defendant that she could help herself by telling her version of the events. There is nothing in the interview transcript to indicate that the agents said or did anything to overbear Defendant's will. Merely stating that Defendant should "help herself by telling her story" is not sufficiently compelling to overbearing her will by offers of leniency. Furthermore, Defendant states that she confessed to prevent others, who had nothing to do with the murders, from being charged. At no point in the interview did Defendant indicate that she confessed because the agents promised leniency or that her confession was in exchange for a lighter sentence. Nor do the agents state that they are offering Defendant a lesser sentence in exchange for her confession. Finally, the agents' recital of possible prison sentences does not render Defendant's statement involuntary."
    Click here for the complete decision

    02/18/2007Supreme Court of California Upholds the Baiting Technique
    In People v. Smith, the interrogating officers administered to the defendant a "Neutron Proton Negligence Intelligence Test" that pruportedly showed that the defendant had recently fired a gun. On appeal the defendant claimed that this was a coercive tactic. In the California Supreme Court's opinion they stated, "Police deception "does not necessarily invalidate an incriminating statement." ( People v. Maury (2003) 30 Cal.4th 342, 411, 133 Cal.Rptr.2d 561, 68 P.3d 1.) Courts have repeatedly found proper interrogation tactics far more intimidating and deceptive than those employed in this case. (See, e.g., Frazier v. Cupp (1969) 394 U.S. 731, 739, 89 S.Ct. 1420, 22 L.Ed.2d 684 [officer falsely told the suspect his accomplice had been captured and confessed]; People v. Jones (1998) 17 Cal.4th 279, 299, 70 Cal.Rptr.2d 793, 949 P.2d 890 [officer implied he could prove more than he actually could]; People v. Thompson (1990) 50 Cal.3d 134, 167, 266 Cal.Rptr. 309, 785 P.2d 857 [officers repeatedly lied, insisting they had evidence linking the suspect to a homicide]; In re Walker (1974) 10 Cal.3d 764, 777, 112 Cal.Rptr. 177, 518 P.2d 1129 [wounded suspect told he might die before he reached the hospital, so he should talk while he still had the chance]; People v. Watkins (1970) 6 Cal.App.3d 119, 124-125, 85 Cal.Rptr. 621 [officer told suspect his fingerprints had been found on the getaway car, although no prints had been obtained]; and Amaya-Ruiz v. Stewart (9th Cir.1997) 121 F.3d 486, 495 [suspect falsely told he had been identified by an eyewitness].) Indeed, at least one Court of Appeal has approved of the particular practice used in this case. ( People v. Parrison (1992) 137 Cal.App.3d 529, 537, 187 Cal.Rptr. 123 [police falsely told suspect a gun residue test produced a positive result].)

    After examining the circumstances surrounding the "Neutron Proton Negligence Intelligence Test," it does not appear that the tactic was so coercive that it tended to produce a statement that was involuntary or unreliable.
    Click here for the complete decision.

    02/18/2007Court Dismisses Claim that Confession Should have been Suppressed
    In reaching their decision to deny the motion to suppress the defendant's confession in the case US†v Jourdain, the court outlines acceptable interrogator behavior.† In their decision they state, "As our Court of Appeals has recognized:

    To state the obvious, ìinterrogation of a suspect will involve some pressure because its purpose is to elicit a confession.î [ United States v. Astello, 241 F.3d 965, 967 (8th Cir.2001), cert. denied, 533 U.S. 962 (2001) ]. ì[T]he fact that the tactics produced the intended result * * * does not make a confession involuntary.î Id. at 968. In other words, ëthere is nothing inherently wrong with efforts to create a favorable climate for confession.î United States v. LeBrun, 306 F.3d 545, 555 (8th Cir.2002)(internal citations omitted. ì ë[Q]uestioning tactics such as a raised voice, deception, or a sympathetic attitude will not render a confession involuntary unless the overall impact of the interrogation caused the defendant's will to be overborne.í ì Astello, 241 F.3d at 967 (quoting Jenner v. Smith, 982 F.2d 329, 334 (8th Cir.1993)). Nor will a promise of leniency, an ìexpressed disbelief in the statements of a suspect * * *, or lie[s] to the accused about the evidence against himî necessarily render a confession involuntary. Wilson v. Lawrence County, 260 F.3d 946, 953 (8th Cir.2001) (internal citations omitted). Rather, the coercive conduct must be ìsuch that the defendant's will was overborne and his capacity for self determination critically impaired.î Astello, 241 F.3d at 967 (internal citations omitted).

    As was true with Kelly's statements in Graves' vehicle, we find no responsible basis upon which to conclude that the Defendant's will was overborne by the questioning techniques that were employed by Peterson, or because of any of Kelly's individual characteristics."
    Click here for the complete case

    02/15/2007US District Court Upholds Confession of 16 year old Questioned Without Parent of Guardian Present
    In the case of Woodham v Wilson and Hood, the US District Court, S.D. Mississippi found that a 16 year old's confession was admissible even though he was interrogated without a parent or guardian present. The court said that "Woodham contends the trial court should have excluded his two confessions because of his young age (sixteen) at the time they were made and because he had no guardian or attorney present. The state supreme court rejected this claim, holding that the proper analysis was of the "totality of the circumstances," and that in view of those circumstances, his confessions were admissible."
    Click here for the complete decision

    02/01/2007Reid Certification Examination Available on Line
    We are very pleased to announce that effective February 1, 2007 the Reid Certification examination is available on-line. Please review the qualifications for certification click here - if you qualify please complete the application for the examination click here.

    In a survey of Police Chiefs and Corporate Security Directors they overwhelmingly indicated that they would be more inclined to hire and promote an individual who was Certified in The Reid Technique.

    01/27/2007Reminder to Reid Institute Members - New Canadian Law Column, February 2007 Available
    Reid Institute Members be sure to log on to the Members site and the Member's What's New column for the Part 2:

    The "conditional" confession: Is consent needed to videotape an interrogation?
    Click here to access the Members Log in page

    01/25/2007Kentucky Court of Appeals find confession could have been coerced
    In the case of Edmonds v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, January 2007, the trial court found the defendant's confession to be admissible; the Court of Appeals vacated the court's denial of the defendant's motion to suppress and remanded the case for further consideration. In their opinion they stated, in part:

    "In its order denying the suppression motion, the trial court agreed that the allegations of Edmonds against Cain, if true, were inexcusable, but went on to conclude that "the Court does not feel that it is necessary for purposes of this pending Motion to attempt to resolve the disputed testimony or to make Findings of Fact regarding what happened during this first interrogation by Cain." The court found that the lapse of 24 hours between the first and second interviews, the fact that the second interview was conducted in a different location, and the fact that Edmonds was given Miranda warnings before the second interview along with the court's finding that his rights had been "scrupulously honored" by Brand and Noel, served to dispel any taint arising from any alleged improprieties in the first interview.

    We disagree. We believe that if the events did, in fact, occur as alleged by Edmonds, it would be grounds for suppressing the confession because the threat of death or sodomy still exists at least as long as the defendant is in custody. See Henson, 20 S.W.3d at 469-70 (indicating "offensive practices or oppressive conduct by the police officer" and physical abuse would be considered coercive police activity); Arizona v. Fulminante, 111 S.Ct. at 1253 (credible threat of becoming victim of physical violence in prison sufficient to find confession product of coercion). See also, Hager v. Commonwealth, 300 Ky. 585, 189 S.W.2d 867 (1945)(confession inadmissible where there was evidence that police officers used violence in obtaining confession). Accordingly, we conclude it is necessary to remand to the trial court for findings of fact as to what occurred during the interrogation by Detective Cain on November 27, 2004, and application of the law thereto.

    For the aforementioned reasons, the order of the Fayette Circuit Court denying Edmonds' motion to suppress is vacated, and the case remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


    Click here for the complete opinion.

    01/20/2007Reminder to Reid Institute Members - New Canadian Law Column, January 2007 Available
    Reid Institute Members be sure to log on to the Members site and the Member's What's New column for the latest Canadian column:

    I.The "growing phenomena"
    R. v. Oickle and derivative case law have made videotaping the preferred type of "interrogation record" but Oickle did not specify:
    1. whether the accused has to consent to videotaping, or
    2. what to do if the accused agrees to give a conditional statement, where the accused refuses to be videotaped but agrees to give a written statement.


    Electronically recording an interrogation constitutes a seizure. The seizure of all evidence requires a law that authorizes the search for and/or seizure. The three general authorities are: (i) consent; (ii) without a warrant, or; (iii) with a warrant. Canadian case law explains the evidentiary significance of videotaping in relation to proving voluntariness but it does not specifically state whether the same case law acts as a search/seizure authority. Case law creates a rebuttable presumption of involuntariness - an unrecorded confession is presumed to be involuntary - but the question is, "Does the same case law act as the authority to seize the evidence without a warrant and without the accused's consent?" In other words, does a rebuttable presumption serve a dual-purpose of also authorizing the seizure of the videotape without the accused's consent?
    Click here to access the Members Log in page

    12/25/2006Reid Offers New Seminar: Investigating Use of Force Cases for Field Supervisors
    We are pleased to announce that Chief Charles Gruber will be conducting a new training seminar entitled "Investigating Use of Force Cases for Field Supervisors". for John E. Reid and Associates. This training seminar will focus on how to effectively and efficiently investigate use of force cases and how to avoid common pitfalls in police practices, including tactical and training issues leading to pattern and practice claims and civil rights investigations.

    Chief Gruber is past president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. Chief Gruber is currently retained by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to investigate alleged pattern & Practice abuses in several police departments. Click Here for additional details on this seminar.

    If you would like to sponsor this seminar for your department, click here.

    12/22/2006APPELLATE COURT UPHOLDS SUPPRESSION OF JUVENILE CONFESSION
    In the case of State v. Westmorland No. 2-05-1093 Dec. 14, 2006 the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, upheld the trial court's decision to suppress a 17 year old defendant's condition, focusing on the officers failure to afford the defendant any "concerned adult" protections. Here is an excerpt from their decision:

    "The aspect of the interrogation that we find most significant is the total failure by the police to afford defendant any of the "concerned adult" protections explained above. The detectives made no attempt to locate defendant's parents before or during the interview nor did they afford him the assistance of a juvenile officer. They also refused defendant's two requests during the interview to speak with his mother.

    Here, the police refused defendant's two requests to contact his mother and made no effort themselves to contact defendant's parents before or during the interview. As in Knox, there was no juvenile officer present during the interview to offset the absence of a parent. We recognize that defendant was given Miranda warnings and did not receive any promises or threats. The same, however, was true of the respondent in V.L.T. and the defendant in Knox, but in neither case did this fact override the coercion that the court found in the remaining circumstances. Likewise, the provision of Miranda warnings and the absence of promises or overt threats did not ameliorate the pressure brought to bear on defendant, a 17-year-old who was "immature" for his age and became "terrified" while in custody when his two specific requests to contact a parent were refused and when Galason raised his voice to him and said, "I don't give a shit if you go to jail or not." If section 5-405(2) of the Act and the parallel common-law protections are to have real force, we cannot countenance the police action in this case but must find that defendant's confession was involuntary."
    Click here for full decision

    12/21/2006COURT UPHOLDS ADMISSIBILITY OF CONFESSION IN WHICH DETECTIVES FOCUSED ON DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ACCIDENTAL AND INTENTIONAL KILLING
    In the case Bramley v. State No. 80A05-0602-CR-74 Dec. 12, 2006 the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the admissibility of the defendant's confession. In their opinion the court stated:

    "The voluntariness of a statement is determined by examining the totality of the circumstances surrounding the interrogation. Clark, 808 N.E.2d at 1191. Relevant factors include the length, location, and continuity of the interrogation, and the maturity, education, physical condition, and mental health of the defendant. Id. In making its determination, the trial court weighs the evidence to ensure that a confession was not obtained "through inducement, violence, threats or other improper influences so as to overcome the free will of the accused." Ellis v. State, 707 N.E.2d 797, 801 (Ind.1999). A confession is inadmissible if it is obtained by promises of mitigation or immunity, but vague and indefinite statements by the police that it would be in a defendant's best interest if he cooperated do not render a subsequent confession inadmissible. Clark, 808 N.E.2d at 1191; Turpin v. State, 400 N.E.2d 1119, 1121 (Ind.1980) (holding that police officers' vague statements that they would "[see] what they could do" for the accused did not render the confession inadmissible). Where a promise of leniency stems from a defendant's specific request for leniency as a precondition for making a statement, the voluntariness of the statement is not induced by misconduct. Bivins v. State, 642 N.E.2d 928, 940-41 (Ind.1994).

    Bramley directs us to three statements that the detectives made that he contends amount to promises of leniency and threats and render his confession involuntary. First, Bramley directs us to an analogy Detective Jowitt used while transporting him to the Hamilton Count Jail. Detective Jowitt told Bramley that there were three suspects and only one apple and that "[o]ne person generally gets to eat the whole apple." Appellant's App. p. 480. Detective Jowitt testified at trial that the apple in the analogy represented a plea deal a defendant could get if he cooperated with the police before the other suspects did. Tr. p. 75-77, 93-94.

    Bramley next directs us a statement Detective Jowitt made during the interrogation:

    And you don't want other people giving accounts of Michael Shane Bramley because you don't know what they're saying and you don't know ∑∑∑ like I said you don't know the spin that they're putting on it. The spin can be real important. Ok? ëCause that can be the difference between Michael Shane Bramley is ∑∑∑ a cold hearted ruthless, dangerous, psychopathic, you know yada, yada, yada, or just hey, something happened up there and it didn't really go down like it was supposed to and there was ∑∑∑ a problem or there was a mistake or there was an accident or it didn't happen quite the way it maybe appeared just by looking at the surface facts of it, okay?



    *4 Appellant's App. p. 362-63.Finally, Bramley highlights statements that the detectives made that he claims implied that he would receive a lesser sentence if he testified that Moody's death was an accident. Typical examples of the detectives' statements are: "I sure wouldn't want to be put in the situation where someone else is putting stuff down on me that wasn't quite the way it happened," id. at 363, and "[the difference between intentional murder and an accident] is just different. Worse thing in the world [is intentional murder]," id . at 377. The detectives focused on the differences between an accidental and an intentional killing and emphasized the benefits that a suspect could reap if he tells his side of the story because the other suspects cannot adversely fill in the "gray parts" of the crime:

    Detective Jowitt: You hear people getting X sentence for this and Y sentence for exactly the same thing and there can be huge differences and it's cause of the gray parts∑∑∑∑ It can make a huge difference∑∑∑∑ Could matter to the prosecutor [and it could matter to the court].FN5

    FN5. Bramley claims that the phrase "and it could matter to the court" can be heard on the interrogation audiotape, State's Ex. 2, but that it was not transcribed in the interrogation record. The State does not dispute this claim.

    Id. at 381, 389.

    The heart of Bramley's argument is that he "took the apple but received no leniency." Appellant's Br. p. 18. After reviewing the record, we find that Bramley played the "prisoner's dilemma" FN6 game and lost. The classic dilemma is described as follows:

    FN6. The term "prisoner's dilemma" is generally attributed to the Princeton Mathematics Professor and RAND Corporation consultant Albert Tucker. Tucker coined the term to describe the game created in 1950 by two other RAND Corporation consultants, Merrill Flood and Melvin Dresher, and posed a challenge to traditional game theory. Russell L. Christopher, The Prosecutor's Dilemma: Bargains and Punishments, 72 Fordham L.Rev. 93, 168 n. 25 (2003).

    Two prisoners, unable to confer with one another, must decide whether to take the prosecutor's offer: confess, inculpate the other, and serve a year in jail, or keep silent and serve five years. If the prisoners could make a (binding) bargain with each other, they would keep silent and both would go free. But they can't communicate, and each fears that the other will talk. So both confess.

    Page v. United States, 884 F.2d 300, 301 (7th Cir.1989).

    Here, there were two other suspects in Moody's murder and Detective Jowitt tried to explain to Bramley, by using the apple analogy and the "grey parts" comment, that the other two suspects could wrongly implicate Bramley if he did not tell the truth about his role in the crime. While Bramley may have lost the prisoner's dilemma game, Detective Jowitt's comments do not rise to the level of specific promises of leniency or threats that have previously been held to render a confession involuntary. See 2 Wayne LaFave et al., Criminal Procedure ß 6.2(c) at 453-54 (2d ed.1999) (nationwide examples of threats or specific promises that have rendered a confession involuntary include a threat to take a defendant's wife into custody; a threat that defendant could lose her welfare payments and custody of her children; a promise of nonprosecution; a promise to drop some of the charges; a promise of medical treatment; and a promise of a certain reduction in the punishment the defendant may receive); see also Pierce v. State, 761 N.E.2d 821, 824 (Ind.2002) (noting that police statements that express a desire that the suspect cooperate and explain the crimes and penalties that are possible consequences are not specific enough to constitute either promises or threats). Because Detective Jowitt's comments do not rise to the level of threats or specific promises, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted Bramley's confession into evidence


    Click for full decision

    12/20/2006THE VALUE OF RECORDING INTERROGATIONS
    We have added several cases that illustrate the value of recording interrogations.


    Click to view the cases

    12/20/2006DOES AN INMATE HAVE TO BE ADVISED OF THEIR MIRANDA RIGHTS?
    At our training seminars we are often asked if an inmate has to be advised of their Miranda rights if they are being questions about a commission of a crime. Several years ago the court in Commonwealth v. Larkin 429 Mass. 426, 708 N.E. 2d 674 (1999) found that when certain conditions are met prisoners are not required to be advised of their Miranda rights. In upholding the incriminating statements, the court found that the inmate was "not in control of the troopers who were interrogating him." Some of the factors the court considered in reaching this conclusion were: The interview addressed an issue unrelated to the one for which the inmate was incarcerated; the interview was conducted in a room normally used for attorney conferences an not in the inmate's cell; the inmate was told that the interview was voluntary and signed a statement consenting to be voluntarily interviewed; and, the inmate was clearly told that he could end the interview at any time by simply signaling the guard outside the door. Most recently in a case decided November 30, 2006 the District of Columbia Court of Appeals reached the same conclusion. In the case of Lindsey v. US Nos. 99-CF-1295, 99-CF-1670, 03-CO-1283 and 03-CO-1286 the court that "as a matter of first impression, first defendant, who was a prisoner when he confessed to killing the victim, was not in custody for Miranda purposes at time of confession.

    In their opinion the court said:

    "When a suspect is incarcerated on other charges at the time of interrogation, the Miranda "in custody" analysis is somewhat different from the classic interrogation of the suspect at the police station. Although we have recognized that there is a question about whether an inmate is " 'in custody' for Miranda purposes merely because of his status as a prisoner," Smith v. United States, 586 A.2d 684, 685 (D.C.1991), we have never decided this issue.

    Lindsey argues that Mathis v. United States, 391 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1503, 20 L.Ed.2d 381 (1968), established that prisoners are always considered in custody under Miranda, and that Mathis thus controls the outcome of this appeal. We do not agree. In Mathis, the Supreme Court rejected the government's argument that Miranda applies "only to questioning one who is 'in custody' in connection with the very case under investigation." Id. at 4 (emphasis added). The Court found "nothing in the Miranda opinion which calls for a curtailment of the warnings to be given [to] persons under interrogation by officers based on the reason why the person is in custody." Id. at 4-5. This holding falls short of establishing that Miranda warnings must be given every time a prisoner is questioned regarding an ongoing criminal investigation or that a prisoner is per se in custody for Miranda purposes.

    In fact, the interpretation of Mathis espoused by Lindsey in this case has been repeatedly rejected by other state and federal courts. For example, in Cervantes v. Walker, 589 F.2d 424 (9th Cir.1978), the Ninth Circuit held:

    In the prison situation, [custody] necessarily implies a change in the surroundings of the prisoner which results in an added imposition on his freedom of movement. Thus, restriction is a relative concept, one not determined exclusively by lack of freedom to leave. Rather, we look to some act which places further limitations on the prisoner.

    *5 Id. at 428. In so holding, Cervantes identified four factors that are relevant to the determination of whether a prisoner is "in custody" for Miranda purposes: "[1] the language used to summon the individual, [2] the physical surroundings of the interrogation, [3] the extent to which he is confronted with evidence of his guilt, and [4] the additional pressure exerted to detain him." Id. at 428. Most jurisdictions that have considered this issue have adopted standards similar to the one established in Cervantes. FN3 Because we find the rationale of Cervantes and its progeny to be persuasive and the factors considered by those courts to be significant in determining whether an inmate being questioned is in custody for Miranda purposes, we now apply them to the facts of this case.

    Application of the Cervantes factors to this case leads us to conclude that Lindsey was not in custody at the time of his prison confession. With respect to the first factor-the words used to summon him-Lindsey was paged to the administration building, told that he had visitors and was led by a prison employee to the conference room where Heara and Brigidini were waiting. The prison employee then left the area. Thus, the record shows that Lindsey was summoned to the meeting in the same way that all inmates are called to meet with visitors, and, therefore, there was nothing unusual that occurred in this case from which we could conclude that he was subjected to any greater restraint on his movement than any other inmate.

    With respect to the second factor, the physical surroundings of the interrogation, the interview took place in a minimum security prison where Lindsey was free to move around with almost no restrictions. He was permitted to leave the facility daily for a work release program. The conference room where the interview took place had a window that faced outside, a long table with several chairs and the door to the room was left unlocked. Importantly, the agents instructed Lindsey that he was not under arrest, and that he did not have to speak with them. And the trial court made a specific factual finding that he was free to leave the interrogation at any time.

    The third factor is the extent to which Lindsey was confronted with evidence of his guilt. The agents explained that they were visiting him regarding Johnson's murder and provided him with a detailed recounting of the events before, during and after the murder, including Gayles' involvement and the motive for the murder. While they told him that it would be better if he cooperated, there was no discussion about his having an obligation to cooperate.

    The fourth factor we consider is whether there was any additional pressure used to detain Lindsey or whether more restrictions were put upon him. The record shows there was no such effort, nor any "change in the surroundings ∑∑∑ which result[ed] in an added imposition on his freedom of movement." Cervantes, supra, 589 F.2d at 428. Not only was he not shackled or restrained in any way, no physical force whatsoever was used to get him to speak with the agents, nor to prevent him from terminating the interview and leaving the conference room. Thus, there is no reason to conclude that he perceived that he was in custody or that he was not free to leave if he wished, nor that any reasonable person in his position would have perceived that he was not free to leave.

    *6 Based on these factors, we are satisfied that there was no greater restriction placed on Lindsey's freedom of movement as a result of his interview than was normal under the circumstances of his incarceration and therefore, for purposes of Miranda, he was not in custody. Thus, the officers were not required to give him the Miranda warnings, and the trial court did not err in finding that his statement was admissible on these grounds."
    Click here for the complete decision.

    12/19/2006Reminder to Reid Institute Members - New Canadian Law Column, Dec. 2006 Available

    Oickle Derivative: Language Barrier R. v. Poon and Wong (2006) B.C.S.C.
    by Gino Arcaro B. Sc., M.Ed.

    I. Introduction
    The circumstances that can arise during an interrogation are limitless. It is impossible to list or predict every situation that can occur. Interrogations often include a blatant persuasion that influences the accused's decision to confess during a period of several hours. The question is whether the persuasion and the length of the interrogation are: (a) inducements, and (b) if so, do they automatically render the confession involuntary.

    In reality, countless factors affect the instruction, invoking, and exercising of both right to counsel (RTC) and right to remain silent. One issue is comprehension of the English language. Another involves the countless circumstances of an investigation that may delay providing the accused an opportunity to call a lawyer. All delays must be justified. RTC delays are justified only if the delay constitutes "exceptional circumstances. There is no concrete definition of "exceptional circumstances," concrete reasons must be explained. A delay that does not constitute "exceptional circumstances" constitutes a sec. 10(b) Charter violation but there has to be a connection between the Charter violation and a confession. The question is, "What constitutes a connection?" Is every RTC violation automatically connected to a subsequent confession?

    This lengthy, complex judgment by the British Columbia Supreme Court in R. v. Poon and Wong represents outstanding learning material because it includes an extensive case law review of the relevant rules of evidence pertaining to the admissibility of confessions. Additionally, it explains an Oickle derivative, a Hebert right to silence derivative, and a RTC derivative. <
    Member Site

    11/07/2006US Federal Agency Validates Effectiveness of CEA
    A US Federal Agency had 583 individuals complete the Computer Employment Application (CEA) - the CEA is an interactive software program that interviews job applicants. They compared the results of the CEA with complete background investigations and reported that "this data represents a 99% statistical validation against the NNSA clearance population of 40,000 clearances."
    Click here for details

    11/07/2006Results of 100 Consecutive Police Applicants from the CEA
    The CEA is a software program that utilizes the interviewing expertise of John E. Reid and Associates to interview job applicants. Here are the results from 100 recent police applicants who completed the CEA.
    click here

    10/24/20062007 Schedule
    We have posted our 2007 training schedule for our courses on The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation and the Advanced course.


    Click here for the 2007 schedule

    10/23/2006List of Terrorist Organizations
    The U.S. Department of State has compiled an extensive list of dozens of terrorist organizations. The compendium lists for each organization a description of the group; their activities; their location and area of operation
    Click here to access the complete list.

    10/23/2006US Federal Agency Validates Effectiveness of CEA
    The Computer Employment Application (CEA) is an interactive software program that interviews job applicants. It is not a static list of questions but responds individually to the specific answers that each applicant provides (click here for details)].

    A US federal agency recently tested the CEA on nearly 600 subjects to see if the CEA developed as much quality information as a complete background investigation. The results were very impressive. As the report states, "Of all the cases reviewed, there were not any applicants that would have received interim access (i.e., successful completion of the CEA) who did not eventually receive Q access." Per this US federal agency, "this data represents a 99% statistical validation against the NNSA clearance population of 40,000 clearances." We have developed a CEA program for law enforcement; for government; and for the private sector.
    Click here for details (this is a flyer re the police version)

    08/23/2006California Court of Appeal Finds Confession Involuntary
    In the case of People v. Fuentes, the Court of Appeal, Second District, California found the defendant's confession to be inadmissible because improper promises and threats were made during the interview, both express and implied, which rendered the confession involuntary as the product of coercive police activity. From the Apeal Court's decision:
    "In making this argument, defendant focuses on exhortations that even good people can do bad things while intoxicated and that defendant's not being in his ìright state of mindî when the incident happened would ìhelpî him. In addition, defendant was told that not confronting the situation would be ìworseî for him, if defendant lied the case would go ìvery, very badî for him, and if defendant kept quiet he could be charged ìfor something more serious, very ugly.î Conversely, if a person tells the truth ìit goes much better for themî and ìthe charges are lowered - a little.î Finally, at least one and one-half hours after the interview started, defendant was given the alternative of spending either ìthe rest of [his] lifeî or ìfive or six yearsî in jail. He then confessed. In addressing the issue of voluntariness, the trial court concluded that under the totality of the circumstances the ìlatitudeî taken by the police in questioning defendant was permissible. Based on our independent review of this legal issue, we reach the opposite conclusion (and therefore do not need to analyze the separate issue of defendant's Miranda waiver)."

    Click here for the complete decision

    08/23/2006Court Finds Statement to Suspect "That all information would stay 'confidential' because a juvenile was involved" (as the victim) was not conduct which 'shocks the conscience.'
    A Maine man claimed that a state police detective violated his constitutional right to substantive due process by engaging in conduct that would "shock the conscience" while questioning him about the suspected sexual abuse of a ten-year-old child. A federal appeals court has upheld a determination that the detective's conduct in the interrogation was not conduct that would shock the conscience, so that the detective was entitled to summary judgment.

    The detective set up a tape-recorded, non-custodial interview with the man after speaking to a boy who claimed that the man sexually abused him. The interview indicates that the detective was aware of the man's past criminal history, and that the suspect acknowledged to the detective that he had been placed in an intensive therapy program because of his sexual behavior. The detective told the suspect that "this stuff stays confidential, especially because a juvenile is involved." Later during the interview, the suspect admitted to having sexual contact with the child.
    Click here for the complete decision

    08/23/2006US District Court Dismisses Petitioner's Claim that Interrogation was Coercive (Dr. Ofshe was the expert witness for Petitioner)
    In the case of Harold Wayne Nichols, Petitioner v. Ricky Bell, Warden, Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, Respondent, the United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee rejected the Petitioner's claim that "trial counsel failed to properly debrief him to find evidence of coercion," and that "the coercive nature of the interrogation process was demonstrated through the testimony Dr. Richard Ofshe..."
    Click here for details

    08/23/2006Trial Court Decision to Exclude Dr. Richard Ofshe's Testimony Upheld on Appeal
    In the case of Staye v. Angel Torres, July 2006, the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga County rejected Torres claim "that the trial court erred by excluding the testimony of interrogation expert, Dr. Richard Ofshe. The trial court excluded Dr. Ofshe's testimony based on the fact his opinion was irrelevant to the facts of the case. We agree. Dr. Ofshe specializes in determining the voluntariness of a confession. However, in the instant case, Torres did not claim his confession was involuntary, but claims he never gave a confession and that the detective fabricated his confession. Therefore, Dr. Ofshe's testimony as to whether the confession was voluntary was irrelevant. In fact, Dr. Ofshe even stated he had never previously testified whether a confession was fabricated by a detective."
    Click here for the complete decision.

    08/23/2006Court Rejects Dr. Ofshe Opinion
    In the case of People v. Ladell Deangelo Brown, the Court of Appeal, Third District, California affirmed the conviction of Brown who had admitted that he had shot the victim, Victor Jones. At trial Dr. Richard Ofshe "testified about research showing that modern interrogation techniques lead to false confessions. Ofshe opined that Overall [the investigating officer] induced defendant to admit he shot Victor accidentally or in self-defense by leading defendant to believe he would receive leniency. He noted that Overall never told defendant he remained subject to serious criminal liability under the felony-murder rule. Citing the totality of the circumstances, the court ruled that defendant's admissions were voluntary and denied the motion to suppress."
    Click here for the complete decision.

    08/23/2006Military Court Supports Reid Technique
    In the case of United States v. Senior Airman John S. Freeman, United States Air Force, the U.S. Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction of Freeman for "one specification of false official statement and one specification of assault with a means or force likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm." In reviewing the investigator's interrogation techniques (which he had identified as The Reid Technique) which elicited an incriminating statement from Freeman, the Court found that "We find no basis to conclude that the AFOSI overbore the appellant's will in eliciting the incriminating statement. Despite the fact that the interrogation was relatively lengthy, we conclude the circumstances do not evidence coercion within the meaning of Mil. R. Evid. 304. Additionally, none of the trickery which the agents employed appears to have been calculated to produce a false confession; rather, it is generally consistent with standard police practices."
    Click here for the complete decision.

    05/18/2006REID PROGRAMS NOW AVAILABLE ON DVD
    We are pleased to announce that three of our training videos are now available on DVD - the new format makes navigation quick and easy. The three programs available on DVD are:
    • The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation
    • Hiring the Best: Verifying the Employment Application
    • Hiring the Best: Interviewing for Integrity

    Click Here for details

    05/11/2006Certification in The Reid Technique Enhances Career Opportunities
    In a survey of Police Chiefs and Corporate Security Directors (updated 5/10/06) they overwhelmingly indicated that they would be more inclined to hire and promote an individual who was Certified in The Reid Technique.
    Click here for the complete survey

    05/08/2006New Book now Available:
    One of our Senior Instructors, David Buckley, has written a book which details the interviewing and interrogation techniques that will serve to improve every investigator's success in resolving child abuse investigations.

    Part One consists of eight extensive interviews of convicted male and female child abuse offenders. These interviews will provide investigators with a unique insight into the mind of the offender. Offenders explain in detail how they selected, groomed and isolated their victims, justified their abusive behavior and the tactics they used to manipulate their victims and their caregivers.

    Part Two will discuss the common behavior patterns and characteristics of child abuse offenders and how interviewers can use this information to develop proper interview questions and interrogation strategies.
    Click here for details

    05/01/2006Canadian Law May Column - The Oickle Derivatives - Part 2
    "Overbearing" Interrogation and Temporary Disclosure ñ R. v. Fattah (2006)[1]

    An interrogation has two goals: (i) prevent a Charter violation and (ii) prevent involuntariness. Strategic planning must focus on the common element of prevention. However, the challenges that may surface are endless and statutory law usually provides no concrete rules that govern best practices. For example, the Charter imposes two institutional duties that are mobilized when an arrest is made: (i) reason (ii) right to counsel (RTC). Section (a) and (b) Charter impose those two instructional duties but the abstract language does not include concrete implementation strategies or best practices.
    Click here for the complete column

    05/01/2006Canadian Law May Column - The Oickle Derivatives - Part 3
    Recommendations for Post 9/11 Border Interrogations ñ R. v. Panton (2005)

    The events of September 11, 2001, changed border security. The post-9/11 era coincides with the post-Oickle era. An Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision in R. v. Panton (2005) applied Oickle concepts to a post-9/11 border interrogation, resulting in Oickle derivative rules that represent recommended "updates" to border interrogation procedures. The primary issue in the Panton case is the relationship between "recording" an interrogation (electronically or in writing) and voluntariness of a confession.
    Click here for the complete column

    04/01/2006Distinguishing Between True and False Confessions
    One of the Chapters in our book, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, is entitled "Distinguishing Between True and False Confessions". In an effort to make this information available to all interested parties we have extracted that chapter as a pdf file that you can download and print for immediate reference.
    Click here to access Chapter 15, Distinguishing Between True and False Confessions.

    04/01/2006Canadian Law April Column - The Oickle Derivatives - Part 1
    The full effect of the Supreme Court of Canada transformational decisions in R. v. Oickle (2000)[1] will not be realized for several more years. However, their influence on interrogation practices, since 2000 has been dramatic in both volume and nature of decisions where Oickle concepts have been applied. There is a need for an extensive review of how the landmark S.C.C. case has, and currently is, being applied with respect to interrogations. The myriad decisions emerging from Oickle will be referred to as ìOickle derivatives.î This is the first part is a series that researches and reviews the Oickle derivatives for the purpose of identifying best practices.
    Click here for the complete column

    03/10/2006Research Suggests False Confessions are Extremely Rare
    In a recent publication (2005) one author reported the following: "However, using national estimates of interrogations, arrests, convictions, and error rates of wrongful convictions resulting from false confessions range from a low 10 (.001% of all convictions) to a high of 840 (.04% of all convictions) per year."

    In other words, while some critics of police interrogation practices suggest that convictions based on false confessions is a common phenomena, research would suggest that 99.6% of convictions involving confessions are true and correct.
    Click here for the complete article -"What Do We Know About Interrogation in the United States?" by J.P. Blair, University of Texas at San Antonio.

    03/01/2006Study of False Confession Cases Confirms Reid Position
    False confessions are a rare phenomena, but they have occurred. One of the interrogation techniques that the United States Supreme Court has sanctioned is the verbal misrepresentation of evidence to a suspect during an interrogation. It has been the Reid position that misrepresenting evidence, in and of itself, was not going to make a "normal" person falsely confess (obvious care must be exercised with juveniles and mentally impaired individuals), but that it was always some other element that was the triggering mechanism for the false confession, such as illegal interrogation tactics (physical abuse, threats, promises of leniency, denial of physical needs, denial of rights, etc) and/or excessively long interrogations. A study published in the Criminal Law Bulletin, "A Test of the Unusual False Confession Perspective: Using Cases of Proven False Confessions" confirms this position.

    After reviewing numerous false confession cases the author, J.P. Blair, states that "This study failed to find a single false confession of a cognitively normal individual that did not also include the use of coercive tactics by the interrogator." Earlier in the article the author defined coercive tactics as "the use of physical force; denial of food, sleep or the bathroom; explicit threats of punishment; explicit promises of leniency; and extremely lengthy interrogations." In other words, if these illegal tactics are not employed then the likelihood of obtaining a false confession is almost nil.
    Click here for the complete study

    02/06/2006Wisconsin Supreme Court decision
    In the case of State of Wisconsin v. Jerrell C.J., July 2005 the Wisconsin Supreme Court found that:
    • juvenile's written confession to police was not voluntarily given;
    • following the arrest of a juvenile, the failure of police to call the juvenile's parents for the purpose of depriving the juvenile of the opportunity to receive advice and counsel will be considered strong evidence that coercive tactics were used to elicit the juvenile's incriminating statements; and
    • pursuant to Supreme Court's supervisory power to ensure fair administration of justice, all custodial interrogation of juveniles shall be electronically recorded where feasible, and without exception when questioning occurs at a place of detention.

    Click here for the full case decision.

    02/03/2006Canadian Law February Column
    A reminder to all Reid Institute Members, we have posted part three of Gino Arcaro's January column as well as his new February column on Canadian law on our Members' What's New web page.
    click here to access

    01/16/2006New Links
    We have added two new links to our web page - the first provides a list of terrorist groups listed by the State Department, 2004 (click here) and a research site regarding terrorist activities (click here).

    01/10/2006Important Cases
    We have listed dozens of cases in which the courts have addressed the issue of lying to the suspect about evidence (click here) and other trickery and deceit issues (click here).

    12/12/2005New Reid Product
    We now have available a new product package - the Reid Resource Pack. This package includes three books: The Essentials of The Reid Technique; Anatomy of Theme Development; and, Electronic Recording of Interrogations. The package also includes a 33 minute audio CD program on The Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation
    Click Here for details

    12/01/2005New Jersey Supreme Court Requires Police to Electronically Record Interrogations
    In October, 2005 the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a new set of rules which will require police agencies to electronically record homicide interrogations beginning in January 2006. This requirement will expand in January 2007 to include interrogations involving arson, robbery, burglary and sex, drug or weapons crimes punishable by more than five years in prison. As soon as we obtain a set of these rules we will post them on our website
    Click here for the full report

    11/30/2005Certification in The Reid Technique Enhances Career Opportunities
    In a survey of Police Chiefs and Corporate Security Directors they overwhelmingly indicated that they would be more inclined to hire and promote an individual who was Certified in The Reid Technique
    Click here for the complete survey

    11/16/2005New Column
    In the Reid Institute Members Only page (in the What's New column) we will be adding a new monthly feature - a column by Gino Arcaro, B.Sc., M.Ed. on Canadian law and court decisions as the apply to interview and interrogation techniques in Canada. Gino's first two columns represent an analysis of the Canadian Supreme Court decision in R. v. Oickle in which the court validates many of the techniques we teach. If you are one of our Canadian members be sure to check it out at This Link. If you are not a member of the Reid Institute, you can join at This Link.

    09/27/2005Iraq Interrogators Wanted

    Iraq Interrogators Wanted
    Centurum Information Operations, in conjunction with L3 Communications GSI, is recruiting Interrogators for high paying jobs supporting the Multi-National Forces, Iraq. All positions are in Iraq. If you are a graduate of Interrogation courses with Reid & Associates and have experience within the last 5 years utilizing your skills, contact us with your resume for further review and to answer any questions you may have. We need professional's that are confident in their abilities, respectful towards other cultures and religions, yet able to accomplish a mission that could save many lives. All of our Interrogator positions are located on one of several bases in secure areas with all work conducted on the base and rarely, if ever, will be off-base. We are positive that you would find this professionally and personally rewarding. A few of the benefits:
    • $$$,$$$ yearly salary (this includes base pay plus a 25% hardship allowance and a 25% danger allowance.)
    • $11,000 incentive allowance paid quarterly in $2,500 increments
    • Up to $80,000 tax free (IRS rules and limits for work outside the U.S. apply)
    • Free medical & dental (for dependents also with co
    • pay)
    • 2 weeks paid vacation
    • Paid holiday and sick leave
    • Tuition assistance
    • 401k plan & life insurance
    • A company that takes care of its people
    A complete job description and requirements is provided for Reid Institute Members-
    Click here for details

    06/24/2005Essentials of The Reid Technique reviewed by Security Management magazine
    In the June 2005 issue of Security Management magazine, published by ASIS International, there was a review of one of our new books on The Reid Technique
    Click here for the review

    06/24/2005Two new Reid books available
    ELECTRONIC RECORDING OF INTERROGATIONS
    By David M. Buckley and Brian C. Jayne

    This is the first book of its kind on the market and provides practical guidelines for electronically recording interviews and interrogations. The thought of having an investigator's every word or gesture scrutinized by a judge, prosecuting and defense attorney as well as a jury makes even the most competent investigator self-conscious about what to do or say during an interview or interrogation. This book will provide the investigator with specific guidelines that will actually make an electronically recorded interview or interrogation work for the investigator. Electronic Recording of Interrogations is an indispensable reference for any department that is mandated by law to electronically record interviews and interrogations or decides on their own volition to do so. It is also an invaluable guide for prosecutors and judges who must deal with electronically recorded interviews and interrogations.




    Click Here for details

    06/24/2005New Research on False Confessions
    An analysis of false confessions from individuals exonnerted by DNA evidence indicates that the factors common to these false confessions were illegal police interrogation tactics and suspects who were classified as "sub-normal". The author states "This study failed to find a single false confession of a cognitively normal individual that did not also include the use of coercive tactics by the interrogator." When proper techniques are applied false confessions do not occur.
    Click here for the complete study.

    06/24/2005 Two new Reid books available
    ANATOMY OF INTERROGATION THEMES
    By Louis C. Senese

    The most difficult aspect of any interrogation is the proper selection and development of interrogation themes. Theme development is essentially a persuasive technique designed to reinforce the deceptive suspect's existing justifications for committing the crime, thus creating an environment in which the suspect feels more comfortable telling the truth about his criminal activity. By developing the most appropriate themes, the investigator, not the suspect, controls the interrogation environment. This book provides that information.
    Click Here for details

    03/29/2005Jury Rejects Richard Ofshe Testimony in Employee Theft Prosecution
    In the case The People v. Amy Marie Garvin, Court of Appeal, Sixth District, California. Feb. 10, 2005 the defense offered expert testimony from Dr. Richard Ofshe who testified that "a poorly done interrogation could produce a false confession. Poorly trained interrogators use false "evidence ploys" in conjunction with inappropriate psychological "motivators" to coerce false confessions without knowing that the confessions are false. These interrogators focus only on producing a confession without thinking about the guilt or innocence of the person interrogated." The jury rejected this testimony and found the defendant guilty.
    Click here for the complete decision

    03/14/2005Massachusetts Supreme Court Decision Provides for Special Jury Instruction When Interrogation is not Videotaped - Discusses Use of Trickery and Deceit
    In the case of Com. v. DiGiambattista, 813 N.E.2d 516 (2004), the Massachusetts Supreme Court stated that "... when the prosecution introduces evidence of a defendant's confession or statement that is the product of a custodial interrogation or an interrogation conducted at a place of detention (e.g., a police station), and there is not at least an audiotape recording of the complete interrogation, the defendant is entitled (on request) to a jury instruction advising that the State's highest court has expressed a preference that such interrogations be recorded whenever practicable, and cautioning the jury that, because of the absence of any recording of the interrogation in the case before them, they should weigh evidence of the defendant's alleged statement with great caution and care. Where voluntariness is a live issue and the humane practice instruction is given, the jury should also be advised that the absence of a recording permits (but does not compel) them to conclude that the Commonwealth has failed to prove voluntariness beyond a reasonable doubt."

    In examining the use of trickery and deceit the Court stated that misrepresenting evidence "does not necessarily compel suppression of the statement." Also, the court said that "We do not suggest that an officer's use of the standard interrogation tactic of "minimization," by itself, compels the conclusion that a confession is involuntary." However, what seemed to disturb the Court the most was the apparent reference to counseling which they felt "implicitly suggested to him that "counseling" would be an appropriate avenue for him to pursue after making a confession." In other words, if he confessed he would get counseling instead of jail.

    Click here for a more detailed discussion of these issues.


    Click here for the full case

    01/27/2005Report on the Electronic Recording of Police Interrogations from the ABA and the New York County Lawyers' Association
    A joint report by the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section and the New York County Lawyers' Association on the electronic recording of police interrogations has been published.
    Click here for the full report.

    01/25/2005New Jersey Attorney General Makes Policy Statement on Electronically Recording Confessions in Criminal Cases
    In January, 2005 the New Jersey Attorney General, Peter Harvey, "expanded and made permanent a policy directing departments and prosecutors to electronically record confessions in criminal cases."
    Click here for the full story

    01/25/2005Massachusetts Supreme Court Decision Provides for Special Jury Instruction When Interrogation is not Videotaped
    In the case of Com. v. DiGiambattista, 813 N.E.2d 516 (2004), the Massachusetts Supreme Court stated that "... when the prosecution introduces evidence of a defendant's confession or statement that is the product of a custodial interrogation or an interrogation conducted at a place of detention (e.g., a police station), and there is not at least an audiotape recording of the complete interrogation, the defendant is entitled (on request) to a jury instruction advising that the State's highest court has expressed a preference that such interrogations be recorded whenever practicable, and cautioning the jury that, because of the absence of any recording of the interrogation in the case before them, they should weigh evidence of the defendant's alleged statement with great caution and care. Where voluntariness is a live issue and the humane practice instruction is given, the jury should also be advised that the absence of a recording permits (but does not compel) them to conclude that the Commonwealth has failed to prove voluntariness beyond a reasonable doubt."
    Click here for the full case decision.

    12/28/2004 Detective Solves First Degree Felony Murder (Physical Abuse on a Child Resulting in Death) Using the Reid Technique
    My name is Victor Lauria and I am a detective with the City of Novi Police Department. Novi is a suburb of Detroit Michigan. I have been a police officer for over 16 years including 8 years as a detective. Shortly after I was promoted I attended the Basic Reid course. Because of this training my success rate, in identifying suspects and obtaining confessions, increased substantially. A few years later I attended the advanced course. The success that I, and other Novi Detectives, have enjoyed is based on the Reid course and their method of interview and interrogation. My department now sends every newly appointed detective to both the basic and advanced schools as part of the required training. It is impossible for me to express the importance and value of "The Reid Technique".

    Case Facts; First Degree Felony Murder
    On the morning of September 1, 2003 (Labor Day) Ann Marie Shawley (2 years old) was brought into a Providence Park Novi Hospital by her father and step mother.
    Click here for the case details, interview and interrogation.

    10/28/2004Reid in Europe
    Earlier this year Reid and Associates conducted a very successful training seminar in the Czech Republic for the 650th MI Group in conjunction with the Ministry of Defense. Just last week we did another successful training seminar in Bosnia-Herzegovina for a variety of police and civilian officials.
    Click here for a letter from the Executive Advisor to the Ambassador regarding the value of this program.

    09/26/2004John E. Reid and Associates, Inc awarded Federal Supply Schedule from GSA
    John E. Reid and Associates, Inc awarded Federal Supply Schedule from GSA

    The General Services Administration awarded a Federal Supply Schedule contract to John E. Reid and Associates, Inc. effective April 23, 2004. Our contract number is GS-02F-0164P
    More Information

    09/24/2004New York Law Journal
    This case offers a careful and well reasoned discussion by the Court of the following issues in which they uphold the admissibility of statements made by the defendant during an interview/interrogation in a terrorism investigation:

    • Requirements of due process
    • Definition of Custodial Interrogation
    • Right to Miranda Warnings and Effectiveness of Waiver
    • Invocation of the Right to Counsel

    Click here for the article

    09/17/200418 out of 23 arson cases solved by the Mentor Fire Dept. with The Reid Technique
    Investigator Joe Vanek has advised us a the success the Mentor Fire Department has had using The Reid Technique.
    Click here for the details.

    09/10/2004Law & Psychiatry: Mental Illness, Police Interrogations, and the Potential for False Confession
    This article discusses mental illness, police interrogations and the potential for false confessions.
    Click here for the complete article

    09/08/2004National Labor Relations Board Overturns earlier decision in Epilepsy Foundation case: non-unionized workers not entitled to representation at disciplinary interview
    The sole issue in this case is whether the Respondent, whose employees are not represented by a union, violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act by denying the Charging PartiesÇ requests to have a coworker present during investigatory interviews.[1] The judge, applying the BoardÇs decision in Epilepsy Foundation of Northeast Ohio, 331 NLRB 676 (2000), enfd. in relevant part, 268 F.3d 1095 (D.C. Cir. 2001), cert. denied, 536 U.S. 904 (2002), found that the Respondent violated the Act by denying the Charging PartiesÇ requests for the presence of a coworker.

    The Respondent urges the Board to overrule Epilepsy Foundation and return to the principles of E. I. DuPont & Co., 289 NLRB 627 (1988). In that case, the Board refused to apply the principles of NLRB v. J. Weingarten, 420 U.S. 251 (1975), in a nonunionized setting to permit an employee to have a coworker present at an investigatory interview that the employee reasonably believed might result in discipline. The various amici curiae join in the RespondentÇs request.

    Having carefully considered the entire record in this proceeding, including the briefs of the Respondent and the various amici curiae, we have decided, for the reasons set forth below, to overrule Epilepsy Foundation and to return to earlier Board precedent holding that the Weingarten right does not extend to a workplace where, as here, the employees are not represented by a union. Accordingly, we have decided to affirm the judgeÇs rulings, findings,[2] and conclusions only to the extent consistent herewith and to dismiss the complaint in its entirety.
    Click here for the full decision

    08/21/2004Court rejects testimony from officer trained in The Reid Technique re deceptive behavior of the defendant
    In the case of Washington v. Barr (August 3, 2004) the Washington Court of Appeals found that the testimony by a police officer that in his opinion the behavior of the defendant suggested deception (which he learned as part of the "Reid Investigative Technique") was, in fact, impermissible testimony because it invaded the province of the jury.
    Click here for the full decision.

    08/09/2004New Abridged edition of Criminal Interrogation and Confessions Book Available
    Hundreds of thousands of investigators have received training in the Reid TechniqueÆ and used the text, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions

    Essentials of the Reid Technique teaches readers how to spot and interpret verbal and nonverbal behaviors of deceptive (or truthful) people, and how to move toward solid confessions from guilty persons. Separated into two parts, What You Need to Know About Interrogation and Employing the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation, this book will help readers understand the effective and proper way that a suspect should be interrogated and the safeguards that should be in place to ensure the integrity of the confession.
    Click here for details.

    07/07/2004U.S. Supreme Court June 2004 decision references our book and firm as teaching the proper way to comply with Miranda
    A basic tenet of the Reid Technique, as taught by John E. Reid and Associates, is that a custodial suspect must be advised of his rights prior to any questioning about a criminal act. If a custodial suspect invokes his right to an attorney, no further questioning can take place without the suspectÇs attorney being present.

    In Missouri v Seibert, the US Supreme Court further clarifies the Miranda issue and cites Reid and Associates as a "law enforcement educator" that offers proper guidance regarding Miranda.

    From the Court's decision: "It is not the case, of course, that law enforcement educators en masse are urging that Miranda be honored only in the breach. See, .... F. Inbau, J. Reid, & J. Buckley, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions 221 (3d ed. 1986) (hereinafter Inbau, Reid, & Buckley) (same); John Reid & Associates, Interviewing & Interrogation: The Reid Technique 61 (1991) (same). Most police manuals do not advocate the question-first tactic, because they understand that Oregon v. Elstad, 470 U. S. 298 (1985), involved an officer's good-faith failure to warn. See, e.g., Inbau, Reid, & Buckley 241 (Elstad's "facts as well as [its] specific holding" instruct that "where an interrogator has failed to administer the Miranda warnings in the mistaken belief that, under the circumstances of the particular case, the warnings were not required, ... corrective measures ... salvage an interrogation opportunity")."
    You can access the U.S. Supreme Court's decision here

    06/17/2004New Jersey Court finds Confession Inadmissible - cites our book Criminal Interrogation and Confessions
    In the case of State v. Knight (June 7, 2004) the New Jersey Appellate Court found that the trial court erred in admitting the defendant's confession. In their opinion the Appellate Court said that 'The length of the interrogation alone exceeded the bounds of due process. Gregory acknowledged that he questioned defendant for 'hours' before and after the written waiver was signed. While there is no hard-and-fast rule delineating when the length of an interrogation becomes coercive, '[w]hen fatigue, withdrawal, hunger, thirst, or a craving for other biological needs serve as the primary incentive for a confession, duress may be claimed.' Fred E. Inbau, et al, Criminal Interrogation & Confessions, 422 (4th ed. 2001)
    Click here for the full case decision

    06/17/2004Police Experiences with Recording Custodial Interrogations
    Former U. S. Attorney Thomas Sullivan has authored a study entitled 'Police Experiences with recording Custodial Interrogation'. In this study, the author describes the benefits of video recording interrogations as reported by over 200 police departments.
    Click here for the complete study

    05/21/2004New Court Decision on The Reid Technique
    In the case of State v. Myers 2004 WL 1080013 S.C.,2004. decided May 11, 2004, the Supreme Court of South Carolina upheld the admissibility of a confession by investigators utilizing The Reid Technique, and also found that there was no error when the trial court limited the testimony of Dr. Saul Kassin.
    Click here for the details of the decision.

    05/21/2004New Jersey Supreme Court Examines the Need to Electronically Record Interrogations
    In the case State v. Cook 2004 WL 1040375 N.J.,2004, decided May 10, 2004 the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld the admissibility of the defendant's confession, but indicated that "as part of our supervisory authority over the criminal justice system, we will establish a committee to examine and make recommendations on the use of electronic audio and video recording of custodial interrogations." The discussion of the court provides a very thorough review of the issue of videotaping interrogations.

    While the NJ Supreme Court is examining the issue, the New Jersey Attorney General and the New Jersey County Prosecutors' Assn. have issued a policy statement regarding the electronic recordation of stationhouse confessions.
    Click here for the full statement
    Click here for extended excerpts from the case

    05/11/2004New Study on Personality Types Re False Confessions
    Dr. Gisli Gudjonsson, from the Institute of Psychiatry, UK, (who has published extensively re the phenomena of false confessions), has recently published some new research on the topic of personality and false confessions in the British Psychological Society journal, Legal and Criminological Psychology. The title of the article is Confessions and denials and the relationship with personality
    Click here for the complete article

    04/30/2004What do the Courts say about The Reid Technique?
    Over the past 20 years The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation has become the standard for proper interviewing and interrogation procedures throughout the country. Thousands of law enforcement, government and private sector investigators are trained every year by John E. Reid and Associates, Inc. As a result, in confession cases The Reid Technique is oftentimes described, discussed and examined. Here are a few cases where the courts have addressed The Reid Technique.

    Note: The court decisions may or may not contain an accurate description of what we teach as The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation. In fact, some of them are completely erroneous in the tactics and techniques that they attribute to the Reid Technique. Nevertheless, the decisions offer some valuable insight.
    Click here for the cases.

    04/28/2004Important Trickery and Deceit case
    2003 in the case of State v. Patton 826 A.2d 783, N.J.Super.A.D.,2003 the court very carefully examines the use of trickery and deceit in the interrogation of suspects, and draws a very clear distinction between verbally misrepresenting evidence and creating a fictitious piece of evidence. In their opinion the court extensively reviews the history of the trickery and deceit issue and what numerous courts have had to say on the issue.
    Click here for the complete case

    04/21/2004NLRB rules that employees have the right to specify the union rep. of their choice
    In the case of Anheuser-Busch v. NLRB, 4th Cir., No. 02-1740, the National Labor Relations Board reiterated that employees have the right to specify the union representative of their choice that they would like to be present during an investigative interview, and that absent extenuating circumstances, the employer is obligated to supply that representative. In this case the requested steward was at lunch so the manger summed another steward instead. Both the NLRB and a court of appeals agreed that there were no extenuating circumstances in this case because even though the requested steward was at lunch, he was set to end his lunch in 15 minutes, which made him no less available than the second steward who was in another part of the facility and had to be contacted by radio.
    http://www.nlrb.gov/nlrb/home/default.asp

    03/14/2004Voice Stress Instruments found to be Unreliable
    Washington University in St. Louis conducted research on voice stress lie-detection technologies and found that they " got dismal results, both in the system's ability to detect people actually engaged in deception and in its ability to exclude those not attempting to be deceptive." The report further says that ability of voice stress analysis instruments to detect deception "was consistently less than chance - you could have gotten better results by filling a coin."
    Click here for further details

    03/12/2004The Anatomy of a Coerced Murder Confession: Can Post-Conviction Relief Repair the Integrity of the Criminal Justice System?
    On February 17, 2004 Reid president Joseph Buckley appeared at an all day symposium for the American Academy of Forensic Sciences that was called "The Anatomy of a Coerced Murder Confession: Can Post-Conviction Relief Repair the Integrity of the Criminal Justice System?" This panel looked at a case from Texas in which Christopher Ochoa confessed that he and his accomplice had raped and murdered the female manager of a Pizza Hut store. He was convicted and after serving 12 years in prison was exonerated when another person confessed and the DNA from the rape matched the new killer's DNA.
    For details of the discussion click here

    03/12/2004Reviewer calls The Reid Technique an interrogation process "that a free, civilized, and just society can and should endorse without apology.
    In his 28 page review of our book, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, Professor Joseph Grano (now deceased) carefully examined the law and the interrogation techniques that we teach and concluded that our text is "a manual for successful interrogation that a free, civilized, and just society can and should endorse without apology." His review, entitled, "Selling The Idea To Tell The Truth: The Professional Interrogator And Modern Confessions Law", was published in the Michigan Law Review.
    For a complete copy of the review, click here.

    02/23/2004State POST Information
    For a listing of Police Officers Standards and Training (POST) information for John E. Reid & Associates, Inc. training seminars, click here.
    Click here for details

    02/23/2004Study Shows Accuracy of BAI Decisions
    In the Behavior Analysis Interview the investigator asks both investigative as well as behavior provoking questions. We teach at our training seminars that truthful people and deceptive people oftentimes will offer distinctly different answers to the behavior provoking questions. In a study published in the Illinois Law Enforcement Executive Forum (2002) by Mr. Pete Blair, Detection of Deception: An Analysis of the Behavioral Analysis Interview Technique, his research demonstrates the accuracy of decisions made from information generated by the structured Behavior Analysis Interview process.
    Click here for the complete article

    02/23/2004New Survey on Videotaping Interrogations
    In a new survey conducted by John E. Reid and Associates of 800 police officers from Alaska and Minnesota who had been trained in The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation, the author, Brian Jayne, reports on their experiences with electronically recording interrogations. The general consensus was that recording interrogations did not adversely affect their ability to effectively interrogate suspects. The article is entitled, Empirical Experiences of Required Electronic Recording of Interviews and Interrogations on Investigators' Practices and Case Outcomes. It was published in the January, 2004 issue of the Illinois Law Enforcement Executive Forum.
    Click here for the complete article

    02/23/2004Response to Kassin Research
    Professor Saul Kassin has recently published a research article called "Behavioral confirmation in the interrogation room: On the dangers of presuming guilt".. Law and Human Behavior, 27,187-203. Co-authored with S. M., Goldstein, C. C., & Savitsky, K. (2003) This article attempts to suggest an inherent bias an interrogator develops during the initial contact with the subject during the interview/interrogation process. As this response from Pete Blair at Michigan State University School for Criminal Justice clarifies, the research is essentially useless since the authors do not understand the distinction between an interview and an interrogation.
    Click here for the complete article

    01/17/2004President Bush Signs Law to Correct FCRA
    On December 4, 2003 President Bush signed into law the new Fair Credit Reporting Act, which included an amendment by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) that ended the requirement to notify subjects of an internal company investigation and getting their permission to proceed. The new law also eliminates the requirement to supply the offender with a complete, unredacted copy of the investigative report. The new law does require the employer to provide the affected employee with a summary of the investigation and the reason for his or her termination (or other disciplinary action.) The effective date of the new law will be determined by the Federal trade Commission when they promulgate regulations, but it is expected that those regulations will be published no later than February 3, 2004.
    To see the revised FCRA, click here

    01/15/2004Mossad Recognizes Value of Reid Training
    In a book about his life, On Life and Death - The Tale of a Lucky Man, a former high ranking agent of the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, credits the training he received from John Reid and Fred Inbau for his effective interrogation techniques.
    Click here for details

    01/02/2004College Credit
    You can now receive college credit attending our 3-day seminars on "The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation" and "The Reid Technique of Investigative Interviewing for Child Abuse Investigations". We have been recognized by Excelsior College to give College credit to participants who successfully complete either of these seminars.
    Click here for more details.

    12/15/2003Reid in Iraq
    Recently one of our senior instructors, Bill Schrieber, conducted a training seminar on The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation in Baghdad at the International Airport for the US military. To say the least it was a most unique experience.
    Here is an article in the Daily Herald newspaper about he trip.

    12/12/2003Miranda Chart
    For the IACP Conference this year, Lisa Judge with the Tucson, Arizona Police Department prepared an excellent Miranda flow chart that very effectively outlines the proper sequence of events for the various situations that an officer might face with respect to when to it is necessary to advise a suspect of the Miranda Rights. This flow chart also contains the appropriate case situations for each circumstance.
    Click here to view the chart

    11/12/2003Psychology & Law: International, Inter-disciplinary, Conference
    In July 2003 an international conference was held in Edinburgh: Psychology & Law: International, Inter-disciplinary, Conference. This was the second international and inter-disciplinary conference, supported by the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS), the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law (ANZAPP&L), and the European Association of Psychology & Law (EAP&L). It was also the 2003 annual conference of the EAP&L. One of the tracks focused on the research regarding issues such as false confessions; the reliability of assessing verbal and nonverbal behavior for indications of truth or deception; interviewing techniques in child abuse case, etc.
    For the complete list of presentation abstracts in this track, click here

    11/06/2003Reid Preferred Group of Associations (RPGA)
    The Reid Preferred Group of Associations (RPGA) is a program offered to associations in which they receive special discounts on course registration fees and training materials for their members. You can participate in Reid Preferred Group of Associations (RPGA) by completing the brief form on our Preferred Associations page.
    More Info

    10/20/2003Reid Technique Research...
    In a research project for his Masters Degree from Lewis University, Illinois State Police Sergeant Jeffrey Padilla attempted to identify the attributes, attitudes and tactics that make a successful interrogator. He identified 10 of the top interrogators in the Chicago metropolitan area. Eight of the 10 had formal training. Seven of those were trained by John E. Reid and Associates, Inc.

    "The most interesting theme to emerge from this research was the relationship between formal interrogation training and the respondents own estimation of their rate of successful interrogation. Those that were formally trained in interrogation tactics estimated that they had been able to obtain confessions in 75-90% of the cases in which they conducted interrogations. It should also be noted that seven of the eight formally trained interrogators were schooled by John E. Reid and Associates of Chicago, Illinois in The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation."

    "Larry seemed to possess an incredible ability to quickly analyze behavior and interpret what was truly being communicated by a suspect. But as Larry said, he had the 'Holy Grail' of interrogation. He had a system he followed very closely. That was the Reid Technique."
    Click here for complete thesis

    09/18/2003 Supreme Court of Canada...
    The Supreme Court of Canada has approved of the techniques that we teach at our training seminars on The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation. We have written an article comparing the Supreme Court's decision in the Oickle case to another Canadian lower court decision in a different case that properly found a confession inadmissible that did not adhere to principles The Reid Technique.
    Click here for full article

    06/29/2003Two Stage Interrogation Process
    In the case Missouri v. Seibert, No. 02-1371, currently being considered by the U. S. Supreme Court, the investigating officer indicated that he used a two-stage interrogation technique to obtain the respondent's confession. The technique consists of interrogating a person in custody without advising them of their Miranda rights. Then, if a confession is obtained, the suspect is carefully advised of their Miranda rights and questioned again. Then at trial only the second confession is used against the accused. The investigating officer stated that he had been trained at a "national" institute to use such a technique. In their "Petition For Writ Of Certiorari" the petitioner speculates in footnote 8 that "The officer may have been referring to the Reid Institute when he testified that he had been trained at a "National Law Police Institute."

    For the record, John E. Reid and Associates, Inc does not teach such a two-stage interrogation process at any of our training seminars on The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation. We scrupulously teach in our training seminars and our publications that if a suspect is in custody he/she must first be advised of their Miranda rights and make the appropriate waiver before any questioning can take place. In our book, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, we state:

    The only time a police interrogation maybe conducted of a suspect who is in custody or otherwise restrained of his freedom is after he has received the required warnings and after he has indicated a willingness to answer questions. (page 491)

    No one from the State Solicitor's office or the Missouri Attorney General's office contacted us about this issue before they offered such speculation in their petition.


    Legal Updates

    05/03/2003Reid Certification
    the Reid Institute Certification Program is designed to recognize those individuals who have demonstrated their ability to effectively apply the basic concepts and techniques taught in our training seminars and textbooks.
    Find Out More

    04/04/2003The Reid Consortium
    The Reid Consortium is a program offered to preferred clients in which they receive special discounts on course registration fees and training materials for their department or agency. You can join The Reid Consortium today, at no charge
    Learn More

    02/02/2003Loss Prevention & Corporate Security
    We have designed this three day training seminar especially for corporate security, loss prevention and asset protection professionals. In a recent survey by Security Directorís Report they found that "When asked which vendors they rely on most for building their own interviewing and interrogation skills and that of staff, a whopping 80% of security pros cited John E. Reid and Associates, Inc." (December 2002). This training program will focus on the application of our core seminar topics to the following types of investigations: Inventory losses, Embezzlements, Acts of sabotage, Disclosure of proprietary information, Drug investigations, Conflict of interest cases, Kickback schemes, Harassment cases, POS fraud, Criminal damage to company property and other cases of employee misconduct...
    Loss Prevention Corporate Security Seminars

    02/01/2003FEATURED CASE
    Many of our Reid graduates have worked hard to develop their skills using The Reid TechniqueÆ. We often receive feedback from our graduates on how they have successfully used the techniques they learned at the Reid seminar to resolve difficult cases.
    Click Here

    06/13/2002Reid Institute Members Only Section
    Visit the new Members only section of our site!
    Members Only

    Click Here to view recent "What's New"