CLICK here for info on new 5th edition of Criminal Interrogation and Confessions
Your Search found these items:
  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

Current What's New:
  05/01/2018May/June 2017 Investigator Tip: The Value of Behavior Provoking Questions – A Case Study

The investigative interview process in the Reid Technique is called the Behavior Analysis Interview (BAI).    The BAI consists of three types of questions: Initial Questions designed to develop biographical information, establish rapport, acclimate the subject to the interview environment, describe the investigative process and establish a behavioral baseline for the subject. 

The second group of questions are the Investigative Questions, which are designed to develop the subject’s story or version of events concerning the issue under investigation, his/her alibi during the time period in question, and the who, what, when, where, why and how of activities relevant to the issue under investigation.  In previous Investigator Tips we discussed using open-ended questions to develop the subject’s pure version of events, and how to use follow up questions to develop additional details from their initial account.  (See March/April 2017 and May/June 2017 Investigator Tips: Using Open-ended Questions During the Investigative Interview Part 1, and Part 2). 

The third type of questions are the Behavior Provoking Questions designed to elicit responses that can be evaluated as to the subject’s credibility about their potential involvement in the issue under investigation.  There have been in excess of 25 behavior provoking questions developed over the years but this Investigator Tip will only discuss four of them, and then illustrate their use in a case involving 2 subjects.  Research has indicated that most truthful subjects answer the behavior provoking questions one way while deceptive subject’s answer the same questions in a very different way.



Click here for the complete Investigator Tip

  04/06/2018Legal Updates Winter 2018
The Legal Updates Winter 2018 column contains cases which address the following issues:
  • When the interview became custodial the suspect should have been advised of his Miranda rights
  • Promises on leniency nullify the admissibility of the confession
  • Officer’s questions to defendant while at door of her residence, were compelling, thus giving rise to the need for Miranda warnings
  • Lying about DNA evidence is not coercive
  • Lying about footprints, fingerprints and other evidence is not coercive
  • Court finds confession inadmissible due to denial of subject’s request for an attorney
  • Court suggests police used Assistant Principal to question student to avoid the advisement of rights 

Click Here to read the Winter 2018 Cases

  03/29/2018Reid and the Innocence Project
Over the years John E. Reid and Associates has assisted the Innocence Project (New York) on several cases as expert witnesses on proper interview and interrogation techniques, as well as the exoneration of one of their clients by obtaining a confession from the real offender.  In fact, this case was detailed in the story, “I Did It” in New York magazine (http://www.reid.com/pdfs/ididit.pdf).

We have also assisted other attorneys (for example, Kathleen Zellner) in wrongful conviction cases.

For a list of Best Practices that we espouse in our work with the Innocence Project, click here.

  03/28/2018An example of Dr. Richard Leo’s testimony on the issue of false confessions
In the case, US v. Begay (February 2018) the US District Court, D. New Mexico described Dr. Ricahrd Leo’s testimony as he described his view of current police interrogation methods, and false confession issues.



Click here for the details.

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

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

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


Click Here

  1/1/2018Police Chief magazine article on the PEACE Method

The November 2017 issue of Police Chief magazine features an article entitled, Bringing PEACE to the United States.  The article is well written and provides the reader with a very clear explanation of the PEACE model - which is essentially an investigative interviewing process developed and used in the United Kingdom.  Here is an abbreviated description of the PEACE interview process:


Planning and Preparation:  Prepare thoroughly for the interview; understand the purpose of the interview; develop as much information as possible about the crime and the subject to be interviewed, and consider the case facts relative to the subjects to be interviewed.  (See Reid Investigator Tip: Factual Analysis)


Engage and Explain: Establish rapport with the subject; treat the subject with dignity and respect; and explain to the subject the format and procedures that you are going to follow.


Account: Allow the subject to tell their story or version of events; expand and clarify the initial account; and, when appropriate, use evidence to challenge the account.  (see Reid Investigator Tips: Using Open-ended Questions During the Investigative Interview (Part 1 and Part 2 and Cognitive Interviewing)


Closure: Confirm with the subject the information that was developed during the interview and explain to the subject what will happen next.


Evaluation: Determine if the goals and objectives of the interview have been accomplished and review the investigation in light of the information developed during the interview.


As an addendum, in the UK a subject’s silence can be used against them and the suspect is advised of this.  The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 provides statutory rules under which adverse inferences may be drawn from silence.

Adverse inferences may be drawn in certain circumstances where before or on being charged, the accused:

•    fails to mention any fact which he later relies upon and which in the circumstances at the time the accused could reasonably be expected to mention;

•    fails to give evidence at trial or answer any question;

•    fails to account on arrest for objects, substances or marks on his person, clothing or footwear, in his possession, or in the place where he is arrested; or

  • fails to account on arrest for his presence at a place.


(For additional information on interviewing techniques, see Criminal Interrogation and Confessions (5th ed, 2013) - in particular these Chapters: Preparation and Starting the Interview; Formulating Interview Questions; Behavior Symptom Analysis; Precautions when Evaluating Behavior Symptoms of Truthful and Untruthful Subjects; The Behavior Analysis Interview; and,The Use of Specialized Questioning Techniques)


Also, here is an article detailing the Reid Behavior Analysis Interview that was published in the International Journal of Police Science & Management.





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

  12/18/2017Federal Appeals Court upholds confession of “Making a Murderer” subject Brendan Dassey

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for additional details from the court’s opinion


click to get to the full Appellate Court Decision

  11/08/2017Massachusetts Supreme Court confirms that minimization/maximization techniques are acceptable
In the case of Commonwealth v. Cartwright (Novemebr 2017) the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts stated that “  …. we have not acted to prevent police investigators from suggesting to a suspect being interviewed that the investigators are convinced, based on evidence, of the defendant’s guilt…. Nor have we concluded that an interviewing officer's efforts to minimize a suspect's moral culpability, by, for example, suggesting theories of accident or provocation, are inappropriate, or sought to preclude suggestions by the interviewers “broadly that it would be better for a suspect to tell the truth, [and] ... that the person's cooperation would be brought to the attention of [those] involved.”
Click here for additional details

  11/05/2017Why the Reid Technique® Method Continues to be the Most Effective Means Available to Learn the Truth
One of the fundamental precepts of the Reid Technique is to use sound reasoning, understanding and empathy to motivate subjects to tell the truth.  John Reid started using this approach over 70 years ago and it is as effective today as it was then. 

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

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

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

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

Click here to continue

  11/03/2017Legal Updates Fall 2017

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

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


Click here for updates

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

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

Click here to access the complete Tip

  10/11/2017ALERT TO ALL PROSECUTORS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICALS!!!

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

v. 
JORDAN MONROE, Defendant.

Cr. No. 16-055 WES

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF RHODE ISLAND

September 11, 2017

Preface

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


Click here for the opinion.

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

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

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

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

Click here to access the story

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

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

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


Click here for the Investigator Tip.

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

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



Click here for updates.

Click Here to view earlier "What's New"