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  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.

  • Current What's New:
      12/12/2018Reid and Associates featured in the series Criminal Confessions on the OXYGEN channel

    On Saturday, December 8, 2018 John E. Reid and Associates was featured in the series, Criminal Confessions, on the Oxygen channel.  The case is described on the Oxygen blog page, and is entitled, “Man Violently Murders Parents for Their $240K Life Insurance Payout.”  From the article:

    “Detectives were unable to generate any new leads during that time, and they decided to “try and [sic] reinterview Chris to get at the truth," said Detective Hall. Before bringing Christopher back in, however, they contacted cold case homicide interview expert Rich Byington, who is a senior investigator with leading interrogation company John E. Reid & Associates. 

    Using the Reid technique — a three-part process that includes Fact Analysis, Behavior Analysis Interview and the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation — Byington was able to get Christopher to open up about the night his parents were murdered.

    Byington started the interrogation by telling Christopher he had interviewed various people about the case and deduced "there's no doubt you caused the death of your parents." In shock, Christopher ultimately broke down and admitted the murders were "just an accident." He told detectives that he went to Pizza Plus around 10:30 PM on the 29th and got into an argument with his parents about money.

    Christopher detailed how he slit his mother's throat before chasing his father out of the restaurant, grabbing him from behind and choking him. He then went back inside and bludgeoned his mother with the fire extinguisher to make sure she "was not moving." Christopher said he replaced the fire extinguisher and cut his father's throat before leaving the crime scene. 

    Christopher was charged the capital murders and robberies of Harvey and Valerie Looney, and he pleaded no contest…..he was sentenced to life in prison….”

    Here is the episode: Tazwell, VA

      12/4/2018Testifying in Court
    In their Winter 2018 publication, Point of View, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office, (Nancy E. O’Mally, District Attorney) has published an article entitled, Testifying in Court, which discusses the testimony guidelines for law enforcement officers, addressing such topics as preparation, impartiality, avoiding traps, phraseology of responses, and a series of general suggestions. 
    Click here of the full article.

      11/27/2018Indiana Supreme Court finds that assistant principal questioning a student about criminal mischief was not acting as an agent of the police

    In D.Z. v. State (June 2018) the Supreme Court of Indiana found that in a criminal mischief and harassment case when the assistant high school principal questioned the juvenile suspect (student), he was not acting as an agent of the police, and that there was evidence sufficient to support adjudication of delinquency.  From the Supreme Court’s opinion: 

    Chief Justice Rush: As today's companion opinion B.A. holds, Miranda warnings protect students—no less than adults at a school—when police place them under custodial interrogation. Custodial interrogation, though, requires police involvement. So when school officials alone meet with students, a clear rule governs: Miranda warnings are not required.  Here, only an assistant principal interviewed D.Z., so Miranda warnings were not required. We also find no reversible evidentiary error and that sufficient evidence supports D.Z.'s criminal-mischief adjudication, so we affirm the juvenile court.

    Click here for additional details

    Also, in Miranda v. State (November 2018) the Court of Appeals of Texas, El Paso upheld the lower court’s decision that the defendant (a high school teacher), when being questioned by the director of employee relations for the school district about engaging in sexual activities with students, did not need to be advised of his Miranda rights because it was not a custodial interview and the director of employee relations was not acting on behalf of a law enforcement agency.   

    Click here for the case details.

      11/20/2018Legal Updates Fall 2018

    The Legal Updates Fall 2018 column contains cases which address the following issues:

    • Confession was suppressed when request to stop answering questions was ignored  (value of the video in supporting defendant’s claims)  
    • Confession found inadmissible when investigators did not honor the defendant’s request for an attorney 
    • Reference to the fact that the defendant’s girl friend would be arrested was not coercive  
    • Court finds that testimony by investigator “concerning body language indicative of deception” was inadmissible  
    • Value of video in contradicting defendant’s claim  
    • Court rejects the claim that the “false friend technique” and misrepresenting the strength of evidence against the defendant were coercive

    Click here for the updates

      11/06/2018REID MILITARY INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM Open Registration Dates and Locations
    For several years now John E. Reid and Associates has conducted specialized, in-house training programs for numerous military personnel. In 2019 we will offer two open registration programs (for military personnel ONLY):

    May 7-10, 2019
    Courtyard Tampa
    Tampa, FL

    September 10-13, 2018
    Harrah’s - Nevada
    Las Vegas, NV.

    Course fee: $550.00 per person GSA fee

    Click Here to register or for additional course details.

      11/05/2018References to John E. Reid and Associates in Making a Murder Part 2

    In the Netflix series, Making a Murder Part 2, the interrogation of Brendan Dassey is discussed by Attorney Steve Drizen and Attorney Lauara Nirider during the first 15 minutes of Episode 2.  (Attorneys Drizin and Nirider represent Dassey in his appeals). 

    The two attorneys are shown on screen giving a presentation to lawyers at Northwestern University Law School, discussing the Brendan Dassey interrogation.  During their presentation they reference John E. Reid and Associates as the benchmark for proper interrogation practices and procedures.  Specifically, they state that Reid and Associates teaches that using deception or false evidence “should be avoided when interrogating a youthful suspect with low social maturity or a suspect with diminished mental capacity.” 

    They then again refer to Reid and Associates as teaching that investigators should not reveal all of the case information to the subject during the interrogation so that the investigator can use the disclosure of that information by the subject as an indication of the authenticity of his confession. 

    A third reference to Reid occurs when attorney Nirider says that, according to Reid and Associations, “slumping in the chair, putting your hand over your mouth, saying I don’t know, and not looking a person in the eye” – all behaviors that Brendan Dassey displayed during his interrogation - are behaviors indicative of a deceptive person.  Attorney Nirider states that these behaviors are part of Brendan Dassey’s disability and not indications of deceptive behavior, and that the investigators misclassified his status as a deceptive subject.

    The problem with this discussion by Attorney Nirider is that she completely ignores the fact that all of these behaviors must be viewed in context, and she ignores the rules that we teach that the investigator must follow in the evaluation of a subject’s behavior, as well as the factors (such as culture) that must be considered in the evaluation of a subject’s behavior.  In a letter that we wrote to Attorneys Drizin and Nirider over a year ago on March 31, 2017, we pointed these issues out to her.

    Here are excerpts from that letter:  

    "Laura referenced some of these behaviors as though they were literal indications of truth or deception; for example, if a person says, “I don’t know” in response to an investigator’s question, he is lying; if a person has his palms up, he is telling the truth; etc. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. 

    To illustrate, if you ask a person what they did 4 weeks ago on Thursday night between 6pm and midnight, it would be perfectly reasonable for the person to say, “I don’t know.”  However, if you ask a subject if they had anything to do with causing the death of their neighbor last night, and they responded, “I don’t know” it would certainly raise several questions.  In other words, all behavior has to be viewed in context and in accordance with the principles, factors and rules that serve as the foundation for a behavioral assessment. 

    In all of our training programs we teach that there is no behavior unique to lying. (From Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, 5th ed) 

    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….

    We also teach that the investigator must understand all of the factors that can influence a subject’s behavior, as well as the rules that we need to follow in the evaluation of a subject’s behavior – in particular, establishing the subject’s baseline or normal behavior…..

    Establish the subject’s normal behavioral patternsCertainly there are non-deceptive reasons for a suspect to exhibit poor eye contact, respond to questions quickly or slowly, to scratch themselves, yawn, clear their throat, change their posture, etc. Before any of these behaviors can be considered a criteria of deception, the investigator must first establish what the subject’s normal behavioral patterns are.  Consequently, at the outset of each interview the investigator should spend several minutes discussing nonthreatening information (perhaps casual conversation or collecting biographical information) so as to establish a behavioral baseline for the particular subject. Then, as the interview progresses and the subject exhibits behavioral changes when the issue under investigation is discussed, these changes may take on added significance.

    In summary, although the verbal and nonverbal behavior displayed by a subject during an interview may provide valuable and accurate indications of possible innocence or guilt, the investigator should evaluate the behavior according to the guidelines states in Chapter 9 [in Criminal Interrogation and Confessions]. Furthermore, the following factors, which may affect the validity of behavior symptoms, should be considered: the perceived seriousness of the offense, the mental and physical condition of the subject, any underlying psychiatric or personality disorders; level of intelligence; degree of maturity; and the extent or absence of social responsibilities.


      11/1/2018Factors to consider in the evaluation of the voluntariness of a confession
    In Keyser v. Smith (Sept. 2018) the US District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania, articulated many of the factors that must be considered in evaluating the voluntariness of a confession:

    The duration and means of interrogation, including whether questioning was repeated, prolonged, or accompanied by physical abuse or threats thereof; the length of the accused's detention prior to the confession, whether the accused was advised of his or her constitutional rights; the attitude exhibited by the police during the interrogation; the accused's physical and psychological state, including whether he or she was injured, ill, drugged, or intoxicated; the conditions attendant to the detention, including whether the accused was deprived of food, drink, sleep, or medical attention; the age, education, and intelligence of the accused; the experience of the accused with law enforcement and the criminal justice system; and any other factors which might serve to drain one’s powers of resistance to suggestion and coercion. 

    Click here for the complete decision.

      10/11/2018The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office: Interrogation
    The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has prepared and published an excellent article entitled, Interrogation, which examines numerous interrogation issues, including when pressure becomes coercion, looking at such elements as location of the interrogation, threats and promises, interrogation tactics, exploiting a psychological vulnerability and the suspect’s “power of resistance.”
    Click here for updates.

    For several years now John E. Reid and Associates has conducted specialized, in-house training programs for numerous military personnel. In 2019 we will offer two open registration programs (for military personnel ONLY). These programs will be held in Tampa, FL (Spring) and Las Vegas, NV (Fall).  Specific dates and locations will be announced in the coming months.

    The Reid military program for special operations, intelligence, counterintelligence, and HUMINT collection integrates the Reid “Behavior Analysis Interview” and “Nine Steps” with Army Field Manual 2-22.3 (“the Manual”) in the arts of detecting deception, tactical questioning, screening, debriefing, source contact operations, elicitation, liaison, and interrogation to fit the MOS of each specific audience. 

    The Reid Military Instructional Program differs from its counterpart law enforcement programs by:

    • focusing themes and behavior assessment for maximum effectiveness within target geographic areas of responsibility (AORs); 
    • adapting instructional models to the risks/variables inherent within uncontrolled environments; 
    • incorporating recognition and resistance against hostile interrogation/elicitation tactics;  
    • including proactive intelligence collection in addition to after-action investigation; 
    We will post the specific dates and locations in the coming months.

      8/16/2018Legal Updates Summer 2018

    The Legal Updates Summer 2018 column contains cases which address the following issues

    • Interrogation 5 hours after initial advisement of rights was “reasonably contemporaneous” with the initial waiver
    • Value of video recording in contradicting defendant’s claims: three cases  
    • Court rules that confession was the result of coercive statements to the defendant  
    • Court rules confession should have been suppressed: lack of Miranda advisement and promises of leniency  
    • Interrogation room and seating arrangement as a consideration in assessing the voluntary nature of the confession: two cases  
    • Elements of a false confession   
    • Failure to call false confession expert is not suggestive of ineffective counsel: two cases   
    • Misrepresentations of evidence by police, although a relevant factor, do not render an otherwise voluntary confession inadmissible    
    • Detailed analysis of criteria to determine juvenile waiver of rights

    Click here for updates.

      7/18/2018Exclusive Offer for Reid Graduates
    50% Off Refresher

    Need a refresher? As a previous Reid Graduate you will receive 50% off when you register for any open enrollment, THE REID TECHNIQUE OF INVESTIGATIVE INTERVIEWING AND ADVANCED INTERROGATION™ and/or THE REID TECHNIQUE OF INVESTIGATIVE INTERVIEWING AND POSITIVE PERSUASION™ course.

    You must call 800-255-5747, ext 14 or 24 to receive this offer. Previous attendance will require verification. Please be prepared to provide us with your original date of attendance.

    View Schedule

      7/9/2018References to the Reid Technique in the world of literature

    In a murder mystery novel by Scott Pratt, entitled “Good Faith”  (2018) the author makes the following reference to the Reid Technique:

    Page 148:

    “He thought briefly about how he would conduct the interrogations.  The Reid technique was now standard operating procedure in law enforcement.  Make the suspect as comfortable as possible.  Make him think you’re there to help him.  Try to find some common ground and get him talking – it didn’t matter what the conversation was about initially.   The theory behind the Reid technique was that suspects would feel great and want to unload their burden.  The officer was there to facilitate the cleansing of the spirit.  Get him talking, eventually turn the conversation toward the crime, and gently persuade him to confess.”

      7/3/2018Independence Day Savings

    Independence Day Savings

    Register for any of these open enrollment July courses and save.



    $795 Regular Price - July Special $695

    $100 Savings


    San Diego CA / July 10 - 13, 2018

    Orlando FL / July 9 - 12, 2018

    Baltimore MD / July 17 - 20, 2018

    Tallahassee FL / July 24 - 27, 2018

    Tucson AZ / July 24 - 27, 2018


    The Independence Day savings are for the July open enrollment training programs listed above. Courses have limited seating! Register early to guarantee your seat. Use code INDEPENDENCE DAY when registering.

      6/27/2018One of our senior instructors, Attorney Philip Mullenix, has just published an excellent article in the Marine Corps Gazette entitled, “On Leadership: Core leadership traits.”
    Here are the opening paragraphs of the article:

    It’s a fact that each of you possess skills in your underlying MOS and as a leader in the Marine Corps. Because you are a Marine, whether active duty or retired, you’ve reached a level of success that others only dream of achieving. Therefore, this is not a condescending missive on how to become a success. You’re already there. 

    What I offer are observations on lives well-spent as well as on opportunities lost. The perch from which I’ve made these observations is a little unorthodox. For almost four decades as a professional interrogator, military interrogation instructor, and lawyer, I’ve witnessed in others the full range of human behavior, from the best to the worst: 
    - Enormous achievement on one hand—full-blown failure on the other. 
    - Peace of mind and self-fulfillment on one hand—utter despair on the other. 
    - Well-earned respect—versus the most aberrant disregard toward others. 
    - The person of real substance who has the strength of character to watch the backs and raise the game of those around him—versus the self-promoting phony who tries to elevate himself by demeaning others. 

    What distinguishes one from the other? How does one rise to the occasion rather than fall by the wayside? How do leaders get to the figurative bow of the ship where you can cut your own wake through the waters of life rather than slide to the stern where others will decide your destiny and leave you awash in waves that could sweep you overboard? Here are a few observations which might enhance your “leadership quotient.” 

    Click here for the complete article

      6/20/2018Clarifying/Correcting Court Statements about the Reid Technique
    State v. Pico (2018)
    In their opinion the court stated the following:

    “During at least part of the interview, Detective Rich used what is known as the “Reid technique.” This technique involves telling the interviewee that law enforcement officials have certain incriminating evidence (which they do not, in fact, have), in the hope that the interviewee will disclose factually accurate details about the event in question.”


    One of the core principals of the Reid Technique is to always conduct interrogations in accordance with the guidelines established by the courts.  The U.S. Supreme Court in Frazier v. Cupp (1969) stated that misrepresenting evidence to a suspect “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….”

    In our books and training program we advise the audience of this decision, but urge caution as to its application, stating:

    1. Introducing fictitious evidence during an interrogation presents a risk that the guilty suspect may detect the investigator’s bluff, resulting in a significant loss of credibility and sincerity. For this reason, we recommend that this tactic be used as a last resort effort. 
    2. This tactic should not be used for the suspect who acknowledges that he may have committed the crime even though he has no specific recollections of doing so. Under this circumstance, the introduction of such evidence may lead to claims that the investigator was attempting to convince the suspect that he, in fact, did commit the crime.
    3. 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.

    Dassey v. Dittman (2017) 

    from the dissenting opinion:

    “Courts have long expressed concern about approaches such as the Reid Technique that rely on psychological coercion. Just four years after the first edition of the manual was published, (1962) the Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona “repeatedly sighted and implicitly criticized” the Reid approach.”


    The Supreme Court’s references to the Reid approach in the Miranda opinion were 
    informational with respect to the current state of law enforcement interrogation practices at that time. In the Miranda decision the US Supreme Court referenced the book, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions by Fred Inbau and John Reid (1962) and the predecessor book Lie Detection and Criminal Interrogation(1953) a combined total of eleven times. 

    Click here for the exact text from the Miranda decision and the corresponding footnotes which reference the Inbau/Reid books:

    Also from the dissenting opinion:

    “For many years, the Reid technique has been criticized by scholars and experts for increasing the rate of false confessions. As far back as Miranda, the Supreme Court warned that “[e]ven without employing brutality, the ‘third degree’ ” used in the Reid technique “exacts a heavy toll on individual liberty and trades on the weakness of individuals,” and ‘may even give rise to a false confession.’”


    The Miranda court did not say that the Reid technique “exacts a heavy toll on individual liberty and trades on the weakness of individuals.” Their comment was made in reference to custody. The US Supreme Court specifically stated, “...the very fact of custodial interrogation exacts a heavy toll on individual liberty, and trades on the weakness of individuals.”

      6/1/2018Legal Updates Spring 2018

    The Legal Updates Spring 2018 column contains cases which address the following issues:

    • Court finds Dr. Richard Leo’s testimony of false confessions to be unreliable
    • Court rejects the testimony of Dr. Joseph Drumm on false confession issues  
    • Statements that suggest that judges or prosecutors may be more lenient on a defendant who they perceive as being honest and who “took responsibility” for his actions, do not promise any sort of leniency or guarantee any special treatment  
    • The value of recording the interrogation to refute the defendant’s claims  
    • Failure to consider and present expert testimony on the issue of false confessions was not indicative of ineffective counsel  
    • The value of recording to refute the defendant’s claims of coercion   
    • Court confirms acceptability of minimizing the moral seriousness of the offense  
    • Special Miranda warnings for juveniles in New York, as well as a special room for questioning

    Click here for updates.

      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 (

    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.

    Click Here to view earlier "What's New"