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  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

Current What's New:
  2/12/2020 Clarifying 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 that:
  • 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.  (Updated February 2020)

Click Here

  12/31/2019Telephone Interviewing Techniques Part One (January/Feburary Investigator Tip)
Certainly the ideal circumstance for an investigative interview is a face-to-face meeting with the subject.  However, due to a variety of factors, it is becoming more and more frequent for investigators to conduct telephone interviews.  Part One of this Investigator Tip will highlight some of the issues to consider and the guidelines to follow in order to conduct an effective telephone investigative interview.  Part Two will focus on the verbal and paralinguistic behaviors that the investigator should listen for during the interview that will help assess the credibility of the information provided by the subject. 



Click here for the Tip.

  12/19/2019No case supports the contention that using the Reid technique renders and adult’s confession inadmissible

In the case State v. Belaunde (December 2019) the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division when considering the voluntariness of the defendant’s incriminating statement, stated in their opinion that "No case supports the contention that using the Reid technique renders an adult’s confession inadmissible. A suspect will have a “natural reluctance ... to admit to the commission of a crime and furnish details.” Miller, 76 N.J. at 403. Therefore, “an interrogating officer ... [may] dissipate this reluctance and persuade the person to talk ... as long as the will of the suspect is not overborne.” Ibid. Recognizing that the “[q]uestioning of a suspect almost necessarily involves the use of psychological factors,” our Supreme Court held that “appealing to a person's sense of decency and urging him to tell the truth for his own sake are applications of psychological principals,” that are permissible. Id. at 405. Likewise, “[t]he fact that the police lie to a suspect does not, by itself, render a confession involuntary.” Galloway, 133 N.J. at 655.



Click here for the complete decision.

  12/16/2019Legal Updates Fall 2019
The Legal Updates Fall 2019 column contains cases which address the following issues:
  • The investigator’s discussion of religion during defendant's interrogation did not rise to the level of a beneficial promise
  • Court reject’s defendant’s claim that his confession was coerced because he was held in custody overnight for approximately twelve hours prior to his confession with minimal sleep and no food and water 
  • Court details criteria to consider in determining custody 
  • Telling the defendant that cooperation would be his best option did not amount to a promise of leniency 
  • The value of video recording the interrogation  (Case 1)   
  • The value of video recording the interrogation  (Case 2)  
  • Court outlines acceptable interrogator techniques  
  • Advising the defendant that the alleged victim (a minor) was claiming the sexual conduct was forcible which the investigator described as rape, while stating that he (the investigator) believed the conduct could have been consensual, was not coercive (Value of recording)
  • Confession suppressed because unequivocal invocation of right to a lawyer was ignored (Value of recording)  
  • Is the statement “They [will] throw the book at you” a threat?

Click here for the updates

  12/16/2019Cases that demonstrate the value of electronically recording interrogations
Since 2007 we have been posting on our website in our quarterly Legal Update columns court decisions that illustrate the value of electronically recording interrogations. These cases illustrate the importance of the recordings to demonstrate the unfounded defendant claims of coercive interrogation techniques, as well as instances when the interrogator did act improperly.  We have prepared a document that highlights over 40 of these cases for your review. 

If you want to find additional cases go to www.reid.com and Search “The Value of Recording Interrogations.”

Click here for the complete document.

  11/8/2019Should Investigators Be Allowed To Lie About Evidence To A Subject During Interrogation?

The state of New York is considering legislation that would prohibit investigators from lying to a subject about evidence in the case, such as indicating to the subject during the interrogation that there is a DNA match with samples taken from the victim; that there is a witness who says that they saw the subject commit the crime; that the subject’s finger prints were found at the scene of the crime; or that an accomplice made an incriminating statement implicating the subject in the commission of the crime.  Let’s examine what the courts say about investigators lying about evidence, whether or not lying about evidence is likely to cause a false confession, and what we teach about the use of deception during an interrogation.  



Click here for the complete article

  10/15/2019John E. Reid and Associates has filed a lawsuit against Netflix
On Monday, October 14, 2019, John E. Reid and Associates filed a lawsuit against Netflix in federal court in Chicago and alleges that Netflix and others defamed Reid in the broadcast of the series, When They See Us

We have attached a copy of the complaint for your review.

  9/27/2019Legal Updates Summer 2019
The Legal Updates Summer 2019 column contains cases which address the following issues:
  • Investigator’s promises rendered the defendant’s confession involuntary (Case 1)
  • Investigator’s promises rendered the defendant’s confession involuntary (Case 2)
  • Defendant does not have to know the issue he will be questioned about to make a knowing and intelligent waiver of rights
  • Confession voluntariness and the value of recording the interrogation (Case 1)  
  • Confession voluntariness and the value of recording the interrogation (Case 2)

Click here for the updates

  9/18/2019The Reid Technique…..Here’s What’s Really Going On

The Reid Technique is the most widely used and well-known method of questioning subjects in the world because of its efficiency and built in safeguards to protect the innocent and identify the guilty.  However, because the name is so universally known, it has become attached to all interview and interrogation techniques….even those that are egregious and that we teach never to employ.


It’s like the name Kleenex. When someone asks for a tissue, even when they refer to it as a kleenex, they do not necessarily mean the brand name…..but the term kleenex has became the universal term for a tissue.  So to has the Reid name become associated with all interrogation techniques – even those that are bad.


Here is what we do teach:


Click here for the complete article

  9/16/2019Professor Alan Hirsch misrepresents the Reid Technique
It was brought to our attention that in the case Ohio v. Richardson (broadcast on Court TV) that Professor Alan Hirsch testified on behalf of the defense stating that in his opinion, the confession made by the defendant was coerced and included in his testimony a statement that the investigators used a very aggressive  version of the Reid Technique in which they promised the defendant that nothing would happen to them if they confessed.

While we do not know what was said in this interrogation - we have not see the transcript or video - we teach that investigators should never make a promise of leniency to the subject.  Professor Hirsch has repeatedly tried to claim that the Reid Technique is coercive, but as one federal judge stated, "Although Professor Hirsch insisted that “there is a wealth of information about the risks of the Reid technique,” he could point to none.” *

Here are the core principles of the Reid Technique:

    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 
   Withhold information about the details of the crime from the subject so that if the subject confesses the disclosure of that information can be used to confirm the authenticity of the statement 
    Exercise special cautions when questioning juveniles or individuals with mental or psychological impairments 
    Always treat the subject with dignity and respect
   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

* US v. Jacques (784 F.Supp.2d 59)  Here is a more complete statement from the Judge re Alan Hirsch: 

“In his declaration and at the hearing, Professor Hirsch explained that the primary cause of “coerced compliant” confessions are certain interrogation methods employed by law enforcement, including a widely used method known as the Reid technique….Beyond his own intuition, however, Professor Hirsch offered no basis for concluding that these tactics had any tendency necessarily to cause false, rather than true, confessions.

... Professor Hirsch's declaration offered no other evidence of the danger of certain police interrogation tactics, and the Reid technique in particular, except to say that “the use of these tactics [employed in the Reid technique] and their correlation with false confessions are extensively documented in the literature....Despite this broad statement, he did not provide any further explanation…”

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.”



  9/6/2019This entry is for reporters doing a story that includes a reference to or discussion about the Reid Technique

Here are a few links to articles or postings from this What’s New page that you may find to be of some interest and value if you will be writing an article on the issue of interrogation and The Reid Technique:

  • What questions should be asked to determine the voluntariness and validity of a subject’s confession?   See entry 8/27/2019
  • Don’t Be Fooled –They use the core elements of the Reid Technique
  • Development of THE REID TECHNIQUE®
  • Modifying Techniques When Questioning Juveniles and Individuals with Mental or Psychological Disabilities - See 6/28/2019 entry
  • If they had followed the core principles of the Reid Technique these false confessions would not have occurred  - See 6/27/2019 entry
  • Netflix Defames Reid - See 6/19/2019 entry
  • References to John E. Reid and Associates in Making a Murderer Part 2  - See 11/05/2018 entry
  • Reid and the Innocence Project  - See 3/29/2018 entry
  • Clarifying Misrepresentations about Law Enforcement Interrogation Techniques  - See 1/26/2018 entry
  •  “There’s a lot of gold in the Reid interrogation manual and on reid.com and we really really encourage you guys to go up there and cite that material” - See 6/05/2017 entry
  • The development of then-cnfrontational interview - See 5/18/2017 entry
  • How the courts view the Reid Technique   - See 1/25/2017 entry and recent entry dated 8/20/2019
  • International research validates the core principles of the Reid Technique - See 5/11/2015 entry


  8/27/2019September/October 2019 Investigator Tip

What questions should be asked to determine the voluntariness and validity of a subject’s confession?

While there are numerous issues to consider in the process of evaluating the voluntariness and validity of a subject’s confession, the following questions may be helpful in making such an assessment. 



Click here for the Investigator Tip

  8/21/2019How the Courts View Interview and Interrogation Techniques

On a quarterly basis we publish on our website Legal Updates, providing our clients and readers with the latest in court decisions on a variety of interrogation and confession issues.  In this article we will highlight some of those recent decisions regarding: 

  • Minimization
  • Misrepresenting evidence to a subject
  • Improper interrogation techniques
  • The value of recording interrogations 

Click here.

  7/24/2019Don’t Be Fooled – They use the core elements of the Reid Technique

The Reid Technique is the foundation for many training programs on effective interviewing and interrogation techniques.  Regardless of what some may claim, an independent audit of their course content will confirm the use the core elements of the Reid Technique.  We will provide you with an illustration in this article.  



Click here

  7/23/2019Development of THE REID TECHNIQUE®

THE REID TECHNIQUE® has evolved extensively over the years to become the most current and up to date training program available on investigative interviewing and interrogation techniques, continually monitoring legal decisions and interrogation research.  Here is a brief overview of the development of THE REID TECHNIQUE over the last 72 years. 


Click here

  7/01/2019Legal Updates Spring 2019
The Legal Updates Spring 2019 column contains cases which address the following issues:

  • Court details acceptable interrogation statements
  • Vermont Supreme Court upholds confession obtained after false claim of DNA evidence
  • False evidence statements about fingerprints and witnesses were not coercive
  • Value of video recording; MA Supreme Court finds misrepresenting evidence and minimization were not coercive
  • Court decision rejects the testimony of false confession expert Dr. Richard Ofshe
  • Officer's misrepresentations of the law coupled with constant misrepresentations regarding appellant's position deemed confession involuntary

Click here for the updates

  6/28/2019Modifying Techniques When Questioning Juveniles and Individuals with Mental or Psychological Disabilities
In our training program we highlight the importance on exercising caution when questioning a juvenile or mentally impaired person.  As an example see pages 19-21 in this article, Clarifying Misrepresentations About Law Enforcement Interrogation Techniques.  

According to The National Registry of Exonerations, a very high percentage of false confessions come from mentally impaired individuals.  From their website:

All sorts of people falsely confess, but two groups are particularly vulnerable: young suspects and those with mental disabilities.

mental illness or disability.jpg 

 Source: National Registry of Exonerations
 

In 1983, for example, Earl Washington, a 22-year-old black man with an IQ of about 69, was arrested in Culpeper, Virginia, for burglary and malicious wounding. Over two days of questioning, Washington “confessed” to five separate crimes, four of which were not pursued because his confessions did not match the actual crimes and the victims could not identify Washington as the criminal.

Washington’s fifth confession, however, was to a murder, that of Rebecca Lynn Williams. His initial version—before police officers cleaned it up—was riddled with errors. He did not know the race of the victim (white), the address where she was killed, or that she was raped. Nonetheless, Washington was convicted and sentenced to death in January 1984. He was exonerated by DNA 16 years later, in 2000.  (We testified on behalf of Washington for the Innocence Project)

Overall, of exonerees with reported mental illness or intellectual disability, 72 percent had confessed.


percent confession age.jpg 
Source: National Registry of Exonerations
 

Young suspects fared almost as badly. Forty percent of exonerees who were under 18 at the time of the crime falsely confessed, including 53 percent of 14- and 15-year olds, and 86 percent of the few who were 13 years old or younger. By comparison, only 7 percent of adult exonerees without reported mental disabilities falsely confessed. 



  6/27/2019If they had followed the core principles of the Reid Technique these false confessions would not have occurred

In an article published in Science, titled, This psychologist explains why people confess to crimes they didn’t commit, Professor Saul Kassin, a psychologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, discusses the issue of false confessions – these are the cases that he references re false confessions and the interrogation tactics that he describes for each case:


Huwe Burton – “after hours of being threatened”


Amanda Knox – “was coerced into confessing the murder of her roommate” [she was interrogated by police in Italy]


John Kogurt – “after an 18 hour interrogation”


Barry Laughman – “a man with a capacity of a ten year old after police falsely told him they found his fingerprints at the scene”


Central Park Five (jogger case) – “after [42*] hours of interrogation”


* in the Netflix series about the Central Park Five one of the investigators describes the interrogation of the 5 juveniles as follows: “You squeezed statements out of them, after 42 hours of questioning and coerciveness without food, bathroom breaks, withholding parental supervision…”


It is interesting to note that in each of these cases if the core principles of the Reid Technique had been followed, false confessions would not have occurred. 

The best way to avoid false confessions is to conduct interrogations in accordance with the guidelines established by the courts, and to adhere to the following practices:

  • 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 

  • Withhold information about the details of the crime from the subject so that if the subject confesses the disclosure of that information can be used to confirm the authenticity of the statement 

  • Exercise special cautions when questioning juveniles or individuals with mental or psychological impairments 

  • Always treat the subject with dignity and respect

  • 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 

We have published in our books and in our training manuals that the use of deception (as described in the Barry Laughman case referenced above)  “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.”


In fact, in the case People v. Elias (2015) 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 – these procedures that were not followed included: 

  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 

The Reid core principles should be adopted by every investigator to ensure that proper procedures are being followed and to minimize the possibility of a false confession.


For additional information see Clarifying Misrepresentations About Law Enforcement Interrogation Techniques




  6/19/2019Netflix Defames Reid


In the Netflix 4 part series  “When They See Us,” the creators attempt to re-create the story of the Central Park Jogger case, in which 5 juveniles were alleged to have falsely confessed to the assault of a female jogger in Central Park.  In the series there is no actual footage of the interviews or interrogations of these suspects, but rather they recreate the interrogations as they think they happened.  They have actors playing the roles of the various characters, including the investigators. 


In episode 4 there is a specific reference to the Reid Technique - here is the statement:


An investigator is speaking to one of the investigators who obtained one of the confessions, stating to him:  “You squeezed statements out of them, after 42 hours of questioning and coerciveness without food, bathroom breaks, withholding parental supervision, the Reid Technique has been universally rejected.  That’s truth to you.”


Inv:  “I don’t know what the f------- Reid Technique is…I know what I was taught, I know what I was asked to do.” 


The very clear and obvious idea that the creators are making is that the Reid Technique is coercive and teaches investigators to conduct excessively long interrogations, to deny subjects the opportunity to use the washroom or to get something to eat or drink, and to deny subjects their rights.  


Nothing could be further from the truth, and Netflix knows this.


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. 


The suggestion by Netflix, or anyone else that the Reid Technique is in any way coercive or “has been universally rejected” is baseless.  As one federal court has 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.” U.S. v. Jacques


The following are the core principles of the Reid Technique, consistent with the Innocence Project (which has hired our services to assist them in several cases):


  • 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

  • Withhold information about the details of the crime from the subject so that if the subject confesses the disclosure of that information can be used to confirm the authenticity of the statement

  • Exercise special cautions when questioning juveniles or individuals with mental or psychological impairments

  • Always treat the subject with dignity and respect

  • 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

For additional information see Clarifying Misrepresentations of Law Enforcement Interrogation Techniques



  6/1/2019Legal Updates Winter 2019
The Legal Updates Winter 2019 column contains cases which address the following issues:
  • Court upholds minimization techniques and suggesting justifications for the crime
  • Court rejects defendant’s claim that his confession should have been suppressed because the investigators statements “improperly induced hope that his confession would benefit him”
  • What interrogation techniques are “coercive and deceptive?”
  • Vermont Supreme Court describes elements of a non-custodial interview and elements to consider in evaluating coercion

Click here for the updates

Click Here to view earlier "What's New"