Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Ten Commandments as to Why You Should Remain Silent When Questioned By a Law Enforcement Officer

1.              It is only until recent times under western civilization in which someone had the right to remain silent.  Throughout history people confronted by the police were tortured until they confessed (even today in some countries, China, Iran, North Korea, among others) The constitution of the United States affords that scared privilege of remaining silent without torture, why give up that right.
2.              When police decide to question you that usually means they do not have enough evidence to arrest or charge you.  If they have sufficient probable cause for an arrest or charge most often they will just take you into custody.  If they start to ask you questions first that usually means that they do not have enough evidence and they are asking you to convict yourself out of your own mouth.
3.              Under federal law giving a wrong, false, or misleading answer to a federal agent in of itself is a crime.
4.              When someone starts talking they usually get carried away with themselves, get careless, become forgetful, and might even say something that might harm themselves.  In other words, false confessions are more common than we might think.  Even with an intelligent suspect under questioning by an aggressive police officer, there is a chance that an innocent suspect might say something that makes them sound guilty.
5.              Cops are trained to dominant the conversation during an interrogation, and if you begin talking and telling your side of the story, which they disagree with, they will cut you off, and not allow to speak about your innocence’s.  So in other words as long as you are talking about your guilt you are free to speak, when you speak about being innocent you will be ignored, interrupted and cut off.
6.              Words and the meaning of words are powerful tools.  Even when you give a confession in which you assert your innocence’s, the law enforcement officer taking down your statement will usually not give a word for word interpretation of what you are saying, but his opinion of what you are saying, which of course, will make you sound guilty, or hiding something.  Words are powerful and will bite you in the butt at trial or with a motion.
7.              Don’t fall for the bait that only innocent people remain silent, or the second bait trap that this is your time to give you side of the story.  When it is time to give your side of the story it will be at trial, or after speaking with your attorney. If you want to give your side of the story it will be on your terms not on the terms of aggressive interrogators on their turf and on their terms.  For mothers, don’t fool for the trap that the cop will call DYFS and have your children taken away if you don’t talk.  It is illegal for them to say that, but they use it all the time.
8.              If you are under arrest it is for a reason. After handling thousands of criminal cases for 23 years I never met a suspect that was able to talk him or her out of being arrested, charged and detained, by giving a statement.  In fact, it is usually the other way around, someone you enters the police station through the front door innocent without the police having any probable cause for an arrest, leave the back door in cuffs because of their big mouth.  Don’t be fool for the trick that we are looking to get your side of the story so that you can go home.
9.              Our law provides that anyone subject to police questioning has the right to consult a NJ Criminal Defense lawyer prior to questioning.  If you speak first, without consulting a lawyer, the damage might have already been done, and there might be very little the criminal defense attorney can do after the fact.
10.         Lastly, as all fishermen know, “I fish doesn’t get caught until it opens its mouth.”

I hope you have found my insights helpful and of course, I wish you good luck, and that justice be done with your not guilty verdict.

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
P.O. Box 261
277 North Broad Street
Elizabeth, N.J. 07207
Office:  (908) 354-7006
Cell:    (201) 240-5716
Dated: January 1, 2013

“If you want peace work for justice.” Pope John Paul, I

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