Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The New York Times raises some important questions about how we ask questions

Now here's a NYTimes piece every judge, trial lawyer, detective, and P.I. ought to find very, very interesting: Judging Honesty by Words, Not Fidgets.

Here's what's intriguing, and what ought to be seriously considered here in the States:

One broad, straightforward principle has changed police work in Britain: seek information, not a confession. In the mid-1980s, following cases of false confessions, British courts prohibited officers from using some aggressive techniques, like lying about evidence to provoke suspects, and required that interrogations be taped.

Dr. (Ray) Bull (a professor of forensic psychology), who has analyzed scores of interrogation tapes, said the police had reported no drop-off in the number of confessions, nor major miscarriages of justice arising from false confessions. In one 2002 survey, researchers in Sweden found that less-confrontational interrogations were associated with a higher likelihood of confession. (Emphasis added.)
Folks, there's absolutely no reason we shouldn't explore and use the best investigative techniques available. (I'm looking at you, JPD Homicide detectives. Record all of your interviews.) Doing so achieves two societal goals: guilty people behind bars, and innocent ones on the street.

h/t to my old pal lotus.

No comments: