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Member Section => Down Range Cafe => Topic started by: Frosty on July 13, 2013, 06:06:31 pm

Title: From John Farnam: What to say to the police
Post by: Frosty on July 13, 2013, 06:06:31 pm
Info. to keep in mind

From John Farnam:

12 July 13

What to say to police:

When involved in a lethal-force incident, where you fired shots, otherwise attempted to apply deadly force, or even brandished a gun without firing, you'll likely be confronted by police a short time later. They're just doing their job, but you need to be the one to look after your own best interests.

In light of the recent "Salinas Case" ruling by the US Supreme Court, my advice to students in this regard has changed only slightly. In any event, it bears reiterating.

I've recently consulted with a group of distinguished a lawyers, who are also my friends and colleagues, on this subject, and what follows is in general agreement by all:

Simply "remaining silent" is not sufficient, by itself, to assure your rights and best interests are preserved. Interesting that we live in a country where you have to speak, in order to assert your right not to speak!

And, once one stops answering police questions and demands that his lawyer be present before continuing, he shouldn't start up again prior to his lawyer arriving. When he does, we get into an ambiguous situation, where the prosecution can later claim that, having asserted the right to remain silent at one point, the defendant subsequently changed his mind, thus, in effect, waiving his rights.

In addition, one should not wait until he is arrested to invoke his rights. Any time you are party to a police investigation, certainly when you are "Mirandized," your rights need to be unmistakably, unilaterally invoked, and without delay!

Invocation of your 5th Amendment rights to decline to answer questions and have your lawyer personally present before questioning resumes must be unconditional and unambiguous. "Do you think I should have an attorney?" won't suffice!

No need to be snotty, but you must be clear, and you must mean it! Confusion and ambiguity are always the enemy! Slam the door shut with a clear, unequivocal statement that you wish to exercise your 5th Amendment rights, now. Don't ask them what they think!

Insisting that police call an ambulance for you that will take you to a hospital may also be a good strategy. Most will agree that going to a hospital to be checked-over is probably good advice for anyone who has been involved in a lethal-force incident.

So, here is my advice when confronting arriving police in the wake of a lethal-force incident:

Palms out at chest-level, no weapons in sight:

1) "Officers, thank God you're here!"

2) "I'm the one who called."

3) "Those men:

(a) attacked us,

(b) tried to murder us.

(c) We were in fear for our lives"

4) "I will sign a complaint."

5 "I'm happy to chat with you when my lawyer is present. I absolutely request my attorney, and I am respectfully invoking my 5th Amendment Rights to decline to answer any questions until he is personally present, sir."

It is appropriate to call officers' attention to:

(a) evidence that may not be obvious,

(b) witnesses who may not be obvious,

(c) danger that may not be obvious (eg: an armed suspect still in the area)

Always be polite and non-threatening, but take a deep breath and speak clearly. Don't mumble and don't become chatty.

Finally, when you are "Mirandized," the officer will probably ask you, "Do you understand your rights, as I've explained them to you?"

The best answer is, "Officers, I'm not answering that question, nor any other, until my lawyer is here, nor will I sign, nor initial, any document."

We could go on for many more pages, but the foregoing pretty much sums it up. You must protect yourself, as no one else will!

"After victory, tighten the straps on your helmet."

Tokugawa Ieyasu, third and final "Great Unifier" of Japan, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate

/John
John S. Farnam

(In contrast to the advice in the book After You Shoot, I endorse the gist of John's advice. The key to it is another concept of John's - “programming tape loops” in advance. Mental rehearsal of what you will say is key to making the crucial statements, then not running on into chatter that may come back to haunt you. I would not wait for a Miranda warning to assert my rights to silence and counsel nor would I consent to a warrantless entry or search. I would assert the former at the first suggestion that anything more was being sought than my statement as a witness. A list member who recently retired as a prosecutor recommends not participating in “consensual” encounters initiated by officers. If stopped for something other than an obvious traffic violation – such as while walking – ask if you are free to leave. If stopped for a traffic violation, do the same if the officer continues conversing with you after he has issued the citation. Numerous people in and around the legal system advise simply saying “no” if asked if you understand your rights after a Miranda warning. To my knowledge, that question is not required by the Miranda ruling and is normally just a part of a departmental protocol. Don't get sucked into discussing what part you don't understand – if asked, simply say “I'm not a lawyer.” The Salinas ruling – along with the Zimmerman trial – should serve to emphasize all these points.)
Title: Re: From John Farnam: What to say to the police
Post by: mortdooley on July 15, 2013, 07:16:03 am
 A lawyer told me that generally a guilty man doesn't talk and an innocent man won't shut up. A smart one says I was in fear for my life, I want st speak to an attorney and then only repeats it. The Police at this point are not your friend, do not  help them build a case against you!
Title: Re: From John Farnam: What to say to the police
Post by: Catalina on July 16, 2013, 06:21:19 am
Great list.  Great advice.  I think I might have some difficulty recalling all of the particulars after defending, myself, children or wife from a deadly encounter, but that's just me.

Whatever happened to John Farnam's wonderful "quips" page?
Title: Re: From John Farnam: What to say to the police
Post by: Sumitgarg on August 30, 2013, 03:15:11 am
There may be many reasons why you are stopped by the police and asked to produce a specimen of breath. These reasons could include the fact that you have been involved in an road traffic accident, you have been speeding, you have been involved in a hit and run accident, you have been driving in an unsafe manner giving the police cause for concern or you have driven through a red light.
tenant check (http://www.theinvfirm.com/criminal_defense.html)
Title: Re: From John Farnam: What to say to the police
Post by: MikeBjerum on August 30, 2013, 07:12:08 am
I don't see anything different in there from Massad's list.
Title: Re: From John Farnam: What to say to the police
Post by: tombogan03884 on August 30, 2013, 03:47:29 pm
One thing to keep in mind that has not been mentioned . You MUST SPECIFY that you are exercising your 5th Amendment Right to remain silent .
The SCOTUS has issued a couple screwy rulings the last couple years where a suspect has remained silent without specifying 5th A and cops continued questioning and used his silence as evidence against him.
Title: Re: From John Farnam: What to say to the police
Post by: santahog on September 01, 2013, 12:33:05 am
One thing to keep in mind that has not been mentioned . You MUST SPECIFY that you are exercising your 5th Amendment Right to remain silent .
The SCOTUS has issued a couple screwy rulings the last couple years where a suspect has remained silent without specifying 5th A and cops continued questioning and used his silence as evidence against him.
This is kinda like the rapist getting off because he didn't hear her explicitly say "No"..
You can add whatever color you wish to the scenario..
Title: Re: From John Farnam: What to say to the police
Post by: TAB on September 01, 2013, 12:40:09 am
also you can only plead the 5th( in court or to a grand jury) if you would actually incrimante yourself.   the tm thing has really shown how the media can totally f things up.  If it had been reported with out bias, it would have went something like this.   "A youth was shot and killed during a confrontation with a  Nieghborhood watch voluneer.   we have few details at this time."  notice how thier is no use of race and no speculation?  When has any news media done that in the last 50 years?
Title: Re: From John Farnam: What to say to the police
Post by: fatbaldguy on September 01, 2013, 06:48:46 am
You always have the right to remain silent.  Just exercise your rights under the Miranda ruling.  You have to have the ability too.
Title: Re: From John Farnam: What to say to the police
Post by: TAB on September 01, 2013, 09:15:28 am
TRy it in court, unless you accoune you are taking the 5th.  You will be in jail for contempt of court.
Title: Re: From John Farnam: What to say to the police
Post by: fatbaldguy on September 01, 2013, 11:06:33 am
TRy it in court, unless you accoune you are taking the 5th.  You will be in jail for contempt of court.

TAB, who, other than you, said anything about being in court?  The title of the thread is what I was addressing.  'What to say to the police'.

The police are only in court as witnesses.  I know you are young and easily led astray.  Focus young grasshopper! ;D