Sunday, March 20, 2011

Don't waive your rights. Ever.

Ken, a defense attorney who posts over at Popehat, helpfully reminds us of the importance of keeping one's mouth shut when being detained and questioned (whether rightly or wrongly) by Federal law enforcement, lest your fumbling words be twisted around and used as the sole basis for a felony charge of lying to the FBI:

"When the authorities ask you questions, they are not out to 'clear this thing up so we can let you go.' They are not your friends. They do not want to help. They are very likely not trying to learn anything or discover anything."

You might be very personally charming, but you aren't going to talk your way out of serious trouble.  Even if the circumstances driving your detainment are all based on a huge misunderstanding, you run a big risk of being indicted anyway because of an innocent comment on your part.  Shut up and insist on contacting a lawyer.

Go read his entire post.  It just might save you a lot of grief someday.

1 comment:

Ken Hood said...

Had only poor Martha read this post before spending 4 months at Camp White Collar Felony.

Great reminder. I have almost brainwashed my teenage kids with this lesson. They get sick of hearing it. But I hope that some day it keeps them from being railroaded for something they didn't do.

Dad: "Son... what do you say when you any law enforcement asks you what happened?"

Son: "Officer, I really want to cooperate. But I have to speak with an attorney before answering any questions."

Dad: "Then what do you do?"

Son: "I shut up."

Good boy.

I've always promised them... "if you actually did the crime" I'm gonna be the first one to tell the judge to "lock you up."

But how many young people are presumed guilty by the cops on *zero* evidence. It happens all too often.