This low-quality video out of Washington (about which I am intentionally not providing much in the way of background information) demonstrates just how challenging it can be for some people to remember that when they are on the receiving side of an interrogation, the only intelligent move is to invoke your rights.
I want to take this opportunity to clarify some things as best I can (while noting that nothing I write here is legal advice):
Some find it strange, but in order to invoke your right to remain silent you MUST speak. Merely remaining silent or using your body language is insufficient. Not only that, but you must invoke your rights by speaking in a clear and unambiguous manner. Again: If you want your invocation to legally count you must state that you wish to remain silent verbally and unambiguously. The only alternative is that *you have waived your right to remain silent.*
Any of the following should suffice:
“I am invoking my Miranda Rights. I will not answer your questions and I want to speak with my attorney.”
“I refuse to answer questions and want to contact an attorney.”
You can even say, “I am invoking my right against self-incrimination.”
Now, you heard the officers in this video badgering their subject about how obvious it was that his silence implied his guilt. So why would you invoke your rights by explicitly referencing your right against self-incrimination? Isn’t that incriminating? No!
Realize that the only reason those officers were legally allowed to do what they did is because the subject in this video never actually invoked his rights until the very end of the video.
At which point – as you saw – the interview immediately ended. That was not a coincidence!
However someone asserts their right to remain silent, it must be remembered that they people are allowed to change their mind. How might that change be communicated? By speaking or answering questions! Therefore, if you ever invoke your right to remain silent it is incumbent upon you to show with your actions that you are in fact invoking your right. Be quiet. Your ambiguity can undermine even your explicit statements.
Don’t be the guy in this video. He may be innocent of all charges and he may be guilty, but speaking with the police did nothing to help his case.
In an upcoming video I will show you someone who tries to invoke his rights ambiguously – through his silence – and who would have been far better served by speaking the few words necessary to clearly invoke.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not note that it can certainly be appropriate to speak with police officers — if you are the one who called them.
It may seem as though I am trying to protect criminals. Absolutely not! Police interrogations in the United States have a goal, and it’s not “finding out the truth.” That goal – the purpose of the Reid Technique – is obtaining confessions. From whomever is sitting in front of you.
Stay safe out there.
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