BSE:“Never talk to the police!”
Everyone I talk to: “Why not? I don’t have anything to hide.”
Why not talk to the police
Here are a few reasons why you should never talk to the police, even you, you there with nothing whatsoever to hide.
First, nothing you say can ever help you in court. The Rules of Evidence (Hearsay) prevent the police officer from repeating anything you told him that might help you.
Second, even completely honest, exculpatory answers can incriminate you if another witness says something else. If you say you weren’t in Rochester the day the murder was committed, but an old girlfriend testifies that she thought she saw you there, even if she made an honest mistake, who do you think the jury will believe? The person with a motive to lie about his whereabouts or the person with no motive to lie?
Third, even an honest cop may make a mistake. He asks you about the night of the shooting. You say you weren’t in Rochester. Officer testifies that he never mentioned a shooting, you volunteered that information, proving that you knew the means of the crime. You can argue until you’re blue in the face that the officer brought up the gun first. But the jury will believe the person testifying while wearing a police uniform, badge, and gun every time.
This blog post is shamelessly adapted from a presentation by Professor James Duane, available in video form here: