In Praise of the Fifth Amendment
, the title is Don't Talk to Police
, which is actually a better title than mine, but something appeals to me about the one I chose (which is used in the body of the video. It's almost 50 minutes long. The first half is a talk by Professor James Duane
of the Regent University School of Law
, and former defense attorney; the second half comprises commentary by then Virginia Beach Police Department Officer George Bruch, now an Assistant Commonwealth Attorney
for Virginia. It's excellent! Both entertaining and
highly informative. Here's a transcript of one interesting minute:
There was a local news story here in the Virginia Pilot just a couple months ago about an experienced criminal defense lawyer who ended up getting convicted of criminal assault because he talked to the police. He was accused of having assaulted another attorney in the hallway. There were no other witnesses to this. A woman said he grabbed her by the throat during an argument over a case. He denied it.
At trial it was his word against
hers. He said, "I did not even touch her." But unfortunately for him, when the
police had approached him earlier and said, "Would you be willing to answer some
questions?" he said, "Sure. Why not? I'm an
attorney. I'm a criminal defense attorney. I'm savvy. I'm sophisticated. I've got oratorical prowess.
I'm accustomed to dealing with the police. By all means." And then there was a
conversation that was not recorded.
When the case went to trial it was no
longer his word against hers, because when he testified at trial, "I
never touched her," the officer took to the stand and testified, "Well, when I met with him he said he did
put his hand on her throat but just as a joke."
Then he had to take the stand again and say, "That's not true. I never said that. I never admitted to you that I did that." Now it's his word against two people. But who's telling the truth? We'll never know for sure, but he was found guilt.
In summary, when should one voluntarily talk to police without an attorney present? Never, NEVER, NEVER
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