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The Ethics of Deceptive Interrogation

When a crime is committed it is the law enforcement officers job to investigate and realize the events that took place and the reasons why the crime was committed in order to solve the said crime and part of the investigation process involved aside from the collection of evidence at the crime scene is the identification and subsequent interrogation of suspects and even witnesses. And sometimes, the police find it is necessary to make use deceptive tactics if they believe it will be of use in order to get a suspect to confess to the felony or a witness to tell the truth.

In this regard this paper intends to examine the interrogatory phase of police investigations, speaking in terms of the jurisprudence of interrogation, common deceptive interrogation practices, and the ethics of police deception. It can be surmised that three conflicting principles often motivate the laws of confessions, the rationale in truth-finding, due process and the deterrence principle (Skolnick & Leo, 1993). One might realize that its importance lies in the sense that police interrogatory deception can undermine public confidence and social cooperation and may eventually result in the conviction of innocent people.

Because physical force is no longer a suitable means to elicit confessions, the authorities make use of coercive psychological strategies employed in law enforcement (Lassiter, 2004). According to Skolnick & Leo (1993) the typology of interrogatory deception presented discusses interview versus interrogation, Miranda admonitions, misrepresentation of the nature or seriousness of the offense, role playing, misrepresentation of the moral seriousness of the offense, the use of promises, the misrepresentation of identity, and fabricated evidence.

Police Interrogations One can note that coercive schemes were commonly administered in the American law enforcement. It was not strange for a suspect to be interrogated for hours with no food, water, or sleep. Confessions acquired through whipping and physical torture were customarily employed. ‘Third degree’ methods like torture that utilize physical and mental torment in order to break suspects into pleading guilty (Leo, 2004). These types of psychological manipulation begin even before the interrogator even opens his mouth.

The physical layout of an interrogation room is designed to maximize a suspect’s discomfort and sense of powerlessness from the moment he steps inside. This creates a sense of exposure, unfamiliarity and isolation, heightening the suspect’s sensation of wanting to bolt out all throughout the interrogation. According to Janofsky (2006) many police officers believe that obtaining psychological command over the suspect is a significant constituent used by police to obtain confession.

Meissner and Kassin (2004) noted that it might be construed that confessions have such dominant and rippling effects within the justice system that investigations of the personal and situational factors that lead people, both guilty and innocent alike, to confess in response to various police interrogation practices are of interest to researchers. Pre-interrogation Interview The pre-interrogation interview is a very important stage in the interrogation procedure. The rationale of this interview is to gain various elements of information from the interviewee, namely behavioural cues to dishonesty.

These cues are then interpreted and utilized to determine the interviewee’s guilt or innocence (Kassin & Gudjonnson, 2004). This will also set the stage as to how the continuing interrogation will proceed. The Reid Technique Many police detectives have employed the Reid technique of interrogation in conducting their interrogation of suspects in their cases. As outlined by Zulawski and Wicklander (1998), the technique is briefly discussed in the following segments: Step One: Direct Positive Confrontation A. Presentation of facts to the suspect. B.

Mention of evidence, real or unreal. C. Suspect is informed that he is part of the crime. D. Behavioral examination of suspect. E. Restatement of confrontation, stronger or weaker. Step Two: Theme Development A. Switch chapter from the conflict. B. Propose reasons that will justify or excuse the commission of the crime. C. Behavioral assessment of suspect to choose proper theme. D. Longest portion of 9 steps. Step Three: Stopping Denials A. Both guilty and innocent rebuff the offense at question. B. Starts early, during direct positive confrontation. C.

Absence of denials in second step point towards probable guilt. D. Interrogator identifies and stops denial before it is completed. E. Development is indicated by termination or declining of denials. Step Four: Overcoming Objections A. Suspect put forward a reason why he supposedly did not commit the crime. B. More often than not offered by only the guilty. C. Designate progress in the interrogation if specified after denials. D. Handled in another way than contradictions by first listening and accommodating. E. Accurate handling of protests helps overcome the subject’s resistance.

Step Five: Getting the Suspect’s Attention A. Suspect is on distrustful and is edgy and perplexed. B. The themes will only be effective if the suspect is listening. C. Interrogator reaches the crest of sincerity in his spiels. D. Physical proximity and use of vocal techniques to grasp attention. E. Physical gestures of sincerity are used to ascertain attitudes of sympathy and concern. Step Six: The Suspect Quiets and Listens A. The physical signs of submission begin to emerge. B. The themes are abridged and direct toward alternatives. C.

Establishment of eye contact is very vital at this point both by vocal and physical techniques. D. Tears or crying at this phase positively points toward the suspect’s guilt. Step Seven: Alternatives A. Non-threatening to suspect they concern some small aspect of the felony. B. Gives choice between adequate reason and intolerable reason for committing the felony. C. One option is stressed to lead subject to prefer the positive alternative. D. Either selection is an admittance of guilt. Step Eight: Bringing the Suspect into the Conversation.

A. The recognition of one alternative is toughened by the interrogator. B. The suspect is encouraged to talk about characteristic of the crime. C. The use of pragmatic words is initiated by the interrogator. D. Initial substantiation of the confession is commenced. E. Verbal witnessing of admissions by two individuals. Step Nine: The Confession A. Reduction of verbal proclamation into written, typed, or electronically recorded form. B. Voluntariness of declaration is ascertained along with corroboration of particulars. C.

Suspect’s signing of declaration is observed by two or more persons. Post Interrogation Interview: A. Presents a technique to establish technique efficiency. B. Keeps guilty suspect in proper frame of mind during preparation of formal statement. C. Permits interrogator to cool down an innocent suspect who was brazen out. (Zulawski & Wicklander, 1998) Key Points: • The Reid technique points out that the suspect really not permitted to speak much until step 8. • The technique is not disturbed with voluntariness of the statement until the police are recording the statement at the end of Step 9.

• It should be noted that if at any point during the interrogation, the suspect was able to ask for a lawyer or call upon his right to silence, the interrogation is to be stopped without delay, that’s why for this technique to be effective it is important to interrupt the suspect’s attempts to talk in the initial stages – if he is able to call on his rights, the questioning is ended. The steps laid out here represent some of the psychological techniques that detectives use to get confessions from suspects. But one must realize that in a real interrogation, the actual event does not always follow the textbook.

Researchers have also revealed that law breakers, specially the seasoned ones are often improved at distinguishing deception than others and police officers and interrogators, perhaps because they obtain feedback more often regarding their presentation in deceiving. This results in criminals having less conventional attitude about deception (Granhag et al. , 2004; Hartwig et al. , 2004). The interrogator might also be sheltered against the self-assessment partiality in the event that failure to detect deception or inaccurately detect deception will not be so damaging to an interrogator’s sense of self (Elaad, 2003).

In this sense a police officer or interrogator must be knowledgeable on the deceitful tactics of criminals in order to assess if indeed as suspect is lying. Police Ethics Police ethics is a division of applied normative, ethics. Applied ethics is the field that holds ethical theory accountable to practice and professional practice accountable to theory. Therefore, the theorists should not order to professional the norms that are believed to govern their professional practices without a thorough understanding of that practice.

Then again, the professionals have to comprehend that their familiarity and perception are inadequate for justifiable verdict, and that all their restrictions do not excuse their conclusion from ethical examination the constitution of our moral obligations from three simple, readily apparent facts about humans: • People are embodied. They subsist in time and space and are subject to physical laws. The implication for ethics is that the relief of that suffering and the satisfaction of those needs should be out first concern, giving rise to duties of empathy, non-maleficence, and beneficence. • People are social.

Whatever troubles they have with their corporal surroundings, they have to solve them in groups, which generate a new set of troubles. The social atmosphere produces two additional requirements: a social structure to coordinate social efforts, and means of contact. In relation to ethics, it is a simple fact that we must take in consideration each other or other individuals in all our deeds. We have responsibilities to the social group in general and to other members of that particular group. • People are rational People are able to consider intangible concepts, employ language, and consider in terms of grouping, lessons and regulations.

Because people are coherent beings, they can make coherent choices and they are considered as independent ethical representatives. They can also understand that they could have ended it differently, so they can experience guilt and repentance and admit accountability for their choices and actions. Rationality’s suggestion for principles is that we have an obligation to respect this liberty of choice. From these realities about human temperament, the author derives three fundamental premises or imperatives of applied ethics (Pagon, 2003): • Beneficence This is imperative to any profession.

It cleaves to that the professionals must look out for the interest of the client. Beneficence has several sub-essentials conjoined in it: one is to do no harm, two is to prevent and protect from harm, and lastly is to serve the interests of the client. • Respect for persons. The command to respect the independence and self-respect of the persons with whom we transact with and respect their self-regarding preferences, is the authority underlying all of our interpersonal communications. In professional relationships, however, it also restricts the borders of professional beneficence.

The professional’s expertise may advise him that the client’s best interests will be served by some services that the professional can provide; it may even tell him that the client needs, on the sting of loss of life or freedom, his services. But if the client decides not to take advantage of the services that is provided and only his own interests are concerned, the expert may not oblige those services on the customer. • Justice This essential demands that the expert look past both ability and client, and take accountability for the consequence of professional practice in the civilization as a whole.

In every profession, injustice abounds. A good example lies in the healthcare practice, the wealthy get prompt and adequate care and the poor receive late and inadequate care. The demand for justice upon the professionals is that they work within their professional organizations, and in their individual professions, to blunt the effects of injustice in their fields. The professional who disregards this command fall short of fulfilling all the duties of his professional standing. Now, in relation to police ethics, the principles described above are to be applied to the field of policing.

In comparison to medical or business ethics, police ethics maybe considered relatively undeveloped. There are a number of reasons for this, the foremost ones being the paramilitary attitude of policing and misinterpretation of the need for police ethics (Pagon, 2003). The paramilitary philosophy of policing, the local police officers are allocated the role of executors of orders from their superintendent. It is implied that they are not to question those instructions, so moral discussions is not necessary. The basic asset of police officers within this structure is obedience.

Police management, on the other hand, is also not held accountable to anyone or they are accountable only to the higher powers, with which they are considered to be in symbiotic associations. In these circumstances it is not an amazing feat that police ethics does not prosper. Second, some professionals are misled by the conviction that as far as the police officers carry out their vocation stringently by the law, they do not require police ethics. Proponents of this outlook also rebuff police officers the right of prudence.

Unfortunately, when one is faced with a moral or ethical quandary, the laws demonstrate themselves to be of minute use. With the rise of the new viewpoint of policing (i. e. neighborhood policing and problem-oriented policing) and with the recognition of police discretion as a indispensable part of police vocation, the significance of police ethics is receiving approval. Nowadays, it is difficult to find a syllabus at a police academy or a course in law enforcement studies at a university that does not include a course on police ethics.

At the same time, some of police department, task force, or a commission on police ethics is quickly rising. The mainstream of police agencies also has assumed a code of police ethics, in a more or less expressed form. But, as was already mentioned, police ethics is still at the commencement of its maturity. A lot of courses on ‘police ethics’ are mainly dealing with idealistic ethics, while the word ‘police’ in the name simply means that police officers studies are the object group of the itinerary.

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