The Reid Interrogation Technique OR How to Elicit a False Confession

Unless you are a police officer you probably haven’t heard of the Reid Interrogation Technique. I don’t want to re-invent the wheel, so instead of trying to explain what exactly this technique is, I’ll simply direct you to the Wikipedia page – which gives a pretty good explanation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reid_technique

“In the Reid technique, interrogation is an accusatory process in which the investigator tells the suspect that there is no doubt as to his or her guilt.” Further, during the interrogation, the cop (or interrogator) repeatedly tries to separate the accused from “people who are even worse” and tries to minimize the alleged conduct of the accused. For example, if the allegation is that the accused raped someone, the interrogator will repeatedly tell the accused that he believes the accused is not a serial rapist, but only someone that did it one time and therefore it’s not that bad.

The interrogation itself can last for several hours, and the goal is simple: To wear the person down and get them to confess.

But herein lies the problem.

If I told you that you murdered someone, of course you would adamantly deny it, because it’s simply not true. But if I kept you in a room, and told you that there were witnesses, and that I knew for a fact you have murdered someone, and I gave you explicit details about how you had done it, and I sympathized with you (“well, the person you murdered was a horrible person”), and I promised leniency (“if it was only one time, the prosecutor will go easy on you,” and “we won’t let the details go outside this office”), and I kept you there for hours – repeatedly telling you that I know you did it, and I told you that this interrogation would stop as soon as you admitted what you had done, you may eventually admit to something that you HADN’T ACTUALLY DONE just to make the interrogation stop.

Right now you may be thinking, “but I would never admit to something that I hadn’t done.” Yet, the fact of the matter is that people do. The Technique plays with your mind, alters your sense of what is right and wrong, repeatedly accuses you of something, wears you down, and eventually convinces you that you are guilty; that you actually did do what the police are accusing you of having done.

This is the Reid Technique.

The problem is that we know that the Reid Technique has produced numerous false confessions. There are many, many cases where a person confessed, and later the confession was found to be false. If you want to read a very good article about some of these false-confession cases, click here —> http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/12/09/the-interview-7

In fact, the use of the Reid Technique has been banned in several countries because it routinely produces false confessions. “In Canada, a Provincial Court judge ruled in 2012 that “stripped to its bare essentials, the Reid Technique is a guilt-presumptive, confrontational, psychologically manipulative procedure whose purpose is to extract a confession.” This is scary stuff!

Neil and I, and another attorney – Shannon Smith, began the defense of a case a few months ago in which the Reid Technique was utilized by local police. After doing a lot of research, we believe that the police officer improperly utilized the Technique and that his improper use resulted in a false confession. Now we have to prove it.

Medical marijuana dispensaries could be close to returning to Michigan

LANSING — Medical marijuana dispensaries took another step toward returning to Michigan after a Senate committee sent two bills to the floor, but the Senate’s majority leader says the bills still need work.

Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) said bills to add marijuana-laced foods to the definition of “medical marijuana” and for dispensaries to re-open could receive votes as soon as next month.

“We’re not going to move any bills until we’re ready,” Richardville said. “I think there will be a significant amount of work done between now and then.”

One proposal, House Bill 5104, would expand the state’s definition of “marijuana-infused product” to include beverages and food items that contain the drug’s active ingredient, although foods containing the drug would be exempted from the state’s food laws.

The Michigan Supreme Court held last year that “pot brownies” and other foods containing marijuana did not fall under the definition of “usable” marijuana in the voter-approved law.

The other bill approved by Richardville’s government operations committee would allow “provisioning centers” to sell marijuana to certified patients or caregivers, something not allowed under Michigan law as of now.

Cities and townships would have some authority to restrict where dispensaries could operate – restrictions Richardville supports.

“My concern has always been playgrounds and neighborhoods, and making sure there aren’t leakages into places where our vulnerable children live,” Richardville said. “That’s where my top concern is.”

Both bills have already passed the House, winning approval by wide, bipartisan margins last December.

via MLive

DISMISSAL of Implied Consent Violation

In Michigan, under the Implied Consent law, if you have a driver’s license, you have consented to take a chemical breath or alcohol test if a police officer has reason to believe you are intoxicated and has asked you to take a test.

We recently had a client allegedly refuse to give a breath test when asked and as a result she was charged with an Implied Consent Violation. The penalty for such a violation is suspension of the person’s driver’s license for a period of 6 months to 1 year. In an effort to prevent that suspension, we filed an appeal with the Secretary of State and asked for a hearing. At the hearing, it is the People’s burden to prove that the defendant understood her chemical test rights, refused that chemical test despite knowing the penalties, and was afforded a chance to speak with a lawyer prior to consenting (if it was requested).

At this latest hearing, Neil Rockind was able to demonstrate to the Secretary of State hearing officer that our client had asked for a lawyer several times prior to taking the test and was prevented from speaking with a lawyer. That was enough to vitiate the alleged implied consent violation.

Therefore, the hearing officer DISMISSED the alleged violation!

Medical Marijuana Dispensary DISMISSAL!

As of right now there is only one medical marijuana dispensary criminal case that has been outright dismissed without the possibility of the case being recharged, or of an appeal reversing the dismissal decision – and that case is our case.

Unfortunately, per the agreement with the State, many of the details are sealed. However, I can divulge that our client was an owner and operator of a medical marijuana dispensary in Southeastern Michigan. That dispensary was raided by police and ultimately our client was charged with felonies for distribution of marijuana.

We held the preliminary examination and ultimately, armed with the transcripts from that examination, we set about the task of writing nearly 100 pages of motions and briefs.

As soon as we sent over the motions and briefs to the prosecutor’s office, they called us and waived the white flag. The case didn’t even get out of the District Court. No appeals, no re-charging. Just the complete DISMISSAL of a felony case against a medical marijuana dispensary.

THE TASTE OF VICTORY IS SWEET!

Mistrial Due to a Hung Jury

Not a single lawyer in Oakland County, Michigan has taken a medical marijuana case to trial with a Section 8 Defense and walked away with a “Not Guilty.”

We came closer last week than anyone else has before when a jury refused to come to a decision and the Judge declared a mistrial.

Our client, a Medical Marijuana Patient, was found in possession of just over 20 ounces of marijuana. Pursuant to the Medical Marijuana Act, he was not allowed to possess more than was reasonably necessary to treat his qualifying medical condition. After a lengthy Section 8 hearing, the Judge agreed that we had presented enough evidence to take the medical marijuana defense to the jury (which is a rarity in and of itself.)

The trial last 5 days and the jury deliberated for almost 3 full days before finally deciding that they were too deadlocked to reach a decision one way or the other. The jurors couldn’t decide: 1) Whether or not our client intended to distribute marijuana, or 2) whether our client possessed more than was reasonably necessary to treat his qualifying condition. The jury split was right down the middle – meaning 6 jurors believed he was guilty of something and 6 jurors believed he was entirely innocent.

We have no idea what the future holds with regard to this case, but one thing is for certain: We were able to convince at least 6 people on that jury that our client did not intend to distribute his marijuana and did not possess more than was was reasonably necessary. Hopefully the next time – we will convince all 12!

Another DISMISSAL at the Preliminary Examination!

In the previous post I explained how a preliminary examination works. Within a month after Neil got those felony larceny counts dismissed, he also managed to convince a different Judge to DISMISS ALL felony counts for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Operating a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance – 3rd offense.

Our client was pulled over at night while pulling into his work parking lot. The police officer argued that it was suspicious that he would be pulling into a business parking lot at night due to some recent thefts in the area. Even though we challenged the stop of his vehicle, the Judge did not agree that the stop was unreasonable.

However, We also presented evidence and expert testimony that our client had a prescription for the drugs that he was in possession of and that the amount of the drug that was found in his system was a “therapeutic amount.” In other words, that he was permitted to possess the drug, that he was not impaired by the drug, and in fact the amount in his system was a reasonable amount given his intended usage.

Ultimately, the Judge agreed that we had presented sufficient evidence to prove that our client had not broken the law. The case was DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE – meaning that the People are not permitted to re-file the charges. Can’t ask for anything more than that!