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A disturbing case.

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A disturbing case.

Postby shootist » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:14 am

I happened to be in the vicinity of a TV the other night when there was a program about an American lad who had been convicted of a murder and rape and had spent the last 20 years in prison (30+ year life sentence). The program related how this person, as a teenager, was somehow tenuously linked to the murder and was interviewed repeatedly over, IIRC, several days, eventually leading to him admitting participating in the murder. While acknowledging it was a prepared TV program, what took place seemed quite horrifying. The police there are allowed to lie to the suspect if the lie would appeal to the guilty mind. The officers went way over that restriction. They used a lie detector on half a dozen or so occasions notwithstanding the fact that the results were inadmissible in that state, in order to suggest to the then teenager that his subconscious was admitting the 'truth' that he was lying when he denied involvement. Part of the videoed interview, conducted without a lawyer present, could not have showed more clearly the interviewer leading the interview, the teenager merely answering 'yes' when prompted.

As you might imagine, several appeals were made, each being denied on the basis that the offence was admitted. When the most recent appeal was lodged the defence case looked completely convincing. The state, I believe for political expediency, then offered to drop the rape charge if the murder was admitted, This would mean that the prisoner would be released immediately as opposed to enduring the requested retrial, which if it lead to a conviction would mean another 10 or more years in prison. He took that course and was released then and there in court, and who could blame him. It was notable that even the victim's mother was speaking on behalf of the man's innocence.

People might criticise our legal system here, I know I do, but it can be educational to see what is done in the name of justice elsewhere.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." MLK.
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Re: A disturbing case.

Postby megaman » Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:31 pm

I have read shocking things about the american legal system.

Silence is aloud as evidence of guilt.
Notable examples in include a man who caused a car accident said nothing at the scene and a suspect who when shown some shotgun shells in interview just mumbled, in both cases this "silence" has put forward as evidence.
Their so called "Miranda" laws do not apply unless a person expressly invoked his Miranda rights.
The exception is police interviews (where Miranda automatically applies) however there are ways around this, usually denying that the suspect claimed his Miranda rights (because interviews are not recorded) or claiming the conversation with the police officer did not count as an interview.
In one extreme case the defendant was silent for days worth of questioning unwil on just one occasion he said yes to a unexpected leading question. Dispite telling the court that this was involuntary it was held that it was in fact a voluntary statement and by making it he willingly waved his Miranda rights.

In another case the jury asked if they could consider the defendants demenour in court as evidence. The judge said yes
on appeal this was held to be incorrect, the judge should have said no. However it could not be proved that this caused the conviction (the demenour may have been in his favor, it may not have been considered by a majority of the jury ect) so the conviction could not be quashed. The appeal judge even pointed out that he will never know if he is in jail because he smiled at the wrong moment.

Police are taught that they can accurately determine who is lying using body language. This is called the reid technique and has been disproved. They actually have no ability at all to know who is lying.
having decided who is lying police often simply demand a confession over and over and over for days at a time and eventually the suspect makes a tactical decision to tell them what they want to hear so they can get out of jail with the intention of explaining that it was a false confession later.

The bail system effectively means poorer defendants are keep in jail for months or even years before trial, this of course interferes with their ability to mount a defense and makes false guilty pleas seam like a good option (and frequently anything other than making a false guilty plea will mean more time in jail before trial and a complete gamble at trial).

Former jurors often make statements such as "he was smiling, he was not remorseful he must have been guilty" and "he was fidgeting he must have been guilty" and "the witness maintained eye contact so he must have been telling the truth". clearly they are not considering only the evidence and dont understand the difference between objective and subjective and so are not mentally competent to be on a jury.
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Re: A disturbing case.

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:26 pm

megaman wrote:Their so called "Miranda" laws do not apply unless a person expressly invoked his Miranda rights.

The whole point of Miranda v Arizona was that suspects have to be informed of their rights, and cannot be interviewed in the absence of counsel without waiving those rights.
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Re: A disturbing case.

Postby atticus » Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:08 pm

Megaman wrote:Silence is aloud

No comment!
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