Roger Shuy (letter, July 21) rightly points out the problem of police extracting false confessions, but legislation against deceit is not the solution.
Lying is just one of many psychological tactics utilized by interrogators to obtain compliance. Isolation in blank rooms bores and stresses suspects into talking. Gifts of food demand reciprocity, leading people to trade incriminating utterances away for donuts. Practiced body language can communicate inescapable authority or false friendship without saying a word. Even the recording camera’s position can make juries more likely to place blame on the suspect.
The fact is the police have a myriad of tools to extract information, and legislating just one of them away will not solve the problem of false confessions. Instead, unnecessary legislation interferes with catching the guilty more than it spares the innocent.
Basic legal education offers a better solution. Watch law professor James Duane’s “Don’t Talk to the Police” YouTube video on why you should never talk to the police without legal representation — particularly if you are innocent. The police will do their job regardless, so no need to feel guilty about not helping them incriminate you.