Do you talk to the police?

Picture this scenario: you are a suspect of having perpetrated a crime (which crime in particular is largely irrelevant; for the sake of the argument, let’s say it was larceny). You are picked up by the police for questioning. In your own conciousness, you know you have not done what they claim you did. Would you answer the questions the police asks you?

According to American Law professor James Duane, the answer is an adamant ‘no’. Further more, the answer is ‘no’ regardless of whether or not you’re innocent; but emphasis is made in the case if you are (or believe yourself to be) innocent, because it is in this case that you might be more inclined to talk to the police. The argument presented by professor Duane is continued by a police officer, with decades of experience, who gives the exact same advice.

The rationale of this appears to be (partially) as follows: first and foremost, there is an OVERWHELMING amount of laws, you might breach one (or more) without necessarily  noticing it. So if you talk to the police, you might give them (most likely in an involuntary fashion) evidence they can use against you. In the United States, you are protected from self-incrimination by the Fifth Amendment. So when the police asks you whatever they ask you, just giving no reply appears to be the best course of action.

I’m still a bit amazed by this, but they make a compelling case. But best see the videos (about 30 minutes each) and make your own opinion. It’ll make you rethink some things we usually take for granted. (For Portuguese readers, more info here).

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