Friday, January 23, 2009

Don't Talk To The Cops...

By Sean Chercover

Our own Michael Dymmoch sent me a link to these fascinating videos. In the first, Regent Law professor James Duane lays out the case for why you should never, under any circumstances, submit to police questioning without your lawyer present. Especially if you are innocent. Both funny and enlightening, and I promise this video is worth watching. In the second video, Officer George Bruch of the Virginia Beach PD gets "equal time" to offer his perspective. Bruch's talk is equally fascinating, and full of great stuff to use in your fiction.

If you've got 48 minutes to spare, watch these vids. If you don't have 48 minutes to spare, find them. Yes, the videos will spark brilliant ideas for your fiction. But more than that, they could someday save your freedom.

The argument: Why you should never talk to the police...



The response: Veteran police investigator George Bruch...


There may be a cop out there, somewhere, who disagrees with Bruch, but I've never met one. And that should tell you a lot.

Here's serendipity: Just after watching these videos, I got another email, this time from my friend (and super Chicago author/lawyer) Laura Caldwell, inviting me to a panel discussion at Loyola on Wednesday, about false confessions and wrongful convictions and innocent people who've spent half their lives behind bars.

As a lawyer, Laura has first-hand experience with such injustice, and she's moderating a panel of men (including a former client) who spent, collectively, over 80 years in prison before being exonerated. 80 years. For crimes that they did not commit.

Life After Innocence Project - Post-Exoneration Panel:
Wednesday, January 28 - 5:00 p.m.
Loyola Law Center, Kasbeer Hall
25 E. Pearson Street, Chicago

If you're in Chicago, I urge you to attend this panel and hear the incredible stories of what happened to these men during their prosecution, incarceration, and as they've struggled to re-enter society since their exoneration. For those who cannot attend, here's just a sample...

Ken Wyniemko of Michigan (8 years in prison)...


Jerry Miller of Chicago (26 years in prison), who will speak Wednesday night...


Dwayne Dail of North Carolina (18 years in prison)...


Chris Ochoa of Texas (12 years in prison)...


Some more exonerees from Texas...


These men would still be in prison today, if not for the efforts of people like Laura, and the good work of The Innocence Project, which has cleared over 200 inmates (and counting) through DNA testing. A shocking number of innocent people are still languishing in our prisons ... and for every innocent in prison, there's still a bad guy out on the streets.

And while I'm at it, here's another worthy cause: The Crime Lab Project. Our nation's crime labs are underfunded and overworked. The Crime Lab Project doesn't want your money; it wants you to add your voice and pressure our elected officials to properly fund crime labs and help the police do their jobs.

That's all for now. Stay safe, and stay quiet (until your lawyer arrives).
-Sean

22 comments:

Barbara D'Amato said...

Sean, this is SO right. I'm delighted you put it all together.

Corey Wilde said...

Great information, thanks.

FIONA said...

Wow. I have emailed this link to everyone.

I'm going to make sure my son watches it several times before he gets his driver's license.

Thanks so much for posting this.

Steerpike said...

Fascinating videos, Sean. I've never seen it spelled out so clearly nor argued so effectively. Thanks for sharing them!

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

This is why I ignore Michael Black and David Case.

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