Police Coercion

19 May No Comments

Discuss the difference between police pressure and police coercion in the interrogation setting. What is the balance law enforcement is trying to achieve with the attitude that pressure is permissible – short of coercion? 

Identify television shows and movies that present police pressure tactics and discuss the legality of those tactics. Should police be permitted to use trickery and deception during the interrogation process?

Police pressure refers to the tactics used by police officers in trying to find in most cases a required response quickly by interrogating a person whereas police coercion refers to an act of forcing or exercising power by the police or a government in an attempt to make a subject comply.

In an attempt to obtain confessions, police may employ coercive and deceptive interrogations. In cases where a confession is retracted, juries and judges are required to assess or analyze the circumstances surrounding the confession in totality, which includes the techniques of interrogation used the effects of this technique on the subject or defendant. Suspects in most cases produce false confessions when they are confused and vulnerable as a result of being given false evidence by an interrogator who is coercive. A testimony from an expert becomes necessary in this case in helping jurors in understanding what circumstances led to the non-voluntary confession.

TV shows and movies like the Tactical Response Unit, Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo bay, Casino Royale, The weirdo’s Vince & Jacqueline are applicable example of films that present the tactics of police pressure. The tactics employed in these films do not follow or apply the legal requirements of police interrogation in professional practice. Based on the fact that they are acts of fiction, or simply acting some of the acts portrayed in these films reflect some real life occurrences.

In an interrogation process, police are allowed by profession to pressure a subject or suspect into confession by making them claim to have evidence of their guilty by way of DNA samples, eye witnesses, fingerprints or an accomplice who may pointing a finger to the suspect be it true or not. Further, the police in their interrogation may imply that it would be some worth beneficial for the suspect if they give a confession.

On the other hand, police are not at all allowed to coerce a subject to confess by giving threats, inflicting pain on them, torture, physical violence, arresting a family member if they do not confess, depriving them of their basic needs like food, sleep, shelter or in any other way subject the person to an extent where it overcomes their ability to make a voluntary waiver and a knowing as stated by the Miranda rights voluntary statement and a knowing.

References

Gudjonsson, G. H. (2003). The psychology of interrogations and confessions: A handbook. Chichester [u.a.: Wiley.

Inbau, F. E. (2013). Criminal interrogation and confessions. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Saltzburg, S. A., & Capra, D. J. (1997). Basic criminal procedure. St. Paul, Minn: West Pub. Co.




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