What do you do?

Say you are falsely accused of a crime. You have nothing to hide because you have done absolutely nothing wrong. The police ask you questions and you decide that you should just cooperate because that is the best way to get yourself clear. Right?

Wrong.

Remember the movie “My Cousin Vinny”? Bill Gambini offers to cooperate fully. Sheriff Farley is very happy to hear this. During the interview he asks Bill at what point he shot the clerk. Bill repeats, twice,  “I shot the clerk”. Bill just believes that he is asking a question. The Sheriff takes this as a confession and uses it in the trial (more specifically the arraignment).

Many people think that lawyering up will make you look guilty. Well, what you say without a lawyer can also be used to make you look guilty. And sometimes the quest to make someone look guilty can blind some in the criminal justice system to the quest for actual justice.

Look at the Duke Rape case.  Prosecutor Mike Nifong  did not have justice in mind, all he wanted to do was make a name for himself by manufacturing a case. He didn’t want to see someone guilty put in jail. He wanted someone put in jail to advance his political career. Nifong was disbarred, but the damage was done to the men charged. Would cooperating with Nifong have prevented the bad behavior of Nifong? Of course not.You can also read the story of this person who says he was falsely accused of child molestation. He describes the interrogation here. The only thing I disagree with is his lesson. He states that you should not speak to the authorities without an attorney once you have been Mirandized. I say that you should play it safe and just do not talk about anything without an attorney.

The police have a very important job to do. If that job includes investigating you for an allegation of any crime, it is not your responsibility to make that job easier and it is your right to shut up and say nothing. Anything said by you can be taken out of context and used against you.

One Response to “What do you do?”

  1. IWFA Admin says:

    Thank you for sharing my story via the link on your site. I appreciate your support in helping to get the word out that there are false accusations everyday – and they result in very real consequences for everyone involved!

    ~ IWFA

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