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Thread: Limits to police investigation tactics??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Limits to police investigation tactics??

    I haven't read the ruling, but the media report on this is enough to fascinate me. I note that this appears to be the same officer who shot and killed the illegally armed man recently in Roosevelt, Utah. That thread is over at .

    No doubt this article could be fodder for additional discussion on that thread.

    But here, I think it would be more interesting to discuss the limits on police interrogation techniques imposed by the court in this case.

    The full article is at the Deseret News (no fee nor registration required to read).

    Some fair use excerpts:

    Quote Originally Posted by DeseretNews
    Eighth District Judge Ed Peterson wrote in a blistering 33-page ruling handed down Wednesday that Roosevelt Police Lt. Pete Butcher misled a judge to obtain a warrant for the arrest of Joshua Platte Shumway, used coercive interrogation tactics while interviewing Shumway and failed to fully advise him of his Miranda rights.


    "The court finds that the combination of detective Butcher presenting himself as a man of God, and lying to (Shumway) about the amount and type of evidence against him, particularly powerful in overcoming the defendant's will," Peterson wrote.

  2. #2
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    If the defendant was not properly mirandized, the case will be dismissed.. Sometimes even slam dunk cases get tossed due in part to over zealous police officers attempting to close out a case... A good example that comes to mind is the OJ Simpson case...

    My .02


    " I detest hypocrites and their Hypocrisy" I support Liberty for each, for all, and forever".
    Ask yourself, Do you own Yourself?

  3. #3
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    White Oak Plantation
    So, the judge did the right thing and tossed this miscreant in the pokey?
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

  4. #4
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    North Chesterfield VA
    There seems to be only two issues, in spite of all the red herring misdirection on the part of the judge:

    insufficient information to support the issue of a warrant - which does not appear to be anything more than a civil tort

    failure to fully Mirandize the suspect - which does not appear to be anything more than a civil tort

    SCOTUS has repeatedly held that cops can use deception, mislead, and outright lie when interrogating someone. Essentially the holding is currently grounded on the notion that while the suspect may not be versed in the ways of the police and the intricacies of the law his attorney will be. The only times SCOTUS seemed to care were when the suspect was so significantly mentally impaired that it was held that they had no ability to meaningfully be aware of their right to refuse to say anything and their right to the advice of an attorney. SCOTUS would be fine with the cops throwing a ninja smoke bomb and having a cop dressed a Jesus suddenly appear to ask the suspect to confess - as long as the suspect was properly informed of his rights and had properly waived them or confessed after consulting with his attorney.

    The other line SCOTUS has drawn is when the cops use unduly coercive (torture) techniques on people who are not suspected terrorists being interrogated on land/seas within the jurisdiction of US law.

    Were I the judge I would have slapped the cop with the biggest contempt of court finding possible, and looked to see if there was a way of ruling it was criminal, not civil, contempt.

    Instead, we get judicial activism because the cop did not "play nice" in the judge's eyes.

    Don't get me wrong - the ultimate outcome as regards the suspect was the proper one. It was just handed down for all the wrong reasons.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Don't get me wrong - the ultimate outcome as regards the suspect was the proper one. It was just handed down for all the wrong reasons.
    As I understand current judicial mandates, I have to agree with you.

    On the flip side, I have to think these were the "right" reasons morally, just not judicially--which may tell us something about the state of the judiciary.

    I don't know how or where to draw the limits, but I think there should be some limits on the lies cops tell as they investigate crimes. Does it not degrade the respect we have for police when they are allowed to lie without limits? When a man with a badge, a gun, and the keys to the handcuffs and holding cell is allowed to lie and deceive without limits, what is society or a person (wrongly perhaps) accused of a crime to think? What are we to believe?

    Legally, it is prudent for anyone accused of a crime to get a lawyer and not say a word. But how can we know who is accused of a crime if cops can lie with impunity? How do we even know when we need a lawyer?

    And is such an adversarial relationship between the police and public good for society, or keeping the peace and fighting crime in the long run?


  6. #6
    Founder's Club Member
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    Nov 2006
    Fairfax Co., VA
    If nothing else, the religious angle treads dangerously.

    Everybody has heard of the Star Chamber Court, and its abuses of the fundamental human right against self-incrimination--those abuses were one of the big reasons the Star Chamber Court was abolished.

    Fewer know about its twin, The High Commission. The High Commission was the ecclesiastical side of the game. It was populated with senior churchmen, its leaders appointed by the monarch. It was directly responsible for the oath ex officio--swearing to God, on your immortal soul, that you would answer truthfully. It played on the religious conviction that lying after taking an oath to tell the truth would result in damnation. The ex officio part of the oath's name referred to fact that the bishop or archbishop stepped out of his office as church leader and into the shoes of interrogator/investigator.

    See a parallel with that cop stepping out of his office as investigator, claiming to be religious, playing on the detainee's religious beliefs?

    Dangerous. Very dangerous.

    Also, what happens if the detainee rejects such a cop's asserted religious angle? Can the cop then testify to the detainee's "un-religiousness"? His "immorality?"

    With that recent SCOTUS decision that a person's silence can be used against him in court if he doesn't expressly invoke the right to silence, we moved only one step away from conviction pro confesso. This was the tactic of the High Commission and Star Chamber. It means that if a person didn't answer their questions, he was convicted as though he had confessed. We damn sure don't need more steps backward like allowing cops to use a detainee's religious beliefs against him. Been there, done that. Lots of people suffered. Definitely the wrong direction. Not even a millimeter down that slippery slope is desirable. If you're reading this and have any doubts, get a good book on that period in history. Or, rent a slasher movie that includes fire--the distinction won't be great.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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