No matter how smart you think you are

Tech people are supposed to be smart. And they are. But no one is ever smart enough. At least some of the time. By way of illustration I give you Prof. James Duane’s Don’t Talk to the Police.

This may be the best presentation I’ve ever seen on the subject under U.S. law (as the officer who speaks in the second half indicates, things almost always work much differently outside the U.S.).

One of the first things they drill into new criminal defense lawyers is the point made in the following quote shared by Prof. Duane:

Any lawyer worth his salt will tell the suspect in no uncertain terms to make no statement to the police under any circumstances.

— Robert Jackson, Justice, U.S. Supreme Court

Probably the most important part of this presentation comes at the beginning when Prof. Duane tries to describe the inconceivable complexity of the tens of thousands of legal provisions operative here in the United States. The second most important are the vivid descriptions of how seemingly innocuous statements can result in even innocent people being convicted of crimes they did not commit. The third is that, at least when it comes to the law, anyone who isn’t a lawyer really needs to throttle back their ego and ask for help.

So, watch this video. All of it. Maybe more than once.

And always remember, if you are a U.S. citizen on U.S. territory, invoking your right not to incriminate yourself under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not an act of civil disobedience. It is an act consistent with true respect for law and order.

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About phil

My name is Phil Lembo. In my day job I’m an enterprise IT architect for a leading distribution and services company. The rest of my time I try to maintain a semi-normal family life in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC. E-mail me at philipATlembobrothersDOTcom. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and not those of my employers, past, present or future (except where I quote others, who will need to accept responsibility for their own rants).