Have you been a victim of, a subject of, or witness in the judicial system? You can end up under suspicion depending on how you answer questions.

From the on-scene officer to the courtroom prosecution, it’s all about the framing of questions, answers and their body language versus your body language. Their biases and rush-to-judgment first impressions can impact their questions.

I realize that the police and prosecutors take oaths of honesty, ethics and standards of conduct. Some actually hold themselves to high standards. However, an unknown number interviewing you will do the following: judge you, allow their biases to impact their duty, forget ethics and impose upon themselves little to no standards of decency. This is proven now that we have social media and everybody turning on their phone video cameras when in contact with the judicial system or witnessing injustice on the streets.

A warning: police and prosecutors all have training in the psychology of interviewing people who fall into the sink hole of the judicial system.

You can only hope and pray that you are communicating with fair, common-sense, honest, ethically oriented police or prosecutors. Otherwise, you will fall into pitfalls such as expanding on the truth, telling untruth, getting nervous, getting overly emotional etc., because you have just been manipulated by the questions asked and have fallen into the web of law enforcement psychology.

Psychological traps are set when police offices or the prosecution team calmly ask you questions in hopes of tripping you up. If they achieve their goal, they immediately place handcuffs on you and take you into the police department web. That is why ethical lawyers recommend asking for an attorney as soon as the police start asking you questions about anything.

I have a family member who, under investigation on a serious case, asked for an attorney. However, the police kept performing their psychological tricks during the interrogation and continued to ask him questions, a violation of his rights. He was convicted and sentenced, but the appeals court overturned the conviction and a second trial will begin toward the end of October 2020 in Bend. I encourage you to investigate www.freelukewirkkala.com.

You should be familiar with your many rights. You should be aware of the psychology piece during interviews and interrogations. The psychological approach varies from case to case. The more complicated the case, the more psychological manipulation will be brought to bear. Self-defense cases put you in special jeopardy.

Let’s say you killed someone who attacked and violated you and put your life and that of others in danger. Let’s say you arm yourself and ask him to leave. Instead, he attacks and you shoot. The police will then come at you with many questions and psychological manipulation will be employed in a big way.

You have probably heard of the good cop-bad cop scenario. One officer will approach you amiably and the other officer will apply pressure. In case after case we learn that, if not for video, the police will get away with a self-serving version of what happened.

I’m not encouraging the reader to carry a phone 24/7, but do so as much as possible. We should all know the law in this day and age of police (and prosecutorial) is exposed for all to see. It’s hard to manipulate a video.

People get manipulated all the time. This article is one person’s opinion about what you face when talking to the police or prosecution. I have seen psychological manipulation many times and it is sad to watch. Don’t be a victim of police and prosecutor interviewing psychology. You might lose everything. I have heard many stories and witnessed many sad situations during my 21 years in law enforcement and 21 years as a corrections officer.

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Steve McConnell lives in Chinook, Washington.

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