Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 22:46:31 -0700 (MST)
From: thekoba  (K J WALSH)
Subject: conspiracy
Cc:,,, snail , thekoba 
>Dear Kevin,
>Most interesting!
>I've been to some similar type courses in the past --
>less formal and more for private investigation than
>for the police -- and was given to understand that the
>cops use any verbal tactic they can to elicit
>cofessions. (This is what they admit; they don't
>admit to beatings and torture.)
>They laughed about offering promises that suspects
>wouldn't be prosecuted, of "going easy" on the
>suspect, etc. They tried to ingratiate themselves and
>act as if they understood his or her motivation and
>had sympathy with their situation, etc. Basically,
>anything goes, I guess so long as it can't be proven
>to be "coersion."

Dear Eric,

Yes, Lieutenant Robinson said that they sometimes say, "Your partner just confessed and says you were there too." or "I've got a dozen witnesses who recognized you in the photo lineup." knowing full well that neither statement is true. What do they learn from that? Well sometimes they get someone who really is guilty, but I'm sure they also get people who are timid, weak-willed, and/or foolish or stupid who will confess to something they didn't do to try to avoid a more severe punishment.

Robinson said that while getting a confession is nice, they more often interrogate suspects to try to trap them in a story that doesn't fit the forensic evidence. For example:

You say you didn't rob that Bashas store?

No, I didn't.

Have you ever been in that store before?

No, never in my life.

Then why is your DNA on the samples we've taken from the safe handle? (And of course this might be a lie--there may not have been any DNA found there).

>I'm not sure I understand how a guy in a mask with a
>shotgun is "conspiring" all by himself just by
>standing there. That's a new one. I would have
>thought they'd have some regulations against
>"disturbing the peace," "threatening bodily harm," or

I actually brought that up. I asked, "So you say no robbery was actually committed?"

He said, "That's right. He just stayed in the store and kept buying stuff and paying for it until the cops arrived and arrested him."

I asked, "If he didn't rob the store, why was he arrested?"

He said, "Conspiracy."

I said, "Conspiracy is when you act with another person. There was no one else there with him."

He said, "No, conspiracy is thinking about doing it."

I didn't go into it further. I knew from the federal statute that conspiracy was not thought crime but organized crime involving two or more people. I thought maybe our Arizona statute was different, but I looked up 13-1003, and sure enough conspiracy is a crime organised by two or more people here too, nothing about planning a crime in the statute, so I don't know for what that fellow was arrested.

He wasn't disturbing the peace or threatening anyone according to statutory definition of either, so had I been on the jury, I wouldn't have convicted him of anything. Perhaps that's why I'm never on juries.

>In that class I took, I was pretty bad at identifying
>the guy who came in and took something too. In that
>case he was wearing street clothes and I couldn't
>describe them at all. I had no idea about his height.
> We weren't given the chance to pick him out of a
>"lineup" however.
>In my class we had one ex-cop who was very precise in
>his description. I suspect they fill in forms that
>ask specific questions, so he can mentally go down a
>list when he observes something.
>Anyhow, assume that cops notice everything, and always
>assume that what they say to you is for a purpose.
>That's what I've picked up.
>Good luck with the bomb squad!

With my luck they'll have Captain Swart on loan from the Capitol Police.



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