The online publication, syracuse.com, on October 6, 2021 printed a story entitled “Police lies, a botched investigation and a homicide confession: “I’m going to jail for something I didn’t do” in which the author, Douglass Dowty, relates the story of Robert Adams who confessed to a murder that he did not commit. According to the article Mr. Adams has a “documented history of schizophrenia.” The author’s emphasis is that the police engaged in coercive interrogation tactics and suggested that they were using the Reid Technique. Mr. Buckley wrote the following email to Mr. Dowty.
To: Douglass Dowty
(Please send a copy of this email to your editor)
In the above referenced article you state:
Police use the rules to their advantage: a popular approach called the Reid Technique stresses assuming a suspect’s guilt before going into an interrogation. One goal of such an interrogation is shutting down any insistence on innocence. In getting the confession, interrogators can see lying as simply a means to an end.
You could not be more wrong…you really need to do your own research and not just repeat what someone tells you.
On our YouTube channel (The Reid Technique Tips), we have over 20 video presentations on various aspects of the Reid Technique, including:
And many others…..if you had taken the time to review this information (or call us) you would readily realize that in fact, we recommend that investigators do not misrepresent evidence when dealing with a subject with mental limitations (as appears to be the case with Mr. Adams) - in our video presentation, Is it permissible to lie about evidence? We state the following:
“…we advise that the investigator a should not misrepresent evidence when interrogating a youthful suspect with low social maturity or a suspect with diminished mental capacity…they are too susceptible to suggestion.”
If you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Joseph P. Buckley
John E. Reid and Associates
800-255-5747 ext 119
The best way to avoid false confessions is to conduct interrogations in accordance with the guidelines established by the courts, and to adhere to the following practices:
- Do not make any promises of leniency
- Do not threaten the subject with any physical harm or inevitable consequences
- Do not conduct interrogations for an excessively lengthy period of time
- Do not deny the subject any of their rights
- Do not deny the subject the opportunity to satisfy their physical needs
- Withhold information about the details of the crime from the subject so that if the subject confesses the disclosure of that information can be used to confirm the authenticity of the statement
- Exercise special cautions when questioning juveniles or individuals with mental or psychological impairments
- Always treat the subject with dignity and respect
- The confession is not the end of the investigation – investigate the confession details in an effort to establish the authenticity of the subject’s statement