Incredibly Ill-informed And Erroneous Statements About The Reid Technique

Written By: Joseph P. Buckey
Oct 05, 2023

In the September 29, 2023 issue of the online publication, "Wonkette" (self described as "filthy, hilarious, liberal news. YOU CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH!") the author of the article, "Another Innocent Man Freed From Prison After 28 Years. Is It Possible We Are Not Good at This?," Robyn Pennacchia makes numerous erroneous statements about the Reid Technique.

As background, the article states that "In 1995, 18-year-old Gerardo Cabanillas told police that he was one of the two armed men who came up to a couple sitting in a parked car in South Gate, California, robbed them, forced the man out of the car and then drove the woman to an abandoned house where they both raped her. Both the man and the woman picked him out of a police lineup.

On Tuesday, Cabanillas became a free man, exonerated after having been found factually innocent of the crime thanks to DNA testing. The DNA test gave police a new suspect, who just so happens to already be in custody for an unrelated killing.

Well, not long after Cabanillas confessed, he retracted his confession and said he was coerced, and that he only confessed because the cop who interviewed him said he would get out on probation if he did."

In discussing the issue of false confessions the author states that "....police in the United States use an interrogation technique that is largely banned in other countries, called the Reid Technique. Why is it banned? Because it’s widely known to elicit false confessions — particularly in young people, as we’ve seen in this case and with cases like the Central Park Five."

Unfortunately reporters today simply Google a topic and use the information that is retrieved and do not make any effort to independently verify the information. If this reporter had researched our website she would have found the following information posted in 2016 - The Reid Technique is not banned in any country. The suggestion that the Reid Technique is prohibited in Great Britain (or any country) is a false statement.

The author's suggestion that the Reid Technique was the cause of false confessions in the Central Park Five case is also an inaccurate statement. If she had conducted her own independent research she would have found the following posting on our website from 2019 - If they had followed the core principles of the Reid Technique these false confessions would not have occurred. In fact we sued Netflix when they made a similar claim: John E. Reid and Associates has filde a lawsuit against Netflix.

The author goes on to state that "The Reid Technique also teaches officers to infer guilt based on people being nervous, crying, not making eye contact, and doing several other things that innocent people wrongly accused of a crime they did not commit might do when talking to police, especially if they are still in shock over the loss of a loved one. In the seminars, police are frequently told that “body language” is more important than what a suspect is saying, which is right up there with phrenology in terms of accuracy in actually determining anything."

The author does not appear to have even a basic understanding of the Reid Technique. If she had conducted her own independent research she would have easily discovered the following:

A Description of the Reid Technique

Principles of Practice: How to Conduct Proper Investigative Interviews and Interrogations

The list of resources which provide an accurate and complete description of the Reid Technique and how the courts view the Reid process is extensively detailed on our website -

We can only hope that in the future reporters will be more diligent in their efforts to confirm the accuracy of the information before they publish it.