The Reid Technique: A Fact Sheet for Prosecutors

Written By: Joseph P. Buckley
Apr 25, 2023

Dear Prosecutor,

In many confession cases, the defense presents an expert witness, oftentimes a social psychologist, to testify that the investigators used tactics and techniques to coerce a confession, very possibly a false confession, from the defendant. These experts will testify that there were a number of indicia common to false/coerced confessions present in the current case, such as use of the Reid Technique, a juvenile suspect, use of the false evidence ploy, promises of leniency, threats of harm or more severe consequences if the subject does not cooperate and confess, sleep deprivation, denial of rights, denial of the chance to use the washroom or get something to eat or drink, minimization/maximization etc.

Here is some information that we have posted on our website that should be helpful in these cases:

The Courts: Acceptable Investigator Interrogation Behaviors

The Courts: Unacceptable Investigator Interrogation Behaviors

Court Decisions Regarding Juvenile Interrogations/Confession Admissibility

The Truth About the Research Social Psychologists Use as the Basis for Testimony Regarding False and/or Coerced Confessions

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

False Confessions: The Issues to be Considered

What Questions Should Be Asked to Determine the Voluntariness and Validity of a Subject’s Confession?

A General Outline of Richard Leo's Testimony on False Confessions Issues and Reid Responses

Reid Policy on the Use of Deception During an Interrogation

The Disingenuous Testimony from Social Psychologists About the Reid Technique

In the attached pdf document, What False Confession Experts, Defense Attorneys and Academicians Say About the Reid Technique and Our Responses, we include information on the following topics:

  • The Purpose of an Interrogation
  • A "Guilt Presumptive" Process
  • How Social Psychologists Describe the Interrogation Process
  • The Use of Minimization Techniques
  • "Pragmatic Implication"
  • The Three Errors that Lead to False Confessions: Misclassification, Coercion and Contamination
    • The Reid Core Principles
  • Lying to a Suspect about Evidence
  • Modifying Techniques when Questioning Juveniles and Individuals with Mental or Psychological Disabilities
  • Courts and Attorneys Use Reid as the Benchmark for Proper Procedures
  • Causes of False Confessions
  • Comments from the Courts
  • Best Practices
  • Behavior Symptom Analysis
  • Research Supporting the Reid Technique
  • How Reporters Oftentimes Present Erroneous Descriptions of the Reid Technique
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