PSYC 2400 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Full Confession, Sleep Deprivation, Fidgeting

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LECTURE TWO: POLICE INTERROGATIONS
Police Interrogations
a process whereby the police interview a suspect for the purpose of
gathering evidence and obtaining a confession.
Purpose of an Interrogation
1. Obtain a confession
2. Obtain information about the crime
these are specific to the Canadian method of interrogation
A Coercive Environment
In the past:
Physical tactics were often used to extract confessions from
suspects
Brown v. Mississippi (1936)
Whipping was used to obtain confession
Confession was overruled, police violence does not hold up in court
Stun guns and the NYC police (1980’s)
Used stun gun to extract confession
R. v. Hoilett (1999 Toronto, CA)
Man who was arrested for rape, who was stripped down and was
not given any clothing. He was interrogated while on drugs and
sleep deprived. Circumstances in which he confessed was thrown
out of court
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Today: More Subtle Coercion
Lying, Exaggerating, Threats, Leniency, Moral justifications,
Promises of assistance
The Reid Model of Interrogation
A 9 step model of interrogation used frequently in North America to
extract confessions from suspects.
3 General Components:
1. Gather evidence: related to crime and to interview witnesses
and victims
2. Conduct Non-Accusatorial interview (BAI): Behavioral Analysis
Interview.
3. Conduct accusatorial interrogation: need to determine that
person is lying about innocence
Behavioural Analysis Interview (BAI)
Goal: Assess and determine if person is being deceptive
Assumption: guilty people will react differently to questions (versus
innocent people)
Examples of indicators (lying):
Gaze aversion, Fidgeting, Slouching, Anxiousness
Reid Model: Interrogation (Stage 3) *have general idea of
model*
1. Confront suspect with their guilt: if police do not have evidence at
this time they may imply that such evidence exists
2. Develop psychological themes: allows suspect to rationalize or
excuse the crime.
3. Interrupt statements of denial: to ensure suspect does not get the
upper hand in the interrogation
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4. Overcome objections
5. Engage suspect: ensures attention of suspect so they do not tune
out, this technique reduces the psychological distance btw interrogator
and suspect
6. Show sympathy and urge truth
7. Offer alternative explanations/questions: makes self-incrimination
easier
8. Develop full confession: when suspect agrees to one of alternative
explanations
9. Obtain written confession
What do Police Actually do In the Interrogation Setting
Minimizing techniques: soft shell tactics used by police interrogators
that are designed to lull suspect into false sense of security
Maximizing techniques: Scare tactics used by police interrogators
that are designed to intimidate suspect
King and Snook (2009)
What is Permissible by the Courts?
In Canada:
2. Confessor must be competent
1. Confession must be voluntary: the extent to which it was voluntary
basic human rights cannot be violated or confession will be thrown
out
Canadian Examples
Permissible
R. v. Oickle (2000)
Not permissible
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