If you're detained

Don't Talk to Police….Without a Lawyer


At the excellent workshop "Know Your Rights" at the Activism 103 conference in Middletown (Feb. 25) an attorney dramatically explained why honest truthful people should not talk to police if detained. The risk is a charge of perjury.

The presenter told about a man who was given some jewelry by his boss. At some point he got a notice and was told to he had to testify to a grand jury. He never consulted with a lawyer and just freely told the truth. The problem was the grand jury was investigating a drug dealer and police corruption and the jewelry was stolen goods. The boss made a deal, admitted to robbery and said his employee was involved in the illegal doings. The honest man was charged with perjury.

When you're arrested don't think your're going to "explain" and talk your way out of things to a police officer. The smartest course when questioned is to say: I don't want to talk about this without my attorney …and to say nothing else. You are required to give your name and it's a good idea to show your drivers license. That's all.

Other important information:

* Lying to a police officer is a felony. However, if a police officer tells lies during questioning that's just considered smart police work.

* Police do not have to tell you why they arrested you. Best course is to go quietly.

" A police officer does not have to read you your rights after he arrests you! He only has to do this if he intends to question you.

* You do not have to talk to a grand jury. The fifth amendment guarantees you the right to not to give evidence against yourself.

* Sometimes police brass order cops to do "sweeps", to "clear" an area by arresting eveyone in it. It's not legal, but it's done (though not in CT to our knowledge). If you're caught up just go quietly. Say nothing and sue them later.

* It's great for people to take cameras and camcorders to demonstrations. The pictures have been used in court

* If you've been detained by police you can ask if you are under arrest. If they say no, the next question should be, "Am I free to go". If they say you can go, then go. If they don't answer don't leave. Assume you are under arrest.

For more information on your rights go to www.nlg.org the site of the National Lawyer's Guild