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Colorado Sex Crimes Investigations – Beware Of Police Use Of Investigatory “Tactics” The traps set by sex crimes detectives are complex. Knowing what is happening during the investigation stage of a sex crimes case may be key to having any chance of defending the charges.
This article address some of the most common tactics employed by clever sex crimes detectives here in Colorado – and some ways to defend yourself before it is too late.
The Three Most Common Investigation Tactics Used In Colorado Sex Crimes Investigations
I. Pre-Arrest /Custody Questioning
II. The Offer To Take A Polygraph / Lie Detector Test
III. The “Pretext” Phone Call
There are three basic police encounters that you must recognize when they occur.
1. Consensual Encounters -No need for any evidence of a crime – you must consent to this contact with the police.
2. “Terry Stops” – Stop and Frisk -The law requires that the Police have “reasonable suspicion” that you have committed a crime. If they have it – they can temporarily detain you and pat you down for officer safety reasons.
3. Actual Arrests – If reasonable suspicion has faded and the police do not have “probable cause” within a reasonable time that you committed a crime, they cannot arrest you – they must free you from the detention. If they have developed probable cause – they can, and most often will, arrest you.
The Miranda rule is one of the least understand rules there is in the criminal justice system. The police know the Miranda rule and while you think you understand it from “Law and Order” episodes.. You probably don’t.
The police use the public’s misunderstanding of the Miranda Rule to their advantage. Miranda stands for the proposition that before the police may interrogate you (question you) AFTER you have been arrested and you are in their “CUSTODY” – they must advise you of your Miranda rights and then obtain a WAIVER of those rights.
BUT, if you have not been placed under arrest, that is, during what is the informal “investigation stage” of the alleged commission of a crime, then the Miranda Rule does NOT APPLY.
In an “out of custody interrogation” you are not under arrest, and therefore under Miranda – the police are not required to read you your Miranda rights.
There are several ways the police can interrogate you without arresting you:
A – Conducting the Interview by Phone. Here the police, investigating a Colorado Sexual Assault crime, will call the suspect on the phone, confront the suspect with the allegations made by the allege victim – and then ask the suspect for his “side of the story.”
B – The “Voluntary” Meeting At The Police Station – Here the suspect is enticed to an interview at the police station, again to tell his or her side of the story or given a way to “clear their name.” Typically the suspect is offered something to drink, an open conference room, and an alleged “open mind” on the part of the police.
Since the suspect is advised they are free to leave at any time (as we all know, all the officer wishes to do is to be fair and get “all sides of the story”) – Court’s will find that the suspect is not in custody and therefore Miranda does not apply. The goal for the police here is to use the police department meeting to develop incriminating evidence against the suspect – perhaps even a full confession.
Though tempting – never, ever, submit to a Polygraph – Lie Detector test without the advise of counsel. Here’s why. The results of a polygraph are not admissible. Without an agreement from the prosecutor that if a suspect passes the poly the case will be dismissed, the poly is worth nothing. Here’s the rub – and the trick, only the results of a polygraph are not admissible in a trial, what the suspect says during the polygraph (in the absence of agreed to guidelines by the parties) ARE admissible at trial. This is because the polygraph is voluntary – the suspect is always free to leave and there is no arrest.
As a former prosecutor, I would often agree to a proposed polygraphs at my office because I knew then that the polygrapher on my staff would conduct a “pre-polygraph interview.” The goal of this pre-polygraph “interview” is to have the opportunity to conduct another interrogation – outside of the requirements of the Miranda Rule – and obtain a confession or, at a minimum, incriminating evidence or even leads to other possible evidence not previously located.
Following the polygraph – if the results were either deceptive or inconclusive – the police will confront the suspect when the suspect is most vulnerable and take another shot using the “post polygraph interview” using highly complex “”police interrogation techniques” to obtain an incriminating statement.
The use of the “Pretext Phone Call” in Colorado Sex Crime Cases is a very common tactic.
It is not complex. The suspect, usually unaware of an ongoing sex crime investigation, will receive a phone call from someone involved in the allegations of the sex crime – usually the alleged victim herself. In Colorado Sex Crime Cases, the police will use the victim, a parent, or someone else to call the suspect and accuse them of the crime. Nearby – listening in on the phone call is the police investigator who is recording everything that is said.
The conversation is most often an emotional confrontation using the kind of accusations and “damning statements” intended to get a response in the suspect. The suspect will be accused of causing the victim to consider suicide, use drugs and or alcohol, lose sleep, in have fallen into a serious depression, or to be failing in school or in their employment.
The goal here is to obtain a confession – or at least evidence that can later be used in trial and it is all completely lawful under Colorado law. If a suspect receives a call such as this – hang up and call a lawyer.
Memorize these words!
When you suspect that you are under investigation for any crime – but especially a sex crime in Colorado and you are being questioned – clearly and unequivocally invoke your right to remain silent under the US Constitution, and then … SHUT UP.
Here are the words you should use:
“I hereby invoke my right to remain silent under the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution.”
To repeat – to invoke your Fifth Amendment Right To Remain Silent Say this … clearly and repeatedly…
“I hereby invoke my right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
To Invoke Your Sixth Amendment Right To A Lawyer – AKA “Lawyering Up” use these words:
“I demand a lawyer …now – I want a lawyer and I want all questioning to STOP now!”
I hope this helps you – H. Michael.
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Never stop fighting – never stop believing in yourself and your right to due process of law.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at email@example.com – A Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277. Attorney H. Michael Steinberg is passionate about criminal defense. His extensive knowledge and experience of Colorado Criminal Law gives him the edge you need to properly handle your case.
“A good criminal defense lawyer is someone who devotes themselves to their client’s case from beginning to end, always realizing that this case is the most important thing in that client’s life.”
You should be careful to make a responsible choice in selecting a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – and we encourage you to “vet” our firm. Over the last 30 plus years – by focusing ONLY on Colorado criminal law – H. Michael has had the necessary time to commit to the task of constantly updating himself on nearly every area of criminal law, to include Colorado criminal law and procedure and trial and courtroom practice. H. Michael works hard to get his clients the best possible results in and out of the courtroom. He has written, and continues to write, extensively on Colorado criminal law and he hopes this article helps you in some small way – Colorado Sex Crimes Investigations – Beware Of Police Use Of Investigatory “Tactics.”