People face ethical dilemmas every day. But it is perhaps, most prevalent in the law enforcement profession. Law enforcement officers face ethical dilemmas constantly. Some of the ethical issues that police face each day are: racial profiling, officer discretion, police officer loyalty, police officer abuse, and interrogatory deception. This paper will discuss the purpose of interrogatory deception, ways in which it is used, some of the current debates over the practice, and a landmark ruling in the Miranda case of 1966 which attempted to cease the use of intimidation and coercion practices of the police.
The first thing that should be thought about prior to any form of interrogation is the suspect’s rights; particularly his or her Miranda Rights. Also known as the Miranda warnings, “the purpose of [which] depends on whether you are the law enforcement officer or the suspect. From a suspect's point of view, it is to remind you that you have a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. From an officer's point of view, it is to help preserve the admissibility of your statements in a criminal proceeding” (Second Call Defense, 2014). There are four main principles to the Miranda statement that an officer will read; although the exact wording may change from police department to police department. Miranda warnings or rights basically state that: you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can be used against you, you have the right to an attorney, and you may be appointed an attorney if you cannot afford one. In addition, an individual may wave his rights outlined within the Miranda statements. Suspects can waive their rights to a lawyer and to remain silent by knowingly and voluntarily signing a statement.
In contrast, the purpose or “goal of [an] interrogation is to facilitate the act of confessing [and obtaining truth]” (Leo & Thomas, 1998). A different viewpoint might be to get the suspect talking and keep him or her talking. The problem arises when an officer sits down with a suspect in an attempt to gain the truth or a confession; however, the suspect refuses to cooperate.
So how can an officer facilitate the process and get a suspect to talk or even better, confess? Years ago this was accomplished by police through the use of force also known as police brutality. That practice has been abandoned due to its inhumane and brutal nature and its infringement of individual rights. Police were forced to seek an alternate means of obtaining information that did not rely on inhumane practices. This turnaround came in the form of trickery and deceit; called interrogatory deception. This type of psychological coercion is taught and practiced daily by today’s law enforcement. It is based on the utilitarian standpoint by police that the means justifies the outcome. This type of interrogation is performed in a way “which elicits admissions by deceiving suspects who have waived their right to...