The Police Deception: Argumentative Essay
The question of police deception when interrogating the suspects has been a debatable topic in the criminal justice system discipline over years. There are those who agree with the police deception while others appear to disagree with these case law provisions. However, the question remains whether it is ethical for the police to use lies during the investigation process as purported by the America Supreme court. This paper finds it unethical for the police officers to use lies to obtain information from the suspects. However, as much as this paper goes against the police deception it agrees that there are situations where police officers may be forced to lie.It is important to note that the criminal justice system is mandated to undertake three main duties (Cain, 2015), tracing and arresting criminals who have violated the law, prosecuting the lawbreakers and managing the punishment of those who have been prosecuted. The police officers are the part of the criminal justice system, and their duty entails identifying and bringing into the court the lawbreakers. To accomplish their duties, police officers maintain law and order, respond to the emergency calls and investigate criminal activities. In the process of carrying out investigations, police evaluate the crime scene, interrogate the suspects and witnesses and then collects and analyzes the evidence. The interrogation of the potential suspects requires a highly qualified interviewer to induce the victims to provide information that will the prosecutors prove their case in court.
On several occasions, police officers rely on deception to influence victims to provide the information that they may not be willing to tell. Ideally, deception in the unethical act in many disciplines. Likewise, a significant number of police detectives do not depend on deception to solicit information from the potential suspects (Cain, 2015). The deception strategy becomes applicable only when the suspect volunteers to waive his or her rights and instead remain silent. In this juncture, the police officers may use lie tactics such as camouflaging to understand and sympathize with the victim. Secondly, pretending to reduce the victims’ guilt or the depths of their offences. Thirdly, lying to the suspect that they have eyewitness testimony, co-defendant testimony and forensic evidence. All the parameters of relying on deception to obtain information from the suspects are provided by the United States Supreme Court Case Law.
The advocators of police deception have argued that for interrogations to be successful, they must contain some elements of lies (Bittner, 2010). Besides, they have gone ahead to argue that some value of deceptive interrogations cannot be ignored. Magid (2011) found that deceptions are useful in obtaining the victims’ confessions that in turn are used to identify some convictions. Some of the convictions as a result of deception techniques are very valuable to the society, especially for potential and existing suspects’ as well innocent victims who might have been charged wrongly. The confession being the most robust evidence that can be used in court to prove the guilt or the innocence of the suspect, then police deception should be embraced (Magid, 2011).
The critics and the opponents of the police deception just like this paper cite some reasons why police should not be allowed to lie. Cain (2015) opined that if police officers are allowed to lie while interviewing the suspect, there is a likelihood of them extending similar tactics in other situations that do not permit deception. For example, it is in doubt why the police officer would not lie when offering testimony in court or making a search warrant application. Secondly, Kassin et al. (2012) considered the aspect of the public trust and argued that allowing police officers to lie in certain situations it makes them appear untrustworthy in the eyes of the public. Besides, it has been argued that deceptive interrogation can be coercive and therefore, lead to false confessions.In the event where the deceptive interrogations result into false confessions, then the innocent person may end up being charged. Several studies have raised alarms on the impact of the false confessions, especially on the innocent victims (Cain, 2015). For example, significant studies have concluded that forced interrogations result into false confessions and in return, wrong suspects are convicted while the law violators roam freely. In support Bittner (2010) disputes the proposers’ arguments that all interrogations are carried out without coercion and straightforwardly. The opponents hold that the interviewing of the victims cannot be voluntary, and severally the police officers force the victims to provide them with the information. Additionally, this paper finds it unethical to rely on police deception on serious investigations that may result into wrong victims being convicted.
The above discussion has highlighted both the benefits and the demerits of police deception. From the criminal justice system point of view, police deception when interrogating the suspect is justifiable. However, from the ethical perspective, it is unethical for police to use lies to obtain statements from the victims. Police deception shutters the public confidence among the police officers. Secondly, it is immoral to lie because it is a way of justifying illegitimate means. Thirdly, a false evidence obtained through forced interrogation may be rejected by the court. Finally, police officers who are bound by the moral ethics may find it hard to engage in investigations that may require them to use lies.