Saturday, November 19, 2011

What is Self-Incrimination

(Found on NFPCAR web page & developed by our member, Panda
Link: )

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand jury. . . nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law. U.S. Const. Amend. V
The Fourteenth Amendment provides, in part: "....nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." U.S. Const. Amend. XIV.
Let's get this clear.  If you are being questioned by officials of any type, you have a Constitutional Right not to shoot your mouth off to them and spill your guts about everything you know (or even don't know) to be reinterpreted by them, which may or may not  land you in jail with criminal charges filed.

How can you take back any statements once they've been uttered? Remember the WWII slogan, "Loose Lips Sink Ships"? It certainly applies here. CPS doesn't have to get a guilty verdict in a court of law to devastate your family and your children. They can just put you in the hot seat, try you in the court of public opinion and watch your life unravel like pulling a loose string on a hand-knit sweater. They don't have to hit a bull's eye for the collateral damage to take its toll. You may even never be charged criminally and could still wind up loosing custody and your parental rights terminated. You still loose your children and the State wins -- gloating all the way to the bank.
There is also no law for you to help them prove or win any case they might be trying to build against you or a loved one. In fact, you have the Right against self incrimination according to the 5th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Case workers or investigators will go on "fishing expeditions" for information that may or may not be related to an incident that suddenly gets blown all out of proportion. Do not give them fodder to chew on. They are not your minister, priest, or rabbi; they are also not your parent, counselor, or friend. They have their own agendas in the course of an investigation and it does not include looking out for your Constitutional Rights. In fact, they will try their best to threaten, intimidate, and cajole you into telling them what they want to hear, regardless of your Rights.

Their goal in the course of their investigation is to find you guilty - of something, ANYTHING, because then it justifies their existence. The more people that are found guilty, the more money that flows into the coffers of whatever department you have, per chance, come across.

Asserting your innocence does no good, because everyone is guilty of something if you dig long enough. They may not be able to pin a murder charge on you because there's no body (evidence), but what about jaywalking, littering, or spitting on the sidewalk? Well, you must have done the crime, right? Otherwise you wouldn't have been charged in the first place by this nice official who has all the "right" credentials. It becomes a case of "he said/she said". When you're dealing with a stacked deck, who wins? The person who owns the deck!

The authorities are all familiar with each other. They see each other on a regular basis. They conduct their business together all the time. In fact their very jobs are dependent upon money being brought in. Courtrooms are full of citizens being brought in by various governmental departments.  Police, sheriff, code enforcement, dog catcher, you name it. And all these governmental players have friends in the courthouse since they are there so often. They are all playing on the same team folks!
They want you to play with them with their own stacked deck, but they don’t tell you that it’s stacked.  This is why we have constitutionally guaranteed Rights to help you deal with the "stacked deck."   This is even if you didn't know the deck was stacked in the first place! If you don't assert your Rights, it is as good as if you didn't have any.   If you don't know what your Rights are, how are you going to let them protect you?   If you willingly talk with investigators, you are giving up Rights that protect you. At this point, you have waived them and you have consented to abandon your Rights. Why should you? Why do you want to help them "win" their case?  Why do you want to give them ammo for their gun?   They want you to play with them with their own stacked deck, but they don't tell you it's stacked.  
It's probably because you don't remember your high school civics class, how to be a good citizen by knowing and asserting your Rights to better balance the power between yourself and the authorities. You have also been watching too many brain numbing shows in which the suspect willingly gives up their Right to remain silent before they talk with their attorney. Monkey see, monkey do! You have to stop that right now. 

Now is the time to install the proper "software" in your hardware (your brain) on how to deal with contacts with the authorities.   Watch these videos to help you remember:
"The government's interest in the welfare of children embraces not only protecting children from physical abuse, but also protecting children's interest in the privacy and dignity of their homes and in the lawfully exercised authority of their parents." Calabretta v. Floyd, 189 F.3d 808 (1999).
Remember, learning about and knowing your Rights and respectfully asserting them during encounters is no guarantee that your Rights won't be violated.   But, it does help diffuse a situation before it becomes all blown out of proportion, with reason and logic having gone out the window - for both sides.
The key is to be respectful.  Even if  the other side isn't doing the same to you, be kind in your replies to them.  Do this if it takes every ounce of willpower you can muster. It puts them off guard.  It also lets the investigator know that you are not just some hick that fell of the turnip truck yesterday, and they cannot  run roughshod over you willy-nilly. Besides, you do have your tape recorder or video camera running, right?   (Don't think about posting to You Tube just yet - better talk it over with your legal counsel.)
You want to make sure that you not only have a cool demeanor in dealing with these people, but that you look like the one who is the innocent party in this whole situation, and that you have your act together!   You can wig out, scream, cry, or whatever, in the safety and comforts of your own bedroom after these guys are gone.   Do not let them see you are intimidated or cowed by their behavior.  But, neither do you want to come off cocky or like a smart aleck.   If there is any time to be calm, cool and collected, this is that time.