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Can the police lie during an interrogation?

Short answer: Yes, they can.

Long Answer: When investigating a crime, the police often try to get the suspect to give a confession.  They use an “interrogation” (custodial interview) to get statements from suspects.  When a suspect is “in custody” the police are required to advise the suspect of their “Miranda Rights.”  After the suspect waives their rights and agrees to give a statement, the police will then conduct an interrogation. 

The standard for whether the statements given by a suspect can be admitted at trial is whether they are voluntarily given.  The statement must be freely and willingly given and without coercion, duress, threats, use of violence, fear of injury, or any suggestions or promises of leniency or reward. A statement induced by the slightest hope of benefit or the remotest fear of injury is not voluntary.

Now what about the police lying during interrogations? 

Under Georgia law, “the use of trickery and deceit to obtain a confession does not render it inadmissible.”  State v. Ritter, 268 Ga. 108 (1997).

What are examples of the police using this tactic:

  • Telling a defendant that they already have DNA or fingerprints that they committed a crime (when they do not have such evidence)
  • Telling a defendant that their codefendant already confessed (when they did not)
  • Telling a defendant that the incident was captured on surveillance (and there is no surveillance)

This is why a suspect in a criminal investigation should always ask for their criminal defense lawyer to be present

There may still be ways to challenge a statement induced by trickery or deceit by showing that the tactics violated the defendant’s due process rights.  If you need help in challenging  police conduct during a criminal interrogation, contact the J Todd Mitchell Law Firm or give us a call at 706-750-0501.

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