We’ve almost all seen it on TV. The police obtain a criminal suspect and place her in interrogation. Once there, the police use a full array of tactics, from encouragement to intimidation to empathy, seeking to get the testimony they need. Because the police officers are often the beloved stars of the show, the techniques they use almost end up being proper and permissible. In real life, it’s more complicated. Sometimes, the police may say things the law considers to be an “improper inducement.” When you can show that that happened to you, it may help you get potentially damaging evidence excluded from your case. Of course, the best way to ensure you are not being lured by police to make an incriminating statement in an interrogation setting is to make sure you have an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney by your side before you say anything to the police.
A.H. was a woman caught in that kind of situation as a suspect in a murder case. While questioning A.H., Baltimore police told the woman many things, including that “honesty is the best policy” and that “this is the honesty you need to stay with to stay out of big trouble.” The police also told her that she was “either going to be a witness or… a defendant,” but that if the woman was “straight up” then “we’ll work with you.”
At that point, A.H. revealed that she was a sex worker who was on an appointment with the victim at the time of the murder. A.H.’s crack dealer, E, instructed her to take the appointment and to “leave the door unlocked.” Because she feared E and because she thought E and his partner would, at most, beat up the victim, A.H. did as she was told. The victim ultimately died of multiple stab wounds. Based on A.H.’s statements, the state went to trial against her on robbery and homicide charges.