●林映谷（Edgar Lin）／畢業於美國威斯康辛州大學 麥迪遜分校法律學院，擁有美國法律博士學位。專長刑事審判及移民法規，現任美國威斯康辛州州政府「司法正義改革會」成員。曾任職雷曼兄弟投資銀行，威州公設辯護律師，2014年獲威州傑出律師獎。
Interrogation of the criminally accused
You were just arrested for a crime. The arresting officers handcuffed you and found a roll of money from the crime scene in your pocket. Your mind went blank.
The day before your arrest, your friend--a known “bad boy”, told you to pull your car over at the convenience store so he could grab a soda. You were driving your dad’s car. A few minutes later, he ran out with a bag full of cash. “Drive!” He yelled. You panicked and slammed on the gas, driving through a red light and knocking over an unoccupied Harley Davidson. Angry and bewildered, you dropped him off at his home. Your friend then threw a roll of money at you and left. It was your 18th birthday.
The arresting officer did not ask you any questions on your ride to the police station. He brought you to a windowless room. There was a dimly lit fluorescent light flickering on the ceiling and a small camera in the corner. It was freezing cold.
An older detective walked in. He was really nice. He smiled a lot. He gave you a cigarette. He asked you questions about your background like your name, where you went to school, etc. He was making small talk. You began to loosen up a bit.
As he began to gain your trust, he said he was investigating a robbery that happened yesterday. He knew you were at the robbery because a surveillance camera caught the license plate. He already spoke to the owner of the car, your dad, who said you borrowed the car earlier. He said the cashier at the robbery was stabbed and just died. He didn’t think you were the killer. He wanted to hear your version of what happened yesterday. He said that before he could hear your version of events, he must read you your rights.
“It’s just standard protocol, nothing special, okay? You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
Murder!? You were terrified. You had no idea someone was stabbed in the store! Your mouth was dry and your eyes were watery. You took a deep breath and gathered yourself. You asked the nice detective if you could get out of jail if you told him what happened. He said honesty would go a long way. He said he has kids your age, and he could tell you are a good kid. He said he couldn’t promise you anything, but he would definitely put in a good word to the prosecutor.
You grew suspicious. You asked if you should talk to an attorney. You could see he was trying to hide his irritation. He said he could not tell you what you should or should not do, but if you asked for a lawyer, he could no longer hear your side of thestory. The detective’s niceness seemed contrived now. You decided that you would like a lawyer to advise you, so you asked for a lawyer. Once a detainee asks for a lawyer, the detective is not allowed to ask any more questions. The detective didn’t hide his irritation now and stormed out of the room.
Shortly after, a young but confident lawyer showed up. He told you he is a public defender, and public defenders are criminal defense attorneys. You asked if you needed to pay him. He said that because you did not have an income, you qualified for free representation.
He told the detective he needed a clean room with no audio or video recording. You were taken to another room. He told you that even if anything was actually recorded, the prosecutor could never use it in court because attorney-client privilege protects that conversation. Your lawyer can never testify against you in court.
He told you anything you told him was confidential, and he was ethically bound to keep your secrets, even if you told him you killed someone years ago. You told him exactly what happened. He asked questions about your relationship with your friend and followed up on the details of the event. You told him everything you could remember. Your lawyer said he’d reach out to the prosecutor, because police officers could not make deals.
Outside the interrogation room, the lawyer told the detective he needed to speak to the prosecutor. The detective said the case was not criminally charged yet and he was just starting the investigation. The lawyer told the detective his client would not make a statement without him first talking to the prosecutor. Frustrated, the detective said he would reach out to the prosecutor.
Your lawyer came back to your room and explained that you were in serious trouble. The prosecutor could likely pin you with felony murder and armed robbery, aiding and abetting. In Wisconsin, felony murder is when someone dies during a commission of a felony crime. Everyone involved in that felony can be charged with felony murder. The maximum penalty you faced is 55 years in prison. They would say you were a lookout in the armed robbery. Surveillance cameras showed your dad’s car, and you have the proceeds of the armed robbery in your pocket.
Your lawyer quickly discussed some potential defenses. Maybe they could not prove that you were there since nobody saw your face. On the other hand, your friend may get arrested and talk, placing you at the scene. Your dad said you just borrowed the car. The money, well, they probably couldn’t prove that it’s the same money from the store, but it looked bad. The more plausible defense, which would require you to ultimately testify in trial, was to explain that you had no knowledge that the crime was going to be committed. If the jury believed you and found you credible, you would be found Not Guilty on the charges. It would all come down to credibility.
Your lawyer told you that if the prosecutor wanted to talk to you, she might cut you a deal for your cooperation. The best-case scenario: you avoid being chargedcompletely. The worst-case scenario: your story failed to match whatever evidence the prosecutor and detective had and they punish you for lying. Your lawyer stressed again that you must be honest with him so he could properly defend you. Your life was hanging on the line. If you knew that your friend was going to commit the robbery, he may not want you to speak to the prosecutor unless you are offered a deal, a proffer, or some type of immunity for cooperation. In exchange for your cooperation, you would likely get a big reduction in jail time.
If you truly had no knowledge of the robbery, then you may ultimately have a jury trial. Your story must be consistent at all times. Otherwise, if you were to go to trial and your story changed, they would use it against you to show you were lying. You told him that everything you said was true and you are completely innocent. The lawyer received a call and left the room.
Outside the room, the prosecutor called the lawyer to talk. She has a reputation of being tough but fair. The lawyer told the prosecutor a summary of what happened, and offered her to be present at the interrogation. He told the prosecutor that his client was professing full innocence and would be willing to go to a jury trial if the case was charged. He suggested the prosecutor not press charges if she found you credible. The prosecutor made no promises at this point but is open to all options, including not charging the case.
Your lawyer told you about his conversation with the prosecutor. You asked him whether or not it would be good to talk to the prosecutor. He gave you the benefits and risks of opening up. After hearing your options, you decided to go forward with the interrogation. He said that if he interrupted during questioning, you must stop immediately. If you felt uncomfortable with a question or if the question was unclear, you need to pause and ask to speak to him. These are customary during interrogation.
The prosecutor and detective then came in the room. The detective read the same rights he read earlier to you again. The prosecutor told you she wanted to hear your version of events. You told her your story. The prosecutor asked some follow up questions. She then asked if you knew that your friend had a history of theft or robbery. You froze because you realized you did not tell your lawyer the whole story. You told your lawyer that your friend was a childhood friend, and other than generally being known as a “bad boy”, you were not aware that he has a criminal record. The truth was, you knew that your friend was arrested 2 years ago for robbery because you visited him in jail.
Your lawyer sensed your hesitation. He interrupted the questioning and asked the prosecutor and detective to leave because he needed a second to talk to his client. After they left, he quietly asked you what happened. You told him you knew about your friend’s record, and you apologized for not telling him. You just forgot. Frustrated, your lawyer warned you again about being completely honest. He said he could tell them you do not want to answer that question and move on. However, he felt it was not the worst fact even if you answered it. You agreed.
He called the prosecutor and detective back. He explained to them that there was some miscommunication and that you forgot because you were panicking earlier, but you knew that your friend was in trouble before for robbery. The prosecutor thanked you for being honest. She said she would talk to your lawyer about any updates.
Now the prosecutor has to decide whether charges would be filed or not. And if charges were filed, what would be appropriate?