Maryland police officers sometimes conduct investigations that involve lying to suspects in hopes of gleaning information that cannot be obtained otherwise. The U.S. Supreme Court has continually upheld this police power in its rulings, but two states have decided that lying is not an acceptable method of obtaining evidence in criminal cases, especially when minors are being questioned by police.
The problem with false confessions
What largely happens when police apply undue pressure during criminal investigations is that suspects either mislead the police or make false confessions based on fear of harsher punishment if they stay silent or take the case through the justice system. This especially applies in death investigations because the suspect is fearful of retribution. The problem with police lying to suspects who may make a false confession is that a person could face harsh punishment for a crime they did not commit.
Will more states implement the new police deception law?
It is still unclear how other states may react to this shift in policy that is beginning in Illinois and Oregon. Criminal defense attorneys in Maryland likely support a legislative measure to prevent deceptive police tactics because they see far too many minors involved in criminal activity whose lives are negatively affected by convictions at a young age.
One of the problems in the criminal justice system is police authority to lie to anyone being questioned about criminal activity and sidestepping the Fifth Amendment. Individuals who are under investigation or charged with a crime should be aware of these deceptive tactics used by police and make sure they have adequate representation to avoid incriminating themselves.