Marijuana Use and the District of Columbia
December 22, 2015
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Cooperation or Not? Please Keep Quiet—Usually

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

George Orwell  

Cooperation or Not

Please Keep Quiet—Usually


Every crime show on television has a scene in which the detective tells the soon-to-be-arrested individual that he can help his case through his immediate cooperation with the authorities.  The detective threatens additional charges or penalties and fully expects that the defendant will break down and confess.  In the over twenty years in which I have represented criminal defendants, I am surprised as to how frequently the police learn the details of a particular event because my client debriefed without benefit of legal counsel.  On some occasions, my client actually agreed to assist the police officer with future investigations.  And on one occasion, the officer handed my client his business card so that he could contact the officer upon his release from jail.  Please, please, please just say no!  A police officer or detective is generally lacking in authority to help you with your case.  They will promise you anything, but the cop on the beat or the district detective cannot help you.  Only the prosecutors can actually affect your charge and they will only discuss your case after meeting with your attorney.  And accepting a police business card on your way to lock-up can only cause you trouble with other individuals at the jail.     

Do you want to help the authorities?  Do you want to tell them all about your present case as well as about other situations with which you may be involved?  Do you want to tell the authorities about your friends, about your family members?  That is a personal decision.  Some defense attorneys pledge that their clients will never snitch on other individuals.  It is not a process that I like to have a client engage in.  However, as I am not the person facing what could be a significant jail sentence, I cannot condemn anything that will result in less incarceration.  That wouldn’t be fair to you and you are the client.  So if your attorney says that you will never snitch, find another attorney because you deserve to have all the options, not just some.

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