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Attitudes of Police Executives Toward Miranda and Interrogation Policies

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Volume: 97 Issue: 3 Dated: Spring 2007 Pages: 873-942
Marvin Zalman; Brad W. Smith
Date Published
70 pages
This paper presents the results of a survey of top administrators from large American municipal police departments on interrogation law and practice, specifically their attitudes toward Miranda and interrogation policies.
Major findings from the survey include: (1) most big city police administrators do not wish to overturn Miranda; officers in their departments complied with Miranda rules and administrators agreed with the results of the majority opinions in both United States versus Patane and Missouri versus Siebert; (2) administrators disagreed with the practice of deliberately evading Miranda rules known as interrogation “outside Miranda;” (3) three-quarters of the respondents disagreed with the proposition that aggressive psychological interrogation causes false confessions; (4) three-fifths of big city police administrators favored the videotaping of interrogation sessions; and (5) disciplining officers for Miranda violations is uncommon. The survey indicates “wholesale” compliance with legal rules designed to guide police interrogations. However, support for violations is sufficient to be of concern for a legal system that wants changes in Miranda law. Important issues of confessions law and police interrogation practices are presently on the constitutional and public agendas. This study provides baseline opinion data of big city police administrators concerning important contemporary issues having to do with interrogation and confessions. It sheds light on the level of information held by police administrators about confessions law and provides first-time data on lawsuits and administrative controls surrounding interrogation methods. The survey provides information about three controversial issues: interrogation practices that can subvert Miranda, methods that may induce false confessions, and videotaping interrogations. Tables, appendix