When you are being questioned, can the police lie to you to get you to waive your Miranda rights and make a statement? The answer is unequivocally yes. Frightening? Yes.

The Rule of Law in Effect

Here is the rule of law being used today: Police are prohibited from coercing a statement under Miranda, but lying is not coercive conduct. Therefore, if the police lie, and you give a statement in response to that lie, that does not make your statement inadmissible under the state and Federal constitutions. I know this well because I argued this point before the Colorado Supreme Court in 1997 in People v. Gray. The court said it would only void a statement that police obtained through a misrepresentation if it was a gross, coercive lie backed by intimidation.

The Rubber-Hose Test

So we know that the police can lie to you, and only if that lie is coercive, or if it constitutes intimidation, will there be a chance of keeping that statement out of evidence. By using these standards, courts are returning to the approach used 50 years ago called the “rubber hose test” when determining the voluntariness of statements.

The rubber hose test is this: If the police took a statement from an accused using physical, hands-on conduct, or by plainly threatening the subject, will the courts throw it out. With the advent of the robber-hose test, it doesn’t matter whether or not the police lie. What matters is coercive police behavior that includes physical means. Even minimal intimidation will not void a statement in most cases.

For nearly 30 years, Colorado criminal defense attorney Shaun Kaufman has been before the Colorado and Federal appellate courts arguing the rights of citizens accused of crimes. If you have a case involving rights, charges and police conduct, contact Shaun Kaufman Law, P.C., immediately, 24/7, at 303-309-0430