Police Interviewing and Interrogation: A Self-Report Survey of Police Practices and Beliefs

21 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2008 Last revised: 27 Apr 2010

Richard A. Leo

University of San Francisco - School of Law

Saul M. Kassin

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Christian A. Meissner

National Science Foundation - Law & Social Sciences Program Director; University of Texas at El Paso - Departments of Psychology & Criminal Justice

Kimberly D. Richman

University of San Francisco - College of Arts & Sciences

Lori H. Colwell

Connecticut Valley Hospital

Amy Leach

Queen's University

Dana La Fon

Loyola College in Maryland

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

By questionnaire, 631 police investigators reported on their interrogation beliefs and practices - the first such survey ever conducted. Overall, participants estimated that they were 77 percent accurate at truth and lie detection, that 81 percent of suspects waive Miranda rights, that the mean length of interrogation is 1.6 hours, and that they elicit self-incriminating statements from 68 percent of suspects, 4.78 percent from innocents. Overall, 81 percent felt that interrogations should be recorded. As for self-reported usage of various interrogation tactics, the most common were to physically isolate suspects, identify contradictions in suspects' accounts, establish rapport, confront suspects with evidence of their guilt, and appeal to self-interests. Results were discussed for their consistency with prior research, policy implications, and methodological shortcomings.

Keywords: criminal procedure, criminal justice, law enforcement, interrogation tactics

Suggested Citation

Leo, Richard A. and Kassin, Saul M. and Meissner, Christian A. and Richman, Kimberly D. and Colwell, Lori H. and Leach, Amy and La Fon, Dana, Police Interviewing and Interrogation: A Self-Report Survey of Police Practices and Beliefs (2007). Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 31, 2007; Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2010-12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1141359

Richard A. Leo (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

Saul M. Kassin

John Jay College of Criminal Justice ( email )

695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
United States

Christian A. Meissner

National Science Foundation - Law & Social Sciences Program Director ( email )

4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230
United States

University of Texas at El Paso - Departments of Psychology & Criminal Justice ( email )

500 West University
El Paso, TX TX 79968-0545
United States

Kimberly D. Richman

University of San Francisco - College of Arts & Sciences ( email )

San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

Lori H. Colwell

Connecticut Valley Hospital ( email )

Whiting Forensic Division
P.O. Box 70, O'Brien Drive
Middletown, CT 06457
United States
860-262-6891 (Phone)
860-262-5466 (Fax)

Amy Leach

Queen's University ( email )

Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada

Dana La Fon

Loyola College in Maryland ( email )

4501 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21210-2699
United States

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