Monday, October 25, 2010, 10:40 PM
Posted by Administrator
Editor's Note (by Bob Smith): New blog contributor, Jesus Rabinowitz, is a former North Florida Assistant Public Defender. He currently lives outside of St. Augustine, he is unemployed, and, he is working on his second book which is tentatively titled THE DAY BEGAN WELL ENOUGH.

There is one thing that I expect all doctors to be able to do: deal with heart attacks. I am confident that I will never find myself thrashing on the floor of, for instance, an airliner over the Atlantic only to hear a doctor say "I can't help him, I'm a dermatologist."

By the same token, I believe that all lawyers: real estate lawyers, securities lawyers, immigration lawyers...should know the answer to the question: The cops are at my door, should I talk to them? You may have devoted the last 30 years to preparing shopping center leases. But, it is a weekend, your niece is on the phone. You are the only lawyer she knows.
ANSWER THE QUESTION...SHOULD SHE TALK TO THE COPS OR KEEP HER MOUTH SHUT? You have an obligation to the entire profession(and to your niece) to know the answer.

If you, as a lawyer, can't help your niece then you've got no complaint when you find yourself laying on the street in front of a doctor's office dying of a heart attack and the doctor comes outside and says "Sorry, man, I've got my MD but all I do now is talk therapy for drug addicts."

If you know the answer to today's question, stop here, move on with your life, you don't need me right now. If you don't...here is how to figure it out.

Ask your niece:
Do you know why they are there honey? Have you witnessed any crimes? Have you committed any crimes recently? "Yes?"...Sweetheart, what exactly was your involvement?

If you are just a witness and you don't talk to the cops, they will think you were involved. TALK TO THE COPS.

If your involvement in the crime was minimal ("I just gave them a ride over to the park, I didn't know they had guns.") you've got a decision to make:
A) If they've already arrested other people, the cops already know you were there. If you don't talk to the cops first, the shooters will probably talk and say that YOU had a gun. Usually, when you are involved in a crime with a bunch of other people, WHOEVER TALKS TO THE COPS FIRST WINS.
B)Remember, the opposite of the adage "the guilty flee" is "the not-guilty stick around to talk to the cops." The cops are more likely to believe you didn't know the other guys had a gun if you talk to them from the get-go.
C)Of course, by talking to them, you are going to put yourself at the scene of the crime.
D)Quite the conundrum.

If you committed a crime and you are sure the cops can prove it regarding of whether or not you talk to them...you should consider:
They will like you if you cooperate...they can prove up what you did anyway so you aren't hurting yourself...and maybe you can minimize what you did. I represented a girl one time who vandalized an abandoned house. When she was arrested, the cop thought she was responsible for all of the vandalism at the house. After she hired me, we got the cop to take a statement from her and convinced the cop that she had written on the wall but the broken windows, stolen sink and holes in the ceiling had nothing to do with her.

And, what if it is a big crime and your role was minimal: Let's say that a murderer drove your car over to do the murder. The cops are knocking at your door. You know someone is dead. Was your car stolen by the murderer? Did you lend it to the murderer knowing what they were going to do? Did you lend it not knowing?

If you don't talk to the cops, they will assume that you were part of a murder conspiracy. The fact that your car is associated with a murder already has you in a jam. It's damage control time. TALK...if you didn't know anything... but be careful what you say.

Remember, the cops are legally allowed to lie to you about what they know: for exmample "THE OTHER PEOPLE WE ARRESTED SAID IT WAS ALL YOUR IDEA." They are allowed to tell you they have evidence against you that they don't have "YOUR FINGERPRINTS ARE ALL OVER THE GUN" (note: fingerprints are NEVER "all over" a gun). And, they can keep you for hours and hours and mentally beat you up until you confess to something you didn't do. (Yes, people confess all the times to things they didn't do.) "JUST TELL US HOW YOU KILLED HER AND WE'LL LET YOU GO HOME."

It's always good to have a lawyer with you when you talk to the cops. He/she may just sit there but:
i) They are a witness to the goings-on; they can remind you that you can leave when you want; and they can hint that it is time to leave "OFFICER, UNLESS MY CLIENT IS UNDER ARREST RIGHT NOW, WE'RE LEAVING."
ii) The cops will double team you...it's best you double team them.

So, when the cops are knocking on your door, what do you do? You call your uncle the real estate lawyer. (He'll have read this entry so he'll be good to go.)

Of course:
a) If the crime was yours alone; if you think the cops are just there to fish for evidence; if your co-criminals have already talked; if the crime was worse than what the cops already know...KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.
b) If you think you are going to help yourself by talking to the cops because you are smarter than they are, you are wrong. They are smarter than you are. Prisons are full of smart people. Dumb people who keep their mouths shuts are home watching TV.

Either way, crime is bad (except for a few victimless crimes). Think about the long term consequences of what you do before you do it. Go play a video game...there won't be any victims and...win or lose...you won't have to do time when the game is over. Prison sucks.
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