The Attitudes of Police Executives toward Miranda and Interrogation Policies

Article excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION
       A. FRAMEWORK OF THIS STUDY
       B. CONSTITUTIONAL CONFESSIONS LAW: A BRIEF
           OVERVIEW
       C. IMPACT AND COMPLIANCE RESEARCH

II. PRIOR RESEARCH AND POLICY ISSUES
       A. REACTIONS TO MIRANDA: RECENT RESEARCH
       B. INTERROGATION "OUTSIDE MIRANDA"
       C. FALSE CONFESSIONS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL
           INTERROGATION PRACTICES
       D. REFORMING INTERROGATION PRACTICES: SPOTLIGHT
           ON VIDEOTAPING
       E. LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS ON POLICE
           INTERROGATION

III. METHODOLOGY
       A. SAMPLE AND SURVEY INSTRUMENT
       B. RESEARCH ISSUES

IV. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
       A. ATTITUDES AND PRACTICES CONCERNING MIRANDA
       B. INTERROGATION OUTSIDE MIRANDA AND MIRANDA-MINIMIZATION
       C. FALSE CONFESSIONS: ATTITUDES AND PRACTICES
       D. ELECTRONIC RECORDING OF INTERROGATIONS AND
           CONFESSIONS
       E. CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS ON
           INTERROGATION

V. CONCLUSIONS
       A. CONTRIBUTIONS OF THIS STUDY
       B. THE "GAP PROBLEM" AND THE RULE OF LAW
       C. WHITHER MIRANDA?

APPENDIX

I. INTRODUCTION

A. FRAMEWORK OF THIS STUDY

Important issues of confessions law and police interrogation practices are presently on the constitutional and public agendas. The Supreme Court's recent decisions have left confessions law almost as confused today as it was before 2000, when the Court was on the verge of overruling Miranda v. Arizona. (1) The stage is set for additional judicial refinement. (2) Long-standing questions about the impact of legal rules on police interrogation practices have become more urgent with the knowledge that a number of police departments have taken advantage of Miranda "loopholes" to flout some Miranda rules. Is knowledge and practice of interrogation "outside Miranda" widespread or is it confined to its apparent region of origin? (3) Questions about the effectiveness of legal controls on police behavior are even more pointed now that it is known that police interrogation, with some regularity, generates false confessions that contribute to wrongful convictions. (4) Are police administrators aware of or concerned about false confessions? Knowledge that abusive interrogation causes some false confessions has led to calls for reform, chief among them the videotaping of interrogations. How prevalent is the recording of interrogations by police departments?

Answers to such questions are important to legal and criminal justice scholars and to policy-makers, including legislators, judges, and law enforcement administrators. (5) Supreme Court rulings, of course, are implemented by the police, and an understanding of the "law in action" includes knowledge of police attitudes and opinions as well as descriptions of interrogation practices. This study explores these issues concerning interrogation practices through a survey of administrators of large police agencies. A variety of related issues are examined, including executives' global attitudes toward Miranda, their knowledge of and attitudes toward evasion of Miranda rules (a practice known as interrogation "outside Miranda"), their beliefs about links between aggressive psychological interrogation and false confessions, their support for the electronic recording of interrogations, and their views on legal and administrative sanctions for abusive interrogations. This legal impact research study (6) is designed to explore policy issues rather than to advance or test theories of legal impact, although impact theory helps to illuminate some of our findings.

The importance of this subject, indeed of most aspects of criminal procedure, transcends its specific boundaries and raises fundamental questions about the relationship of individuals and the state in our constitutional order. (7) The enormous power held by police officers over confined suspects during routine interrogation sessions was adumbrated in Chief Justice Earl Warren's classic Miranda opinion. …