The Lawyer in the Dutch Interrogation Room: Influence on Police and Suspect
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In many European countries, providing a suspect in custody with legal aid before the first police interrogation is a heavily debated issue. In this paper, we report on an exploratory study on the use of coercion by the police and the use of the right to silence by suspects in 70 Dutch homicide cases and their relation to prior consultation and presence of a lawyer. Analysis of the data indicates that there is a relation between the presence of a lawyer in the interrogation room and the way in which police interrogators use coercion. To gain insight into whether the police use coercion and how this is achieved, we looked at the extent to which the interrogators make use of certain interrogation techniques and how the interrogation techniques are used to exert coercion. We found that legal advice from a lawyer before and during the interrogation corresponds with suspects more often using their right to silence. It also appears that the police are inclined to use ‘hard coercion’ when confronted with a silent suspect. The research thus raises the question as to whether the presence of a lawyer is an adequate way to prevent false confessions. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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