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Should Police Sue Citizens If...

pozessed
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8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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8/16/2013 3:51:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

WTF? This is wrong on a host of levels.
Assistant moderator to airmax1227. PM me with any questions or concerns!
pozessed
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8/16/2013 6:38:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/16/2013 3:51:35 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

WTF? This is wrong on a host of levels.

I agree. My friend compared it to "a plumber suing a consumer because he got poop on himself during the job".
Disquisition
Posts: 391
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8/16/2013 6:57:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Lmao, what did that officer smoke before filling the law suit

1. It's your job, you know good and well that the F you signed up for when you put that badge on your chest

2. Didn't know it was a dangerous situation, that's just inconceivable.
DeFool
Posts: 626
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8/16/2013 6:57:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Of course this happens in my current hometown of Houston. Of course it would.

I have met many Sheriff's Deputies here, and most of them are decent human beings. Not all of them; I do not want to generalize. This is also true of the Houston Police Department. (Both statements are true... I have met many of them, and cannot say that they are all decent human beings.)

I will say that they have never pepper sprayed me. On one occasion, I was present at an Occupy campsite when it began to rain. This rain threatened to damage some computer equipment that we had staged there, and other electronics. A very pretty girl placed some of these things underneath a plastic tarp/tablecloth, which caused about a dozen other protesters to stow as many electronics beneath this tarp as they could possibly fit there.

The police saw this.

There had been an edict passed down from Mayor Parker, (the first openly lesbian Mayor of a major US city) that decreed that the Occupy presence was to be raided instantly if any tents were used. The police judged this tarp to be a tent and responded with a paramilitary invasion that would have been a comical over-reaction if if had lacked live ammunition. I think 42 officers stormed our campsite, arresting 19 persons suspected of involvement in erecting the tarp/tent to cover the electronics. Video exists of this. I may try to find it.

On another occasion, these same police suspected that some cars at a Kmart parking lot may have been involved in drag racing on Montrose st. in downtown Houston. Their response was typical for the Houston Police dept. They raided the Kmart, arresting almost the entirety of the store's shoppers, including many employees. In order to accomplish this, they blocked the parking lot off so that no shoppers could escape, and arrested nearly 300 people. For trespassing. Even though the Kmart was open at the time.

On another occasion, a man was shot 9 times in the back while he laid face-down on the floor of his bedroom, unarmed. the police raided the wrong house, thinking that Pedro Oregon was a drug lord.

Now the culture that created this police force is producing officers who will sue citizens who call for help.

Of course they would.
Disquisition
Posts: 391
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8/16/2013 10:52:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/16/2013 6:57:43 PM, DeFool wrote:
Of course this happens in my current hometown of Houston. Of course it would.

I have met many Sheriff's Deputies here, and most of them are decent human beings. Not all of them; I do not want to generalize. This is also true of the Houston Police Department. (Both statements are true... I have met many of them, and cannot say that they are all decent human beings.)

I will say that they have never pepper sprayed me. On one occasion, I was present at an Occupy campsite when it began to rain. This rain threatened to damage some computer equipment that we had staged there, and other electronics. A very pretty girl placed some of these things underneath a plastic tarp/tablecloth, which caused about a dozen other protesters to stow as many electronics beneath this tarp as they could possibly fit there.

The police saw this.

There had been an edict passed down from Mayor Parker, (the first openly lesbian Mayor of a major US city) that decreed that the Occupy presence was to be raided instantly if any tents were used. The police judged this tarp to be a tent and responded with a paramilitary invasion that would have been a comical over-reaction if if had lacked live ammunition. I think 42 officers stormed our campsite, arresting 19 persons suspected of involvement in erecting the tarp/tent to cover the electronics. Video exists of this. I may try to find it.

On another occasion, these same police suspected that some cars at a Kmart parking lot may have been involved in drag racing on Montrose st. in downtown Houston. Their response was typical for the Houston Police dept. They raided the Kmart, arresting almost the entirety of the store's shoppers, including many employees. In order to accomplish this, they blocked the parking lot off so that no shoppers could escape, and arrested nearly 300 people. For trespassing. Even though the Kmart was open at the time.

On another occasion, a man was shot 9 times in the back while he laid face-down on the floor of his bedroom, unarmed. the police raided the wrong house, thinking that Pedro Oregon was a drug lord.

Now the culture that created this police force is producing officers who will sue citizens who call for help.

Of course they would.

Yo I live in Houston also, GO COOGS
YYW
Posts: 36,417
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8/16/2013 10:56:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

If people, when asked for information in the process of a criminal investigation, either refuse to answer or lie, they can be charged with obstruction of justice -but the police must initiate the asking.

I think this is a policy that has served the criminal justice system for nearly three centuries, and I see no reason to change it now.
Tsar of DDO
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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8/17/2013 2:21:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
So, if I am calling the police and fail to cite an danger, I am liable?
What if I am coerced?
What if I am unaware?
What if I didn't think it was a danger?

This case I don't understand.
The wife didn't say her husband was doing bath salts, yet the police were called? Why wouldn't the police assume there is a dangerous situation, since they were called in the first place?
My work here is, finally, done.
AlbinoBunny
Posts: 3,781
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8/17/2013 11:00:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Lol. I think we had one who hurt his foot at a property and tried to sue. Dno what happened though.
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YYW
Posts: 36,417
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8/18/2013 11:16:49 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/17/2013 2:21:35 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
So, if I am calling the police and fail to cite an danger, I am liable?

No.

What if I am coerced?

No.

What if I am unaware?

No.

What if I didn't think it was a danger?

No.

This case I don't understand.
The wife didn't say her husband was doing bath salts, yet the police were called? Why wouldn't the police assume there is a dangerous situation, since they were called in the first place?

They probably assumed it was just a domestic dispute.
Tsar of DDO
Korashk
Posts: 4,597
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8/18/2013 4:41:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/16/2013 10:56:20 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

If people, when asked for information in the process of a criminal investigation...refuse to answer...they can be charged with obstruction of justice...

This isn't true by the way, and I think it's something that more people should be aware of. In America you don't have a legal obligation to talk to the police about anything ever. What with the fifth amendment and all that.
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
YYW
Posts: 36,417
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8/18/2013 4:58:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/18/2013 4:41:18 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/16/2013 10:56:20 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

If people, when asked for information in the process of a criminal investigation...refuse to answer...they can be charged with obstruction of justice...

This isn't true by the way, and I think it's something that more people should be aware of. In America you don't have a legal obligation to talk to the police about anything ever. What with the fifth amendment and all that.

Actually it is, and it's a pretty common misconception among those who are skeptical of the police, what they can do, etc.

So, the reality is that this varies to an extent on a state by state basis -but as a general rule, if the police ask you a question relevant to the investigation of a crime while the police are investigating a crime, and you fail to answer it, you can be charged with obstruction of justice if the prosecution can prove that you knew the information that the police were after unless doing so would be self incriminating. You do not have the right to plead the fifth when what you say is not self incriminating (or protected by privilege of some kind, etc.).
Tsar of DDO
Korashk
Posts: 4,597
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8/18/2013 5:37:49 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/18/2013 4:58:53 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 4:41:18 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/16/2013 10:56:20 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

If people, when asked for information in the process of a criminal investigation...refuse to answer...they can be charged with obstruction of justice...

This isn't true by the way, and I think it's something that more people should be aware of. In America you don't have a legal obligation to talk to the police about anything ever. What with the fifth amendment and all that.

Actually it is, and it's a pretty common misconception among those who are skeptical of the police, what they can do, etc.

So, the reality is that this varies to an extent on a state by state basis -but as a general rule, if the police ask you a question relevant to the investigation of a crime while the police are investigating a crime, and you fail to answer it, you can be charged with obstruction of justice if the prosecution can prove that you knew the information that the police were after unless doing so would be self incriminating. You do not have the right to plead the fifth when what you say is not self incriminating (or protected by privilege of some kind, etc.).

Except there is no way to know whether or not information you give to the police is incriminating against yourself, which is why not answering the police's questions isn't obstruction of justice possibly barring specific statutes about specific subjects.
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
YYW
Posts: 36,417
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8/18/2013 5:56:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/18/2013 5:37:49 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/18/2013 4:58:53 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 4:41:18 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/16/2013 10:56:20 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

If people, when asked for information in the process of a criminal investigation...refuse to answer...they can be charged with obstruction of justice...

This isn't true by the way, and I think it's something that more people should be aware of. In America you don't have a legal obligation to talk to the police about anything ever. What with the fifth amendment and all that.

Actually it is, and it's a pretty common misconception among those who are skeptical of the police, what they can do, etc.

So, the reality is that this varies to an extent on a state by state basis -but as a general rule, if the police ask you a question relevant to the investigation of a crime while the police are investigating a crime, and you fail to answer it, you can be charged with obstruction of justice if the prosecution can prove that you knew the information that the police were after unless doing so would be self incriminating. You do not have the right to plead the fifth when what you say is not self incriminating (or protected by privilege of some kind, etc.).

Except there is no way to know whether or not information you give to the police is incriminating against yourself, which is why not answering the police's questions isn't obstruction of justice possibly barring specific statutes about specific subjects.

Actually, there is if the police later uncover evidence that suggests you should have known about some crime/criminal activity which you knew about but didn't fess up to even though you were not party to it.
Tsar of DDO
Korashk
Posts: 4,597
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8/18/2013 6:17:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/18/2013 5:56:30 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 5:37:49 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/18/2013 4:58:53 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 4:41:18 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/16/2013 10:56:20 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

If people, when asked for information in the process of a criminal investigation...refuse to answer...they can be charged with obstruction of justice...

This isn't true by the way, and I think it's something that more people should be aware of. In America you don't have a legal obligation to talk to the police about anything ever. What with the fifth amendment and all that.

Actually it is, and it's a pretty common misconception among those who are skeptical of the police, what they can do, etc.

So, the reality is that this varies to an extent on a state by state basis -but as a general rule, if the police ask you a question relevant to the investigation of a crime while the police are investigating a crime, and you fail to answer it, you can be charged with obstruction of justice if the prosecution can prove that you knew the information that the police were after unless doing so would be self incriminating. You do not have the right to plead the fifth when what you say is not self incriminating (or protected by privilege of some kind, etc.).

Except there is no way to know whether or not information you give to the police is incriminating against yourself, which is why not answering the police's questions isn't obstruction of justice possibly barring specific statutes about specific subjects.

Actually, there is if the police later uncover evidence that suggests you should have known about some crime/criminal activity which you knew about but didn't fess up to even though you were not party to it.

Whatever you say. I have the US Constitution and AT LEAST two supreme court cases (Miranda and that recent one about having to say you're remaining silent) backing what I'm saying.

Here's the section of the United states Code about obstruction of justice.
http://www.law.cornell.edu...

If you can find me something that says that you are legally obligated to talk to law enforcement officers I'll concede. I'll even accept your own sources if you can prove that in general (more often than not) you have to tell police everything you know if they ask you about it.
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
YYW
Posts: 36,417
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8/18/2013 6:25:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/18/2013 6:17:56 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/18/2013 5:56:30 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 5:37:49 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/18/2013 4:58:53 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 4:41:18 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/16/2013 10:56:20 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

If people, when asked for information in the process of a criminal investigation...refuse to answer...they can be charged with obstruction of justice...

This isn't true by the way, and I think it's something that more people should be aware of. In America you don't have a legal obligation to talk to the police about anything ever. What with the fifth amendment and all that.

Actually it is, and it's a pretty common misconception among those who are skeptical of the police, what they can do, etc.

So, the reality is that this varies to an extent on a state by state basis -but as a general rule, if the police ask you a question relevant to the investigation of a crime while the police are investigating a crime, and you fail to answer it, you can be charged with obstruction of justice if the prosecution can prove that you knew the information that the police were after unless doing so would be self incriminating. You do not have the right to plead the fifth when what you say is not self incriminating (or protected by privilege of some kind, etc.).

Except there is no way to know whether or not information you give to the police is incriminating against yourself, which is why not answering the police's questions isn't obstruction of justice possibly barring specific statutes about specific subjects.

Actually, there is if the police later uncover evidence that suggests you should have known about some crime/criminal activity which you knew about but didn't fess up to even though you were not party to it.

Whatever you say. I have the US Constitution and AT LEAST two supreme court cases (Miranda and that recent one about having to say you're remaining silent) backing what I'm saying.

Miranda says that you have the right not to testify against yourself, and that you have the right to have an attorney only when you've been arrested -not when you are being questioned when you are not a suspect. Miranda doesn't support your claim.

Here's the section of the United states Code about obstruction of justice.
http://www.law.cornell.edu...

If you can find me something that says that you are legally obligated to talk to law enforcement officers I'll concede. I'll even accept your own sources if you can prove that in general (more often than not) you have to tell police everything you know if they ask you about it.

I don't want to comb through statutes of the 50 states, but I will tell you why what you're saying doesn't apply. The 5th amendment says that you have the right not to incriminate yourself, not that you have the right to obstruct justice unless doing so would incriminate yourself.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
Posts: 36,417
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8/18/2013 6:43:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/18/2013 6:25:29 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 6:17:56 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/18/2013 5:56:30 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 5:37:49 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/18/2013 4:58:53 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 4:41:18 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/16/2013 10:56:20 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

If people, when asked for information in the process of a criminal investigation...refuse to answer...they can be charged with obstruction of justice...

This isn't true by the way, and I think it's something that more people should be aware of. In America you don't have a legal obligation to talk to the police about anything ever. What with the fifth amendment and all that.

Actually it is, and it's a pretty common misconception among those who are skeptical of the police, what they can do, etc.

So, the reality is that this varies to an extent on a state by state basis -but as a general rule, if the police ask you a question relevant to the investigation of a crime while the police are investigating a crime, and you fail to answer it, you can be charged with obstruction of justice if the prosecution can prove that you knew the information that the police were after unless doing so would be self incriminating. You do not have the right to plead the fifth when what you say is not self incriminating (or protected by privilege of some kind, etc.).

Except there is no way to know whether or not information you give to the police is incriminating against yourself, which is why not answering the police's questions isn't obstruction of justice possibly barring specific statutes about specific subjects.

Actually, there is if the police later uncover evidence that suggests you should have known about some crime/criminal activity which you knew about but didn't fess up to even though you were not party to it.

Whatever you say. I have the US Constitution and AT LEAST two supreme court cases (Miranda and that recent one about having to say you're remaining silent) backing what I'm saying.

Miranda says that you have the right not to testify against yourself, and that you have the right to have an attorney only when you've been arrested -not when you are being questioned when you are not a suspect. Miranda doesn't support your claim.

Here's the section of the United states Code about obstruction of justice.
http://www.law.cornell.edu...

If you can find me something that says that you are legally obligated to talk to law enforcement officers I'll concede. I'll even accept your own sources if you can prove that in general (more often than not) you have to tell police everything you know if they ask you about it.

I don't want to comb through statutes of the 50 states, but I will tell you why what you're saying doesn't apply. The 5th amendment says that you have the right not to incriminate yourself, not that you have the right to obstruct justice unless doing so would incriminate yourself.

But, this might help explain things:

Let's say that you witnessed your friend, let's call him Nicholas Cage, counting money he had from a bank robbery, which he admitted to you that he perpetrated. Because of the recent increase to his net worth and his generally generous demeanor, your friend Nicholas Cage gives you a stack of money from his endeavors.

The police, suspecting your friend Nicholas Cage was the bank robber, observe you leaving Nicholas Cage's house so they follow you back to your house and knock on your door. You answer the door, and they want to know about whether or not you know anything about the bank robbery that took place the other day, which you know that your friend Nicholas Cage perpetrated.

The police see the stack of money sitting on your coffee table, so they know that you know that your friend Nicholas Cage was the bank robber -but they don't suspect you of being a conspirator because there was only one hooded man on camera and he drove his own getaway vehicle. So, one of the police officers tells you the following:

"Sonnyboy, you've got two options here. Either fess up to whatcha' know, 'er ima come back with a warrant to search your house, and a subpoena to make 'ya tell us what you know!"

You, thinking that you know your rights, say the following:

"Oh yeah ya damn dirty coppers? I'd like to see you try! Good day to you, then!"

The police, accordingly, come back with a warrant, and arrest you for receiving stolen goods and subpoena you to testify against your friend Nicholas Cage. You, still thinking that you don't have to say anything, are held in contempt of court and later charged with obstruction of justice. After you've had enough of being manhandled in prison, you eventually agree to testify against your friend Nicholas Cage, who is then convicted, who then orders a hit on you in prison, because he's just vindictive like that.

You, facing El Agento of Death (your former friend Nicholas Cage's hitman), wish you had just cooperated with the police.

...I tried to make this light and humorous. I hope it got the point across too.
Tsar of DDO
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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8/18/2013 7:23:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/18/2013 6:25:29 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 6:17:56 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/18/2013 5:56:30 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 5:37:49 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/18/2013 4:58:53 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 4:41:18 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/16/2013 10:56:20 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

If people, when asked for information in the process of a criminal investigation...refuse to answer...they can be charged with obstruction of justice...

This isn't true by the way, and I think it's something that more people should be aware of. In America you don't have a legal obligation to talk to the police about anything ever. What with the fifth amendment and all that.

Actually it is, and it's a pretty common misconception among those who are skeptical of the police, what they can do, etc.

So, the reality is that this varies to an extent on a state by state basis -but as a general rule, if the police ask you a question relevant to the investigation of a crime while the police are investigating a crime, and you fail to answer it, you can be charged with obstruction of justice if the prosecution can prove that you knew the information that the police were after unless doing so would be self incriminating. You do not have the right to plead the fifth when what you say is not self incriminating (or protected by privilege of some kind, etc.).

Except there is no way to know whether or not information you give to the police is incriminating against yourself, which is why not answering the police's questions isn't obstruction of justice possibly barring specific statutes about specific subjects.

Actually, there is if the police later uncover evidence that suggests you should have known about some crime/criminal activity which you knew about but didn't fess up to even though you were not party to it.

Whatever you say. I have the US Constitution and AT LEAST two supreme court cases (Miranda and that recent one about having to say you're remaining silent) backing what I'm saying.

Miranda says that you have the right not to testify against yourself, and that you have the right to have an attorney only when you've been arrested -not when you are being questioned when you are not a suspect. Miranda doesn't support your claim.

Here's the section of the United states Code about obstruction of justice.
http://www.law.cornell.edu...

If you can find me something that says that you are legally obligated to talk to law enforcement officers I'll concede. I'll even accept your own sources if you can prove that in general (more often than not) you have to tell police everything you know if they ask you about it.

I don't want to comb through statutes of the 50 states, but I will tell you why what you're saying doesn't apply. The 5th amendment says that you have the right not to incriminate yourself, not that you have the right to obstruct justice unless doing so would incriminate yourself.

It is my understanding that, as a general rule, mere refusal to participate is not obstruction of justice. And getting around a 5th amendment claim requires the state to PROVE it no longer applies. I believe this is usually by giving immunity for anything testified to--because otherwise a citizen is not privy to all of the purpose of the questioning, and has a valid fear something might be used against them. As a Justice said in Ohio v. Reiner, "a witness may have a reasonable fear of prosecution and yet be innocent of any wrongdoing. The [Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination] serves to protect the innocent who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances." http://supreme.justia.com.... However, the answering of questions is also a 4th amendment concern when it relates to investigations, when the investigation is of a general nature and not towards getting the person arrested, too. But a lot of it stems from common law.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

A basic primer on rights that notes the right to simply not answer:
http://www.aclu.org...

As the concurring opinion said in Terry v. Ohio ( http://en.wikipedia.org... ):

"There is nothing in the Constitution which prevents a policeman from addressing questions to anyone on the streets. Absent special circumstances, the person approached may not be detained or frisked but may refuse to cooperate and go on his way."

Most obstruction statutes require the intent of getting the criminal off, and most speak to deception or other actual actions to obstruct justice, rather than flat-out refusal to participate.

It is obstruction to LIE, of course, so saying "I don't remember" or something to avoid answering IS obstruction.

But most statutes require you to talk to the police only inasmuch as they require to identify you (And that's held to be kosher by SCOTUS, http://en.wikipedia.org...). Now, what they can do if they REALLY want you to answer is subpoena you and require testimony under oath in grand jury proceedings, but that has judicial oversight.

Good, relatively clear cases to look at are the ones involving reporter refusal to answer questions about confidential sources. There's no question the information in those cases is known, and usually there's no question the 5th amendment is not involved. It's a little bit murkier in its applicability to individuals because journalists often attempt to invoke a freedom of the press argument, but many jurisdictions don't consider sources to be priviliged/protected information. And the point of those cases is it usually comes down to contempt of court, not obstruction on its own. They refuse to answer the cops, so they get subpoenaed to the grand jury (or locked up as a material witness)...and when they continue to refuse there, after being subpoenaed and therefor compelled to come and answer, they get contempt charges (and sometimes at that point they tack on obstruction charges too). An individual example of this (as opposed to a journalist) would be Abdullahi Farah:

http://www.justice.gov...
http://bigstory.ap.org...
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bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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8/18/2013 7:25:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/18/2013 6:43:26 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 6:25:29 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 6:17:56 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/18/2013 5:56:30 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 5:37:49 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/18/2013 4:58:53 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 4:41:18 PM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/16/2013 10:56:20 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

If people, when asked for information in the process of a criminal investigation...refuse to answer...they can be charged with obstruction of justice...

This isn't true by the way, and I think it's something that more people should be aware of. In America you don't have a legal obligation to talk to the police about anything ever. What with the fifth amendment and all that.

Actually it is, and it's a pretty common misconception among those who are skeptical of the police, what they can do, etc.

So, the reality is that this varies to an extent on a state by state basis -but as a general rule, if the police ask you a question relevant to the investigation of a crime while the police are investigating a crime, and you fail to answer it, you can be charged with obstruction of justice if the prosecution can prove that you knew the information that the police were after unless doing so would be self incriminating. You do not have the right to plead the fifth when what you say is not self incriminating (or protected by privilege of some kind, etc.).

Except there is no way to know whether or not information you give to the police is incriminating against yourself, which is why not answering the police's questions isn't obstruction of justice possibly barring specific statutes about specific subjects.

Actually, there is if the police later uncover evidence that suggests you should have known about some crime/criminal activity which you knew about but didn't fess up to even though you were not party to it.

Whatever you say. I have the US Constitution and AT LEAST two supreme court cases (Miranda and that recent one about having to say you're remaining silent) backing what I'm saying.

Miranda says that you have the right not to testify against yourself, and that you have the right to have an attorney only when you've been arrested -not when you are being questioned when you are not a suspect. Miranda doesn't support your claim.

Here's the section of the United states Code about obstruction of justice.
http://www.law.cornell.edu...

If you can find me something that says that you are legally obligated to talk to law enforcement officers I'll concede. I'll even accept your own sources if you can prove that in general (more often than not) you have to tell police everything you know if they ask you about it.

I don't want to comb through statutes of the 50 states, but I will tell you why what you're saying doesn't apply. The 5th amendment says that you have the right not to incriminate yourself, not that you have the right to obstruct justice unless doing so would incriminate yourself.

But, this might help explain things:

Let's say that you witnessed your friend, let's call him Nicholas Cage, counting money he had from a bank robbery, which he admitted to you that he perpetrated. Because of the recent increase to his net worth and his generally generous demeanor, your friend Nicholas Cage gives you a stack of money from his endeavors.

The police, suspecting your friend Nicholas Cage was the bank robber, observe you leaving Nicholas Cage's house so they follow you back to your house and knock on your door. You answer the door, and they want to know about whether or not you know anything about the bank robbery that took place the other day, which you know that your friend Nicholas Cage perpetrated.

The police see the stack of money sitting on your coffee table, so they know that you know that your friend Nicholas Cage was the bank robber -but they don't suspect you of being a conspirator because there was only one hooded man on camera and he drove his own getaway vehicle. So, one of the police officers tells you the following:

"Sonnyboy, you've got two options here. Either fess up to whatcha' know, 'er ima come back with a warrant to search your house, and a subpoena to make 'ya tell us what you know!"

You, thinking that you know your rights, say the following:

"Oh yeah ya damn dirty coppers? I'd like to see you try! Good day to you, then!"

The police, accordingly, come back with a warrant, and arrest you for receiving stolen goods and subpoena you to testify against your friend Nicholas Cage. You, still thinking that you don't have to say anything, are held in contempt of court and later charged with obstruction of justice. After you've had enough of being manhandled in prison, you eventually agree to testify against your friend Nicholas Cage, who is then convicted, who then orders a hit on you in prison, because he's just vindictive like that.

You, facing El Agento of Death (your former friend Nicholas Cage's hitman), wish you had just cooperated with the police.

...I tried to make this light and humorous. I hope it got the point across too.

Aaaaaaaaand clearly you were already aware of the points I made. I REALLY need to get better at refreshing pages BEFORE posting things......
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YYW
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8/18/2013 7:25:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
@blade

You're usually right that citizens can walk away... and then they can be served with a warrant or subpoena to compel their telling what they know.
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YYW
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8/18/2013 7:26:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/18/2013 7:25:19 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Aaaaaaaaand clearly you were already aware of the points I made. I REALLY need to get better at refreshing pages BEFORE posting things......

But really, all that hooplah about Nicholas Cage was pretty funny, right? amirite? amirite? lol
Tsar of DDO
bladerunner060
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8/18/2013 7:28:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/18/2013 7:26:33 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 7:25:19 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Aaaaaaaaand clearly you were already aware of the points I made. I REALLY need to get better at refreshing pages BEFORE posting things......

But really, all that hooplah about Nicholas Cage was pretty funny, right? amirite? amirite? lol

Picturing Nicholas Cage saying "El Agento of Death" in what would definitely be a TERRIBLE Spanish accent amuses the heck out me, I won't lie.

He's the modern-day Shatner!
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YYW
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8/18/2013 7:31:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/18/2013 7:28:21 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 8/18/2013 7:26:33 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/18/2013 7:25:19 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Aaaaaaaaand clearly you were already aware of the points I made. I REALLY need to get better at refreshing pages BEFORE posting things......

But really, all that hooplah about Nicholas Cage was pretty funny, right? amirite? amirite? lol

Picturing Nicholas Cage saying "El Agento of Death" in what would definitely be a TERRIBLE Spanish accent amuses the heck out me, I won't lie.

He's the modern-day Shatner!

I thought "El Agento of Death" would probably be the kind of thing that Nicholas Cage would say, too... rofl
Tsar of DDO
Naysayer
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8/18/2013 8:16:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

The really ironic part is that it was recently ruled that the police were not responsible for the protection of individuals after two ladies were raped for two to three days in D.C. after repeatedly calling 911.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
bladerunner060
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8/18/2013 8:54:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/18/2013 8:16:04 PM, Naysayer wrote:
At 8/16/2013 3:46:05 PM, pozessed wrote:
Should police be able to sue a citizen they protect if that citizen neglects to inform them of harmful information that leads to an injury?

http://abclocal.go.com...

The really ironic part is that it was recently ruled that the police were not responsible for the protection of individuals after two ladies were raped for two to three days in D.C. after repeatedly calling 911.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

Granted, "recent" is relative, but that case is like over 30 years old...
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Korashk
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8/19/2013 3:43:01 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/18/2013 6:25:29 PM, YYW wrote:
Miranda says that you have the right not to testify against yourself, and that you have the right to have an attorney only when you've been arrested -not when you are being questioned when you are not a suspect. Miranda doesn't support your claim.

A common misconception. The Miranda trial wasn't about granting right to accused criminals. It was a case about clarifying a person's existing rights in the event that they are arrested. Namely the right to remain silent, be represented by an attorney, yadda yadda.

The 5th amendment says that you have the right not to incriminate yourself, not that you have the right to obstruct justice unless doing so would incriminate yourself.

And the Supreme Court has affirmed many times that remaining silent is not an act of obstructing justice. Mainly because what are you obstructing by remaining silent? Nothing.

At 8/18/2013 7:25:39 PM, YYW wrote:
@blade

You're usually right that citizens can walk away... and then they can be served with a warrant or subpoena to compel their telling what they know.

A subpoena compelling your testimony doesn't void your fifth amendment rights. All one needs to do is express to the court that they are exercising their fifth amendment rights and that's usually the end of their testimony excepting very few niche situations, the most common of which was mentioned by bladerunner in that some people involved in criminal activity are granted immunity from charges in return for testimony. Only in one of those niche situations would continuing refusal to actually talk constitute contempt. You can't be held in contempt if you show up to court as a subpoenaed witness and then "plead the fifth".
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
YYW
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8/19/2013 4:40:25 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/19/2013 3:43:01 AM, Korashk wrote:
At 8/18/2013 6:25:29 PM, YYW wrote:
Miranda says that you have the right not to testify against yourself, and that you have the right to have an attorney only when you've been arrested -not when you are being questioned when you are not a suspect. Miranda doesn't support your claim.

A common misconception. The Miranda trial wasn't about granting right to accused criminals. It was a case about clarifying a person's existing rights in the event that they are arrested. Namely the right to remain silent, be represented by an attorney, yadda yadda.

Miranda held that those arrested for crimes have the right to be informed of their rights, but only after they had been placed under arrest. You only have the right to remain silent if your speaking, though, would incriminate yourself.

The 5th amendment says that you have the right not to incriminate yourself, not that you have the right to obstruct justice unless doing so would incriminate yourself.

And the Supreme Court has affirmed many times that remaining silent is not an act of obstructing justice. Mainly because what are you obstructing by remaining silent? Nothing.

You're misapplying a conditional holding that applies only in certain cases, and thinking it's a universal thing.

At 8/18/2013 7:25:39 PM, YYW wrote:
@blade

You're usually right that citizens can walk away... and then they can be served with a warrant or subpoena to compel their telling what they know.

A subpoena compelling your testimony doesn't void your fifth amendment rights. All one needs to do is express to the court that they are exercising their fifth amendment rights and that's usually the end of their testimony excepting very few niche situations, the most common of which was mentioned by bladerunner in that some people involved in criminal activity are granted immunity from charges in return for testimony. Only in one of those niche situations would continuing refusal to actually talk constitute contempt. You can't be held in contempt if you show up to court as a subpoenaed witness and then "plead the fifth".

So, you don't really get the concept of self incrimination, do you?
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YYW
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8/19/2013 4:50:10 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Here's the thing, Kroshak... you don't have to agree with me, here. What you're not understanding is that protection from self incrimination only applies when your testimony would incriminate yourself. It's not a unilateral right not to talk to the police under all circumstances.

I hope you don't ever find yourself in a situation where you realize that I'm right (like, you are arrested for obstruction of justice because you knew about your friend Nicholas Cage's dubious proclivity for bank robbing), too. The thing is, that having the right to remain silent is only a right when your talking would lead to your admission that you committed a crime.
Tsar of DDO