Former New York City Department of Correction Commissioner Martin Horn gave a speech to City Hall in 2008 about

juveniles in the justice system. This is what he had to say about the adolescents on Rikers Island. “…They tend to be detained on more serious charges than our older adult population. While 76% of our older adult males were in custody on felony charges, 93% of our adolescents were charged with felonies…Most adolescents in our custody are people of color; approximately 65% are black and 30% are Latino.” In other words, an astounding 95% of the adolescents on Rikers Island are either Black or Latino and are facing serious jail time. Here are two ways to explain these statistics: A. Younger criminals are less experienced and are, therefore, easier to catch. And/Or B. Younger arrestees don’t know any better and fall for police interrogation tactics. Therefore, they confess to crimes at a higher rate than adults with more experience in dealing with the police. If (B) is true, we have a problem. As some of you may know firsthand, confessions don’t always mean you’re guilty. You’d be surprised at what actually constitutes a “confession” in the eyes of the jury. Put simply, if you’re not careful, you may find that your words will make you confess to a crime you didn’t do. The goal of this article is to give you the confidence to never, ever confess to a crime you didn’t do. It’s easy. If all else fails, just remember these two words: SAY NOTHING. Let me say it again. If you only read two words in this entire article, let it be these two: SAY NOTHING. Again, if you want to stay out of jail, SAY NOTHING. SAY NOTHING!!!!! It sounds like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to forget this simple rule, especially when law enforcement “creatively” employ tactics designed to get you to say things you really shouldn’t. I went undercover in two New York-area District Attorney’s Offices and uncovered some examples of “creative” law enforcement. I’ve changed names and places to protect the innocent. But before I spill the beans, what was that rule again? SAY NOTHING!!!!!!! Example # 1: The Phantom Witness. There’s an interrogation tactic commonly used in New York City that I like to call “The Phantom Witness.” This technique is responsible for a huge number of juvenile convictions. Why? Because it takes advantage of our psychological desire to talk our way out of trouble.

a 16-year old arrested a few hours earlier in Bedford-Stuyvesant. they hit him with The Phantom Witness: We have a witness who places you there. Two. Unfortunately for Pablo. one by one. there is a racial element to the offense. BUT WAIT! Before Pablo can assert his right to remain silent or his right to have an attorney. The DA knows this but she carries on anyway). in fact. everything Pablo says from this point on is considered to be voluntary. here are some things Pablo didn’t know. and deprived of your freedom. Everything Pablo said from this point on was viewed as a confession. Brooklyn is accused of Assault in the first degree. Pablo was picked out of a photo lineup by the victim approximately five days after the incident. At 16. The victim was apparently unsure at first. If you cannot afford an attorney. With that said. this is your only chance to be heard. if you were: 16. ignorant of your rights. One. he’d know that the DA has a very weak case against him. As he sits down across the Assistant District Attorney and an NYPD detective. (That’s strike one. he’s just happy to be able to walk around outside the cage. If he were a lawyer. in handcuffs. honestly. Here’s how it went down. he talked himself into a guilty verdict. the DA throws this little epilogue in: “If your version of the events differs from what we’ve heard.” Like blood to a shark. Because he didn’t assert his right to remain silent or retain an attorney. Ultimately. the DA and the detective honed in on him. After spending 12 hours in the bullpens of Kings County Central Bookings. Of course. Would you remember the Miranda warning? Probably not. he’s immediately given his Miranda Rights. Pablo is summoned up to the interrogation room away from the holding cells. Pablo opened his mouth and there began the beginning of his end: “I didn’t do it. the DA and the detective planted doubts in his head.Pablo. He allegedly smashed someone’s face with brass knuckles to steal his Sidekick. Pablo consistently gave alibis for his whereabouts at the time of the incident and. “Who?” . (Call this strike two. Pablo. Pablo is Latino. (I knew this stuff as an observer to the interrogation at Kings County Central Bookings). The DA knows this inconsistency as well but she carries on anyway). Most juveniles don’t. one will be appointed for you. Pablo doesn’t know any of these things. they’re the same ones you’ve heard on TV your whole life: You have the right to remain silent. Without getting into it word for word. Yeah. however. but was persuaded by detectives that his attacker was. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. would you like to say something?” Now. The Constitution protects the accused from suggestive lineup procedures. You have the right to an attorney present during questioning. The victim told police at the scene he was attacked by a black male. What’s a synonym for a voluntary statement made about the commission of a crime again? A CONFESSION. Now.

The driver hits the accelerator and crashes into a tree. This teenager’s best bet—as your best bet will be —should have been to SAY NOTHING. She doesn’t. It initially sounds like a spontaneous conversation but it’s actually a time-tested law enforcement tactic. She is lying to elicit a response from you. It seems every teenager thinks he’s smarter than the cop.” Think about this statement for a second. Daryl puts his knife to the driver’s throat and demands his money. Daryl finds his way to his girlfriend’s house and hides. Now he’s doing 35 years in state prison. They got enough incriminating material straight from his mouth to sustain a conviction. This tactic. He wanted to be a gangster. has no reason to lie and places you at the scene? The answer is simple. The initial plan called for Deron to phone in the cab company and for Daryl to rob the driver at knifepoint. Deron. Deron snitches on Daryl and avoids serious jail time. He has no reason to lie. so he got to be a gangster.” The next example is a little different from Pablo’s but it illustrates the importance of keeping your mouth shut. It’s just another reason to NOT do crime). the DA and the detective did their job. is picked up by detectives about an hour later. Surely enough. The cab company provided the police with his name. “He’s lying. How would the DA know what she just said is true? How could someone with that much of a massive caseload devote all that time and energy into conclusively saying that her witness doesn’t know you. a killing committed during the course of a felony can give a rise to a charge of murder even if you didn’t actually kill the victim. Deron calls the Boricua Cab Company and arranges a pickup for eight o’clock outside their home. he is smarter than you are. meanwhile. She is lying. In the confusion. Deron quickly caves when interrogated by police. is legal. This dumbass in my next example committed murder in the second degree in the Bronx. Whether you want to admit it or not. walking away with a criminally negligent homicide charge carrying a four-year sentence.” He has no reason to lie. At a stoplight. He doesn’t know you.He doesn’t know you. Newsflash: you’re not. He would’ve probably walked out the door with his freedom that morning if he just kept his mouth shut!! Remember: SAY NOTHING!! Example # 2: “The cop knows you’re a stupid teenager. Put simply. he faced felony murder charges. Daryl slits his throat and runs outside of the cab. Daryl gets in the cab and tells the driver take him to Yonkers [about a 30 minute drive away]. Although he maintained he didn’t get it from the victim. which I might consider unethical. (I hope you all see how stupid this plan was). The purpose of this example is to show you how pointless it is to try to get one over on the cop interrogating you. Here it is once again: “We have a witness who places you there. He throws his knife into a nearby gutter. (As an aside. . Pablo wound up spilling the beans about how he has a stolen Sidekick. devised a plan to rob a livery cab driver two summers ago near the Soundview Housing Projects where they lived. Deron and Daryl. The facts of this case were as follows: Two friends. phone number and address.

” What time were you there? “I was there all night. That was the name of the company.” Yeah. It was a car service. And that was it. This is how his interrogation went: So where were you last night? “I was.” Where was that? “In the projects. “What kind of cab was it? Yellow cab?” Nah. Something like that. “What was the name of the company?” I think it was Mexicana. From like seven up until this morning when y'all arrested me. this idiot may have gotten off on a lesser charge. “Oh. There are other tactics you want to look out for. “We saw you take a cab. I don’t see it any other way. These include: . yeah. “Do you mean Boricua?” Yeah. But to be honest. I forgot I took a cab there. If he kept his mouth shut. and got 35 years as a result. “How you figure that?” Because we have a camera that shows you leaving your house at eight. Boricua. my bad. Daryl thought he was smarter than the cop. His dumb ass waived his Miranda Rights.” I know you’re lying. He should be thankful New York doesn’t have the death penalty. um. I ain’t lying. I meant to say I left my house at eight and then I went to her crib.” “How did you get there?” I walked. he deserved his fate. [Remember that this didn’t have to be true]. with my girlfriend.Daryl was arrested the following morning.” Are you lying? “Nah.

I. hopefully you will listen to him: “I’m definitely aware of all of that—all the things. If Prodigy’s cool. The “Bad Cop” kicked my car and cursed at me. (No disrespect to Prodigy). Fight the urge to chit-chat. I would’ve gotten off if I went to trial. This is a calculated move designed to gain your trust.Sending a Black/Latino/Asian/White detective to speak to you (If you are Black/Latino/Asian/White). it should be noted that there were some. he had this to say: “Nah. For starters. The Miranda warning generally doesn’t apply here and anything you say here is up for grabs to be used against you. That cop doesn’t want to be your friend. police department. however. there is a Miranda issue with Prodigy’s arrest. The police know this and.Sending a young DA to prosecute you. agencies. Good Cop/Bad Cop. “creative” techniques used by the police when he was taken to the precinct. I cannot thank him enough. (Though I must say to the officer’s credit that we only have Prodigy’s opinion on the issue. task forces [do]…I’m aware of everything that these people do. the jury almost never buys it. When I was arrested for the grievous offense of trace marijuana possession (along with four co-defendants!) I fell for this trick. because the person making the allegation is so uncredible. In hindsight. That was all he needed to arrest my ass. they didn’t talk to me at all. he said the following: “I believe they were read to us as soon as they put the cuffs on. (Even though he arrested me anyway). I learned the hard way that the best thing I—or anyone—could have done was SAY NOTHING!! (There was actually no weed in the car. To paraphrase the wise words of King Solomon: Everybody’s word sounds genuine until we hear the other side of the story).C. shall we say.) Prodigy—I reached out to a lot of rappers for this project and I have to say the only one who came through is the self-proclaimed H. Bingo. The reason why they lied is to give them probable cause to search my car…they lied to the judge and the jury at my trial. (Recall that his vehicle was stopped and the gun was found in a search). unfortunately. When asked when he was given his Miranda Rights.N. “They lied to the jury and said that they saw the gun in my hand. Put differently. All of the things that the state. With that said.” The “Good Cop” told him to “shut the fuck up” and proceeded to gain my trust. It’s not fair but that’s life. If you kids won’t listen to me about these tactics.” This is a typical allegation. I should’ve kept my mouth shut.. all of the tricks. The sad reality of these allegations is that although they may be true. was younger than he was. a gangsta rapper’s word isn’t going to have as much weight as a police officer in the eyes of the typical juror. calling me a “motherfucker. This is important.” When asked whether he was spoken to on the ride over to the precinct.” . Most convicts assert the police lied at some point or another to get probable cause. The ADA in Mobb Deep member Prodigy’s case. how bout we send our cool ADA to make it look like we’re cool too! Talking to you on the ride to the police station. . This was most likely a tactical move by the DA’s office. Since he was my new best friend I told him that we had smoked weed before we started driving and that there was no more left. for example. I’m definitely aware of it all…” One trick Prodigy alleges his arresting officers did was lie in order to sustain probable cause. can conceivably get away with it.

They start looking at you funny. you know I wasn’t trying to hear none of that shit. Young niggas holdin' macs Acting triple they age And they blastin' Probably won't reach the age of 20 Tell them niggas slow down. Maybe he wouldn’t be doing 35 years in the pen. When it does. this is Prodigy’s word against the police. But. Never. Karma catches up to all of us. ever make that job easy. there was blatant Constitutional misconduct going on here. The same goes for Prodigy himself. If you assert your right to remain silent. then he should have gone to trial and fought the charges. If that’s true. You just never know. If he asserted his Miranda Right to counsel. remember that the job of Law Enforcement is to take away your freedom. you really should listen to what Prodigy has to say. In the world of public perception. The police pulled him into the interrogation room anyway and offered him a deal. If he asserted his Miranda Right to silence. Maybe. assuming that he did assert his right to remain silent. Currently in the middle of a plea-bargained three-and-a-half year prison sentence. He’d be free if he just put that pistol to the side.” Again. It’s my hope that the following quote from Prodigy puts things into perspective for everyone who reads this article: “I just got caught slipping because I wasn’t living right. if what Prodigy says is true. So yeah. Tilt the odds in your favor and SAY NOTHING!! . First of all he’s been saying it since 1995: "As I turn the next page. But if there is a grain of truth to Prodigy’s allegation. Maybe he would’ve left that knife at home. the police have more credibility than the gangsta rapper. Miranda violations such as the one he’s describing constitute immediate reversals on appeal. the police violated his Fifth Amendment Right against self-incrimination.This leads me to believe that Prodigy asserted his Miranda Right to remain silent. the following exchange constitutes gross misconduct: “Basically. they were definitely talking to me a whole lot before my lawyer got a chance to talk to me. then we have a problem. the police cannot speak to you.” Indeed. There may be factual issues Prodigy isn’t aware of but. and was ignored. Long story short. the police conduct makes out a Fourteenth Amendment Due Process violation. the police violated his Sixth Amendment Right to an attorney. and if there is anything to be said about his allegation of being offered to plant evidence on 50 Cent (I’m not necessarily saying there is). A lot of teenagers don’t know any better. If you’re one of them. they tried to get me to work a deal and give them some information and basically snitch… they wanted me to plant evidence on 50 Cent and all kinds of wild shit they tried to offer me. This would be illegal. he is a living reminder that incarceration has serious repercussions." --Temperature’s Rising [Remix] You gotta wonder where Daryl would be if he just slowed down.

they hit him with The Phantom Witness: We have a witness who places you there. She is lying to elicit a response from you. He wanted to be a gangster.” The next example is a little different from Pablo’s but it illustrates the importance of keeping your mouth shut. Ultimately. Whether you want to admit it or not. has no reason to lie and places you at the scene? The answer is simple. If you won’t listen to me. Please note: As a bonus.” Think about this statement for a second. the DA and the detective did their job. devised a plan to rob a livery cab driver two summers ago near the Soundview Housing Projects where they lived. This dumbass in my next example committed murder in the second degree in the Bronx. They got enough incriminating material straight from his mouth to sustain a conviction. so he got to be a gangster. Now he’s doing 35 years in state prison. He would’ve probably walked out the door with his freedom that morning if he just kept his mouth shut!! Remember: SAY NOTHING!! Example # 2: “The cop knows you’re a stupid teenager. She is lying. he is smarter than you are. The purpose of this example is to show you how pointless it is to try to get one over on the cop interrogating you. How would the DA know what she just said is true? How could someone with that much of a massive caseload devote all that time and energy into conclusively saying that her witness doesn’t know you. Chris Thomas is a 3L at Brooklyn Law School. It seems every teenager thinks he’s smarter than the cop. Although he maintained he didn’t get it from the victim. This teenager’s best bet—as your best bet will be —should have been to SAY NOTHING. Newsflash: you’re not. “He’s lying. Pablo wound up spilling the beans about how he has a stolen Sidekick. and you won’t listen to Prodigy. He has no reason to lie. “Who?” He doesn’t know you.Rikers Island photo gallery. Deron and Daryl. The initial plan called for Deron to phone in the cab . is legal. He doesn’t know you. It initially sounds like a spontaneous conversation but it’s actually a time-tested law enforcement tactic.” He has no reason to lie. the pictures used in this article are official Rikers Island mugshots. which I might consider unethical. She doesn’t. This tactic. maybe the following flicks will have you thinking twice. The facts of this case were as follows: Two friends. Surely enough. Here it is once again: “We have a witness who places you there.

a killing committed during the course of a felony can give a rise to a charge of murder even if you didn’t actually kill the victim. His dumb ass waived his Miranda Rights. (I hope you all see how stupid this plan was). my bad. “Oh. It’s just another reason to NOT do crime). I ain’t lying. with my girlfriend. [Remember that this didn’t have to be true]. This is how his interrogation went: So where were you last night? “I was. I forgot I took a cab there. he faced felony murder charges. meanwhile. Deron. (As an aside. Daryl slits his throat and runs outside of the cab. walking away with a criminally negligent homicide charge carrying a four-year sentence. The cab company provided the police with his name. um. In the confusion. Daryl gets in the cab and tells the driver take him to Yonkers [about a 30 minute drive away].” What time were you there? “I was there all night. . He should be thankful New York doesn’t have the death penalty. Deron calls the Boricua Cab Company and arranges a pickup for eight o’clock outside their home. is picked up by detectives about an hour later. From like seven up until this morning when y'all arrested me. Deron snitches on Daryl and avoids serious jail time.” I know you’re lying. At a stoplight. Deron quickly caves when interrogated by police. Put simply. It was a car service. Daryl puts his knife to the driver’s throat and demands his money. “What kind of cab was it? Yellow cab?” Nah.” Where was that? “In the projects. “We saw you take a cab.” “How did you get there?” I walked. He throws his knife into a nearby gutter. Daryl finds his way to his girlfriend’s house and hides. Daryl was arrested the following morning. yeah.company and for Daryl to rob the driver at knifepoint.” Yeah. “How you figure that?” Because we have a camera that shows you leaving your house at eight. phone number and address. The driver hits the accelerator and crashes into a tree. I meant to say I left my house at eight and then I went to her crib.” Are you lying? “Nah.

how bout we send our cool ADA to make it look like we’re cool too! Talking to you on the ride to the police station. All of the things that the state. (Even though he arrested me anyway). . hopefully you will listen to him: “I’m definitely aware of all of that—all the things. The sad reality of these allegations is that although they may be . Daryl thought he was smarter than the cop. (Recall that his vehicle was stopped and the gun was found in a search). I should’ve kept my mouth shut. for example. and got 35 years as a result. all of the tricks. This is important. was younger than he was This was most likely a tactical move by the DA’s office.N. If he kept his mouth shut. That was the name of the company. Fight the urge to chit-chat.) Prodigy—I reached out to a lot of rappers for this project and I have to say the only one who came through is the self-proclaimed H. If Prodigy’s cool. agencies. This is a calculated move designed to gain your trust. Most convicts assert the police lied at some point or another to get probable cause.I.Sending a Black/Latino/Asian/White detective to speak to you (If you are Black/Latino/Asian/White). I’m definitely aware of it all…” One trick Prodigy alleges his arresting officers did was lie in order to sustain probable cause. “Do you mean Boricua?” Yeah. this idiot may have gotten off on a lesser charge. Good Cop/Bad Cop. (No disrespect to Prodigy).Sending a young DA to prosecute you. The reason why they lied is to give them probable cause to search my car…they lied to the judge and the jury at my trial. I would’ve gotten off if I went to trial. When I was arrested for the grievous offense of trace marijuana possession (along with four co-defendants!) I fell for this trick. I don’t see it any other way. “They lied to the jury and said that they saw the gun in my hand. And that was it. I learned the hard way that the best thing I—or anyone—could have done was SAY NOTHING!! (There was actually no weed in the car. In hindsight. If you kids won’t listen to me about these tactics. I cannot thank him enough. But to be honest. police department. The “Bad Cop” kicked my car and cursed at me.” This is a typical allegation. task forces [do]…I’m aware of everything that these people do. calling me a “motherfucker. Bingo.C.“What was the name of the company?” I think it was Mexicana. Something like that. Boricua. That was all he needed to arrest my ass. he deserved his fate. The ADA in Mobb Deep member Prodigy’s case. That cop doesn’t want to be your friend.” The “Good Cop” told him to “shut the fuck up” and proceeded to gain my trust. The Miranda warning generally doesn’t apply here and anything you say here is up for grabs to be used against you. Since he was my new best friend I told him that we had smoked weed before we started driving and that there was no more left. These include: . There are other tactics you want to look out for.

” When asked whether he was spoken to on the ride over to the precinct. and was ignored. it should be noted that there were some. In the world of public perception. To paraphrase the wise words of King Solomon: Everybody’s word sounds genuine until we hear the other side of the story). . he said the following: “I believe they were read to us as soon as they put the cuffs on. There may be factual issues Prodigy isn’t aware of but. because the person making the allegation is so uncredible. But. assuming that he did assert his right to remain silent. But if there is a grain of truth to Prodigy’s allegation. you know I wasn’t trying to hear none of that shit. the jury almost never buys it. If that’s true. you really should listen to what Prodigy has to say. the police cannot speak to you. If you’re one of them. and if there is anything to be said about his allegation of being offered to plant evidence on 50 Cent (I’m not necessarily saying there is). (Though I must say to the officer’s credit that we only have Prodigy’s opinion on the issue. shall we say. This would be illegal. It’s not fair but that’s life. there was blatant Constitutional misconduct going on here. they tried to get me to work a deal and give them some information and basically snitch… they wanted me to plant evidence on 50 Cent and all kinds of wild shit they tried to offer me. “creative” techniques used by the police when he was taken to the precinct. they didn’t talk to me at all. Long story short. the police violated his Sixth Amendment Right to an attorney. unfortunately. there is a Miranda issue with Prodigy’s arrest.” This leads me to believe that Prodigy asserted his Miranda Right to remain silent. the police conduct makes out a Fourteenth Amendment Due Process violation. Young niggas holdin' macs Acting triple they age And they blastin' Probably won't reach the age of 20 Tell them niggas slow down. If you assert your right to remain silent. the following exchange constitutes gross misconduct: “Basically. then we have a problem. however. If he asserted his Miranda Right to silence.” Again. First of all he’s been saying it since 1995 "As I turn the next page. this is Prodigy’s word against the police. he is a living reminder that incarceration has serious repercussions. If he asserted his Miranda Right to counsel.true. The police pulled him into the interrogation room anyway and offered him a deal. if what Prodigy says is true. So yeah. a gangsta rapper’s word isn’t going to have as much weight as a police officer in the eyes of the typical juror. the police violated his Fifth Amendment Right against self-incrimination. Put differently. can conceivably get away with it. Miranda violations such as the one he’s describing constitute immediate reversals on appeal. he had this to say: “Nah. they were definitely talking to me a whole lot before my lawyer got a chance to talk to me. then he should have gone to trial and fought the charges. When asked when he was given his Miranda Rights. Currently in the middle of a plea-bargained three-and-a-half year prison sentence. the police have more credibility than the gangsta rapper. With that said. A lot of teenagers don’t know any better. The police know this and. For starters.

The same goes for Prodigy himself. If you won’t listen to me. Karma catches up to all of us. Please note: As a bonus. You just never know. Maybe he would’ve left that knife at home. maybe the following flicks will have you thinking twice. and you won’t listen to Prodigy.” Indeed." --Temperature’s Rising [Remix] You gotta wonder where Daryl would be if he just slowed down. ever make that job easy. Tilt the odds in your favor and SAY NOTHING!! Rikers Island photo gallery. the pictures used in this article are official Rikers Island mugshots.They start looking at you funny. Maybe he wouldn’t be doing 35 years in the pen. . He’d be free if he just put that pistol to the side. remember that the job of Law Enforcement is to take away your freedom. Never. Maybe. When it does. It’s my hope that the following quote from Prodigy puts things into perspective for everyone who reads this article: “I just got caught slipping because I wasn’t living right.

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