Riverside, IL Police to tweet names of DUI arrestees

Does “public shaming” ever work as a deterrence?  That is the reason given by Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel for the decision to have their department tweet the names of anyone it arrests for DUIs, possession of a controlled substance or driving while suspended or revoked, beginning Monday.

Over the years, I have seen attempts by police departments to shame people by publishing mug shots in the newspaper or on a web page.  Yet, crime keeps on happening.

What happens when someone is found not guilty?  A google search of his or her name will likely still turn up Riverside’s tweet of the arrest.  What if the person was guilty, but goes on to serve a sentence, and never commit the offense again?  Will the tweet remain on the internet forever?

What do you think?

Recommended article and podcast about police interrogation techniques

I have written before about police interrogation techniques.  One good example was this post about the Melissa Calusinski interrogation from March, 2012.

This week’s New Yorker has a piece written by Douglas Starr about police interrogation methods.  The story is behind a subscription paywall, so let me give you a summary:

For the last 60 years, most police departments in the United States have used an interrogation method developed by a former Chicago cop named John Reid.  The “Reid Method” is described something like this:  first the officer interviews a suspect and looks for indicators (emphasizing non-verbal clues like failing to maintain eye contact or jitteriness) indicating that the person is lying.  Once the officer “determines” (i.e. believes) that the suspect is likely guilty, the officer is to briefly leave the room, then return with a file folder and declare that the investigation has been completed and that it shows that “you are responsible.  So lets not waste your time or mine and lets work this out” by getting a written confession.   The goal at this point is to get a confession, and the officer is free to lie or mislead to get it.  If the suspect maintains his innocence, the officer is to refute it.   The officer is taught to minimize moral and legal consequences, and feign empathy with the suspect, by saying things like “I know it is easy to lose your temper.  You didn’t want to hurt her, I’m sure.”

The Reid method has been effective in getting convictions and closing cases.  Starr’s article questions whether it is effective in getting accurate confessions.  He has examples of innocent people who confessed to horrible crimes, because the technique is so effective in getting people to say what the police want them to.

The article shows how these methods were developed without proper scientific study, based upon outdated psychological notions.  Many people (incorrectly) agree to a false confession due to duress, thinking that the legal process will later clear things up.  Except that the confession usually seals their fate, even when there isn’t corroborating physical evidence.

In the article, Starr talks about a new interrogation method, developed in Great Britain, after their own series of wrongful convictions based upon false confessions.  This method has not taken hold in the United States, where the Reid method remains standard operating procedure.

Starr was interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air, and the interviews has some additional details that were not in the article (and vice versa, so you should read both the article and listen to the podcast.

This article and podcast are highly recommended for anyone in the criminal justice and legal field.


Sec of State is getting high demand for drivers licenses for undocumented persons

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Illinois on Tuesday becomes the largest state in the nation to test undocumented immigrants seeking temporary drivers’ licenses, but don’t expect a stampede right away at Secretary of State facilities.

Officials are limiting the number of by-appointment-only applicants to six a day at the two facilities offering the first tests for undocumented Illinois residents.

By mid-December, daily applicant loads should increase to 39 at the agency’s Chicago West facility, 5301 W. Lexington Ave., and in Springfield, at 2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy. Two more facilities will join as test sites later this month, and by mid-December, applicants will be able to make January appointments at 36 facilities.

“We’d much rather do this slowly and deliberately pace this out so we are doing it right by January,’’ explained Lisa Grau, manager of the Secretary of State’s Temporary Visitor Driver’s License program for undocumented immigrants.

Officials say demand is clearly there. As of Monday, 5,500 appointments had been scheduled through March 4 at Chicago West; Springfield; Chicago North at 5401 N. Elston, and the Bloomington facility. A special call-in appointment line has been receiving about 10,000 calls a day

No walk-ins will be accepted. Undocumented immigrants seeking driving-test appointments can call (855) 236-1155 or register online at http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

Applicants must prove at least 12 months of residency in Illinois, their name and date of birth and present two documents establishing their current address.

They will be given a written, road and eye test and can use any insured car for the road test as long as the insurance doesn’t specifically exclude them, Grau said…

In addition, such drivers must have car insurance by the time they drive on their new licenses.

Written driving tests will be available in Spanish, Polish, Chinese and Korean, and workers speaking those languages should be available at every test facility. Applicants are free to bring bilingual friends or relatives as translators.

For the 95 per cent of you who speed, beware of upcoming new aggravated speeding law

According to a study conducted by the Illinois Tollway and published by the Chicago Tribune this weekend, 95% of the drivers on our local highways are traveling above the posted speed limit.  Average highway speeds were 71 mph — over 15 miles over the limit in most places.

This news is timely, since the aggravated speeding statute has been amended once again, effective January 1, 2014.  As of that date, it will be a Class B misdemeanor to speed between 26 and 35 miles per hour over the posted speed limit (this will be a change from the current law, which makes it a class B for driving between 31 and 40 over the limit).  Over 35 miles an hour over the limit will be a class A misdemeanor (currently, over 40 is a class A).

This law will go into effect at the same time that the posted speed limits in some areas will go up to 70 mph (but probably not in the Chicago metro-area).

So please keep in mind that if you are driving 80 mph or faster on a highway where there is a posted 55 limit, you will be committing a criminal offense, as opposed to a mere traffic violation.  Even if it is your first offense, the minimum sentence will be a conviction, so this means that you will be at risk of becoming a convicted criminal.

Anyone going 90 or faster will be at risk of getting a conviction for a class A offense.  Keep in mind, this is the same level of classification as misdemeanor DUI, theft or battery.