Police and Social Services in False Allegation Cases
The Police and the Falsely Accused
- A police officer can arrest you, without a warrant, if they "see" you committing a crime or if they have "probable cause" to believe that you have committed a crime. All it takes is one person making a criminal complaint against you, without any corroboration, to give the police "probable cause" to arrest.
- In most circumstances, they should have an arrest warrant if they're arresting you at your home, or a search warrant to search your home, but there are exceptions to every rule. If the police tell you that they have a warrant, ask to look at it. Do not simply "agree" to a search of your home, your car or your person. Again, simply tell the officer that you want your attorney present.
- If you are arrested, do not resist arrest or become verbally abusive, regardless of how ridiculous you believe the charges are. If you do, you could well find yourself facing additional charges and possibly be injured in the arrest process. You can tell them your name, address and date of birth, but don't answer questions about the crime or where you were when it happened. Tell them that you do not wish to answer questions without speaking to your attorney first. Be safe. Do not answer questions or make statements about your case to the police or the prosecutor and do not sign any statements. Don't think that police will simply release you because you talked to them.
- If you do learn that the police are going to arrest you, your attorney can arrange for you to surrender. If you do surrender, it will tend to show the court that you're a responsible person, worthy of being released on your own recognizance or on low bail, when you appear for your arraignment.
- Police officers and detectives are usually very good at getting confessions since to them, a confession is the easiest possible way for them to "wrap up" their case. Many accused are often "tricked" into confessing because they were told that things would go easier for them. It's very difficult to defend someone who has made a confession or admission. Even telling the police that you were at the scene but didn't do anything can all but destroy your defense. Never forget that your silence cannot be used against you.
- They are famous for conducting lengthy interviews prior to recording anything and well prior to advising an accused that they do not have to say anything. If they ask you to sign a Waiver of Rights Form, tell them simply that you are innocent and that you want your attorney present during any questioning. Do not be fooled by their "helpful," or "concerned" attitude. They are there to nail you and are smart enough to know they will accomplish more by being nice than coming across any other way.
- The police "want" to make a case against someone they suspect committed a crime, especially someone they believe molested a child. They are not your friends, unless you happen to be the alleged victim and then, only if the "victim" sticks with their original story and does not recant. Never lose sight of the fact that it is a feather in their cap to assist in convicting a "child molester."
- Also, if you are in jail, be very careful what you say to other inmates. They may try to work out their own problem by agreeing to become a witness against you. Under no circumstances, ever talk to the press.
- Many times, an accused believes that there is no evidence against them, but testimony is evidence. Your own statements to the police, or anyone else, is evidence. At trial, the testimony of one witness may be enough to convict you, if the jury believes that witness beyond a reasonable doubt.
Social Services and the Falsely Accused
- If you have been accused of child abuse and are approached by anyone from social services, keep in mind that regardless of what they say and regardless of what you want to believe, most of them are certainly not there to "help" you. They may appear "nice" and "helpful," but never lose sight of the fact that most of these individuals usually "believe" the allegations because the child "said it happened" and most of them are nothing more than an extension of law enforcement or the prosecutor's office.
- On more than one occasion, these individuals have gained the trust of an accused by convincing them that they are there to "help" them. Later, and much to the surprise of the accused, the person they talked to; their "friendly social worker," testifies that the accused made certain statements, indicating their guilt, that in fact were never made. This is easily accomplished by "twisting" someone's completely innocent statements or comments. Your only defense against this is to assure that you audio record any and all interviews and/or contact you have with social services, either in person or on the telephone, assuming that "one-party" recording is legal in your state. On more than one occasion, audio tapes have been used as rebuttal to prove that the social worker's testimony was a lie. To determine the laws pertaining to recording in individual states, see "Laws on Recording."
- One of the greatest tools that a prosecutor or law enforcement has in a child abuse case is a social worker. If, for example, a child makes an allegation against their father, following his arrest, a social worker will talk to the mother to "see exactly where she stands." If the mother appears to "support" her husband's innocence, social services can threaten, and in some cases do, have the children removed and placed into a foster home. Their rationalization is that the mother is "in denial," and therefore, cannot offer a "safe" environment for her children. In reality, it is nothing more than a maneuver, designed at "turning the mother around" in order to have her children returned to her.
- If a social service representative does arrive at your home with an order to take your child or children, ask to see their credentials and the order. Call your attorney immediately and read the order to them. If you are unable to reach your attorney, keep the "order," or a copy and "politely" and tell the social worker that you will not talk to them without your lawyer being present. You are not required by law to talk to any of these people, so don't. Unfortunately, this is the time where an accused normally does make statements, especially in their attempt to keep their children from being taken. Often, these innocent statements are used against them later, during trial. If they do have a legal court order, do not interfere.
- If you are served with any documents, take them, refuse to comment or answer any questions, and contact your lawyer immediately. Again, do not make any statement that can later be held against you in court.
- Never "invite" a social services representative into your home if you have been falsely accused. If they have gained entrance before you learn why they are there, ask them to leave. If they do not leave, call the police and request that they be forcibly removed for trespassing.
- Also, in most cases, the social service workers keep very bad, or no notes and, again, in most cases, have no education or background in dealing with these "false allegation" cases. Most are simply "save-the-world" crusaders who believe whatever a child says and then sets out to validate the allegation.