Vol. 85, No. 11, November 2012
Criminal Interrogation and Confessions
By Fred E. Inbau, John E. Reid, Joseph P. Buckley & Brian C. Jayne (Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2012). 472 pgs. $139.95. Order, www.jblearning.com.
Reviewed by Kari Niesen-LaScala
John Reid (now deceased), one of this book's original authors, is credited with developing the "greatest single advancement in the polygraph technique, the control question."
At the outset, the authors of Criminal Interrogation and Confessions make three major contentions: 1) In many criminal cases, there is very little, if any, physical evidence, and the only way to solve the case may be by using interrogation. 2) Criminal offenders ordinarily will not admit their guilt unless questioned in private and over several hours. 3) Sometimes the investigator's methods are on a lower moral plane than that on which ethical, law-abiding citizens are expected to conduct their everyday affairs.
Part 1 provides specific advice about evaluating the facts and circumstances of a case, as well as tips on conducting interviews, including how the interviewer should behave, what he or she should say in light of the suspect's background and the particular circumstances, how to set up the interview room, and how the interviewer should position himself or herself vis-à-vis the suspect.
Part 2 emphasizes interviewing techniques and discusses in detail the importance of ascertaining truth and deception by analyzing the suspect's behavior and responses.
In Part 3, in the chapter titled "The Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation," the authors assert that eliciting of a confession occurs in fairly predictable stages. They are quick to note, however, that not all steps are always required; rather, the investigator should recognize what stage a suspect is in and respond accordingly.
Part 3 also contains tips for law enforcement officers concerning use of proper techniques so that confessions are admissible in court. I found this section particularly interesting, reminding me of criminal procedure class in law school, with many case examples and citations indicating whether or not a particular confession was deemed admissible.
Throughout the book, the authors emphasize that they do not condone any law-enforcement-officer behavior that is illegal or that might cause an innocent suspect to confess (for example, force, threats of force, promises of leniency). They do, however, state that other perhaps less-moral methods are allowed and even recommended (feigning sympathy or understanding for why the suspect did what he or she did, exaggerating the evidence, and so on), because of the adversarial nature of criminal cases. And they try to reassure the skeptical reader that the interviewing and interrogation methods they recommend could help rule out innocent suspects, because some of the questions generally will cause an innocent suspect to answer differently than would a guilty suspect.
This book's target audience seems to be law enforcement officers rather than attorneys, and when I first skimmed it, I was concerned it would read like a dry textbook. Given the many examples included, however, it proved to be a good read, and gave me an appreciation for how difficult criminal cases can be.
How Good Lawyers Survive Bad Times
By Sharon D. Nelson, James A. Calloway & Ross L. Kodner (Chicago, IL: ABA, 2009). 230 pgs. $79.95 ($47.95, Law Practice Management Section members). Order, www.americanbar.org/aba.html.
Reviewed by Nick Zales
This easy-to-read book is for any lawyer suffering from our down economy. That means just about all of us. Divided into three parts, it offers up tidbits of legal wisdom, knowledge, and humor to help get you off dead center and into new ways of thinking about the practice of law. In that, it succeeds with a bang. The book often states the obvious, but its back-to-basics themes are useful for lawyers drowning in a sea of bad economic news.
Part one, "Afraid of Losing Your Job? Lost it Already?," urges readers to assess their situation and offers ideas for change. The book offers invaluable tips on changing your practice, social networking, moving into new practice areas or nonlegal jobs, and keeping your sanity and sense of humor and includes self-assessment exercises that may provide insights into what is really important to you beyond making money. It helps you define goals and then offers ways to achieve them.
Part two, "Managing and Marketing Your Law Firm in a Down Economy," provides excellent advice on screening out bad clients, collecting from those who are slow to pay, reexamining staffing, ensuring honest staff, budgeting for the firm and for personal matters, marketing, cutting back on overhead without harming your practice, and using your new-found "free time" if your caseload dips.
Part three, "Do it Better, Faster, Cheaper with Technology - Using Technology to Boost the Bottom Line," is written by Wisconsin's own high guru of technology, Ross Kodner. It offers a plethora of tips designed to maximize your efforts through technology. Kodner cautions that simply buying technology is not the answer. Buying the right products that integrate your practice and make it more efficient is the goal. He notes that lawyers often have power software packages but do not delve into everything they can do. He suggests you learn one new feature each week. Particularly useful are the 25 tips on buying right, buying free, and spending smart. This part closes with must-read tips on what types of technology products every solo practitioner and small firm needs.
In addition to the useful practice and technology tips, sprinkled throughout this book are links to other resources for lawyers looking to improve their practices. This book will not solve your economic problems. That you must do yourself. But it will help steer you into change for the better by providing insight into how to deal with our troubled economy and what you can do about it on a personal level. If just one idea works for you, the cost of this book will be covered. Although published in 2009, the information is still helpful today. If you are a solo or small-firm lawyer wondering how to deal with our economic morass, then this book is for you.
Restatement of the Law Third, Property (Wills and Other Donative Transfers)
By the American Law Institute (Philadelphia, PA: 2011). 757 pgs. $131. Order, www.ali.org or 1-800-253-6397.
Reviewed by Willis Zick
Everyone who has attended law school has memories of professorial references to the "Restatement" of various areas of the law, for example, property, contracts, or torts. These Restatements are authored by the American Law Institute (ALI), composed of distinguished law professors and practicing attorneys.
The reviewer cannot possibly improve on the description of the reviewed volume contained in a recent ALI release:
"Among the highlights of the new volume are provisions modernizing and simplifying the law of future interests. The class-gift rules respond to legal problems that have arisen from recent scientific breakthroughs in reproductive technology, resolving the succession implications of posthumous conception, surrogate motherhood, and sperm and egg donations. The work provides a comprehensive treatment of the rules governing powers of appointment and concludes with a simplified formulation of the rules against perpetuities. The Restatement supplies a strongly principled explanation of the reasons for limiting dead-hand control of property."
"The Property Restatement, although centered on the law of wills and will substitutes, covers the principles of construction applicable to dispositive provisions in donative instruments of all sorts, including trusts."
"Both Restatements are important and authoritative resources for trust and estate lawyers, not only when preparing to argue cases at trial and appellate levels, but also in the work of drafting and interpreting dispositive provisions in wills, trusts, and other donative documents. Each Restatement section is followed by a set of Comments explaining and illustrating the governing rule and by a Reporters' Note collecting relevant cases, statutes, and secondary sources. The early volumes of both Restatements have already influenced decisional law, and there is every reason to expect that the concluding volumes will be equally authoritative."
The lofty goals expressed in the quoted release have been met. This treatise reflects those high standards of erudition, comprehensiveness, and precision of expression traditionally expected of ALI Restatements. It would be an invaluable research tool for any attorney having clients who may desire to 1) make gifts to a class, for example, "my children" or "any descendants," rather than to named individuals; 2) use powers of appointment; or 3) extend vesting of a disposition for a period long enough to implicate the dread rule against perpetuities.
The book is not relevant for attorneys not practicing in this area unless they possess a grossly hypertrophied sense of scholarly curiosity. The reviewer originally intended to read this volume from cover to cover but soon found that he lacked sufficient scholarly stamina to do so. It is a tough read for anyone not having a specific issue in mind.
Want to review a book?
The following books are available for review. Please request the book and writing guidelines from Wisconsin Lawyer managing editor Karlé Lester, at email@example.com or (608) 250-6127.
- Courtrooms, Cartridges, and Campfires: Lawyering on the Last Frontier – Alaska, by Wayne Anthony Ross (Anchorage, AK: Publication Consultants, 2012). 224 pgs. $17.95.
- Dead Peasants (novel), by Larry D. Thompson (New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press, 2012). 304 pgs. $25.99.
- Discretion (novel), by Allison Leotta (New York, NY: Touchstone, Simon & Schuster Inc., 2012). 321 pgs. $25.
- More Essential Than Ever: The Fourth Amendment in the Twenty-First Century, by Stephen J. Schulhofer (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2012). 216 pgs. $21.95.