Watch Your Words: Should you talk to police?

Posted at 7:01 PM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 05:58:19-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - 'Making a Murderer' is the wildly popular crime documentary series on Netflix about a man named Steven Avery, previously wrongfully accused of rape, now in jail for a murder he says he didn't commit.

Now, an eight-year-old viral lecture from a Regent University law professor is making the rounds on the internet again after a company made a video showing how the lessons in the lecture parallel the popular documentary.

The show chronicles how Steven Avery is convicted in the 2005 murder of Theresa Halbach, a conviction largely based on a confession made by his nephew, Brendan Dassey. Dassey later told his mom that confession was false.

"They got to my head," said Dassey in the interview room seen in the documentary.

Dassey's confession in particular has many questioning the tactics of the Wisconsin detectives featured in the show and questioning what many call the shady side of law enforcement.

Those tactics are something Regent University Professor James Duane has been teaching for years that you can avoid entirely if you just exercise your 5th Amendment right to remain silent, and don't talk to police.

"Why you should never talk to police, let me spell it out for you..." says Duane in the 2008 lecture.

The lecture, which has sparked interest online before, is now spreading like wildfire with more than 9 million people watching, including on Facebook.

"It wasn't even my plan to put this on the internet until the last minute because two of my students couldn't make it, so I recorded it," Duane told NewsChannel 3.

Little did he know it would launch his career. The lecture is getting more clicks today after a company called INSIDER took it and showed how it relates to the crime documentary series. Specifically, with how it could be easy to lie to police, just like Dassey claims he didn't mean to do with his confession.

"It's a series that has apparently opened a lot of people's eyes for the first time to some of the way in which police, even well-intentioned, honest, sincere, police officers who are trying to gather the truth can use psychological tactics and methods they learned in the academy to make people say things that they later retract and insist it was not true," Duane added.

NewsChannel 3 reached out to Portsmouth's Police Department Spokesperson and Detective Misty Holley for reaction. She worked as an investigator for more than 2 years.

"Do you feel like police consciously try to trick someone into giving a false confession," asked NewsChannel 3's Nadeen Yanes.

"I think sometimes it depends on the investigator," Holley said. "You can have both, where someone subconsciously does it and sometimes they really believe that someone is guilty and they may try something like that. But I will tell you a majority of the time, probably 99.9% of the time, our investigators aren't trying to trick someone into a confession. Our investigators and our main focus is to find the truth."

Duane says his lecture isn't to badmouth cops, but just to warn people that you should watch your words and remind everyone that they have a constitutional right to remain silent.