Ethical and Legal Issues
This paper briefly and critically presents a scenario where a police investigator would interrogate a person who might possess certain information about a missing child. The main objective of the investigator is to interrogate Sam without explicitly accusing him of being involved in disappearance of the child. Apparently, as the police investigator, one has to comply with legal procedures in interrogation of a person who might be connected to the crime being investigated. For that matter, the police investigator has to be extra careful in interviewing Sam because of the insufficient evidence that connects the latter about the case.
The question here is whether or not the police investigator should issue the Miranda warnings to Sam. The implications of such legal procedure should be considered before executing it to a person to be interviewed. It would also be noted that Sam is not yet a suspect in this case. He is just being singled out by the police authorities regarding disappearance of the child. In a sense, it is crucial to analyze thoroughly the decision to issue the Miranda warnings before executing them to Sam. Issuing the Miranda warnings without necessary evidence is an illegal practice that may cause legal charges against the police investigator.
The article entitled “Why People Waive Their Miranda Rights: The Power of Innocence” by Saul M. Kassin and Rebecca J. Norwick (2004) would be very useful in discussing the issuance of Miranda warnings. According to the authors, the Miranda warnings are issued or read to any person who is being interrogated by police investigators. The main purpose of the Miranda warnings is to inform the person of his/ her rights while interrogation is undertaken.
The Miranda warnings are an advice provided by police investigators to a person who is suspected of being involved in a crime. The Miranda warnings state that the person being interrogated has the right to remain silent; anything he/ she says can and will be used against him/ her in a court of law; he/ she has the right to an attorney; if he/ she cannot afford one, one will be provided to him/ her free of charge (Kassin, 2004).
In other words, the Miranda warnings are an insulation of the person from any incriminating questions by police officer in the interrogation. It protects the person being interviewed to incriminate himself/herself to a crime that he/she did not even commit. In addition, the person is protected from any physical threats or punishment from police investigators during the interview.
In some cases the Miranda warnings are waived by people who are invited for interview by police investigators. One of the reasons for waiving these essential rights is that they genuinely believe that they are innocent. In a sense, it is no longer necessary for police investigators to read the Miranda warnings in cases where people truly believe that they are not involved in the crime being investigated (Imber, 2001).
In the case of the missing child, I think it is not yet appropriate to issue the Miranda warnings to Sam. One fundamental rationale for this decision is that there is no clear evidence that would lead Sam to become a suspect. The main reason for the interview is just to gather enough information about the case. It is important that, as a police investigator, I would be careful of not accusing Sam during the interview.
Keeping in mind the above decision, I would wait for Sam in the bus station for the interview. I would approach him and introduce myself as a police investigator. I would also show him my police badge to validate my claim. After introducing myself, I would explain clearly the reason for the interview and say that my main agenda is just to gather as much information as I can about the missing child. Of course, I would hold a casual conversation with Sam in order for him to voluntarily reveal what he knows about the case. In other words, the main objective of the interview is to determine whether or not Sam has something to do with the missing child without openly accusing him.