Sunday, December 15, 2013

What Amanda Billy Rock Should Have Said to the Police (And What You Need to Do Right Now)

For those of us that saw the Amanda Billy Rock video of her arrest, we saw that Amanda complied with the police officer and provided her with her driver's license and registration, but then refused to say anything more to the police.

Om Amanda's Facebook page, Robert Everman had these insightful comments:
For all of you who are saying that she just should have answered the cops' questions, I strongly suggest that EVERYONE watch this video. It's a bit long, but well worth your time! It is a law school professor and a 20+ year veteran police detective explaining exactly why you should NEVER talk to the police except to tell them that you will not answer their questions.

Say this:
"With all due respect officer, I wish to invoke my 4th and 5th Amendment rights. I do not answer questions from law enforcement without my attorney present nor do I agree to a search of my person or property. I would like to leave now, am I free to go?"

Memorize that, it is all you should ever say to law enforcement. They may continue to ask questions, but you just ask them "am I being detained?" if they say no, then repeat that you want to leave and ask if you are free to go. Do not attempt to leave until they say you are free to go. Legally you should be able to, but it will not go well for you! Just rinse and repeat "am I being detained?..Am I free to go?" until they let you go. Do not ever say anything else.

It is your 5th Amendment right to not incriminate yourself, and you are not a legal expert so without your lawyer present you have no idea what will be used against you. (The video gives great examples of this!)

You must make it clear that you wish to leave, otherwise they can later clam that you were there of your own free will. They MUST state that they are detaining you (meaning that you legally may not leave, this legally changes your status), and they must have a valid reason to do so. If they say that you are being detained, then at that point you should completely stop talking. They may not give you the reason at the time, do not argue that point! Just sue them later. Also, never physically resist, even if they are violating your rights, just sue them later.

Amanda was technically in the right, but she should have at least stated why she was not answering. I suggest using the line I quoted earlier. It may frustrate the cops, but it gives them a better idea of what they are dealing with. Protest is great, but the way Amanda did it they didn't even understand that she was in fact protesting. They probably just thought she was to drunk to speak or comply with their illegal orders like a good little sheeple. Good luck Amanda!

Rather than try and memorize this and hope you remember it under the stressful circumstances of a confrontation with police, I urge you to copy this, print it out and carry it in your wallet. Then you will have it with you for that stressful time. You just never know what situation you may find yourself in, in the future, and this might help. Police carry the Miranda warning on a piece of paper, this is what you should carry. Put it in your wallet, right next to your license:
 With all due respect officer, I wish to invoke my 4th and 5th Amendment rights. I do not answer questions from law enforcement without my attorney present nor do I agree to a search of my person or property. I would like to leave now, am I free to go.
Here's the video that Everman also linked to:


  1. Amjur awards a book to the student with the highest grade in each first year law class. I "booked" Criminal Procedure at UC Berkeley.

    I also believe that as a practical guide, you should ask if you are free to go, if so leave without talking to law enforcement. If you are not free to go, it is a "stop" and that triggers various protections - the most important of which is your right to a lawyer present before any questioning. Recently the high court said you have to actually invoke (ask for or assert) your Constitutional Rights or your failure to answer questions could be used as evidence against you. So this is all good advice.

    Almost every conviction on record was done with the (unwitting) cooperation of the accused. When you have a lawyer in the room with you you will be surprised how little you have to cooperate, and when you do not have your lawyer present there are only two issues: am I free to go (do so) or bring my lawyer before I talk to you. Also, if under suspicion of a crime never talk to anyone about it on a celphone. After all this NSA stuff, I would add never transmit an email, SMS or social media communication about it. You have to see your lawyer before you or you are silent, except for asserting your Constitutional Rights, including without limitation, your 4th and 5th Amendment rights.

  2. It's very sound advice. You should never, never, never talk to the police. If you are stopped for a traffic violation (civil infraction) you are only required to provide your license, registration, and (in some states) proof of insurance. You DO NOT have to answer any questions. Also, as a passenger, you do not have to answer any questions and are not part of "the stop" (as long as you have your seatbelt on and keep your mouth shut.) Be careful when you are in the action of being pulled not make movements such as reaching under the seat, etc. as these can be considered "furtive gestures" and could lead to a search of your vehicle due to "officer safety." If you need to reach into your glove compartment for your registration I would recommend waiting for the officer to be at your window. Also, if you need to remove your seatbelt to complete any action (such as getting your reg) wait for the officer to be at your window as well. It even helps to turn the inside lights of your vehicle on so they (the officers) have no excuses. Just a few tips so you won't get jammed up on your next traffic stop. 9 Times out of 10 the officer is going to ask you "where are you coming from," "where are you going," "have you had any drinks tonight" etc. Refer to what Bob said about stating you do not answer questions. Good luck.

  3. This is just sad. This speaks to how awful the police are. It's discouraging to be pushing 40 and have the feeling that humanity simply isn't capable of living in a world where liberty or the golden rule apply.

    I imagine if one were to speak those recommended words above at a traffic stop, the response itself would be deemed as suspicious and then the cop would give you the business. I think we are living in a tyrannical oligarchy and unless people grow up society will continue to rot.