Few lawyers have tried 1 high profile case on TV, let alone two – and one that was covered by Netflix! Want to get behind the scenes of The Staircase, the Netflix documentary series about the prosecution and defense of novelist Michael Peterson who was charged with murder? Did you know his lawyer, David Rudolf, also defended NFL star Rae Carruth in a capital case? Rudolf is a legendary lawyer who now practices with his wife, Sonya Pfeiffer, and they host a podcast called Abuse of Power. I’ve got em both on Killer Cross Examination.
Want to know what Charlie Sheen, Brooke Mueller and OJ Simpson have in common? Want to know how to win trials? Pick a jury with OJ Simpson as your client AFTER he was acquitted of a double murder? Get behind the scenes at Court TV with someone who knows Nancy Grace and who knew Johnnie Cochran? Meet Yale Galanter, one of the country’s most celebrated lawyers. He’s my guest on the Killer Cross Examination Podcast.
One on One with James Trainum, an Expert in Police Interrogation Tactics and False Confessions
False confessions occur and they are much more commonplace than people believe or are willing to admit. Many scoff at the notion that someone would or could admit to a crime they didn’t commit. But it happens and happens regularly. According to the Innocence Project, 25% of all wrongful convictions involve a false confession. That is a staggering number – ¼ of all wrongful convictions involve a false confession and those figures don’t include the cases in which the accused falsely confessed but who ended up being charged but not convicted, charged but whose case was dismissed and who were investigated but never charged. This is too important a subject to ignore and so in this episode, I go one on one with an expert in police interrogation tactics who himself participated in obtaining a false confession and has since spent his career trying to figure out and why that false confessions occurred, how they occur in general and how to put a stop to the practices that lead to them. James Trainum, a former detective with the Washington D.C. Police Department, is my guest.
No one is perhaps more qualified to speak on the subject. Trainum spent 27 years with a spolice officer with the majority of that time as a detective. He investigated major cases, cold cases, and homicides. Trainum is an expert in the police interrogation tactics and written extensively, consulted on and even testified about the police interrogation tactics and one method in particular, The Reid Technique. He has written extensively on the subject and was one of those chosen by the Department of Justice to review the New Orleans Police Department’s interrogation practices and to report a report about them. He has appeared in/on NPR, the New Yorker magazine, The New York Times, 48 Hours, USA Today and Netflix on the series about Confession Tapes, to name a few. Trainum wrote a book on the subject, How the Police Generate False Confessions that is available on Amazon and Kindle.
Trainum is my first “non” lawyer guest and his description of the Reid Technique, the most commonly used interrogation tactic and method is jaw dropping. Wait until you hear about this method. Not only will Trainum’s description of the technique and tactics leave you shaking your head, e.g., the room is designed to be small, the detective sits uncomfortably close to the subject, the subject’s guilt is predetermined and assumed without question and when the subject questions it or denies it, the technique involves the detective cutting off the denials. It is a monologue by the detective until the subject agrees that he/she did it. The entire process is about increasing the subject’s anxiety level and encouraging the person to distrust their own defense mechanisms and to emotionally replace those with cooperation with the police. Not only does Trainum describe this method but he gives real life examples of cases where this has occurred and how you or someone you love can avoid being in that position.
If you want to hear how one of America’s best and most visible trial lawyers does her business, you want to listen to this episode. Do not miss this episode.
This week, I go one on one with a former Court TV host and high profile civil rights lawyer, Lisa Bloom. While Lisa is the daughter of one of America’s most successful and committed civil rights lawyers, Gloria Allred, Lisa has made her own mark in her career and is no stranger to the spotlight. She has represented individuals and plaintiffs against comedian Bill Cosby, Fox Host Bill O’Reilly, Rep John Conyers, former President Donald Trump, Guess CEO Paul Marciano, Hollywood Producer Akil David, the Los Angeles Police Department and countless other power moguls and figures. Lisa actually hosted several shows on Court TV including one that she co-hosted with Vinnie Politano, who still hosts a show on Court TV to this day. She can be frequently seen providing legal commentary offering her insight on legal issues and high profile cases including the Chauvin-George Floyd trial. Lisa is one of America’s foremost civil rights lawyers and has successfully advocated for sexual assault victims, victims of police misconduct, harassment and discrimination victims. Her victories include, obtaining an 11 million dollar verdict against Hollywood producer Akil David and obtained a confidential “epic” settlement for former supermodel Janice Dickinson against Cosby.
This is not an ordinary interview of Lisa. This is probing. She talks about growing up in her mother’s (Gloria Allred) shadow, striking out on her own and building her own name, her experiences as a female trial attorney, the double standards she experienced and experiences as an aggressive female trial lawyer, fighting the powers to be, how she conducts voir dire, she uses the “Me Too Movement” to identify favorable and unfavorable jurors, how her opponents attempt to prejudice the jury against her using her celebrity status and high profile cases, battling Bill Cosby, fighting Bill O’Reilly, going after Rep John Conyers, representing the downtrodden and minimum wage earner against the powerful, her preparation, her style of questioning, when to make it about the witness (direct examination) and when to make it about the questioner (cross examination), when to speed things up, when to slow things down, when to raise her voice and when not to, etc. She shares the one person she wants to cross examine the most and why.