By Taroue Brooks
Attorney Peter Baskin. almost daily, for over 50 years has tried criminal cases in Virginia courtrooms, both as a prosecutor and as defense counsel. He has written and taught on criminal and civil trial technique, and was lead counsel in a 1974 decision in the Virginia Supreme Court on the law of arrest which continues to be the law of Virginia. A graduate of the University of Hartford (B.S. 1964) and George Washington University Law School (J.D. 1967), his Martindale-Hubbell peer reviewed rating for the last twenty years is the highest attainable for legal ability and ethical standards AV Preeminent.
Through media driven misinformation about our rights when a police encounter begins, police deception, and a shockingly widespread unawareness of the right to remain silent, Americans self destruct by talking to the police, resulting in being found guilty in court in 90% of the twelve million criminal cases, heard annually, on evidence they foolishly gave to the police before the
Miranda warning. My book shows how to recognize police deception and how to correctly use the fifth amendment right to silence to avoid being convicted in court. A police encounter is the wrong time, place, and audience for free speech.
Tell us about your law practice.
For the past half century I have tried criminal cases almost daily in the courts of Virginia, both as a prosecutor and defense counsel. I also represent persons injured in vehicle accidents. My current practice is concentrated on criminal defense and personal injury cases exclusively.
What rights does a citizen have when pulled over by the police, and, if those rights are violated, what recourse would a citizen have to defend themselves?
When pulled over by the police, the person stopped must do four things: keep their hands visible and as motionless as possible with no sudden movement, politely identify themselves, step out of the vehicle if asked or directed to do so, and sign any citation ticket or warning given. Signing is not an admission of guilt; it is only a promise to appear in court. Aside from these four things, they have the absolute, constitutionally guaranteed fifth amendment right to remain silent before the Miranda warning, not answer any other questions or give explanations, and not take any sobriety tests on the street. If the officer does not honor your silence and refusal to take tests, he may, depending on each individual case and his level of misconduct, now often video recorded, be subject to a misconduct complaint, a civil suit, or, in extreme cases, dismissal and/or criminal prosecution.
What inspired you to write your book?
Millions of Americans have no idea what to do or how to do it when they encounter the police and, through media-driven misinformation combined with police deception and an unawareness of when their rights begin, fueled by this deception and media misinformation, self-destruct by talking and testing and leave themselves no choice but to plead guilty and then are counted among the 90% of the 12 million arrest cases annually which are heard in court, who are convicted almost exclusively by their own words and conduct – evidence they did not have to serve up by talking to the police; evidence the world’s best lawyer can’t make go away. Talking to the police is a bell that cannot be unrung. It is legal suicide. The right to silence exists before the Miranda warning. If you talk and take tests before the Miranda warning, it’s too late.
What kind of pushback have you experienced since publishing your book?
There has been zero pushback. To the contrary, most feedback from the police has been grudging agreement with the book’s content. The first read was by a retired officer who praised its accuracy.
Given your position, what is your relationship with police officers?
I socialize with a fair number of current and retired officers who have read my book, and my relationship with them is excellent. The book is not antipolice; it exposes the police method. It advocates neutralizing that method by using the fifth amendment right to silence, instead of the first amendment, when dealing with the police
What do you tell people of color who simply are afraid and concerned when followed or even pulled over by the police?
People of any color should become informed of their right to silence, how to timely exercise that right, and stop fearing arrest; fear conviction instead. If they exercise their right to silence correctly, they are not likely to be convicted, and, then, their arrest, though unpleasant and inconvenient, matters little. What matters is conviction avoidance, not arrest avoidance. Everyone should not engage with the police; they should disengage by silence instead of self-destructive free speech to the officer. A police encounter is the wrong time, place, and audience for free speech. If simply followed by a marked police vehicle, do nothing until their emergency equipment is activated. Then promptly respond by pulling over, stay calm, be polite, and maintain visible, motionless hands. Don’t plead your case to the officer. He’s not a judge. Free speech to a cop on the street loses in court. Silence on the street wins in court.
What type of testimonials have you received from people who have read your book?
There are 31 reviews online at Amazon, twenty-eight of which are 5 star. My legal colleagues praise the book as well.
Aside from becoming a best seller, what would you like to accomplish?
I hope to have the general public and, particularly, underserved minorities become better informed about their rights when they meet the police so that they can be more effectively and successfully represented in court and the power balance between citizens and the police is more evenly divided and more equitable. When we fail to call upon the fifth amendment right to silence first thing during police encounters, we are squandering the only absolute, unassailable constitutional right – the right to silence; the safest haven against police power. The first amendment right to free speech is what gets people in trouble during a police encounter. When citizens have knowledge of and exercise this
right to silence, they will not be intimidated by, not afraid of the police, not fooled by their deceptive tactics, and win in court. Following the book’s advice will keep them safe. as well.
GUIDING THE SOCIAL DRINKER THROUGH POLICE DECEPTION AND AVOIDING A DUI CONVICTION
By Peter M. Baskin
Silence, not truth, sets you free. Are you one of the more than 125 million people who has a drink or two or a hit of pot, and gets behind the wheel? Do you know what to say and do if stopped or approached by the police to avoid being convicted in court? Most people don’t, and lose for that reason only. Winning starts at the stop, before, not after, the Miranda warning, not at the courthouse.
My book, a completed manuscript of six chapters, approximately 50,000 words, offers a convention challenging, counter-intuitive approach to handling deceptive police tactics and methods which cause people, from the first seconds of police encounters, to say and do everything wrong, guaranteeing their conviction in court. Those who know to say “no”, and not talk to the police at the right time, place, and in the right way, win in court. Many don’t even get arrested.
This insider’s guide focuses on, and details, police language and practices, which are all based on fear and used to intimidate and manipulate people to talk, take tests, and give other evidence against themselves. The reader is guided through police confrontations with a new look at overcoming the fear and deception by using the seemingly forgotten Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, to prevent mistakes at the right moment.
I show the reader how and when to use it, and other rights they have, simply and effectively. Corrected is the misinformation about when this right begins when dealing with the police, misinformation caused primarily by the movie, television, and news industries, the main drivers of our popular culture, a media promoted, police exploited, culture of deception, fear, intimidation, manipulation, and the evasion of your Constitutional rights.