Law Professor’s Hit YouTube Lecture Cited in NBC Primetime Program

Professor James Duane’s hit lecture “Don’t Talk to the Police” has received more than 3.6 million views on YouTube, a figure that does not include views for other versions floating around on the Internet, one of which has more than 2.2 million hits. Now, the lecture has been acknowledged on primetime television. In “Conventions,” a Feb. 26, 2014 episode of the NBC drama Chicago P.D., a criminal suspect requests to remain silent under protection of the Fifth Amendment and references the popular lecture.

At approximately 16:50 of the episode, the suspect says, “Do you get the Internet here? Cause there’s this great video on YouTube by this law professor, and he’s very articulate. And he makes a very compelling and convincing argument. It’s called ‘Don’t Talk to the Cops.’”

In the episode, the police don’t respect the suspect’s rights, but Professor Duane says that not talking to the police or any government agent until an attorney is present is a serious matter.

“Of course there are often times when people need to call the police and should do so,” he explains. “For example, when you are a victim of a crime, or a witness to a crime, or when you have been involved in an accident and the law requires you to call the police to report that someone has been injured. But when the police or any government agents come to you without warning to ask you questions in an interview that you did not schedule, no smart individual will take the risk of answering their questions. Indeed, that is exactly what police officers and prosecutors almost invariably advise their own children!”

“The law does not require the police to tell you the truth about what they are really investigating, and whether you are a suspect, or what evidence they already think they have against you, and in fact the police will routinely lie to you about all those subjects and many more. And even if you are innocent, almost anything you say to them will only increase the chances, even if only slightly, that you might give them information that could be used to help convict you of a crime that you did not commit, or some supposed criminal offense that nobody in their right mind would ever imagine might have been a crime.”

Professor Duane is surprised that the lecture, originally given to prospective law students several years ago, has received so much attention.

“I never anticipated that so many people would watch the video. I arranged only to have the video posted on the Regent University website, and do not even know who put it on YouTube. It’s gratifying that the lecture has received such an impressive response and that the writers and producers of Chicago P.D. thought it was good advice.”

As the lecture stays in vogue, schools and criminal defense organizations reach out to Professor Duane, asking him to speak at events. So far, Professor Duane has accepted more than one dozen invitations to speak on the Fifth Amendment. He will give additional lectures on that topic in April at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, in June at the annual meeting of the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers Association in Tulsa, and in September at a nationwide conference for public defenders in New Orleans.

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