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Apply proverbial Krazy Glue to your lips when police question you

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Police will try to make you feel very uncomfortable and even silly for not talking to them before you are arrested, if ever, probably including such lines as:

– "If you are doing nothing wrong, why wouldn’t you explain that to us?"

– "If you were in my shoes, wouldn’t your behavior lead you to investigate?"

– "I need to get to the bottom of this. Why are you obstructing my just doing my job?"

For some people, my exercises about replying with the mantras of "no", "I want an attorney", "I will not speak without an attorney" might not be enough to stay silent with the police, including when the police are double and triple-teaming the suspect, or are trying to divide and conquer the suspect with the help of his or her accompanying friends and family, where the suspect will feel uncomfortable not even answering such questions as "where are you headed/coming from" and "do you have any drugs or weapons?" A suspect might wonder why s/he should not say where s/he is going or coming from if that is not incriminating, but how does the suspect know it is not incriminating? What if the suspect mistakenly matches the description of someone who reportedly committed a serious crime in the vicinity where the suspect is coming from? Moreover, privacy is an important thing. Police are not entitled to know our business.

If we answer police that there are no drugs or weapons in the car, what do we do with the cop’s follow-up question requesting a search to make sure of the absence of contraband. What if the "consent" search then turns up contraband that you had no reason to know — or else to remember — is there? Consider all the people who have been in your car over time. What if some marijuana or other contraband accidentally rolled out of their pockets and into the car? What about if someone borrowed your car and had a handgun, and left it in the trunk before going to the bank, and forgot to retrieve it. When a cop stops a car with multiple occupants, how many of them are going to toss their contraband as far from them as possible, even if the contraband then goes into your lap or elsewhere close to your vicinity, sometimes without your knowing it, especially if it is nighttime? Not only are you giving up your privacy when allowing the police to search you, your car, your home, or your other property, but you are risking trouble that you may not have known existed.

Perhaps a tube of imaginary Krazy Glue will do the trick to stay silent with the cops. Once you recognize that you are an actual or potential suspect in the presence of cops, open the imaginary Krazy Glue, and apply it liberally to your lips. Smack your lips shut, and breathe comfortably through your nose. Feel free to smile over your in and out breath.

The only thing that quickly undoes Krazy Glue is acetone, which is found in nail polish remover. Otherwise, your lips are going to stay sealed a long while.

If you get arrested and want to increase your chances of a reasonable bond, or release on your promise to return to court, you will need to release the Krazy Glue at the police station or jail to provide simple information about where you live and work (and for how long) and with whom. Beware police who mix together the foregoing basic booking questions with further investigatory questions of your alleged criminal activity. Once the cops start asking the non-booking questions, it is time to reapply the imaginary Krazy Glue to your lips.

Terrence Vaughan and McKinley Scott learned the hard way what happens when you do not seal your lips shut when a police suspect. Police stopped their speeding vehicle, driven by Vaughan. The stopping Virginia state trooper witnessed four cellphones in the center console (which the trooper suspected indicated drug activity, due to the presence of more than one phone per car occupant), a nervous Scott, conflicting explanations between the two about their travels, and Vaughan’s self-contradictory versions of his travels. The Fourth Circuit found that the totality of the circumstances provided reasonable articulable suspicion of criminal activity to allow a brief detention of the two for a drug dog to arrive to sniff the car. U.S. v. Vaughan, ___ F.3d ___ (4th Cir., Nov. 29, 2012).

The drug dog arrived and alerted to the trunk, where police found over a pound and a half of cocaine. Vaughan entered a guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute cocaine — receiving a ten year prison sentence — conditioned on his preserving his right to challenge the stop, detention, search and seizure.

Had the car’s two occupants just kept their mouths shut, Vaughan may have won his motion to suppress the detention to await the drug dog. Then again, had Vaughan and Scott not left in the open four cellphones and had Scott not been acting so nervous, Vaughan’s suppression motion would have been all the stronger.

Krazy Glue is the word.