James Duane (professor)

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Not to be confused with James Duane (revolutionary leader).

James Joseph Duane (born 1959) is an American law professor at the Regent University School of Law, former criminal defense attorney, and Fifth Amendment expert.[1] He received some viral online attention for his "Don't Talk To Police" video of a lecture he gave to a group of law students with Virginia Beach Police Department Officer George Bruch. They explain in practical terms why citizens should never talk to police under any circumstances. The lecture continues to be popular on YouTube and received support from security expert Bruce Schneier,[2] but The Weekly Standard criticized it.[3][4]

Using former Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson as support of his "Don't Talk to Police" advice, Duane says, inter alia, that: 1) even perfectly innocent citizens may get themselves into trouble even when the police are trying to do their jobs properly, because police malfeasance is entirely unnecessary for the innocent to convict themselves by mistake; 2) talking to police may bring up erroneous but believable evidence against even innocent witnesses; and 3) individuals convinced of their own innocence may have unknowingly committed a crime which they inadvertently confess to during questioning.[5] This follows the reasoning of Justice Robert Jackson in Watts v. Indiana.

He has also written about his views that there are bizarre legislative drafting errors in the Virginia Statute on Privileged Marital Communications[6] as well as issues involving the introduction of hearsay evidence at trial (known as "bootstrapping").[7]


  1. ^ James Duane, Regent University 
  2. ^ Schneier, Bruce. "Why you should never talk to Police". Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Sneider, Jaime (August 6, 2008), Regent Law Professor: Don't Talk to Police 
  4. ^ James Duane, Talking to the Police 
  5. ^ Professor speaks to Federalist Society on Genius of the Fifth Amendment, March 25, 2009 
  6. ^ Duane, James Joseph (1999–2000), Bizarre Drafting Errors in the Virginia Statute on Privileged Marital Communications, The 12 (91), Regent U. L. Rev. 
  7. ^ Duane, James Joseph (1996–1997), Trouble with United States v. Tellier: The Dangers of Hunting for Bootstrappers and other Mythical Monsters, The 24 (215), Am. J. Crim. L.