To the Editor: In his column in the April issue, Dr. Appelbaum clearly tells us that a defendant's confession that is obtained by deception on the part of law enforcement agents is admissible as evidence, notwithstanding the deception (1). However, simply because deception in obtaining a confession is not illegal does not make it permissible for a psychiatrist to assist the police under such circumstances. I would like to remind colleagues that the American Psychiatric Association's position is absolutely firm that psychiatrists should not participate in the interrogation of persons held in custody by law enforcement authorities (2).
Dr. Halpern is professor emeritus of psychiatry at New York Medical College, New York City.
1.Appelbaum PS: Deception, coercion, and the limits of interrogation. Psychiatric Services 60:422—424, 20092.Position Statement: Psychiatric Participation in Interrogation of Detainees. Arlington, Va, American Psychiatric Association, 2006