In response to my “second opinion” review of Dagger of the Mind, one commenter posed the question: “As a former prosecutor, how many of Columbo’s cases would actually hold up in court?”
I asked Columbophile if I could write another post for his blog setting forth my answer. He agreed, so here we are. We decided to use only the episodes he had reviewed thus far, so as not to interfere with future reviews (taking us up to Requiem for a Falling Star).
Because the episode that prompted this question, Dagger of the Mind, is “solved” by Columbo planting false evidence in order to trick his suspects into confessing, I think it’s reasonable to infer that the question quoted above is principally directed to the trickery issue.
Are police permitted to trick suspects into confessing? The answer is yes, as long as the confession remains voluntary and…
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