2007_01_personwriting.jpgThe NY Times has a fascinating look at what happens when criminal suspects are in custody. While many people know the Miranda rights ("You have the right to remain silent..."), it seems many people end up spilling the beans by pen. The statements, the V.D.F. or People's Voluntary Disclosure Form, is describe as being "kind of like the literature of the criminal defendant," by defense lawyer Gerald Shargel. Some examples:

Broadway actor James Barbour, accused of having a relationship with a 15 year old girl "wrote, 'She told me that she was 16.' Unfortunately for Mr. Barbour, the age of consent in New York is 17."

On Peter Braunstein's Chinese food fantasies, after he started with "I really don’t think I should talk to you...think I should do the whole lawyer thing": "Defendant stated that after seeing news reports, if he went to a Chinese restaurant, he should order something other than beef with extra mustard because that is what the wanted poster says he orders, but if he did that, it would be too obvious, so he would order beef with extra mustard, but he had not eaten Chinese food for a while."

Serial subway stabber Kenny Alexis "sketched a cartoon version of his crime: a pair of lovers’ faces — one happy and one sad — and a stormy black cloud floating over a subway train."

Accused madam Andrea Schwartz: "I’m not a prostitute. I just hook guys up with girls if they want them."

Paul Cortez, a yoga instructor accused of killing his girlfriend on the Upper East Side, wrote a "a three-page roller coaster ride of love, sex and betrayal, culminating in an alibi," including "The next morning about 10:30 I found out from my mom Catherine was Dead."

The basic advice from defense lawyers: Shut your trap until they tell you what to do.