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- Law of Interrogation and Confessions
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Criminal Investigation - Interviews, Interrogations, and Confessions
The second half of the Principles of Investigations class focuses on Criminal Interviews, Interrogation and Confessions. The investigator uses these skills, techniques and strategies towards the goal of clearing the innocent and eliciting confessions from the guilty.
Investigators should leave no detail or nuance unexplored, not only of the suspect's behavior, but that of your own as well. In this segment of the class you will learn how to spot and interpret verbal and nonverbal behaviors of both deceptive and truthful people, and how to move toward obtaining solid confessions from guilty persons. We will study both, "The Reid Technique" which is built around basic psychological principles and Paul Ekman's "Facial Action Coding System" (FACS). FACS is a taxonomy of human facial expressions of emotion that are not culturally determined, but universal to human culture and thus biological in origin. These universal expressions include those indicating anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, contempt and surprise. These expressions are observable as "microexpressions" and "macroexpressions" and reliably detect deception.
You will learn how to obtain answers from a witness, a victim, or a suspect and how to interpret these answers with the utmost accuracy. Combining the Reid and Ekman techniques provides you the insight and understanding of the effective and proper way a suspect should be interrogated and the safeguards that should be in place to ensure the integrity of the confession.
Dr. Michael Thompson
A Few Things About Interviews and Interrogations
Interrogating the perp is something that nearly every police officer or detective has to do at some point. Interrogation sounds bad. Typical ideas involving interrogations involve two scary men trying to scare another scary man into giving the interrogators the information they want. Sometimes fingers are smashed with a hammer, or water is poured over a person’s face. Or that’s what popular media would like you to believe. A typical interrogation is more of an interview. Like a job interview, except one side has made poor life choice and the other wants to lock said person up for life, so yeah just like a job interview.
The typical interview uses psychology to get results from the suspect. First by letting them know that they’re in the lion’s den by giving the impression that there is no way out for them. The interviewer may tell the perp they know he or she did it, and they don’t want to hear their side. The interviewer may get the suspect to say something that cues them into a confession, or trick the perp into confessing. The interviewer will more than likely try to be friendly with his interviewee, and try to gain their trust. They will encourage a confession to reduce their sentence, and lighten the punishment. The bad thing with using these psychological tools is sometimes a false confession is brought out. When taking a statement from a witness or a victim you can lead them in the wrong direction and convict the wrong person.
There are several forms of interviewing a suspect. The Reid Technique came about after lie detectors were banned from being used as evidence. John E. Reid was an expert polygraph reader who noticed certain subliminal queues people give off when asked a question. Reid wanted to see if the same queues happened in the interrogation room, they did. These include eye movements and body movements. The Reid Technique is the basis for most police interviews today. Kinesic interviewing is the aforementioned “becoming their friend” form of interviewing. This allows the interviewee to become more relaxed and signs of discomfort and deceit more likely to be seen.
Neurological techniques involve what is going on inside the head. Like The Reid Technique it involves watching the eyes and other parts of the body. Such as if the person is remembering something they look in one direction, and when they are making something up they look in another.
Enhanced Interrogation Techniques tend to be more along the lines of bodily and psychological torture. Yelling at the person, or playing loud offensive music. Of course that is more of a cultural thing, the US military used “Enter Sandman” by Metallica to breakdown its detainees. Sleep deprivation, and use of cold hard fear such as dogs or putting a spider on a man’s face are also used. Water Boarding is about as fun as it sounds, it involves pouring water on someone’s face and making them breathe through a towel. These Enhanced Interrogation techniques are effective at getting confessions, although they may be a false confession. Anyone getting tortured will break and say anything to make the pain stop, unless their into that sort of thing.
eHow Police Interrogation Techniques
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What many people don't know is that police interviewing is very different than police interrogation. Most people will take both of these ideas and lump them together, when in reality the two things are much different. Most people when either of these things are mentioned, Police interviewing or Police interrogations, will usually get the idea of a mental picture of two officers standing in a dark room. One playing good cop, while the other plays bad cop. They think of a dude handcuffed to a chair getting slapped with a wet phone book while an old light bulb sways over him. In reality what these people are thinking is not what Police interviewing is. The reality of the subject is more akin to the idea of a police officer sitting down with a witness of a homicide and asking the individual questions pertaining to what they saw, or what they did to gather information on the items of interest on what they need to know for the case that they are on.
On officer will arrive on the scene of a crime and will track down a witness of the crime. For example a police officer is called out to a homicide call at the local bar. When he arrives there he discovers a very dead body of one of the town drunks. He goes around and asks if anyone had seen anything. A few people did. Now as a technique of interviewing he splits the people up. During an interview process if there are more than one witness to an event it is a police officers duty to separate the witnesses so as they can not mingle there stories together to fit each others creating some falsifications. A police officer wants to get the information straight from the individual so as they will only get what that witness in particular knows. Failing to separate witnesses will result in the witnesses feeding off of each others stories creating falsities. After questioning the witnesses he will use the information to assist him in finding the perpetrator.
An interviewing is not an interrogation. The individual being questioned at the time is not being detained. They are simply being questioned about the events of certain scenarios so that a police officer may get the information that they need to know. After an officer gets the information from a witness or another individual during an interview the witness or individual are usually free to go since they are not being detained. This is another area people are confused on they immediately assume that if a police officer wants to question you and that you were not a witness that you are going to be placed under arrest. In reality the officer wishes only to acquire some information. Interrogations and interviews are two very separate things what people need to know is the difference between them.
Interviewing a subject is very important during an investigation. Wether you are trying to get someones name, location, or just finding out what that person was doing during the time of the accident, finding out key information must be carefully extracted from a person. Making sure the subject is relaxed is key, as a relaxed person will more easily tell you what you need to hear compared to a tense, nervous individual. So sitting back, making small talk, and relaxing yourself as the interviewer you will present a relaxed situation, which in a normal case will help bring a relaxed mood. Not all interviews will be so easy, as some people can be angry or narcissistic. Handling these types of people needs much more patience and for you to be more careful with what you say. An angry person during an interview is going to be able to lie easier, as it’s harder to lie to someone your getting along with, and it will be hard to get a legit conversation with someone who is upset. Talking soft and slower can help, while asking the subject questions like “how are you feeling about this conversation” when they appear to be upset.
This allows them to let out their emotions, and basically vent. This will help relax, as if the person is getting upset there is a good chance they are trying to avoid telling you something. In some cases, how the officers acquired the subject can make them upset, so having to criticize your officers in front of the subject may be necessary. In a case of a narcissistic subject, you have another challenge in front of you. These people tend to think they are better or more superior to the investigator, which will cause them to try to rush the investigation. These people may include high social status jobs, like a doctor, attorney, politicians ect. As an investigator, you can’t allow that person to have the power they think they have, by removing them from their home or work place to interview them. Asking questions may provoke a negative response, or a threat to pursue legal action against them, you have to then remind them that you do this for a living and are good at your job, and that they aren’t the first person of their social class to have been interviewed. Being perssistant on questions they evade is important as they will think they are being superior by making you change questions. Do not let this individual get under your skin.
Interviewing can be a simple question and answer period with most people, but in some cases you need to use precaustion with certain types of individuals, like narcissistic and angry people. This requires patience and understanding, while remaining control over the situation.
Criminal Interrogation And Confessions
When it comes to criminal interview techniques police and prosecutors will often tell you that a majority of investigations are broken at the interview phase. So in all honesty this is a big step in solving a crime when there are suspects. Interviewing is a crucial component of any investigation and knowing the background of the criminal investigation can go a long way towards getting a conviction in a crime. When doing an criminal interview there is six steps that will help you find results the fastest and help you solve the crime. The first step is to “Be Prepared” take the time to learn as much about the case as you can. Even before the initial interviews get to know the dates, times, and basics of the crimes. While doing the interview if it is later in the investigation, come in with an intimate knowledge of the case and act like you know literally everything about the case and you are just getting them to confirm what you want to hear. Bring along notes, transcripts, photographs and other material that will help prod the memory of the witness or suspect. The second step is “Pay Attention” scrutinize everything about your interview subject. Note demeanor and body language because a person always shows emotion while talking. Pay attention to non-verbal cues, does the witness sit with their arms folded? This could show an unwillingness to talk. Does the suspect play with their hair, glasses, or watch? They may be doing this as a stalling tactic while they think up answers. The third step is “Actively Listen” ask only one question at a time and wait until you hear the full answer before asking another. Ask simple, one-ended questions. Don’t confuse the interviewee with compound or complex questions and never interrupt the interviewee. And also sometimes it helps to repeat what the witness has told you, both as a memory aid and as a way to show that you are indeed paying attention to everything they say. The fourth step is “Follow Procedure” follow proper procedure at all times. A full confession is worthless if it is ultimately thrown out of court. If suspects are under arrest, make sure they have been read their Miranda rights. The fifth step is “Find Privacy” if possible, conduct the interview in a private room or patrol car. People tend to be more willing to open up if friends or neighbors do not surround them. The sixth step is “Bond with the Interviewee” try to form a bond with the interviewee. Witnesses especially will feel more relaxed and so be more willing to talk. Start with basics like name, employment, and schooling. Break the ice by talking about things you have in common. Use your initial observation to ask about the origin of a tattoo or a design on a shirt. With following these six steps while doing an interview police and prosecutors find a majority of information to convict a criminal or get the right person in a case from an interview.
Book: Criminal Interrogation and Confessions
The interviewing process of an investigation is a huge step in finding the truth or finding the next motive. There are many different types of interview techniques and the suspect will determine which technique or “way” the officer will approach the situation. Some of the common interviewing techniques are; cognitive, assumptive, the Reid technique, and the use of deception. All of these techniques have their strengths and weaknesses and all are used all the time. The most common interview technique is the cognitive technique. This technique focuses on the interviewee to tell a consistent story and keep from lying. One common practice during this technique is to ask the person to tell the story in reverse order. This way it is harder for the interviewee to keep lying. Plus this is hard to do in the first place; it would be hard to make up things as they go in reverse order. Another way of using this technique is to ask them to tell the incident or situation in a spectators view. What they think that they saw and how the situation might have been seen from someone else’s eyes. Both of these practices are supposed to reduce the interviewee’s expectations of the interview and lower the chance of their scheme to play out. The assumptive technique is great technique that puts the interviewee on the spot fast. This can be from asking questions like, “did you intend to shoot at him or were you just trying to scare him?” Another practice in the assumptive technique is a yes-no question. This way the interviewee is put on the spot and cannot go off of the question and start lying. This technique is used when the interviewer has a lot of information and is either looking for a confession or more information. You can catch the interviewees lying quickly as well with yes-no questions because if they have to think too long then that probably indicates that they are thinking of what to say rather than the truth. Both of these techniques are the most common ways of interviewing a suspect or spectator. The Reid technique and the use of deception technique are used but not as common and effective as the first two. Considering that the interview process is a huge step, this process is practiced a ton. If you go into an interview without the proper information and go in there without working with the interviewee; you can ruin an investigation really fast.
The words “guilty” and “innocent” are two words that are defined in legal terms usually. In legal form the two words are used only by the judge, this means that by law the word “guilty” is only used by a judge with enough evidence used against the suspect. When these words are discussed by the investigator there are no legal ties what so ever. The investigator uses these words towards a suspect only by his/her opinion of the crime, which means it is the job of the investigator to prove to the judge that the suspect is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The textbook “Criminal Interrogation and Confessions” discusses Interviewing Techniques in six chapters, the most important points that stood out was the “Preparation and Starting Interview.” This was the first point discussed in the book, this was the most important point, because it defines Formal and Informal Interviews. The important reason for knowing what a formal vs. informal interview is the investigators advantages. When an investigator is giving an interview he/she would like the person being interviewed in a place that is unfamiliar to them. One of the biggest advantages of a formal interview is the interview can be structured meaning: the investigator has planned how to retain the most useful information on solving the crime. During a formal interview the custodial suspect can be interviewed, but not before his/her Miranda rights have been given. Another very important point is the preparation before the interview. The investigator should study many key things before going into an interview such as: dates, locations, people’s names, and the suspect’s background information. The text book states “These should be summarized on a cover sheet within the case file that the investigator can readily access.” The reason why this information needs to be known and also accessible is for the simple fact that if an investigator is shuffling through a file with random papers he/she becomes very vulnerable to the suspects lies. The next point that I thought was very interesting was the Behavior Symptom Analysis, the reason this part of an interview caught my eye was the reality of the world. Many people, such as the one’s that are capable of crimes such as rape are often professionals in their own personal way, a big commonality between these criminals is their talent to lie. To counter these criminals in their lies professionals such as physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists have studied how humans react in certain situations. Even though a person is stating something, their body language may be saying something totally different. Certain things these professionals look for are body movements, facial expressions and the tone of voice. The importance of the interview in criminal investigations is quite important for the simple facts that one can not lie forever, but also the preparation of an interview can show an investigator the most important parts of a crime scene. The way an interview is set up can literally make or break a case to bring justice to the victims of such terrible crimes.
Sources: The Class Book: Criminal Interrogation and Confessions
When discussing in an interview and using interrogation techniques, there are two words that come to mind that are used much often, those words are "guilty" and "innocence," these words the authors want to make very clear in the sense they are used. A suspect starts from the premise of a presumption of innocence, until there is enough proof beyond reasonable doubt to call them guilty, or unless guiltness is called from the suspect himself. Consequently the words "guilt" and "innocence" are nothing but words used in the investigator's opinion (and sometimes only a tentative one). This no more means that the investigator's belief is beyond reasonable doubt of the crime comitted by the suspect, his job is to prove to the judge the suspect is guilty until proven otherwise. The textbook “Criminal Interrogation and Confessions” discusses Interviewing Techniques in six chapters. The most important chapter I found can be very useful in knowing about was the first chapter of this section and that is chapter 7. —The very first point they talk about is, Formal vs. Informal Interviews. This is very important to understand because for some reason you are a witness to a crime, and you go in for a interview you would know exactly what to expect and you can well prepare. A Formal interview is one that is conducted in a controlled environment, typically one that is not familiar to the suspect himself. During a formal interview the invesigator has many luxories, firstly because you are in his territory, a place you are not comfortable with, and secondly the most important, the access the investigator has to information. This can make the job of the investigator a lot easier to interrogate the suspect. An Informal interview is typically conducted at the scene of a crime or during a follow-up investigation in either a suspects home or office. This type of interview the ball is on your court, were there is no basic information the investigator has on you. Beneficially this type of interview is done right after the crime, where later in the investigation the information the suspects used can easily tell who is the guilty party just by what was said. — Another point I found very interesting and can be useful to help with real life situations was the, Behaviour Symtom Analysis. This is where professionally trained Physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists or other professionals have trained to long recognize the value of this skill, in determining whether the suspect is guilty or innocent. This all is recongized by the tone of the voice, speech hesitancy, body posture, hand gestures, facial expressions, and other body movements, this is a cool skill to have not only in an investigator but even as a parent. —The importance of the interview during a crime investigation is very important, in determining who done or even leads from one person to another, because one cannot simply lie forever, and also the preparation of the interview can help with solving a crime and how exactly things went down and how it took place. This is all imortant because this can make or break a suspect from comitting another such terrible crime ever again.
Interviewing any person is a big part of a law enforcement officer’s job. Given that investigating a crime requires you have to talk to the witnesses, victims, and possible suspects. Policemen generally receive some training on interview techniques in their police academy training, but the majority of them learn the most effective interview techniques through advanced trainings and practical experience. A few techniques that officers can use are the visual cues, baseline method, behavioral analysis interview, reverse recall method, and the cognitive interview method.
Visual Cues- The visual cues interview method focuses on nonverbal communication such as eye contact or body posture. For example, according to researchers Gordon and Fleisher, "When eyes move upward and to the right in one’s gaze, this indicates a suspect may be creating or adding information to something they are attempting to visualize." The visual cues method relies on the practical experience and skills of the interviewing officer and the expertise of the interviewee in dissembling. While some studies have shown evidence of the value of this method, other more recent studies suggest that it is of limited value.
Baseline Method- The baseline method focuses on both visual and speech-related cues, such as the degree of eye contact or hesitations in speech. The idea with this method is to compare an interviewee's verbal and non-verbal responses during informal conversation before the interview with the responses during the actual interview. Studies have demonstrated that speech-related cues are a more useful interview tool than visual cues, but the baseline method is also inherently unreliable given the wide variety of individual interviewee behaviors.
Behavioral Analysis Interview- The BAI method, or Behavioral Analysis Interview, focuses on comparing the verbal and nonverbal responses of interviewees to specific questions. Some have described BAI as testing the nerves of interviewees. Recent studies have also suggested that this method is of limited value, in some cases showing that those who were lying in interviews were less nervous and more helpful than those telling the truth.
Reverse Recall Method- The reverse recall method involves having the interviewee recount his story in reverse order. The first studies demonstrating the effectiveness of the reverse recall method were published in 2007, and it is already being used by law enforcement in the United States and the United Kingdom. The idea here is to increase the cognitive load of the interviewee, as this makes it more difficult to dissemble without giving nonverbal cues. One study in the UK demonstrated that police were significantly better able to discriminate between truthful and false accounts when viewing videos of reverse recall interviews.
Cognitive Interview Method- The cognitive interview method is designed for interviewing victims and witnesses. The idea here is to help the witness recollect in as much detail as possible, and the general method is to recreate the context of the event to stimulate the interviewee's memory. The cognitive interview method is less formal and the interviewer encourages his interviewee to express his feelings. There is no pressure to continue the interview if the interviewee becomes emotional or distressed. The cognitive interview method has been shown to be very effective in getting victims and witnesses to recall important details that help to solve crimes.
Sometimes an interview with a suspect can accomplish more than just interrogating them and expecting to get an admission. Theirs a big difference between the two, a interview is a talk in which the person being interviewed is not under arrest and is talking to you on their own terms. Interrogating a suspect means that they are under arrest and you are in a sense forcing them to talk to you. For the interview the officer can go about it in many different ways. Sgt. Steve Schrimpf of the Greeley, Colorado P.D has come up with five different techniques for the interview process. Empathy can be a very powerful tool for the officer. The officer should act like they actually care about the interviewee’s side of the story. Letting the suspect interrogate themselves is another strong tool. Catch them in a lie because once in the lie they are caught. The interviewer should pay attention to everything, non verbal cues as well as things that the words and how they are said. Give the suspect an excuse, plea with them that it could have been an accident and that its not their fault. Be personal, know your suspect and guilt them into a confession by telling them who they would lose in their lives.
An investigator should make sure to appeal to all of the interviewee’s senses so that they can re- create the event as clear as possible. Being a friend to the interviewee is an effective way to get them to tell you what you want. Somebody is more likely to give you all of there information if they feel comfortable and respected than if they are being treated in their eyes disrespectful or un fair. One of the most important parts to include in the interview is the open ended question such as “what happened next?”. Let the interviewee give you information, don’t put the information in their head. Watching the non-verbal cues is a big part of the interview. You can tell if somebody is being truthful or trying to shield themselves off based on their body language. If the person crosses their arms or tries to put a water bottle or anything between the interviewer and themselves they could be trying to block themselves off. Typically somebody who is telling the truth has enthusiasm when they are accused or giving information, If a person is trying to withhold information they won’t be so fast to respond and you can see if they are trying to construct information and that they are not exactly being totally truthful with you. The basic fact about conducting an interview is that you have to appeal to the persons emotions and get in their head that they are not guilty and that you want them to be innocent as bad as them and all of the information usually just spills out or is given away in no verbal ways.
Interrogations, a subject that has been around for quite some time. What is interrogations? In the simplest sense its the extraction of information from a subject, being that individual simply someone held in police custody, to a high level terrorist that holds information that could benefit our nations security. Interrogation is usually used by police forces and military forces to extract information from a subject. While predominately interrogations consist of questioning and creating a rapport, in can lead in to some harsher techniques of interrogating that some would classify as down right torture.
Now some people think that they are capable and would easily succeed in interrogating someone, if it ever came down to it. People get this idea that simply by watching tv that all they have to do is glare at someone long enough and say that they know they did it that the subject will immediately crack under the stress and pressure. In reality interrogating is not that simple. It is a devised process of different techniques that all work in a certain way. For the interrogation to work and for the information to be extracted properly the interrogator has to find out which technique is the most effective at extracting information from the suspect or terrorist.
One of the techniques that a interrogator might employ to extract information is a method known as suggestibility. Suggestibility, is when the interrogator suggests information and discovers how willing the subject is to act on the suggestion. Some interrogators try to increase a detained individuals suggestibility. The interrogator can do this implementing a few tricks, such as sleep deprivation.
Another well known technique that an interrogator has in their arsenal of techniques is deception. In america there is no law forbidding military, government officials, and police to create falsifications about the strength of a case. There is no regulation, stating that the interrogator cannot lie to the subject about how the detainee is connected to the crime. For an example an interrogator can tell the suspect that he has evidence pinning the suspect to the crime scene in hopes that the suspect will cripple under the pressure and give something away and confess his crimes or involvement with the case, or perhaps give away some useful type of information that would ultimately be beneficial to the interrogator and his efforts.
The classic good cop/bad cop is a popular Hollywood and television ploy that interrogator will use to extract information. In reality this ploy is actually an effective means. In a simple fashion of putting it the bad cop will harass the suspect while the good cop will defend the suspect and try to help them as if to earn their trust. Hopefully by doing this the suspect will give information to the good cop out of trust.
Torture. While some question its legality and morality, still employs itself as a very effective means for an interrogator to acquire information from an individual. One of the more well known types of torture that we know of is water boarding. It is effective because it can also implement some psychological torture making the suspect feel like he is drowning, and is going to die ultimately leading him to spill the beans.
The Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation
In the line of criminal justice and especially criminal investigation, the art of interrogating is one of the most important aspects of an investigators job. Interrogation is a key tool to get information from possible suspects and even more importantly, get a confession. One of the most effective ways of interrogation, are the Reid Nine Steps.
The Reid nine steps of interrogation is an overall outline of how an investigator should handle an interrogation. These nine steps are really never used in the same exact manner but as cases vary the overall outline of this process can be used effectively in many ways. However, before this nine-step process can be put into play the interrogation itself has to have a beginning and prior techniques. Obviously, the suspect will be placed in the interrogation room and it is important an initial interview is done prior to interrogation. This interview can be done outside the police station and well before any part of the interrogation starts. Also, sometimes the investigator conducting the interrogation will first read the suspect their rights but in many cases its best to have that done prior to the interrogation by a different officer if possible. The suspect should be left in the room alone for at least five minutes for time of reflection and then the investigator can enter the room.
It is important for the investigator to have a good balance in his attitude. Acting too harshly or too compassionate can throw off the interrogation and it is important to not let the suspect get a psychological advantage. The investigator should be calm and professional, and always pay attention to the suspect’s initial reaction. When the investigator comes in it is a good idea to have a file folder or something that appears to be physical evidence about the case and suspect. This may help make the suspect feel less safe and gives the idea the police have evidence they need against the suspect. Once this is done and the investigator proceeds a few feet in front of the suspect the real interrogating of the nine steps can begin.
When starting off the first step is being directly to the point. This isn’t to say, however, the investigator should point and shout accusingly. Simply state to the suspect that they are the ones being considered for the offense that has happened. What is most important about the first step isn’t what the investigator says, but what the suspect does. By reading the suspects actions, the investigator can analyze their behavior to help predict guilt, innocence, and what to do next. Step two is basically building empathy with the suspect for the crime. Not necessarily saying it was justified, but showing understanding for the suspect. Step three comes in case of suspects denials. If the suspect denies, step three involves trying to stop their repeated denials and going back to step two to reason. Step four comes in the case of a suspect stopping the initial denials and moving on to other excuses of trying to secure innocence. The various objections are used to try and throw off the investigators confidence, but that must not happen. Step five basically is just a sincere attempt by the investigator to keep the suspect from more denials and keep his attention, trying to get him to reason again. Step six is simply recognition of the suspect by the investigator. This is recognizing passive behavior that might mean the suspect is considering admission. Step seven is asking the suspect an alternative question that would make the crime seem more understandable. This makes one crime seem worse than another, which could lead to a confession if the suspect thinks his is more understandable. Step eight is getting the suspect to talk about details of the crime that can help the case. This could be things like evidence or the motive for crime. Step nine is the final step, which is turning an oral confession into a written and legitimate confession.
Interrogation is key in an investigators job, and one of the most important ways to get answers. By using the right techniques interrogation can also be effective many times. The Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation are a great way of making sure an interrogation is effective and useful.
Criminal Interrogations and Confessions Fifth Edition
The interrogation procedure chosen is based upon the personality of the offender or suspect, as well as the likely motive, what offense the suspect has done, and the offenders’ first behavior towards the questions he’s being asked right off. Based on the book Criminal Interrogation and Confessions there are two typed of offenders. One is the “Emotional offender” and the other it the “Non-emotional offender.”
The emotional offender is just what is says, he or she would be emotional or show emotion for what was done. Whether it’s shame, regret, or pain, the offender has a sense of “moral guilt” or a troubled conscience. While the interrogation is in progress, the emotional offenders, based off of their behavior, can be obvious. They can be moved by the interrogators words and/or actions and will possibly do one or more of the following body motions; watery eyes, their body posture will become less strict and strong and more open, no crossed legs or arms and their eye contact with the person giving the interrogation will become less often and then the offender will just stare at the floor with no eye contact at all. Those are just a few signs of the offender feeling emotional. As for the interrogation techniques that’d work the best, they’d use a “sympathetic” approach. The interrogator will come off as understanding, concerned, and passionate for the suspect. They’ll act like they care about the present state of the suspect.
The non-emotional offender is also just what it is, the suspect shows no emotion for the crime that’s been committed, or has no troubled conscience of what’s happened. The offender in this case psychologically protects himself from the victim or victims. While interrogating the non-emotional offender, they will probably just let the words go in one ear and out the other or not even listen at all blocking out what’s being said. The suspect or offender will be okay allowing the person giving the interrogation to talk more than him as they fall silent and ignore. Their posture will be closed, crossed legs, crossed arms, head often in the air facing the ceiling, or a stare with cold icy eyes. The interrogation for this type of person that generally works is based on the “factual analysis approach.” Because the suspect obviously doesn’t show emotion, you would base the interrogation off of facts and common sense to try to appeal to them. It’s better to let them think their guilt is assumed instead of trying to reason with them like you’d do with the emotional offender. Although these offenders are specified as a “non-emotional” offender, they still have emotional traits. And a technique with mixed in passion along with the factual interrogation technique would work possibly better.
One of the frequent mistakes an interrogator has is that they assume the offender is a non-emotional offender, based off of the criminal record or the behavior of the wrongdoer. That’s just the beginning of the interrogation, deciding what type of offender they’re dealing with. The next steps are the Nine Steps of Interrogation based off of an idea by John E. Reid and associates. These nine steps have been proven to be legal and morally justifiable and they wouldn’t make an innocent person confess for something they haven’t done. With all that being said, the main goal for the interrogation is to convince the criminal to tell the facts on what’s being talked about. Just remember it just simply depends on the characteristics of the offender on what will work the best, and it’s up to the investigator who’s giving the interrogation to decide what type of thing will work the best.
Criminal Interrogation and Confessions Fifth Edition Book
Patience and Persistence
Interrogators have a rather taxing and time consuming job. So it is imperative that the interrogator has an excessive amount of patience and persistence. That is one of the main keys for an interrogator to successfully extract information from their subject. Without patience it would simply be a waiting game for the subject in order to successfully avoid giving up information. The suspect can and will pick up on impatience and thus continue to deceive the interrogator so as said before, persistence and patience are key.
If an interrogator fails to hold these two abilities in check then a multitude of negative instances can happen. The interrogator could lose his temper which could very easily lead to personal involvement in the matter which is something that one cannot due for it is important to keep it strictly professional. From there the interrogator might succumb to using physical force. This can hurt a possibly innocent subject which would bring up charges or it could cause a guilty confession that would be legally inadmissible as evidence.
So by following the abilities of being patient and persistent, an interrogator can find that they will be extremely successful even with the seemingly hardest to crack suspects. In fact those who put up a tough to crack exterior might be easier to crack than those who start to talk rather quickly. That is why patience in important.
The investigator must show to the subject that they have all the time in the world and that by hiding the truth, the only thing the suspect is doing is taking up his own valuable time. This will put pressure on most subjects for they realize that they aren’t doing anything to hinder the investigator but instead are just stopping themselves from being able to leave the building. If they don’t do this and show their persistence as well, the subject of course will not reveal information; in hindsight, the subject has often revealed to be ready to confess when the investigator had just given up. If an investigator gets to this point, one method to use is to ask the subject to think it over and then leave the room for a little bit. This will cause the subject to thoroughly consider telling them the truth and thus finally giving up due to the intense amount of time to think it over.
Using multiple methods such as “Already Knowing,” “Direct Question,” and “Informality” during these sustained times will help to weak the subjects will to resist. That is the power of persistence.
Even though persistence and patience are major key factors when it comes to interrogating a suspect, they are not the only factors. There are many ways, methods, and abilities that an investigator must need to know in order to become a successful interrogator. It is only with the added abilities of persistence and patience that one becomes the best at their job for even if you know what makes the suspect tick, if one does not keep it up long enough than they will never be able to get the answer they seek.
Criminal Interrogations and Confessions Fifth Edition
Enhance Interrogation Techniques
There are many ways that law enforcement and the military can interrogate suspects and prisoners. These ways can be vastly similar or very different depending on several factors. These factors can include: differing departments and their methods, different views of the interrogator, etc. Yet interrogation is still very effective no matter what way it’s used. It all depends on how well trained the interrogator is and how well they can do their job.
There are however, some very extreme measures that have been used to interrogate someone. These measures were used by the military and approved by the Bush Administration in 2002. When the CIA captured a big terrorist leader the CIA’s clandestine service leader asked the Bush Administration if they could use an “alternative set of interrogation techniques”. Many of the techniques that were performed are based on James Eller Mitchell and Bruce Jessen’s Survival Evasion Resistance Escape or the SERE program. Both Mitchell and Jessen are psychologists that were originally brought in to help with the SERE program and later were used to help the CIA come up with their new harsher interrogation techniques. According to Air Force Reserve member Colonel Steve Kleinman neither one had any background or know-how on interrogation. Despite this they were paid and helped the CIA develop methods such as: waterboarding, sleep deprivation, isolation, and exposure to extreme temperatures, enclosure in small spaces, among others.
The CIA took and adapted the SERE program into a twisted form of interrogation that in my opinion could borderline torture. While it’s vital to our national security and the continued freedom and liberties of this nation I think that using such techniques on another human being is not something that should ever have to occur. SERE was originally a program that trained our military on how to keep soldiers and our military from breaking under the torture that the Chinese government used to get false confessions out of Americans. This started all the way back during the Vietnam War.
However, these are not very effective methods of interrogating someone. According to Ali Soufan a former FBI agent from 1997 to 2005 agrees and told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that these techniques were slow, unreliable, and harmful in our fight against Al Qaeda. Many of these techniques approved by the Bush Administration are considered torture by a great many critics. I happen to agree with Soufan and think he has a good basis and knowledge to make him credible. He helped interrogate and get valuable information he thinks that using these techniques is not a good idea.
I’d like to close by following the same basis for which Soufan, this class, and my personal beliefs all line up. That someone trained in the right way and who knows how to do their job correctly and without all these harsher techniques will be able to get the information they seek.
Nine Steps of Interrogation
There are several different interview and interrogation techniques that are used by law enforcement officers, however the leading technique was developed by John Reid.
In the 1950s John E. Reid was able to do a study on suspects that were telling the truth and those who were lying. By using the information he gathered from this study Mr. Reid developed a behavioral profile technique using verbal and non -verbal responses to key questions during an interrogation. Subsequently coming up with the Nine Steps to an Interrogation.
1) The Positive Confrontation-suspect is told that based on evidence he/she is the one that committed the crime.
2) Theme Development-suspect is offered reasons as to why they committed the crime, giving them a reason to justify their actions.
3) Handling Denials-the interrogator should try to interject a statement before the suspect can make a denial.
4) Overcoming Objections- when the suspect is guilty he will offer a statement to prove that the accusation is false. The interrogator needs to turn the statement around to further theme development.
5) Keeping the suspects attention-the suspect is starting to realize that he is caught and starts to withdraw, the interrogator should move in closer to the suspect.
6) Handling Passive Mood-in this step the suspect should be on the verge of confessing, theme should be the just the essential elements, introduction of alternative question.
7) Presenting Alternative Question-“Did you plan on this, or did it just happen?” Either is an admission of guilt.
8) Obtaining Oral Confession-once the suspect has accepted one side of the alternative question, the interrogator should develop the details of the crime.
9) The Written Confession-after the suspect has verbally described the details of the crime, the oral confession should then be converted into a written or recorded statement.
After reading and studying the Reid Techniques I wanted to talk to someone who would actually have used them in a real interrogation. I interviewed Detective Rich Barrett with the Colby City Police department. Detective Barrett told me that the academy doesn't use the Reid Technique as a teaching tool, that there are two to three other techniques used there. He is familiar with the Reid technique and believes that Reid laid the foundation for that the others are based on. “All the techniques are good but as an interrogator you must learn what works best for you. You might use some of the nine steps developed by Reid and draw in some of the techniques from somewhere else,” he said. He also told me that it is important for an interrogator to know his/her own strengths and weaknesses. No two interrogations are the same, you might get to step 5 in one interrogation and everything go accordingly, and in the next interrogation everything will begin to unravel and the interrogator has to back up and start over with a different approach.
According to Mr. Reid and Detective Barrett the main focus of the interrogation is to gain the truth not just a confession.
The Reid Technique to Interviews and Interrogations, John E. Reid and Associates, Chicago, IL.
Detective Rich Barrett, Criminal Investigation Division, Colby City Police Department, personal interview by Kathy Brooks, April 5, 2013
Laws of Interrogation
By Brandon Gaede
At the beginning of any interrogation the officer who is interrogating the detainee must read that individual their Miranda Rights. If they don't then whatever the detainee says may be thrown out in court. The Miranda Rights are you have the right to remain silent, anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have to right to a lawyer and have them present during any questioning. If you can't afford a lawyer one will be appointed to you. These aren't the exact words a interrogator has to read the detainee, but as long as the interrogator covers the main rights a person has before interrogation. As long as an interrogator reads the detainee their Miranda Rights anything that they say may be used against them in court. Miranda warnings only apply to interrogations, the difference between interrogation and interviews are that in interrogations the individual is being detained, and is being interrogated by the officer. The definition of an interrogation is any question or statement that is used to provoke a response. Also if the officer providing the interrogation uses any physical or psychological intimidation that evidence is going to be thrown out in court even after properly giving them their Miranda warning.
Confessions are the holy grail of any investigation. You can find a person guilty of any crime with enough evidence. Even if you don't have a body for a murder case as long as you can provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the person did it your golden. Granted it may be very difficult to do so, but if you have a voluntary confession it makes the process much quicker. But the courts will throw out the confession if they deem it involuntary. What makes a confession involuntary is if an individual is precipitated by a threat, fear, torture, or a promise. So you can't hold someone for five days and not give them food or water until they confess.
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