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    The Presence of a Third Person in the Interview Room

    Ideally, an interview of a suspect, victim or witness should be conducted in a private setting. The most important element of privacy is communicating one on one with the person being interviewed. Common sense and experience clearly indicate that the presence of a third party during an interview or interrogation inhibits the truth-telling process, i.e., it is easier to relate sensitive ...
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    The Use of Follow-Up Questions During an Interview

    The primary goal of an interview is to develop meaningful information from a subject. The first step in this process is to ask the right questions. However, merely asking the right questions will not guarantee that a subject will tell the truth. To learn the truth or to elicit behavior symptoms indicating probable deception it is often necessary to ask follow-up ...
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    Guarding Against Claims of False Imprisonment

    The concept of "false imprisonment" is usually associated with a criminal act relating to abduction or kidnapping. However, this web tip relates to false imprisonment as a civil suit. The definition varies somewhat state by state, but the civil claim of false imprisonment generally involves creating an environment where a person is significantly deprived of their freedom to leave an area. ...
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    The Importance of Corroboration Within a Confession

    Within the last year numerous inmates have been released from prison and had their convictions overturned as the result of post-trial exculpatory evidence. Many of these individuals confessed to the police. In some cases, the false confession was admitted as evidence. In other cases, the false confession was used as leverage to urge the suspect to accept a plea bargain, resulting ...
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    If a Lie is Repeated Often Enough, Can The Person Come to Believe That The Lie Is True?

    During our seminars participants ask many interesting questions about the psychology of lying and factors that affect lie detection. A common question relates to the effects of repeating a false statement. Specifically, if a person tells the same lie over and over could the individual eventually come to believe the lie? We all have observed suspects who, based on analysis of ...
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    The Significance of Identifying Precipitators during a Criminal Investigation

    The first step of any criminal investigation is factual analysis. This describes the process of collecting and analyzing information and evidence surrounding a crime. One of the goals of factual analysis is to develop a list of possible suspects based on opportunity, access, motive or propensity. In many investigations factual analysis and interrogation are enhanced by identifying precipitators that led up ...
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    Proactively Solving Homicides in Neighborhoods that Don’t Cooperate

    _Solving one homicide, arresting one killer, may prevent many deaths in neighborhoods prone to violence._ In high crime areas like New York City, Los Angeles, California, Newark, New Jersey, Gary, Indiana, Chicago, Illinois, and so many other violent prone cities across the US, it is often the rule rather than the rarity not to talk to the police when a murder ...
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    Creating A Temporary Interviewing Room

    In an ideal world, an interview or interrogation would always be conducted in a room specifically designed for that purpose. Most businesses, however, do not have a room set aside for interviewing job applicants or employees suspected of acts of wrong-doing. Consequently, interviews may be conducted in an open cubical, a business office, a conference room or even a storage facility. ...
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    The Importance of Accurate Corroboration within a Confession

    Of all possible evidence presented against a defendant at trial, a confession is afforded the most weight. Because of this, we have maintained that a confession must satisfy two requirements. A confession is a statement that (1) accepts personal responsibility for committing a crime along with (2) the circumstances and details of the crime. There are two types of details of ...
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    Assessing Attitudes: The Victim Mentality

    A suspect guilty of a crime often displays attitudes during an interview which are typically quite different from those attitudes exhibited by an innocent person. During an investigation, an investigator may note that one subject appeared spontaneous, open and confident, while a second subject may be described as being unconcerned, guarded and unhelpful. Each of these general characteristics represent the subject's ...
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    Illegal Arrest and It’s Effects on Confession

    On May 5th 2003 the United States Supreme Court issued a decision regarding how an illegal arrest will impact a subsequent confession. The facts in Kaupp revolved around the disappearance of a 14 year old girl. During the investigation, detectives leaned that this young girl had a sexual relationship with her 19 year old half brother. Detectives questioned the half-brother as ...
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    Interrogations of Children

    National statistics would readily support the claim that, in the last decade, children are increasingly involved in more serious crimes. It no longer shocks the average listener to learn that a 12-year-old shot and killed his teacher, two 13-year-old boys gang raped a girl after a school dance or a 14-year-old robbed a classmate of his lunch money at knife point. ...
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    Evaluating the Truthfulness of a Reported Sexual Assault

    Wisconsin recently introduced legislation that would prohibit a sexual assault victim from being asked to take a polygraph examination. Many states have already passed such a law. Clearly doubting the veracity of a sexual assault victim's claim is not a politically popular position. Victim advocate groups argue that the polygraph further traumatizes the sexual assault victim. It is interesting to note ...
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    The Role of Motivation in the Interpretation of a Subject's Behavior

    In psychology, a person's motivation generally relates to the strength of their desire to accomplish a specific goal, which is also referred to as their drive. On the other hand, the concept of motivation in criminal investigation refers to the need a suspect fulfilled by committing a criminal act such as financial gain, power, esteem, etc. This difference is not incompatible, ...
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    Selecting The Proper Alternative Question

    The Reid Technique of interrogation relies on two important underlying psychological principles. The first is that it is much easier for a person to tell the truth if that person is allowed to couple his admission with some moral justification. Consequently, we teach that an investigator should suggest possible moral justifications which allow the suspect to save-face when telling the truth. ...
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    The Use of the Accident Scenario During an Interrogation

    Richard Ofshe, a prolific defense witness who champions the belief that police routinely elicit false confessions, recently testified that the major criticism of the Reid Technique is its use of the "accident scenario" during an interrogation. If investigators look for the accident scenario within the index of any of the three editions of +Criminal Interrogation and Confessions+, they will not find ...
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    The Significance of Specific Denials During Interviews and Interrogations

    Recently, I reviewed a videotaped interview of an 17-year-old suspect who was being questioned about starting a fire that burned down his parent’s home. During the interview the investigator asked the punishment question: "What do you think should happen to the person who started the fire inside your home?" The suspect’s response was, "A person who starts a house on fire ...
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    The Use of Follow-up Questions to Elicit Admissions

    n earlier web tip offered guidelines to interpret a subject's verbal behavior (Sept. 1999). In addition to assessing the truthfulness of a response, verbal behavior also provides insight for asking follow-up questions. The fact that the subject's initial response to a question contains an identifiable behavior symptom often indicates that the subject is not comfortable telling an out-right lie. Under this ...
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    Question Formulation Guidelines: Part II

    This web tip offers a continuation of the January tip. The emphasis of this information is that how a question is asked often dictates the ease at which a deceptive subject can lie to the question. Obviously, the investigator should ask interview questions in such a way as to not invite deception. +Do not predicate a question based on information submitted ...
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    The Role Of Consequences in Detecting Deception

    The motivation behind every lie is the avoid the consequences of telling the truth. When my wife came home with bags of merchandise from a K-Mart store that was closing my truthful sediments were, AWe don=t need any of this stuff; why did you buy it?@ My deceitful response to her was, AThat was some sale -- it looks like you ...
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