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Interviewing and Testimony

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1 Interviewing and Testimony
Chapter 10

2 Interview vs Interrogation
Designed to elicit information from witnesses and persons of interest. No implication of guilt. Interrogation: Involve persons thought to be perpetrators of crime. Guilty knowledge generally assumed.

3 Police Investigations
Rely on witnesses, victims, and suspects to fill in the details surrounding the crime Who was involved, what happened, where and when did it happen, how did it happen, why did it happen Evidence is collected through interviews, interrogations, and confessions

4 Police Interviews There are two goals of a police interviews/interrogations: Obtain a confession Gain information that will further the investigation (e.g., the location of evidence)

5 Interviewing Suspects
Why Would A Suspect Confess? Believes evidence against them is strong Is sorry for their crime Is reacting to pressure (from police or stress)

6 Interrogation Techniques
In general, interrogations techniques (tactics) can be broken down into two categories: Minimization: (‘manipulation’) Soft sell tactics that provide a sense of false security Maximization: (‘intimidation’) Scare tactics that attempt to intimidate suspects ‘Appeal’- in the suspect’s best interest to confess

7 The Reid Model of Interrogation
Most common interrogation method used in Canada Involves 3 general stages: Gather evidence Conduct a non-accusatorial interview to assess deception/guilt Conduct an accusatorial interrogation to obtain a confession (continued)

8 The Reid Model of Interrogation
The psychology behind this technique is to make the anxiety associated with deception greater than the anxiety related to the consequences of confessing

9 Problems with the Reid Model of Interrogation
Assumes that police officers can accurately detect deception when little evidence supports this assumption Officers enter the accusatorial interrogation with the belief that the suspect is guilty, which can lead to inappropriate biases Coercive techniques used in this model may elicit false confessions

10 Recent Changes to Interrogations
Videotaping interrogations is becoming more common Benefits include: Protects police against false allegations of abuse Protects citizens from police coercion Allows courts to make informed decisions

11 Interviewing Victims and Eyewitnesses
Question style can have a substantial effect on kinds of information produced Open questions – “what happened?” Closed questions – “were you scared?” ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers Leading questions – “was the car red?” Misinformation effects

12 Interviewing Vulnerable or Intimidated Victims/Eyewitnesses
Who are they? Those under 17 years old Those with learning/physical disabilities Those with mental disorders/illness Those suffering from fear or distress

13 History of Child Witnesses
In the early 1900s the prevailing negative attitudes towards child witnesses were tested Results indicated children were highly suggestible and capable of providing inaccurate testimony Research in the area increase during the 1970s when expert testimony was gaining acceptance and adult eyewitness research was getting noticed Also, the legal community showed interest in research regarding child witnesses, due in part to the number of reported abuse cases involving children

14 Stepwise Interview Interview commonly used in Canada
Initially, children are asked free recall type questions, followed with more specific questions, as needed Interview procedure is consistent with knowledge about children’s recall abilities and how to elicit accurate information

15 Cognitive Interview Based on memory retrieval techniques:
Cognitive reinstatement Report everything Recall event in different orders Change perspectives Changing perspectives has been called into question for facilitating inaccurate information

16 Enhanced Cognitive Interview
The following components were added to the original Cognitive Interview: Rapport building Supportive interviewer behaviour Transfer of control Focused retrieval Witness compatible questioning

17 Cognitive Interview: Results
Both types of cognitive interviews elicit more information than “standard police interviews”, without an increase in inaccurate information It still remains unclear as to which components of the cognitive interview elicit this increase in accurate information

18 Problems with the CI Approach
Errors if used inaccurately or by untrained interviewers Police officers not trained in appropriate interview techniques Time consuming

19 Testimony Evidence produced by a witness or suspect in a criminal case
Act of memory retrieval Subject to misremembering When testimony by a witness is given in a criminal trial, chances of a suspect being convicted are very high

20 Factors Affecting Eyewitness Performance
Amount of time for observation Distance from person or event Visibility and/or obstruction Known or seen before Salient or novel more memorable Time lapse Errors or inaccurate testimony Stress/fear (narrows focus) Violence/presence of a weapon

21 Factors relating to the person (witness)
Age Children & older adults not so good Race Same race or across race identification Expectations What is most likely given the situation? Pressure to perform The helpful witness!

22 Factors Influencing Retention of Info
Length of retention interval Post-event suggestions Available to witness between original event and subsequent attempts to recall it Confabulations and distortions Retrieval factors Actions vs. physical descriptions Confidence-accuracy relationship

23 Factors Influencing Eyewitness Identification
Format of the line-up Instructions given the witness The influence of line-up administrators Exposure to suspects in line-ups through previous identifications

24 Line-up Procedures Witnesses are frequently asked to identify a culprit from a lineup Lineups contain the suspect who is placed among a set of individuals who are known to be innocent for the crime in question, called foils or distractors

25 Line-up Procedures Simultaneous line-up: Present all line-up members at the same time to the witness. Encourages witnesses to make a relative judgement Sequential line-up: Members are presented one at a time, must decide if it is or is not the criminal before seeing another photo/person. Encourages witnesses to make absolute judgements

26 Summary for line-ups Line-ups should be presented sequentially
Individual conducting line-up should not know the identity of suspect Warn witnesses that suspect may or may not be in line-up Additional line-up members should be based on description of perpetrator No feedback given during or after a line-up Confidence ratings

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