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Preparing for the Interview - 14135_196
. To secure evidence that may establish the guilt or complicity of a suspect, to help in the recovery of fruits of  the  crime,  or  identify  accomplices You must become thoroughly familiar with the military and civilian laws that apply to the specific offense  under  investigation  before  conducting  an interview. A knowledge of these laws assists you in evaluating the relevancy of information you receive. You must avoid any oversight or mistake that would impair the value of the results of your investigation to the person or agency using the results in a legal action. Often, through questioning a witness about one offense, you may develop investigative leads related to other offenses.  This  additional  information  may  be  of  value to  other  investigative  agencies. Human factors affect success in stimulating the subject to talk and influence the accuracy or truthfulness of the information that you secure from him or her. Evaluate  each  subject  and  the  evidence  he  or  she furnished;   attempt   to   understand   the   subject’s motivations,  fears,  and  mental  makeup;  and  use  your understanding of the subject to gain useful information. In  selecting  a  technique  of  interview,  consider  the following  factors. PERCEPTION AND MEMORY.—  The  validity of  the  information  divulged  during  an  interview  is influenced by the subject’s ability to perceive correctly what happened in his or her presence, to recollect that information, and to transmit it correctly. A mistake made in recalling a particular incident is often caused by the  following: . A weakness in the subject’s ability to see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. l  The  location  of  the  subject  in  relation  to  the incident  at  the  time  it  occurred.  Rarely  do  two  people give the same account of an incident witnessed by them. .  A  lapse  of  time  since  the  occurrence  of  the incident  or  the  subject  having  had  no  reason  for attaching much importance to it when it occurred. The account given an incident at a later time is often colored, consciously  or  unconsciously,  by  what  the  subject  has heard or seen regarding the incident since it occurred. Furthermore, a subject may fill in the gaps in his or her knowledge of a particular incident by rationalizing what he or she actually did see or hear and may repeat the entire mixture of fabrication and fact to you as the truth. Therefore,  a  subject  should  be  interviewed  as  soon  as possible after the occurrence of an incident. Even then all your skill is required to discover what the subject actually  observed. PREJUDICE.— When making a statement, the subject may be influenced by prejudice. You should be alert to this possibility and attempt to discover the motivation  behind  such  prejudice.  A  statement influenced  by  prejudice  should  be  carefully  evaluated and  closely  examined  for  reliable  information  that  may be helpful in the investigation. RELUCTANCE TO TALK.—  You may meet a person who is reluctant to divulge information. You must legally overcome this reluctance to secure the information you need. The most common reasons for reluctance to talk are as follows: .  Fear  of  self-involvement. Many persons arc unfamiliar with investigative methods to the extent that they are afraid to give the investigator their aid. They may have committed a minor offense that they believe will be brought to light upon the least involvement with authorities. They may have the opinion that the incident that occurred is not their business or that guilt lies jointly on the victim and the accused. They may fear the publicity that may be given to persons involved in any way with criminal cases. l  Inconvenience. Many  persons  disclaim knowledge of incidents because they do not wish to be inconvenienced by being subjected to questioning or by being required to appear in court. .  Resentment  toward  authority.  This  resentment may be present particularly among persons who do not have a positive loyalty to the organized community. Sometimes  the  resentment  manifests  itself  as  sympathy for an accused who is regarded as an underdog pitted against  the  impersonal,  organized  forces  of  society represented by the authorities. PERSONALITY   CONFLICT.—   The  lack  of success in an interview may be caused by a personality conflict between the interviewer and the subject. When that  is  the  case,  you  should  voluntarily  recognize  this fact and, before all chances of success are lost, withdraw in favor of another interviewer. The subject may feel a willingness to talk to the new interviewer after his or her experience with an objectable one. REFUSAL TO TALK.—  A  recognized  weakness of the interview technique is that no person can legally be made to talk if he or she is not willing to do so. No person  capable  of  committing  a  crime  should  be expected to confess his or her guilt. 6-43

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