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Conducting the Interview - 14135_197
When  too  many  persons  are  present,  the  individual being interviewed may be reluctant to divulge all that he or  she  knows  about  an  incident. Interviewing  an individual in the presence of many persons has been held by the courts to constitute duress. On the other hand, someone should be present to witness the questioning, to witness any statement made, and to protect the interviewer against a possible charge of coercion or duress. Normally, not more than two interviewers should be present. Preparing for the Interview Prepare   yourself   adequately   to   conduct   an interview. This  preparation  is  sometimes  hasty, consisting of no more than a mental review of your knowledge of the case or of a quick briefing by the investigator who arrived first at the crime scene. When time  permits,  a  more  formal  preparation  is  made. Preparation  includes  the  following  three  elements. FAMILIARITY  WITH  THE  CASE.—   You should fix in your mind all that is known of the who, what,  when,  where,  and  how  of  the  crime. Pay particular attention to the specific details, especially those that have not become public knowledge. FAMILIARITY   WITH   THE   SUBJECT’S BACKGROUND.— Acquire    some    background knowledge  of  the  subject  before  attempting  to  interview him or her. In the event this is impossible, attempt to obtain  the  background  information  during  the  initial portion  of  the  interview.   This  knowledge  will  enable you to adopt a correct approach to the subject and to extract a maximum amount of valuable information from him or her. The actual knowledge will also enable you to test the subject’s truthfulncss and to impress him or  her  with  the  thoroughness  of  the  investigation. Background  facts  of  particular  value  include  the following: . Age, place of birth, nationality, and race Q Present or former rank (with civilians, status in business or the community) l  Educational  level,  present  duty,  and  former occupation . Habits and associates; how and where leisure time is spent .  Information  concerning  any  prior  courts-martial or  civilian  court  convictions ESTIMATE OF INFORMATION SOUGHT.— Determine  in  advance,  where  possible,  the  information to be sought in the interview. Prepare a set of questions that you can consult unobtrusively during the interview. Design questions to induce the subject to tell his or her story rather than to elicit yes or no answers. Take care neither to overestimate nor underestimate the subject as a source of information. Planning the Interview A person is formally interviewed as soon as possible after the incident to obtain information still fresh in his or her mind, to prevent him or her from being threatened or coerced, or to prevent collaboration of testimony between him or her and others. TIME OF INTERVIEW.— The time that is chosen must be convenient to both you and the subject and must allow  adequate  opportunity  for  a  thorough  interview. Improper scheduling will result in a rushed interview in which  important  details  can  be  overlooked.  If  an interview  is  to  take  place  in  the  home  or  place  of business of the subject, give consideration to the time of day;  generally,  a  time  should  be  selected  that  will interfere least with the normal activities of the subject and will permit the completion of the interview. Sometimes, to throw the subject off balance and thereby  achieve  an  important  psychological  advantage, it is advisable to select a time that will completely disrupt  the  subject’s  normal  activities.  However,  take great care to be sure such action does not result in either legal liability on the part of the military or unfavorable comment in the civilian community. PLACE OF INTERVIEW.—  You should make every effort to conduct the interview in a place where you  have  the  psychological  advantage.  Decide  on  the basis of the facts in each case where you think your chances are best for encouraging the subject to talk. At times  it  is  best  to  interview  a  subject  among  familiar surroundings, such as in his or her home or office, especially  if  visiting  the  investigator’s  office  would impose an undue hardship on the subject or tend to disturb him or her unduly. At other times it is best to hold an interview in your office  or  in  some  other  place  where  the  subject  is deprived of the comfort or ease of familiar environment. At a regular place of interview, you can control the lighting and the physical features of the room and also be able to prevent destructing influences that may affect the  subject’s  ability  to  conceal  wanted  information.  For an interview with an informer witness whose identity 6-44

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