Be constantly aware of the human factors that affect
a witness ability to observe and describe actions,
articles, or circumstances related to the commission of
a crime. The age, emotional stability, prejudices, and
general reputation of a witness are important factors.
The relation of the witness to the person connected with
the crime is extremely important, both from the legal
viewpoint and with regard to the reliability of
information furnished by the witness.
Avoid questions of a leading nature. Direct yes or
no answers to leading question are not valid information
on which to base an investigation. An unstable person,
a highly suggestible person, or a person whose memory
of events is hazy will often give answers that were
suggested to him or her by leading questions.
Recording the Interview
Attempt to record the interview for future reference.
Interviews can be recorded as a statement initiated by
the interviewee, recorded on an electronic recording
device, or merely recorded in the form of notes taken by
Statements are elicited from persons with pertinent
knowledge regarding the offense or incident under
Written statements serve as permanent
records of the pretrial testimony of complainants,
victims, and witnesses. The written statement may be
used in court as evidence to attest to what was told the
investigator and to refresh the memory of the maker of
the statement or the memory of the investigator.
An electronic recording device provides a
convenient means of preserving the content of an
interview. The recordings should be carefully kept in
their entirely, together with stenographic transcripts
made from them. A complete chain of custody should
be maintained for all such items as they may later prove
valuable in legal proceeings, provided they can be
identified and authenticated.
Take notes of the interview.
interviewed have no objection to discreet note-taking.
Notes, however, should not be taken until the subject has
had the opportunity to tell his or her story completely
and to correct any honest mistakes that he or she made
in the first telling. Some subjects display annoyance
when you divert your attention from them to take notes.
Other subjects are reluctant to talk when they know what
they say is being recorded. When either of these
situations is apparent, the best time to write down the
details of an interview is immediately after it is
By now you should be aware of the various and
important tasks involved with pretrial administrative
procedures and how they affect the military justice
system. Your role as an LN is important to this system,
and the invaluable service you provide to your attorneys
enhances the morale and efficiency of served
commands. Also, keep in mind that the tasks noted
throughout ths chapter require that you keep current of
requirements levied as a result of appellate decisions and