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No-Nonsense Interviewing: Tips for Obtaining Valuable Information From a Suspect Interrogation

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 58 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2010 Pages: 56-61
BJ Bourg
Date Published
July 2010
6 pages
This article outlines practical techniques that can aid investigators in obtaining valuable information from a suspect interrogation.
By utilizing several practical techniques to gather detailed information from suspects, investigators can increase their confession rate and develop additional evidence, thereby strengthening the prosecution's case. First, whenever practical, investigators should seek to learn everything there is to know about the incident before interviewing a suspect-interviewer preparation. Second, instead of focusing on trying to obtain a confession, investigators should focus on gaining the truth-the interviewer's mindset and rapport. Third, in the early stage of the interview, the investigator must advise the suspect of his/her Miranda rights. Fourth, once Miranda has been read and a rapport has been established, the investigator begins gathering information from the suspect. This is accomplished through detailed questioning, getting the suspect to provide a minute-by-minute account of his/her activities for the time-period in question. Fifth, once the suspect has recounted his/her actions, the investigator should then go over the pertinent portions of the interview and obtain firm commitments to questionable aspects of the suspect's recounting. Sixth, when the recapping phase has been completed, and the suspect is thought to be lying, the investigator can work toward persuading the suspect to tell the truth. The seventh and final technique is whether the suspect confesses or not, the investigator should follow-up on every aspect of the suspect's statement, retrace the suspect's steps, and interview every person with whom they had contact.