How To Interview A Lay Witness
Nov 10, · How to Interview a Witness. 1. Prepare for the interview – Find out everything you can about the witness before the interview — everything is relevant: background, personal 2. Put the witness at ease – in the beginning the witness is always nervous and uncomfortable. Ask easy questions and let. TIPS TO FOLLOW BEFORE QUESTIONING BEGINS. Identify yourself and any others participating in the interview. State the reason for the interview. Explain your authority to conduct the inquiry. Explain why they were selected, in particular, to be interviewed. Remind the interviewee of their duty to.
By Noah on May 22, 0 comments. My clients how to use psd in photoshop have never worked with a criminal defense attorney think all the action happens in court. Trials or motions to dismiss are dramatic events that can resolve a case. That is the time I am doing investigation, figuring out the legal and factual issues in a case.
A big tool for these investigations is the witness interview. As a defense attorney I am entitled ho interview anyone who may be a witness in a case, before they how to make an international call to scotland any testimony in a case. In fact it wiitness ineffective assistance to my clients to not conduct some kind of investigation of witnesses. My post this week goes into the interview process I use when talking to witnesses.
Of course that means actual witnesses to an incident, but also record keepers, alleged victims, arresting officers, scientific experts, and anyone else.
For example, police are interviewed by attorneys all the time. If a police officer arrested someone they can expect a lawyer is going to talk to them at some point. In fact officers ditness taught how to be interviewed in the academy. While everyone is different, generally these professional interviews have a similar cadence that everyone is used to. On the opposite end of the spectrum, sometimes I have to talk to children. If I try to interview a child like I would interview a cop, it would be ineffective at best, destructive to the case at worst.
For a child I need to spend time establishing trust and compassion, creating an environment where talking to me, a stranger, is comfortable.
Those are some extreme examples, but there are plenty more. An alleged victim is different than a family member of an alleged victim.
An interview fleshes out a case, creating a more dynamic narrative than a mere police report. For example, most police reports are qitness key details I need from an interview. Or a different fact that could ruin a witneas. An interview is chance to find these time bombs before a trial. But I still try. I also want to see how this person comes across. Are they forgetful? Eager to please? An interview is not the time to wing it. Because interviews can make or break cases, they need a lot of prep time to do correctly.
Google, social media, talking with other lawyers; anything I can hlw I want to have. I also need to prepare the content and order of what I ask. Questions that make sense together create the environment where I receive good information, which is the entire what to know when buying a laptop of the interview. Of course preparation only goes so far. There are unexpected things and interfiew leads to the most important rule of all.
My interview questions are broken down into topics and then individual questions. But no matter how much the interview is planned, surprises happen.
I had a DUI case a number of years ago where the officer mentioned comfort with an arrest, somewhat out of the witnesss. Well, a police officer saying they had doubts about the guilt of my client is a treasure. When the interview was over, I transcribed the whole thing, and sent it to the prosecutor with the relevant portion highlighted. They dismissed the case. People, being people, will surprise you. Actively listening to the answers and being willing to change the script can lead to great results.
This is a small thing but it has been remarkably positive for me over the years. In our culture, silence is uncomfortable for a lot of people. What that means is in an interview, if I stay silent for a moment, aa the witness will want to fill that silence with more information. As you would expect, an eagerness to say something, anything, can produce something beneficial. A lot of good hos lawyers know this. The best response when someone is silently inviting more information is to silently wait for the next question.
As is hopefully clear, the intterview interview is wihness vital tool for a criminal defense attorney. Witnses time I do one I hod a little more about a case. If you or someone you know needs an attorney to start talking to witnesses, feel free to give hiw a call. The facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters in which results and testimonials have been provided.
3. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Jun 18, · How to Conduct the Interview. It is best to start with a phone interview to determine what the witness is going to say. If their evidence is useful, an in-person interview can then be arranged. For many witnesses, this initial call may be their first interaction with the law. Sample Lesson Plan: Interviewing. Caution the witness not to guess. Ask the witness to mentally recreate the circumstances of the event (e.g.,?Think about your feelings at the time?). Recreating the circumstances of Encourage nonverbal communication (e.g., drawings, gestures, objects). Some. interview witnesses. We open this chapter by describing a typical police interview of a cooperative witness. We then describe a scienti?cally based interviewing protocol that has been developed to enhance witness recall: the cognitive interview (CI). The .
Sample Lesson Plan: Interviewing. Section III. Procedures for Interviewing the Witness by the Followup Investigator. Principle: Preparing for an interview maximizes the effectiveness of witness participation and interviewer efficiency. Policy: The investigator should review all available witness and case information and arrange an efficient and effective interview.
Plan to conduct the interview as soon as the witness is physically and emotionally capable. Select an environment that minimizes distractions while maintaining the comfort level of the witness. Ensure resources are available e. Summary: Performing the above preinterview preparations will enable the investigator to elicit a greater amount of accurate information during the interview, which may be critical to the investigation.
Policy: Investigators should conduct themselves in a manner conducive to eliciting the most information from the witness. Procedure: On meeting with the witness but prior to beginning the interview, the investigator should? Inquire about the nature of the witness? Summary: Establishing a cooperative relationship with the witness likely will result in an interview that yields a greater amount of accurate information.
The following is a summary of the order in which interviewing concepts should be instructed for maximum benefit. After these concepts are explained, the 12 most important procedural points are listed as they appear in the Guide. Rapport development will help the witness to feel more comfortable conveying personal information.
It can be accomplished by personalizing the interview and by developing and communicating empathy. The witness should be encouraged to volunteer information without prompting. The interviewer can encourage the witness to be mentally active by directly requesting this activity or by asking open-ended questions.
An open-ended question allows for an unlimited, narrative response from the witness e. What can you tell me about the perpetrator?? Much of the information about the incident is stored in the witness? The interviewer can promote information retrieval in several ways:. The interviewer has investigative needs to solve the crime and the witness possesses relevant knowledge about the details of the crime.
Both individuals need to communicate to each other this information. Otherwise, information may not be fully or effectively reported. The interviewer should convey investigative needs i. The investigator needs the witness to report the event in more detail than would be conveyed in normal conversation. The investigator should explain this need for detail to the witness to ensure the witness is fully aware of how to provide the description.
Witnesses may have a very good memory of the incident but fail to communicate the knowledge effectively. Therefore, the interviewer should try to facilitate the witness?
This can be accomplished by encouraging nonverbal responses e. However, the witness should be cautioned not to guess simply to please the interviewer.
It is preferable that the witness state,? I don? To be effective in obtaining the maximum amount of information from a witness, the interview should be conducted in stages. The interview should continue with general instructions provided by the interviewer, followed by the witness? Note: Ideally, information should be gathered using primarily open-ended questions.
More specific, closed-ended questions should be used only when the witness fails to provide a clear or complete response. The interview is then closed, leaving lines of communication open between the interviewer and witness. At the end of each of the four sections, role-playing exercises should be conducted.
Following are the key interviewing procedures as they appear in the Guide. Conduct role-playing exercises or practice interviews and get feedback. Use civilians as witnesses when possible. Principle: Interview techniques can facilitate witness memory and encourage communication both during and following the interview. Policy: The investigator should conduct a complete, efficient, and effective interview of the witness and encourage postinterview communication.
Ask open-ended questions e. What can you tell me about the car?? What color was the car?? Ask the witness to mentally recreate the circumstances of the event e. Think about your feelings at the time? Encourage the witness to contact investigators when additional information is recalled. Instruct the witness to avoid discussing details of the incident with other potential witnesses. Encourage the witness to avoid contact with the media or exposure to media accounts concerning the incident.
Summary: Information elicited from the witness during the interview may provide investigative leads and other essential facts. The above interview procedures can enable the witness to provide an accurate, complete description of the event and encourage the witness to report later recollections.
Witnesses commonly recall additional information after the interview that may be critical to the investigation. Principle: The record of the witness?
Policy: The investigator should provide complete and accurate documentation of all information obtained from the witness. Procedure: During or as soon as reasonably possible after the interview, the investigator should?
Document the witness? Summary: Complete and accurate documentation of the witness? Assessing the Accuracy of Individual Elements of a Witness? Principle: Point-by-point consideration of a statement may enable judgment on which components of the statement are most accurate. Each piece of information recalled by the witness may be remembered independently of other elements. Policy: The investigator should review the individual elements of the witness?
Review each element of the witness? Look for inconsistencies within the statement. Review each element of the statement in the context of evidence known to the investigator from other sources e. Summary: Point-by-point consideration of the accuracy of each element of a witness?
This technique avoids the common misconception that the accuracy of an individual element of a witness? Principle: The witness may remember and provide additional information after the interview has concluded. Policy: The investigator should maintain open communication to allow the witness to provide additional information. Procedure: During postinterview, followup contact with the witness, the investigator should? Summary: Reestablishing contact and rapport with the witness often leads to recovery of additional information.
Maintaining open communication channels with the witness throughout the investigation can lead to additional evidence. Table of Contents. Preinterview Preparations and Decisions Principle: Preparing for an interview maximizes the effectiveness of witness participation and interviewer efficiency.
Procedure: Prior to conducting the interview, the investigator should? Review available information. This information may include police reports and crime scene information. It is important for the interviewer to have all information relevant to the case prior to conducting the interview so that the interview can be tailored to elicit the maximum amount of information from the witness.
Once the witness is capable, any delay in conducting the interview should be minimized as there will be less detailed information available as time goes on. Distractions will interrupt the witness?
Avoid interviewing the witness in an environment where distractions are more likely to occur, such as a place of business. Secure these items prior to the interview so the interview will not be interrupted. Separate the witnesses. Witnesses should not hear others? Determine the nature of the witness? It also can assist later in rapport development.
The purpose of this procedure is to assess the witness? Develop rapport with the witness. The development of rapport between the witness and interviewer will make the witness more comfortable during the interview process. Comfortable witnesses will generally provide more information. In the course of developing rapport with the witness, the interviewer can learn about the witness?
For example, if the witness appears nervous during the rapport development phase, the interviewer should not necessarily interpret nervous responses to later questions as being fabrications. Prior law enforcement contact related to the incident includes interviews by other officers at the scene, participation in a showup and with whom, and so forth.
This information can help put the witness? Do not ask about prior criminal record at this time.