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The use of Visual Aids Duri! a I"er#ie$ or I"erro!a"io
Investigators rely extensively on their verbal communication skills to elicit information duringan
interview and to persuade a suspect to tell the truth during an interrogation. It is often beneficial
to reinforce verbal communication with visual aids. Consider the difference between verbally
telling a person how to get from point A to as opposed to reinforcing the verbal
directionswith a written map. !ith the visual aid" the person is much more likely to arrive at the
destination. #his web tip will address the use of visual aids to increase an investigator$s rapport"
credibility" and ability to learn the truth.
%ot all visual stimulation is desirable. &or example" it is much easier for a person to tell the truth
if there are not visual reminders of being punished. Conse'uently" a police officer should remove
a gun and handcuffs before entering the interrogation room. (imilarly" it is not desirable to have
on the wall of the interview room a poster depicting a policeman escorting a handcuffed
shoplifter into a police car. It is also clearly inadvisable to have any recording e'uipment visible
to the suspect. A tape recorder sitting on top of a desk or a video camera mounted in the corner
of the room serves as a huge reminder of punishment" e.g." your words will be used against you

)uring an Interview
At a recent seminar" a loss prevention investigator explained how she used photographs of her
pet dog and cat to help establish rapport with employees at the outset of an interview. After
getting basic background information from the employee" she would ask" )o you have any
pets* #his served as an introduction to discuss her pets along with their photographs. In this
way" she established an initial emotional connection with the employee" which made it easier for
the employee to later tell her the truth.
A visual aid can also enhance the effectiveness of a bait 'uestion" which is a 'uestion in which
the investigator asks the suspect about the possibility that evidence may link him to the crime.
&or example" in a robbery of a li'uor store" the suspect may be asked the following bait 'uestion+
ill" if we were to review the surveillance video outside the store that day" is there any reason
we would see you on the video* #he 'uestion is designed to elicit behavior symptoms reflecting
confidence from the innocent suspect and uncertainty from the guilty. #hese behaviors may be
enhanced through the use of visual aids as the following examples illustrate" where the visual aid
is in brackets+

,-atent finger print on an index card. #his very recent finger print was recovered from a door of
the stolen car. Is there any reason this would be your fingerprint*
,photocopied signature. !e have submitted this signature from the back of the check for
handwriting analysis. /nce they scan and enlarge the signature" they use computer software to
make statistical comparisons with the exemplar that you gave me earlier. Is there any reason the
results of that analysis would indicate that you wrote this signature*
,1hotograph of tire or shoe print. #his photograph of a tire 2shoe3 print was taken outside of the
victim$s home. As you can see" the tread marks are pretty clear and distinctive. Is there any
reason they would match any tires on your car 2any of your shoes3*

1rior to an interrogation" the investigator should prepare visual props that may be used during the
interrogation. )uring our seminar we teach that" at a minimum" the investigator should prepare
an evidence folder that can be referenced when the suspect is confronted" e.g." 4oe" I have in this
folder the results of our entire investigation... #he following are suggestions for additional
visual aids.

A third person theme is a story about another person who engaged in behavior similar to that of
the suspect$s. An effective way to develop a third person theme is by introducing it through a
newspaper article. !hen making reference to the article during the interrogation" it is helpful to
highlight certain words or phrases. #he week that this web tip was written there were three
newspaper articles that could easily be cut out and used to develop a third person theme.
#he first was a research finding that showed a correlation between childhood exposure to lead
and later criminal behavior. #his article could be effectively used to reinforce the concept that
sometimes things happen to us that are out of our control and that those factors need to be taken
into consideration when understanding why someone did something.
#he second article was from a terrorist who was caught smuggling explosives into 5eathrow
airport. 5e testified at his own trial to clarify that his only intention was to set off the explosives
at the airport to cause confusion" not to blow up airplanes and kill people. #his article would be
very effective in stressing the point that it is human nature to think the worst+

6y gosh7 5ad this man not explained what his true intentions were people may have 8umped to
the conclusion that he was some sort of menace to society and they wouldn$t understand that he
8ust wanted to cause confusion. #his is why you need to tell the truth7
&inally" there was the #atum /$%eil story. #his celebrity was arrested for possession of crack
cocaine but the court granted leniency because of her traumatic childhood. #his article is a
natural introduction to the following theme+
4udges are not robots or computers. #hey make personal decisions of what is appropriate
given all sorts of different considerations. In #atum$s case" the 8udge considered her childhood"
which was very rough. (he had a father who was a popular movie star and she acted in movies at
a very young age. It$s like she never had a childhood to learn lessons from. All of a sudden she
was in an adult world with adult temptations and opportunities" but she still had a child$s
8udgement. 4ust as there were extraneous factors to consider in #atum$s case" I think there are
extraneous factors to consider in yours. ut you$re not a public figure like #atum /$%eil.
1eople don$t know your history. #hey don$t know what pressures you$ve been under or other
factors that may have influenced your decision that day.
As a legal caveat" it is important that a third person theme does not transmit a promise of
leniency. If the suspect" through wishful thinking" chooses to believe that because of extenuating
circumstances he may be afforded leniency" that is fine. 5owever" the investigator cannot state
or imply that the suspect will receive a lesser punishment if he tells the truth.
)uring our advanced course an interrogation techni'ue is presented where the investigator
discusses negative aspects of the suspect$s life as a result of his continued deception regarding the
crime. An investigator attending the seminar described the use of visual aids to reinforce this
techni'ue. 5e was interrogating a woman who had a long criminal record for crimes ranging
from prostitution and drug use to burglary and auto theft. #o prepare for the interrogation he put
together a picture album of the suspect$s mug shots over the past ten years. #he first showed a
naive" pretty young woman but over the years" as the drugs and criminal lifestyle took their toll"
the photographs became less and less attractive. !hile slowly flipping through the pictures" the
investigator developed a theme about how the suspect$s choices in her life have caused so much
pain and hardship. y the time the investigator got to the suspect$s most recent photograph" she
was in tears and confessed not only to the issue under investigation" but implicated a number of
other suspects in unsolved crimes.

:isual aids can also be used to reinforce the existence of evidence against the suspect. In some
cases" where actual physical evidence was recovered from the crime scene" the investigator may
visually present the evidence to the suspect during the interrogation 2even though analysis of the
evidence does not link the suspect to the crime.3 #his techni'ue was used successfully in a case
where an employee had fished a deposit out of a safe using a coat hanger with chewing gum
stuck to the end of the coat hanger. After the suspect offered repeated denials the investigator
pulled out a plastic bag containing gum residue and told the suspect that it was the gum residue
from the deposit bag. 5e then explained that the suspect$s )%A would be found on the gum
residue. #his visual prop was instrumental in persuading the suspect to eventually tell the truth
about stealing the deposit money to pay off a debt her brother owed a street gang.
In the previous case there actually was gum residue recovered from the inside of the safe"
although no )%A analysis was done on it. In many investigations there is no actual physical
evidence to produce. ;nder many circumstances" the investigator may be able to create a visual
prop in an effort to convince the suspect that" in fact" there is evidence against him. &or example"
the suspect could be shown a latent finger print and told the following" #his is your fingerprint.
!e found it inside that stolen car so don$t insult my intelligence by telling me you weren$t inside
the car. !e know you were. (imilarly" the investigator may produce a :5( tape with a label
indicating the date of the crime. #he investigator may explain" #his is the surveillance video
from a camera mounted across the street from the li'uor store. I reviewed it this morning and it
shows you going into the store 8ust before the robbery. It$s as clear as day= there$s no doubt it is
#here is an important legal guideline to consider when using a visual prop to persuade a suspect
that there is evidence which implicates him in the crime. #he ruling comes from a case in which
the investigator typed up a fictitious crime lab report indicating that the suspect$s )%A was
found during the victim$s autopsy. After reading the report" the suspect confessed to the killing.
#he appellate court suppressed the confession and ruled that a distinction must be made between
false verbal assertions 2which are permissible3 and fabricating evidence 2which is

#he court$s concern in this case had nothing to with obtaining a false confession through
fabricated evidence. >ather" they felt that the practice of manufacturing evidence against a
suspect threatened the integrity of the evidential system" e.g." !hat if the manufactured crime
lab report found its way into a trial or was used to issue a search warrant*

#o be in compliance with this ruling" we offer the following test+ If someone did not know the
history of the visual aid" is it possible that the person may believe that it represents actual
evidence against the suspect* If the answer to this 'uestion is ?es" the visual aid should not be
used. As an example" it would be permissible for the investigator to place his own fingerprint on
an index card and falsely tell the suspect" #his is your fingerprint that we got from inside that
stolen car. /n the other hand" it would be impermissible to take the suspect$s own fingerprint
and place it on an evidence card labeled in such a way that another person may believe that the
fingerprint was found inside the stolen car.

In conclusion" visual communication is an important skill for investigators to utili@e to be more
effective in their 8ob. &or example" a sketch artist$s drawing of a robbery suspect is infinitely
more helpful than a physical description in identifying the perpetrator= a simple crime scene
sketch reveals information that pages of written text could not capture. (imilarly" an investigator
can use visual aids during an interview or interrogation to develop further information from a
suspect and eventually persuade a deceptive suspect to tell the truth.
Evaluating One-On-One Allegations May-June 2008
One-on-one allegations are very common in criminal investigations. The accuser may
be an alleged victim. The accused, of course, denies involvement and offers an
exlanation for the false allegation. !n other situations, an incident occurs and there are
only t"o ossible susects. Obviously, both susects "ill name the other as being the
guilty arty.

#hese 5e said" she said cases are inherently difficult to investigate for a number of reasons.
/ften" there is not a clear separation between a truthful and false account. #hat is" both parties
may be telling part of the truth and also omitting or embellishing information. In many cases"
these interviews are conducted when one or both parties are in an emotional state of mind which
can cause misleading behavior symptoms. &inally" because these cases are often spontaneous" a
decision to make an arrest must be made without the benefit of conducting an interview in a
controlled environment. #his web tip will offer suggestions to help assess the credibility of the
people involved in oneBonBone allegations.

1. %ues"io &o"h 'ar"ies se'ara"el(.

#here is no better illustration of the problems associated with having both the accused and
accuser present during 'uestioning than on television court shows such as" #he 1eople$s Court
or" 4udge 4udy. Invariably" the liar becomes more committed to his or her position and rarely
confesses even when confronted with evidence. #he truthBteller may become angry or reticent
out of frustration and staunchly face the 8udge with his or her arms crossed. (uffice it to say" to
learn the truth re'uires that both accused and accuser be 'uestioned separate from each other.

In a domestic violence case involving a husband and wife" for example" one investigator could
'uestion the wife in one room while another investigator interviews the husband in a separate
room. In a traffic stop" one occupant may be left in the vehicle while the other is 'uestioned
away from the vehicle. &ollowing the initial interview" the first occupant could be asked to wait
in the vehicle while the second is 'uestioned away from the vehicle.

If the interviews are conducted by the same investigator at different times" it is beneficial to first
interview the accuser and then the accused. If two possible parties to a crime need to be
interviewed" the person most likely to tell the truth" or least likely involved" should be
interviewed first. #his assessment may be based on age" strength of evidence" as well as
behaviors or attitudes displayed during initial 'uestioning.

). Cosider ha#i! &o"h 'ar"ies $ri"e ou" a s"a"e*e".

In a controlled environment" such as a business where an employee is making allegations of
unwanted sexual advances against a supervisor" it is often beneficial to not only 'uestion each
party separately" but also to have each party first write out a statement. #his suggestion applies
e'ually well to any oneBonBone allegation where both parties are in a controlled environment.

#o obtain the statement the investigator should give the suspect a couple of sheets of lined paper
and pen. At the top of the paper the investigator should write out a 'uestion which he instructs
the person to answer in writing. #he 'uestion should re'uire that the person explain everything
about their behavior" knowledge or observations. #he following are possible introductory
'uestions to ask in different situations+

)omestic violence+ #ell me everything about what happened between you and your husband
2wife3 this evening.
(exual harassment 2complainant3+ #ell me everything about what you experienced at 2Company3
that led to your complaint.
(exual harassment 2respondent3+(ally (mith reported that you made sexual remarks to her. #ell
me everything about any sexual remarks you have made to (ally (mith.
Dun found in dorm room+ #ell me everything you know about the Emm gun found in your dorm
room last &riday night.
5it and run with two possible drivers+ #ell me everything you know about the damage to the
front right bumper of your room mate$s car.

!hile it does take extra time to obtain a written statement 2most of these" even from truthful
sub8ects" are only a couple of paragraphs long3 there are a number of benefits. &irst" the
statement can be assessed for credibility by applying statement analysis techni'ues. (econd"
information from the statement can help the investigator prepare for a formal interview of a
suspect in that he knows what topics to cover and may have identified problem areas within the
statement to pursue. &inally" because the statement is a permanent document from the suspect"
any documented lies or inconsistencies can be used to support decisions relating to the case
9. O&"ai &eha#ioral ifor*a"io fro* &o"h 'ar"ies.

It does the investigator little good to learn that a husband yelled at his wife and scared her. #o
assess credibility" the investigator must develop behavioral information. ehavior is ob8ective
and fixed in time. It is not sub8ect to 8ustification" rationali@ation or individual interpretation.
#he investigator needs to find out specifically what was done" who was present" what ob8ect was
used" where something happened" what was said" etc.

!hile it is certainly more efficient to ask 'uestions that re'uire a yes or no response such as"
)id your husband threaten you with a weapon of any kind* or" )id your husband strike you at
all*" these closedBended 'uestions can invite deception. Gspecially during early portions of an
interview" the investigator should ask openBended 'uestions that re'uire a narrative response.
#his approach is much more likely to result in truthful information as the following dialogue

I+ !hat happened here this evening*
(+ 6y husband came home drunk and starting yelling at me and accusing me of cheating on
him. !e argued and he threatened me. I was scared for my life. #hat$s when I called E11.
I+ #ell me how he threatened you.
(+ 5e was yelling and calling me a bitch" and he said I would pay for what I did.
I+ #ell me about any physical contact he had with you this evening.
(+ 1hysical contact* 5e got right in my face and was yelling and threatening" like I said.
I+ (o he did not have physical contact with you this evening*
(+ %o" but I think he was going to.
I+ !hat did he have in his hands when he was arguing with you*
(+ !ell" nothing. ut his voice had a threatening tone.

If two investigators are simultaneously 'uestioning the accused and accuser" it is much easier to
establish what really happened if both investigators focus their interviews on behavioral
information. !hen the two investigators compare notes" they can identify which behaviors both
parties agree upon" and which behaviors are disputed.

+. Su!!es"ed &eha#ior 'ro#o,i! -ues"ios

#he uni'ue dynamics of oneBonBone interviews present the opportunity to ask a number of
behavior provoking 'uestions that may be helpful in determining which party is telling the truth.
/ne of these is a AI# 'uestion where the sub8ect is asked" If 2accuser3 was given a polygraph
examination concerning the statement that you pointed a knife at her this evening" what would
her polygraph results be* An innocent suspect typically predicts that the accuser will fail the
polygraph. /n the other hand" the guilty suspect will not have that level of confidence and may
offer an evasive response" e.g." I don$t really know much about polygraphs or perhaps even
predict truthful results" (he$s a really good liar I she might be able to beat a polygraph. As a
legal aside" an employer is not in violation of the 1EHH Gmployee 1olygraph 1rotection Act by
asking an employee how another employee would do on a polygraph.

A second behavior provoking 'uestion is the C>G)II-I#? 'uestion. It is simply phrased"
!hen 2accuser3 says that you 2did issue3 is heJshe lying* e.g." !hen (ally says that you
forcibly pulled down her 8eans and underwear" is she lying* It is very difficult psychologically
for a person who knows that the accuser is telling the truth to respond to this 'uestion with a
confident agreement. A deceptive suspect may offer a 'ualified response" I believe she might
be" yes. or an evasive response" I know what happened" and that$s all I can say.
In the controlled environment of a laboratory study" oneBonBone allegations are the easiest type of
case to solve. y design" one sub8ect is telling the truth and" therefore" the other sub8ect must be
lying. In real life" however" these cases are often not cut and dried because the sub8ects$ behavior
is contaminated by numerous outside variables including intense emotions" intoxication of one or
both parties" and the telling of partial truths. An important key in assessing the credibility of
parties involved in a oneBonBone allegation is to interview both parties separately and focus the
interview on specific behaviors" not opinions or 8udgments. In a controlled environment"
re'uesting that both parties respond in writing to a central 'uestion can be beneficial both in
making an initial assessment of credibility as well as conducting a subse'uent interview.
Are (ou a !ood lis"eer.

An investigator$s ability to solve cases relies extensively on hisJher ability to develop rapport" ask
the right 'uestions" identify deceptive responses and analy@e elicited information relative to
evidence and other factual information. !hat is often overlooked" however" is the investigator$s
ability to listen. 4ust as there is a distinction between seeing and observing" there is also a clear
distinction between hearing and listening.
#he importance of listening skills is readily apparent when reviewing an electronically recorded
communication. #he following example comes from a consultation in which a woman went into a
police department to report that she had repressed memories of being raped by her father on her
birthday. #he following is a portion of that interview+

I+ After he brought you back to his apartment" what happened*
(+ 5e took advantage of me.
I+ In what way*
(+ !ell" he got me drunk and then forced me into sex.
I+ (o he had sex with you*
(+ I$m sure he did.
I+ !hy are you sure*
(+ ecause I hurt the next day.
I+ And this happened in his apartment*
(+ I$m having a hard time believing it myself.
I+ )id it happen more than once*
(+ It had to be.

)uring this interview the investigator heard that the woman$s father forced her to have sexual
intercourse with him on multiple occasions in his apartment" and that is exactly what the criminal
complaint alleged. 5owever" upon reading the transcript" it is perfectly clear that the woman
never told the investigator that she recalled having sexual intercourse with her father on even one

#his example illustrates an important point B it is much easier to interpret written material than
spontaneous information heard during a conversation" i.e." accurate reading is easier than accurate
listening. !ith the growing trend to electronically recording interviews and interrogations" the
issue of accurately hearing what a suspect" victim or witness actually says is going to be raised
with increased fre'uency. #o help address this important issue" this web tip will identify three
common listening errors and offer a remedy for each type of error.

/. Ma,i! u$arra"ed assu*'"ios

As listeners we all tend to fill in gaps of missing information. A sub8ect tells us one
thing" but we hear something else because we want the sub8ect$s response to answer our
'uestion. )uring our training seminar we show the interview of a college coed who reported
that she had been abducted from a parking lot at knifeB point by a man. ;pon arriving at her
parents$ home" following the alleged abduction" her dress was torn" she was crying and her
long hair had been cut short. )uring her interview the investigator asked her to tell him what
happened. )uring her account she explained that the man" started to cut my hair. (he never
said that the abductor cut her hair" rather" she implied that he did. /ther examples of phrases
that imply that something was done" even though it may not have been" include+ I wanted
to..." I thought about....

Another example of an unwarranted assumption is when the sub8ect is asked a specific
'uestion and then offers a generali@ed response. &or example+

L+ !hat time did you arrive home from work last night*
A+ I usually get home right around C+9K.

!hile the suspect$s statement is accurate in that he usually does get home around C+9K" he is
not saying that he necessarily got home last night at C+9K. #he suspect has generali@ed his
response through the use of the word" usually. /ther generali@ation phrases include+

I like to... #he policy is... As a habit... I generally...

Another category of response that may cause unwarranted assumptions is called estimation
phrases. #he following examples illustrate responses in which the suspect is estimating an
answer rather than stating a definitive position+

L+ )id you verify the money received from the vault that day*
A+ I$m sure I did.
L+ 5ave you ever seen this document before*
A+ 6y answer would be that I have not...
L+ Is that your signature on the back of this check*
A+ I would have to say that it$s not.

An investigator$s failure to recogni@e the difference between a personal judgment and a
factual statement can lead to all sorts of incorrect assumptions. Consider the following victim

5e smelled like he was drinking and came right at me. !e fought and I was able to
get away and run to my neighbor$s house. 5e got in his car and drove off like a
drunken maniac. I was afraid for my life7

If the investigator$s report reflected that the suspect had been intoxicated" operated a vehicle
while intoxicated" and that he struck the victim or threatened the victim$s life he would not be
able to defend any of those statements. #he victim never said that the suspect had anything
alcoholic to drink" that there was a physical fight" or that he threatened her in any way.
Re*ed(0 A simple techni'ue to make certain that the investigator accurately understands
what a sub8ect said is to offer a summary of the sub8ect$s account and elicit confirmation that
the summary is accurate. &or example+

-et me make sure I have this right. ?ou$re telling me that your dad took you out to a
restaurant for your 1<
birthday and bought you alcoholic drinks" which you
consumed. 5e then drove you back to his apartment where he had sexual intercourse
with you on several occasions. Is that correct*

Another techni'ue to guard against making unwarranted assumptions is to develop a habit of
clarifying ambiguous information during an interview. !hen the suspect offers a generali@ed
response" uses an estimation phrase or offers a personal 8udgment the investigator needs to
clarify the sub8ect$s statement+

)id the man cut your hair*
5ow confident are you that you verified the money that day*
)id he strike you*

It must be reali@ed that any normal conversation is filled with ambiguous statements because
their use simplifies communication. In the following statement" each underlined phrase
represents an ambiguous statement.

It was cold out and the bus was real late. After waiting a long time it came and I got
on and there was no where decent to sit. #he ride took forever and I finally got off.

It is unlikely that the investigator really needs to clarify each of these ambiguous statements.
ut if it is important for the investigator to know how late the bus was or what time the
sub8ect actually got off the bus" it cannot be assumed that the bus was at least 1A minutes late
or that the sub8ect exited the bus later than the scheduled time at that stop.
). Misi"er're"i! S'ee1h Errors

It makes for great #: drama for a detective to identify the guilty suspect who inadvertently
incriminates himself through some form of speech error. !hile a speech error could be an
unconscious admission" it is important to recogni@e that everyone makes speech errors for a
number of reasons including anxiety" fatigue and a feeling of being rushed. Gxamples of
common innocent speech errors include improper verb tense 2At that time I didn$t know that
my wife is dead3 plural vs. singular nouns 2I gave the checks to the cashier 3 and apparent
&reudian slips 2I gave her the tickets" I mean the tapes3.

As a general statement" speakers are accurate in reference to pronouns and genders. !hen a
suspect says" !e left the house that morning someone was probably with him. !hen the
suspect says" I gave him the check. the person receiving the check was probably a male.
5owever" I have caught myself making pronoun and gender errors especially when I am
speaking in a hurry or when fatigued.

In detecting deception" word use" grammar and sentence structure are more meaningful in a
written account where the sub8ect has time to prepare and mentally formulate the document
than in a spontaneous verbal response. (peech errors like those listed above could be the
result of a guilty suspect who unconsciously allows the truth to leak from his lips. ut it is
certainly possible for innocent suspects to make identical speech errors.

Re*ed(0 4ust as a suspect$s statement" Alright" fine I did it. does not constitute a
confession" when the suspect$s grammar is inconsistent with facts or prior statements" the
investigator should not assume that the suspect incriminated himself and therefore" must be
guilty. If the suspect$s grammar is inconsistent with other statements" the investigator should
ask 'uestions to resolve the inconsistency" e.g." #ell me again" when did you first know that
your wife was dead*" 5ow many checks were there*" !as the teller a male or female*

!ith respect to an apparent &reudian slip recogni@e that alliteration and assonance are
common innocent speech errors" especially when a suspect is nervous. e.g." I left and got into
the cab" I mean the car and drove home. As always" when evaluating verbal behavior"
context is critical. If my boss brought me into his office and announced" rian I$ve decided
to terminate" I mean reBassess your position within the company" I would probably be smart
to look for a new 8ob.

2. 3or*i! a *e"al se"

Complete the following sentence+

#he sky was dark and the wind was blowing right off the coast" rattling my front window. I
looked out across the bay and it was raining MMMMMMMMMMMMM.

Almost all readers would complete this sentence" cats and dogs. #he problem is" the actual
completion of the sentence is" on the hori@on. #he tendency to form an expectation toward a
situation or event is termed a mental set.

I have to guard against this tendency when participants ask a 'uestion during a training
seminar. !hen the 'uestion is initially being asked I may anticipate what the 'uestion will be
and start mentally formulating a response before the 'uestion is completed. As a result of
forming that expectation" and" therefore" not listening to the entire 'uestion" I may offer a
response that is totally inappropriate.

An investigator who forms a preBconceived notion that a suspect will lie to him" that a witness
has no useful information to offer or that a victim must be telling the truth may hear exactly
what heJshe expects to hear. It re'uires a conscious effort to counteract the effects of forming
a mental set. /ver the years I have learned to completely listen to a participant$s 'uestion"
clarify ambiguous information" and only then respond to the 'uestion.
Another casualty of forming a mental set occurs when an investigator fails to analy@e the
logic of the sub8ect$s statements because his mind is focused on learning specific information.
)uring our seminar an interview is shown of a suspect who falsely reported that a car cut him
off and the men inside the car stole an NH"KKK deposit from him. #he suspect had offered a
somewhat confusing and elaborate explanation of what happened. In an effort to get a better
grasp of the se'uence of events" the investigator asked the suspect to tell him what happened
after he was cut off+

#he car cut me off and I slammed on my brakes. #he biggest one" the only one
I saw get out of the car" approached the window" pulled open my door" grabbed the
keys... turned off the ignition and grabbed the keys and snatched the deposit bag.

If we are only interested in understanding the se'uence of events" this statement seems to
make sense. ut if we ask the 'uestion" Is the statement logical* it most certainly is not. &or
example" how could the victim know that the man who robbed him was bigger than the one
who remained in the car*

In other instances" a sub8ect$s statement may not make sense because it does not follow
patterns of normal human behavior. Consider the following statement from a sevenByearBold+

I was playing in the park with my sister and two friends" (ally and 4essie.
#his man came over and talked to us about stuff. !hen he was by me he
touched me where he shouldn$t.

It seems highly unlikely that a child molester would fondle the girl in front of three witnesses
I child molesters try to get their victims alone. #he girl$s account does not follow normal
human behavior and certainly re'uires clarification. I had a similar personal experience where
I was mowing our back yard on a hot day and removed my shirt. #wo sixByearBold twin girls
live behind us and when my wife saw them the next day they announced that they saw me
naked in our yard. &ortunately" my wife knows that I don$t mow the lawn bare naked.
Re*ed(+ A mental set is formed to help focus attention and minimi@e distractions that may
thwart a goal. In many life situations" forming a mental set is a fundamental survival skill"
e.g." heightened awareness when in a dangerous neighborhood or driving at a high rate of
speed when responding to a robbery call. )uring an interview" however" an investigator needs
to consciously keep an open mind and remember that his goal is to elicit information and
ob8ectively assess the credibility of that information. It is the novice investigator who says" I
know this guy$s guilty and I$m going into that room to prove it7 It is the experienced
investigator who says" #here is evidence against this suspect" I am going to go into that room
to find out what his explanation is.
In conclusion" the very nature of an investigator$s 8ob increases the likelihood of listening
errors. #here are time constraints to solve cases as 'uickly as possible" there can be a high
degree of emotional involvement when the investigator may strongly want to believe that
someone is telling the truth or lying" and investigators fre'uently work under conditions of
fatigue and high stress. &inally" it is not a high priority among many of the people
investigators 'uestion to be accurately understood.

A guilty suspect does not raise his hand to let the investigator know that he 8ust lied by
offering a specific denial= a frightened witness does not contact the investigator a day after the
initial interview and announce that he withheld useful information. #he victim who is
reporting only part of the truth does not correct the investigator$s misconception when he
believes that everything heJshe reported is factual. )espite these inherent difficulties" good
listening skills can be learned and refined through practice and the simple awareness that each
of us are prone to listening errors.
Conducting A Custodial Behavior Analysis Interview Jan-#eb, 2008
Investigators who attend our training seminars learn the value of conducting a ehavior
Analysis Interview 2AI3 as a reliable means of eliminating innocent suspects and identifying
the guilty suspect during the course of an investigation. )uring this structured" 9KB<K minute
nonBaccusatory interview" the suspect is asked both investigative 'uestions and speciali@ed
behaviorBprovoking 'uestions. #he latter 'uestions are designed to be answered differently by
suspects who are innocent of the issue under investigation as opposed to those who are guilty.
#he suspect$s responses to the behavior provoking 'uestions serve as the primary basis for
rendering opinions of guilt or innocence.

5owever" once an investigator has probable cause to take a suspect into custody" is there any
benefit to conducting a AI* Gxperience indicates that there is. &irst" probable cause does not
mean guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words" occasionally suspects are arrested for
crimes they did not commit and the AI can be used to identify innocent suspects.
&urthermore" if the suspect displays deceptive responses during the AI the investigator will
have greater confidence in the suspect$s guilt when going into the interrogation. In addition"
consider the following benefits of conducting a nonBaccusatory interview prior to any
accusatory interrogation+

1. #he investigator can establish a rapport and trust with the suspect which is often
necessary to persuade the suspect to tell the truth during an interrogation.

0. (uspects are less guarded when engaged in a nonBaccusatory conversation and are
more likely to reveal opportunity" access or a motive to commit the crime.

9. #he investigator can gain insight into the suspect$s possible motive to commit the
crime which will help to formulate an interrogation strategy.

<. #he investigator can ask 'uestions to which the suspect may lie" e.g." that the
suspect knew the victim" paid back rent with cash" was at the crime scene. #hese
documented false statements can then be used to great advantage later during the

A. #he investigator can ask a bait question to test possible evidence to later be used as
a bluff during the interrogation.

In fact" the only circumstance we can think of which warrants the investigator skipping the
interview and directly engaging in an accusatory interrogation of a suspect is when the
evidence of the suspect$s guilt is so overwhelming that it would be irrational to ask the
'uestion" )id you commit this crime*

/nce a suspect is taken into custody the investigator faces some uni'ue issues relating to the
interview. #he first is that a custodial suspect must be advised of his Miranda rights" and give
a knowing and voluntary waiver of those rights prior to any 'uestioning. (econd" because the
suspect is in custody" there is an underlying implication that he is guilty of the crime. #his" of
course" can make it difficult to conduct a nonBaccusatory interview.

!ith respect to advising a custodial suspect of his Miranda rights" we offer the following

1. #he officer who takes the suspect into custody should not give the Miranda advisements
and" therefore" should not ask the suspect any 'uestions about the crime. #he reason for this is
at the time a suspect is taken into custody he is often defensive and guarded. If he is advised
of his constitutional rights in that frame of mind" he is more likely to invoke his rights. /f
course" any statement the suspect volunteers in the absence of 'uestioning is admissible as

0. #he investigator conducting the interviewJinterrogation should be the person to give the
advisement. #his arrangement not only means that only one person is completely responsible
for Miranda advisements but also only one person has to testify concerning the Miranda
waiver and the defendant$s confession.

9. Introduce Miranda casually. It is not re'uired that the Miranda warnings be given in a
threatening or intimidating manner. It is often beneficial to ease into the warnings in a
conversation similar to the following+

4oe" I$ve been assigned this case and I would like to hear your side of things but
before I can ask you any 'uestions about 2the cars missing from the dealership3" I need
to remind you of your rights which you probably already know. ?ou$ve got the right
to remain silent= anything you say can be used against you= you have the right to a
lawyer= and if you can not afford a lawyer one will be provided free. After an
appropriate pause to permit the suspect to respond" he should be told+ I would like for
you to talk to me about this matter ,specifying the issue under investigation.. /kay*

If the suspect agrees to talk to the investigator" the formal Miranda warnings would then be
given. #his is typically a standard form in which the four warnings are read out loud to the
suspect who initials each warning. #he suspect then signs the bottom of the form indicating
his knowing and voluntary waiver of rights.

If the suspect waives his Miranda rights" the investigator then faces the second hurdle which
is to approach the suspect in a nonBaccusatory manner. As the following guidelines illustrate"
the key is for the investigator to not initially bring up any evidence against the suspect. If the
suspect asks about evidence or possible charges the investigator should offer an evasive
response" e.g." I$m still waiting for some of the evidence to be evaluated= I don$t have the
authority to make charging decisions.

1. (tart off by identifying the issue under investigation and then ask a series of nonB
threatening background 'uestions.

4oe" before we talk about those missing cars" let me 8ust get some background
information. Could you spell your last name for me* !hat is your first name* !hat
do most people call you* !hat is your current address* 5ow long have you lived
there* Are you presently employed* Gtc.

0. Ask the >eason for the Interview 'uestion in the following manner+ 4oe" tell me
everything you know about those cars that are missing from the dealership.

9. Ask the 5istoryJ?ou 'uestion+ 4oe" at this stage of the investigation I can$t share all of the
evidence with you and I am still waiting for some of the evidence to be analy@ed. /ne thing I
can tell you is that I will be completely truthful with you and I$m going to ask that you be
completely truthful with me as well. (o before we go any further" let me ask did you steal any
of those cars*

<. &rom here the investigator can conduct a standard AI" e.g." ask the Onowledge" (uspicion"
:ouch" Credibility" Attitude" etc. 'uestions.

A. If the suspect is aware of the evidence against him" e.g." one of the stolen cars was found in
his garage" later during the interview the investigator should ask the suspect 'uestions about
that evidence. &or example" 4oe" how is it that one of those stolen cars ended up in your

C. If the investigator has incriminating evidence that is unknown to the suspect" e.g." a
neighbor witnessed the suspect drive down the street in the stolen 5onda Civic" this evidence
should not be revealed during the interview. >ather" the investigator should ask 'uestions
designed to document the suspect$s denials" e.g" 5ave you driven a 0KKF 5onda Civic on
your street*= 5ave you been inside a 0KKF 5onda Civic on your street*

F. Incorporate 'uestions designed to profile the suspect for the interrogation" e.g." ;nder
what circumstances would you steal a car from the dealership*= If you were the investigator
on this case and I stole those cars" what could I say to you for you to understand why I did

In conclusion" the relatively short period of time re'uired to conduct a ehavior Analysis
Interview is well spent even when the investigator is 'uite certain of the suspect$s guilt such
as when a suspect is taken into custody. y conducting the AI not only will the investigator
increase the likelihood of obtaining a confession from the guilty suspect but it may also allow
the investigator to identify an innocent suspect who may be caught in a web of circumstantial
evidence or who lied to protect a loved one" or to conceal some unrelated act of wrongBdoing.
1rior to a custodial AI" the suspect must waive his Miranda rights and" for the suspect$s
behavior to be validly interpreted" the investigator must conduct the interview in a nonB
custodial manner. #his can be accomplished by simply not bringing up the evidence against
the suspect or" if the suspect is already aware of the evidence" to ask for his explanation for
the evidence.
I"erro!a"io Pro1edures0 Pro*ises of Leie1(

&or a confession to be admissible as evidence it must not only be trustworthy" but also
voluntary. #he test of voluntariness answers the 'uestion" was a statement made of the
suspect$s free will* #he concept of free will has a somewhat different meaning in law than
it does in psychology. A psychologist would argue that if a person is able to make any
behavioral choice he is operating from his own free will. -egally" however" the concept of
free will relates to whether a statement was made in the absence of threats or other
inducements. #hese other inducements generally refer to promises of leniency.
1romises of leniency occur on a continuum ranging from statements that clearly offer a lesser
sentence" If you confess" I will make sure you don$t do hard time" to statements that merely
imply leniency in exchange for a confession" e.g." I want to help you out on this thing. #he
Canadian (upreme Court has established a quid pro quo guideline in evaluating promises of
leniency. In other words" only statements that clearly offer the suspect leniency in exchange
for a confession are prohibited.
#he ;.(. (upreme Court will consider even implied
promises of leniency as part of the totality of circumstances in determining a confession$s

#he courts$ concern over promises of leniency is that an innocent suspect who is caught in a
web of circumstantial evidence may decide to falsely confess to avoid a more significant
punishment. #here is no doubt that decreasing conse'uences is a tremendously powerful
inducement to confess. An example of this occurs on rare occasions when we are permitted to
interrogate suspects on behalf of a defense attorney. ecause we are operating under
privileged communication" anything the suspect tells us cannot be used against him in a court
of law. /nce we mention this during the interrogation" almost all of these suspects confess
within a short period of time.

!hat is not established is that promises of leniency cause false confessions. An attempt has
been made to address this 'uestion through laboratory studies"
but there is no empirical or
statistical data that supports the premise that in real life interrogations promises of leniency
increase the prevalence of false confessions. /ur belief is that a promise of leniency" in and of
itself" would not be likely to cause an innocent person to confess. /n the other hand" when a
promise of leniency is coupled with a threat of more significant conse'uences" we believe
there may be a significant risk of a false confession.

Gven the courts seem to acknowledge that a promise of leniency" if made under proper
circumstances" is permissible. &or example" it is a common practice for a prosecutor to offer a
plea bargain to a defendant. ;nder this arrangement" the defendant agrees to plead guilty in
exchange for leniency. #he leniency may involve reducing the number of criminal charges
against the defendant" decreasing the charge e.g." rape to battery" or a lesser sentence" e.g." life
in prison vs. execution. #o guard against innocent suspects entering into this agreement"
courts generally re'uire that the defendant confess details of his crime during the hearing.

(eeing the ease at which prosecutors obtain confessions by offering defendants plea bargains
has caused some investigators to try the same tactic during an interrogation" e.g." 4oe" you
can avoid a first degree murder charge if you tell me that you didn$t plan this out.
investigator is then bewildered when the court suppresses the defendant$s confession. #he rule
of law is very simple+ An investigator cannot offer the suspect a promise he cannot keep. /ur
criminal 8ustice system affords prosecutors and investigators different powers in the effort to
obtain evidence against a defendant. 1rosecutors alone have the authority to make charging
decisions and sentencing recommendations. Gven if the investigator is best friends with the
prosecutor and is almost certain that the prosecutor will go along with the suggested leniency"
the promise is still impermissible because the investigator does not have the legal authority to
offer it.

In an attempt to get around this legal technicality" investigators have made statements
designed to allow the suspect to perceive possible leniency in exchange for a confession.
Gspecially when an interrogator repeatedly mentions implied leniency" a court may suppress
the confession.
Gxamples of statements that courts have ruled communicate an implied
promise of leniency include+

#he best thing you can do is to confess.
It would be far better for you if you tell the truth.
I want to help you out on this thing.
I want to be an advocate for you on this matter.
It will go worse for you if you don$t confess.

/n the other hand" courts have not ob8ected to interrogation techni'ues designed to reduce the
perceived moral seriousness of a crime. (ome of these permissible techni'ues include
expressing understanding toward the suspect$s decision to commit the crime" e.g." 4oe I can
understand why this thing happened= referring to the crime with soft language" e.g." causing
the death vs. murder= avoiding any mention of possible conse'uences the suspect faces if he
confesses. (imilarly" courts have not ob8ected to the phrase" I want to get something working
on your side or" I want to work with you to get this matter straightened out.
&urthermore" there are uni'ue circumstances where investigators can legally make a promise
to a suspect because the investigator has the authority to keep the promise. &or example" in a
correctional setting" an inmate may be promised certain privileges in exchange for truthful
information. A corporate investigator may be able to promise an employee that he will not be
prosecuted. ;nder this principle a police officer could make the following statement+

4oe" I$m not going to arrest you tonight. ?ou can go home and put your personal
affairs in order and you can tell your wife whatever you want. #omorrow morning I
will stop by your house and I$ll take you into custody at that time.

#his exception" of course" is only true if the investigator keeps his promise" e.g." provides the
inmate with privileges= does not prosecute the employee= allows the suspect to leave
following the interrogation.

Applying the same principle" we believe the following statements are each permissible during
an interrogation because the investigator is able to keep the promise+

I$m not going to call up your wife and tell her that you are some sort of monster.
I$m not going to announce this to your coBworkers or post it on the bulletin board.
I will include in my report that you were cooperative and that this is the first time
you$ve done something like this.

1romises of leniency are often introduced during an interrogation when the suspect asks the
investigator" !hat would happen to me if I told you I did this* #he following response in
no way implies leniency and satisfies most suspects+

4im" I don$t have the authority to tell you and I$m not going to lie to you and say that
I do. 6y 8ob is to collect and analy@e evidence. After that I 8ust turn in my report and
let other people act on my findings. I would like to be able to include your explanation
in my report" which is why I am talking to you now.

If the investigator slips up and finds himself making a statement that may be perceived as an
implied promise of leniency" often the damage can be repaired by making a prophylactic
statement" essentially setting the suspect straight by telling the suspect that the investigator
does not have control over the conse'uences the suspect may face.

In conclusion" especially with the increased practice of electronically recording interrogations"
investigators need to be very cautious not to make statements that may be construed as direct
or implied promises of leniency. It is our general recommendation not to bring up the criminal
8ustice system at all during an interrogation. An investigator can conduct a very effective
interrogation without mentioning possible criminal charges" how the prosecutor" 8udge or 8ury
may perceive the suspect$s crime or possible conse'uences for the suspect$s actions such as
substance abuse treatment" probation" counseling" community service" etc. Courts will be
favorably impressed to hear the investigator tell a suspect" I cannot offer any promises about
what will happen to you if you tell me the truth.
Proper Techniques for Witnessing A Confession $et.-Oct. 200%
%o investigator wants to have his testimony 'uestioned because it is his word against the
defendant$s. It is precisely for this reason that the investigator needs to have a witness verify
that the investigator$s testimony is accurate. !hile it sounds like a simple concept" there are
important considerations and procedures to follow when having a confession witnessed.

#his point became evident in the recent case of Commonwealth v. 6iller. In this case" an
Appeals court ruled that the trial 8udge committed reversible error for not holding a hearing to
examine the voluntariness of a confession obtained by loss prevention investigators employed
by the defendant$s exBemployer. At issue were extremely discrepant accounts of an inBhouse
interrogation of an employee suspected of stealing N1"KKK.

#he two investigators described a lowBkey in'uiryof the defendant. #hey testified that the
defendant vented during the two hour interrogation" but ultimately broke down and
confessed to stealing the missing N1"KKK. #he investigators denied doing or saying anything to
threaten the defendant and testified that the defendant did not exhibit any physical
manifestations of being threatened or intimidated.

Conversely" the defendant testified that she felt afraid as she was escorted to an unfamiliar
room and 'uestioned by two strangers. (he described the room as small and said that she felt
claustrophobic. According to the defendant" one investigator loomed over her and made
threatening gestures while the other blocked the door. #he defendant claimed that she was
denied a re'uest to call her husband or an attorney. (he further claimed that the investigators
suggested that if she did not confess that the case would be turned over to the police which
may result in a conviction which" in turn" could lead to the defendant$s separation from her
special needs child.

As to the confession itself" the defendant testified that throughout the writing" editing and
signing of the confession she protested her innocence. According to the defendant" the
message conveyed to her was that she would not be allowed to leave the room until the papers
were signed. At trial" the defendant$s husband testified that his wife was crying and sounded
distressed during a phone call to him following the interrogation. #his was corroborated by a
witness who heard the husband$s side of the phone conversation. A point not contested was
that the investigators violated company policy by failing to have a supervisor present during
the interview and interrogation of the employee.

-ong before devices were available to electronically record interviews and interrogations"
investigators utili@ed a witness to document what happened during an interview or
interrogation and to verify that the suspect" in fact" did offer a voluntary and trustworthy
confession. #he Miller case serves as an important reminder that if an interview or
interrogation is not electronically recorded" it is imperative that the investigator follow proper
procedures when having a confession witnessed.
It will be helpful to introduce this topic with a fundamental review of the psychology of
deception. Gveryone lies for exactly the same reason= all lies are motivated to avoid the
conse'uences of telling the truth. #he conse'uences a deceptive suspect fears may involve
loss of income or freedom 2being fired" going to 8ail3 as well as loss of pride or selfBworth
2having to face coBworkers or a spouse3. Conse'uently" during an interview or interrogation
the investigator wants to do everything legally possible to reduce perceived conse'uences of
telling the truth. /ne of the most important considerations in this regard is to conduct
interviews and interrogations in private.

1rivacy is considered the single most important psychological factor contributing to the
success of an interview or interrogation. :ery simply" it is easier for someone to reveal
sensitive information to one person than to two people. &urthermore" it is easier to reveal
sensitive information to someone who is not associated with conse'uences than to a person
who represents conse'uences. !ould a child rather confess wrongBdoing to a parent or a
kindly uncle*

In our text books and other web tips we have offered many examples illustrating the
importance of privacy. #he following experience comes from a recent seminar participant.
&or many years he conducted loss prevention interviews and interrogations in private"
working one on one with employees. 5e en8oyed great success learning the truth in a private
environment and having the employee$s confession witnessed by a supervisor following the
interrogation.. #his year his employer re'uired that the employee$s supervisor be present
during the entire interview and interrogation. #he investigator reported that he rarely obtains a
confession with the supervisor present during the interrogation.

ecause of the importance of privacy" an investigator should do everything possible to
conduct interviews and interrogations in such a way that the suspect is only communicating
with a single investigator. 5owever" it is also important to have a witness to this procedure.
#here are two procedures commonly utili@ed to document a suspect$s confession and the
events that led up to it. #he first is to have a witness present during the entire interview and
interrogation process. (econd" the investigator can bring someone into the room to witness the
confession after it has been obtained. ;nder most circumstances" it is to the investigator$s
advantage not to have a witness present during the entire interview and interrogation. An
exception is when there is an obvious liability risk such as when a male investigator
interviews a female sub8ect concerning a sexual issue.

If a witness is present during the entire interview and interrogation that person should be
someone who is not socially ac'uainted with the suspect e.g." another investigator" manager
from a different department" clerical staff. &urthermore" the witness should sit out of the
suspect$s sight and remain silent throughout the interview and interrogation. Certainly" the
witness should not be involved in 'uestioning the suspect" i.e." the witness is merely an outB
ofBsight" uninvolved" observer.

In the Miller case the witness was an investigator actively involved in trying to get the
defendant to confess. #he court recogni@ed that this witness was motived to deny that any
wrongBdoing occurred during the interrogation. A person involved in obtaining incriminating
information can hardly be considered an ob8ective" impartial witness to the confession.
If two investigators are present during an interview or interrogation" it is our recommendation
that they not team up on the suspect where both investigators simultaneously ask 'uestions
or make persuasive statements. >ather" one investigator should be the communicator and the
other should be an observer. #he communicator should be seated directly in front of the
suspect and do all of the talking. #he observer should be out the suspect$s sight and remain
silent. It is acceptable for the investigators to switch roles" where the observer becomes the
communicator and vise versa. In doing so" however" the investigators should also switch
chairs so the new observer is out of the suspect$s sight. &or obvious reasons" if two
investigators are involved in obtaining a confession" the witness to the confession should be a
third person brought into the room for that purpose following the interrogation.

If the decision is made to not have the witness present during the entire interview and
interrogation" the witness would come into the room following the suspect$s confession. It is
important that this witness can testify not only that the suspect offered a trustworthy
confession" but also that the confession was voluntary. It was the absence of such testimony
that greatly contributed to the reversal in the Miller case.

#he witness who comes into the room following the confession may be another investigator"
the suspect$s supervisor or a manager from a different department. #he conversation with the
suspect" >andy" would be similar to the following" >andy" this is 6r. uckley" my boss. I
8ust want to let him know what you$ve told me this afternoon. At this point the investigator
and witness would face each other and the investigator would repeat the suspect$s confession
in the presence of the suspect and the witness" e.g." >andy told me that he is the person who
stole N1"KKK from his cash drawer last &riday afternoon. 5e said that he stole the money at the
end of the day at around A+1A" when he was balancing out his drawer. 5e needed the money
because of ... It is important that while the investigator repeats the suspect$s confession" that
the investigator and witness continue to look at each other and not look down at the suspect.

It is improper" and psychologically wrong" to ask the suspect to repeat his confession in the
presence of the witness. ;nder this circumstance" the suspect is unlikely to offer a fully
detailed and corroborated confession in the presence of a stranger. 5owever" once the suspect
knows that the witness has heard the truth" most suspects will openly discuss their crime. At
this stage of the process it is important that the witness independently 'uestion the suspect
about his crime. #he 'uestions the witness asks should develop information to corroborate the
suspect$s confession. In addition" because the witness was not present during the entire
interview and interrogation" it is important that the witness ask the suspect 'uestions to
develop information to demonstrate that the confession was obtained without threats or
promises. #he following 'uestions would each help accomplish these goals++

Is everything 6r. 4ayne said accurate*
)o you have any of the money left*
5ave you stolen money from the company before this*
!hat bills did you pay with the money you stole*
)o you have any complaints about the way 6r. 4ayne treated you*
!ere you threatened in any way today*
)id anyone offer you any promises*

#he witness to a confession should be able to testify not only about the suspect$s physical
appearance and emotional state following the confession" but also that the suspect$s
confession was trustworthy and was the product of the suspect$s free will.

A very troubling aspect of the Miller case is that the defendant claimed that she was
protesting her innocence throughout the process of developing the written confession. It is one
thing for a defendant to recant a confession at some point after making it I that is not unusual.
5owever" to have a sub8ect state that she was denying committing the crime at the time the
confession was being given" edited and signed represents either an incredibly baldBfaced lie
under oath or a person who was coerced into signing a confession. ;nfortunately" in this case
no witness was brought into the room to independently assess the suspect$s emotional state" or
to elicit information from the suspect about the details of her theft" to find out if she was
threatened in any way" had complaints about the way she was treated" etc.

In conclusion" there is no 'uestion that the best techni'ue to document the events of an
interview or interrogation is a surreptitious electronic recording. !hen this option is not
available" the investigator should have a suspect$s statements witnessed by a person not
involved in obtaining the confession. If the witness is present during the entire interview and
interrogation" the individual should not be someone personally ac'uainted with the suspect.
&urthermore" that person should sit out of the suspect$s sight. If a witness is brought into the
room following the confession" the investigator should repeat the suspect$s confession in the
presence of the witness who should then independently 'uestion the suspect to obtain
corroboration that the suspect" in fact" committed the crime and to elicit information to assess
the voluntariness of the confession.
The ole of a !u"#ect$s Attitudes in the %etection of %eception July-&ugust 200%

Garly in 4ohn >eid$s career" he had a secretary named 6ildred. In addition to typing and filing
reports" 6ildred scheduled appointments and greeted sub8ects as they entered the lobby.
6ildred had an uncanny ability to accurately predict the outcome of a sub8ect$s polygraph
examination. After years of observing sub8ects$ behavior as they waited for their examination"
she noticed predictable differences between sub8ects who were later found to be truthful or
deceptive during their polygraph examination.

#he conversation 6ildred had with these sub8ects was limited to finding out their name and
letting them know if the examination would be at the scheduled time. (he never 'uestioned
them about whether they committed the crime under investigation. Conse'uently" her
observations were not at all related to whether the sub8ects told the truth or lied. 6ildred$s
ability to correctly identify a sub8ect$s guilt or innocence can be explained through a construct
called a person$s attitude.

An attitude represents a person$s expressed behaviors" thoughts and perceptions toward a
situation or event. ;nlike a personality" which is influenced by genetic and environmental
factors and" therefore" tends to be fairly rigid throughout a person$s lifetime" an attitude is
dynamic and is influenced by expectations toward a specific situation or event. oth the
innocent and guilty suspects each knew whether or not they committed the crime under
investigation and whether or not they were going to tell the truth or lie during the polygraph
examination. #his expectation caused innocent and guilty suspects to form different attitudes"
and conse'uently" display different behaviors while waiting for their examination.

#o help understand the concept of attitudes" consider that you lived across the street from a
high school. /n this particular afternoon there was a soccer game held at the high school and
you were able to observe the two teams leaving the field after the game. #he players in the red
8erseys are laughing and yelling and are slapping each other on the back and 8umping up and
down= they are anxious to interact with others and actively looking for people to talk to. #he
players in the green 8erseys are 'uiet and appear emotionally distant. As they stroll to the
parking lot their shoulders are bent forward and their eyes are glued to the pavement. #hey
avoid interaction with others.

#he players in the red and green 8erseys are in the same environment at the same location"
date and time. !hat makes them different is that one team knows that they won the soccer
game and the other knows that they lost. As a result of this difference" players from the red
and green team will form different attitudes at the end of the game. ased on observing the
players$ behavior and evaluating how they responded to similar stimuli one would be very
likely correct to infer that the red team won the game.

#he various techni'ues used to detect deception have" at their core" the fundamental concept
that innocent and guilty suspects respond to the same stimuli differently not because they are
lying or telling the truth" but rather" because of their underlying knowledge and awareness that
they are innocent or guilty of the issue under investigation. &or example" during a polygraph
examination all sub8ects are asked a broad 'uestion to which the sub8ect" in all probability will
lie" or have difficulty answering truthfully. #his 'uestion is called a control question. ecause
of different underlying attitudes" an innocent sub8ect typically focuses his physiological
attention toward the control 'uestion whereas the guilty sub8ect typically ignores the control
'uestion and focuses his physiological attention to the 'uestions addressing the crime under
investigation. )uring a ehavior Analysis Interview both the innocent and guilty suspect may
be asked the 'uestion" ;nder any circumstance" do you think the person who 2committed the
crime3 should be given a second chance* #he innocent suspect will typically not be willing
to afford leniency whereas the guilty suspect often agrees that a second chance is warranted.
(ome research has attempted to identify specific cues associated uni'uely with lying 2nature
of eye contact" micro tremors in the voice" uni'ue facial expressions" etc.3. #hese efforts have
not produced accuracies much above chance levels. #here are so many variables that
influence human behavior it is unlikely that man will ever identify any one uni'ue behavior or
physiological response that only occurs when someone tells the truth or lies. Conversely" field
research has shown very promising results of inferring guilt or innocence 2lying or truthB
telling3 by observing or measuring criteria based on attitudinal differences.

Certainly the behaviors 6ildred observed such as being late for an appointment" excessive
smoking" sitting in a chair far away from the door to the exam rooms" awkward attempts at
levity" or hyperBawareness of time are not uni'ue to guilt. %or did 6ildred receive any
speciali@ed training in detecting deception. !hy was she often successful at predicting the
outcome of polygraph results*

#he sub8ects all knew what issue would be covered during their polygraph examination

efore coming to our office" each sub8ect agreed to take a polygraph examination that would
address a particular issue. #herefore" each sub8ect knew whether or not he or she would be
telling the truth or lying during the examination.

Consider the situation where a man matches the general description of a rape suspect and is
'uestioned two blocks from the assault. #he investigator never identifies why he wants to talk
to the man" but simply asks the man 'uestions about his identity and recent activities. #he
man may be totally innocent of the rape and yet display deceptive attitudes for a variety of
reasons 2guilt to some unrelated matter" prior bad experience with authority" outstanding
traffic warrant" etc.3 ehavior symptoms of truth or deception are only valid if the sub8ect
knows if he is innocent or guilty of the issue under investigation.

#he sub8ects all had advanced notice of their examination

&ield research investigating truthful and deceptive attitudes all involves sub8ects who have
been given substantial notice for their interview or polygraph examination. Common sense
would indicate that at least some of the attitudinal characteristics form as soon as a sub8ect is
informed of the issue under investigation knowing" at that instant" whether he or she is
innocent or guilty of the act. 5owever" attitudes may be somewhat affected by the amount of
time that has elapsed between the commission of a crime and an interview.

&or example" one of the attitudes commonly observed in innocent suspects is that they attempt
to mentally solve the crime prior to the interview. In their mind" they eliminate possible
innocent suspects" think about who may be guilty of the crime" and consider how the crime
was committed along with possible motives for the crime. Duilty suspects" of course" do not
go through this same mental process because they already know who committed the crime"
how and why it was committed. It is possible this crime solving mentality takes time to
develop and may not be apparent in a suspect who is 'uestioned shortly after a crime was

&urther empirical support for this premise is offered from investigators who have reported that
behaviors displayed by a guilty person 'uestioned shortly after committing a crime
2confusion" extreme anxiety" illogical explanations etc.3 are not necessarily seen from guilty
suspects who have been given notice for an interview and time to prepare responses.
(imilarly" an innocent sub8ect who is interviewed shortly after being robbed or assaulted
exhibits emotions such as fear" dread and anger which are readily apparent as sincere and
genuine. 5owever" if the interview is conducted several days after the event" the innocent
sub8ect$s emotions are often less intense and more ambiguous.
#he observations were made in the same environment

/ur lobby offers sub8ects a fairly limited choice of behaviors. #hey choose which chair to sit
in" how to position themselves in the chair" what to do while in the chair and" if they speak"
what to say and how much to talk. &urthermore" the lobby is relatively free from outside
auditory or visual distractions. ecause of the controlled environment" the sub8ects sitting
within our lobby have very little extraneous stimuli to respond to other than their internal
thoughts concerning the upcoming polygraph examination or interview.

4ust as an experienced lifeguard can look at AK swimmers in a pool and 'uickly discriminate
between similar behaviors of frolic and distress" investigators become accustomed to
evaluating suspects within a particular environment. A border patrol agent is familiar with
how most people behave as they approach the inspection point= a traffic officer knows how
the average person responds when pulled over for speeding and polygraph examiners learn to
recogni@e the average person$s anxiety level during an examination.

An innocent or guilty person$s attitudes may manifest themselves differently depending on
the environment. &or example" a guilty suspect may exhibit 'uite different attitudes depending
on whether the interview was conducted in their home or at a police station. It is important
that an investigator interprets a suspect$s behaviors and thoughts as a function of the

#he sub8ects were all operating from a high level of motivation

(ub8ects who come to our office are facing serious conse'uences ranging from losing a 8ob
and their reputation to going to prison. #he innocent sub8ect is highly motivated to make
certain our opinion is accurate" i.e." that he did not commit the crime. #he guilty sub8ect is
e'ually motivated to convince us that he is innocent. If either suspect fails to accomplish their
goal" serious conse'uences await them.

Consider that an innocent suspect is 'uestioned about stealing a N0KKK deposit. #he
investigator starts the interview in the following manner+ 4ulie" I certainly don$t believe that
you took that deposit but" because of your position" I have to ask you these 'uestions. )id you
steal that N0"KKK deposit* ecause 4ulie is not motivated to convince the investigator of her
innocence" the attitudes she displays may be 'uite different from other innocent suspects who
are concerned that they may suffer the conse'uences for stealing the deposit.

(imilarly" if 6ildred worked in a bank and observed customers waiting in line for an open
teller" it is unlikely that she would be very accurate at predicting which customers were going
to deposit a check or withdraw money. #he customers certainly have different expectations as
they wait in line" but no strong drive or incentive to accomplish their goal. !ithout high
levels of motivation drawing inferences from human behavior is an exercise in futility.

#he sub8ects 6ildred observed were primarily adults who were not suffering from mental or
intellectual deficiencies.

efore we schedule a sub8ect for a polygraph examination" we 'uestion the client about the
sub8ect$s probable suitability for the examination. #here are clearly intrinsic factors that can
affect a sub8ect$s attitudes such as age" intelligence" psychological and emotional stability.
#here are also dynamic variables which can cause shortBterm changes in a person$s attitudes
or behavior. Gxamples of these include drug or alcohol use" fatigue" and emotions.

Diven any two random human beings from two random regions of the planet earth" there will
be far more similarities than differences. #hese two random human beings would predictably
form the same attitudes based on their knowledge of whether or not they were innocent or
guilty of the issue under investigation. #he rare exception to this statement is when the person
is fundamentally different in some way that affects their thought process or ability to process


#he behavior symptoms investigators rely on to make assessments of a suspect$s credibility
are not the direct product of telling the truth or lying. >ather" they are expressions of
underlying attitudes the suspect forms as a result of knowing whether he is innocent or guilty
of the issue under investigation.

(ome events cause very obvious and predictable attitudes" e.g." striking one$s thumb with a
hammer. Committing a crime and lying about it" however" does not fall within this category.
%ot all innocent or guilty suspects respond exactly the same way when 'uestioned about a
crime. !hile they both will form different attitudes" how the attitudes are expressed may be
influenced by a number of different factors. Investigators need to be aware of these factors
and take them into consideration when evaluating a person$s credibility.
Catching A !uspect In A &ie' (ot Always A !y)pto) Of *uilt May-June 200%
& s'illed investigator learns to "ithhold certain inside information from a susect
during an intervie" in the hoe that he can catch the susect in a lie. #or examle,
the susect may lie about 'no"ing the victim, being in the vicinity of the crime or
having a rior conviction. This documented lie can later be used to good advantage
during an interrogation "here the investigator states that (ust as he 'no"s the
susect lied about )'no"ing the victim* the investigator also 'no"s that the susect
committed the crime. #urthermore, the documented lie can be used to imeach the
susect+s credibility and character, e.g., ,!f you don+t get this straightened out today
no one is ever going to believe anything you have to say in the future. -eole are
going to say, ./e 'no" #red lied about 'no"ing her, #red is robably also lying "hen
he says that he is sorry he did this.+0

The attac' on the susect+s character does not end during the interrogation. &t trial
the rosecutor may call the investigator to the stand to testify that during the
investigation the defendant lied about 'no"ing the victim. The (ury, of course, is led
to believe that if the defendant lied to the olice about 'no"ing the victim that the
only ossible logical conclusion is that he is also lying "hen he denies 'illing the
victim. One need not ossess a degree in hilosohy to recogni1e the fallacy of this
argument 2 !f Johnny comes home from school and lies about the grade he received
on a recent algebra test that lie does not increase the robability that Johnny is also
the student "ho ulled the fire alarm at school last "ee'.

3onetheless, it is true that guilty susects do lie during the course of an investigation
and there are many documented cases "here the erson guilty of a crime "as
identified rimarily because he "as caught telling a minor lie. Offsetting these cases,
of course, are those "here innocent susects have also lied to the investigator. This
"eb ti "ill offer guidelines to hel the investigator determine ho" much "eight to
lace on the fact that a susect has been caught in a lie.

4valuate the $usect+s 5evel of Motivation to Tell The Truth

6onsider t"o susects, Tom and Jerry, "ho are both on robation for selling
narcotics. & li7uor store is robbed and Tom is seen standing in an alley t"o bloc's
from the store. The investigator as's him general 7uestions about "ho he is, "hat he
is doing in the ally and "here he "as ten minutes ago. The investigator then as's
Tom, ,&re you currently on robation80 Tom lies and says he is not.

Jerry "as also ic'ed u for the same robbery about t"o bloc's from the li7uor store
but he "as ta'en to the olice station for a formal intervie". The investigator has
identified that the urose for the intervie" is to determine "hether Jerry "as the
erson "ho robbed the li7uor store. The intervie" 7uestions all secifically relate to
the li7uor store robbery. The investigator then as's, ,&re you currently on robation80
and Jerry says he is not.

9oth of these susect have lied about exactly the same thing. :o"ever, based
strictly on that lie, factual analysis "ould redict that Jerry is much more li'ely guilty
of the robbery than Tom. The reason for this is that Tom "as oerating from a much
lo"er level of motivation "hen he lied about being on robation. :is intervie" "as
informal and no clear urose "as stated for the intervie"; the 7uestions "ere all
general in nature. Tom had very little motivation to tell the truth about being on
robation. !n his mind he may "ell have figured that the 7uestioning "as routine and
that his life "ould certainly not be negatively affected by the lie.

On the other hand, Jerry+s intervie" "as directed secifically to"ard the robbery and
"as conducted in a controlled environment. &n innocent susect oerating from a
high level of motivation aroaches the intervie" "ith an exectation to tell the truth
2 not only about the issue under investigation but about eriheral issues as "ell.
This is so even "hen the truth may reveal ossible motives, access or oortunity.
/ith the heightened level of motivation associated "ith Jerry+s intervie", he almost
certainly "ould have told the truth about being on robation if he "as innocent of the
robbery. The fact that he chose to lie about his rior conviction becomes a strong
factor ointing to his robable involvement in the robbery.

4valuate the significance of the lie relative to the issue under investigation

& "oman "as raed and murdered in her aartment bet"een 8<00 -M and =0<00
-M. One of the tenants "ithin the aartment told the investigator that the night of the
murder he "as inside his aartment from %<>0 -M until the next morning. :o"ever, a
neighbor sa" the tenant leave his aartment at ?<00 -M and not return until after
=0<00 -M. & second tenant told the investigator that he "as "or'ing late and did not
arrive at his aartment until after =0<00. !n addition, he denied ever tal'ing to the
victim or 'no"ing "ho she "as. & friend of the victim, ho"ever, reorted that the
second tenant had as'ed the victim out for a date on a coule of occasions and she
turned him do"n both times.

9oth susects have lied during their intervie"s. 9ased strictly on the nature of their
lies, factual analysis "ould redict that the second susect is more li'ely guilty of the
murder. /hile lying about an alibi can be significant, innocent susects may lie about
an alibi to revent the investigator from learning about other illegal or embarrassing
activity )selling drugs in the ar' across the street, having an affair "ith a co-"or'er.*

6onsidering that this homicide "as sexually motivated, lying about a rior
relationshi "ith the victim is a much more significant lie. !f the second susect "as
innocent, "hy not reveal to the investigator the fact that he 'ne" the victim and
as'ed her out for a date8 &lying this rincile, the follo"ing examles contrast t"o
ossible lies a susect could tell during an intervie". The second listed lie is closer to
the issue under investigation and, therefore, a better indicator of the susect+s guilt.

5ying about o"ning a handgun vs. lying about firing a handgun the night of the
5ying about having an argument "ith the victim vs. lying about ho" the susect
in(ured his hand
5ying about having financial difficulties vs. lying about "here susect got the money
to ay bac' rent

4valuate the @eason for the 5ie

9ob and Jeff are both intervie"ed as susects in an investigation involving damage
to a comany van. $urveillance video sho"s both of them driving the van on the day
it "as damaged. Auring their intervie"s they both deny driving the vehicle on the day
the damage occurred. /hen confronted "ith his lie, 9ob exlains that he lied
because he used the comany van to move some furniture to a ne" aartment.
:o"ever, "hen Jeff is confronted "ith the surveillance video he does not give a
tangible reason for lying other than to say that he simly forgot driving the van that
day. 9ased only on this information, the robability is that Jeff is more li'ely than 9ob
to have caused the damage to the van.

/hen an innocent susect is as'ed a 7uestion that "ould almost certainly lead to
adverse conse7uences he may choose to lie to the 7uestion esecially if the
conse7uences to the secondary issue )unauthori1ed used of a comany vehicle* are
of similar or e7ual seriousness to the issue under investigation. /hen the reason for
telling a lie involves significant conse7uences such as revealing illegal immigration
status, having an outstanding "arrant, exosing infidelity or a falsified resume this
may simly be the innocent susect avoiding conse7uences unrelated to the issue
under investigation.
Jeff could ma'e u a story in an attemt to exlain a"ay the surveillance evidence
but that "ould involve telling another lie and further ris'ing the investigator learning
the truth. /hen confronted "ith this situation guilty susects often blame oor
memory bolstered by excuses such as being over"or'ed, busy "ith something else
or distracted by outside concerns.

5ies of 6ommission vs. 5ies of Omission

& fire is started in a business and the nature of the fire suggests anger or revenge.
The same "ee' the fire "as started 9ill and Ted "ere both terminated from the
business for violating comany olicy. The t"o emloyees are brought in for a formal
intervie" concerning the arson. The investigation indicates that Ted is disgruntled
because he "as denied a romotion. & criminal record chec' reveals that 9ill has a
rior conviction for battery.

Auring a formal intervie" 9ill and Ted both deny starting the fire or 'no"ing anything
about the fire. /hen as'ed about his feelings to"ard the comany, 9ill never
volunteered any information about being disgruntled or being turned do"n for a
romotion. 6onse7uently, 9ill has ,lied0 through omission. On the other hand, Ted is
secifically as'ed "hether or not he has aeared in court on any matter. Ted lies
through commission and says he has not. 9ased only on these t"o lies, Ted is more
li'ely guilty of starting the fire than 9ill.

!t re7uires much more confidence for a erson to not only tell the truth but, further, to
volunteer the truth "hen doing so laces the susect in a negative light. 5ies of
omission are commonlace in social situations and should not be considered strong
evidence of guilt "hen intervie"ing a criminal susect. !t is recisely because of this
that "hen a susect volunteers incriminating information concerning motive,
oortunity or access that the behavior is considered more tyical of a truthful

!n conclusion, it is an effective strategy to invite susects to lie to the investigator
during an intervie". #or examle, if the investigator 'no"s that the susect "as
given the alarm code to the security system he should not as', ,! understand that you
have the alarm code. /hen is the last time you used it80 @ather, he should invite the
susect to lie by as'ing, ,:ave you ever been given the alarm code80 !nnocent
susects usually volunteer the truth, even if the truth reveals ossible motives,
access or roensity. 6onversely, guilty susects may lie to these tyes of 7uestions.
That is the general rule but, as this "eb ti oints out, there are certainly occasions
"here innocent susects "ill lie to the investigator.

/hen the investigator catches a susect in a lie, the follo"ing rules are suggested for
interreting the lie "ith resect to the susect+s robable involvement in the issue
under investigation<

)=* 5ies told in an informal, lo" motivational setting are not as significant as lies told
during a formal intervie" "here the susect is oerating from a high level of

)2* The more related the lie is to the commission of the crime, the more li'ely the
susect is guilty. e.g., 5ying about firing a "eaon on the night of the shooting vs.
lying about ossessing a "eaon of the same caliber used in the shooting.

)>* /hen confronted "ith the lie an innocent susect usually has a reasonable
exlanation for lying, the guilty susect may not.

)B* 5ies of commission are more significant than lies of omission.
Electronically ecorded Confessions March-&ril 200%
#he topic of electronically recording interviews and interrogations comes up fre'uently
during our seminars. Clearly" there is a national trend in which through state court decisions
or legislative efforts police officers are re'uired to electronically record their interrogations
and confessions. >ecogni@ing the benefits to the investigator" many departments and agencies
have decided" on their own volition" to electronically record interrogations and confessions.

It has always been our recommendation that if an investigator chooses to electronically record
an interview or interrogation session that everything be electronically recorded. #his includes
the initial introduction of the investigator to the suspect" the administration and waiver of
Miranda or Article 91 advisements" the entire interview" interrogation and confession. /n the
other hand" if only the suspect$s confession is electronically recorded the defense may attack
the interrogation. #he argument is as follows+ /bviously the investigator had access to
recording e'uipment but chose not to record the interrogation because he did not want the 8ury
to see or hear the threats and promises made to the defendant.

)espite this potential danger" there remain many investigators who only electronically record
confessions. &urthermore" many prosecutors prefer a summary account of the suspect$s
confession" even when the entire interview and interrogation that led up to the confession was
recorded. Luite simply" it is easier for 8uries to absorb a concise confession lasting several
minutes than an interview and interrogation that lasting several hours. If obtained properly"
the electronically recorded confession has tremendous persuasive impact at trial. Conversely"
if the recorded confession is not done properly it affords a defense attorney with tremendous
ammunition to attack the validity of the confession.

#his web tip offers guidelines for obtaining an electronically recorded confession either as a
standBalone document or as a summary account within an electronically recorded interview
and interrogation. &or illustrative purposes" a burglary investigation will be used.

I"rodu1i! "he re1orded 1ofessio "o "he sus'e1"

In situations where the investigator has not been electronically recording the interrogation the
following approach has been used successfully to get a suspect to agree to have a confession
electronically recorded+

4im" at this point I need to document what you$ve told me because I need to make
sure that I understand everything correctly and that no one later says that you said
something that you did not say. (o this is for your protection as well as mine. %ow we
have a couple of choices. ?ou could write out what you$ve told me or I could 8ust ask
you about what happened on tape. !hat are you most comfortable with*

Almost all suspects will agree to the easier procedure" which is to have the conversation
electronically recorded. #his places the investigator in a desirable position when testifying. If
the defense attorney asks why only the confession was recorded and not the entire
interrogation" the investigator can respond by saying that it is not the department$s policy to
electronically record the interrogation but that in this particular case the defendant preferred
that his confession be electronically recorded.

If the investigator has already been electronically recording the entire interview and
interrogation session" he may introduce the summary account as follows+

4im" I really respect you for getting this clarified this afternoon. As you know" I have
to submit a report which will reflect the findings of our investigation as well as the
explanation that you have 8ust given me about why you did this. 6y boss is going to review
everything and he likes to have a real 'uick summary of things to review. (o what I$m going
to do is to work with you to summari@e everything that has happened this afternoon.

S"ar" &( do1u*e"i! "he da"e4 "i*e4 lo1a"io ad 'eo'le 'rese"

#he electronically recorded confession should start with a brief statement explaining who is
present as well as the current date and time. #o instill the sense of accuracy" times should be
given to the nearest minute. It is appropriate to identify the positions or titles of people present
such as investigator" attorney" human resource specialists" union representative" etc. #he
suspect$s name should be given but he or she should not be referred to as a suspect 2the
people hearing the confession will know his role in the conversation3. #he following is an
example of such an introduction+

6y name is rian 4ayne" an investigator with 4ohn G. >eid and Associates. !ith me is 6ike
6asokas who is also an investigator as well as 4ames (mith. #he date is &riday" &ebruary Eth"
0KKF and the current time is 9+KF 16. !e are inside an interview room located at 0KE !.
4ackson oulevard" in Chicago Illinois.

Do1u*e" Mirada 5Ar"i1le 2/6 ad#ise*e"s ad $ai#er

&or a suspect to give a knowing and voluntary waiver of his constitutional right advisements
the investigator must document that the suspect was truthfully told about the issue under
investigation and that the warnings were administered properly. !hile not legally necessary" a
written waiver that was read out loud and which the suspect subse'uently signed is probably
the best documentation for this purpose. &urthermore" for the waiver to be valid the suspect
must be an adult and in ade'uate physical and mental health. &or example+

At 1+KK 16 this afternoon I met with 6r. (mith at our office on 0KE !. 4ackson lvd. At
that time I told him that I wanted to talk to him about some thefts from a home on 6adison (t.
in Chicago and advised 6r. (mith of his 6iranda rights orally and in writing. At 1+11 16 6r.
(mith waived those rights and agreed to answer my 'uestions without having an attorney
2I3 PIs that correct" 4im*$
2(3 P?es.$
2I3 P4im" what is your date of birth*$
2(3 P4une 01" 1EH0Q
2I3 P(o you are presently 0< years old*$
2(3 P#hat$s right.$
2I3 P)o you have any mental health problems*$
2(3 P%ot that I know of.$
2I3 PAre you under a psychologist or psychiatrist$s care*$
2(3 P%o$
2I3 P5ow would you describe your physical health today*$
2(3 PI feel good. I$m in good health.$

I"rodu1e "he 1ofessio ad de#elo' de"ails of "he 1ri*e

An investigator should not expect a suspect to spontaneously generate a perfectly courtB
admissible confession. >ather" the investigator should introduce this area with a summary of
the suspect$s confession and then re'uest details of the crime+

)uring our conversation" 6r. (mith told me that he broke into the home located at <1E
6adison street in Chicago and that he stole money" a lap top computer" and some 8ewelry
from the home. I would like to review the details of that statement.

2I3 P4im" how did you get into the home*$
2(3 P#hey left the back patio door unlocked. I 8ust opened it and went in.$
2I3 PAbout what time was that*$
2(3 PAround E+1A or E+0K that morning.$
2I3 P!hich morning was that*$
2(3 PIt was last #hursday morning. #wo days ago.$
2I3 P5ow much money did you steal from the home*$
2(3 P/nly about FA dollars.$
2I3 P!here did you steal that money from*$
2(3 PIt was in a desk drawer in the kitchen.
2I3 P!hat else did you steal from that house*
2(3 I stole a #oshiba lap top computer that was on the kitchen counter.$
,#his dialogue would continue to cover all aspects of the crime to include development of
dependent and independent corroboration.

#he following guidelines relate to 'uestions asked about the suspect$s crime+


Do o" as, -ues"ios (ou do o" alread( ,o$ "he as$er "o0 1rior to any attempt to
summari@e a confession or obtain an electronically recorded confession" the suspect should
have already fully confessed to the investigator. Clearly the investigator wants to avoid
having to reBconfront a suspect whose memory is all of a sudden foggy. (imilarly" the
investigator does not want to be surprised by learning new information about the suspect$s
crime" e.g.+
2I3 %ow you were alone when you entered the home*
2(3 %o" actually I was with two friends. #hey were the ones who actually took the stuff. I 8ust
waited outside for them.
Do o" i1lude ifor*a"io a&ou" 'as" 1ri*es0 /ne of the reasons prosecutors like to have
a separate summary account of the suspect$s confession is that there may be statements or
information developed during the interrogation that are inadmissible as evidence. A common
example is a remark about the suspect$s prior convictions or arrests. (imilarly" courts consider
information that the suspect refused to take" or failed a polygraph examination as highly

Clarif( a*&i!uous res'oses+ If the suspect$s response to the investigator$s 'uestion is not
clear or is possibly misleading" the investigator should ask followBup 'uestions" e.g.+
2I3 PAbout what time was that*$
2(3 PAround E+1A or E+0K that morning.$
2I3 P!hich morning was that*$
2(3 PIt was last #hursday morning. #wo days ago.$

The i#es"i!a"or should i"rodu1e des1ri'"i#e "er*iolo!( $he as,i! -ues"ios0 #he
suspect$s confession needs to acknowledge personal responsibility for committing the crime
and satisfy the elements of the crime. Conse'uently" the statement" I took a laptop computer
from a home on 6adison (t. in Chicago. does not satisfy the legal elements of theft. #he
statement should be" I stole a laptop computer from a home on 6adison (t. in Chicago.
Duilty suspects do not feel comfortable using descriptive language when discussing their
crime. #herefore" the investigator should introduce this language when asking the suspect
'uestions" e.g.+
2I3 4ohn about what time was it when you killed (arah*
2I3 !hat did you use to intentionally start this fire*
2I3 !hat did you have in your hand when you robbed the clerk*
2I3 Approximately how long did your hand rub her bare vagina*

I" is &e""er "o eli1i" &eha#iors "ha o'iios+ /pinions are sub8ect to interpretation and can
introduce irrelevant information within a confession. #he following examples illustrate how a
'uestion that addresses the suspect$s behavior is more likely to lead to relevant information+

/pinion ehavior
!hy did you do this* vs. !hat did you do with the money you stole*
!hose idea was it to start the fire* vs. !ho lit the cigarette lighter used to start the fire
)id you get this 8ob so you could vs. !hen did you first divert stock funds to
embe@@le stock funds* your personal account*

Do o" as, leadi! -ues"ios

-eading 'uestions are designed to elicit agreement from the suspect and represent one way to
elicit a confession" e.g.+
(o you are the person who broke into that home*
?ou stole money" a computer and 8ewelry from the home" correct*
?ou broke into the home the morning of &ebruary E
" right*

5owever" such leading 'uestions are also easy to attack in court where the defense attorney
argues that the investigator spoonBfed the confession to his client who felt compelled to agree
with the investigator$s assertions. A confession has much more persuasive impact if the
suspect spontaneously volunteers detailed information about his crime. Conse'uently" leading
'uestions like those illustrated above should be avoided.

7se si*'le "er*iolo!(+

2I3(o you are the person you illegally entered the domicile located at E1< 6adison (t.*
2(3 huh*

6any suspects who commit crimes do not possess a genius IL or an extensive education. If an
investigator uses unfamiliar words in asking the suspect a 'uestion" an affirmative response to
that 'uestion is meaningless in a court of law. Also" a 8ury may resent an investigator$s
unnecessary use of policeBspeak.

Co1lude "he s"a"e*e" &( do1u*e"i! "he sus'e1"8s "rea"*e"

2I3 4im is everything you told me today the complete truth*
2(3 ?eah.
2I3 5ave you been offered any promises of leniency*
2(3 !hat do you mean*
2I3 )id anyone make any promises about what would happen to you if you admitted breaking
into the home*
2(3 %o. %othing was said about that.
2I3 !ere you threatened in any way today*
2(3 %o. ?ou$ve treated me real good.
2I3 4im" is there anything else that you would like to include in this recorded document*
2(3 4ust that I$m sorry I did this and I can guarantee that I will never do that again.
2I3 #hank you. #hat concludes this recording. #he current time is 9+00 16.

In conclusion" even though an entire interrogation has been electronically recorded" it is often
beneficial for the investigator to conclude the recording session with a summary account of
the suspect$s confession. In all likelihood" this summary account will be played for the 8ury
and will represent the strongest single piece of evidence against the defendant. Conse'uently"
the investigator must make certain that the summary account includes all of the elements of
the crime and addresses issues fre'uently attacked by the defense such as the validity of the
6iranda waiver" the duration of the interviewJinterrogation and whether the defendant was
offered any promises of leniency or threatened in any way.

The +se of ationali,ation %uring An Interrogation The)e Jan-#eb, 200%

#wo conditions must be satisfied before a person decides to commit a crime. #he first is that
the individual must believe that he or she will not be punished for the crime. &or example" no
sane person would set their neighbor$s house on fire or download pornography on a company
computer if they knew that they would suffer conse'uences for their actions. 5owever" ninety
percent of society would never sell illegal drugs" steal a car or sexually molest a child even if
they were guaranteed to get away with the crime. #herefore" a second condition must also be
met which is that the person must be able to 8ustify the criminal behavior in some manner.

#he difference between people who commit crimes or violate company policies and those
who do not is that the former believe that their dishonest behavior is 8ustified. #his is done by
cognitively distorting reality. y doing so" the individual does not experience significant guilt
or anxiety as a result of their criminal behavior. Anna &reud coined the phrase defense
mechanism to describe this mental process. In our experience" there are several predominant
defense mechanisms guilty suspects employ to 8ustify their criminal behavior.

6any criminals utili@e projection to place blame for their own actions onto someone or
something else" e.g." the victim" an accomplice" low salary" unfair treatment" intoxication. A
criminal may also reduce their feeling of guilt through minimization by convincing
themselves that what they did could have been much worse" e.g." I only took NAK"KKK I If I
were dishonest I could have easily embe@@led N1KK"KKK. 6ost criminals form a false belief
that many others share their dishonest attitudes (identification3 and may also engage in denial"
where they convince themselves that there is no in8ury to the victim" e.g." #he company can
afford the loss= #he child was not physically in8ured. &inally" there are individuals who
8ustify their criminal behavior by psychologically distorting the true intention behind their
crime. e.g." I didn$t mean to steal the money" I 8ust wanted to borrow it. #his defense
mechanism is called rationalization.

Interrogation techni'ues rely on the fact that guilty suspects utili@e defense mechanisms to
8ustify their crimes. In an effort to create an environment in which a guilty suspect feels more
comfortable telling the truth" the interrogator will reinforce the defense mechanisms that
already exist in the suspect$s mind. #his is done by presenting a persuasive monologue called
an interrogation theme.

Consider that an employee is being interrogated on the issue of stealing a N0"KKK deposit from
the manager$s office. )uring his interrogation the investigator may develop a theme that
blames the employee$s decision to take the deposit on the company$s failure to pay him an
ade'uate salary or for the manager$s negligence for not securing the deposit 2pro8ection3. #he
employee may experience further moral relief when the investigator explains that if the
employee was truly dishonest he would have stolen money the first week he was hired or
stolen other deposits from the company 2minimi@ation3.

&or a guilty suspect to relate to an interrogation theme" the 8ustifications offered by the
investigator must be similar to how the suspect himself 8ustified the crime. &urthermore" the
theme should not provide the suspect with a legal defense for his criminal behavior. &or both
of these reasons" the investigator must be cautious in using themes which reinforce the
defense mechanism of rationali@ation.

An example of an inappropriate rationali@ation theme in the previous theft case would be for
the investigator to describe a scenario where the employee took the N0"KKK believing that it
was a cash advance for an upcoming business trip. Considering the money was clearly in a
deposit bag sitting on top of the manager$s desk and that the employee has never received a
cash advance of more than N1KK" it is implausible that he would have 8ustified his theft by
distorting reality in this manner. &urthermore" this particular rationali@ation theme is improper
because it offers the employee a legal defense since it removes the necessary element of
wrongful intent" i.e." taking money that the employee knew belonged to the company.

5owever" there are many occasions where guilty suspects do use rationali@ation to
8ustify their criminal behavior and where the investigator can appropriately use a theme that
incorporates rationali@ation. #he following guidelines are offered to help identify whether a
particular suspect may have used the defense mechanism of rationali@ation to 8ustify his

1. Suspects who are essentially caught in the act of committing the crime. A male
nurse at a convalescent center was caught on video tape having sexual contact with
an 1HByearBold comatose female patient. After being shown the tape he explained
that he engaged in the activity merely in an effort to stimulate the patient out of her
0. Suspects who commit spontaneous or opportunistic crimes. A suspect who takes
days or weeks to carefully plan out exactly how to commit a crime is unlikely to
have 8ustified his dishonest behavior through rationali@ation. 5owever" a suspect
who commits a crime on the spur of the moment may well have rationali@ed it.
Consider a driver of a vehicle who strikes a pedestrian and leaves the scene
because he was drinking and did not want to be charged with );I. In his mind" he
may well convince himself that he left the scene in an effort to get help.
9. Suspects who are facing significant personal consequences of embarrassment
loss of pride or esteem. #o restore the suspect$s selfBworth this type of offender is
likely to have rationali@ed his criminal behavior. A classic example is the child
molester who simply does not recogni@e that he engages in sexual contact with
children to elevate his own selfBworth. :ery often" pedophiles perceive their sexual
contact with children as showing love and affection.
<. Suspects who offer judgmental denials. Consider the suspect who is asked" 5ow
do you feel about being interviewed concerning this allegation against you* and
responds" I feel fine because I know I didn$t do anything wrong. #his suspect is
not denying committing the crime. >ather he is denying wrongful intent behind his
actions. A similar 8udgmental denial is a statement where the suspect claims he is
innocent of committing the crime. &or example" a suspect may explain that he is
innocent of robbing the victim. ;nder this circumstance the investigator should
consider the possibility that the suspect believed the victim owed him the money
that was stolen during the robbery.

#he recommendation that an interrogation theme should not present the suspect with a
legal defense is offered to guard against claims that the theme somehow offered the suspect an
implied promise of leniency. #his concern is not based on court rulings or empirical findings
in the field. >ather" it is in response to the theoretical argument that if a theme offers a legal
defense for the suspect$s crime" it may then be perceived as removing any conse'uences if the
suspect chooses to confess to the crime. #he following list is offered to help investigators
understand the sometimes subtle distinction between themes that may offer a legal defense
and those that do not.

E9a*'les Of Ra"ioali:a"io The*es Tha" Do Or Do No"
Offer A Possi&le Le!al Defese
!ossible defense+ ?ou were smoking in the area and one of your cigarettes accidentally
started the fire
"o defense+ ?our original intention was 8ust to cause smoke damage= you started the fire to
scare your neighbor to see how he would react= you started the fire to prove that the fire
department$s response time is too slow.

Child 'h(si1al a&use+
!ossible defense# ?ou accidentally burned your child with the cigarette= you were playing
catch with your child and you threw the ball too hard and bruised him.
"o defense# ?ou 8ust wanted to teach the child a lesson= you wanted to toughen up your son
so he would not be pushed around when he was older.

Child se9ual a&use0
!ossible defense# ?ou were wrestling with your daughter and accidentally put your hand
down her panties
"o defense# ?ou touched her there to show her love and affection= you touched her out of
curiosity to see how she would react.

Hi" ad ru0
!ossible defense# ?ou thought your car struck a deer so you didn$t stop.
"o defense# ?ou left the scene to get help= you thought the pedestrian wasn$t seriously

!ossible defense# you thought the victim had a weapon and you killed him in self defense= the
child slipped out of your hands and struck its head on the floor= you were 8ust fooling around
with the gun and didn$t know it was loaded.

"o defense# ?ou killed her to put her out of her misery= you only intended to cut her slightly
with the knife= you only intended to wound him in the shoulder but your aim was off= you
only shook the child to get him to stop crying.

!ossible defense# #he knife was already near the bed and you held it in your hand while you
were having sex so she wouldn$t get accidentally cut.
"o defense+ ?ou pointed the knife at her 8ust to scare her initially I you never would have
actually used it to cut her.

In conclusion" individuals who commit crimes often reduce the anxiety and guilt associated
with the crime by utili@ing defense mechanisms. A suspect who employs the defense
mechanism of rationali@ation reBdescribes the original intention of his behavior. #here are
certain characteristics which suggest that a suspect may have 8ustified his criminal behavior
through rationali@ation. !hen an investigator incorporates rationali@ation within an
interrogation theme" he should avoid describing a scenario which could offer the suspect a
legal defense for engaging in the criminal behavior.
*uarding Against Clai)s of -alse I)prison)ent 3ovember C Aecember 200D
The concet of Efalse imrisonmentE is usually associated "ith a criminal act relating
to abduction or 'idnaing. :o"ever, this "eb ti relates to false imrisonment as a
civil suit. The definition varies some"hat state by state, but the civil claim of false
imrisonment generally involves creating an environment "here a erson is
significantly derived of their freedom to leave an area. & comany or agency that is
found guilty of false imrisonment may face huge unitive damages.
!t is "ell established that a erson is more li'ely to tell the truth in a rivate, controlled
environment. !t is desirable, therefore, to conduct an intervie" or interrogation of an
emloyee susected of "rong-doing a"ay from that ersonFs "or' area, and behind
closed doors. :o"ever, if the investigator exerts too much control over the individual,
he or she may invite an allegation of false imrisonment. The best defense against
such a claim is to initially advise an emloyee that the intervie" is voluntary and that
he or she is free to leave at any time. /hether the advisement is verbal or in "riting,
it must clearly ac'no"ledge the emloyeeFs right to terminate the intervie". #or this
statement to be meaningful, any unambiguous effort by the emloyee to terminate
the intervie" must, of course, be honored.
To hel further document the voluntariness of an intervie" the investigator should
generally rovide the emloyee "ith some notice rior to the intervie". This advance
notice "ill give the emloyee the oortunity to contact an attorney, family member
or union reresentative for advice. Ten minutes of rior notice for an intervie" is
sufficient rovided that the emloyee has access to a hone. !n this regard, "hile it
"ould be accetable to as' an emloyee to turn off their cell hone rior to an
intervie", it "ould be imroer to confiscate the ersonFs hone.
There are some circumstances in "hich an intervie" may be conducted "ithout
giving the emloyee any advance notice. !n some cases, it may even be necessary
to create a false retense for the intervie" in an effort to have the emloyee aear
at a desirable intervie"ing location. !f an investigator decides to use subterfuge or
surrise in an effort to elicit information from an emloyee, there should be an
identifiable reason for doing so, e.g., fear that evidence "ould be destroyed, fear that
the emloyee "ill not sho" u for the intervie", etc.
Over the years an informal list of criteria has been develoed to assist courts in
evaluating a civil claim of false imrisonment. One of these is the deendency of the
emloyee on the investigator to leave the area. 6onsider the situation "here the
investigator drives an emloyee to cororate head7uarters ten miles from the
emloyeeFs car. #urther, that the intervie" is conducted on the second floor of the
building and a security card is re7uired to oen exit doors or oerate the elevator.
This emloyee is clearly deendent on the investigator to leave the building or return
to their car. /hile these circumstances certainly do not constitute illegal confinement,
they may contribute to the ercetion that the emloyeeFs freedom to leave the area
"as significantly derived. 6onse7uently, the investigator needs to anticiate this
ossibility and erhas offer the sub(ect a ass card to leave the building or clearly
advise the emloyee that at any time he or she can terminate the intervie" and they
"ill be driven bac' to their car.
& similar circumstance may exist "hen an emloyee is considered to be Eunder
control of the investigatorE. !n an actual consultation, an emloyee "as intervie"ed
for seven hours by internal investigators. /hen the emloyee as'ed to use the
bathroom she "as accomanied by a female investigator to the bathroom. Auring
lunch the emloyee "as escorted by the investigators to the cafeteria "here she ate
her sand"ich "ith the investigators. /hen she re7uested a brea' from the
7uestioning, an investigator accomanied her to the hall"ay "here they both sat until
she "as "illing to continue ans"ering 7uestions. The emloyee "as under the
investigatorFs constant control the entire seven hours and "as not allo"ed to be on
her o"n until after she signed a confession.
The environment of the intervie" room is another criteria courts consider in deciding
false imrisonment cases. !t is a clear invitation to a claim of false imrisonment if the
intervie" is conducted behind a loc'ed door "ith only the investigator ossessing the
'ey to the loc'. The same sychological effect may be claimed "hen the investigator
ositions his or her chair bet"een the emloyeeFs chair and the door. &nother
contributing factor to this claim may involve three or four investigators
simultaneously, and aggressively, 7uestioning a susect.
3one of the receding criteria is generally considered sufficient, in and of itself, to
constitute false imrisonment. These cases are generally decided after considering
the contribution and "eight of multile factors. :o"ever, there are statements or
actions by the investigator that much more directly suort a claim of false
imrisonment. &n action that certainly sends the message that a erson is not free to
leave a room is the investigator "ho hysically restrains the emloyee from leaving
the room. & statement that "ill have a similar effect is telling the emloyee that he or
she is not free to leave. !n the earlier mentioned consultation the emloyee, after
seven hours of 7uestioning, finally signed a confession and then as'ed to leave the
room. $he "as told, EGouFre not going any"here until )suervisor* hears "hat you
have done.E There "as no 7uestion at this oint that the emloyee erceived that she
"as not free to leave the intervie" room. This statement, couled "ith the totality of
other circumstances, resulted in a finding of false imrisonment and the (ury a"arded
a substantial financial a"ard for damages against the comany.
!n conclusion, there are many social and business situations in "hich a erson may
feel comelled to remain in an uncomfortable environment, e.g., attending a lengthy
"edding, a boring meeting, a dinner "ith in-la"s. Merely exeriencing a strong desire
to leave an area does not constitute false imrisonment. @ather, to suort the civil
claim of false imrisonment, a erson must be sub(ected to identifiable
circumstances, actions, or statements that "ould cause a reasonable erson to
believe that he or she "ould not be free to leave the area if they made an effort to do
so. The follo"ing recommendations are offered to guard against claims of false
imrisonment "hen conducting a non-custodial, voluntary intervie" or interrogation<
=. !deally, the sub(ect should be given some notice rior to the intervie".
2. &t the outset of the intervie" advise the sub(ect, verbally or in "riting, that the
intervie" is voluntary and that the sub(ect is free to leave at any time.
>. Ao not revent the sub(ect from communicating "ith others.
B. Ao not hysically bloc' a sub(ectFs exit from a room by ositioning the
investigatorFs chair bet"een the sub(ect and the door.
H. The sub(ect should be allo"ed to freely use the bathroom, obtain food or drin'
or to ta'e a brea' "ithout being accomanied by an investigator.
D. . Ao not hysically revent a sub(ect from leaving an area.
%. Ao not tell a sub(ect that he or she is not free to leave the area.
!n addition to the above considerations you should certainly chec' "ith your
cororate legal counsel to ascertain any guidelines or rocedures that they "ant you
to follo" "hen 7uestioning emloyees.
%uo"i! S"a"e*e"s i a O'e A11ou"0 Tru"hful or De1e'"i#e.
Se'"e*&er; O1"o&er
)uring most interviews the investigator should develop an open" or narrative account
from the sub8ect. It is called an open account because the investigator$s 'uestion encourages
the sub8ect to relate everything relative to the area of in'uiry and once the sub8ect starts
talking" the investigator does not interrupt the account. Gxamples of 'uestions that elicit an
open account include" 6ary tell me exactly what happened to cause the cut on your hand.
or" Deorge" tell me everything you did last &riday from the time you got home from work
until the time you went to bed.

#here are many aspects of an open account that can be analy@ed to assess the
credibility of the person making it+ )oes the account contain an introduction" main event and
an epilogue or does it focus entirely on the main event* Is the account detailed or is it vague*
Are the person$s recollections reasonable or selective* )oes the logic of the account follow
normal human behavior or does it describe behaviors that do not make sense* 5owever" there
is one aspect of an open account that has not been specifically researched and yet is very
ob8ective in its identification. #his behavior is the inclusion of a 'uoted statement.

)uring our training seminars we present the case of a young women who claims to
have been abducted at knife point from a parking lot. #he following is a transcript of portions
of her open account+

5e ended up on the right side of me and he said" P$ou%re taking me where & want to
go% and I said" '"o &%m not% and he said '$es you are% and he got in the car. 2-ater in
the account3 And then he said" '$ou%re not driving fast enough% and he said" 'pull
over & want to drive.% !hen he got out of the car I was able to drive away.

#he italici@ed statements are each 'uotes of statements the victim decided to include in her
open account. (he certainly could have relayed what happened without including the 'uoted
statements. #herefore" the inclusion of the 'uotes was purposeful on her part. &or this reason
the inclusion of 'uoted statements represents a potential behavior symptom to help detect
truth or deception.

In this particular case the abduction account turned out to be fabricated to gain the
attention of the woman$s boyfriend. 5owever" a review of other videoBtaped open accounts
reveals instances where verified truthful sub8ects have also included 'uoted statements within
their narrative account. Conse'uently" we cannot offer a dogmatic guideline that the inclusion
of 'uotes within a narrative account is indicative of deception. ut we can develop a
theoretical set of rules to evaluate this potentially valuable behavior symptom.

efore offering these guidelines" it is important that the investigator differentiates
between 'uotes and summaries within an account. #he statement" 5e pulled my hair and
called me a bitch is not a 'uote. >ather" this sub8ect is merely offering a summary of a
conversation. /n the other hand" the statement" 5e pulled my hair and said" P?ou are a bitch
and I$m going to kill you$ is a 'uote. #he following guidelines only refer to true 'uotes that
are included within a narrative account.

/. The i1lusio of -uo"ed s"a"e*e"s i a arra"i#e a11ou" should 1ause "he
i#es"i!a"or "o &e sus'i1ious of "he a11ou". #here is a strong tendency of truthful suspects
to restrict their accounts to only information they know" for certain" is truthful. Gven when
recalling an incident that occurred six or twelve hours ago" most people would not accurately
recall" word for word" exact statements made during the incident. !hen thinking back over
the event" particular words or phrases may be accurately recalled but it would be unusual to
recall an entire sentence. Applying this logic" the narrative statement" 5e pointed a knife at
me and said that he would kill me if I called the police is more credible than the following
statement+ 5e pointed a knife at me and I said" P!hat are you going to do*$ 5e then said" PI
will kill you if you call the police. 2%otice that the first statement does not contain an actual
'uotation but rather summari@es the contents of a conversation.3
). The i1lusio of -uo"ed dialo!ues is *ore "('i1al of a fa&ri1a"ed a11ou". A sub8ect
who is generating a fabricated account must create a credible story line to convince the
listener that the event really happened. As the sub8ect constructs the fictitious account the
behavioral aspects of the story start to evolve BB !hat was done" when it was done" where it
was done and what statements were made during the incident. ecause the account is being
spontaneously generated" the statements surface as an imagined dialogue. )uring our review
of videoBtaped narrative statements" there was no instance of a verified truthful account that
contained a 'uoted dialogue" e.g." 5e said 2'uote3 and then I said 2'uote3
2. A -uo"e "ha" 1o"ais ui-ue or e*o"ioal la!ua!e is *ore li,el( "ru"hful. A
legitimate rape victim$s open account concluded with the following statement+ I was sitting
on the ground and looked up at him. 5e pointed the gun at my head and said" Pprepare to
meet your maker.% I 8ust put my head down and cried. It is reasonable that the victim would
remember" word for word" this very emotional statement and" therefore" have the confidence
to include it within her account as an exact 'uote. (imilarly" if the 'uoted phrase represents an
unusual or uni'ue phrase" it is more likely that the person would accurately remember it and
be comfortable including it within their response" e.g." #he guy rolled down his window and
yelled" P?ou flat(landers don$t know how to drive$.
#his circumstance is 'uite different from 'uotes that are included in an open account
simply to increase the credibility of the account. #he following is an example of gratuitous
'uotes that are included in an account simply to help sell the sub8ect$s version of events+ I
told him" PIf you don$t leave right now I$m calling the police"$ but he continued to walk
toward me and I knew what was going to happen. I then said" P1lease don$t hurt me$.

+. %ualified -uo"es should o" &e i"er're"ed as ei"her "ru"hful or de1e'"i#e. #he
following is an example of a 'ualified 'uote+ #he man walked right up to me and said
something like" Pgive me your money$" or" $I want your money$. #he 'ualifying phrase
something like may indicate that this is a truthful sub8ect who is trying hard to be accurate
in his account.

Conversely" a sub8ect who is generating a fictitious account may experience anxiety after
including a fabricated 'uote within the account and" in an effort to reduce this anxiety" 'ualify
the 'uotation after making it. #he following is an example of a deceptive suspect who felt the
need to 'ualify a fabricated 'uote+ 5e asked me for the money and I told him that I could get
it by (aturday. 5e got angry and said" P& want that money now%" or" P& need that money now.% I
can$t remember exactly what he said but that$s when I knew I had to get money somehow.
;nder this circumstance" the 'ualified phrase" I can$t remember what he said almost serves
as a retraction that the words were ever said at all
The ole of .otivation in %etection of %eception esearch July-&ugust, 200D
4arly reorts on the accuracy of the olygrah techni7ue "ere largely anecdotal. #or
examle, if ten susects "ere administered a olygrah examination on a articular
crime and one of them failed and subse7uently confessed, the techni7ue "as
reorted to be =00I accurate. Once roer research methodology "as alied,
"here random olygrah charts of verified truthful and decetive susects "ere
blindly scored by a number of trained examiners, the actual accuracy "as sho"n to
be in the ?0I range.
!n the =?%0+s the academic community started researching the olygrah techni7ue
using moc' crime aradigms. & tyical laboratory study involved instructing half of
the sub(ects to ta'e money from a location in a room and the other half not to ta'e
anything from the room. These sub(ects "ere then administered a olygrah
examination to determine ho" often the examiner could correctly identify EguiltyE or
EinnocentE sub(ects. The olygrah techni7ue does not fare "ell in laboratory studies.
Most of these studies reort accuracies slightly above chance levels. !n fact, there is
such a discreancy bet"een laboratory and field research "ithin the olygrah
techni7ue that "hen conducting meta-analysis or other intra-study comarisons, the
findings are al"ays treated searately, "ith no effort to generali1e laboratory results
to the field.
Aifferences bet"een laboratory and field research are not restricted to the olygrah
techni7ue. The same attern emerges "hen evaluating the behavior symtoms of
actual criminal susects comared to laboratory sub(ects "ho articiated in a moc'
crime or other contrived situation. #or examle, "hen evaluators are as'ed to vie"
video-taed intervie"s of laboratory sub(ects "ho have been as'ed to lay the role of
a guilty or innocent erson, the evaluators are very oor at identifying "hich sub(ects
are lying and "hich ones are telling the truth. :o"ever, "hen evaluators are as'ed to
do the same tas' using video-taed intervie"s of actual criminal susects, they
achieve accuracy rates far above chance levels.
/hat is different bet"een sub(ects in a laboratory setting and actual criminal
susects8 The rimary difference is the level of motivation the sub(ect exeriences at
the time of the olygrah examination or intervie". !n sychology, the construct of
motivation is used to describe the determination or drive exerted to accomlish a
articular goal. #urthermore, motivation is closely associated "ith ho" clearly a goal
is defined.
& concet fundamental to all detection of decetion techni7ues is that innocent and
guilty sub(ects form different goals during a olygrah examination or intervie".
$ecifically, innocent susects form a goal of needing to be believed "hereas a
guilty susect+s goal is to not be detected in his lie. 6onse7uently, during an intervie"
or olygrah examination an investigator is not really detecting EliesE, but rather
inferring truth or decetion by identifying the sub(ect+s underlying goal through
behavioral observations.

&t this oint it may be instructive to return to the motivational differences bet"een
sub(ects in laboratory and field studies. & laboratory sub(ect "ho is lying about ta'ing
J20 from a des' dra"er is not facing significant conse7uences if the investigator
detects his lie. Auring the intervie" the sub(ect is not concerned that if the
investigator detects his lies he "ill be exelled from college, lose resect or face
ossible criminal charges. This lac' of erceived conse7uence "ill cause oor goal
develoment and minimal effort to accomlish that goal. $imilarly the innocent
laboratory sub(ect "ho did not ta'e any money is also not concerned that he may be
exelled from college, charged "ith theft or have his reutation ruined if the
investigator mista'enly believes that he did ta'e the money. /ithout significantly
different goals, there exist no meaningful difference bet"een the EguiltyE and
EinnocentE sub(ects attitudes, ercetions or behaviors.
:o"ever, consider a grou of emloyees being 7uestioned about the theft of J20
from a co-"or'er+s urse. 4ach emloyee is facing robable termination, certain
ublic humiliation and a ossible criminal record. Knder this high-motivation
circumstance, innocent emloyees are going to form redictable attitudes to"ard the
intervie" as "ell as the issue under investigation, e.g., high confidence in being
exonerated, forming harsh (udgments to"ard the guilty, and being comfortable
seculating about ossible susects and motives for the crime. Auring an intervie"
innocent susects "ill be actively involved in accomlishing their goal of convincing
the investigator that they did not steal the missing J20.
6onversely, the guilty susect "ho is highly motivated to avoid detection "ill form
7uite different attitudes to"ard the issue under investigation and the intervie", e.g.,
exhibit a lac' of confidence in being exonerated, attemt to convince the investigator
that no theft occurred, aear uncomfortable and unhelful in seculating about the
crime and exress forgiveness to"ard the guilty erson. Auring his intervie", the
guilty emloyee "ill utili1e all of his s'ills and abilities to accomlish his goal of
convincing the investigator that he did not steal the J20.
&s this examle illustrates, it is not the seriousness of the crime that affects a
sub(ect+s motivation; the level of motivation exerienced by a sub(ect is dictated by
the sub(ect+s ercetion of the conse7uences that "ill be suffered if it is determined
)correctly or incorrectly* that he engaged in the crime. & sub(ect+s level of motivation
is not only imortant "hen evaluating ublished research but also "hen considering
a sub(ect+s behavior in field situations. The follo"ing circumstances each involve
situations in "hich a sub(ect may exerience decreased motivation, and therefore
offer misleading behavior symtoms during an intervie"<
Interviewing !u"#ects -acing .ini)al Consequence
$ome (uveniles have had so much contact "ith the criminal (ustice system that they
'no" that the "orse conse7uence facing them is a short stay in a (uvenile home.
$imilarly, a recently hired emloyee "ho engages in dishonesty 'no"s that he has
little to lose if the investigator detects his decetion. Knder both of these
circumstances guilty sub(ects may not form attitudes tyical of a decetive erson.
This is esecially true "hen the sub(ect has a lo" level of social consciousness and
erceives minor unishments as a mar' of honor among eers.
#ortunately, during these investigations factual analysis often oints to"ard the
robable involvement of the guilty erson. & detection of decetion guideline that has
roven valuable in many investigations is to not allo" aarent truthful behavior
symtoms to out-"eigh decetive factual analysis. /hen investigative information
oints to"ard a articular susect, in most situations that erson should be
interrogated regardless of aarent truthful behavior.
Interviewing !u"#ects Who -eel I))une -ro) Consequences
There are some sub(ects "ho believe, because of their osition or social influence,
that they can escae conse7uences for acts of "rong-doing. 4xamles include
rominent businessmen, o"erful oliticians, (udges, high-ran'ing military or la"
enforcement ersonnel. !ndividuals "ho fit this descrition often dislay a feeling of
entitlement as if they are Eabove the la".E
!n one-on-one allegations sometimes the accused has much more authority and
credibility than the victim. 4xamles of this circumstance includes a teacher accused
of sexual conduct "ith a mentally retarded student or a olice office accused of
extorting sexual favors from a rostitute. Knder this circumstance the guilty susect
may be 7uite confident that others "ill accet his "ord over that of the victim+s.
/hen intervie"ing a susect "ho may fall into this category, it is beneficial to
emhasi1e the ob(ectivity of the investigation and analysis of evidence. !n essence,
the investigator is telling the susect that neither of them can control the outcome of
the investigation. !n addition, it is recommended to start the intervie" "ith a
statement similar to the follo"ing, ELeorge, if you did solicit sex from that "oman our
investigation "ill clearly indicate that. On the other hand, if you did nothing "rong "e
"ill be able to rove that as "ell.E
Interviewing a *uilty !u"#ect Early %uring an Investigation
!t is not uncommon for a guilty sub(ect to be 7uestioned early during an investigation
and escae detection. -resumably, these sub(ects aroach the 7uestioning as
EroutineE and do not exerience significant fear of detection during the intervie". &fter
incriminating evidence is develoed and the sub(ect is intervie"ed a second time, the
heightened level of motivation causes the susect to exhibit attitudes and behavior
symtoms tyical of a guilty erson.
Just as it is al"ays a good ractice to re-intervie" traumati1ed victims or "itnesses a
coule of days after the initial reort, it is often rudent to conduct a second intervie"
of initial sub(ects even if there "ere no aarent behavior symtoms of decetion
during the first intervie". The mere fact that the sub(ect is being 7uestioned a second
time "ill heighten the motivation level of both innocent and guilty sub(ects, causing
their behavior to be more definitive and reliable.

Interviewing !u"#ects With &ow Intelligence
To areciate the ossible conse7uences associated "ith success or failure of
accomlishing a goal involves assessment, comrehension, (udgment and
'no"ledge, e.g., intelligence. & susect "ith a lo"er intelligence may understand the
difference bet"een lying and telling the truth, but not fully gras the concet of going
to (ail, losing resect and trust or the financial significance of aying a substantial
forfeiture. !nvestigators should al"ays be cautious in dra"ing inferences based on
behavior symtoms exhibited by sub(ects "ith lo" intelligence.
Approaching A !u"#ect As If /e Is Innocent
&n innocent sub(ect "ill not form redictable attitudes and ercetions if he is not
concerned that the investigator might believe he is involved in the crime. 6learly, it
"ould be imroer for the investigator to start an intervie" in the follo"ing manner,
EMi'e, as you robably 'no" there "as a fire in your neighbor+s garage over the
"ee'end. ! certainly don+t thin' that you had anything to do "ith starting it, but ! still
need to as' you a fe" 7uestions about it. /ould that be alright "ith you8E
The innocent susect must exerience the need to convince the investigator that he
did not commit the crime. Only "hen the innocent susect understands that the most
effective "ay to be exonerated is to hel the investigator solve the crime, does he
manifest redictable attitudes and ercetions e.g., offers cooeration, discusses
ossible susects, eliminates ossible susects, ma'es admissions against self-
interest, forms harsh (udgments to"ard guilty, etc.
& fundamental rincial of detection of decetion theory is that there should be no
difference bet"een the intervie" of a susect "ho is more li'ely innocent or guilty of
a crime. 9oth susects must form a secific goal during the intervie" and be
motivated to accomlish that goal. The follo"ing introduction satisfies this
re7uirement< EMi'e, as you 'no" there "as a fire in your neighbor+s garage over the
"ee'end and ! am intervie"ing eole "ho "ere in the area of the fire. $ome of the
7uestions !+ll be as'ing you ! already 'no" the ans"er to. The most imortant thing is
that you be comletely truthful "ith me before you leave today. 9efore "e go any
further, let me as', did you start that fire8E
Interviewing !uspects Who /ave *iven +p
&n interesting henomenon "ithin the olygrah techni7ue is that if a sub(ect
becomes convinced that the test is infallible, there is a ris' that the sub(ect "ill
become emotionally unresonsive. The entire remise of the control 7uestion
olygrah techni7ue is built uon the sub(ect directing sychological attention to"ard
a articular 7uestion tye )control 7uestion for truthful, relevant 7uestion for
decetive*. The focus of the sub(ect+s attention is identified through hysiological
changes resulting from the sub(ect+s fear that he "ill sho" a Elie resonseE to that
7uestion. On the other hand, if the sub(ect believes that the olygrah "ill most
certainly indicate that he is lying the sub(ect "ill simly ans"er the test 7uestions and
not exerience a significant emotional resonse; for the olygrah techni7ue to
function as designed, the decetive sub(ect must have some hoe that he can get
through the examination "ithout being detected and the truthful sub(ect must have
some fear that the results may indicate that he "as involved in the crime.
-sychologically, both the innocent and guilty sub(ects must believe they have some
control over the outcome of the examination.
The same is true during an intervie". This is one of the reasons an investigator
should not become accusatory during an intervie" or over"helm a sub(ect "ith
incriminating evidence early during an intervie". & guilty sub(ect "ho erceives that
the investigator is already convinced that he committed the crime may simly
"ithdra" and not form attitudes or ercetions tyical of a guilty erson. #or similar
reasons, a sub(ect "ho is 7uestioned shortly after committing a crime and is 'nee-
dee in incriminating evidence may not form attitudes tyical of other guilty susects
"ho, during the intervie", erceive a ossibility of getting a"ay "ith their crime if they
are convincing enough.
!n conclusion, there is no such thing as a lie detector. /hen eole lie or tell the truth
they do not roduce some identifiable attern on a olygrah chart nor do they
engage in any uni7ue observable behaviors. @ather, detection of decetion
techni7ues have been develoed to infer truth or decetion based on identifying the
different goals that guilty and innocent eole tend to form "hen 7uestioned about an
act of "rong-doing. :o"ever, it is not engaging in the act of "rong-doing that causes
the goals to form. !t is the erceived conse7uence associated "ith the act that
causes the innocent erson to be strongly driven to "ant eole to 'no" that he did
not commit the act or the guilty erson to do everything in his o"er to try to
convince eole that he did not commit the act., e.g., motivation. The effects of
motivation are not only imortant "hen revie"ing research studies but also during
field intervie"s. Just because an investigator is intervie"ing an actual criminal
susect does not necessarily mean that the susect is oerating from a high-
motivation ersective.
Eliciting A !u"#ect$s Willingness to !u")it to a 0oluntary Interview MayCJune
!n most instances, sub(ects "ill agree to ans"er an investigator+s 7uestions if the
conversation occurs at the sub(ect+s home, lace of business or over the hone.
#rom an investigative ersective, ho"ever, it is far more roductive to have the
sub(ect agree to come to the investigator+s office for the intervie". Once the
investigator is alone "ith the sub(ect in a controlled environment a structured
intervie" can be conducted to assess the sub(ect+s robable involvement in the
offense. !f the sub(ect+s statements and behavior are indicative of innocence, the
erson can be eliminated as a susect in the case. On the other hand, if the results
of the intervie" suggest robable involvement in the offense, the investigator can
move directly into an interrogation in an effort to obtain evidence of the sub(ect+s guilt
in the form of a confession.
5egally, an investigator cannot comel a sub(ect to submit to an intervie". Therefore,
ersuasive tactics are often re7uired to convince a sub(ect to come to the
investigator+s office to be intervie"ed. This article "ill identify a number of rinciles
designed to increase the robability that a sub(ect "ill agree to submit to a voluntary
intervie". The focus here "ill be on non-custodial intervie"s "here the investigator
has not ta'en the susect into custody and, therefore, no Miranda "aiver is needed
rior to 7uestioning the susect.
12 In general3 "e truthful a"out the purpose for the interview2 #or the sub(ect to
ma'e a 'no"ing and voluntary decision to be intervie"ed, he must 'no" "hat issue
"ill be discussed during the intervie". There are t"o excetions to this guideline. /e
believe that it may be roer to establish a false retense for a non-custodial
intervie" if )=* there is concern that the subject may destroy evidence or, )2* the
subject represents a flight risk where the investigator would lose authority over the
6onsider an investigation "here a boo''eeer is susected of embe11ling funds by
altering comuter invoices. #urther, the boo''eeer has already discussed her
ending retirement. !f the boo''eeer is as'ed to come to the manager+s office to be
7uestioned about ossible theft of comany funds certainly she could delete the
comuter records of her embe11lement or resign from the comany. !t, therefore,
may be advisable to arrange a rivate meeting "ith her under the false retense of
discussing ho" best to train her relacement "hen she retires. Once the intervie"
begins the boo''eeer should be told that the true urose for the intervie" is to
discuss the results of an internal investigation that indicates diversion of comany
42 The investigator$s description of the issue under investigation should "e
vague2 #or a number of reasons, secific details of a crime should not be revealed to
the susect. #irst, the investigator can assess the sub(ect+s ossible involvement in
the crime if, during the intervie", the sub(ect reveals information that only the guilty
erson "ould 'no". $econd, details of the crime that only the guilty erson "ould
'no" can be used to corroborate a confession. #or examle, the follo"ing statement
to a sub(ect in a hit and run investigation contains too much information<
E:arry, last $aturday evening at =0<H0 a "hite male named -aul $tone
"as struc' by a silver -ontiac Lrand &m outside the 9M9 tavern. The
vehicle left the scene going north on Jac'son $treet. /itnesses
reorted that the driver of the vehicle "as "earing a yello" "indbrea'er
li'e the one you+re "earing.E
!n addition, the investigator+s descrition of the crime should avoid legal terminology.
& husband "ho 'illed his "ife during an argument is unli'ely to voluntarily agree to
meet "ith the investigator to be 7uestioned about the murder of his wife. :o"ever,
he may agree to be intervie"ed to rovide further details surrounding her death. The
follo"ing list offers non-descritive terminology for various crimes<
&rson N to determine if the fire may have been intentionally started
9urglary N ta'ing things from a car; entering a home
#raud N discreancies in aer"or'; 7uestions concerning a document
MurderN circumstances surrounding )victim+s* death
@ae N had sex "ith; sex "as not consensual
@obbery N too' money from a cler' )li7uor store*
$exually touch N had contact "ith the child in a manner that uset her
$tolen deosit N missing deosit
Theft N shortages, mysterious disaearance
52 The investigator should esta"lish a non-threatening pretense for as6ing the
su"#ect to "e interviewed2 The investigator must areciate that neither innocent
nor guilty susects en(oy being intervie"ed concerning an act of "rong-doing and
that some ersuasion "ill be re7uired to elicit a erson+s cooeration. !n essence, the
investigator must resent the intervie" in a ositive light. On the other hand, if the
investigator aroaches the sub(ect as if there is little doubt that he committed the
crime under investigation, the sub(ect is unli'ely to voluntarily agree to meet "ith the
investigator for a session that essentially "ill be an accusatory interrogation.
& common non-threatening retense is to bring u the intervie" as an oortunity to
be cleared in the investigation. #or examle, "hen a grou of emloyees each has
access to a deosit that "as stolen or a atient "ho "as hysically abused, it ma'es
erfect sense to the emloyees that they all need to be intervie"ed in order to
resolve the investigation. !n essence, it is in the emloyee+s best interest to agree to
be intervie"ed as a means not only to be exonerated, but also to catch the guilty
$ometimes a non-threatening retense "ill involve the sub(ect+s desire to obtain a
secific goal. 6onsider a sub(ect "ho submitted an insurance claim re7uesting
J2H,000 relacement value for his stolen vehicle. The investigator may exlain that
there are a coule of 7uestions about the theft and that the 7uic'est "ay to settle the
claim "ould be for the claimant to come in for an intervie". $imilarly, "hen a secific
accusation has been made, such as a student "ho claimed that her teacher sexually
touched her during recess, the investigator can resent the intervie" as a means to
obtain the desired goal of being exonerated.
Knder some circumstances establishing a reasonable retense for the intervie" is
more difficult. #or examle, a confidential informant may have named the susect as
one of several eole involved in a recent home invasion or, on a hunch, the
investigator may "ant to re-intervie" a revious susect in a t"enty-year-old
homicide. Knder these circumstances it may be necessary to establish a false
retense to ersuade the sub(ect to agree to be intervie"ed. To rotect the
informant+s name in the home invasion case, the investigator might tell the sub(ect
that one of the victim+s neighbors sa" the susect outside of the victim+s home on the
night of the crime. !n the homicide case the investigator might establish a retense
for the intervie" based on Ene" forensic technologyE "hich laces the susect near
the victim around the time of her death. &nother retense could be that an
ac7uaintance of the victim recently came for"ard "ith a letter the victim "rote shortly
before her death that mentions the susect+s name.
4stablishing a false retense for the intervie" "ill almost al"ays involve reference to
some fabricated or distorted evidence connecting the sub(ect to the victim or crime
scene. This is al"ays a ris'y rocedure in that the sub(ect may either call the
investigator+s bluff and as' to see the evidence or be scared off and refuse to come
in for an intervie". #or these reasons, the investigator should carefully abide by the
next guideline.
72 %o not overwhel) the suspect with evidence of his guilt2 Most criminal
susects 'no" that the olygrah techni7ue is 7uite accurate and yet every day
guilty susects voluntarily agree to ta'e a olygrah examination and subse7uently
confess after failing the examination. /hy "ould a erson ris' having their crime
detected by ta'ing a olygrah examination8 The rimary reason for this is that the
susect believes he can EbeatE the olygrah examination and, if he is successful in
doing so, he "ill avoid the conse7uences associated "ith his crime.
On the other hand, if a guilty susect believed that the olygrah techni7ue "as
??.?I accurate it is highly unli'ely that he "ould agree to ta'e the examination.
$imilarly, if the investigator brings u evidence that strongly oints to the sub(ect+s
robable guilt, the sub(ect may "ell decide that his best chance to get a"ay "ith his
crime is to refuse to be intervie"ed. 6onse7uently, any evidence used to ersuade a
sub(ect to submit to an intervie" should not directly incriminate the sub(ect. @ather,
the evidence should indirectly connect the sub(ect to the victim or the crime scene..
/ith this rincile in mind, the follo"ing "ould be an imroer use of evidence to
ersuade a sub(ect to agree to be intervie"ed, EJim, your A3& "as found during the
autosy of the victim and "e have your fingerrints from the inside of her aartment.
! "ould li'e you to come in for an intervie" to determine "hether or not you murdered
her.E 6onversely, the follo"ing statement is much more li'ely to result in the sub(ect
agreeing to be intervie"ed, EJim, ! am in the rocess of tal'ing to eole "ho 'ne"
Mary $mith and ! got your name from her address boo'. ! have some of her co-
"or'ers coming in this morning but !+m free at 2<00. /ould that be a convenient time
to meet "ith me8E
The second statement offers a logical, yet non-threatening, connection bet"een the
sub(ect and the crime. 9ecause of this, the sub(ect is more li'ely to agree to be
intervie"ed not only because he believes that the investigator has no roof of his
guilt but also because there are other sub(ects "ho have aarently agreed to be
intervie"ed. This leads to the final rincile.
82 If credi"le3 relate that other suspects will also "e interviewed2 &nother reason
that guilty susects agree to ta'e a olygrah examination is that they do not "ant to
stand out as being different from other susects by being the only erson not "illing
to ta'e the examination. 9y surrounding a susect "ith other real or fictitious
susects, it is much more li'ely that the erson "ill agree to be intervie"ed.
!f the investigator imlies that the sub(ect is one of many ossible susects in the
case to be intervie"ed it reinforces the hoe in the guilty erson+s mind that he may
get a"ay "ith his crime. To maintain the guise of innocence, the guilty susect does
not "ant to oint the finger at himself by refusing to be intervie"ed.
!n conclusion, it is generally not difficult to ersuade innocent sub(ects to agree to be
intervie"ed concerning someone else+s crime. Lenerally innocent sub(ects agree to
cooerate "ith an investigation in an effort to be exonerated and to hel catch the
guilty erson. :o"ever, often finesse and even guile is re7uired to ersuade a guilty
sub(ect to agree to be intervie"ed.
& sub(ect "ho is guilty of a crime must be convinced that it is in his best interest to
submit to an intervie" at the investigator+s location. Therefore, the investigator should
resent the intervie" in a ositive light, erhas as a means for the sub(ect to be
eliminated from susicion. The investigator should ma'e it aear that other sub(ects
are being scheduled for intervie"s and not over"helm the sub(ect "ith incriminating
evidence. The guilty sub(ect agrees to be intervie"ed because he believes by doing
so he "ill get a"ay "ith his crime; the investigator should do nothing to disel that
The +se of an Interpreter %uring an Interview MarchC&ril 200D
& 7uestion that is fre7uently as'ed during our seminars concerns the roer use of
an interreter during an intervie". This is articularly true "hen "e train military
ersonnel "ho regularly utili1e translators in their effort to develo intelligence from a
variety of sources. Our staff has successfully used interreters both during intervie"s
and interrogations. :o"ever, because interrogation is a more comlex rocess, this
article "ill focus on the use of an interreter during an intervie".
The goal of an intervie" is to develo information from a sub(ect and assess the
credibility of that information. To accomlish this, the investigator must as' the right
7uestions, hrase 7uestions roerly, as' aroriate follo"-u 7uestions and
evaluate the sub(ectFs verbal, nonverbal and aralinguistic communication. 4ach of
these tas's is deendent uon the investigatorFs ability to communicate effectively
"ith the sub(ect and correctly interret the sub(ectFs resonses to 7uestions. /hen
the investigator does not sea' the same language as the sub(ect, the success of the
intervie" becomes deendent on the s'ill of the interreter.
Selecting the Interpreter
!n a erfect "orld a susect "ho sea's a foreign language "ould be intervie"ed by
a trained investigator "ho sea's the same language. Knfortunately, there are a very
limited number of "ell trained multi-lingual intervie"ers; thus the necessity of an
interreter. /hen selecting or recruiting individuals to serve as an interreter during
the intervie" of a criminal susect, the follo"ing considerations should be 'et in
=. The interreter should not be familiar "ith the susect. The interreterFs role
during the intervie" is merely to accurately translate language and should be
erceived by the sub(ect as a neutral, uninvolved arty of the communication.
Ksing a member of the sub(ectFs family or other erson ac7uainted "ith the
sub(ect as an interreter is clearly undesirable. #irst, the interreter may be
symathetic to"ard the sub(ectFs situation and not accurately translate
incriminating information. $econd, the sub(ect may erceive a familiar
interreter as an adversary "hich may reduce that ersonFs fear of detection,
ultimately ma'ing it more difficult to detect decetion.
2. The interreter should be fluent in both languages. !t is an added benefit if the
interreter has an understanding of the sub(ectFs cultural bac'ground, religious
beliefs and value system.
>. The interreter should be emotionally mature and confident. This is articularly
imortant if the issue under investigation involves a sexual issue or a heinous
crime. !f the interreter is uncomfortable discussing sensitive or revolting
toics he may alter language used by the investigator or sub(ect "hich, in turn,
could affect the integrity of the entire intervie".
!n many investigations, there is no EidealE interreter so the investigator "ill have to
ma'e do "ith available ersonnel. There are a number of things an investigator can
do to comensate for an interreterFs shortcomings<
=. !f ossible, the intervie" should be electronically recorded. This "ill not only
memoriali1e the session but also serve as an incentive for the interreter to
ma'e accurate translations. !f it is not ossible to electronically record the
session but there is a concern that the interreter may attemt to rotect the
sub(ect and not accurately convey 7uestions or resonses, the interreter can
nonetheless be told that the entire intervie" "ill be audio-taed and later
revie"ed by a erson fluent in the sub(ectFs language.
2. !n rearation for the intervie" emhasi1e "ith the interreter the imortance
of exact translations. #or examle, the investigator could "rite out a coule of
similar resonse and comment on the significant differences bet"een the t"o,
O< E9efore "e go any further let me as', did you steal that deosit8E
&< E! didnFt ta'e that deosit.E Ps. E! didnFt steal that deosit.E
O< E5ast $aturday evening "ere you "ith -aul Qingston at any time8E
&< E/as ! "ith him8 3o, not at all.E Ps. E3o, not at all.E
O< E &t =0<00 last night "ere you inside a blue car outside the -la1a li7uor
&< E! donFt o"n a blue car.E Ps. E! "asnFt in any blue car.E
>. !f the interreter is not fluent in both languages there is a ris' that the
interreter "ill guess at the meanings of some unfamiliar "ords or ursue an
indeendent conversation "ith the sub(ect to clarify the meaning of "ords. The
investigator should anticiate this ossibility and exlain to the interreter that
if the sub(ect uses un'no"n "ords this fact should be included "ithin the
translation. The interreter should be secifically instructed not to ursue the
meaning of un'no"n "ords.
Positioning of the Interpreter
!n our discussions "ith investigators "ho fre7uently utili1e interreters, they have
described a number of different room arrangements involving an interreter. Our
exerience indicates that the most desirable room arrangement is for the investigator
to sit aroximately B - B.H feet directly in front of the sub(ect and for the interreter to
sit 2 - > feet off to the investigatorFs side. The arrangement allo"s the investigator to
maintain a frontally-aligned osture "ith the sub(ect "hich is imortant to transmit
trust, oenness and interest. This ositioning also invites the sub(ect to tal' to the
investigator rather than the interreter. #inally, by sitting directly in front of the sub(ect
the investigator is in the best osition to observe the sub(ectFs nonverbal behavior.
6onversely, it is undesirable to osition the interreter directly in front of the sub(ect.
This arrangement affords the decetive susect greater comfort because he is not
sychologically exosed to the investigator in much the same "ay that a guilty
susect feels rotected if the investigator is seated behind a des' or table.
#urthermore, if the investigator is not sitting directly in front of the sub(ect, the
interretation of various nonverbal behaviors such as osture alignment and eye
movements may be affected.
The one excetion to this rule is "hen intervie"ing a sub(ect "ho is deaf or hearing
imaired. Knder this circumstance the sub(ect needs a clear vie" of the signerFs hand
movements and mouth and the interreter should sit directly in front of the sub(ect.
The investigator should be ositioned directly to the side of the signer.
!n some situations it may be aroriate to osition the interreter out of the sub(ectFs
sight, e.g., behind the sub(ect. This arrangement emhasi1es the investigatorFs
control over the sub(ect and tends to increase the adversarial relationshi bet"een
the t"o. 6onse7uently, this arrangement may be considered "hen the sub(ect is in
custody and is offering little cooeration. &nother occasion in "hich this may be a
desirable osition for the interreter is "hen the sub(ect is familiar "ith the interreter
and the investigator "ants to minimi1e the sychological bond bet"een the t"o.
-rior to the intervie" the investigator should send a fe" minutes briefing the
interreter about the issue under investigation as "ell as the general rocedures that
"ill be used during the intervie". !t may be aroriate to reassure the interreter
that the susect does not resent a danger and that ade7uate security measures in
lace. !f the interreter is familiar "ith the sub(ectFs cultural bac'ground, religious
beliefs or secial status "ithin the community the investigator should ta'e advantage
of this information to hel formulate intervie" 7uestions and, in articular, to develo
an interrogation strategy.
Auring any formal intervie" it is our recommendation that the investigator reare for
the intervie" by "riting out, in abbreviated form, 'ey 7uestions that "ill be as'ed
during the intervie". !t "ill be beneficial for the interreter to revie" these scrited
7uestions to hel reare for the translations and as' 7uestions, if necessary, to
clarify the meaning of certain "ords.
Once the investigator and interreter are seated in front of the susect, the
investigator should introduce himself but not the interreter. The goal is for the
susect to erceive the interreter as a disinterested, uninvolved arty to the
conversation. The investigator should loo' at the sub(ect "hen as'ing a 7uestion. !f
this attern is established from the outset of the intervie", most sub(ects "ill also
direct their resonses to the investigator rather than to the interreter. !f the sub(ect
directs his resonse to the interreter, the investigator should immediately interrut
the resonse and instruct the sub(ect to tal' to him.
Auring the first several minutes of the intervie" the investigator should as' non-
threatening bac'ground 7uestions "hich aear to have the urose of identifying
the sub(ect and obtaining general bac'ground information from him. The follo"ing
are examles of introductory 7uestions<
E-lease sell your first and last name for me.E
E/hat do most eole call you8E
E/hat is your resent address8E
E:o" long have you lived there8E
E/ho do you live there "ith8E
E:o" much education have you received8E
ETell me about the school you attended.E
!n actuality, these 7uestions serve a much more imortant function than simly
identifying the sub(ect. #irst, introductory non-threatening 7uestions establish a
communication attern for the rest of the intervie". That is, the investigator as's a
7uestion, the interreter translates the 7uestion, the sub(ect resonds to the 7uestion
)"hile facing the investigator*, the interreter translates the resonse and the
investigator "rites do"n the essence of the sub(ectFs resonse.
$econd, the initial as'ing of non-threatening 7uestions allo"s the investigator to
develo a raort "ith the sub(ect. To conduct an effective intervie" re7uires that a
secial relationshi exist bet"een the investigator and sub(ect. @egardless of the
o"er or authority the investigator may hold over the sub(ect, ultimately it is the
sub(ect "ho decides "hether to ans"er the investigatorFs 7uestions. This raort
involves a mutual understanding that the sub(ect "ill not be hysically harmed, that
the investigator is sincerely interested in "hat the sub(ect has to say and that the
investigator has not (udged the sub(ect as a bad erson.
#inally, starting the intervie" "ith non-threatening 7uestions allo"s the investigator to
establish the sub(ectFs normal behaviors. This is esecially imortant "hen
intervie"ing a erson from a different culture. There are three rimary assessments
of normative behaviors an investigator should ma'e at the outset of the intervie".
The first is the sub(ectFs normal level of eye contact, e.g., does the sub(ect maintain
mutual ga1e "hen ans"ering non-threatening bac'ground 7uestions8 The second
assessment involves the sub(ectFs communication s'ills. This ranges from a gross
assessment of intelligence by evaluating vocabulary and comrehension to
assessments of unusual aralinguistic anomalies, e.g., tal'ing very fast or slo", long
delays rior to ans"ering a direct 7uestion. The final assessment is of the sub(ectFs
initial emotional state. Auring the first several minutes of the intervie" did the sub(ect
aear comosed, confident and interested or did the sub(ect aear aloof,
detached, reoccuied, frightened, or angry8 3one of these initial demeanors serve
as a behavior symtom of guilt or innocence. :o"ever, the dynamics of the sub(ectFs
change in demeanor during the course of a >0 or B0 minute intervie" can be very
revealing in this regard.
!n summary, a language barrier bet"een a sub(ect and investigator in a criminal
investigation can be largely overcome through the use of a cometent interreter and
by modifying the intervie" rocedures. 9ecause the accuracy of translations is
critical in the assessment of information during the intervie", it is recommended that
these intervie"s be electronically recorded. !t is imortant for the investigator to "or'
closely "ith the interreter so that the interreter 'no"s exactly "here to sit, "hat
issues "ill be covered during the intervie" and the basic intervie"ing rocedures that
"ill be used. !n this regard, esecially during an intervie" that utili1es an interreter it
is imortant for the investigator to begin the intervie" by as'ing several minutes of
non-threatening bac'ground 7uestions.
The !ignificance of Identifying Precipitators during a Cri)inal Investigation
JanC#eb 200D
The first ste of any criminal investigation is factual analysis. This describes the
rocess of collecting and analy1ing information and evidence surrounding a crime.
One of the goals of factual analysis is to develo a list of ossible susects based on
oortunity, access, motive or roensity. !n many investigations factual analysis and
interrogation are enhanced by identifying reciitators that led u to the crime.
Than'fully for investigators, crimes are not a random event. 9efore a erson decides
to commit a crime he goes through a secific thought rocess designed to
accomlish articular goals2 There are many ossible goals to consider "hen
committing a crime. 4xamles include< ho" can the offender gain access to the
victim or roerty; ho" can the offender avoid being caught; ho" can the offender
rea the most financial re"ard or sychological gain from the crime; "ill the
assistance of others be re7uired to commit this crime and, "hat "ill be a lausible
cover-story to exlain a"ay ossible evidence.
4ven the simlest of criminal behaviors involve underlying decisions by the offender.
6onsider a =B-year-old girl "ho sholifts a J=H.00 6A from a music store. This girl
made the conscious decision to steal that articular 6A from that articular store at
that articular time and on that articular date. 4vents or circumstances that
contribute to these underlying decisions are referred to as precipitators of the crime.
To hel identify reciitators an investigator should attemt to ans"er these three
7uestions about the crime under investigation<
)=* /hy "as this erson or roerty selected to be the victim of this crime8
)2* /hy "as the crime committed on this date, time and location8
)>* /hy "as the crime committed in this manner8
!n the sholifting examle, the girl met t"o friends at a shoing mall and they "ent
to a music store. /hile inside the store the girl "as loo'ing at a articular 6A "ith the
intention of buying it because she li'ed the artist. $he noticed that the store "as very
busy and that there "ere only t"o cler's resent. The girl 'ne" that she had only
J20 in her urse "hich "ould not leave her "ith enough money to buy the 6A and
urchase lunch "ith her friends. This information ans"ers the first t"o 7uestions. &s
for the final 7uestion, the girl too' the easiest route to accomlish her goal of
obtaining the 6A "ithout aying for it. @obbing the store or burglari1ing the store to
obtain the 6A "ere eliminated as being far too ris'y otions. 4ach of these
circumstances and events reresent reciitators to her crime. &s this case
illustrates, identifying reciitators of a crime is a 'ey asect of factual analysis. This
is esecially true "hen multile ossible susects are develoed during the course of
an investigation. 9y ob(ectively listing the resence or absence of 'no"n
reciitators, susects can often be ran'ed from least to most li'ely involved in a
criminal offense.
!dentifying reciitators of a crime is also beneficial during the interrogation of the
guilty susect. !n the revious sholifting case, consider that the desired 6A "as not
available in the store, that the girl had JH0 in her "allet, and that the store had an
obvious security system. !f any of these conditions existed the girl robably "ould not
have sholifted the 6A. This concet can be incororated "ithin an interrogation
theme and used to deflect blame a"ay from the susect. #or examle, the
investigator could exlain to the sholifter, E!f your mom "ould have given you more
money that day, and if that store had a roer security system in lace you never
"ould have been temted to do this and ! "ouldn+t even be tal'ing to you right no".E
!n an effort to organi1e this material, reciitators "ill be resented by addressing the
earlier mentioned three investigative 7uestions. The suggested reciitators are
merely examles of ossible circumstances or events and are hardly exhaustive. &n
investigator should rely on exerience and imagination to develo ossible
reciitators for a given crime or susect. & very useful source of information in this
regard is to secifically 7uestion susects "ho have confessed to committing a
crime. 9y as'ing the susect, E/hy did you decide to steal that articular car at that
time and on that date8E the investigator "ill gain tremendous insight to the criminal
Why this victi)9
&t the outset of an investigation, one of the first 7uestions an investigator should as'
himself is "hy "as this erson or roerty selected by the criminal. &fter all, the
criminal could have burglari1ed any of a hundred other homes, stolen any of
hundreds of other cars or robbed any of a hundred other eole but did not. !t is
extremely rare to encounter a random victim. &lmost al"ays there is something
uni7ue that caused a articular erson or roerty to be targeted for a crime, i.e., the
thief consciously selected a articular deosit to steal, the edohile consciously
selected a articular child to molest, a articular man "as selected to be shot. The
follo"ing are ossible reciitators to consider<
Aeosit - unusually large amount; deosit left unattended;
safe left oen; erson "ith immediate access to deosit
has ressing financial need
9urglary - home unloc'ed; no security system; occuants
obviously not home; located in a remote area.
@obbery - victim dislaying money or "ealth; victim being
vulnerable )alone, intoxicated, elderly, hysically disabled*
&uto theft - 'eys left in the car; no security system; car
ar'ed in an unsecured area; valuable car in bad
@ae - victim "earing rovocative clothing; engaging in
friendly or intimate contact "ith susect; allo"ing the
susect some intimate contact; being vulnerable )alone,
6hild molestation - child see's attention; being alone "ith
child; child instigates 7uestions about sex; innocent
exosure or contact that led to fondling )steing out of a
Why this date3 ti)e and location9
6onsider that a fire is set in a "arehouse at =0<00 -M on 3ovember 2
. 9ecause
this arson "as an intentional act the location, time and date "ere all consciously
selected by the arsonist. The "arehouse may have been selected so that the o"ner
could file an insurance claim on merchandise that he claimed "as burned, but "as
actually moved to another location. The time of =0<00 -M may have been selected to
ma'e certain that noone "as in(ured and to avoid any "itnesses. #inally, 3ovember
may have been selected because the last of the merchandise "as moved out of
the "arehouse that afternoon.
/hen ans"ering this 7uestion a broad distinction can be made bet"een
remeditated crimes )such as the reviously mentioned arson* and sontaneous
crimes )the susect stri'ing his girlfriend during an argument*. &s a general
guideline, in a remeditated crime the offender gives much more conscious thought
about "here and "hen to commit his crime. !n a sontaneous crime, the events
immediately receding the time in "hich the crime "as committed become the most
imortant consideration.
Precipitators for pre)editated cri)es
arson - failing business; ne" regulations that "ould
re7uire exensive udates; threats of unioni1ation
homicide - discovery that souse "as having an affair;
"ife not granting a desired divorce; financial need
)recently increasing death benefit on life insurance olicy*
4mbe11lement - gambling addiction; unusual medical
exenses; ay tuition for son or daughter+s education
@obbery - loss of a (ob; suort drug addiction; unusual financial exense
Precipitators for !pontaneous Cri)es
4motional -reciitators
homicideC&ssault - anger, humiliation, embarrassment
TheftC burglary - greed, excitement
&rson )vandalism* - thrill, excitement
$exual arousal - seeing the victim artially
clothed; inadvertent hysical contact "ith
the victim
Knusual oortunity caused by negligence -
leaving a safe unloc'ed, "riting the
combination to the safe do"n in lain vie";
not turning on a security system; leaving
'eys in car
$tress< 5oss of income; recently diagnosed
medical illness; divorce, death or illness of
loved one; legal roceedings )u-coming
Judgement -reciitators
!llegal drug use
-eer ressure
#inancial -reciitators
5egal actions - threat of eviction, re-
ossession of car3 mortgage foreclosure;
ban'rutcy roceedings; divorce aers
Knusual exenses - car reair; bail a friend out of (ail; ay tuition; medical bill
Threats - threats of harm if gambling debt is
not aid; threat of garnished "ages; threat
of ublic exosure
%ate -actors
One of my first investigations involved the theft of an even million dollars from a
ban'. The money "as urosefully stolen on the #riday before 6olumbus day
because the thieves 'ne" that the ban' "ould be closed on Monday and the
discovery of theft "ould be delayed by an extra day. !n many cases the significance
of the date of a crime only becomes aarent after the guilty susect confesses.
3onetheless, it is imortant to loo' for reciitators in the susect+s life that may have
caused the crime to be committed on that articular date. $ome reciitators to
consider in this area are<
5ast day of "or'
9irthday or other celebration )alcohol consumtion; eer ressure*
6hange in (ob assignment, hours, osition
5oss of access )no longer having high security clearance, alarm code*
5oss of oortunity )exlosives being moved next "ee' to a more secure area*
/ife leaving to"n )roviding time alone "ith victim*

Ti)e -actors
$tatistics that trac' criminal behavior demonstrate various date and time correlations.
Most of these follo" common sense. More outdoor raes occur during "arm months
)"hen eole are outdoors*, retail theft increases in 3ovember and Aecember
)holiday shoing* and alcohol related crimes are more common on nights and
"ee'ends "hen eole are more li'ely to drin'. The follo"ing are examles of
ossible reciitators centered around the time in "hich a crime "as committed<
Knusually busy or slo" )retail theft, drug use during "or' hours*
6hange in shift )confusion to oen range of ossible susects*
-ublic transortation schedules )as a means to get to or from the crime scene*
5ac' of suervision )temtation, oortunity*
5ate at night - affected (udgment from fatigue, alcohol or drug use
Pictim+s schedule )going to ban' "ith cash deosit at D<00 each #riday*
Why was the cri)e co))itted in this )anner9
/ith resect to the method selected to commit a crime, an initial distinction can be
made bet"een crimes that are readily detected )JH000 deosit missing from a
manager+s safe* and crimes that involve an effort to revent discovery
)embe11lement, medicare fraud, duming a homicide victim+s body in a la'e*. /hen
a erson not only commits a crime but also ta'es the time and effort to ma'e the
detection of the crime difficult, that behavior alone strongly oints to the individual
"ith the best oortunity and motive to commit the crime. 6onse7uently, "hen a
crime is discovered inadvertently )hunters discovering a body in a shallo" grave, a
surrise audit revealing a shortage in a teller+s dra"er* or there is an effort to ma'e
the crime aear accidental or an act of nature, the obvious susect is usually the
erson guilty of the crime.
Many crimes are readily detected and are committed in such a "ay as to conceal the
identity of the offender. #or examle, robbers usually ma'e an effort to conceal their
identity and select a store "here they are not "ell 'no"n; burglaries are committed
"hen the home is vacant and an arsonist is careful not to be seen lighting his fire.
/hen there is no effort to disguise the crime or ma'e the crime difficult to discover,
the follo"ing reciitators may hel ans"er the 7uestion, E/hy "as the crime
committed in this manner8E<
Knusual access )discovering safe unloc'ed, 'eys left out,
security system turned off, security guard sleeing*
Knusual oortunity )returning to "or' to ic' u a chec'
and discovering a deosit in manager+s office, coming
home from "or' early and discovering "ife "ith lover*.
-revious success using that articular MO< entering
unloc'ed "indo"s of a home, retending to have a gun in
a coat oc'et during a robbery, distraction techni7ues
)calling in false fire reorts on other side of to"n*
9ecause of their value during an investigation, reciitators should al"ays be sought
during the course of an investigation. This starts "ith focused observation of the
crime scene "here the investigator actively loo's for ans"ers to the 7uestions< /hy
"as this victim selected8; /hy "as the crime committed on this date, time and
location8 and, /hy "as the crime committed in this manner8 &ns"ers to these
7uestions should also be ursued by thoroughly 7uestioning a victim or "itness.
-reciitators should al"ays be ursued during the intervie"s of ossible susects.
!nnocent susects "ill be comfortably seculating and theori1ing about such things
as "hy a articular child "as selected to be molested or "hy a home "as burglari1ed
at =0<00 in the morning or ho" the thief "as able to get roduct out of the "arehouse
"ithout getting caught. &fter all, the susect is tal'ing about someone else+s crime.
Luilty susects are not comfortable tal'ing about the crime they committed and
certainly do not "ant to reveal the reciitators that led u to their crime.
6onse7uently, during the intervie" of any erson susected of an act of "rong-
doing, the investigator should as' 7uestions addressing reciitators. #or examle<
E/hy do you thin' that store "as selected to be robbed8
E/hy do you thin' the fire "as started at night8
E/hy do you thin' no 'nife "as found at the scene of the 'illing8
Auring an intervie" seculative 7uestions are erceived significantly differently from
a guilty or innocent susect, "hich results in comletely different behavior symtoms.
&n innocent susect "ho is as'ed the 7uestion, E/hy do you thin' this articular car
"as stolen8E erceives the 7uestion as a hyothetical one and "ill redictably onder
the 7uestion before ans"ering it. Their resonse is often reflective and 7ualified, e.g.,
ELosh ! don+t 'no". Maybe because it "as not in a garage or maybe because it "as
exensive, !+m not sure.E & guilty susect, of course, 'no"s exactly "hy he selected
that articular car to steal. To him, the 7uestion is not hyothetical, but rather 7uite
threatening. Tyically guilty susects resond to seculative 7uestions during an
intervie" too 7uic'ly and exhibit a reluctance to offer an exansive ans"er, e.g.,
E:o" "ould ! 'no"8E
Occasionally guilty susects "ill offer very detailed ans"ers to seculative 7uestions
because of a sychological henomenon called introsection. Knder this
circumstance the guilty susect is revealing truthful information about their crime but
does not consider the information incriminating because it is merely Eseculation.E,
e.g., E/hy do you thin' the driver of that car left the scene of the accident8E E/ell, !
thin' the guy "as drin'ing and already had a coule dui arrests and left because he
"as afraid that he might go to (ail.E
!n conclusion, identifying reciitators that led to the commission of a crime serves
several imortant uroses. #irst, it "ill assist during factual analysis to hel identify
ossible susects and also ran' order the susects to hel focus on the one most
li'ely guilty of the crime. $econd, ursuing reciitators during an intervie" may
reveal behavior symtoms of a susect+s guilt or innocence. 9ecause reciitators
are so closely lin'ed to the commission of the crime itself, they become valuable
ersuasive material to use during an interrogation. #inally, once a susect has
confessed to committing a articular crime, the investigator should actively elicit
reciitors that led to the commission of the crime. This information "ill not only hel
corroborate the confession, but "ill also rovide insight to criminal behavior "hich "ill
be helful in future investigations.
Co))on Errors in Evaluating a !uspect$s Truthfulness Aecember 200H
Over the years "e have been consulted on cases in "hich an investigator "as
absolutely convinced that a articular susect "as lying "hen, in fact, the erson
"as telling the truth. !n other instances guilty susects "ere able to get through an
intervie" "ithout having their lies detected. 9ehavior symtom analysis is certainly
not =00I accurate. :o"ever, if roer techni7ues are emloyed in eliciting and
evaluating a erson+s behavior, an investigator+s accuracy at detecting decetion can
far exceed chance levels. On the other hand, if no secific rocedures or rotocols
are follo"ed, studies have consistently reorted lo" accuracies in detecting
decetion based on observing another erson+s behaviors.
#or those "ho have attended our seminars this "eb ti "ill be a reminder of the
imortance of being a"are of variables that may affect a susect+s behavior. #or
investigators "ho have not received training in behavior symtom analysis, it should
serve as a "arning of ho" easily a erson+s behavior can be misinterreted. To
increase the accuracy of detecting decetion through behavior symtom analysis an
investigator should<
:1; Esta"lish the su"#ect$s "aseline "ehaviors at the "eginning of an interview
On several occasions investigators have reorted that the reason they believed a
susect "as lying "as because of oor eye contact. /hen these susects "ere
subse7uently intervie"ed in our office "e found that many of them failed to exhibit
normal eye contact even "hen as'ed non-threatening bac'ground 7uestions. !n
some instances the susect+s oor eye contact could be attributed to cultural
differences. !n most cases, ho"ever, the cause for the susect+s oor eye contact
"as not readily aarent. !t could have been the result of a shy or submissive
ersonality or erhas an underlying neurological roblem. -erhas the susect "as
frightened by the fact that they "ere dealing "ith authority figures. @egardless, "hen
a susect does not establish normal eye contact "hen selling their last name or
giving their address, the investigator should not use the susect+s oor eye contact
as an indication of guilt "hen the susect is later as'ed about the crime under
!t only ta'es a fe" minutes at the outset of an intervie" to establish a susect+s
normative behaviors by as'ing non-threatening bac'ground 7uestions. 4xamles of
7uestions that can be as'ed include<
E-lease sell your last name for me.E
E/hat is your first name8E
E/hat do most eole call you8E
E/hat is your current address8E
E:o" long have you lived there8E
E/ho do you live there "ith8E
/hen the susect is ans"ering these introductory 7uestions the investigator should
carefully observe the susect+s eye contact )normal, oor, forced*, communication
style )articulate, difficulty comrehending or sea'ing 4nglish, slo" or raid resonse
delivery* and emotional state )comosed, unconcerned, frightened, angry,
"ithdra"n*. Once these baseline behaviors are established the investigator "ill be in
a much better osition to evaluate secific behavior symtoms that occur later during
the intervie" "hen the susect ans"ers 7uestions about the issue under
:4; Clearly define the purpose for the interview
& common cause for misleading decetive behavior symtoms occurs because an
innocent susect exeriences anxiety as a result of some transgression unrelated to
the issue under investigation. 6onsider a situation "here a olice officer aroaches
a man in an airort and ulls the man aside for 7uestioning. The officer is interested
in determining "hether the man is a terrorist but never exlains the urose for
7uestioning him. The man is not a terrorist but does have a number of unaid ar'ing
tic'ets as "ell as a ending court aearance for failure to ma'e suort ayments.
!f the officer as's general 7uestions "ithout clearly identifying the urose for the
intervie", it "ould be erfectly natural for the man to exhibit aarent decetive
behavior symtoms.
!n the airort examle, it "ould be aroriate to exlain that the man had been
randomly selected for additional screening to verify his identity. Auring the formal
intervie"s our staff conducts on individuals susected of ossible criminal conduct,
after the initial bac'ground 7uestions are as'ed, the urose for the intervie" is
clearly identified and the sub(ect is then as'ed to state a osition on that issue. One
ossible statement "ould be as follo"s< EJohn, this afternoon !+ll be as'ing 7uestions
about )issue under investigation*. $ome of the 7uestions !+ll be as'ing ! already 'no"
the ans"er to. The most imortant thing is that you be comletely truthful "ith me
before you leave today. 9efore "e go any further, let me as' you, did you )commit
:5; <uestion a suspect in a non-accusatory and non-threatening )anner
Many behavior symtoms associated "ith decetion reresent the susect+s efforts
to reduce anxiety or occur from the fear of being caught lying. :o"ever, an innocent
erson may exhibit these same behaviors if he exeriences anxiety as a result of
intimidation or fear of not being believed. !f an investigator aears aggressive in his
osture )sitting three feet from the susect "ith a for"ard lean* as's 7uestions in an
accusatory tone )EGou+re the ervert "ho did this, aren+t youRE* or as's 7uestions in a
raid-fire aroach, forcing the susect to ans"er 7uic'ly, the innocent susect is
bound to become rotective nonverbally )ut u barriers, brea' frontal alignment,
exhibit little or forced eye contact*, be verbally guarded or defensive and may
become confused and offer inconsistent ans"ers.
!t is critical that a susect+s behavior be interreted in the context of the interaction
"ith the investigator. #or examle, there are a number of behavior symtoms "hich,
if they occur during a non-accusatory intervie", are associated "ith decetion.
:o"ever, these exact same behaviors may be an indication of truthfulness if they
occur during an accusatory interrogation. To achieve the greatest accuracy in
assessing "hether or not a susect is telling the truth the investigator should
evaluate that erson+s behavior during a non-accusatory intervie". &n accusatory
interrogation should be reserved for susects "hose guilt has been reasonably
:7; Elicit a sufficient sa)ple of the su"#ect$s "ehavior
!t is ama1ing ho" eole "ill listen to a >0 or D0 second segment of an intervie" on a
television ne"s broadcast and form hard and fast (udgments about the sub(ect+s
truthfulness. !n most circumstances it is not ossible to accurately detect decetion
based on analy1ing a minute or t"o of a erson+s behavior. 3o rofessional detection
of decetion examiner "ould ever render an oinion of a erson+s truthfulness based
on analy1ing an intervie" that lasted only a fe" minutes.
The intervie"s our staff conduct last aroximately >0 minutes in length and involve
do1ens of 7uestions relating to the issue under investigation. Many guilty susects
are able to lie convincingly if they are only as'ed t"o or three 7uestions about the
crime they committed. :o"ever, it becomes increasingly more difficult to lie
successfully if =H or 20 7uestions are as'ed relating to a crime the susect
committed. &n innocent susect, of course, has no difficulty ans"ering an unlimited
number of 7uestions about a crime he did not commit.
&n intervie" designed to assess a erson+s credibility should incororate both
investigative 7uestions as "ell as behavior rovo'ing 7uestions. !nvestigative
7uestions cover such things as the susect+s oortunity and access to commit the
crime along "ith their motivation and roensity to commit the crime. 9ehavior
rovo'ing 7uestions, on the other hand, are designed to elicit different resonses
from innocent or guilty susects. #or examle, "hen innocent susects are as'ed
ho" the investigation "ill come out on them they tend to exress much more
confidence than "hen guilty susects are as'ed that same 7uestion.
:8; %o not over-evaluate a suspect$s nonver"al "ehavior
!t has been said that nonverbal behavior accounts for more than half of the
information communicated bet"een t"o eole. This finding does not mean that
nonverbal behavior is more reresentative of a erson+s truthfulness than verbal or
aralinguistic behavior. !t merely indicates that there is a tendency to lace an
inordinate amount of "eight on a erson+s nonverbal behavior.
Of the three channels of communication, the nonverbal channel is the most sub(ect to
internal and external influences that have nothing "hatsoever to do "ith a erson+s
truthfulness. Auring an intervie" conducted in a controlled environment, the
susect+s osture rovides erhas the best insight to that erson+s level of
confidence and emotional involvement. @esearch indicates that a sub(ect+s
confidence and emotional involvement are statistically good redictors of truth or
decetion. The resence or absence of illustrators )the hands moving a"ay from the
body* as "ell as leg and foot behaviors can also rovide meaningful information for
detecting decetion.
&dator behaviors )the hands coming in contact "ith the body, e.g., touching the
nose, scratching an arm, "ringing the hands** have the most comlex origins and are
often erroneously associated "ith lying. 4secially "hen evaluating adator
behavior, the investigator needs to establish behavioral consistency before
considering a articular movement or gesture as an indication of decetion. !n other
"ords, if a susect scratches his nec' one time "hen ans"ering a 7uestion about
committing a crime the behavior is robably meaningless. :o"ever, if a susect
establishes a attern "here he fre7uently scratches his body "hen denying
involvement in a crime, the consistency of that behavior indicates that it is significant.
!n conclusion, detecting "hether or not a erson is lying based on observing that
erson+s behavior is not a simle manner of identifying certain telltale symtoms of
decetion. !ndeed, there are no uni7ue behaviors that reliably indicate if a erson is
telling the truth or lying. :o"ever, if the receding guidelines are follo"ed "hen
conducting an intervie" and interreting the sub(ect+s behavioral resonses to
intervie" 7uestions, an investigator can achieve accuracies far above chance levels.
esponding to A !uspect$s equest to !ee Evidence %uring an Interrogation
3ovember 200H
!t is rare to conduct an interrogation under circumstances "here the investigator has
absolute roof of the susect+s guilt. &t the outset of most interrogations there is
merely circumstantial or testimonial evidence "hich oints to a susect+s robable
involvement in the crime. The urose for the interrogation is t"o fold< #irst, it is an
attemt to learn the truth from the susect, i.e., did this erson really commit the
crime8 $econd, !f the susect does confess, the investigator must then develo
details about the susect+s crime to corroborate the confession and to be used as
evidence in a court of la".
Most guilty susects "ill certainly not tell the truth if the investigator oenly
ac'no"ledges that a confession is needed to develo evidence to rove the
susect+s guilt. 6onse7uently, an interrogation relies extensively on retense and
innuendo. #or an interrogation to be successful, the susect must be convinced that
the investigator already 'no"s that he committed the crime.
There are a number of tactics an investigator uses to convince the susect that his
guilt is already 'no"n. &t the outset of the interrogation the investigator tells the
susect that the evidence clearly indicates that he is the erson "ho committed the
crime. The investigator then ma'es a transition from the focus of the intervie", "hich
"as "hether or not the susect committed the crime, to a ne" unans"ered 7uestion,
"hich is to learn the circumstances that led to the susect+s decision to commit the
crime. Throughout this rocedure the investigator attemts to dominate the
conversation and ma'es no reference to secific evidence against the susect )since
there is usually no definitive evidence to resent*.
&s the guilty susect listens to the investigator+s confrontation statement and the
stated reason for the interrogation )to find out the circumstances that led u to the
crime* his mind is focused on one 7uestion< EAoes the investigator really 'no" that !
committed this crime8E The susect+s first tactic "ill be to deny involvement in the
crime. The investigator "ill counter this by confidently restating his certainty that the
susect did commit the crime. This volley may go bac' and forth a fe" times before
the susect reali1es that the investigator is not resenting any roof of his guilt. This
reali1ation invariably leads the susect to ma'e a statement such as, E/hat evidence
do you have8E or, E/hy do you thin' !+m the one "ho did this8E
/hen a susect secifically as's about incriminating evidence during an
interrogation the investigator must recogni1e that the susect is actively loo'ing for
something tangible to attac'. 6onse7uently, this is generally not a good time to bring
u secific evidence. The follo"ing dialogue illustrates the dangers of doing so<
$< E/hat evidence do you have that ! did this8E
!< EGou don+t have an alibi for last #riday; you+ve got a rior record lus you failed the
$< E5isten, there are robably =0,000 eole in this city "ho "ere alone last #riday
night and !+m sure that hundreds of them have a rior record. &s far as the olygrah
goes, that machine is not =00I accurate "hich is "hy it is not acceted as evidence
in court. Gou don+t have a thing on meR
Obviously, this interrogation is unli'ely to result in a confession. The follo"ing
resonses have been used effectively by our staff to resond to the susect+s
re7uest for evidence during an interrogation<
Arguing Against !elf Interest
"I would love to sit down with you and show you, piece by piece, all of
the evidence we have collected in this case, but it is against
department policy for me to do that. Eventually, you will be able to see
all of the evidence but by that time my report will be turned in. hat!s
why I!m talking to you now."
The above resonse is our standard resonse for most susects "ho re7uest to see
evidence during an interrogation. !t starts off "ith the ersuasive tactic of arguing
against self interest, e.g., E! "ish ! could sho" you all of the evidence. That "ould
ma'e my (ob really easy.E !t then offers a lausible exlanation for not revealing
evidence "hile, at the same time, ma'ing reference to the evidence )you "ill be able
to see the evidence eventually*. The resonse concludes by emhasi1ing the
imortance for the susect to tell the truth at this time, "hich is also desirable.
Attitude Assess)ent
"he whole reason I!m talking to you is to find out what your attitude is
about this thing. If I have to lay out all the evidence before you tell the
truth that tells me you!re a common criminal who doesn!t even deserve
an opportunity to e"plain your side of the story. I had a guy in here on
#onday who had stolen a purse from a lady and then grabbed the
wallet from the purse and left the purse on the street. I was talking to
him just like I!m talking to you and he says, $%hy do you think I!m the
one who took that lady!s wallet&! I didn!t tell him that we lifted his
fingerprints from the purse and that the lady identified him in a photo
lineup. If I reveal the evidence that we have against a person then I
can!t evaluate their attitude about what they did."
This resonse is aroriate for susects "ho are emotional offenders and exhibit
ersistent but "ea' denials. The imlication of the investigator+s resonse is that
someho" the susect+s attitude "ill be imortant for eole to 'no". This concet is
nicely reinforced "ith a third erson theme. :oefully, The susect "ill not "ant to be
li'e the other susect "ho left "ithout telling the truth.
Appealing to &ogic
"I!m sure there are people you know well enough that when they didn!t
tell you the truth you knew. #aybe they were friends or family members
but when they didn!t tell you the truth you could tell, right& %ell, that!s
what I!m trained in. hat!s what I do for a living. I!m not a goodcook. I
can!t build a house or fi" a car. 'ut I am very good at what I do which is
telling when someone is telling the truth."
This resonse is effective for educated susects "ith higher levels of social
resonsibility. These susects rely on their ability to read eole in their (obs and
relationshis and the logic of the investigator+s statement ma'es erfect sense to
them. The elicited agreement that the susect can tell "hen others lie is an imortant
art of selling this argument. !n essence, the investigator is saying that because the
susect can tell "hen others are lying through observing behavior, that the
investigator also has that ability.
!n summary, because at the outset of interrogation an investigator often lac's
substantial evidence to rove a susect+s guilt, contemorary interrogation
techni7ues minimi1e reference to evidence against a susect. &s a result, susects
fre7uently re7uest to 'no" "hat the evidence is that roves their guilt. !n most
instances the investigator "ill lose credibility, and therefore the ability to obtain a
confession, if the available evidence is revealed. 6onse7uently, during an
interrogation the investigator must credibly sideste the susect+s re7uest to see the
evidence against them.
The !ignificance of !pecific %enials %uring Interviews and Interrogations
October 200H
@ecently, ! revie"ed a videotaed intervie" of an =%-year-old susect "ho "as being
7uestioned about starting a fire that burned do"n his arent+s home. Auring the
intervie" the investigator as'ed the punishment 7uestion< E/hat do you thin' should
haen to the erson "ho started the fire inside your home8E The susect+s
resonse "as, E& erson "ho starts a house on fire should be sent to (ail.E My initial
interretation of this resonse "as that it reresented a concerned attitude )harsh
(udgement against the guilty* and "as, therefore, more indicative of an innocent
:o"ever, the reonderance of this susect+s behavior throughout the intervie"
clearly suorted decetion. :e had a static and rigid osture, exressed unhelful
and unrealistic attitudes, engaged in erasure behavior after denying starting the fire
and offered an early denial "hen as'ed if he did anything that may have caused the
fire. The susect "as therefore interrogated and eventually confessed that the
morning of the fire he "as flic'ing lit matches to"ard a sofa )out of boredom* "hich
caused the sofa to start on fire. 9eing unable to extinguish the fire, the susect
anic'ed and ran to school "ithout reorting the fire to anyone.
&fter hearing the actual circumstances of the fire, the susect+s earlier resonse to
the EunishmentE 7uestion made erfect sense. The susect+s resonse only
addressed a narro" asect of the investigator+s original 7uestion, e.g., a erson "ho
starts a house on fire should be sent to (ail. The susect, of course, did not start the
house on fire, only a sofa. /hen a susect denies a narro" asect of the
investigator+s 7uestion it is called a specific denial.
&n investigator must remember that the guilty susect 'no"s exactly "hat he did or
did not do during the commission of a crime. To avoid an outright lie, a guilty susect
may offer a secific denial both during an intervie" or interrogation. These
resonses, if interreted literally, are truthful statements so the susect may not
reveal any decetive nonverbal behavior symtoms. 6onse7uently, the investigator
must rely on careful listening s'ills to identify secific denials.
@ecogni1ing "hen a susect has offered a secific denial assists the investigator in
t"o "ays. #irst, "hen a secific denial is offered during an intervie" it alerts the
investigator that the susect is "ithholding information to the intervie" 7uestion.
Knder this circumstance, the investigator needs to as' follo"-u 7uestions that
address "hat the susect has not denied. &s an examle, consider that an emloyee
is as'ed, E:ave you use any illegal drugs during "or' hours8E and the emloyee+s
resonse is, E! never smo'ed any doe in the building during "or' hours.E This
secific denial should stimulate the follo"ing intervie" 7uestions<
E:ave you used any illegal drugs outside of the building during "or' hours8E
E:ave you used any illegal drugs rior to coming to "or'8E
E:ave you used any illegal drugs during lunch hour at "or'8E
E:ave you used any cocaine during "or' hours8E
The second benefit of recogni1ing a secific denial is that the statement often
rovides insight to the susect+s crime. Knder this circumstance, the investigator may
have to ad(ust statements made during an interrogation. Auring our training seminars
! resent a case "here the o"ner of a ar'ing garage discovered that one of his six
managers "as embe11ling money by destroying bac'u tic'ets issued to customers.
/e started the investigation by intervie"ing the manager "ith the longest tenure,
believing that he "as robably not involved in the theft. :o"ever, this manager+s
behavior clearly indicated decetion so the investigator returned to the room and
began an interrogation. &fter several minutes of listening to the investigator+s theme
the susect leaned for"ard and emhatically stated the follo"ing< E5isten, ! have
never stolen any money by destroying bac'u tic'ets. That is stuid. They chec'
records. Gou+re committing suicide by destroying bac'u tic'etsRE
The investigator recogni1ed that the susect "as not denying stealing money, but
rather, denying stealing money by destroying bac'u tic'ets. The investigator
resonded to this secific denial in the follo"ing manner, E!+m not saying you
destroyed bac'u tic'ets. !n fact, !+m sure you "ould never do that. &ll !+m saying is
that you ended u "ith some of the comany+s money and "e (ust have to figure out
ho" much it "ould be.E Once the interrogation addressed "hat the susect actually
did, the susect+s denials stoed and in ten minutes he "as adding u the total
amount of money he stole by not turning in customer ayments )a theft the emloyer
"as not even a"are "as occurring*.
The follo"ing are other examles of secific denials that rovide ossible insight to
the susect+s crime. The ortion of the resonse that ma'es it a secific denial is
underlined. !n brac'ets, follo"ing each resonse, are ossible interretations of the
E3o one ever gave me the combination to the safe.E Sthe susect found
the safe oen or discovered the combination "ritten do"n some"here.T
E! did not sell three nic'el bags of mari(uanaRE SThe susect sold four
nic'el bags or t"o dime bags.T
E! did not hot "ire that car.E SThe 'eys "ere in the car or someone else
hot "ired the car.T
E! did not hit her "ith anythingRE SThe susect unched, cho'ed or
'ic'ed the victim "ith his arms or legs.T
EMy "ife "as in a great mood at dinner.E S&fter dinner they had a fightT
E/hen ! "as transferred to this deartment ! "as not given the security
code.E SThe susect obtained the security code at some oint after
being transferred.T
!n conclusion, to avoid telling an outright lie, susects may deny some narro" asect
a 7uestion or allegation. This behavior is referred to as a secific denial. /hen a
susect offers a secific denial to an intervie" 7uestion, the investigator should as'
follo"-u 7uestions that address "hat the susect is not denying. !f secific denials
are heard during an interrogation they often rovide insight to the susect+s crime.
Knder this circumstance, the investigator may need to modify statements made
during the interrogation to accommodate the secific denial.
If a &ie is epeated Often Enough3 Can The Person Co)e to Believe That The
&ie Is True9 $etember 200H
Auring our seminars articiants as' many interesting 7uestions about the
sychology of lying and factors that affect lie detection. & common 7uestion relates to
the effects of reeating a false statement. $ecifically, if a erson tells the same lie
over and over could the individual eventually come to believe the lie8 /e all have
observed susects "ho, based on analysis of the evidence, are obviously guilty of
the crime yet dislay minimal decetive behavior symtoms "hen they deny
involvement in the crime. :as the susect convinced himself that he did not commit
the crime8
To ans"er this 7uestion it is imortant first to define exactly "hat is meant by a lie.
/ithin the science of detection of decetion, a lie is a statement that the erson
'no"s is false and is designed to benefit the erson ma'ing the statement.
6onse7uently, not all untrue statements reresent a lie. #or examle, ! recently
tal'ed to my brother about an incident that occurred during a sring brea' "e too'
more than 20 years ago. :e "as convinced the incident occurred during a tri to
&lbu7uer7ue. ! "as e7ually certain that the event occurred t"elve months later "hen
"e traveled to Tennessee. Obviously, one of our recollections is not factual, but that
erson cannot be considered as lying because neither of us is 'no"ingly ma'ing a
false statement nor are "e receiving any ersonal benefit by ma'ing the statement.
The reason this is imortant in ans"ering our 7uestion is that, by detection of
decetion standards, if a erson actually believes as true a statement "hich in fact is
false, it is no longer a lie. /ith this in mind, the ans"er to the 7uestion osed above
really relates to the effect reetition has on the integrity and clarity of a ersonFs
There is no 7uestion that reetition increases recall. /e robably all memori1ed
multilication and addition tables through reetitive use of flash cards. !t is also "ell
documented that reetition is a significant factor in altering beliefs or attitudes, e.g.,
advertisements, roaganda, social values, etc. :o"ever, neither of these reetitive
efforts describe the context of generating a 'no"ingly false statement for ersonal
benefit. To ut this in roer context, consider that a boy "as laying "ith matches
and burned do"n his arents+ home. The boy reeatedly lies to his arents, friends
and the olice about laying "ith matches or being resonsible for the fire. Over
time, could the boy+s reeated lies cause him to believe that he did not start the fire8
The ans"er is closely tied to the emotional state exerienced at the time of an event.
! have used the follo"ing class exercise very effectively to illustrate this relationshi. !
re7uest that students "rite do"n five memories from their first =0 years of life. This
usually ta'es a "hile as the students reflect bac' over many years. ! then have the
students "rite do"n the emotion they exerienced at the time of each event. This is
very easy for them to do and they readily "rite do"n an emotional state associated
"ith their memory. !t is curious that most of the reorted emotions are negative such
as fear, embarrassment, shame, sorro" and guilt. 4vidently, the (oy a ten-year-old
girl exeriences during a birthday arty is not burned nearly as dee in her memory
as the fear she exerienced "hen, that same year, she got lost in the "oods on a
caming tri.
Most casual memories do erode over time and may be suscetible to alteration
through suggestion, reetition or false association. 9ut "hen a memory is directly
connected to an intense emotional state, it tends to be much more rigid and
sychologically indelible. This describes the circumstances of most criminal acts.
/hen the reviously mention boy burned do"n his arents+ home, in all li'elihood, he
exerienced tremendous fear and guilt as a result of his actions. This intense
emotional state "ill cement the negative memory in his brain. @egardless of the
number of times he denies being resonsible for starting the fire, if he exerienced a
significant emotional state "hen he started it, it is highly unli'ely that he "ould come
to believe that he did not start the fire.
This exlanation introduces a ne" 7uestion. /hat if a erson "ho commits a crime
does not exerience a significant emotional state at the time of the crime8 One
circumstance that may lead to this condition is a erson "ho is so intoxicated or
under the influence of drugs as to greatly inhibit their emotional arousal at the time of
the crime. The most common cause for this, ho"ever, is that the nature of an incident
or event "as non-emotional. 6onsider a "ife "ho states that her husband arrived
home from "or' at D<>0 -M last #riday. 9ecause there "as no strong emotional state
associated "ith the time he arrived home, her memory in this area is malleable and,
therefore, could erode "ith time and reetition. 4ach time she tells someone that her
husband arrived home at D<>0 -M, she is more and more convinced that he did
arrive home at D<>0. The same cause can be cited for the earlier mentioned
difference bet"een the recollections my brother and ! had about the sring brea' "e
too' together. The disuted incident "as not associated "ith any intense emotions.
/hat then accounts for the aarent lac' of decetive behavior symtoms exhibited
from some susects "ho have reeatedly lied about committing a crime8 The
behavior symtoms investigators associate "ith lying have little to do "ith a susect+s
feeling of guilt or remorse. @ather, they relate to the fear of being caught lying and
subse7uently suffering the conse7uences of their crime. 4ach time a guilty susect
lies successfully and escaes the conse7uences of his act he is fortified in his belief
that he "ill not be unished. !n essence, he becomes more confident telling the lie
and his fear of being detected lying decreases. The more confident a susect is in his
ability to evade detection, the fe"er decetive behavior symtoms he "ill exhibit
"hen he lies.
The 7uestion osed at the outset of this article "as "hether or not a susect "ho
reeatedly lied about committing the crime could come to believe that he did not
commit the crime. !f the crime in 7uestion resulted in a significant emotional state the
ans"er to this 7uestion is, in all robability, no. @eeating a statement that the
erson 'no"s is not true does not change the liar+s ercetion of reality, e.g., the
erson still 'no"s that he is lying. /hat robably does occur is that the erson
becomes more convincing in telling the lie because of reeated success at not being
caught lying.
Evaluating the !uspect Who Accepts !o)e esponsi"ility for the Cri)e &ugust
Auring the course of intervie"ing a susect "ho is guilty of committing a crime it is
not uncommon for the susect to ac'no"ledge some level of resonsibility for
committing the crime. /hile the susect+s statement falls short of an admission of
guilt, in many situations it becomes a behavior symtom suorting the susect+s
robable guilt. 4xamles of these circumstances include the follo"ing cases<
=. & teller "ho stole J=000 from his cash dra"er oenly ac'no"ledged leaving
his cash dra"er unloc'ed and unattended thus creating the oortunity for the
theft to occur. The teller "ent so far as to suggest that he should resign his
osition because of his negligence.
2. &n emloyee "ho stole J200 in money from an evidence room at a olice
deartment accounted for the shortage by claiming not only that the money
"as accidentally thro"n a"ay, but that she "ould have been the erson "ho
thre" it a"ay.
>. & grandfather accused of fondling his granddaughter+s vagina oenly
ac'no"ledged that he did accidentally ut his hand do"n her anties "hen
the t"o "ere "restling on the floor.
B. &n emloyee "ho started a fire inside a "arehouse admitted that, because he
had smo'ed in the vicinity "here the fire started, there "as a strong ossibility
that one of his cigarettes may have started the fire.
&cceting resonsibility for a crime seems contradictory to the attitudes most guilty
ersons dislay during an intervie". Tyically, a guilty susect tries to distance
himself from the crime he committed. The susect often attemts to minimi1e his
motive or access to commit the crime and may lace himself far a"ay from the crime
scene. /hy then do some guilty susects closely associate themselves "ith the
crime they committed to the extent of acceting some level of resonsibility for the
commission of the crime8
One ossible reason is that it reresents an attemt to offer an innocent exlanation
for the reorted crime )inadvertent contact "ith the granddaughter+s vaginal area,
careless use of smo'ing material, accidentally thro"ing money a"ay.* 9y offering
this innocent excuse, the guilty susect hoes that the investigator "ill conclude that
no crime "as committed and the investigation "ill be terminated. 4secially "hen a
guilty susect is caught in a "eb of circumstantial evidence there is often an attemt
to offer an innocent exlanation to excuse a"ay evidence, e.g., EGes, ! did slee "ith
boys but there "as no sexual touching. The boys may have consumed alcohol but
the alcohol "as not intended to reduce their sexual inhibitions.E
!n many of these cases, ho"ever, there may be another underlying motive. &fter all,
the arsonist could have said that the fire "as accidentally started by Esomeone+sE
cigarette, or the theft from the evidence room could have been accounted for by
EsomeoneE accidentally thro"ing the money a"ay. /hy "ould the guilty susect go
so far as to accet ersonal resonsibility for the crime8 9y acceting some level of
ersonal resonsibility for the crime, the susect relieves guilt associated "ith
committing the crime "hich, in turn, "ill reduce the susect+s fear of detection.
To illustrate this effect, consider that my son "as driving his girlfriend home from
school in our ne" car. To sho" off his driving s'ills my son seeds around a corner
and side-s"ies a ar'ed car. !n a frightened state of mind he drives a"ay from the
accident. Our ne" car has a three foot crease do"n its side and my son has to ma'e
a decision. :e 7uic'ly eliminates telling the truth because that "ould result in
negative conse7uences )robably losing his driving rivileges*. :e could claim
comlete ignorance and "ait for me to discover the damage but that otion "ould
involve significant lying accomanied "ith the greatest level of guilt. :e could tell me
that the car "as someho" damaged "hile ar'ed at school but that "ould result in
very thorough 7uestioning by me, "hich he is anxious to avoid.
-sychologically, the best strategy for my son to ta'e "ould be to tell me that he
exercised oor (udgment by ar'ing too close to the exit lanes in the school ar'ing
lot, "hich caused another car to side-"ie our car. 9ecause of his admission against
self interest ! "ould accet this exlanation at face value. &s icing on the ca'e, my
son might accet further resonsibility by offering to ay for some of the damage. &t
that oint, s"elling "ith ride because ! had raised such an honest and forthright son,
! "ould reassure him that our insurance "ill cover the cost of the damage and give
him the 'eys to our other car.
Aoes this mean that anytime a erson accets some resonsibility for an act of
"rong-doing that it is an indication of that erson+s guilt8 Of course not. Auring our
training seminars ! resent a case "here a night manager at a hotel claimed to have
inadvertently left a ring of 'eys out on a des'. :er exlanation for the theft is that
someone discovered the 'eys and used one of them to steal money from a safe
deosit box. /ho is our U= susect in this case8 Obviously the night manager.
:o"ever, during her intervie" she never attemted to use her negligence as an
excuse for the theft. !n fact, she ac'no"ledged routinely leaving the 'eys out and that
the night the theft occurred "as no different than many others. The night manager+s
innocence "as verified "hen another emloyee confessed to finding the 'eys and
using one of them to steal the money.
The rimary difference bet"een this innocent susect and the reviously mentioned
guilty ones is not that the night manager+s actions may have contributed to the
commission of the crime, but rather, that she did not use her negligence as an
excuse for the crime occurring. &nother telling difference is the manner in "hich she
brought u her negligence. /hile she did not lie about failing to secure the ring of
'eys, she "as reluctant to reveal this violation of olicy. The reviously mentioned
guilty susects almost aeared anxious to accet ersonal resonsibility for the
crime and, in each instance, volunteered the information before being secifically
as'ed about ossible negligent behavior.
& behavior related to acceting ersonal resonsibility for the commission of a crime
is the susect "ho exresses regrets during the intervie". 4xamles "e have
encountered include a husband "ho blamed himself for his "ife+s murder because he
did not install a security system, as "ell as a number of arents "ho stated that they
felt resonsibility for their child being sexually molested because they naively trusted
the molester. $imilarly, many susects have exressed regret at not intervening "ith
a loved-one+s chemical deendence, gang affiliation or choice of friends. !n these
cases, the susects have been innocent of involvement in the crime under
investigation. 6onse7uently, exressions of such regrets should not be considered a
behavior symtom of guilt. 4secially "hen a crime involves great ersonal loss, it is
human nature for an innocent erson to go through a stage of self-incrimination
"here the erson says to himself, E!f only ! did such and such, )the crime* never
"ould have haened.E
!n conclusion, "hen a susect ma'es a statement that accets some resonsibility
for the commission of a crime, it can be a behavior symtom indicating that erson+s
ossible involvement in the offense. This is articularly true if the statement offers an
innocent exlanation for the circumstance that brought about the investigation. !t
should also be considered susicious "hen a susect ac'no"ledges that a crime
"as committed but aears almost anxious to accet some level of resonsibility for
its commission. 6onversely, it is not unusual for innocent susects to exress regrets
concerning some asect of their behavior relative to the commission of someone
else+s crime. 6learly, a distinction must be made bet"een acceting ersonal
resonsibility for a crime, e.g., E/hen ! "as cleaning my gun it accidentally "ent off
and shot my "ifeE and the susect "ho exresses regrets, e.g., E!f ! "ould have 'et
my gun loc'ed u this never "ould have haenedRE
The +se of -ollow-+p <uestions %uring an Interview July 200H
The rimary goal of an intervie" is to develo meaningful information from a sub(ect.
The first ste in this rocess is to as' the right 7uestions. :o"ever, merely as'ing the
right 7uestions "ill not guarantee that a sub(ect "ill tell the truth. To learn the truth or
to elicit behavior symtoms indicating robable decetion it is often necessary to as'
follo"-u 7uestions. /hile there are occasions "hen a articular resonse calls for a
uni7ue follo"-u 7uestion, over the years "e have observed that many resonses to
intervie" 7uestions fit a articular category and, furthermore, that certain categories
of ans"ers suggest a articular follo"-u 7uestion. Ksing the follo"ing rules, the
investigator "ill "al' out of an intervie" room "ith much more meaningful
ule =1 /hen the sub(ect+s resonse to the initial 7uestion is evasive, find
something "ithin the resonse to agree "ith, and re-as' the original 7uestion.
O< EAid you drive the comany truc' at all yesterday8E
@< E! didn+t have any deliveries to ma'e.E
#O< E! understand that you "eren+t assigned any deliveries yesterday,
but did you drive the comany truc' yesterday.E
Principle< /hen a susect evades a direct resonse to the investigator+s 7uestion,
this is an indication that the 7uestion caused anxiety "ithin the sub(ect. 9ecause of
this, the investigator certainly does not "ant to leave that area of the intervie" and
ursue other toics, e.g., EAo you 'no" "ho drove the truc'8E; EAid you see any
damage to the truc' yesterday8E @ather, the investigator should re-as' the initial
7uestion in an effort to elicit a definitive resonse. To do this in a tactful manner, it is
often helful to introduce the follo"-u 7uestion "ith a statement that agrees "ith
some asect of the sub(ect+s original resonse.
ule =4 /hen the sub(ect+s resonse includes an inaroriate memory 7ualifier
as', E!s it ossible...E
O< E:ave you handled a gun in the last t"o "ee's8E
@< E! don+t believe so.E
#O< E!s it ossible you handled a gun in the last t"o "ee's8E
Principle' There are a number of common hrases referred to as memory 7ualifiers.
4xamles include, ETo the best of my 'no"ledge,E E&s far as ! remember,E E! believe,E
and, E!f my memory serves me correctly.E !f the investigator+s 7uestion addresses a
common occurrence that haened in the distant ast, the sub(ect+s use of a memory
7ualifier may be very aroriate. :o"ever, "hen the sub(ect should reasonably
'no" the ans"er to the investigator+s 7uestion but, nonetheless, incororates a
memory 7ualifier "ithin their resonse, this is an indication that the sub(ect is either
not a bold liar or is concerned that evidence may surface that "ill contradict his
resonse. !n either situation, it is often roductive to as' the hyothetical follo"-u
7uestion E!s it ossible.E !n many instances, this follo"-u 7uestion has resulted in the
sub(ect ac'no"ledging that ossibility.
ule =5 /hen the sub(ect offers a secific denial, as' follo"-u 7uestions that
address "hat the sub(ect is not denying.
O< EAid you cause the in(uries to your "ife8E
&< E! didn+t stri'e her "ith anythingRE
#O< EAid you hit her "ith your hand or fist8E
#O< EAid you ush her do"n8E
#O< EAid you 'ic' her8E
Principle' & guilty susect 'no"s exactly "hat he did or did not do during the
commission of his crime. To avoid lying to the investigator+s 7uestions, the susect
may deny some narro" asect of the 7uestion. This is called a secific denial. !n the
above examle, the husband is robably telling the truth "hen he secifically denies
stri'ing his "ife "ith anything, e.g., an ob(ect. :o"ever, this does not mean that he is
not resonsible for causing his "ife+s in(uries. The investigator needs to as' follo"-u
7uestions that address other ossible "ays that the husband may have caused the
ule = 7 /hen a susect as's the investigator to clarify an intervie" 7uestion, in
most cases the original 7uestion should be reeated "ord for "ord. The one
excetion to this may be if the investigator+s original 7uestion "as confusing or
O< E/ere you involved in an accident last #riday on Madison $treet8E
@< E/hat exactly do you mean8E
#O< E/hat !+m as'ing is "hether or not you "ere involved in an
accident last #riday on Madison $treet.E
Principle' The most common reason for a sub(ect to as' an investigator to clarify a
7uestion during an intervie" is to buy time to formulate a non-incriminating resonse.
!n other "ords, "hen a sub(ect re7uests that a straight-for"ard 7uestion be clarified
this is tyical of the guilty erson. !n addition, a sub(ect may re7uest that an intervie"
7uestion be clarified in the hoe that the clarified 7uestion "ill be an easier 7uestion
to lie to. 6onse7uently, unless the original 7uestion "as confusing or ambiguous, the
EclarifiedE 7uestion should be identical to the original one.
ule =8 /hen a sub(ect+s resonse includes a time-ga hrase such as EThe next
thing ! recall,E or, E9efore ! 'ne" it.E the investigator should ursue details
surrounding the time eriod (ust before the use of the time-ga hrase.
O< E4xlain ho" you received your in(uries.E
&< E! "as minding my o"n business and this co came over and hassled me. The
next thing ! 'ne" ! "as on the ground and he "as 'ic'ing me in the stomach.E
O< ETell me more about "hat haened (ust rior to you being on the ground.E
Principle' Time ga hrases are red flags "ithin a resonse "hich indicate that the
sub(ect is consciously leaving something out of the resonse. This edited information
may be sensitive, embarrassing or incriminating. To evaluate the significance of the
edited information, the investigator needs to dra" out more detailed information
concerning that ortion of the sub(ect+s resonse.
ule => /hen a susect ma'es any admission to the investigator+s 7uestion, the
automatic follo"-u 7uestion should be, EOther than )admission* ...E
O< E:ave you ever been as'ed to leave a (ob8E
@< E/hen ! "as sixteen ! "or'ed in a sand"ich sho that "as about seven miles from
my home and ! had a hard time getting to "or' on time. &fter being late on a number
of occasions they let me go.E
#O< EOther than the sand"ich sho, have you been as'ed to leave any other (ob.E
@< E&ctually ! "as. #or a short eriod of time ! "or'ed as a messenger and there "as
some confusion about "hat haened to some money ! "as suosed to deliver.E
#O< EOther than those t"o (obs have you been as'ed to leave any other (obs8E
@< E6ome to thin' of it there "as a misunderstanding "ith my last (ob...E
Principle' Omission )failure to volunteer the entire truth* is such a common
occurrence in our society that it is not even legally considered a lie. To be guilty of
er(ury or obstruction of (ustice, it must be roven that the defendant 'no"ingly
offered false information. The subtle distinction bet"een lies of omission and
commission is not lost on sub(ects during an investigative intervie". /ithout
7uestion, the easiest "ay to 'ee an investigator from learning the "hole truth is by
offering a small art of the truth through a non-incriminating statement. To learn the
"hole truth, the investigator must stic' "ith the resent line of 7uestioning until the
susect offers a definitive denial.

Electronic ecording of Interviews and Interrogations June =, 200H
!t has long been recogni1ed that a confession is the strongest iece of evidence a
rosecutor can roduce against a defendant in a court of la". 6onse7uently, any
cometent defense attorney "ill attemt to have a confession suressed by
attac'ing his client+s Miranda "aiver or the olice interrogation tactics. :istorically,
these efforts have not roven to be very successful. :o"ever, over the last fifteen
years there have been a number of "ell ublici1ed cases in "hich verified innocent
susects did confess during a olice interrogation. The legal tide of credibility has
clearly shifted in that a olice officer+s testimony is no longer acceted at face value.
!n an effort to verify "hat actually occurred during a olice interrogation, a number of
states have re7uired that, under certain circumstances, olice intervie"s and
interrogations must be electronically recorded. &s an examle, this year the state of
!llinois re7uired that all custodial homicide intervie"s and interrogations be
electronically recorded.
/hile the la" enforcement community "as initially s'etical about electronic
recording, over time rocedures "ere develoed to accommodate this ne" ractice.
& 200B survey of investigators from the states of &las'a and Minnesota, "hich
re7uire that all custodial intervie"s and interrogations be electronically recorded,
found that most investigators had favorable exeriences "ith electronic recording.
@ecogni1ing these benefits, many la" enforcement agencies have ta'en the initiative
to create their o"n internal olicies re7uiring electronic recording of intervie"s and
interrogations. & recent survey found that 2>8 of deartments in the Knited $tates
electronically record intervie"s and interrogations.
Aesite the imressive numbers cited in the $ullivan survey, the fact remains that
most la" enforcement agencies do not electronically record intervie"s or
interrogations. @ecent trends across the Knited $tates suggest that an increasing
number of states "ill re7uire electronic recording of intervie"s and interrogations.
/ould your deartment be reared to enact a olicy that re7uired all future
custodial intervie"s and interrogations be electronically recorded8 4ven if your
investigators are conducting text-boo' erfect intervie"s and interrogations, there are
a multitude of other issues a deartment has to consider "ith resect to electronic
recording. 4xamles of these issues include<
/hat is the best camera angle for recording8
/here should the microhone be located8
/hat recording medium )P:$, APA* should be used8
/hat recording e7uiment is needed8
:o" should bac'-u taes be made and stored8
$hould the susect be notified that a recording is being made8
/hat rocedural changes need to be made to accommodate recording8
:o" should the investigator describe various interrogation techni7ues in court8
Over the ast several years, t"o of our staff )Aave 9uc'ley and 9rian Jayne* have
researched electronic recording ractices among olice agencies. !n addition to
revie"ing literature, rosecutors "ere intervie"ed to gain insight on their exerience
"ith electronically recorded interrogations, inter-deartment olicies and budgets
relating to electronic recording "ere revie"ed and exerts "ho installed recording
e7uiment for olice deartments "ere intervie"ed. &ll of this information is comiled
in a boo' titled Electronic ecording of Interrogations.
/e believe that if done roerly, electronic recording of intervie"s and interrogations
can serve to maintain the integrity of confession evidence in a court of la". :o"ever,
the same video tae that refutes the defendant+s claim that he "as never advised of
his Miranda rights and that the investigator unched him in the stomach can also be
used to argue that the investigator offered an imlied romise of leniency or
threatened the susect "ith inevitable conse7uences. !n other "ords, the electronic
recording is a double edged s"ord that re7uires investigators to not only 'no" "hich
interrogation ractices and techni7ues are considered roer or imroer, but also to
be able to educate a court during testimony to exlain "hy a articular statement "as
made and "hy the statement "ould not be at to cause an innocent erson to
4??8 +se Caution When E@pressing The +rgency -or A !uspect To Confess
May, 200H
!t is human nature to ut off unleasant decisions. 9eing in my H0Fs, ! 'no" that !
need to eventually get long-term care insurance. 4ven though ! fully intend to do this,
! can come u "ith all sorts of reasons "hy ! do not have to do it today. Many guilty
susects exerience the same thought rocess during an interrogation. The susect
accets the fact that the investigator 'no"s that he committed the crime and the
susect is fully a"are that the right thing to do is to tell the truth. :o"ever, because
telling the truth "ill result in adverse conse7uences, the susect decides to ut off
the unleasant tas' of confessing. To counter this tendency of human nature, it is a
common interrogation tactic for the investigator to exress an urgency for the susect
to tell the truth no".
$tressing the urgency of ma'ing a decision is hardly uni7ue to criminal interrogation.
One of the cornerstones of successful sales is to ersuade the consumer to ma'e a
buying decision at the resent time. $ome of these tactics re"ard immediacy in
ma'ing a decision. #or examle, temorary rice reductions for a roduct or ma'ing
the roduct unavailable after a articular time eriod, e,g, EThese "ill never be sold at
this rice again, and there are only 2H leftRE. !f comliance is the ob(ective, a very
effective ersuasive tactic is to unish delayed behaviors. #or examle, if a utility bill
is not aid on time the consumer must ay a higher rate. $imilarly, for each day a
student is late turning in an assignment, the grade is decreased by one letter. These
common-lace examles illustrate that the ersuasive tactic of urgency can shae
behaviors either through re"ards or unishments.
Auring an interrogation, the investigator is restricted from engaging in certain tyes of
re"ards or unishments, but certainly there is no blan'et rohibition banning any
tye of re"ard or unishment. /hile it is not ermissible is to re"ard a susect "ith a
romise of leniency in exchange for a confession, but it is certainly ermissible to
re"ard a susect "ho confesses by exressing understanding to"ard their decision
to commit the crime and even comlementing them on their decision to tell the truth.
&lso, it is not ermissible to unish the susect "ho maintains his innocence by
slamming his head against a "all but it is ermissible to unish continued denials by
loo'ing a"ay from the susect and remaining silent until the susect stos tal'ing.
!n a similar manner, there are certain interrogation statements relating to exressing
the urgency to confess that are not ermissible and others "hich are ermissible. &n
examle of an imroer alication of this techni7ue occurred during the
interrogation of a susect "ho "as accused of murdering his girlfriend+s t"o-year-old
child. !n this case the investigator told the susect that the interrogation reresented
his only chance to let the (ury and court 'no" the circumstances surrounding the
death of the child. The court ruled the susect+s subse7uent confession involuntary
because the .3o" or 3ever+ interrogation techni7ue reresented an imermissible
extrinsic falsehood )existing outside the realm of the olice investigation* in that the
susect certainly could have later resented a defense in court exlaining the
circumstances of the child+s death to a (udge or (ury.
There are other occasions "here an investigator+s exressed urgency for the susect
to confess may lead to a suressed confession. #or examle, the investigator "ho
tells the susect that if he does not confess right no" he "ill face an additional
charge of obstruction of (ustice, or telling the susect that if he confesses no" he "ill
be given a reduced sentence. There is nothing revolutionary in these examles, as
threats and romises have al"ays been rohibited during an interrogation. This is
true "hether the threat or romise is introduced in the interrogation by exressing the
urgency to confess or through another tactic.
On the other hand, there is nothing inherently illegal about exressing an urgency for
the susect to tell the truth during an interrogation. :o"ever, the tactic cannot be tied
to a romise of leniency or threat of hysical harm or more severe conse7uences. !n
our oinion, the follo"ing statements are all legal "ays to exress an urgency for a
susect to tell the truth during an interrogation<
EJim, !+m turning my reort in at H<00 this afternoon "ith or "ithout your exlanation. !f
you "ant your exlanation included in my reort this is your last chance to do it.E
EAan, it is human nature to believe "hoever tal's first. Gou 'no" that eventually 9ill
is going to tell us "hat haened. ! "ouldn+t be at all surrised if he tries to ma'e this
"hole thing loo' li'e it "as your idea and that he "as an innocent bystander. !t+s your
choice. Ao you "ant eole to believe your version of events or "hat 9ill says8E
EMary, you 'no" as "ell as ! do that eventually you+re going to tell the truth about
this. Gou may tell a arent or friend or someone else. The oint is that eventually !+m
going to learn the truth about this. ! can learn it from someone else or ! can hear it
from you today. The choice is yours.E
EJulie, don+t 'id yourself and thin' that if you say nothing this "hole thing "ill
someho" magically disaear and go a"ay. !f you leave here "ithout getting this
thing clarified you+re going to allo" eole to thin' that you do this sort of thing all the
time and that you can never be trusted again. !f you "ant eole to ever trust you
again, you+ve got to tell the truth no".E
EMi'e, ! don+t "ant to get a call from you next "ee' "here you tell me that you+ve
decided to tell me "hat haened. 3ext "ee' !+ll be "or'ing on another case. !f you
"ant to tell me the truth, you have to ma'e that decision no".E
!n conclusion, guilty susects are strongly motivated to ut off the decision of telling
the truth during an interrogation. To counter this tendency, it is a common
interrogation tactic to stress the urgency to tell the truth no". /hen using this tactic
)or any other interrogation tactic* the investigator cannot ma'e false statements
relating to legal issues such as ossible charges, the length of sentence, "hat a
(udge or (ury is li'ely to do or comment on ossible legal defenses. 5egally
ermissible statements that address the urgency of telling the truth can relate to
logic, human nature or intrinsic facts about the investigation )turning in a reort, being
assigned another case.*

%o Aou Invite People to &ie to Aou9 &ril 200H
3o one "ants eole to lie to them. Get, ! have encountered numerous arents,
teachers and investigators "ho regularly invite decetive ans"ers from eole they
7uestion. ! am certain they do not do this intentionally. @ather, these individuals have
little understanding of the sychology of decetion. This "eb ti is "ritten for
individuals "ho are not dealing "ith raists and murderers everyday. @ather, it is
"ritten for those of us "ho face everyday issues about a erson+s credibility.
The !mortance of -rivacy
Many years ago "hen my oldest son "as in middle school he "itnessed an incident
of sexual harassment in the hall"ay near his loc'er )reaching under the blouse of a
student to touch her breast*. The victim had filed a comlaint and as'ed my son to
come for"ard as a "itness, "hich he agreed to do. The vice rincial conducted the
investigation. :e as'ed all arties involved )t"o susects, the victim and my son* to
sit together in a room and relate their accounts in the resence of each other. This
arrangement roduced the redicted results. The t"o susects stuc' "ith their story
of non-involvement, the victim related her account of the incident "hich my son
corroborated. The vice rincial ruled that since neither of the t"o accused offenders
ac'no"ledged utting their hand under the victim+s blouse, there "as insufficient
evidence to act on the comlaintR
!t is execting a great deal to as' anyone to ma'e admissions against self-interest.
&s'ing them to ma'e these admissions in the resence of others is clearly inviting
Judgmental &ttitudes
The city ! live in has a recycling center "hich ! occasionally visit. The erson "ho
oversees the center is a crabby old man "ho believes it is a #ederal offense if you
mix colored and clear glass and that failure to remove a ballast from a florescent
fixture is a caital crime. :e has all of the regulations memori1ed and ! learned long
ago not to as' him "hat "as roer rocedure because he "ould send three
minutes citing regulations and ma'e me feel stuid for not 'no"ing them. /hile ! am
a very la"-abiding citi1en, this man is such a (er' ! "ould lie in a heartbeat to him and
not feel any guilt "hatsoever.
/hile it is true that some timid individuals "ill change their ans"ers "hen they feel
threatened or intimidated, there is no guarantee that information learned through
coercion is truthful. The Etough-guyE aroach during an intervie" certainly does not
encourage truthfulness. @ather, the more authoritative or (udgmental the 7uestioner
becomes, the more motivated a erson is to lie to that erson. -art of the reason for
this is that a (udgmental attitude serves to remind the erson of the conse7uences he
faces if he tells the truth. The other reality is that it goes against human nature to
cooerate "ith some"hat "hom "e do not resect. To reveal the truth to another
erson often re7uires a significant level of trust and understanding to"ard the
confidant "ith "hom "e decided to share our EsecretE.

Ouestion #ormulation
!f an individual is interested in learning the truth from another erson, it is
unreasonable to exect the other erson to volunteer the truth. The truth must be
elicited by as'ing the right 7uestions. !f my son comes home from a arty and ! as'
him ho" the arty "as is he li'ely to ans"er, E/ell dad it "as a retty good arty. !
smo'ed some mari(uana and got really high.E &bsolutely not. :e+s much more li'ely
to say, EThe arty "as fine dad.E !t "ould be totally unreasonable for me to be uset
"ith my son for not volunteering this incriminating information. !f ! "ant to learn if he
used illegal drugs at the arty ! need to as' him that 7uestion.
Many eole, including criminal investigators, are uncomfortable as'ing 7uestions
that may elicit an incriminating resonse, so they soften the imact of the 7uestion.
This, of course, ma'es the 7uestion easier to lie to. One "ay to soften the imact of a
7uestion is to include 7ualifying language. 6onsider the follo"ing examles<
E@yan, did you haen to see any illegal drugs at the arty8E
EAo you recall using any illegal drugs at the arty8E
@yan 'no"s "hether or not he used illegal drugs at the arty. The use of 7ualifying
language ma'es the 7uestion easier to lie to. The 7uestion should be simly
hrased, E@yan did you see any illegal drugs at the arty8E and, EAid you use any
illegal drugs at the arty8E
The easiest 7uestion to lie to, ho"ever, is one that exects agreement to an
assumtion "ithin the 7uestion. This is called a negative 7uestion. 4xamles of
negative 7uestions include<
EGou "ere good for the baby sitter, "eren+t you8E
EThere "eren+t any drugs at the arty, "ere there8E
EGou don+t 'no" anything about the fire in your neighbor+s garage, do you8E
&s these examles illustrate, it is highly imrobable for a erson to correct the
imlication "ithin a negative 7uestion, and tell the truth, e.g., E3o mommy you+re
"rong. ! "as a holy terror "ith the baby sitter.E
&n interesting aradox exists "ithin most human beings "hen it comes to decetion.
The average erson "ho is roerly sociali1ed does not en(oy lying. This is
esecially true "hen the erson they are lying to is someone they resect.
6ounteracting this influence is that fact that no one "ants to suffer the conse7uences
of telling the truth. Thus, almost every erson "ho has done something "rong or "ho
is ashamed of something they did is caught in a conflict bet"een these t"o drives.
Most eole resolve this conflict by telling the truth a little bit at a time. !t is a very
naVve arent, teacher or investigator "ho exects a erson to all of a sudden decide
to tell the full and comlete truth.
!n most instances, the truth is learned in small stes and only after a reasonable
eriod of time. !n the revious examle of illegal drug use at a arty, the 7uestions
as'ed to develo this information should be designed to gradually commit the erson
to more incriminating information. #or examle<
4licit an admission that drugs "ere resent at the arty
4licit an admission that eole "ere using drugs at the arty
4licit an admission of being offered drugs at the arty
4licit an admission of exerimenting "ith drugs at the arty.
#re7uently investigators fail to areciate ho" difficult it is for a susect "ho is facing
significant conse7uences to tell the truth. &fter failing to elicit a full confession "hen
initially as'ing the susect if he committing the crime, the investigator bree1e over
the rest of the intervie" 7uestions and 7uic'ly (ums to the interrogation. $imilarly,
the arent or teacher offers the child one chance to tell the truth and if the child does
not comletely come clean, the arent goes into the unishment mode and forgets
about learning the truth.
This article is not intended to imly that if an investigator uses roer techni7ues that
most criminal susects "ill offer a full confession through the intervie"ing rocess.
9ecause of the significant conse7uences facing most criminal offenders, under that
circumstance, interrogation is often the only means to learn the truth. :o"ever, there
are many issues that can be resolved through the intervie"ing rocess.
%eveloping an Interview !trategy March 200H
$ome intervie"s are free-flo"ing and sontaneous. Often, these intervie"s are
conducted in an uncontrolled environment such as a street corner, an emloyee+s
office or over the telehone. 9ecause the erson being intervie"ed in these
situations is generally telling the truth, the investigator does not have to carefully
structure an intervie" strategy. :o"ever, "hen intervie"ing a erson "ho is
motivated to lie to the investigator, the intervie" should not be haha1ard or
sontaneous. !t should be carefully lanned out and structured to achieve the desired
/hile some susects ma'e incriminating admissions or even confess during an
intervie", obtaining a confession should not be the rimary goal of an intervie".
@ather, an intervie" is conducted to elicit information. This information can be
divided into t"o broad areas. The first could be termed investigative information such
as the erson+s oortunity, access, motives and roensity to commit the crime.
$econd, the investigator should as' 7uestions secifically designed to elicit the
susect+s guilt or innocence. $ome of the characteristics of a formal intervie"
=. The investigator+s demeanor is non-accusatory and non-(udgmental
2. The intervie" is conducted in a controlled environment
>. The rimary intervie" 7uestions are reared ahead of time
The rincial benefit of rearing an intervie" strategy is to ma'e certain that all of
the necessary 7uestions are as'ed during the intervie". Auring a formal intervie"
often the investigator only has one oortunity to as' the susect 7uestions, and
careful thought should go into covering all the imortant areas. $econd, by rearing
an intervie" strategy, the investigator does not have to send time thin'ing about
"hat 7uestion to as' next. @ather, he can focus his efforts on as'ing necessary
follo"-u 7uestions and observing the susect+s verbal and nonverbal behavior.
#inally, the structure of the intervie" allo"s the investigator to come across as "ell
reared, roficient and a difficult erson to lie to.
/hile the 7uestions as'ed during any intervie" "ill be uni7ue to the articular
susect and issue under investigation, the follo"ing guidelines can be used to hel
organi1e those 7uestions and also rovide a logical flo" to the intervie". &s "ill be
resented shortly, "e suggest an oening and closing strategy "ith six secific
bloc's of 7uestions occurring bet"een them. The secific order of these bloc's of
7uestions is not critical. :o"ever, "e do recommend that all similar 7uestions )e.g.,
oortunityCaccess 7uestions* be covered in their entirety during a articular bloc' of
the intervie". This "ill allo" the susect to focus attention on one articular area at a
time and not become confused or give inconsistent ans"ers because of ma(or shifts
in 7uestions from one toical area to another.
Starting the Interview
&t the outset of the intervie" the investigator should rovide the susect "ith an
overvie" of the intervie" couled "ith a statement emhasi1ing the imortance of
being comletely truthful. The follo"ing is a ossible oening statement in an
emloyee theft investigation<
EMar', let me exlain the intervie" rocess. !+m going to start off this
afternoon by getting some bac'ground information from you and then
"e "ill tal' in detail about the deosit shortages. !t is imortant for you
to understand my role in this "hole investigation. ! don+t get aid to
(udge eole as being good or bad and ! don+t have any authority over
"hat haens to the eole ! tal' to. My (ob is to simly collect and
analy1e evidence and a big art of that involves tal'ing to eole.
Auring our intervie" this afternoon ! "ant to ma'e certain you
understand each of my 7uestions so if there is anything you do not
understand, lease as' me to clarify it. !t is also imortant for you to be
comletely truthful "ith me before you leave today. Aoes that all sound
agreeable8 &lright. !+m going to start off by having you sell your last
name for me.E
This introduction establishes the non-accusatory tone of the intervie", and also the
non-(udgmental osition of the investigator. The emhasis on being truthful, as
oosed to a threatening statement )such as, E!f you lie to me today ! "ill rove that
and you "ill be sorryRE* "ill "or' to the investigator+s advantage later if it becomes
necessary to interrogate the susect.
The first coule minutes of the intervie" should consist of non-threatening
bac'ground 7uestions such as the selling of the susect+s name, his address,
marital status, (ob duties, etc. These 7uestions allo" the investigator to establish the
susect+s behavioral norms "ithin the areas of eye contact, communication style and
general nervous tension. !n addition, these initial 7uestions allo" the investigator to
establish a raort "ith the susect.
The issue under investigation may be introduced by as'ing the susect, ETell me
everything you 'no" about )the issue under investigation*.E @egardless of the
susect+s ans"er to that 7uestion, it is very imortant for the investigator to first
recisely define the issue under investigation and then as' the susect "hether or
not he committed the crime. The follo"ing is an examle of this in a date rae case<
EJerry, 5inda Jones has reorted that last $aturday evening you
undressed her and forced her to have sexual intercourse "ith you by
stri'ing her "ith your hand. !f you did do that our investigation "ill
clearly indicate that. On the other hand, if this did not haen it "ill
sho" that as "ell. 9efore "e go any further, let me as', did you force
5inda to have sex "ith you last $aturday evening8E
The reason it is imortant to recisely identify the issue under investigation is so that
the susect 'no"s "hether or not he is innocent or guilty of that issue "hich, in turn,
"ill affect the validity of his behavior during the intervie". 6onsider that 5inda Jones
had consensual intercourse "ith the susect but that the t"o of them used cocaine
that night. !f the investigator is vague in his 7uestions such as, EJerry, did you do
something "rong "ith 5inda last $aturday8E the susect may exhibit very misleading
behavior during the intervie".
One reason it is imortant to as' a susect, early during an intervie", if he committed
the crime is because innocent susects are anxious to let the investigator 'no" that
they did not commit the crime. :o"ever, if the investigator does not allo" the
innocent susect to tell the truth, this may result in increased anxiety "hich could be
interreted as decetive behavior. The second reason to directly as' a susect if he
or she is guilty of the crime, is to heighten the susect+s level of motivation during the
intervie". On the other hand, if the investigator s'irts around the issue and avoids
sensitive areas, the innocent susect is not motivated to convince the investigator
that he did not commit the crime. $imilarly, a guilty susect may not be motivated to
conceal the fact that he is lying. /hen a susect+s level of motivation is lo", behavior
symtom analysis can be very unreliable.
Developing Information Concerning investigative leads, Opportunity and
&fter as'ing the susect if he committing the crime it is often aroriate to as' some
reliminary 7uestions to address guilty 'no"ledge, comlicity or general theories of
the crime<
EAo you 'no" for sure "ho did )commit the crime*8E
E/ho do you susect may have )committed the crime*8E
E!s there anyone you can eliminate as a susect8E
&t this oint during the intervie" the investigator may "ant to elicit secific
investigative information. 4xamles of ossible investigative 7uestions include<
ETell me everything you did last $aturday night bet"een 8<00 and the time you fell
EAescribe your relationshi "ith 5inda Jones.E
E/hat "as 5inda+s mood "hen she left your aartment on $aturday8E
ETell me everything about rearing the deosit last #riday afternoon8E
EAid anything unusual haen "hile you "ere ma'ing u the deosit8E
EAo you have the combination to the safe8E
Truthful and decetive susects form very different and redictable attitudes to"ard
the intervie" as "ell as the issue under investigation. &t some oint the investigator
"ill "ant to as' secific 7uestions to dra" out these attitudes. 4xamles of 7uestions
designed to do this include<
":o" do you feel being intervie"ed concerning )issue*8E
E/ho "ould have had the best oortunity to )commit crime* if they "anted to8E
EAo you really thin' )the crime "as committed*8E
E/hat do you thin' should haen to the erson "ho )committed issue*8E
Developing Information Concerning Motives and Propensity
One bloc' of intervie" 7uestions should exlore the susect+s motives and
roensity. !f the crime is financially motivated it "ould be aroriate to discuss the
susect+s current financial status. !f the circumstances of the crime aeared to be
lin'ed to substance abuse, it "ould be aroriate to as' the susect about his use
of alcohol and illegal drugs. To evaluation roensity to commit the crime, the
follo"ing 7uestions may rovide insight<

E/hat is the closest thing to )issue under investigation* that you+ve ever done8E
E:ave you every thought about )committing the crime*8E
ETell me "hy you "ouldn+t )commit crime*8E
E:ave you ever been aroached by anyone as'ing you to )commit crime*8E
E:ave you ever been 7uestioned before about )issue under investigation*8E
Developing the Suspects !"planation for any !vidence
!f there is hysical or testimonial evidence ointing to the susect+s ossible
involvement in the crime, the investigator may "ant to bring this u during the
intervie". On the other hand, if the investigator 'no"s that the susect "ill be
eventually interrogated, often it is beneficial to "ait until the interrogation to bring u
actual evidence of the susect+s guilt.
Developing Information A#out the Suspects Confidence
Auring a non-accusatory intervie" innocent susects are confident they "ill be
believed "hereas guilty susects are "orried about getting a"ay "ith their crime.
The follo"ing 7uestions are designed to assess the susect+s confidence during the
E/hen 5inda says you slaed her is she lying8E
E6an you thin' of any reason "hy someone "ould name you as the erson they
EOnce "e comlete our investigation ho" "ill it come out on you8E
E6an you thin' of any reason "hy the surveillance video "ould sho"
you inside the vault last #riday afternoon8E
Concluding the Interview
Once all of the relevant information from the susect has been elicited, the
investigator should ste out of the intervie" room, revie" his intervie" notes and
other evidence collected in the case and ma'e one of three decisions. The first is that
the susect is telling the truth an can be eliminated from further susicion. Knder this
circumstance, the investigator should return to the intervie" room and say something
li'e the follo"ing, ETom !+ve covered everything ! need to cover "ith you. Than' you
for coming in. !f ! need to tal' to you further !+ll let you 'no".E & second ossibility is
that the investigator decides, based on the susect+s behavior and the evidence, that
the susect is robably guilty of the crime. Knder this circumstance, the investigator
"ould return to the intervie" room and start the interrogation.
!n some situations, follo"ing the initial intervie" the investigator may not be able to
ma'e a determination of the susect+s robable guilt or innocence. !n other cases,
even though the investigator is 7uite certain of the susect+s guilt, he may not "ant to
interrogate the susect at that time. Knder these circumstances the investigator
"ould return to the intervie" room and tell the susect something similar to the
follo"ing, E9ill, than' you for coming in today. /e are in the rocess of tal'ing to
other eole and "aiting to get results bac' on some forensic evidence and it may be
necessary for me to tal' to you again. Gou+d be "illing to come bac' and tal' to me,
"ouldn+t you8E
!n conclusion, an investigator often has only one oortunity to conduct a formal
intervie" of a susect. To maximi1e the amount and 7uality of information learned
during the intervie", a secific structure should be used. The issue under
investigation should be clearly defined and a series of reared 7uestions should be
as'ed to develo investigative information and behavior symtoms of truth or
A eview of &egal Issues Concerning Tric6ery and %eceit %uring an
Interrogation #ebruary 200H
& number of recent cases involving an investigator+s use of tric'ery and deceit during
an interrogation have caused roblems in the subse7uent trial. !n some of these
cases the confession "as suressed. These cases have not involved a novel legal
argument or radical interretations of current la". @ather, existing la"s have been
alied in a redictable manner in situations in "hich investigators attemted to ush
the enveloe to test the court+s tolerance. This "eb ti offers a revie" of some of the
legal asects regulating an investigator+s use of tric'ery and deceit. &n aroriate
starting oint is to define tric'ery and deceit from a legal ersective.
!nterrogation relies extensively on imlication and innuendo. 6onse7uently, almost
every interrogation involves some level of at least imlied deceit. /hen the
investigator starts out an interrogation by telling the susect that there is no doubt
that he committed the crime, this is oftentimes not a true statement. The investigator
may then sit do"n and exlain that the reason he "ants to tal' to the susect further
is to find out "hy he committed the crime. &gain this is not an accurate descrition of
the urose of the interrogation. !n an effort to establish raort, the investigator may
then state that he believes the susect is basically a decent and honorable erson
"ho acted out of character, "hich may, in fact, be a false statement.
#rom a legal ersective, ho"ever, the revious false statements merely reresent
the investigator+s beliefs and, therefore, generally do not fall "ithin the category of
behaviors that have been traditionally considered as Etric'ery and deceit.E !n this
regard, there has been a clear distinction bet"een an investigator stating a false
belief )"hich is generally accetable* and ma'ing a false statement "hich, if carried
too far, could (eoardi1e the admissibility of a confession. 4xamles of false
statements "hich the courts may encounter include lying to a susect by telling him
that his artner has already confessed; falsely telling the susect that if he confesses
he "ill be able to slee in his o"n bed that evening; or, sho"ing the susect a
fabricated reort indicating that his A3& "as recovered from the victim.
/hen as'ing the 7uestion as to "hether or not a articular statement or action may
cause a confession to be suressed, there are a fe" 'ey cases to 'ee in mind.
The landmar' decision concerning tric'ery and deceit is a K. $. $ureme 6ourt case
in "hich a susect confessed after being falsely told that his artner had already
incriminated the susect in the commission of the crime)=* . Ktili1ing the Etotality of
circumstances ruleE, the defendant+s confession "as uheld. /ithin the totality of
circumstances guideline, the tric6ery or deceit e)ployed )ust not shoc6 the
conscience of the court or co))unity 2 &n examle of behavior that shoc' s the
conscience "ould be for the investigator to imersonate a defense attorney or
clergyman in an effort to elicit a confession.
!n the evolution of tric'ery and deceit la"s, the next significant case is 6ay"ard )2*.
!n this case the olice tyed u a fabricated crime laboratory reort "hich stated that
6ay"ard+s A3& "as found during the victim+s autosy. &fter reading this reort
6ay"ard confessed. The confession "as suressed, not because of either concern
listed above, but because of a ne" rationale. !n this instance the investigator crossed
the line from ma'ing a false statement to manufacturing false evidence. The court
"as concerned that such manufactured evidence may find its "ay into court and
(eoardi1e the integrity of the evidentiary system as a "hole. The legal guideline
stemming from 6ay"ard can be summari1ed as follo"s<
A distinction )ust "e )ade "etween false assertions :which )ay "e
accepta"le; to fa"ricating evidence :which is i)per)issi"le2;
!n addition to 6ay"ard, other examles of fabricated evidence that have resulted in
confessions being suressed include ma'ing an audiotae of an investigator
retending to be an eye-"itness )>* to the susect+s crime and a fabricated crime lab
reort indicating that the susect+s A3& "as found on a rubber glove recovered from
the crime scene )B*.
%eli"erate falsehoods unrelated to the facts of the cri)e should "e
/hile false statements relating to investigative information may be ermissible, an
investigator should not lie about legal, rocedural or administrative issues. 4xamles
of imermissible extrinsic decetion include falsely telling a susect that if he
confesses he "ill be able to slee in his o"n bed that evening, or falsely telling the
susect that if he confesses he "ill be laced into a "itness rotection rogram and
not be rosecuted. !n a recent case a confession "as suressed "hen the susect
"as told during the interrogation, E!f you don+t give us a reason )for the crime* the
(ury+s never going to hear a reason.E )H* This statement, of course "as not true and
addressed the susect+s legal defense. &s the court ointed out, EThe officers in this
case might have roerly )and truthfully* told 3ovo, .this is your only chance to tal' to
!t is the nature of a good criminal investigator to strive to solve a case, ideally "ith a
confession. #urthermore, good investigators are creative not only in their aroach to
develoing investigative leads and evidence, but also in their efforts to elicit the truth
during an interrogation. !t is at this stage that the investigator must resist the
temtation to elicit a confession at any cost. !f an investigator tries too hard to elicit a
confession and bends the legal guidelines too far, the result is a suressed
confession. The follo"ing guidelines are offered to assist an investigator in deciding
"hether or not a articular false statement offered during an interrogation may
(eoardi1e a subse7uent confession<
=. !t is generally accetable for the investigator to exress false oinions during
an interrogation.
The excetion to this statement is a false belief or oinion regarding legal
issues, e.g., E! thin' since this is your first offense you "ill robably receive
robation,E or, E!f you did not intend on burning do"n the "hole restaurant,
you+re robably (ust loo'ing at a charge of damaging roerty.E Knless the
erson conducting the interrogation is a rosecutor "ith the authority to ma'e
charging decisions, legal advice or oinions should not be given during an
2. !t is generally accetable for the investigator to use visual ros during an
interrogation such as a video or audio tae, a fingerrint card or an evidence
bag containing caret fibers, hair follicles or other evidence.
!n rearing these ros it is absolutely imerative that the ro "ould never
be mista'en for actual evidence against the susect. &n examle of an
imroer ro "ould be to ta'e the susect+s actual latent fingerrint, and
adhere it to an evidence card indicating the fingerrint "as lifted from the
crime scene. This is clearly manufacturing evidence, "hich is imermissible.
>. !t is generally accetable for the investigator to ma'e false statements
concerning hysical or testimonial evidence that imlicates the susect in the
&s a recautionary measure investigators must exercise a great deal of
caution "hen ma'ing false statements to susects "ith diminished mental or
intellectual caacities in vie" of the fact that some of those individuals may be
suscetible to leasing the investigator and may lace more credibility on the
investigator+s statements than "ith their o"n recollections. $imilarly, false
statements that directly lin' the susect to the crime should not be made to a
susect "ho claims to have no recollections at the time the crime "as
committed as a result of alcohol or drug intoxication, head trauma, or
B. The guideline "e teach at our seminars is that lying to a susect should
generally be considered as a last resort effort to overcome ersistent but "ea'
!f an interrogator is caught in his lie by the susect he "ill lose his credibility, and it
may cause a custodial susect to invo'e his right to remain silent or as' for an
attorney. #urthermore, "ith electronically recorded interrogations the investigator
must be able to articulate his reason at trial for engaging in decetion "ith the
The I)portance of Accurate Corro"oration within a Confession Aecember 200B
Of all ossible evidence resented against a defendant at trial, a confession is
afforded the most "eight. 9ecause of this, "e have maintained that a confession
must satisfy t"o re7uirements. & confession is a statement that )=* accets ersonal
resonsibility for committing a crime along "ith )2* the circumstances and details of
the crime. There are t"o tyes of details of the crime that serve to corroborate the
confession. %ependent corro"oration is information about the crime that is
urosefully "ithheld from the susect and the media. Independent corro"oration
describes information volunteered by the susect about the crime that "as not 'no"n
by the investigator and is indeendently verified after the confession is obtained. !f a
susect ma'es a statement that accets resonsibility for committing a crime but
refuses to offer details or offers inaccurate details about the crime, this statement,
regardless of its sontaneity or detail, fails to satisfy the definition of a confession.
& recent Massachusetts $ureme court decision brings to light the issue of "hat
should legally constitute a confession. !n this case the court overturned an arson
conviction in "hich the defendant+s confession, admitted as evidence during the
initial trial, contained substantial faulty corroboration )(ommonwealth v.
)i*iambattista, +,,-.* 3ot only did the $ureme 6ourt rule that the confession
should have been suressed, but also that in future criminal trials if an interrogation
and confession is not electronically recorded the (udge must instruct the (ury to vie"
the confession "ith great caution. This ruling has tremendous otential imlications
for all investigators.
The case facts relating to the confession for the AiLiambattista case are as follo"s<
forensic evidence from the crime scene rovided a number of facts about the fire that
could be used as deendent corroboration. This included that the fire "as started
"ith gasoline and that the rimary source of ignition "as a closet on the first floor of
the building. !n addition, it "as also established that a small aer fire "as started in
the 'itchen sin'.
The defendant+s confession indicated that on the night of the fire he had entered the
building through the front door using his 'ey, and oured gasoline throughout the
building "hich he lit "ith both matches and a lighter. /hile the defendant volunteered
the fact that he started the fire "ith gasoline )ossible deendent corroboration*, he
indicated four definite locations "here he had started fires on both floors of the
building. 3one of these locations corresonded "ith the first floor closet. The
investigator had AiLiambattista dra" s'etches of the crime scene and as'ed that the
s'etch include the location of the 'itchen sin'. This effort to stimulate the susect+s
memory of starting the fire in the sin' aears to have been insufficient, since the
defendant+s confession never mentions starting a fire in the 'itchen sin', or any"here
else inside the 'itchen.
The defendant+s confession rovided abundant information that could serve as
indeendent corroboration. :is confession indicated that he had brought gasoline to
the crime scene in a 2 W gallon container urchased at a articular hard"are store.
:e further identified the gasoline station "here he bought J=.00 "orth of gasoline.
The defendant offered a number of different exlanations about "here he disosed
of the gasoline can, ultimately stating that he thre" it a"ay at a nearby icnic area.
$ubse7uent investigation demonstrated that the defendant could not have bought the
gas container at the hard"are store he indicated. 4ventually, the gas can "as found.
:o"ever, it "as a six-gallon container and it "as found in a bac' room of the building
that "as burned. #urthermore, the station "here he claimed to have urchased the
gasoline had no record of selling J=.00 "orth of gas the night of the fire.
!n its aeal, the rosecutor argued that the defendant+s confession should be
admitted because it contained four ieces of evidence that suorted the defendant+s
guilt. $ecifically, it "as argued that the defendant had a motive to commit the crime
)anger to"ard the landlord*, there "as an eye witness )a erson described a man
resembling the defendant outside the building near the time the fire "as set*, access
)the defendant "as one of three eole "ith a 'ey to the front door* and propensity
)the defendant lied about having a 'ey to the building and leaving his home the night
of the fire*.
The evidence resented by the rosecutor in no "ay reflects on the trust"orthiness
of the confession itself. & number of eole associated "ith the landlord may have
had a motive to start the fire; the susect+s body tye robably resembles thousands
of others; t"o other eole had 'eys to the building )or the arsonist ic'ed the loc' or
entered the building via another oening*. #inally, even though the defendant "as
caught lying about ossessing a 'ey to the building, there are a number of reasons
susects lie to olice during an investigation, not all of "hich are motivated to cover
involvement in the offense.
& valid confession should contain information about the crime that could only be
'no"n by the guilty erson and can also be verified as true. !t is not sufficient that a
susect+s statement contains sontaneous detail, reresents an admission against
self-interest or rovides logical ans"ers to 7uestions osed by the investigator.
9ecause of the evidential "eight laced on a confession, it must meet a higher level
of roof.
/e are a"are of numerous cases "here legitimate true confessions have been
found to contain minor factual inconsistencies 2 a erfect fit should not be re7uired
by the court. :o"ever, "hen the confession misses the mar' in that essentially every
detail is inconsistent "ith the facts, it should be vie"ed "ith extreme caution. #rom
our assessment of available information, "e believe there are four "ays this susect
could be so far off base in his corroborative statements<

=. The susect is guilty of the arson but clever enough to offer inaccurate
corroboration, hoing that this may cause his confession to be suressed.
2. The susect articiated in the commission of the arson "ith a
second individual "hom he is no" covering for and is simly guessing
at some of the actions of his accomlice.
>. The susect does not 'no" if he is guilty of starting the fire because of an
underlying sychiatric or medical condition that affects his memory or
ercetion of reality. !n an effort to lease the investigators, receive
unishment he believes he deserves, or for other un'no"n reasons, the
susect offered details about the crime based on common sense, intuition or
some other source in no "ay derived from his o"n recollections.
B. The susect is innocent of the arson but "as coerced into
confessing. Knder this circumstance certainly an innocent susect may
accet resonsibility for starting the fire and then, during the oral hase
of the confession, offer his best estimate as to "hat the actual arsonist
& (udge or (ury should not be faced "ith having to select the most robable cause for
faulty corroboration "ithin a confession. The initial resonsibility rests on the
investigator "ho obtained the confession to ma'e certain that the details contained
"ithin the confession can be verified as accurate. !f the details of a confession cannot
be essentially verified, the susect+s unsuorted statement E! committed this crimeE
should not be offered as evidence of his guilt
#rom the information available to us, it is not 'no"n at "hat oint the factual
inconsistencies in AiLiambattista+s confession became 'no"n and it may never be
established "hether or not this confession "as true or false. 4ven if there "as
substantial evidence indicating that the defendant did start the fire, his statement to
the olice acceting ersonal resonsibility for starting the fire should not be
admissible as evidence of a full confession unless the statement is couled "ith
details of the crime that are verified as substantially accurate.
Issues to Consider egarding Possi"le !uicidal !uspects 3ovember 200B
!t "as about B<00 in the afternoon "hen one of our regular clients called and
re7uested an EemergencyE olygrah examination for a =?-year-old female emloyee
they susected "as stealing (e"elry from a 'ios' in their store. !n ursuing the urgent
nature for the olygrah examination, it "as learned that the susected emloyee
had been unsuccessfully EmildlyE interrogated over the last t"o hours and "as no"
threatening to resign. ! had rior dealings "ith this articular investigator and 'ne"
that a EmildE interrogation only meant that the emloyee "as not bleeding. The client
"as olitely reminded of our long-standing ractice of not administering a olygrah
examination immediately follo"ing an interrogation and the emloyee "as scheduled
for an aointment the next morning. The young "oman "as never given a
olygrah examination because that night she committed suicide.
-sychologists tal' about the multile victims of suicide. &ny investigator "ho has had
the unfortunate exerience of having a susect commit suicide during the course of
an investigation understands the imact of this statement. /hen a susect commits
suicide it is natural for the investigator to harbor some feelings of resonsibility for
that death. !n some cases the over"helming guilt has led investigators and
sychologists to resign their osition follo"ing a suicide that occurred under their
"atch. #amily members of the deceased "ill also exerience guilt and shame over
their loved oneFs loss and loo' for accountability and relief. /hen suicide occurs
during the course of an investigation, often this relief "ill be in the form of a la" suit.
&s can be seen, on many levels, it is in the investigatorFs best interest to assess a
susectFs ris' for suicide and ta'e reventative measures "hen the ris' resents
&s a behavioral choice, suicide reresents a total "ithdra"al from the ersonFs
environment. Most eole develo a series of coing mechanisms to deal "ith
stress. These may range from the use of defense mechanisms, "here reality is
altered by distorting thoughts, to behavioral changes including alcohol and drug
abuse. $uicide is the most extreme behavior on that list. 9ut this does not mean that
all victims of suicide "ill have a sychological history of rogressively more
aggressive efforts of "ithdra"al. !n fact, there are individuals "ho aear to have a
redisosition to move directly to the end of the coing mechanism menu. !n other
"ords, some suicides aear to be relatively unredictable -- not all victims exhibit a
series of red flag behaviors before deciding to ta'e their life.
/ith that said, ho"ever, ! am not a"are of a single instance "here a hay,
successful, "ell-ad(usted erson committed suicide. The individual "ho commits
suicide has a sychological roensity for choosing death over more conventional
forms of stress release. $econd, in most suicides, there is a reciitator or motivating
event that leads to the decision to ta'e oneFs life. & la"suit that is filed as a result of a
susect "ho committed suicide during an investigation generally cites the stress of
the interrogation as at least one of the reciitators for the death. This article offers
some suggestions to minimi1e a comany or deartmentFs exosure to civil liability
associated "ith a susect "ho commits suicide.
@ecogni1e the high ris' susect. The rofile of a susect "ho may commit
suicide during a criminal investigation includes )but is not limited to* a susect
o :as a high level of social resonsibility )successful in
business, school or other endeavor, is emotionally close
to friends and family members and is concerned about
their reutation and image*;
o !s facing significant ersonal conse7uences such as
disaointing family members or exeriencing
o :as committed crimes of embe11lement, fraud, sexual
misconduct or hit and run;
o :as reviously attemted suicide; and,
o 4xhibits resent symtoms of, or ast treatment for
&s this list illustrates, some of these assessments can only be made by
as'ing the susect secific 7uestions. !n our office "e have each
susect comlete a E$ub(ect Aata $heetE that includes a 7uestion about
resent sychiatric treatment and one about rior suicide attemts.
4liminate the susectFs oortunity to commit suicide. !f a susect is
determined to be at ris' for ossible suicide, a rotocol should be follo"ed to
reduce this ris'. 4xamle rocedures include<
o @emove ossible suicide imlements )belt, shoelaces,
ra1ors, medications, sheets*
o Maintain a suicide "atch over the susect "here the
susect is monitored either in erson or electronically until
such time that a mental health rofessional can evaluate
the susect and offer a rofessional recommendation for
future monitoring.
#ollo"ing the confession of a susect "ho has been determined to be at ris'
for suicide, the investigator might consider oenly addressing emotional
issues in an effort to reduce the li'elihood that the susect may later decide to
commit suicide. The follo"ing are some suggested statements to ma'e<
o 5et the susect 'no" that he is not the only erson ever
to have committed this crime, and that "hat he did is not
that uncommon, even "ith eole "ho have a similar
bac'ground or social status.
o Tell the susect that right no" he is robably (udging
himself more harshly than anyone else - his friends, co-
"or'ers or family members.
o 4xress the imortance of tal'ing oenly to loved ones
about the susectFs feelings and emhasi1e that it is
human nature to forgive if a erson first ac'no"ledges a
roblem and then romises to change.
The very nature of an investigatorFs (ob involves engaging in behaviors that can
cause eole stress, and sometimes end u deriving a erson of their livelihood,
freedom or reutation. The vast ma(ority of individuals are able to coe "ith this
adversity at some level "ithout resorting to ta'ing their o"n life. & small ercent of
susects, ho"ever, "ill attemt or succeed at committing suicide during the course of
an investigation. /hile there are general factors that increase the ris' for suicide,
even trained mental health rofessionals cannot accurately identify "hether or not a
articular atient "ill commit suicide. 3onetheless, "hen a susect commits suicide
often the investigator "ill exerience feelings of guilt and resonsibility and the
comany or agency may be named in a la"suit. This article offers some common
sense suggestions to 'ee an investigator or his emloyer from becoming an
additional victim of a susectFs suicide.
Testifying on a !uspectBs Behavior !y)pto)s October, 200B
@ecently, the /ashington $ureme 6ourt reversed a rae conviction artially
because the trial court admitted an investigator+s testimony that the defendant+s
verbal and nonverbal behavior symtoms "ere indicative of guilt. /hile there "ere
other grounds for overturning the lo"er court+s conviction, relevant to this article is
the finding that the investigator+s testimony constituted a manifest constitutional error
that "as not harmless.
4ven though the olice "itness did attend a training seminar
offered by John 4. @eid and &ssociates, the rosecution did not lay any foundation to
establish the scientific validity of behavior symtom analysis nor "as there a (udicial
ruling that the investigator should be considered an exert "itness in the detection of
9efore a "itness can offer oinion testimony based on scientific evidence, the court
must first ac'no"ledge that the roffered evidence is generally acceted by the
scientific community. $econd, the "itness must demonstrate, through education,
ublished research or exerience, that he or she is an exert in the articular field.
The staff intervie"ers "ho "or' for John 4. @eid and &ssociates have comleted 882
hours of ost-graduate classroom and internshi instruction in the detection of
decetion. They are licensed detection of decetion examiners and most have
ublished and articiated in scientific studies relating to the detection of decetion.
Many of the staff hold a Masters of $cience degree in the detection of decetion.
4ven "ith this bac'ground, only on rare occasions has a court ermitted our staff to
offer oinion testimony based on behavior symtom analysis. /hile there is no
7uestion that our seminars greatly imrove an investigator+s ability to detect
decetion, the training received during the seminar is insufficient, by itself, to
establish an investigator as an exert "itness in the detection of decetion.
/ithout exert "itness status, the testimony of an investigator is generally restricted
to reorting factual occurrences, e.g., "hat "as seen, heard, smelled or felt. /ith
resect to a susect+s behavior during an intervie", the investigator should al"ays
testify about lies the defendant told during the course of the investigation. 6onsider
that a defendant in a homicide case initially told the olice that he did not see the
victim on the day of her death but later, "hen resented "ith contradictory eye-
"itness evidence, admitted visiting the victim the day that she "as 'illed. !n this case
a (ury may give marginal "eight to the fact that the defendant sa" the victim on the
day of her death. :o"ever, the fact that the defendant initially lied about being "ith
the victim ta'es on huge significance.

$imilarly, because behavior symtoms reresent ob(ective observations, an
investigator may be able to offer this testimony during direct examination. :o"ever, it
is imortant that the "itness restrict his or her testimony to observations, and not
dra" an oinion or conclusion as to the defendant+s guilt or innocence. &s an
examle, the rosecutor could initially as' the "itness to describe the defendant+s
demeanor or behavior during 7uestioning. Aeending on the actual behavior
observed, the investigator+s testimony could be as follo"s<
EThe defendant evaded ans"ers to secifically "orded 7uestions.E
EThe defendant aeared unconcerned during the intervie" and laughed about the
EThe defendant exhibited little eye contact "hen 7uestioned about )issue*, yet
dislayed normal eye contact "hen ans"ering bac'ground 7uestions.E
EThe defendant "as very guarded and volunteered little information.E
EThe defendant turned the lo"er art of his body a"ay from me and crossed his arms
and legs "hen "e discussed )issue*.E
Once the defendant+s behavior symtoms have been entered into the court record,
the rosecutor could rely on the (ury+s common sense to interret the meaning of
those behavior symtoms. On the other hand, the rosecutor may consider further
develoing the behavior symtom testimony. !n doing so, the rosecutor and
investigator must "al' a fine line bet"een the "itness offering an oinion of the
defendant+s guilt or innocence )"hich is generally imermissible* and the "itness
relating rior exeriences, "hich are generally admissible. & theoretical dialogue
could be as follo"s<
&ttorney< EMr. Jayne, as an investigator have you encountered other
sub(ects "ho dislayed similar behavior to the defendant+s "hen you
7uestioned them about a crime8E
/itness< EGes ! have.E
&ttorney< E!n those situations, after evaluating all of the evidence and
the final court decision, has the erson "ho dislayed those behaviors
turned out to be more li'ely telling the truth or lying8E
/itness< EMore li'ely lying.E
9y aroaching the interretation of the defendant+s behavior symtoms from a
ersective of the investigator+s ast exeriences, the (ury is able to lace their o"n
"eight on the defendant+s behavior or demeanor during 7uestioning.
The reviously mentioned court ruling, in no "ay, alters our recommendation that an
investigator should actively document, in "riting, imortant behavior symtoms
exhibited by a susect during a formal intervie". !f the defense attorney chooses to
Eoen the doorE during cross examination by as'ing 7uestions about the documented
behavior symtoms, the "itness can exlain to the court that ma'ing behavioral
observations is considered a standard and accetable intervie"ing ractice and that
the information is beneficial in assessing a erson+s credibility. :o"ever, the
investigator+s field notes should not reflect a secific oinion relating to the susect+s
guilt or innocence based on behavior symtoms. $imilarly, a "ritten reort should not
offer a conclusion that the investigator formed an oinion of the sub(ect+s guilt based
on behavior symtom analysis. !t is often referable to indicate that based on all
available evidence, a articular individual could not be eliminated as a susect.
6ourts re7uire that scientific evidence must reach a standard of general accetance
before it is admitted in a criminal trial. Aetecting decetion through behavior symtom
analysis has not achieved that level of general accetance. :o"ever, an investigator
can testify as to factual observations that occurred during an intervie". This "ould
not only include the defendant+s admissions to such things as having oortunity or
motive to commit the crime, but also the fact that the defendant initially made false
statements to the olice. #urthermore, investigators may be able to testify "ith
resect to a defendant+s behavior symtoms during 7uestioning if the testimony is
limited to factual observations. !t is imortant that testimony regarding a defendant+s
behavior be resented in such a "ay so as not to unduly influence a (ury+s ability to
ma'e their o"n determination of the defendant+s guilt or innocence.
!electing The Proper Alternative <uestion $etember 200B
The @eid Techni7ue of interrogation relies on t"o imortant underlying sychological
rinciles. The first is that it is much easier for a erson to tell the truth if that erson
is allo"ed to coule his admission "ith some moral (ustification. 6onse7uently, "e
teach that an investigator should suggest ossible moral (ustifications "hich allo" the
susect to save-face "hen telling the truth. $econd, it is sychologically "rong to
exect a susect to suddenly brea' do"n and tell the comlete truth about his crime.
!t is often necessary to allo" the susect to initially ma'e a first admission of guilt and
then attemt to develo the full confession. !n the @eid Techni7ue the first admission
of guilt is elicited by as'ing an alternative 7uestion.
&n alternative 7uestion offers the susect t"o choices concerning some asect of his
crime, acceting either choice results in the first admission of guilt. 4xamles of an
alternative 7uestion include, EAid you lan this thing out for months in advance, or did
it (ust haen on the sur of the moment8E or, EAid you steal that money to buy drugs
and boo1e, or "as it used to hel out your family8E &s these examles illustrate, the
choices resented in an alternative 7uestion generally contrast an undesirable
characteristic of the crime to one that is desirable. 9ecause the incriminating
imlication of either choice is very transarent it "ould be aroriate to as', E/hy
doesn+t the susect simly re(ect both choices and deny involvement in the crime8E
!ndeed, some guilty susects do. 9ut for many guilty susects an alternative 7uestion
offers an imetus or incentive to tell the truth.
The sychology of the alternative 7uestion relies on the imortance human beings
lace on their self-concet and esteem. 3o guilty susect "ants the investigator or
other eole to believe things about his crime that are not true. To reserve his self-
image, the susect feels a strong need to correct erroneous assumtions by the
investigator. &ctual examles of this include an intervie" of an ex-con "here ! made
the comment, E! see you have served four years at )state enitentiary*.E The susect
immediately corrected me and said, E!t "as only > years ? monthsRE Auring another
intervie" the susect indicated that her husband "as no longer living "ith her. !
as'ed, E&re you divorced8E $he angrily corrected me and stated, E3o. /e+re merely
searated.E These examles illustrate the strong inner drive "ithin each of us to
rotect our self-image.
!t is, therefore, not surrising "hen a child abuse susect is as'ed, EAid you have
contact "ith those children to sychologically and emotionally scar them for life, or
"as it simly to dislay love and affection to"ard them8E that the susect anxiously
exlains to the investigator that his sexual contact "ith the children "as intended to
sho" love and affection. 4ven though the susect 'no"s full "ell that he is admitting
guilt "hen he ma'es this statement, he does so to re(ect the imlication that his
intention "as to cause sychological harm to his victims. To summari1e, "e believe
that the imetus for a guilty susect to accet the ositive alternative 7uestion is to
re(ect the imlications of the negative choice. !f our understanding of the alternative
7uestion is correct, it suggests a number of guidelines to consider "hen selecting an
alternative 7uestion.

=. The negative choice should not "e true2 !f the imetus behind an alternative
7uestion is to refute the imlications of the negative choice, there is no sychological
advantage reali1ed if the undesirable )negative* choice reflects the truth. !n an actual
instance a single mother "as interrogated concerning the theft of money from her
emloyer. #actual information suggested that she needed this money to hel suort
and care for her son so the alternative 7uestion resented during her interrogation
"as, EAid you blo" this money on drugs or did you ta'e it for your son8E @eeated
efforts to encourage the susect to agree that the money "as needed for her son
"ere unsuccessful. #inally, the investigator s"itched to a different alternative
7uestion. :e as'ed, E:ave you stolen money from every (ob you+ve ever "or'ed, or
"as this the first (ob you+ve ta'en money from8E &t this oint she readily agreed that
this "as the first (ob in "hich she had stolen money. Once this initial admission "as
made, the full truth surfaced. &s it turned out the money she stole did not go to her
son at all. @ather, it "ent to buy heroineR
/hy did the initial alternative 7uestion fail to elicit an admission8 /e believe that the
original choice did not emotionally motivate the susect to refute the imlications that
the money "as stolen to buy drugs )something she 'ne" "as true*. Once the
alternative 7uestion addressed something the susect 'ne" "as not true )stealing
from every (ob she has "or'ed* there "as an immediate incentive for her to let the
investigator 'no" that this "as the first (ob she had stolen money from.
2. The negative choice )ust appear credi"le to the suspect2 !f a susect is not at
all concerned that eole may believe the negative alternative, he is certainly unli'ely
to incriminate himself by acceting the ositive choice. &s an examle, consider a
susect "ho is being interrogated on the issue of leaving the scene of a fatal
accident. Auring this interrogation a ossible alternative 7uestions might be, E/ere
you aid by someone to stri'e that "oman "here you did this out of greed, or did you
(ust leave the scene because you "ere scared8E Aeending on the susect+s
bac'ground and the circumstances of the crime, the susect may not be at all
concerned about eole believing that he "as some sort of aid assassin. !f a
susect is not concerned that others may believe the negative choice, there is no
incentive for him to refute it. Knder this circumstance, the susect is li'ely to re(ect
both alternative 7uestions and maintain his innocence.
& more roductive alternative 7uestion to as' in the hit and run case might be, E/ere
you aiming your car at that lady because you "ere uset "ith her, or "ere you (ust
unable to sto in time because of the dar' clothes she "as "earing8E The credibility
of the negative side of the alternative 7uestion could be reinforced by ta'ing about
the revalence of road rage or the effects of alcohol on a erson+s emotions. !f the
susect accents the ossibility that others might believe the accident may have been
an intentional act of road rage )"hen in fact it "asn+t*, he may then be motivated to
re(ect the imlications of the negative side of the alternative 7uestion, i.e., let the
investigator 'no" that he simly "as unable to sto his car in time.
52 Accepting either alternative choice )ust result in an ad)ission of guilt2
/hile the ositive side of an alternative 7uestion should be attractive to the susect,
the attraction should not be based on absolving the susect of criminal resonsibility
for the crime he committed. !t is not difficult to get a susect to accet the ositive
side of an alternative 7uestion if there are no adverse conse7uences associated "ith
that choice. The follo"ing are examles of imroer alternative 7uestions because
acceting the ositive choice does not reresent an admission of guilt. )3otice, also,
that the negative choice reresents the truth*<
EAid you rob that man or do you (ust 'no" "ho did8E
EAid you intend to remove that document or did it accidentally end u in your brief
EAid you 'ill your girl friend, or do you (ust feel resonsible for her death8E
& susect "ho ac'no"ledges the ositive side of any of the receding alternative
7uestions has not rovided the investigator "ith any evidence of his guilt.
#urthermore, once a susect accets a ositive alternative 7uestion that holds no
admission of guilt, the attraction of avoiding conse7uences for his crime may be so
strong that, absent further evidence, it may not be ossible to ersuade the susect
to tell the comlete truth about his crime.
!n conclusion, selecting the roer alternative 7uestion is an imortant consideration
in develoing an interrogation strategy. The imetus for selecting the ositive choice
comes from the susect+s desire to refute the imlications of the negative choice.
9ecause of this, the negative choice should not be the truth, but must be credible in
the susect+s mind. #inally, both choices must reresent an admission of guilt. &n
exerienced interrogator goes into an interrogation "ith several ossible alternative
7uestions in mind. !f the susect does not relate to the first one resented, the
interrogator is mentally reared to develo and resent another alternative 7uestion
in the effort to learn the truth.
The +se of Evidence %uring an Interrogation' Part I &ugust 200B
T('es of E#ide1e
Gvidence represents information used to help establish a fact. It may be inculpatory
2supporting guilt3 or exculpatory 2supporting innocence3. #here are four broad categories of
criminal evidence" each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
Circumstantial evidence involves such things as the suspectQs opportunity to commit a crime
2alibi3" his access to commit a crime 2special means or knowledge3 and motive 2financial or
psychological3. Gven if a particular suspect has opportunity" access and motive to commit a
crime" in all likelihood" so too do other suspects. Conse'uently" circumstantial evidence is the
weakest proof of a suspectQs guilt.
#estimonial evidence involves human inferences or interpretation. &or example" an eye
witness who relies on memory to pick out a suspect from a lineBup is offering testimonial
evidence. /ther examples include behavior symptom analysis" polygraph" handwriting
analysis" medical and psychiatric opinions and information provided by an informant. !hile
testimonial evidence tends to directly link the suspect to a crime" its accuracy can range from
chance levels to within the EKthpercentile.
&orensic evidence describes scientific testing that matches an unknown sample to its source.
Gxamples of forensic evidence include fingerprints" tool marks" )%A" hair and fiber analysis"
toxicology reports as well as ballistics. !hile forensic evidence is extremely accurate" it
rarely proves a suspectQs guilt. >ather" the evidence may indicate that the suspect was at the
crime scene" had sex with the victim or that a bullet was fired from a gun owned by the
)irect evidence describes evidence that directly links the suspect to a crime. An example is
finding property stolen during a burglary in the back seat of the suspectQs car that was pulled
over two blocks from the home that was burglari@ed. /ther examples include a surveillance
video clearly showing the suspect robbing a clerk or an employee caught smoking mari8uana
in the company washroom. )irect evidence represents the strongest proof of a suspectQs guilt"
but rarely exists.
The Ps(1holo!( of E#ide1e
#he suspect who is caught RredBhandedR committing a crime 2faced with direct evidence3 will
almost always readily admit their crime. It is important for investigators to understand why
suspects who are caught under this circumstance confess. /ne possibility is that they are
caught so soon after the crime that they have not had time to think of ways to excuse away the
incriminating evidence. Another possibility is that a suspect experiences the most guilt
immediately after committing a crime. ased on more than AK years of empirical
observations" we can state that neither of these explanations are likely. >ather" the primary
reason a suspect who is essentially caught committing a crime readily confesses is because he
is absolutely convinced that the investigator knows he is guilty. #he suspect recogni@es that
no amount of rationali@ation or 8ustification can possibly offer a credible excuse for the
obvious evidence of his guilt" so he tells the truth. #his concept is worth repeating in a
different way. A suspect is unlikely to tell the truth during an interview or interrogation unless
he is absolutely convinced that the investigator knows he is guilty.
1ortraying high confidence in a suspectQs guilt starts with the investigatorQs demeanor and
statements. If an investigator casually enters the room and says" R-arry" after talking to you
and looking over everything I donQt think youQre telling the complete truthR the suspect will
immediately recogni@e that the investigator does not have clear evidence 2or confidence3 of
his guilt. It is not human nature for a suspect to increase the investigatorQs confidence of his
guilt by confessing.
Assuming there is no direct evidence linking the suspect to the crime" an investigator must
rely on other forms of evidence to persuade the suspect that there is no doubt of his guilt. /f
course" circumstantial" testimonial or forensic evidence are never positive proof of a suspectQs
guilt so the investigator must use whatever evidence is available and present it in such a way
as to maximi@e its persuasive impact. In this regard" investigators must appreciate that
interrogation relies extensively on implication and innuendo BB It is not so much the hand you
are dealt" but how you play the cards that counts.
The De1isio "o I"rodu1e E#ide1e
#he first 'uestion an investigator must address with respect to presenting evidence to a
suspect is whether to present it at all. #he danger of presenting evidence is that by doing so
often reveals the weakness of the investigatorQs case and also gives the suspect something
tangible to attack. 6any of the interrogations we conduct only involve circumstantial and
testimonial evidence against the suspect 2opportunity" access" motive" propensity" behavior
symptom analysis3. ;nder this circumstance we rarely comment on specific evidence during
an interrogation. >ather" we start the interrogation with a statement such as" R4im" I have in
this folder the results of our entire investigation and all of the evidence clearly indicates that
you did 2issue3.R &rom that point on" often there is no further reference to evidence.
If evidence is presented during an interrogation" it should be used only to overcome barriers
such as persistent but weak denials or when the suspect is reluctant to accept the alternative
'uestion. ;nder this circumstance the investigator should not tell the suspect" Rill" here is all
of the evidence we have against you.R #o do so will often fortify the guilty suspectQs belief
that he can explain away the evidence and escape conse'uences. >ather" the investigator
should select the most incriminating piece of evidence and present it as if it was the tip of the
ice burg. &or example" Rill" IQm not going to sit down with you and go over piece by piece all
of the evidence we have collected on this case but let me 8ust show you this one piece.
>emember earlier you said you left work that night at C+9K. 5ere is an affidavit from your
supervisor who clearly remembers you leaving work that night at A+1A. #hat means you had
plenty of time to do this.R
7si! Wea, E#ide1e "o I*'l( 3ur"her E#ide1e
&rom the outset of an interrogation" the guilty suspect is asking himself the 'uestion" R)oes
the investigator really know that I did this*R" e.g." RIs there really evidence of my guilt.R /ne
way to imply the existence of strong evidence against a suspect is for the investigator to attack
the evidence that does exists. Consider a homicide where it is known that the suspect
acknowledged being with the victim shortly before her death and recently breaking off that
relationship. ;nder this circumstance it may be very persuasive to tell the suspect the
R6ike" IQve talked to a lot of people who have done the same thing that you did. I know youQre
sitting in that chair and asking yourself" P!hat proof do they have*R !e talked earlier about
the fact that you saw her the day this happened and have no alibi. ?ou know what. #here are
probably 1KK"KKK people in this city who have no alibi at the time she died. ?ou told me
about your breakup with her. )uring our investigation we identified a number of people who
were upset with her and also had a motive to do this. #he evidence we have has nothing to do
with your opportunity or motive. I wish I could lay everything we have out on the table so you
could see where I am coming from but at this stage of the investigation I canQt do that. #he
only reason IQm talking to you is to find out the circumstances that led up to your decision to
do this... ,continue with theme..
7si! E#ide1e "o A""a1, "he Sus'e1"<s Credi&ili"(
Consider a hit and run case where there is circumstantial evidence indicating that the suspectQs
vehicle 2which matched the description of the vehicle involved in the accident3 had front end
repair work done the day after the accident. )uring the interview the investigator could show
the suspect the work order from the body shop and ask for an explanation. #he deceptive
suspect is likely to offer an explanation such as saying that his car was damaged in a parking
lot the day of the hit and run so he took it in for repairs. #he innocent suspect" of course could
tell the same story. An axiom of interviewing is to never reveal evidence to a suspect until
first giving the suspect a chance to volunteer the information.
In the case of the hit and run" the investigator should first ask whether the suspectQs car had
sustained any recent front end damage and whether the vehicle had any recent repairs. An
innocent suspect will truthfully acknowledge this information. /n the other hand" the
deceptive suspect" who has not been told about the work order" may lie and deny having any
repair done to his vehicle. )uring an interview the investigator should allow the suspect to tell
this lie and accept it. -ater" during the interrogation" if the investigator needs to introduce
evidence the work order can be brought up and used to attack the suspectQs credibility. #he
dialogue may be as follows+
R#om" I wouldnQt be talking to you this way unless I knew for sure that you did this. A lot of
the 'uestions I asked you earlier I already knew the answer to. &or example" you said that
your car had no front end damage and had not been repaired. -ook at this work order dated
the day after the accident. IQm sure you recogni@e it. #he biggest problem youQve got right now
is your credibility. At some point there may be a concern that this wasnQt an accident at all and
that maybe you purposely aimed your car at that man because maybe you thought he was
having an affair with your wife. /r maybe someone might claim that you were paid money to
hit that man. %ow" I donQt think either of those things happened but if you donQt start telling
the truth no one is going to believe anything you say7R
Es"a&lishi! "he Credi&ili"( of Tes"i*oial E#ide1e
!hen the primary evidence against a suspect is testimonial" the investigator may need to
bolster the strength of that evidence in the suspectQs mind. #his is best accomplished through
the use of statements that appeal to the suspectQs logic and common sense. &or example" if a
victim or witness identified the suspect as the perpetrator of the crime the investigator may
comment that the victim or witness has no motive to lie. In the case where the witness or
victim knows the suspect personally" the investigator may state that this is clearly not a case
of mistaken identity. (imilarly" the details of an informantQs statements could be revealed to
bolster that evidence.
&or legal reasons an investigator must be cautious about overstating the accuracy of detection
of deception procedures such as the polygraph techni'ue" C:(A or behavior symptom
analysis. (ome courts have ruled that" for example" attempting to convince a suspect that the
C:(A was infallible constitutes a deceptive statement that shocks the conscience of the court
or community. >ather" the investigator should rely on logical arguments in supporting the
strength of testimonial evidence as the following dialogue illustrates+
I+ R-inda" IQm sure that over the last 0A years youQve had friends or relatives lie to you and you
could usually tell when they were lying right*R
(+ R?eah.R
I+ R!ould you agree that when you were younger it was harder to tell when people lied to you
than when you got older and had more life experiences*R
(+ R(ure.R
I+ R!ell" IQve had specific training in evaluating behavior symptoms. #hatQs what I do in my
8ob. I interview people and evaluate their behavior. And IQve been doing this for almost 1A
years. I wouldnQt be talking to you this way if I wasnQt convinced that you did this.R
Interviewing Elderly !u"#ects July 200B
!ntervie"ing techni7ues resented in textboo's or during seminars generally assume
that the erson being intervie"ed is an emotionally healthy and mature individual
"ith a normal !O. T"enty-five years ago, "hen the eidemic of unreorted child
sexual abuse attracted national attention, secific intervie"ing techni7ues "ere
develoed to address the secial circumstances of eliciting information from a child.
6ontemorary investigators are no" dealing "ith a ne" secial interest grou. &s
our oulation ages, investigators are faced "ith the tas' of fre7uently intervie"ing
elderly "itnesses, victims and susects.
Knli'e children, "ho reach sychological and hysiological benchmar's "ithin a year
or t"o of established norms, the deteriorating effects of aging have a "ide range.
There are 80-year-old sub(ects "ith remar'able cognitive and hysical abilities and,
conversely, DH-year-old sub(ects "ith noticeably imaired memory and affected
hysiological functions. 6onse7uently, the first goal "hen intervie"ing an elderly
sub(ect is to ma'e an initial assessment of the erson+s age-related functions. !n
articular, the investigator needs to assess the sub(ect+s senses and memory
4valuating the sub(ect+s senses
&ssessing a sub(ect+s eyesight and hearing is obviously imortant "ith resect to
credibility if that individual claims to be a "itness or victim of a crime. #urthermore,
failure to recogni1e vision or hearing roblems "ithin a sub(ect may cause misleading
behavior symtoms during an intervie".
&n investigator should not aroach an elderly sub(ect "ith any exectation of
hysical or mental imairment. !n other "ords, it "ould be imroer for the
investigator to initially tal' loudly, to use simle "ords, or to over-exlain the
situation. @ather, "hen intervie"ing an elderly sub(ect the investigator should have a
heightened a"areness of the individual+s ossible sensory limitations and be
reared to ad(ust intervie"ing techni7ues accordingly.
$imle observation may reveal that a sub(ect "ears strong eyeglasses or hearing
aids. Observing the sub(ect during conversation may indicate a tendency for the
sub(ect to turn a Egood earE to"ard the investigator "hen a 7uestion is as'ed or to
offer an inaroriate resonse to a 7uestion that "as as'ed "hen the sub(ect "as
not facing the investigator. /hen sight or hearing is imortant to the sub(ect+s
testimony, it is imortant to establish "hether or not the sub(ect "as "earing glasses
or hearing aids at the time an event occurred.
&s one ages, often more light is re7uired for the eyes to focus and discern articular
features. /hen an elderly sub(ect is offering eye "itness evidence, the investigator
should carefully document the amount of light resent at the time of the initial event.
#or the same reason, if an elderly sub(ect is as'ed to identify a hotograh or the
signature on a canceled chec', for examle, the document or ob(ect should be "ell

/hen intervie"ing an elderly erson "ith affected hearing there is a tendency to
ma'e t"o errors. The first is for the investigator to significantly increase his volume
"hen as'ing a 7uestion, and second, to treat the sub(ect as if a hearing imairment
also decreases the sub(ect+s !O. !f a sub(ect has imaired hearing, the investigator
should maintain a normal volume "hen as'ing 7uestions but slo" do"n the rate of
sea'ing "ords -- under this circumstance carefully enunciating each "ord is often
sufficient to allo" the sub(ect to understand the investigator. !t is also imortant for
the investigator to maintain direct eye contact "hen as'ing 7uestions as many
hearing imaired individuals "ill rely on visual cues to interret verbal
communication. #inally, the investigator+s vocabulary or sentence structure should
not be affected merely because a sub(ect has imaired hearing.
/hile sight and hearing may be diminished "ith an elderly sub(ect, the erson+s
olfactory senses may be heightened. !n this regard, it is esecially imortant for the
investigator to ma'e certain that his or her breath is fresh and also be a"are of
ossibly offensive odors on clothing such as tobacco or strong coo'ing odors. #inally,
an investigator should not be shy in as'ing an elderly sub(ect about failing sight,
hearing or other relevant medical issues. !t is not at all unrofessional or insulting for
an investigator to sincerely as' an elderly sub(ect, E&ndy are you able to understand
me all right8E or, EJulie is there enough light for you to see these ictures8E
&ffected Memory
&ll memories eventually decay to the oint of being irretrievable, or erhas, even
erased. & erson at age ten "ho is as'ed to recall memories of their first day of
'indergarten "ill be able to rovide many more secific recollections than "hen given
the same tas' at age >0. This gradual inability to recall long-term events occurs,
more or less, on an even continuum throughout our lives, rovided the individual is
not suffering from a disease that abnormally imairs memory, e.g., &l1heimer+s
disease. $imilarly, as a erson ages short-term memory also decreases. $ince most
daily tas's re7uire short-term memory )E/here did ! ar' the car8E EAid ! buy mil'
yesterday8E*, this tye of memory loss is most aarent and bothersome. 9ecause
distortions or omissions in long-term memory are tyically unverifiable and have no
immediate conse7uence, the ercetion is that long-term memory remains intact in
the elderly, "hen in fact, it may also be affected.
)uring an interview" both a sub8ect$s long and shortBterm memory can significantly affect the
'uantity and accuracy of information learned. #he accuracy of longBterm memory would
certainly be important for an investigator who is working a Rcold caseR and wants to interview
a FKByearBold man who witnessed a bank robbery 0A years ago. !ith respect to shortBterm
memory" consider a FKByearBold woman who was the victim of a strong armed robbery that
occurred 9K minutes ago. In both scenarios the sub8ect$s age will almost certainly affect the
person$s memory" at least to some extent. #o address affected memories" there are two
procedures an investigator should use when interviewing an elderly sub8ect. #he first is to
gauge the sub8ect$s accuracy for longBterm recall and second is to use techni'ues to enhance
the sub8ect$s memory.
!hen an interview involves longBterm memory" the investigator should ask corroborative
'uestions to help assess the trustworthiness of the sub8ect$s memory. Corroborative 'uestions
re'uest information that can be independently verified. &or example" when discussing a
robbery that occurred 0A years ago" the sub8ect may be asked what his home address was" who
his immediate supervisor was or what the weather conditions were on the day of the robbery.
It is not significant if the sub8ect is unable to recall these details. 5owever" if the sub8ect
claims to recall this type of information and subse'uent checking indicates that their recall
was faulty" this finding suggests possible other errors in the sub8ect$s recollections. Including
corroborative 'uestions during an interview of an elderly sub8ect may also be beneficial
during court testimony in that the investigator will be able to describe to the court why he
found the sub8ect$s memory trustworthy.
In addition to aging neuroBpathways and diminished blood supply to parts of the brain" other
factors contribute to an elderly person$s inability to immediately recall information. (ome of
these include intense emotional states such as anxiety" distrust or fear. Gnvironmental
distractions 2sounds" movement3 can also inhibit the ability to recall information. !hile some
memory loss is unavoidable" an investigator can increase the amount of information recalled
by an elderly sub8ect during an interview by following these guidelines+
1. 6ost people can relate to the high school experience of sitting down for a
final examination and initially being unable to recall anything that was studied.
Anxiety" apprehension and fear all greatly reduce a person$s ability to recall
information. #hus" at the outset of the interview the investigator should take
time to establish rapport. Gspecially with an elderly sub8ect it is important to
establish a level of trust and emotional comfort before discussing the issue
under investigation. #o do this the investigator could exhibit a sincere interest
in some aspect of the sub8ect$s life. #he conversation may center around the
sub8ect$s career" family" neighborhood" house or yard.
0. )iminish outside distractions. Any sub8ect$s cognitive functioning will be
higher in an environment that is 'uiet and free from visual stimulation such as
moving people or multiple investigators asking 'uestions. #his guideline
operates tenBfold for the elderly.
9. 4ust as it takes elderly sub8ects longer to move from one place to another or
to finish a meal" it also takes them longer to retrieve memories. Investigators
must literally allow elderly sub8ects more time to recall information asked
during an interview. If an investigator asks 'uestions rapidly or exhibits
nonverbal symptoms of being inpatient" this will enhance the sub8ect$s level of
anxiety" and conse'uently" decrease his or her ability to recall information. A
slow" methodical 'uestioning techni'ue is much more appropriate for an
elderly sub8ect.
<. )o not suggest possible answers. A cooperative sub8ect often wants to
please the investigator by providing re'uested information. 5owever" if the
sub8ect cannot recall the re'uested information" he or she may be very willing
to agree with an answer suggested by the investigator. !hen a cooperative
sub8ect states that he or she cannot recall specific information" consider these

a. (kip over the incident and return to it later. #he topic may be
too sensitive for the sub8ect to discuss at the present time or
simply be too trivial for the sub8ect to recall. &re'uently" by
returning to the topic later during the interview" the sub8ect will
provide the re'uested information.
b. If appropriate" explore prior memory connections to stimulate
recall. Gxamples of this would be+ R)id the person remind you
of anyone you know*R R)id the person talk like anyone you
know*R R!ere you aware of any familiar smells that reminded
you of someone or somewhere else*R If the sub8ect answers
RyesR to this type of 'uestion" obviously the investigator would
first pursue the prior memory and then tie it in to the current
event" e.g." R!hy did this man remind you of your nephew in
c. At the conclusion of the interview ask the sub8ect to think
about the re'uested information and to call the investigator if
anything else comes to mind. #his procedure is also beneficial
when the sub8ect is reluctant to reveal information in front of
another person present during the interview" e.g." a spouse or
In summary" there are uni'ue issues relating to the interview of elderly sub8ects investigators
need to be aware of and" if possible" compensate for. !hen showing an elderly person a
photograph or other document" make certain there is sufficient light in the room. !hen
speaking to a sub8ect with impaired hearing" the investigator should slow down the rate of
speaking and maintain eye contact. #he investigator should not talk to the sub8ect as though
the person is mentally deficient.
)iminished memory function is a natural part of the aging process. #he investigator should
test the elderly sub8ect$s memory by asking corroborative 'uestions during an interview. In
addition" certain interview procedures should be followed to increase the sub8ect$s ability to
recall information. In this regard" the investigator should make an effort to reduce anxiety by
establishing a rapport with the sub8ect" allow sufficient time for the sub8ect to remember and
not force or suggest answers when the sub8ect initially claims not to be able to remember
&ying to a !uspect' /ow -ar Can an Investigator *o9 June 200B
Auring the course of an investigation an investigator often must rely on dulicity and
retense in an effort to develo evidence against the guilty susect. 6ommon
examles include the use of undercover oeratives, hidden surveillance video or
EbaitingE a cash dra"er "ith extra money. -rovided these rocedures do not entice a
erson to commit a crime )entrament*, they are generally accetable ractices.
:o"ever, courts give greater scrutiny to situations "hen an investigator 'no"ingly
lies to a susect in an effort to obtain evidence. The courts recogni1ed that decetion
by la" enforcement is often re7uired to solve crimes but also rohibits the olice from
ma'ing false statements to a susect under certain circumstances.
$hoc'ing the conscience of the court or community
The landmar' decision regulating false statements made to a susect is the K.$.
$ureme 6ourt case of #ra1ier v. 6u, >?B K.$. %>=, =?D?. The case involved the
interrogation of a homicide susect "ho "as falsely told that an accomlice had
already imlicated the susect in the 'illing. This lie ersuaded the susect to
confess to the homicide. The $ureme 6ourt ruled that such use of tric'ery and
deceit can be ermissible )deending on the totality of circumstances* rovided that it
does not shoc' the conscience of the court or community.
#urthermore, the court offered examles of olice conduct that "ould shoc' the
conscience of the court or community. $uch imermissible conduct includes an
investigator lying about his identity and introducing himself as the susect+s court
aointed attorney. $imilarly, an investigator "ho oses as a clergyman in an effort
to obtain a confession under that guise "ould constitute behavior that shoc's the
conscience of the court or community. Over the last >H years courts have uheld
countless confessions even though the investigator lied to the susect during an
intervie" or interrogation. !n most of these cases the investigator made false
statements about being in ossession of evidence that imlicated the susect in the
crime e.g., eye-"itness, fingerrint, A3&, etc.
On the other hand, courts have consistently rohibited investigators from lying to
susects about the ossible conse7uences the susect faces if he is guilty of
committing a crime. &n examle of this "ould be if an investigator falsely tells a
susect that recent legislation allo"s the susect to receive robation if he exresses
remorse for his crime. Other instances of imermissible false statements include
telling a susect that if he confesses he can slee in his o"n bed that night )"hen
such is not the case*, or that if the susect does not confess her children "ill be
ta'en from her and laced in a foster home.
& =??> case dra"s a clear distinction bet"een intrinsic lies )dealing "ith the current
investigation* and extrinsic lies )relating to legal issues or the court system*.
case holds that telling extrinsic lies to a susect constitutes inherent coercion and,
conse7uently, renders a confession inadmissible, er se. Other states have adoted
a similar osition. #or examle, a recent decision from Minnesota involved a case
"here the investigator told the susect that if he ac'no"ledged having sexual contact
"ith the victim many years ago, that the susect "ould not be charged "ith a more
serious offense. The court suressed the subse7uent confession relying, in art, on
the rationale that an investigator is rohibited from telling extrinsic lies during an
&n interesting alication of Qale'olio is the ermissibility of lying to a susect about
the urose for an intervie". &s an examle, consider that #ran' is susected of
engaging in illegal gambling activity and investigators "ish to tal' to him about that.
#or fear that #ran' "ill destroy evidence if told the true urose for the intervie",
investigators lie and tell him that they "ould li'e to 7uestion him about a recent hit
and run accident. Once #ran' voluntarily resents himself to the intervie" room he is
told the true urose for the intervie" and subse7uently confesses to illegal gambling
activity. 5ying to a non-custodial susect about the urose for an intervie" may be
considered ermissible if the investigator can establish a reasonable urose for the
decetion and that the intervie" "as voluntary. :o"ever, if #ran' "as arrested and
ta'en into custody, it "ould be clearly imroer and illegal to elicit a Miranda "aiver
under the false retest of "anting to tal' to him about a hit and run accident.
Obtaining a valid "aiver of constitutional rights is clearly extrinsic to the investigation
and an investigator can not engage in tric'ery or deceit to obtain that goal.
#alse assertions vs. manufactured evidence
& #lorida case offers further guidance "ith resect to ma'ing false statements to a
!n the 6ay"ard case olice created a fictitious crime lab reort "hich
indicated that 6ay"ard+s A3& "as found on the victim. &fter reading the reort,
6ay"ard confessed. &t trial his confession "as suressed because of the court+s
concern that such manufactured evidence may find its "ay into a court room and
undermine the integrity of the evidential system. The significant language from
6ay"ard is that a distinction must be made bet"een, EMa'ing false assertions and
manufacturing evidenceE. The imlication is that 6ay"ard+s confession "ould have
been uheld had the investigator only made the false statement, E/e have a crime
lab reort and your A3& "as found on the victim.E
This same logic "as alied in a recent 3e" Jersey case to suress a homicide
!n rearation for the interrogation, investigators staged an audio-taed
intervie" "here a fello" investigator retended to be an informant "ho "itnessed the
'illing. Kon hearing the manufactured tae the susect confessed. !t should be
made clear that the 6ay"ard case does not rohibit an investigator from using visual
ros during an interrogation rovided that the ros "ould not reasonably be
erceived as actual evidence against the susect.
Many of the interrogations conducted at John 4. @eid and &ssociates involve
decetion through dulicity and retense to one degree or another. /hen "e start
out the interrogation by telling the susect that all of the evidence indicates that he
committed the crime, this is often an exaggeration. /e may then comliment the
susect by saying that he aears to be a conscientious and caring individual. This,
too, is often a lie. /e continue on by exressing understanding and comassion
to"ard the susect+s criminal behavior and exress symathy to"ard the unfortunate
situation that led to the decision to commit the crime. These false emotions of
symathy and exressions of confidence are often necessary to create an
environment "here the susect feels comfortable telling the truth.
Only rarely do "e lie about having evidence that imlicates the susect in the crime.
!n our exerience, an investigator "ho lies about having such evidence ris's the
susect either calling the investigator+s bluff, e.g., E5et me see that crime lab reortRE
or frightening the susect into as'ing for an attorney. -rocedurally, ma'ing false
statements to a susect during an interrogation is a ris'y roosition and should be
reserved as a last ditch effort to overcome "ea', but ersistent denials.
/hen the decision is made to lie to a susect, the investigator must be a"are of case
la" and avoid any lies that relate to legal issues or the criminal (ustice system, e.g.
leniency, lesser charges, reduced sentence. #urther, lies made to a susect should
be limited to false verbal assertions. This does not reclude the investigator from
using visual ros such as a thic' evidence folder or a blan' P:$ tae. :o"ever, it is
unaccetable for an investigator to manufacture fictitious evidence against a susect.
Investigating Possi"le -a"ricated Clai)s May 200B
& recent case involving a Kniversity of /isconsin student "ho falsely claimed that
she "as abducted highlights some imortant characteristics of these investigations.
This articular case 7uic'ly achieved national attention and "as follo"ed on a daily
basis by morning tal' sho"s. The reason for this attention "as robably because the
media "ere able to build susense by sho"ing surveillance video of the victim
leaving her aartment the night of her alleged abduction. !t certainly "as not because
of the scarcity of missing erson cases nor "as it the rarity of claims of alleged
abductions. !ndeed, "hile this drama "as unfolding in Madison, /isconsin, olice
=H0 miles to the northeast "ere investigating another mysterious disaearance of a
school teacher that also turned out to be fa'ed. 9ecause these cases tend to be high
rofile, an agency must be sensitive, but also diligent, in their investigation.
Initial esponse
/hen a la" enforcement agency initially receives a reort of a ossible abduction, or
"hen a erson comes for"ard and claims to have been sexually assaulted or
robbed, the initial resonse must be to accet the facts at face value and conduct an
aroriate investigation based on available information. :o"ever, the investigation
should be t"o-ronged. One effort should be to develo investigative information
"hich may lead to ossible susects. &t the same time, a second effort should focus
on verifying the credibility of the reort. #or examle, "hen 7uestioning the victim+s
ac7uaintances the investigator not only must as' 7uestions about "ho might have a
motive to harm the victim but also as' 7uestions to learn "hether or not the victim
may have a motive or roensity to fabricate such a claim.
/hether these cases are real or fabricated, the investigator must areciate that the
best source of information "ill be the alleged victim. Too often, victims are initially
intervie"ed in an effort to gain basic information about the crime and then dismissed
until needed for an identification or trial testimony. Our strong recommendation is to
al"ays re-intervie" victims erhas 2B or B8 hours after the initial reort )deending
on the erson+s sychologicalC hysical health*. The follo"-u intervie" should be in-
deth and should incororate behavior-rovo'ing 7uestions to assess the erson+s
/hen an actual victim is initially intervie"ed, often that erson is emotionally
distressed and focuses on the emotional comonents of the attac'. They strongly
remember ho" they felt, "hat "ords "ere said and the humiliation they feared "hen
others found out about "hat haened to them. :o"ever, the information an
investigator most needs such as the hysical descrition of the raists, "hether the
raist had a tattoo or unusual mar's, or the descrition of the car the raist "as
driving are foggy and uncertain. Often "hen a legitimate crime victim is re-
intervie"ed more detailed information about the eretrator is learned and the victim
has more certainty about eriheral details of the crime "hich may hel the
investigator. On the other hand, "hen a erson "ho has fabricated a crime is re-
intervie"ed, the results may be 7uite telling. -oor eye contact, a fro1en osture and a
s'etchy memory during the initial intervie" may be forgiven as a result of trauma.
:o"ever, "hen these same symtoms are still aarent t"o days after the alleged
crime, the investigator should consider the ossibility of a fabricated claim. $imilarly,
"hen relating a fabricated claim a second time the account may contain obvious
inconsistencies. !n articular, the investigator should listen for a change of se7uence
of events bet"een the first and second accounts, since this strongly suggests a
fabricated claim.
The decision as to "hether or not the media should be contacted during an
investigation is, at best, a (udgment call. !f ublic exosure is li'ely to develo further
investigative information, such exosure is robably desirable. 9ut ublic exosure is
a double-edged s"ord. !n the Madison case, media exosure resulted in hone calls
from eole "ho sa" the victim the day after the alleged abduction but also greatly
increased the ersonal conse7uences the victim faced if she "anted to tell the truth.
!t may have been a relatively easy tas' to ersuade her to tell the truth if the only
eole affected "ere her family and friends. :o"ever, once the entire country
became a"are of her redicament, the conse7uences of telling the truth must have
been almost insurmountable.
/hen an investigation or second intervie" of a reorted victim develos information
that reasonably suggests a fabricated claim, it is entirely aroriate to interrogate
the alleged victim in an effort to learn the truth. To develo an interrogation strategy,
it is imortant to establish the robable motive for the false claim. The follo"ing can
be used as a guideline for most false claims<
#o cover their own theft
#o cover complicity in the theft
#o cover negligence
Abduction J Assault where no person is named
#o explain absence or tardiness
#o cover pregnancy
#o cover sexually transmitted disease
#o cover in8uries caused by a person being protected
(exual assault where person is named
Caught in embarrassing situation
&or financial gain 2paternity" settlement3

The confrontation of the interrogation should avoid descritive language, e.g., EMary,
our investigation indicates that you did not tell the truth about being ta'en from your
aartment.E !t "ould be incorrect to ut Mary on the defensive by accusing her of
ElyingE and it "ould also be non-roductive to confront her ambiguously, e.g., EMary
after revie"ing your statement, things are not 7uite adding u.E !f an investigator
does not come out "ith a direct and unambiguous confrontation statement often the
susect "ill offer a revised version of his story "hich satisfies the investigator+s
Ethings are not 7uite adding uE accusation, but still does not reresent the truth.

#ollo"ing a direct ositive confrontation of guilt, the investigator should offer an
interrogation theme "hich "ill reinforce the susect+s o"n motives for committing the
crime. The theme is delivered as a symathetic monologue and serves to create an
environment "here the susect feels comfortable discussing his or her crime. !n the
reviously referred to case from /isconsin, the college student confessed that she
made u the abduction story to gain attention and symathy from her boyfriend.
6onse7uently, this concet "ould have been an aroriate theme for her
/hen the susect aears to be ready to ma'e the first admission of guilt the
investigator should as' an alternative 7uestion. This is a 7uestion that offers the
susect t"o choices concerning some asect of the crime. &cceting either choice
results in the first admission of guilt. $ome ossible alternative 7uestions to consider
in cases involving a fabricated claim include<
EAid you do this for attention or because you are vindictive and "anted
to get even "ith someone8E
EAid you lan this out for months in advance or did the idea (ust come
to you on the sur of the moment8E
EAid you start out "ith a full story in mind, or did it (ust 'ind of gro" as
eole as'ed you more and more 7uestions8E
E:ave you made u stories about other eole your "hole life, or "as
this retty much the first time8E
Once the EvictimE has started to tell the truth by acceting an alternative 7uestion, the
investigator must learn the "hole truth and develo a legally admissible confession.
This confession must not only be obtained "ithout the use of threats or romises, but
must also be trust"orthy. The best evidence suorting the trust"orthiness of a
retracted claim of robbery, abduction or rae is indeendent corroboration. This
describes information not 'no"n until the confession that can be indeendently
verified. !n the Madison case, the olice "ere able to indeendently establish that the
student herself urchased the 'nife, duct tae, and other articles allegedly used
during her abduction. Other examles of ossible indeendent corroboration in
claims of false robbery, abduction or assault include recovery of stolen funds,
recovery of ob(ect used to create an in(ury, bloodied material sho"ing that in(uries
occurred other than "here originally stated and a diary or conversation "ith a friend
indicating the intention to fabricate a story.
The national attention recently given to a false claim of abduction suggests that this
is a very rare occurrence. !n truth, it is not and la" enforcement agencies must
al"ays consider the ossibility that an alleged robbery, abduction, rae or hysical
assault is fabricated. &n imortant asect of the investigation is to re-intervie" the
victim. /hen a false claim is susected the interrogation theme "ill center around the
robable motive for the claim. Once a erson ac'no"ledges that he or she made u
the story, the investigator should elicit information about the fabrication that can be
indeendently corroborated.
-alse Confession Cases C The Issues &ril 200B
!n the ast several years a number of false confession cases have received
extensive ublicity. !n several of these cases the convicted individual has been
exonerated by A3& testing and the actual eretrator, in turn, has been identified. !n
these cases it is imortant to examine in detail exactly "hat haened; "hat "ent
"rong; "hat are the lessons to be learned, and "hat are otential safeguards that
can be ut into lace to revent future mista'es.
To be sure, in the exerience of most rofessional interrogators the fre7uency of
false confessions is rare. /hen "e do learn of them, ho"ever, the interrogation
tactics and techni7ues should be scruulously examined, as "ell as the
circumstances surrounding the interrogation. /hen this has been done, there are
four factors that aear "ith some regularity in false confession cases<
The susect is a (uvenile; andCor
The susect suffers some mental or sychological imairment; andCor
The interrogation too' lace over an inordinate amount of time; andCor
The interrogators engaged in illegal tactics and techni7ues
.uveniles/#ental Impairment
4very interrogator must exercise extreme caution and care "hen intervie"ing or
interrogating a (uvenile or a erson "ho is mentally or sychologically imaired.
6ertainly these individuals can and do commit very serious crimes. 9ut "hen a
(uvenile or erson "ho is mentally or sychologically imaired confesses, the
investigator should exercise extreme diligence in establishing the accuracy of such a
statement through subse7uent corroboration. !n these situations it is imerative that
interrogators do not reveal details of the crime so that they can use the disclosure of
such information by the susect as verification of the confession+s authenticity.
/hen a (uvenile younger than =H, "ho has not had any rior exerience "ith the
olice, is advised of his Miranda rights, the investigator should carefully discuss and
tal' about those rights "ith the sub(ect )not (ust recite them* to ma'e sure that he
understands them. !f it is aarent that the susect does not understand his rights,
no interrogation should be conducted at that time. The same is true for a erson "ho
is mentally or sychologically imaired.
& revie" of the available information in false confession cases has revealed that in
many of the interrogations the investigators engaged in the use of imermissible
threats and romises. !nterrogators in these cases have made such statements as<
EGou+re not leaving this room until you confess.E
E!f you tell me you did this you can go home and slee in your o"n bed tonight )"hen
such is not the case*.E
EGou "ill be sentenced to the maximum term unless you confess.E
E/ith the evidence that "e have, there+s no doubt that you "ill be convicted of this.
The only 7uestion is ho" long you are going to sit in (ail.E
E!f you don+t tell the truth ! "ill get your children turned over to rotective services and
you+ll never see them again.E
EThe other guys "ant to charge you "ith =
degree murder but if you tell me it "as
(ust manslaughter nothing bad "ill haen to you.E
!t goes "ithout saying that in the 7uestioning of a criminal susect no rofessional
interrogator should engage in any illegal interrogation ractices, including any
threats, romises of leniency or the exercise of any hysically abusive tactics.
#urthermore, the rights of the susect should be scruulously resected.
heme )evelopment
!t has been suggested by some that the interrogator+s effort to develo a theme
during the interrogation is not (ust offering the susect a moral excuse for his criminal
behavior, but is actually offering the susect a romise of reduced unishment. :ere
are several 7uotes from our boo's that clarify this issue<
4xcerts from 6riminal !nterrogation and 6onfessions )B
edition, 200= !nbau, @eid,
9uc'ley and Jayne*
EAuring the resentation of any theme based uon the morality factor, caution
must be ta'en to avoid any indication that the minimi1ation of the moral blame
"ill relieve the susect of criminal resonsibility.E ).?>*
E&s earlier stated, the interrogator must avoid any exressed or intentionally
imlied statement to the effect that because of the minimi1ed seriousness of
the offense, the susect is to receive a lighter unishment.E ).=00*
E!n alying this techni7ue of condemning the accomlice, the interrogator
must roceed cautiously and must refrain from ma'ing any comments to the
effect that the blame cast on an accomlice thereby relieves the susect of
legal resonsibility for his art in the commission of the offense.E ). ==B*

4xcert from The !nvestigator &nthology 2000 Jayne and 9uc'ley
EAuring theme develoment, caution must be exercised, ho"ever, not to tell
the susect that if the crime "as committed for a morally accetable reason
that the susect "ill be accorded leniency.E ). B=B*
0lternative 1uestions
!n The @eid Techni7ue the alternative 7uestion should never threaten conse7uences
or offer romises of leniency. The follo"ing are i)proper alternative 7uestion
EAo you "ant to cooerate "ith me and tell me "hat haened, or send the next
five to seven years behind bars8E )imroer*
EAo you "ant to be charged "ith first degree murder, "hich "ill mean life in rison, or
"as this (ust manslaughter8E )imroer*
E&re you going to get this straightened out today, or do you "ant to send a fe" days
in (ail to thin' about it8E )imroer*
There has been the suggestion by some critics of olice interrogation techni7ues that
the alternative 7uestion 2 E/as this your idea or did your buddies tal' you into it8E is
otentially dangerous because it only offers a susect )including an innocent one*
only t"o choices, both of "hich amount to an admission of guilt. Obviously the third
choice is for the susect to deny any articiation in the commission of the crime that
is under investigation.
:o"ever, there is an additional issue raised by some critics about the alternative
7uestion 2 namely, that saying E/as this your idea or did your buddies tal' you into
itE is essentially the same as saying E!f this "as your idea you are going to send time
in (ail, but if your buddies came u "ith the idea you "on+t have any roblems.E This
theory is called Eragmatic imlicationE and "as develoed from a research study in
"hich college students read various transcrits of interrogations and then seculated
on the tye of unishment the susects "ould receive based on the interrogation
rocess used. $ecifically, the students theori1ed that "hen the interrogator
suggested in a murder case interrogation that the victim may have done or said
something to have rovo'ed the susect, that he "ould receive the same
unishment as in those interrogations in "hich the susect "as directly offered a
romise of leniency that if he confessed he "ould receive less unishment.
The courts have re(ected the idea that a confession is inadmissible if a susect
confesses because he harbors some internal hoe that his confession may lead to a
lesser sentence.
State v. 2unn - EXeven if a susect Xinfluenced erhas by "ishful thin'ing X
assumed that he "ould get more lenient treatmentXSthisT "ould not, as a matter of
la", ma'e the confession inadmissible.E
3. v. 3ennie - EPery fe" confessions are insired solely by remorse. Often the
motives of the accused are mixed and include a hoe that an early admission may
lead to an early release or a lighter sentence.E
3 v 4ickle - The $ureme 6ourt of 6anada indicated that the tye of alternative
7uestion "e suggest does not create an inadmissible confession, and offered a clear
test of "hether or not an imlied threat or romise crosses the legal line< EThe most
imortant decision in all cases is to loo' for a 5uid pro 5uo offer by interrogators,
regardless of "hether it comes in the form of a threat or a romise.E
(onfession (orroboration
&s "e have stated earlier, it is imerative that interrogators do not reveal details of
the crime so that they can use the disclosure of such information by the susect as
verification of the confession+s authenticity. !n each case there should be
documented Ehold bac'E information about the details of ho" the crime "as
committed; details from the crime scene; details about secific activities eretrated
by the offender; etc. The goal is match the susect+s confession against these details
to establish the veracity of the statement. !t should be remembered, ho"ever, that
susects do not al"ays tell us everything that they did and they do not al"ays
remember all of the details themselves.
4xcert from 6riminal !nterrogation and 6onfessions )B
edition, 200= !nbau, @eid,
9uc'ley and Jayne*
EX it is also a fact that most confessors to crimes of a serious nature "ill lie
about some asect of the occurrence, even though they may have disclosed
the full truth regarding the main event. They "ill lie about some detail of the
crime for "hich they have a greater feeling of shame than that "hich they
exerienced "ith resect to the main event itself.E ). =0D*

4xcerts from The !nvestigator &nthology 2000 Jayne and 9uc'ley
E5ies of (ustification and omission are commonlace in "ritten confessions.
Many of these lies reresent the susect+s attemt to resent his crime in the
most favorable light, others have a more direct bearing, such as rotecting the
name of an accomlice or concealing involvement in another crime.E ). B%2*
E$ome confessions contain misinformation because of the susect+s
ercetual distortions. Auring a 'idnaing and murder of a child, the susect
may have vivid recollections of committing the crime, but have no secific
recollections of the clothes the child "as "earing.E Many crimes are
committed "hen the susect is exeriencing intense emotions )fear, anger,
frustration*. Just as victims tend to focus on the robber+s "eaon during a
robbery, the emotions a guilty susect exeriences can bias attention and
memory retrieval of secific details. &s cognitive sychologist Aaniel $chacter
"rites, E/hen a erson has actually exerienced trauma, the central core of
the exerience is almost al"ays "ell remembered; if distortion does occur, it is
most li'ely to involve secific details.E $earching for Memory< The 9rain, The
Mind and the -ast =??D ).B%>*
3evertheless, "hen significant and substantial contradictions exist bet"een the
'no"n facts about the crime and "hat the susect describes in his confession,
extreme care must be exercised in the assessment of the confession+s validity.
6actors to (onsider
/ith the above discussion in mind, the follo"ing reresents some factors to consider
in the assessment of the credibility of a susect+s confession. These issues are
certainly not all inclusive, and each case must be evaluated on the Etotality of
circumstancesE surrounding the interrogation and confession, but nevertheless, these
are elements that should be given careful consideration<
=. The susect+s condition at the time of the interrogation
a. -hysical condition )including drug andCor alcohol intoxication*
b. Mental caacity
c. -sychological condition
2. The susects age
>. The susect+s rior exerience "ith la" enforcement
B. The susect+s understanding of the language
H. The length of the interrogation
D. The degree of detail rovided by the susect in his confession
%. The extent of corroboration bet"een the confession and the crime
8. The resence of "itnesses to the interrogation and confession
?. The susect+s behavior during the interrogation
=0. The effort to address the susect+s hysical needs
==. The resence of any imroer interrogation techni7ues
3ame< AO9<
-eole involved in the interrogation<
=. /as Miranda given8 G 3 time YYYYYYYY lace YYYYYYYYYYYYYYY /itness
2. 9ehavior &nalysis !ntervie" start YYYYYYYYY end YYYYYYYYY
:o" do you feel about being intervie"ed today8
/hy have you agreed to tal' to me about this matter8
:o" "ould you describe your hysical health right no"8
:o" much slee did you get in the last 2B hours8
/hen "as your last full meal8
:ave you had any alcohol or drugs in the last 2B hours8
>. !nterrogation start YYYYYYYYYYY end YYYYYYYYYYY
-rimary Theme<
&lternative Ouestion<
#irst admission of guilt time YYYYYYYYYY
$usect left interrogation room time YYYYYYYYYY
Aid the susect re7uest an attorney 8 G 3
Aid the susect say he no longer "anted to ans"er 7uestions8 G 3
Aid the susect attemt to leave the room 8 G 3
B. Aocument any "ashroom brea's; beverages; food; cigarette brea's, etc<
/hy did you decide to tell the truth about this8
Ao you have any comlaints about the "ay you "ere treated today8

6omleted by<
The Presence of a Third Person in the Interview oo)
!deally, an intervie" of a susect, victim or "itness should be conducted in a rivate
setting. The most imortant element of rivacy is communicating one on one "ith the
erson being intervie"ed. 6ommon sense and exerience clearly indicate that the
resence of a third arty during an intervie" or interrogation inhibits the truth-telling
rocess, i.e., it is easier to relate sensitive information to one erson than t"o eole.
:o"ever, out of necessity or sometimes racticality, a third erson may be resent
during the intervie" or interrogation. !n some instances, the third erson may be a
fello" investigator "ho "ants to be resent during an intervie" or interrogation.
/hen intervie"ing a minor, the third erson may be a arent or (uvenile advocate. !n
some situations, to guard against un"arranted claims of sexual misconduct, it may
be advisable to have a female "itness resent "hen a male intervie"s a female
susect. !n rivate industry cases an emloyee may re7uest that a union
reresentative or another emloyee be resent during an intervie". #or the sa'e of
simlicity, this third erson "ill be referred to as an Eobserver.E
/hoever the observer may be, the investigator needs to minimi1e the loss of rivacy
created by having a third erson in the room. The first consideration in accomlishing
this goal is to have the observer sit out of the sub(ectZs sight. The furniture "ithin the
intervie" room should, therefore, be arranged in such a "ay that the observerZs chair
is referably behind, and to the side of, the sub(ectZs chair. !f it is not ossible to
osition the observer behind the sub(ect, at the very least the observerZs chair should
be ositioned off to the side of the sub(ectZs chair.
!n addition to lacing the observer out of the sub(ectZs sight, it is imerative that the
observer be instructed to remain silent. !n other "ords, the flo" of communication
should only be bet"een the investigator and the sub(ect. /hen the observer is a
arent or union reresentative it is often beneficial for the investigator to sit do"n "ith
the observer and carefully define "hat that ersonZs role "ill be during the intervie".
& discussion similar to the follo"ing may me aroriate<
E! have no roblems "ith you being resent during my intervie" of
)sub(ect*. :o"ever, ! am going to as' that you sit in the chair on the
other side of the des'. !n addition, ! must insist that you remain silent
throughout my intervie". #or me to do my (ob ! need to be able to
sea' "ith )sub(ect* "ithout any interrutions from you. !f you have any
roblems "ith the 7uestions ! as' )sub(ect* you are free to exress your
ob(ections follo"ing the intervie". :o"ever, if you do interrut the
intervie" by as'ing 7uestions or ma'ing statements ! may have to
terminate the entire rocess and indicate in my reort that ! "as unable
to comlete the intervie" because of your interrutions. /ill you agree
to allo" me to do my (ob by "ithholding comment during my
conversation "ith )sub(ect*8E

!n actuality, the investigator has no legal authority to re7uire that a third arty remain
silent during the course of an intervie" or interrogation. :o"ever, it is clearly to the
investigatorZs advantage to send some time "ith the observer in an effort to
ersuade that erson not to interfere "ith the intervie" or interrogation rocess.
!f the observer is another investigator a decision should be made as to "ho "ill
conduct the intervie" or interrogation. & situation that should be avoided is one in
"hich t"o or more investigators are simultaneously 7uestioning the sub(ect. Knder
this circumstance the sub(ect is li'ely to feel over"helmed and threatened. & natural
resonse to those feelings is for the susect to become guarded and offer little
information or erhas totally retreat by either terminating the intervie".
One ossible advantage of having a second investigator in the room during an
intervie" or interrogation is that the observer may be more attentive to observe
behavior symtoms from the sub(ect. These observations may suggest additional
7uestions to as' during an intervie" or alternative tactics to use during an
interrogation. The 'ey is to maintain the rincile that one erson communicate "ith
the sub(ect at a time. Therefore, a rocedure needs to be develoed "here a smooth
transition can be made that allo"s the t"o investigators to s"itch roles.
Auring an intervie", "hen the initial investigator as's his last 7uestion it "ould be
aroriate to as' the observer )the other investigator* "hether or not he or she has
any 7uestions to as' the susect. !f the observer resonds affirmatively, the t"o
investigators should then s"itch laces "ithin the room. That is, the initial investigator
should no" sit in the observerZs chair and the initial observer sit in the investigatorZs
chair. Once the ne" seating arrangement has been established, the second
investigator is in a roer sychological osition to develo further information from
the sub(ect. On the other hand, it "ould be inaroriate for the observer to as'
7uestions from behind a des' or table.
The same rincile alies during an interrogation; ho"ever the transition bet"een
the observer and initial interrogator may not be so obvious. /hen the observer
recogni1es that the initial investigator is not ma'ing rogress during the interrogation
it "ould be aroriate for the observer to get out of his seat and ma'e a statement
such as the follo"ing< EJim, !Zve been sitting bac' here and listening to "hat youZre
saying. $omething youZve got to understand is that "e "ould not be tal'ing to you
this "ay unless "e 'ne", "ithout a doubt, that you did this.E This statement is a
signal to the original investigator to get out of his chair and allo" the other
investigator to ta'e over the interrogation.
The imortance of rivacy during an intervie" or interrogation in eliciting the truth has
long been recogni1ed. :o"ever, there are circumstances "here rivacy "ithin the
intervie" room must be comromised. /hen a third erson is resent during an
intervie" or interrogation the investigator should attemt to minimi1e the
sychological imact of that third erson by ositioning the third erson out of the
sub(ectZs sight and also instructing the third erson to remain silent. /hen the
observer is a second investigator, it is imortant that only one investigator at a time
communicate "ith the susect.
Willingness to epay !tolen -unds (ot Always An Indication of *uilt #ebruary

Auring our basic intervie"ing and interrogation course, the oint is made that during
an interrogation a susect+s "illingness to reimburse a victim for stolen money or
roerty is often tantamount to a confession. Knder this circumstances, the susect+s
agreement to ma'e restitution means t"o things. The first is that it reresents a
strong indication that the susect is guilty of the theft and, second, that the susect is
close to ma'ing the first admission of guilt. This rocedure is illustrated during an
interrogation sho"n at the course. The essence of this ortion of the interrogation is
resented belo"<
!< EQristi, ! "ould li'e to believe that this is not something you lanned
this out long in advance, "here you got this (ob 'no"ing that you "ould
have access to money everyday and could ta'e money "henever you
"anted it. /hat ! "ould li'e to believe is that something imortant came
u in your life and you found yourself short and gave into temtation
and too' this J=000. :ere+s "hat this is boiling do"n to. 4ither you
needed that money for something imortant or you (ust ble" it, maybe
on drugs or something. ! don+t thin' that+s the case. ! don+t thin' you are
a drug addict. Gou needed it for something imortant, didn+t you8E
$< E!+m not saying ! too' it.E
!< E5oo' Qristi, it boils do"n to this. 4ither you care about this thing or
you don+t. 3o" ! thin' you care about it.E
$<EObviously ! care "hat+s haening.E
!<ETell me this. &t least "ould you be "illing to ay the money bac'8
5et+s face it, if you care about this at least you should be "illing to ay
the money bac'. /ould you at least be "illing to do thatE
$< EOf course.E
!<EO'ay, good. That tells me that you "ant to get this straightened out.
3o", "hat did you need the money for8 Aid you need it for drugs8E
$< E3o. !t "as for bills.E
!< E/hat 'ind of bills8E
$< EMedical bills.E )&t this oint the susect offers a fully corroborated confession*
&s this interrogation illustrates, the investigator+s suggestion that the susect ma'e
restitution is merely a techni7ue to allo" the susect to start acceting resonsibility
for her crime; it is a steing stone that may lead to the first admission of guilt and
should not be considered roof of the susect+s guilt. 6ommon sense tells us that an
innocent erson "ould not be "illing to accet resonsibility for a theft he or she did
not commit. :o"ever, there is a notable excetion to this axiom.

@ecently, t"o articiants at different training seminars reorted incidents "here
confirmed innocent emloyees agreed to reay funds that "ere aarently stolen by
another erson. #ollo"-u in7uires revealed an imortant distinction bet"een those
cases and the reviously mentioned interrogation. $ecifically, the innocent
emloyees+ agreement to ma'e restitution "as the result of being as'ed a 7uestion
to that effect during an intervie". #urthermore, the 7uestion "as hrased in such a
"ay as to imly that the investigation "ould sto if the emloyee reimbursed the
funds, e.g., ETo resolve this internally, and not turn it over to the olice, "ould you be
"illing to ay the amount that is missing8E !n essence these innocent emloyees
believed that forfeiting the money "as more desirable than having to deal "ith the
olice. This situation is very similar to the innocent defendant "ho agrees to lead
guilty and receive robation in order to avoid the gamble of a trial "hich could result
in a (ail sentence.
The exerience of these investigators serves as an imortant reminder of the
distinction bet"een an admission and a confession. &n admission is a statement or
action that tends to"ard roving guilt "hereas a confession is a voluntary statement
that accets resonsibility for the crime, couled "ith details of the crime only the
guilty erson "ould 'no". /hen an emloyee is discharged or a criminal comlaint
is filed based on a mere admission of guilt there is clearly an increased ris' of a
miscarriage of (ustice and subse7uent civil liability. & cometent investigator needs to
recogni1e "hether or not a susect+s statement or action suorts robable guilt or,
conversely, has no articular value in assessing involvement in a crime. The
follo"ing guidelines are offered "ith resect to evaluating the robable guilt or
innocence of a susect "ho agrees to ma'e restitution in a theft<
=. !f the offer is made sontaneously, "ithout romting by the investigator, it is more
tyical of the guilty. & common examle of this is the sholifter "ho, uon being
stoed outside the store, immediately offers to ay for the concealed merchandise.
2. !f the offer is made during an interrogation and is not connected "ith an imlied
romise of leniency, it is more tyical of the guilty. !n the earlier mentioned
interrogation notice that the investigator did not imly any ossible leniency or lesser
conse7uence if the susect agreed to ay the money bac' [ he merely as'ed if she
"ould be "illing to reay it.
>. & susect "ho agrees to ma'e restitution "hen as'ed an intervie" 7uestion such
as, E/ould you be "illing to reimburse the )JH00* that is missing8E is robably more
li'ely guilty.
B. & susect "ho agrees to ma'e restitution for missing funds in exchange for
leniency or to resolve the investigation should not be considered as guilty based on
that "illingness. 6onsider the honest tax-ayer "ho is audited by the !@$. The audit
incorrectly reorts that taxes need to be aid on ast unearned income. The taxayer
is offered a choice bet"een aying J800 in bac' taxes or to contest the assessment
in court. 6ertainly some tax-ayers "ould ay the J800 rather than go through the
inconvenience of contesting the assessment.
The !ignificance of &isting in Behavior !y)pto) Analysis January 200B
5isting, as a behavior symtom, describes a series of events or information included
"ithin a sub(ect+s resonse. !n the follo"ing dialogue both of the sub(ect+s resonses
illustrate an examle of listing<
!< E/hy didn+t you tell your "ife about these allegations of sexual abuse against you8E
$< E/ell, first, ! "anted to "ait to see "hat the actual allegations "ere.
$econd, ! didn+t "ant to uset her and third, ! never really had a chance
to tal' to her in rivate about it.E
!< E/hy do you thin' an adult "ould have sexual contact "ith a child8E
$< EMaybe they have sychological roblems or erhas they "ere
abused "hen they "ere young. !t could be that the child did something
to instigate the "hole thing.E
There are t"o imortant considerations "ith resect to listing by a sub(ect. The first is
that the sub(ect decided, for some reason, to offer multile ans"ers "ithin their
resonse. The second is that, at a reconscious level, the sub(ect decided on the
order in "hich to resent the multile ans"ers.
5isting as an indication of a rehearsed resonse
!n mentally rearing for an intervie" the decetive susect may anticiate certain
threatening 7uestions and reare rehearsed resonses to those 7uestions.
6onsider, for examle, the susect guilty of a robbery "ho must exlain "hy he "as
late arriving home from "or' the evening of the robbery. Obviously, he cannot tell the
truth )that he "as late because he "as robbing a li7uor store* so he must develo an
alternative excuse. &s the susect onders ossible alternative exlanations, often a
number of excuses occur to him and these invariably surface as a ElistE "ithin his
resonse e.g.,
!< E/hy "ere you late getting home from "or' that night8E
$< E/ell, first had a late order to fill so that ut me behind schedule and
second, because traffic "as heavy, ! decided to ta'e a different route
home and ! got lost. #inally, ! "as running lo" on gas and stoed to fill
u the tan' and there "as a line at the gas station.E
/hen an investigator hears a resonse of this nature "hich lists exlanations, a
rehearsed resonse should be susected. This is esecially true "hen the resonse
is denoted by reference oints such as Efirst...E, Esecond...E, Ethird...E or, E&...E, 9...E,
E6...E. This behavior suggests that the susect is not being sontaneous in his
ans"er but rather, is offering a rehearsed resonse.
!n rearation for an intervie", the innocent susect does not go through this same
thought rocess. The innocent susect "ill certainly thin' about "ho may have
committed the crime, "hy and ho" the crime "as committed and "hat they "ere
doing at the time of the crime. :o"ever, innocent susects "ill not mentally rehearse
their resonses to anticiated intervie" 7uestions. !f the reader thin's bac' on a
recent occurrence "ithin their life "here something unusual or irresonsible
haened, e.g., "hy "as a reort turned in late8E, almost al"ays, there is a single
rincial exlanation for our behaviors. 6onse7uently, in the receding robbery case,
the follo"ing resonse "ould be more indicative of truthfulness<
!< E/hy "ere you late getting home from "or' that night8E
$< E&t about B<BH my suervisor handed me a late order that had to be filled and !
didn+t leave "or' until about D<>0.E
4valuating the order of listed information
/hen ! ut together my grocery list ! icture myself in the store and list in order, aisle
by aisle, the groceries ! need. $imilarly, "hen ! recount the scoring of a football game
to a friend, ! "ill discuss scores and lays chronologically, starting "ith the first
7uarter and ending "ith the last. !t is human nature to organi1e events by roximity or
time. :o"ever, "hat if there is no logical se7uence to a series of events or
information8 #or examle, if ! am as'ed "hat my favorite desserts are my resonse
might be, E9lueberry ie, chocolate ca'e and ice cream.E My mind someho" decided
the order in "hich to resent this list. !nsight to the sychology of listing order can be
helful to an investigator.
/hen as'ed a non-threatening 7uestion, there is a tendency to lace information
"ithin a hierarchy in order of sychological significance or reference. The first item
listed tends to hold the most sychological significance to the sea'er. Auring the
200> "ild fires that s"et 6alifornia a "oman "as intervie"ed and as'ed about ho"
she "as coing "ith the fire. :er resonse "as, E!t is so devastating. ! lost my dog
and ! have no lace to go bac' toE. !n interreting her resonse, this "oman "as
revealing that her dog "as more imortant than her home. !n a different scenario,
consider that the "oman+s husband+s body "as found inside the burned do"n house.
& resonse such as, E! feel so terrible. ! "or'ed years getting the house (ust the "ay !
"anted it and, of course, !+m sad about my husband too.E should raise some
6onsider the follo"ing exchange of information during an intervie"<
!< E/ho "ere you "ith last night8E
$< EJames @obertson, 9ob Qingston and #red Jones. James is my neighbor and !
'no" 9ob and #red from "or'.E
!f the investigator is interested in verifying the sub(ect+s "hereabouts, the order in
"hich these names "ere listed indicates that #red Jones is not as close to the
susect sychologically as James or 9ob and, resumably, "ould have less of a
motive to lie to the investigator. 6onse7uently, #red Jones "ould be the best source
to verify the susect+s alibi. On the other hand, if the investigator "as interested in
develoing bac'ground information about the sub(ect, James @obertson robably
"ould be the best source to contact.
&nother henomenon relating to listing is that "hen a sub(ect is as'ed a threatening
7uestion and resents his ans"er as a list, often the last item mentioned is closest to
the truth. Knder this circumstance the susect, using his imagination, is often able to
come u "ith one or t"o false items but then runs out of ideas and the final item
mentioned is the closest to the truth. Auring our training seminars an intervie" of a
decetive susect is sho"n "here the investigator as's, E/hy do you thin' someone
"ould steal money from their emloyer8E The susect+s ans"er is, EMaybe they
needed to ay more on their car insurance. Maybe they o"ed someone some
money. Maybe to hel out a friend [ it could be anything.E This susect confessed to
stealing the J==00 to bail her boyfriend out of (ail, e.g., Eto hel out a friend.E The
susect 'ne" exactly "hy she stole the money and initially offered t"o misleading
motives. /ith her creativity exhausted, the last motive suggested "as the true one
behind her crime.
/hen a sub(ect+s resonse to an intervie" 7uestion contains the behavior of listing,
often additional insight can be gleaned from the resonse. 6onse7uently, the
investigator should incororate, "ithin an intervie", 7uestions that encourage the
behavior of listing. The follo"ing are some suggestions<
E/hy didn+t you call the olice immediately after this haened8E
ETell me "hy you "ouldn+t )commit crime*8E
E/hy do you thin' someone did )commit crime*8E
E!f you "ere to )commit crime* "hat sorts of things "ould you be most concerned
E/hat are some of the roblems "ithin the comany that you thin' contributed to
E/hat asects of your marriage did you find most difficult8E )$ouse homicide*
E/hat government olicies most bother you about &merica8E )Terrorism*
Interrogating a !uspect on the Issue of Identity Theft Aecember 200>
The #ederal Trade 6ommission estimated that in 2002 identity theft cost businesses
and consumers H> billion dollars. 9ecause of the revalence of identity theft, many
investigators find themselves having to interrogate a susect on this issue. !dentity
theft is an unusual offense because it is not only a crime, but also an MO to commit
other crimes. The first consideration, therefore, is to decide uon "hat issue to
accuse the susect of involvement. The general guideline here is to base the
accusation on the strongest evidence. #or examle, if there is strong evidence
indicating that a susect )using someone else+s identity* made fraudulent credit card
urchases, the confrontation statement should only address the illegal urchases.
Auring $te 4ight the investigator can develo the details of ho" the susect
obtained the fraudulent credit card. This is similar to an arsonChomicide. !n most of
those cases it is best to confront the susect on the 'illing and later develo the
details of starting the fire to cover u the homicide.
/e have found that "hen dealing "ith multile crimes, it is easier to ersuade the
susect to tell the truth to one crime at a time and that once a susect confesses to
one crime, information about other illegal activity is usually forthcoming. On the other
hand, an investigator is ma'ing this tas' much more difficult by initially confronting
the susect on both crimes, e.g., E9rian our investigation clearly indicates that you
fraudulently obtained a loan using someone else+s identity and then illegally defaulted
on the loan.E
/hen the strongest evidence does oint to identity theft, this should then be the
focus of the interrogation, e.g., EMar', our investigation clearly indicates that you
obtained a assort and driver+s license using someone else+s information.E !n this
examle, it "ould be aroriate to use a transition statement that addresses the
urose for the susect+s actions, e.g., EThe reason ! "anted to tal' to you about this
is because, right no", "e don+t 'no" "hy you got these documents.E & theme can
then be develoed contrasting the susect+s ossible lin' to international terrorists
and using the documents to high(ac' an airlane to crash into the /hite :ouse vs.
"anting to establish a searate identity for tax uroses, to hide assets in a divorce,
to escae government intrusion or ossibly to escae from gambling debts or a
vindictive ex-"ife )"hatever the facts of the case suggest*.
& universal theme that alies to all cases of identity theft is the ease at "hich the
susect committed the crime. 6redit card comanies and ban's can be blamed for
being greedy and so anxious to issue cards or a loan that they failed to roerly
chec' a erson+s true identity. The follo"ing is a theme centered around this
aroach< ELeorge, ! reali1e this thing is not entirely your fault. 9an's and credit card
comanies are so anxious to get customers that they rush alications through
"ithout really roerly chec'ing on information. !n addition, they entice honest eole
li'e yourself to do something li'e this through their advertisements "here they
romise 7uic' arovals and an alication that re7uests ractically no information.
& lot of these comanies don+t even meet "ith their customers and everything is
done over the internet or through the mail. !f they really cared about something li'e
this haening they should not ma'e it so easy to do.E
&nother angle to consider is ho" the susect got the victim+s ersonal information. !n
most cases this information is obtained through the victim+s carelessness or sold on
the street or over the internet. This suggests a theme that contrasts brea'ing into a
safe or home to obtain the information vs. inadvertently running across it by seeing
documents the victim left out in lain vie". !f it is robable that the susect urchased
the information, the erson "ho sold it to the susect can be blamed for aroaching
the susect and utting ressure on him to buy it.
!n other cases, it may be aroriate to blame curiosity and the media. The theme
"ould go something li'e this, EJoe, ! thin' "hat haened here is that you heard on
TP or read in the ne"saer about ho" easy it is to get a credit card using someone
else+s ersonal information. Just out of curiosity you decided to test the system to
see if it "as as easy as everyone said it "as. &fter submitting the simle alication,
to your ama1ement, they issued you a card. Knder normal circumstances you
robably "ould have thro"n the card a"ay and never used it, but (ust "hen the card
arrived so did other bills and you gave into temtation and ut charges on your ne"
credit card. ! "ould hate to thin' that you "ent into this "hole thing "ith the greedy
intent of maxing out the card by buying frivolous things that you didn+t really need.
The follo"ing are ossible alternative 7uestions to consider for identity theft cases<
E:o" many false identities )false credit cards, fraudulent loans* have you
established8 Ao1ens or (ust a fe"8E
E:o" much have you charged to this card8 Aid you charge the maximum limit,
J=0,000 or "as it less than that8E
E&re you a member of an organi1ed net"or', erhas "ith terrorists affiliation or did
you (ust do this to )hide from your ex-"ife*8E
EAid you ay money to bribe eole to get this )credit card, home e7uity loan* or did
they simly accet your alication at face value8E
6onfessions follo" a hierarchy. !t is sychologically easiest for guilty susect to admit
"hat they did. $econd, they may or may not truthfully ac'no"ledge the method or
lanning involved in their crime. The most difficult asect of a crime to reveal is the
true motive behind the act. #or this reason, again, it is our recommendation that in
most cases of identity theft the interrogation focus on the crime that "as committed
through identity fraud and develo secondary issues after the susect has confessed
to the original issue.
#or further information on interrogation aroaches to secific tyes of crimes,
consider ordering The !nvestigator &nthology.
.aintaining O"#ectivity %uring an Interview 3ovember, 200>
&n intervie" is designed not only to collect and gather information but to assess the
credibility of the erson offering that information. !n some instances the investigator
"ill have clear evidence to validate a sub(ect+s information such as surveillance
video, documents or forensic evidence. Oftentimes, ho"ever, such evidence does
not exist and the investigator must rely on intervie"ing techni7ues and behavior
symtom analysis to assess a erson+s credibility. To elicit meaningful behavior
during an intervie" re7uires that the investigator be erceived as an ob(ective and
unbiased observer. On the other hand, if it is aarent that the investigator strongly
"ants to believe a sub(ect then false information can easily be acceted as the truth.
$imilarly, if an investigator aroaches a sub(ect as someone "ho is a liar, that
exectation too, "ill be fulfilled.
This does not mean that it is imroer for an investigator to form a reconceived
exectation of a erson+s truthfulness rior to an intervie". !nvestigators are trained
to analy1e factual information such as motives, oortunity, access, roensity and
evidence and a good investigator oftentimes "ill form robability estimates of a
erson+s involvement in a crime rior to an intervie". These initial assessments,
ho"ever, should remain at the cognitive level and not be conveyed to the sub(ect
during an intervie". The dangers of allo"ing reconceived exectations to surface
during an intervie" is revealed in this recent consultation<
& mother convinced her =?-year-old daughter to contact olice regarding reressed
memories of sexual abuse committed by the mother+s ex-husband )the daughter+s
natural father*. Auring the audio-taed intervie" the daughter reorted one actual
memory of sexual abuse involving her father touching her vaginal area "hile she "as
in bed "ith him. /hen as'ed about having sexual intercourse "ith her father the
daughter denied remembering such an occurrence, yet stated that she Emust have
had sex "ith himE because on one occasion she EhurtE the next day. The investigator
never as'ed "hat she meant by hurting )vaginal ain, emotional in(ury, etc.* but
rather continued the intervie" under the assumtion that the "oman had intercourse
"ith her father. Through the use of leading 7uestions, the investigator eventually got
this "oman to state that she had sexual intercourse "ith her father aroximately =0
to =H times. Auring the course of this intervie" either the "oman+s memory "as
magically restored or she felt comfortable telling the investigator information he "as
anxious to hear, even though it "as not based on factual recall.
Other factual information in this case suorted robable sexual molestation )of
some nature* by the father. & definite fact, ho"ever, is that at the time of the
intervie" the "oman had no secific recollections of having sexual intercourse "ith
her father, yet multile allegations of sexual intercourse "ere listed in the criminal
comlaint. #or "hatever reason, )ity to"ard the "oman, hatred to"ard the accused
father* this investigator lost his ob(ectivity and included unsuortable information in
the criminal comlaint.

4stablishing Ob(ectivity
/hether the sub(ect of an intervie" is a victim, "itness or a susect, it is imroer to
assume that the erson "ill tell the truth. The investigator must reinforce the
imortance of telling the comlete truth so the sub(ect 'no"s "hat is exected of him
or her. 4arly during an intervie" it is often roductive to ma'e a statement to the
sub(ect emhasi1ing the investigator+s ob(ective role during the investigation. !n the
reressed memory case, a ossible statement "ould be as follo"s<
E5inda, let me exlain "hat "ill haen this afternoon. ! understand that
there are some things you "ould li'e to tell me about your father and
"e "ill tal' about that. My role as an investigator is to collect and
analy1e information. ! don+t (udge eole as good or bad or decide "hat
an aroriate unishment might be or anything li'e that. ! simly
collect information, but the information ! collect all has to be truthful. !
'no" you have robably tal'ed to your mom and other eole about
your father and that+s fine. ! don+t care "hat you+ve told other eole but
it is very imortant that everything you tell me today is based on things
you actually remember and that you are =00I certain really haened.E
& standard oening statement "e ma'e for all susects "e intervie" is similar to the
EJim, during this intervie" ! "ill be as'ing you 7uestions about )issue
under investigation*. $ome of the 7uestions !+ll be as'ing you this
afternoon ! already 'no" the ans"er to but the most imortant thing is
that you be comletely truthful "ith me before you leave here today. !f
you )did issue* our investigation "ill clearly indicate that but if you had
nothing to do "ith this, it "ill sho" that as "ell.E
Auring our seminars "e sho" intervie"s of both truthful and decetive sub(ects. -rior
to each of these intervie"s the investigator has formed an exectation robability of
the erson+s guilt or innocence based on available factual information. :o"ever,
"hen vie"ing these intervie"s articiants "ould have no idea "hether the susect
"as considered to be more li'ely truthful or decetive. !n other "ords, the
investigator+s demeanor, tone of voice, 7uestions and 7uestioning style "ere not at
all affected by their initial assessment of the sub(ect+s robable truthfulness.
Maintaining Ob(ectivity
There are statements an investigator should avoid ma'ing during an intervie"
because they suggest a bias in his exectation of the sub(ect+s erceived
truthfulness. $ome of these statements include<
=. Aemeaning the susect, E! deal "ith slugs li'e you every day.E
2. 6hallenging a susect, EThat+s not "hat you told the other investigator [ don+t lie
to me.E
>. Palidating a victim+s account, E! 'no" it is difficult to discuss being
assaulted but ! still have to as' you some 7uestions.E S3ote that this
investigator has fully acceted as a fact that the victim "as assaultedT
B. -ardoning the susect, E! don+t thin' you had anything to do "ith this but ! "ould
still li'e to as' you some 7uestions.E S3ote that the robably innocent erson "ho has
been told that he or she is not a susect in the investigation has little motivation to
reveal sensitive information that could contribute to identifying the guilty erson.
!nnocent susects volunteer helful information because they do not "ant the
investigator to believe they committed the crime.T
The investigator+s demeanor during an intervie" can also transmit a bias to a sub(ect.
!n the case of a susect, an accusatory tone of voice may signal to the susect that
the investigator is already convinced of the susect+s guilt and cause the susect to
become defensive and offer little information or to re7uest an attorney. & symathetic
tone of voice accomanied "ith ositive head nodding may signal to the decetive
"itness or victim that their false story is being fully acceted.
-ersuasion vs. Ob(ectivity
/hen an investigator uses active ersuasion during an interrogation in an effort to
convince the susect, victim or "itness to tell the truth, clearly the investigator+s
out"ard demeanor is no longer ob(ective. Knder this circumstance a statement has
been made to the erson being interrogated that the investigator believes that he or
she has lied. This raises the 7uestion of "hether or not ersuasive tactics can be
roerly used during an intervie" "ithout (eoardi1ing the investigator+s ob(ectivity.
Knder some circumstances an investigator must engage in assive ersuasion to
encourage a susect, "itness or victim to tell the truth during an intervie" as the
follo"ing examles illustrate<
Telling a susect that the stolen vehicle is being dusted for finger rints and if his
rints are found in the car it "ill rove he "as in the car;
!mlying ossible evidence by saying, EThin' carefully before you ans"er this next
@eassuring a reluctant "itness that retaliation is very rare and that their cooeration
"ill get the threatening erson off of the streets;
Telling a sexual assault victim that you tal' to "omen on a regular basis about sexual
matters and that there is nothing she could tell you that you have not heard from
other "omen;
$uggesting exaggerated ans"ers to a 7uestion "hen the sub(ect delays his
resonse, e.g.,
!nv< E/ere you drin'ing at all that night8
$usect< E&h...E
!nv< E Aid you have li'e =H or 20 drin's8E

&n investigator must areciate "hat his or her role is in the adversarial system. !t is
not the investigator+s (ob to rove that a articular erson is guilty of a crime [ that
resonsibility falls onto the rosecutor. !t is, ho"ever, the investigator+s resonsibility
to ma'e certain that any incriminating statements made during an intervie" or
interrogation are legally obtained and reresent the truth. $imilarly, it is the
investigator+s resonsibility to ma'e a reasonable effort to establish that a "itness or
victim+s statements are the truth and to fully investigate a crime. &t a minimum, this
latter effort should involve fully exloring a susect+s alibi and ma'ing a reasonable
effort to eliminate other ossible susects in the crime. !f these t"o criteria are
follo"ed many individuals "ho, through A3& results "ere later roven to be "rongly
convicted of a crime, "ould never have gone to trial. The investigator and (udge are
the only truly ob(ective members in our adversarial system and efforts to learn the
truth should not abrutly sto once a erson confesses or is charged "ith a crime.
#or more information on intervie"ing victims consider attending our three day course
on child abuse investigations.
&aughter and the %etection of %eception October, 200>
@ecently my "ife and ! attended her high school reunion. /hile such reunions are
mar'eted as a great time and an oortunity to get re-ac7uainted, in truth they are
very anxiety rovo'ing. The reunion forces classmates to reveal occuational and
marital failures, the success or disaointments of raising a family, health roblems
and the undeniable effects of aging. &s my "ife became engaged in conversation !
sat bac' and observed the eole in the room. ! heard tal'ing and a great deal of
laughter. This observation reminded me of something ! learned years ago in a
sychology class -- eole relieve stress and anxiety by tal'ing and laughing.
Auring any formal intervie" intended to assess a erson+s credibility, the sub(ect of
the intervie" "ill exerience anxiety and general nervous tension. 6onse7uently,
laugher or attemts at humor by the sub(ect "ill be a natural outlet for anxiety. Knder
some circumstances, ho"ever, laughter can be a behavior symtom of decetion.
The follo"ing guidelines are offered to assist in the investigator+s interretation of a
sub(ect+s laughter or attemts at humor.
&ttemts at humor
/hen a truthful susect is being intervie"ed concerning a crime, common sense
"ould indicate that the erson should be very concerned and serious. On the other
hand, because the susect is exeriencing anxiety, it is not uncommon for the truthful
susect to engage in some levity in an effort to relieve general nervous tension. &s
an examle, during the early minutes of an intervie" a verified truthful susect "as
as'ed, E/hat do most eole call you8E The susectFs resonse "as, E/ell most
eole call me Leorge excet "hen !+m in trouble "ith my girl-friend, then she calls
me all sorts of nasty names )laugh*.E &s the intervie" rogressed, the susect made
no further efforts at attemted humor. The fact that the susectFs humorous
statement occurred at the beginning of the intervie" oints to general anxiety release
and should not be used as a behavior symtom of decetion.
6onsider a situation "here the susect+s inter(ected humor comes much later during
the intervie". &fter about 20 minutes into the intervie" the investigator as'ed the
susect, E!f you "ere given a olygrah examination on )issue* "hat "ould your
results be8E The susect+s resonse "as, E!+m such a nervous "rec' because of
these allegations the needles "ould robably go all over the lace and !Fd brea' the
machine )laugh*.E The timing of this humor, along "ith the imlied rediction that he
"ould fail the examination, both suort decetion.
&nother category of attemted humor can be described as sarcastic humor. $arcasm
is often a veiled truth. #or examle, a susect is as'ed, E:ave you ever thought
about forcing a "oman to have sex "ith you8E, and he ans"ers, EOh definitely. !
send all of my time thin'ing about "ays to get "omen to succumb to my male
desires )laugh*.E The susect+s ans"er is an imlied denial, but the literal
interretation about his underlying fantasies is robably closer to the truth.

4valuating the smile
& forced or insincere smile is often used to disguise disli'e or anxiety. 6onsider the
situation "here t"o oosing attorneys meet to discuss their current litigation.
#ollo"ing the introduction they sha'e hands )a custom to demonstrate that neither
are carrying "eaons* and offer a forced smile "hen relying, E!t is a leasure to
meet you.E /ith an insincere smile, often the lis barely art and the smile lasts for
only a second or t"o.
On the other hand, a genuine smile reflects accetance and areciation. & sincere
smile "ill involve a full arting of the lis and "ill last an aroriate length of time.
&n imortant asect of evaluating the sincerity of a smile is the context in "hich the
smile occurs. /hen ! arrive at a training site and meet the course coordinator "ho
informs me that the outline boo's have arrived and he has the &P e7uiment all set
u and ready for me to use, my smile reflects genuine areciation.
:o"ever, consider the smile in the context of an intervie". ! am about to "al' into a
room to assess the credibility of a susect accused of selling classified documents to
a foreign government. &s ! enter the room the susect gets out of the chair and
vigorously sha'es my hand. /hile smiling ear-to-ear he says, E!t+s a real leasure to
meet you Mr. Jayne. Gou have such a neat (ob and, by the "ay, that+s a really nice
suit you+re "earing.E !nstantly ! 'no" that ! have (ust sha'en the hand of a liar. 3o
erson )innocent or guilty* en(oys coming to our office for an intervie". The hony
smile this susect offered is of the variety associated "ith a used car salesmen - it is
too broad, too fre7uent and inaroriate given the nature of our interaction.
Auring a different context, the interrogation, the investigator may see the guilty
susect smile artially in "hat might be called a smir'. This slight smile involves the
closed lis t"isting in an u"ard turn. Often, "hen a susect smir's the investigator
assumes it is a symtom of defiance and coc'iness and may stimulate a defensive
remar' such as, E/ie that smile off your face "hen !+m tal'ing to you.E !n truth, the
susect has little conscious a"areness that he is forming a slight smile. !n many
instances, the smir' is a symtom of acceting the investigator+s statements and
underlying guilt feelings. !t is a symtom that the susect is getting close to ma'ing
the first admission of guilt, and the investigator should recogni1e it as such.
4valuating the laugh
-sychologically, the laugh relieves much more anxiety than a mere smile and sends
much stronger social signals. $tudies sho" that laughter lo"ers blood ressure and
stress hormones, that mutual laughter builds stronger interersonal relationshis and
that eole "ho laugh easily are (udged to be more aroachable and trusted than
individuals "ho rarely laugh. /ith resect to detecting decetion during an intervie",
an investigator should consider three rimary causes for a susect to laugh.
The first cause for laughter during an intervie" is anxiety release. This should be
associated e7ually "ith truthful and decetive susects. The nervous susect "ill
loo' for any excuse to laugh to relieve anxiety. #or examle, the investigator may as'
to see the susect+s driver+s license and, in retrieving it from a "allet or urse, the
susect dros it on the floor. Kon ic'ing it u the susect may resond, E!+m a little
nervous tal'ing to you, sorry )laugh*.E This is ambiguous laughter and should not be
associated "ith truth or decetion.
& second cause for laughter during an intervie" is associated "ith inter(ected humor.
6onsider the susect "ho is as'ed, E/hat do you thin' should haen to the erson
"ho too' the money8E, and the susect resonds, E!+d li'e to get my hands on him
first )laugh*. 9ut ! guess (ail "ould be the best lace for him.E This susect+s laughter
is aroriate in that he is initially suggesting an exaggerated illegal means of
unishment and offers a humorous solution. &roriate laughter of this nature, in
and of itself, is not a behavior symtom of decetion.
The final, and most imortant cause for laughter )from a detection of decetion
ersective* is laughter that can be considered inaroriate. -sychologists refer to
this behavior as erasure because it has the sychological effect of erasing the
meaning of the statement. To areciate erasure consider the nonverbal behavior of
"in'ing. !f ! ma'e a comment to a co"or'er, "hich is not intended to be ta'en
seriously, ! may "in' after ma'ing the comment. The "in' erases the meaning of my
"ords. $imilarly, decetive susects may erase the meaning of their "ords through
an inaroriate laugh.
&s "ith all behavior symtoms, "hen evaluating a laugh as ossible erasure the
investigator must evaluate the timing of the laugh. The follo"ing are all examles of
verified decetive susects "hose laughter follo"ed a significant statement<
O< E/ho do you thin' stole this J2008E
&< E3o one. ! don+t even 'no" that it "as stolen )laugh*.E
O< EOnce "e comlete our entire investigation, ho" do you thin' it "ill come out on
you8 E
&< E6lean )laugh*.E
O< E:ave you ever (ust thought about having sexual contact "ith a child8E
&< EThat thought reulses me )laugh*. E
On the other hand, "hen a laugh occurs rior to a statement, or in the middle of an
innocuous statement, the investigator should not consider it as ossible erasure. The
follo"ing examles both illustrate insignificant laughter<
O< E:o" do you feel about being intervie"ed concerning this missing money8 E
&< E)5augh* Qind of scared, ! guess. !Fve never had to go through anything li'e this
O< E:ave you ever been 7uestioned before concerning missing money8E
&< E3ever. ThatFs "hy this "hole thing, you 'no", )laugh* is so "eird.E
&s these guidelines suggest, "hen a susect laughs inaroriately during an
intervie" the investigator should as' himself, E/hat did the susect (ust say8E !f the
laughter follo"ed a significant statement )usually a denial or a stated osition on an
issue*, erasure should be susected. On the other hand, laughter that occurs during
an interrogation should almost al"ays be considered inaroriate. 9ecause of the
accusatory nature of the interrogation, the "rongfully accused susect "ill not relieve
anxiety by ma'ing light of the accusations and laughing them a"ay. The truly
innocent susect+s anxiety "ill escalate to anger and frustration "hich "ill be directed
at the investigator.
!n conclusion, because laughter and humor relieve anxiety, it is common for both
truthful and decetive susects to engage in these behaviors during an intervie".
The mere resence of laughter or attemted humor during an intervie" should not be
considered a behavior symtom of decetion. :o"ever, by considering the timing
and context of the behavior, laughter or attemted humor may become a meaningful
symtom of decetion. !n the context of an interrogation, laughter or levity is
inaroriate and should be associated "ith the decetive susect.
The +se of Evidence %uring an Interrogation' Part II $etember 200>
!n the earlier "eb ti a fundamental rincile of interrogation "as resented< 0 guilty
suspect may be persuaded to tell the truth if he is convinced that the investigator is
absolutely convinced of his guilt. !n some cases the susect+s guilt is, in fact, almost
certain because of actual evidence collected against the susect. Knder this
circumstance, most susects readily confess. Knfortunately, many interrogations are
conducted "hen there is very limited direct evidence suorting the susect+s guilt. !n
other "ords, the rimary reason the interrogation is conducted is in an effort to either
develo sufficient evidence to rove the susect+s guilt or develo information that
"ill exonerate the susect.
/hen the decision to interrogate a susect is based essentially on circumstantial or
testimonial evidence, it may be necessary to introduce evidence that does not
actually exist. 9efore doing so, an investigator should be a"are of the legality of this
tactic. The landmar' decision addressing the issue of engaging in decetion during
an interrogation is 6ra7ier v. (upp, =?D? K.$. The 6ourt ruled that decetion by an
investigator is generally ermissible rovided that it does not shoc' the conscience of
the community or court.
!n addition to the legal constraints of misreresenting evidence, an investigator must
also consider the sychological ris's of ma'ing false statements to a susect during
an interrogation. &n investigator "ill only succeed in ersuading a susect to tell the
truth if the susect trusts "hat the investigator is saying. #urthermore, during an
interrogation a susect has a heightened level of susicion and "ill ic' u on the
slightest misstatement by the investigator and use the error to fortify his resistance to
tell the truth. 9ecause of this consideration, our staff rarely lies about having
evidence against a susect during an interrogation.
6onse7uently, an investigator should consider misreresenting evidence to a
susect during an interrogation only as a last resort "hen other ersuasive efforts
have been ineffective )and the investigator is still convinced that the susect is
guilty*. There are, ho"ever, tactics to introduce fictitious evidence during an
interrogation that do not involve decetion at all. /e recommend that these be tried
before an out-right misreresentation of the evidence.
The !mlication of 4vidence
Often an investigator "ill 'no", based on the crime scene analysis or the victim+s
account, "hat the guilty erson must have done during the commission of a crime.
#or examle, going into an interrogation the investigator may 'no" that a gun used in
a homicide "as thro"n into a nearby garbage can or that a diamond ring stolen
during a burglary "as a"ned for J2H0 at 5arry+s -a"n $ho by a erson some"hat
matching the descrition of the susect. &rmed "ith this inside information the
investigator may state during the interrogation, E/e 'no" that after you did this you
thre" the gun into a garbage can on Madison $treetE or, E/e 'no" that you a"ned
a diamond ring ta'en from that home and got J2H0 buc's for it from 5arry+s -a"n
$hoE. /hen guilty susects hear these statements, it has been our exerience that
they almost al"ays accet them as fact rather than as' the obvious follo"-u
7uestion E:o" do you 'no" that8E & susect "ho is innocent of the crime, of course,
"ould not as' about ho" their guilt "as revealed, but rather "ould adamantly deny
engaging in the activity.
& second techni7ue to imly the existence of evidence that does not really exist is to
bring it u EinadvertentlyE during an interrogation. 6onsider the case of a susect
being interrogated on the issue of acceting illegal 'ic'-bac's. The investigator may
ma'e a statement similar to the follo"ing, E/e 'no" "hen it haened, ho" it
haened and "here it haened. 9efore you came in here ! "as sitting do"n "ith
the other investigator revie"ing the tae [ "ell, forget about the tae, but "e "ere
tal'ing about this thing and "ondering ho" long you+ve been doing this.E /hen an
investigator tells a susect to forget about a iece of evidence that aarently should
not have been mentioned, it adds tremendous credibility to the actual existence of
the evidence.
4vidence /ill 4xist in the #uture
!t can be an effective interrogation techni7ue to discuss incriminating evidence as
existing at some future oint in time. &s an examle, the investigator may state, E/e
both 'no" that they+re going to find your A3& on the victimRE Knder this
circumstance, the susect cannot challenge the investigator+s statement by
demanding to see the crime lab reort because it does not yet exist. On the other
hand, the investigator must select evidence that the guilty susect 'no"s could exist.
/hen interrogating a career burglar, for examle, it may actually be
counterroductive to state, E/e both 'no" that they+ll find your fingerrints inside that
aartmentRE since it is li'ely the susect "ore gloves during the burglary. !n this
regard, evidence that is generally safe to tal' about as existing in the future include<
=. The accomlice "ill eventually tell the truth
2. & "itness "ill be able to lace the susect at or near the crime scene
>. Transfer evidence )clothing, hair follicles, caret fibers* "ill lin' the susect to the
The Kse of the 9ait Ouestion to $elect 4vidence
To select ossible fictitious evidence to use during an interrogation, the investigator
can EtestE the evidence through the use of a bait 7uestion as'ed during the intervie".
& bait 7uestion suggests the ossibility of evidence existing that "ould imlicate the
susect in the crime. 4xamles of bait 7uestions include, E!f "e "ere to chec' your
hone records, "ould "e find any calls made to )victim*8E or, E!f "e "ere to revie"
the surveillance video at the store, "ould it sho" you there at the time this credit card
"as used8E !f a susect+s resonse to the bait 7uestion is an emhatic and
immediate denial, that iece of evidence should not be used as fictitious evidence
during the interrogation. !n the case of the hone records, the susect may have
called the victim from a ay hone or in the case involving the use of a stolen credit
card, the susect may have sold the card to someone else. !n both cases, even
though the susects are guilty of the crime, they are not concerned about the
suggested iece of evidence imlicating them.
On the other hand, if the susect+s resonse to the bait 7uestion during an intervie"
is a "ea' or 7ualified denial accomanied "ith nonverbal indications of decetion,
the susect is obviously concerned that the evidence could exist. Knder this
circumstance it "ould be aroriate, during the interrogation, to tell the susect
something li'e, E/hen "e chec' your hone records you 'no" that "e "ill find out
that you called )victim*RE or, EOnce "e revie" the surveillance video "e both 'no" its
going to sho" you inside the store "hen that credit card "as usedRE
&n investigator should exercise caution "hen introducing fictitious evidence during
interrogations of the follo"ing classes of susects<
=. Gouthful susects
2. $usects of lo"er intelligence
>. $usects "ho claim that they cannot remember committing the crime
because of some condition such as drug or alcohol consumtion,
eilesy, head trauma, reression, etc.
$tatistics demonstrate that the first t"o susect classes reresent a disroortionate
number of false confessions. $ome youthful susects, or susects of lo"er
intelligence may lace greater "eight in the investigator+s statements than in their
o"n 'no"ledge of their innocence. !n other "ords, if an investigator lies about finding
the susect+s fingerrints on a 'nife used in a stabbing, the susect+s immature logic
may argue that the investigator must be correct and the susect+s inability to
remember the stabbing is the result of being young or having a lo" intelligence.
6ontributing to this is the susect+s "illingness to lease the investigator by
ac'no"ledging the crime and the failure to areciate the full conse7uences of such
an admission.
!n the instance of a susect "ho claims to have no recollections at the time of the
crime, it is almost imossible, based on demeanor or investigation, to determine if the
reorted amnesia is factual or merely a ruse to avoid acceting resonsibility for
committing the crime. Knder this circumstance, for legal and ethical reasons, it is
recommended that the investigator consider the reorted amnesia as legitimate until
roven other"ise. !n light of this, the amnesic susect+s mind must be considered a
blan' slate at the time the crime "as committed. !f the investigator lies about having
evidence "hich imlicates the susect in the crime, he is "riting false information on
that slate "hich may lead an innocent susect to conclude that he must be guilty of
the offense.
=. 3ever reveal evidence during an intervie" until first giving the susect an
oortunity to volunteer the information.
2. Lenerally start the interrogation "ith a statement indicating high confidence in the
susect+s guilt, but do not refer to secific evidence.
>. Ao not bring out evidence too early during an interrogation. Lenerally "ait for an
imasse "hen the interrogation seems to be stalling before mentioning secific
B. /hen actual evidence is introduced imly that the evidence resented it is only a
small art of everything that has been collected.
H. /hile lying to a susect about ossessing incriminating evidence is generally
legally ermissible, sychologically it is a ris'y tactic and should be considered only
"hen other efforts to ersuade a guilty erson to tell the truth have failed.
D. 6onsider imlying the existence of evidence by stating something li'e, E/e 'no"
that you...E or by EinadvertentlyE introducing evidence and then retracting the
%. 6onsider a statement that refers to the evidence existing in the future.
8. 4xercise caution "hen introducing fictitious evidence during the interrogation of
youthful susects, susects "ith lo" intelligence or susects "ho claim to have a
memory failure at the time of the crime.
Conta)inating a !u"#ect$s Behavior July 200>
/hen inferring decetion from a susect+s behavior, investigators must remember
that a sub(ect+s out"ard behaviors during 7uestioning are not direct signs of lying.
@ather, "hen a erson lies behavior symtoms such as oor eye contact,
stammering or foot bouncing are the roduct of underlying emotions associated "ith
the fear of having the lie detected. These observation are called EsymtomsE because
none of them directly indicate decetion. To determine if an observed behavior is a
ossible symtom of decetion, the investigator must eliminate other variables "hich
may cause the same behavior. !n other "ords, even though the behavior "as
resent, if it "as contaminated because of some external or internal factor the
investigator should not consider the observation as a reliable indicator of decetion.
6onsider a high school student "ho is ulled over for seeding. !t is an &ril evening
in /isconsin and the outside temerature is about B0 degrees. The driver is an honor
student "ho (ust comleted a day of erforming music events for state cometition
and is late getting to a friend+s birthday arty. !n his haste to get to the arty he did
not ut on a (ac'et. #urthermore, he "ears his hair long and has a 7uiet, thoughtful
ersonality. The officer as's him to ste out of the vehicle to gather general
information and observes that the driver visibly sha'ing and resonding softly to
7uestions. 9ased on these observations, a field sobriety test is conducted "herein
the officer as's the young man to reeat the alhabet bac'"ards as fast as he can.
The driver, of course, is unable to do this and the officer engages in a field
interrogation to elicit an admission of alcohol or drug use. &fter no admission "as
forthcoming and a search of the vehicle yielded no evidence, the young man "as
issued a citation and allo"ed to go to the birthday arty.
This officer arrived at an erroneous oinion of susecting drug or alcohol use
because he failed to ta'e into consideration variables that influence a erson+s
behavior. 9eing underdressed and exosed to a B0 degree temerature "ill cause
even the most honest erson to shiver. $ome eole, by nature, are soft so'en
"hether tal'ing about their family or (ob or ans"ering 7uestions regarding ossible
involvement in a crime. &n investigator "ho relies uon behavioral observations to
establish reasonable susicion or robable cause must be a"are of factors that
contaminate behavior symtoms.
4stablishing 3ormative 9ehaviors
&t the outset of any intervie" an investigator should as' non-threatening bac'ground
7uestions to establish baseline behaviors and ma'e other imortant assessments.
The three most imortant areas in "hich to establish normal behaviors are eye
contact, seech characteristics and general nervous tension. There are many natural
causes for oor eye contact including lo" self esteem, cultural ubringing and
emotional states such as embarrassment or shame. There is a "ide range of normal
seech atterns "ithin the oulation. Knder normal circumstances some eole
sea' 7uite loudly "hile others sea' softly. $ome individuals sea' very raidly
"hile others dra" out their "ords or have eriods of silence in the middle of a
sentence as they collect their thoughts. $imilarly, a sub(ect+s general nervous tension
can vary "idely. $ome eole, "ith the slightest source of anxiety, "ill dislay signs
of anxiety release such as acing, laughing, foot bouncing, gum che"ing or hand
"ringing "hile others maintain their comosure and dislay no manifestation of
anxiety even in a crisis situation. Once a sub(ect+s normal behavior is established the
investigator can then loo' for changes in that behavior "hen 7uestions concerning
the issue under investigation are as'ed. The other imortant initial assessments to
ma'e "hile as'ing non-threatening 7uestions are the sub(ect+s intelligence, language
s'ills, mental health and hysical imairments )medical conditions, fatigue, stuttering,
etc.* as each of these internal factors may lead to a misdiagnosis of the sub(ect+s
/hen conducting an intervie" the investigator should sit about B - B W feet in front of
the sub(ect. !f both eole are standing the distance can be shortened to about 2 W -
> feet. !f the investigator sits or stands too close to a sub(ect the sub(ect "ill feel
threatened and may engage in rotective behaviors. These include moving a"ay
from the investigator, turning the lo"er body a"ay from the investigator, crossing
arms and legs, and offering abbreviated resonses. These, of course, are classic
decetive behaviors but can be induced from a truthful erson as a result of
!t is normal for the average citi1en to exerience some anxiety "hen tal'ing to a la"
enforcement officer even though the officer is acting rofessionally and is, in no "ay,
intimidating. :o"ever, "hen the officer+s attitude is erceived as threatening, this
may cause aarent decetive behavior from a truthful erson. /hen the young man
referred to earlier initially denied using any drug or alcohol the olice officer
resonded by saying, E! don+t li'e to be lied toRE This remar' set the tone for the entire
field interrogation. &n investigator "ho comes across as (udgmental, condescending
and intimidating "ill invo'e defensive behavior from a sub(ect. Knder this
circumstance some sub(ects "ill resond by refusing to ans"er 7uestions, ma'ing
accusations of racial or ethnic biases, threatening a la" suit, increasing the volume of
their voice and aggressiveness of their body language. Other sub(ects "ill resond to
this threat by "ithdra"ing. These sub(ects may exhibit oor eye contact, resond to
7uestions softly, become confused to the extent of offering inconsistent information
or assume a guarded attitude "here they volunteer little information.
&n ideal environment in "hich to observe behavior symtoms of decetion is
controlled. !t "ill have a comfortable temerature and there "ill be no visual or
auditory distractions. Of 'ey imortance, the environment "ill be rivate i.e., the
investigator and sub(ect "ill be alone in the room. @ealistically, ho"ever, intervie"s
are conducted in many different environments, and these variations must be ta'en
into consideration. & sub(ect "ho is intervie"ed in a holding cell "here the
temerature is ?H degrees may s"eat rofusely even though he is telling the truth. &
sub(ect "ho is 7uestioned facing the sun or under bright lights "ill exhibit oor eye
contact. $imilarly, a susect "ho is 7uestioned by someone "earing dar' sunglasses
"ill tend not to loo' at the other erson+s eyes. & sub(ect being 7uestioned in the
resence of family members or co-"or'ers may exhibit oor eye contact, guarded or
evasive resonses and a closed osture not because of decetion, but because of
the a"areness that others can see him being 7uestioned.
Ouestion #ormulation
4ven "hen an intervie" is conducted in a controlled environment and the
investigator+s attitude is non-(udgmental and sitting a roer distance from the
sub(ect, behavioral contaminations can still result because of the manner in "hich
7uestions are as'ed during the intervie". John 4. @eid and &ssociates is often
consulted to revie" video-taed intervie"s and interrogations to offer guidance to an
investigation. The follo"ing are the most common contaminations that cause difficulty
in this tas'<
=. -ailure to distinguish "etween an interview and interrogation2 &n intervie"
should be non-accusatory "hereas an interrogation is accusatory and involves active
ersuasion; they are t"o searate and distinct rocedures. There are a number of
behavior symtoms "hich have oosite interretations deending on "hether they
occur during an intervie" or interrogation. !f an interaction bet"een a sub(ect and
investigator starts out non-accusatory but the investigator then challenges the
sub(ect+s statement or accuses the sub(ect of lying, this changes the dynamics of the
interaction. 4ven if the investigator returns to a non-accusatory tone, the sub(ect+s
behavior has been contaminated. &n often reeated message in our seminars is, E!f
you are going to intervie", intervie". !f you are going to interrogate, interrogate [
don+t mix the t"o.E
2. -ailure to )a6e "ehavior-provo6ing questions issue specific2 6onsider that
t"o truthful susects are intervie"ed on a sexual assault. The first is as'ed, E:ave
you ever thought about forcing a "oman to have sex "ith you8E The second is
as'ed, E:ave you ever thought about doing something li'e this8E The first susect
resonds, E&bsolutely not.E The second resonds, E/ell, this is a strange situation for
me to be in and ! never in my "ildest dreams thought !+d ever be accused of doing
something li'e this.E 9oth susects are telling the truth, yet because of the
ambiguous manner of as'ing the second 7uestion, the susect+s resonse aears
>. Tagging questions2 /hen a susect is as'ed, EAid you see )victim* on the day of
her death8E an early or late denial can be a strong indication of decetion. :o"ever,
if the investigator continues to tal' after as'ing a 7uestion a truthful sub(ect may
ans"er the 7uestion too early roviding a misleading symtom of decetion. The
follo"ing is an examle of a tagged 7uestion< EAid you see )victim* on the day of her
death. !+m not suggesting you 'illed her or anything but did you (ust see her that
day8E !n addition, tagging a 7uestion buys time for a decetive susect to formulate a
comfortable resonse "hich may result in "hat aears to be an on-time resonse.
The lesson here is to 'ee 7uestions short and succinct [ lace anxiety on the
otentially decetive susect, don+t remove it.
B. !uggesting answers2 The urose for as'ing behavior-rovo'ing 7uestions is to
dra" out the susect+s underlying attitudes to"ard the investigation. &n investigator
can significantly affect a susect+s resonse to these 7uestions by suggesting
ossible ans"ers. &s an examle, consider the follo"ing imroerly as'ed 7uestion<
EAo you thin' the erson "ho left the scene of that accident should be sent to (ail8E &
decetive susect may "ell agree "ith the investigator+s suggestion. The roer "ay
to as' this 7uestion is, E/hat do you thin' should haen to the erson "ho left the
scene of that accident.E
H. As6ing questions too quic6ly2 Auring our seminars "e emhasi1e the
imortance of note-ta'ing during a formal intervie". The rimary imortance of note-
ta'ing is that is slo"s do"n the ace of 7uestioning. !t is much easier to lie to a
series of 7uestions that are as'ed raidly than 7uestions that are searated by a
eriod of H-% seconds of silence as the investigator "rites out the susect+s
resonse. & decetive susect is uncomfortable "ith silence created during note-
ta'ing and often exhibits many significant behavior symtoms "hile the investigator
is "riting out his resonse. 6onversely, a raid-fire 7uestioning aroach may cause
an innocent sub(ect to become confused and offer inconsistent information.
#ield studies investigating the accuracy of behavior symtom analysis reort
imressive findings. !t is imortant to remember that the intervie"s analy1ed in these
studies "ere conducted in a manner that eliminated or minimi1ed ossible
contamination of the sub(ect+s behavior symtoms. On the other hand, many of the
laboratory studies "hich have roduced lo" accuracy rates for detecting decetion
have failed to control for variables "hich influence a sub(ect+s behavior symtoms.
6ontamination of a sub(ect+s behavior is a real effect and should not be ignored by
researchers or individuals "ho "or' in rofessions that rely on ma'ing inferences
from a erson+s behavior.
5a" enforcement officers rely extensively on their ability to EreadE a erson based on
behavioral observations. !n ma'ing these assessments it must be remembered that
there are both innocent and guilty ossible causes for the same behavior. &
behavioral observation only becomes a reliable symtom of decetion "hen the
investigator can eliminate other ossible causes for the behavior.
3eurolinguistic 4valuation
The outer cortex of the human brain is divided into left and right hemisheres. /hen
erforming different activities, one hemishere dominates over the other. !n 80I of
the oulation the left hemishere is associated "ith creativity and assessment
"hereas the right hemishere is associated "ith analytic thin'ing and factual recall.
#urthermore, the direction in "hich a erson brea's ga1e )right or left* reflects the
hemishere of the brain being accessed for information. 9ecause of the arrangement
of neuroath"ays, brea'ing ga1e to the left indicates that the right hemishere of the
brain is being accessed and brea'ing ga1e to the right means the oosite.
This henomenon can rovide investigators insight on the truthfulness of a sub(ectSs
recall during an interview. Consider that a sub8ect is asked" A!here did you eat lunch
yesterday*T If the sub8ect tells the truth he will break ga@e to the left" indicating that factual
information is being retrieved from the right hemisphere of the brain 2for the ma8ority of the
population3. If the sub8ect breaks ga@e to the right before answering this 'uestion 2for the
ma8ority of the population3 this indicates either fabrication or editing of information. In other
words" the creative and assessment hemisphere of the brain is being accessed.
Es"a&lishi! a Su&=e1" > s Nor*
#o properly use neurolinguistic evaluations during an interview" the investigator must first
establish the sub8ectSs normal direction of breaking ga@e when recalling factual information.
#his can be accomplished at the outset of the interview by asking background 'uestions that
re'uire longBterm factual memory. Gxamples of these 'uestions include" A!here did you
work prior to this 8ob*" A!hat year were you married*Tor" A!ho was your previous
supervisor*T %otice that each of these 'uestions has only one truthful response and the
sub8ect is unlikely to lie to the 'uestions.
Luestions re'uiring a possible 8udgment or assessment may offer misleading information with
respect to establishing a sub8ectSs normal direction of breaking ga@e when recalling factual
information. &or example if a sub8ect is asked" A5ow long have you owned this vehicle*T he
may respond" AAbout three years.T !hile the suspect is not likely to lie to this 'uestion" his
answer involves an estimation 2assessment3 which may stimulate the creative hemisphere of
the brain. A better 'uestion to ask is" A!hat is the year and make of your vehicle*T
#here is no correlation as to which hemisphere of the brain stores factual information and
being right or left handed. A left handed sub8ect is 8ust as likely to break ga@e to the left when
recalling factual information. &urthermore" brain dominance 2being right or left brained3 does
not predict the direction a person will break ga@e to recall factual information. #he only way
to determine a sub8ectSs normal direction of breaking ga@e when recalling factual information
is to establish his own normal behavior.
Neuroli!uis"i1 E#alua"ios Duri! a I"er#ie$ 2#he following discussion assumes that
the investigator has established that the sub8ectSs normal break of ga@e when recalling factual
information is to the left3
At first blush" it would appear that neurolingustic evaluations would allow an investigator to
perform almost as a human lieBdetector. ;nfortunately" it is not 'uite that simple. Consider the
following dialogue where breaks of ga@e prior to the sub8ectSs answers are indicated by+ U
2right3 a 2left3 V 2straight3 and dots 2...3 indicate each second the sub8ect delays his response.
I+ A)id you steal that missing N0"KKK deposit*T
(+VA%o I did notT
I+ A)id you help make up the deposit*T
(+ V A%o. #he manager made it up by herself.T
I+ A5ave you made any large cash payments this week*T
(+a A/n 6onday I paid my rent which was NHKK but that was a check. (o I didnSt really
make any large cash payments.T
I+ A)id you make any cash deposits into your checking account this week*T
(+ U ... A6y payroll checks are automatically deposited so I donSt generally make cash
#his sub8ect is deceptive and yet a straightBforward analysis of his neurolinguistic evaluation
does not seem to support this opinion. !hen the sub8ect lied to the first 'uestion he
maintained direct" eye to eye contact. !hen a deceptive suspect enters the interview prepared
to lie about his involvement in a crime" often his eye contact will be direct to anticipated
'uestions. 5e has already made the decision to lie and therefore does not have to access
cognitive centers of his brain to make this decision. Astute investigators" however" would pick
up on his nonBcontracted denial which indicates a possible rehearsed response. !hen asked if
he helped make up the deposit" again his eye contact was maintained" but this time it was
because he was confident in his truthful response. #he 'uestion about making large cash
payments resulted in a break of ga@e to the left" indicating factual recall. 5owever" his
response contained the 'ualifying word AreallyT. #he fourth response reveals the most
deceptive criteria. !hen asked about making cash deposits the sub8ect breaks ga@e to the right
indicating either fabrication or editing. In addition" there is a three second delay and an
evasive response" including the 'ualifying word AgenerallyT. !hat happened in this case is
the sub8ect stole the N0KKK and deposited it into his checking account to help make delin'uent
payments" including his rent.
As this example illustrates" when evaluating the direction in which a suspect breaks ga@e" it is
important to evaluate the behavior in the context of the 'uestion asked" the suspectSs
anticipation of the 'uestion prior to the interview and to consider the behavior in con8unction
with other verbal" paralinguistic or nonverbal behaviors. At the risk of overBsimplification" the
following guidelines can be offered for neurolinguistic evaluations 2for HKW of the

#>;#5&;- )GCG1#I:G
)irect Gye Contact Confidence" recent
>ehearsed" prepared response
reak Da@e to -eft &actual recall &actual recall
reak Da@e to >ight Gditing J Gstimation &abrication
/ur most effective use of neurolingustic evaluations has been when asking a suspect an
unanticipated 'uestion that re'uires longBterm memory. /ne example" shown at our threeBday
seminar" is of a young woman who claimed to have been abducted at knife point for several
hours. (he relates that her male abductor took her into a li'uor store 2a story she had
previously told the police3. ecause her story was originally believed" the police never
'uestioned her about the activities inside the li'uor store. )uring our interview we asked
whether the man brought the knife into the li'uor store with him" whether or not he bought
anything and whether or not he showed I) to the clerk. #hese were all unanticipated
'uestions that re'uire long term memory. 1rior to each response she clearly breaks ga@e to the
right as she feebly attempts to fabricate a response.
ecause it is based on scientific research and established physiological phenomenon"
neurolinguistic evaluation sounds as though it would be a powerful tool in detecting
deception. ;nfortunately" because of the variables involved" neurolinguistic observations
must be carefully evaluated. #hey can certainly increase an investigatorSs confidence in a
suspectSs truthfulness or deception. 5owever like all behavior assessments" neurolinguistic
evaluations must be considered in con8unction with other behaviors that occur during a
suspectSs response and throughout the suspectSs interview.
The I)portance of Corro"oration Within a Confession
/ithin the last year numerous inmates have been released from rison and had their
convictions overturned as the result of ost-trial exculatory evidence. Many of these
individuals confessed to the olice. !n some cases, the false confession "as admitted
as evidence. !n other cases, the false confession "as used as leverage to urge the
susect to accet a lea bargain, resulting in no trial..
The reorted interrogations of some of these susects involved hysical coercion,
duress and outright torture. /hile the $ureme 6ourt has consistently rohibited
such interrogation ractices, evidently the trial courts re(ected the defendantFs claim
that their confession "as false. Traditionally, courts have afforded greater credibility
to an investigatorFs testimony than that of a defendant anxious to escae unishment.
:o"ever, because future defense claims of imroer interrogation ractices may be
given more credence, investigators and rosecutors should anticiate greater
scrutiny by the courts in admitting confession evidence. The once acceted axiom
that no innocent erson "ould confess to a crime has roven to be false. 9ecause of
this, the rosecution must demonstrate that a confession is, in fact, trust"orthy. The
most convincing evidence to demonstrate the truthfulness of a confession is
%ependent Corro"oration
&t the outset of any investigation, the lead investigator should decide "hat evidence
or information "ill be "ithheld from the ublic and all susects for the urose of
verifying any subse7uence confession. This is called dependent corroboration
because the information is deendent uon the crime scene or other investigative
source. !n theory, only the erson guilty of committing the crime should be able to
rovide this deendent corroboration.
The information selected for deendent corroboration needs to be carefully selected.
Three guidelines can be offered in this regard<
=. The guilty erson should reasonably remember the information
2. The information should not be so vital as to inhibit the investigatorFs efforts to
effectively intervie" a susect "ithout revealing the information
>. The information should be mundane and not easily guessed by an innocent
6onsider a case "here a young girl "as abducted from her bedroom, driven to a
remote location, sexually assaulted and then 'illed. The cause of death "as
strangulation. !n an effort to hide the body, the murderer dragged the body about H0
feet to some underbrush and covered the body "ith tree branches. This scenario
suggests many ossible ieces of deendent corroboration. &n investigator might
select the victimFs attire )in' a(amas* as deendent corroboration. :o"ever, a
guilty susect intent on committing the crime may not remember the color of the
a(amas and an innocent susect may guess that the victim "as "earing a(amas.
&nother ossible iece of deendent corroboration is the remote location "here the
body "as found. :o"ever, "ithholding this information greatly restricts the
investigatorFs ability to effectively intervie" the susect. -erhas the best iece of
deendent corroboration in this case is the fact that the body "as dragged to
underbrush and covered "ith tree branches. 6ertainly the guilty erson "ould
remember doing this and "ithholding the information "ould not imair the intervie"
of that erson.
Aefense attorneys "ill argue, sometimes "ith merit, that investigators inadvertently
released deendent corroborative information to their client. /e have ersonally
encountered situations "here an innocent erson "as able to rovide such
information because )=* crime scene hotograhs "ere used during an interrogation
and )2* the information "as revealed by an investigator "ho "as not advised to 'ee
the information secret. 4secially in these times "here an investigatorFs credibility
may be susect on the "itness stand, deendent corroboration may not be vie"ed
as definitive by a court or (ury.
Independent Corro"oration
6learly the most convincing evidence of a truthful confession is one "hich contains
verifiable information not 'no"n until the confession. This is called independent
corroboration because the investigator does not 'no" about the evidence until the
susect reveals it, and the evidence is obtained indeendent from the initial
investigation. !n the revious murder case, indeendent evidence "ould include such
things as the tool used to gain entry to the victimFs bedroom "indo" )tool mar's*, a
"itness "ho could lace the susect near the crime scene )gas station attendant* or
a souvenir 'et from the victim )bracelet*. !nvestigators tend to be reluctant to see'
indeendent corroboration because they believe that it "ill only add time to an
already lengthy investigation. :o"ever, the result of not sending this extra time is
the ossibility of having a guilty susectFs confession suressed, or an innocent
susect convicted of a crime he did not commit.
ational Corro"oration
6onsider that in our homicide examle entry "as made to the victimFs bedroom
through an oen "indo", the susect had a full tan' of gas and 'et no souvenir. !s
there nothing left to ossibly demonstrate the trust"orthiness of the confession8 The
one other criteria courts may consider in deciding "hether or not to admit a
confession is "hether it aears to be rational in its insight and detail.
& rational confession contains unsolicited thoughts and ideas in con(unction "ith
secific behaviors that suggest sontaneous recollection of the crime. /hile an
innocent erson, "ith an active imagination, may be able to rovide a rationale
confession to someone elseFs crime, it is unli'ely. &s an examle of a ossibly false
confession that lac's rational insight consider the follo"ing<
EOn $aturday, January =H
! held u a man "ith a 'nife in an alley next to 9ertFs
Tavern on Main $treet. ! stole this manFs "allet and it contained J%0 in cash. &fter !
stole the "allet ! ushed the man do"n and ran south on Main $treet.
The reason the receding confession should be vie"ed "ith susicion is that it only
verifies information already 'no"n to the investigator, and incororates 'no"n
atterns of behavior associated "ith street robberies. 6omare the revious
confession to the follo"ing )artial* confession that contains rationale insight
EOn $aturday, January =H
! "as bored so ! decided to rob a drun' guy leaving 9ertFs
tavern. & guy "ho "as robably HH or D0 and obviously drun' left the tavern and
"hen he aroached an alley ! as'ed him if he had a light for my cigarette. :e "ent
through his oc'ets for a lighter and at this oint ! ulled out a 'nife and said, Fcome
"ith me and give me your "allet.F ! ushed him into the alley and too' a "allet from
him. ! "as afraid he might call the olice on a cell hone so ! told him, FLive me your
cell hone.F :e said he didnFt have one and ! searched him and did not find one. &t
that oint ! ran south do"n main street and "ent to my aartment on Madison $treet
to count the money.E
&s illustrated, the first examle covers all of the elements needed to rove the crime
but the confession lac's insight or sontaneous behaviors. & confession is more
li'ely to be considered trust"orthy if it contains some of the follo"ing elements<
Ouotations by the susect or victim "(ome with me and give me your wallet."
Thoughts or emotions "I was bored"
4xlanations for behavior "I was afraid he might call the police"
!rrelevant details "0 guy who was 88 or 9, and obviously drunk"
& confession is the most damaging ossible evidence against a defendant in a court
of la". :o"ever, as recent cases illustrate, innocent eole can be coerced to offer
or sign a false confession. The recent media attention focused on innocent ersons
being found guilty of a crime they did not commit should stimulate efforts by
investigators to ma'e certain that confessions obtained during the course of an
investigation are, in fact, trust"orthy. The best means to accomlish this goal is by
corroborating the confession "ith )=* crime information that "as "ithheld from the
susect, )2* information about the crime not 'no"n until the confession or, )>*
rational information that reflects sontaneous recollection of the crime.

The +se of the estitution <uestion %uring an Interrogation
March 200>
Auring training in the @eid 3ine $tes of !nterrogation, "e teach that
"hen a susect aears to be ready to confess the investigator
should as' an alternative 7uestion. &s an examle the investigator
may as', EAid you lan this out for months and months in advanced
"here you had it calculated do"n to the second or did it retty much
haen on the sur of the moment8 !t "as the sur of the moment
"asnFt it8E !f the susect nods his head in agreement all is "ell. 9ut
"hat if the susect offers a "ea' denial such as, E9ut honestly, !
didnFt even do it.E /hen a susect )"hose guilt is reasonably certain*
continues to re(ect the alternative 7uestion, the investigator may
consider as'ing a restitution 7uestion.
The restitution 7uestion is a generic term describing any 7uestion
designed to allo" the susect to ma'e a artial concession of guilt
"hich may then be used as a steing stone to elicit the first
admission of guilt. 6onsider that a ban' teller is being interrogated on
the theft of J2000. The investigator may as' her, E&t least "ould you
be "illing to reay the missing money8E !f the teller agrees to do this,
she has made the first ste to"ard admitting her theft. Other
examles of restitution 7uestions include<
E/ould you li'e me to tal' to the )victim* and find out "hat they "ould
do if their roerty "as returned8E )9urglary*
E/ould you be "illing to submit an amended insurance claim8E
)!nsurance fraud*
E/ould you at least be "illing to give u alcohol and sto drin'ing8E
)!nterrogation "here intoxication "as blamed for affecting the
susectFs (udgment.E
E/ould you at least agree to get sychological counseling8E )6hild
abuse, sexual assault, battery*
E/ould you be "illing to agree to suervised visits "ith your
children8E )6hild abuse*
Luilty susects "ill often agree to ma'e such concessions because it
allo"s them to relieve anxiety and guilt associated "ith their crime
"ithout acceting ersonal resonsibility for committing it. !f the
susect is reluctant to accet the concession, e.g., reimbursing stolen
money, the investigator may consider 7uestioning the susectFs
integrity in an effort to ersuade the susect to agree "ith the
concession. The follo"ing dialogue illustrates this<
!< EJoe, at least "ould you be "illing to reay the J20008E
$< E!Fm not saying ! too' it.E
!< E5isten Joe. !Fve treated you retty decently this afternoon havenFt
!8 Gou 'no" that ! didnFt have to come in here and go over these
results "ith you, right8 ! thought you "ere basically an honest erson
"ho acted out of character but if youFre not even "illing to consider
reaying the money that tells me ! "as "rong about you -- maybe
you are (ust a dishonest thief. 3o", !Fm not saying you have to ay it
all bac' today. :ec', if you had the money you "ouldnFt have needed
it in the first lace. !Fm (ust tal'ing about reaying it eventually. GouFd
be "illing to do that, "ouldnFt you8E
$< ! guess.
Once the susect agrees "ith the restitution 7uestion, the
investigator must still elicit the first admission of guilt and develo the
full confession. Often this can be accomlished by simly as'ing a
detail 7uestion about the susectFs crime. This is illustrated by
continuing on "ith the revious dialogue<
!< EAo you have any of the J2000 left8E
$< E3o.
!< E$o you must have really needed it badly. /hat did you need it
$< ETo ay bills.E
!< E/hat bills did you have to ay8E
$< EOver 6hristmas ! charged all sorts of resents to my credit card
and ! 'et getting further and further behind in my credit card
ayments and "hen ! sa" the stra of JH0Fs on the counter ! decided
to ta'e it.E
!< E$o you needed it to reay money that you had sent for others. !
can understand that. /hat counter did you find the J2000 on that you
too'8 Scontinue "ith corroborationT
Other detail 7uestions to consider as'ing once the susect agrees
"ith the restitution 7uestion include<
S@eturning stolen roertyT ETo let the homeo"ners 'no" you are
sincere, "hat roerty could you give bac' to them this "ee'8E
S&mended insurance claimT E:ave you ever exaggerated the amount
of an insurance claim before8E
S$toing drin'ingT E&m ! correct in assuming that if you had not been
drin'ing that evening you
never "ould have )committed crime*8E
S-sychological counselingT E6an you romise me that if you get
counseling )victim* "ill be the last erson you do this to8E
S$uervised visitsT E6an you romise me that if you have suervised
visits you "ill never again )burn your son*8
!nvestigators must areciate that the restitution 7uestion is merely a
Bac6ground Investigations Conducted Over the Telephone'Part I January, 200>
S"ar"i! "he I"er#ie$
>ecently I was interviewed by telephone concerning the suitability of an ac'uaintance
applying for a 8ob involving national security. #he interviewer started out saying that he 8ust
wanted a few minutes of my time and" indeed" I was on the phone for less than four minutes.
#he reason the call went so 'uickly was that his 'uestions were all similar to the following"
A?ouSre not aware of any past problems 2applicant3 has had with alcohol" drugs or criminal
behavior are you*T= A)o you know of any security risks 2applicant3 presents*T= A!ould
you recommend 2applicant3 for a position of national security*T &ortunately" I am confident
this applicant is 'ualified for the position. 5owever" if I did possess adverse information" I
probably would not have revealed it during this telephone interview. /ne of the reasons for
this is how the investigator started the interview.
;nless there are 8ust one or two specific issues to be resolved" it is not possible to conduct a
meaningful background interview in four minutes. !hile it is certainly proper to advise the
person being interviewed of an estimated length for the interview" the stated length should be
overBstated" perhaps suggesting 0K or 9K minutes. #his will give the sub8ect the impression
that the investigator is interested in detailed answers and that it is not a peripheral in'uiry. In
addition" the investigator does not want to interview someone who is facing a time deadline
such as having to leave for work in 1K minutes. If the sub8ect does not have 9K minutes to talk
with the investigator" a more convenient time should be arranged for the telephone interview.
ecause telephone interviews lack the human connection of a face to face interview there is a
tendency for the investigator to ApleaseT the sub8ect. #his may be apparent by the
investigator assuming an apologetic tone because the sub8ect was called at home or by
softening 'uestions in an effort not to offend the sub8ect. #he investigator needs to remember
that because of the convenience and less threatening environment a telephone interview
offers" almost every sub8ect would prefer to be interviewed by phone rather than in person. #o
establish control during a telephone interview it is advisable to seek the sub8ectSs permission
to be interviewed with a statement such as" AI would like to talk to you about 2applicant3. If
you prefer not to do this over the phone I would be happy to meet with you in person. !hat
would you prefer*T /nce the sub8ect has agreed to be interviewed over the phone it is their
choice and the investigatorSs demeanor should be the same as when conducting a face to face
interview. #hat is" he or she should be professional and nonBaccusatory" but also clearly goalB
oriented and persistent in seeking the truth.
A sub8ect will share much more personal information during a telephone interview if he or she
is alone and not distracted. ecause I answered the phone in our family room" my interview
was conducted with my son and wife present while they watched a football game 2and also
overheard my side of the conversation3. #o establish a private environment it is appropriate
for the investigator to make an initial re'uest something like" Aecause we will be discussing
sensitive issues" you may want to switch to a phone in a private room. )o you have another
extension that would be more private*T

efore any 'uestions about the applicantSs background are asked" the investigator should
introduce the purpose for the interview in such a way as to encourage truthful and complete
answers. A possible opening statement to make in this regard is"
As part of our screening process for this position we conduct a very thorough
background investigation which includes interviews with personal
ac'uaintances" neighbors and past employers. In addition" we conduct a very
thorough criminal" civil and financial record check of each applicant. It is
important for you to reali@e that many of the 'uestions I will be asking you are
simply to verify information already known. !ith that in mind" how long have
you known 2applicant3*
#his introduction encourages truthfulness and candor in a number of ways. &irst" the sub8ect is
led to believe that because the investigation is so in depth that the investigator is likely to
already know of any adverse information the sub8ect possesses. 1sychologically" It is much
easier to be the second person to confirm information rather than the first person to volunteer
it. In addition" this introduction would cause the sub8ect to be concerned about being caught in
a lie if he withheld certain information" e.g." A5ow is it that you didnSt know...T. Contrast
the previous introduction to the one used during my telephone interview. It went something
like this+
AI hate to disturb you at home on a (unday but I was 8ust assigned this
investigation and havenSt even received the background on 2applicant3 yet but
since you lived in !isconsin I wasnSt sure if youSd be available to speak with
me tomorrow in Chicago so I though ISd try you at your home number. ?ou
were listed as a reference for 2applicant3 who is applying for a position
involving national security. I will only take a few minutes of your time" are
you sure this is a good time to talk to me*T
#his introduction does little to encourage truthfulness 2or confidence in the investigatorSs
ability to detect possible deception3. As soon as the investigator identified himself I told him
that I had been expecting his call and indicated that he had called at a good time. %onetheless"
he continued to apologi@e for calling me on a (unday. 5is contrite demeanor diminished his
position of control during the interview which became very evident when he started asking
the interview 'uestions. (econd" he revealed that he had no background information on the
applicant C I could have lied through my teeth without experiencing any fear that my answers
were inconsistent with known information. &inally by relating that I was listed as a reference
put me in a position where I felt obligated to speak favorably of the applicant. #he
investigator should have started the 'uestioning process by saying" A/ur records indicate that
you personally know 2applicant3. 1lease tell me about the nature of your relationship
Bac6ground Investigations Conducted Over the Telephone' Part II #ebruary,
Phrasing Interview <uestions
!n the January "eb ti suggestions "ere offered for initiating a telehone intervie".
&t the outset of a telehone intervie", the investigatorFs goals are to )=* elicit a
commitment from the sub(ect to be intervie"ed for a reasonable eriod of time, )2*
tal' to the sub(ect in a rivate setting and, )>* introduce the intervie" in a manner that
encourages truthfulness. Once these goals are accomlished, the investigator "ill
see' information about the alicant by as'ing 7uestions.
9ecause of the inability to evaluate nonverbal behavior during a telehone intervie",
it is esecially imortant to hrase intervie" 7uestions roerly. & fundamental
rincile of 7uestion formulation is that an investigator should never hrase an
intervie" 7uestion in a manner that exects the sub(ect to volunteer adverse
information about another erson. To do so goes against all tenants of human
nature. 4ven "hen intervie"ing someone "ho is very honest and truthful, the
investigator must recogni1e ho" difficult it is to offer negative information about an
ac7uaintance "ho is the sub(ect of a bac'ground investigation. Therefore, intervie"
7uestions need to be hrased to not only encourage truthfulness, but also to
discourage decetion. -roer 7uestion hraseology during an intervie" can be
reduced to a number of guidelines.
12 %o (ot As6 (egative <uestions
Auring a recent telehone intervie" in "hich ! "as contacted to rovide bac'ground
information about an ac7uaintance the investigator as'ed me, EGouFre not a"are of
any roblems )alicant* has had "ith alcohol, drugs or criminal behavior are you8E
This is called a negative 7uestion in that it is hrased in a "ay that exects
agreement. 3egative 7uestions such as, EGouFve never "itnessed )alicant* abuse
alcohol, have you8E or, EThe alicant is atriotic, isnFt he8E invite decetion and even
the most honest erson is unli'ely to resond, E&ctually youFre "rong. The alicant
is a member of an underground terrorist grou.E
42 %o (ot As6 Co)pound <uestions
& comound 7uestion addresses multile behaviors in the same 7uestion. 6onsider
the reviously listed 7uestion, EGouFre not a"are of any roblems )alicant* has had
"ith alcohol, drugs or criminal behavior are you8E as an examle of a comound
7uestion. /hen ! ans"ered E3o !Fm notE to this 7uestion "as ! referring to the
alicantFs alcohol use, drug use or criminal behavior8 -- The investigator has no
idea. & decetive sub(ect "ho, for examle, 'no"s that the alicant uses cocaine
"ill sychologically focus on the arts of a comound 7uestion to "hich he is telling
the truth. This ma'es detecting decetion very difficult. These three behaviors
)alcohol abuse, drug use, criminal behavior* should each be addressed as searate
toical areas "ithin the intervie"..
52 %o not use #udge)ent phrases within an interview question
& (udgement hrase allo"s the sub(ect of the intervie" to assign a meaning or
interretation to a articular "ord "ithin the 7uestion. !n the earlier examle the
investigator as'ed me "hether the alicant had any EroblemsE "ith alcohol, drugs
or criminal behavior. 6onsider that ! 'no" this articular alicant smo'es mari(uana
on "ee'ends and drin's eight coc'tails a night. Aeending on ho" ! define
EroblemsE ! can easily (ustify my negative resonse to the 7uestion. !ntervie"
7uestions should see' ob(ective information that is not sub(ect to interretation.
Ouestions such as, E:as )alicant* ever told you that he exerimented "ith illegal
drugs8E, or E:as alicant ever been convicted of a crime8E have only one ossible
truthful resonse. !f the sub(ect tells less than the truth, the investigator can often ic'
u on behavior symtoms indicative of that fact, e.g., E:eFs never told me that he
exerimented "ith any hard drugsE "hich "ould stimulate an aroriate follo"-u
7uestion, such as, E/hat social drugs has he told you he exerimented "ith8E
72 %o not use inappropriate qualifiers within an interview question2
Auring my telehone intervie" ! "as as'ed, EAo you 'no" of any security ris's
)alicant* resents8E This 7uestions contains the 7ualifying hrase, EAo you 'no".E
Oualifying hrases "ea'en the emotional imact of a 7uestion ma'ing the 7uestion
easier to lie to. This 7uestion should have simly been hrased, EAoes )alicant*
resent any security ris's to our country8F Other common 7ualifying hrases that
should be avoided "hen as'ing intervie" 7uestions are, EAo you haen...E, E6an
you remember...E, and EAo you thin'...E
/hen a sub(ect may not reasonably 'no" an exact ans"er to a 7uestion it is
aroriate to use 7ualifying hrases. #or examle, EAo you haen to 'no" "hen
)alicant* last traveled outside of the Knited $tates8E :o"ever, "hen see'ing
secific information such as "hether or not the alicant has been the sub(ect of a
criminal investigation, the 7uestion does not re7uire any estimation from the sub(ect.
4ither the sub(ect has this 'no"ledge or he does not. Therefore, it "ould invite
decetion to as', EAo you haen to 'no" if )alicant* has been the sub(ect of a
criminal investigation in the last 2 years8E
82 +se opinion questions appropriately2
&s the name suggests, an oinion 7uestion see's a 7ualitative assessment from the
sub(ect. 4xamles of oinion 7uestions "ould be, EOn a scale of = to =0 ho" "ould
you ran' )alicantFs* atriotism8E or, E:o" "ould you describe )alicantFs*
temerament8E Oinion 7uestions are not designed to elicit incriminating information,
but rather to assess the sub(ectFs ossible 'no"ledge about the alicant in a
articular area. 6onsider that a sub(ect described the alicantFs temerament as
follo"s, E5i'e all of us, he loses his temer on occasion but it hasnFt been a roblem
"ith me.E This resonse should suggest a number of follo"-u 7uestions that may
elicit meaningful information. #or examle<
E/hen is the last time youFve seen )alicant* lose his temer8E
E/hat caused him to lose his temer8E
EAid )alicant* become hysical8E
E:o" many times )a "ee'Cmonth* does )alicant* lose his temer8E
E/hat is the "orst thing youFve seen )alicant* do "hen he lost his temer8E
E/hy do you believe )alicant* has not lost his temer "ith you8E
& common error investigators ma'e "hen as'ing oinion 7uestions is the failure to
elicit secific examles "hen the sub(ectFs oinion is favorable. &s an examle, if !
ran'ed an alicantFs atriotism as a E=0E the intervie"er should then as' me to cite
some examles to suort "hy ! ran'ed the alicant so high.
!t is inaroriate to use oinion 7uestions to elicit secific information about an
alicantFs bac'ground or suitability. #or examle, a negative resonse to the oinion
7uestion, EAo you consider the alicant to be a threat to this country8E offers no
reassurance of the alicantFs threat-otential to the Knited $tates. !ntervie"
7uestions "hich elicit an oinion should not be used as the basis for a hire C not hire
decision, but rather as an introduction for more ob(ective information.
>2 To Evaluate an ApplicantBs !uita"ility3 as6 Behavior-"ased <uestions
The ultimate urose for conducting a bac'ground investigation is to develo
ob(ective information about an alicant that "ill reflect on that ersonFs 7ualifications
for a osition. The investigator needs to establish secific information about "hat the
alicant has or has not done in relevant areas. This re7uires the as'ing of behavior-
based 7uestions.
The first ste in lanning a bac'ground investigation is to identify the toical areas
that need to be discussed. #or a articular alicant the investigator may come u
"ith the follo"ing list<
Military exerience
#amily relationshis
&lcohol use
!llegal Arug use
6riminal behavior
9lac'mail otential
Once toical areas of the intervie" have been identified, the investigator should
develo a subset of 7uestions to address each area. /hile these additional
7uestions "ill add time to an intervie", the imortance of as'ing 7uestions that
address secific behaviors cannot be overemhasi1ed. & fundamental rincile of
lie-detection is that it is much easier to lie to a broad 7uestion than one "hich
secifically addresses "hat a susect has actually done. & ban' teller "ho has
stolen overages from her cash dra"er "ill exerience little anxiety "hen denying the
7uestion, E:ave you ever stolen any money from the ban'8E :o"ever, this same
teller "ill exerience considerable anxiety if as'ed, E:ave you ever 'et an overage
in your cash dra"er8E & cometent investigator should as' 7uestions that stimulate
the greatest level of anxiety if the sub(ect chooses to lie to the 7uestion.
!n addition, "hen develoing secific 7uestions, the toic should be introduced "ith
non-threatening 7uestions that allo" the sub(ect to ma'e minor admissions. This is
done to establish a attern of the sub(ect offering information to each 7uestion. The
7uestions should eventually target more relevant areas. The follo"ing dialogue "ould
be effective in develoing secific information about an alicantFs alcohol use<
/hat tye of alcoholic beverage does )alicant* drin'8
:o" often a "ee' do you have alcoholic beverages "ith )alicant*8
:o" often a "ee' does )alicant* consume alcoholic beverages8
/hat is the most number of alcoholic drin's youFve seen )alicant* consume8
:as )alicant* driven a car after consuming more than six drin's8
:as )alicant* consumed alcohol rior to lunch time8
:as )alicantFs* use of alcohol been discussed among your friends or co-"or'ers8
!n conclusion, it is certainly ossible to conduct an effective bac'ground investigation
over the telehone. The toical areas discussed during the intervie" should each be
addressed searately, and the investigator needs to be a"are of the imortance of
roerly hrasing intervie" 7uestions to encourage truthful resonses. /hen
ossible decetion is detected, it is imortant to as' follo"-u 7uestions to further
evaluate the sub(ectFs behavior or elicit an admission.
/andling The Angry !uspect Aecember 2002
4very investigator has encountered a sub(ect "ho exhibits symtoms of anger. Of all
ossible emotions, anger resents the greatest imairment of an investigatorFs ability
to detect decetion and ersuade a susect to tell the truth. 5egitimate anger may
recede hysical violence and a ersonal safety issue may be at sta'e. 9ecause
anger is such an intense emotion, it often clouds other behavior symtoms. !n fact,
anger can mimic decetive resonses during a olygrah examination of a truthful
sub(ect. #inally anger, real or feigned, offers a tremendous outlet for the decetive
susect to vent the guilt or anxiety associated "ith his crime. 9ecause of these
reasons, an investigator should do everything ossible to avoid causing a susect to
become angry or uset during an intervie" or interrogation.
+nderstanding Anger
&nger is art of a comlex rotective resonse that occurs "hen a ersonFs ego )self-
image* or hysical "ell being is threatened. !n addition to focusing ercetions
to"ard the source of the threat, anger causes internal hysiological changes such as
the release of adrenaline into the blood stream "hich reares the body to fight off
the threat. )!f the individual chooses to flee from the threat, fear is the rimary
emotional state involved*. &nger describes the end-stage of other less intense
emotional states "hich could be listed in the follo"ing hierarchy<
5egitimate anger, esecially during an interrogation, is a good indication of
truthfulness. 9ecause it is the final exression of underlying emotional states,
legitimate anger builds gradually, "here it may be observed that initially the susectFs
face becomes red, his hands are clenched and his eye contact is iercing. The
susect may then lean for"ard in the chair and once the anger eruts, it is difficult to
dissiate. Aesite the investigatorFs efforts to calm the susect, the symtoms of
anger ersist. #inally, legitimate anger "ill be evident in all three channels of
communication. The susect "ill use descritive language such as, E5isten, ! did not
rae anybodyRE /ith resect to aralinguistic communication, each "ord of the
resonse "ill be delivered in a staccato fashion.
/hat if a susectFs anger does not aear to be legitimate8 This situation, "hich
should be more strongly associated "ith decetion, often involves feigned anger or
self:propagated anger. #eigned anger is a learned resonse "here the susect has
exerienced rior success in avoiding conse7uences by raising his voice, ma'ing
veiled threats and aearing uset. !t is a "ell orchestrated act that the susect
erforms "hen arents, teachers or olice are close to finding out "hat he did "rong.
#eigned anger "ill suddenly erut "ithout "arning, as if there is an internal anger
button the susect can ush. 9ecause it is not sincere, feigned anger is easily
dissiated if the investigator maintains his confidence and comosure. #inally,
feigned anger may be recogni1ed because of inconsistent behaviors "ithin the three
channels of communication. #or examle, the susect may be sea'ing in a loud
tone, but has crossed arms and is leaning bac' in the chair.
Many decetive susects attemt to roagate their o"n anger by finding fault "ith
the investigator or investigation. /hile this anger is real in the sense that the susect
is truly uset it is, nonetheless, an attemt to maniulate the investigator. The reason
the susect "ants to become angry is to vent his internal feeling of guilt externally.
-sychologically, it is similar to the child "ho thro"s a tantrum in the grocery store
"hen his arents refuse to buy him candy. The ain caused by the child banging his
head and 'ic'ing the floor is converted to anger to"ard his arents -- the child is
venting his internal disaointment externally. #urthermore, "hen a susect
generates anger to"ard the investigator it allo"s him to sychologically (ustify his
lies. &n axiom of lie-detection is that it is much easier to lie to someone "e disli'e
than to someone "ho treats us "ith resect and dignity. !t is for this reason that
every decetive susect "ould love to ma'e an enemy out of the investigator.
To avoid self-roagated anger, the investigator should recogni1e the susectFs
efforts to engage the investigator in an adversarial relationshi. &s an examle,
consider that "hen an investigator enters the room he notices that the (uvenile
susect has his feet resting on the investigatorFs chair. !f the investigator resonds,
ELet your feet off my chair you s'um bagRE he is roviding fuel for the susectFs self-
roagate anger. & much more effective resonse to this situation "ould be for the
investigator to olitely introduce himself and engage in introductory 7uestions "hile
he gradually moves his chair from under the susectFs legs. 9y not even commenting
on the susectFs attemt at maniulation, the investigator "ill have maintained control
of the intervie" "ithout giving the susect cause to exress anger. Other
suggestions in this regard are<
esponses to Anger
The most aroriate resonse to legitimate anger )coming from a robably truthful
susect* is to tactfully ste do"n the interrogation. The easiest "ay to terminate an
interrogation is to as' 7uestions. Therefore, the investigator should return to the
intervie"ing format and erhas revisit some of the toics that "ere covered during
the intervie", i.e., ETell me again "hat you did last #riday night.E 4ventually, it "ould
be aroriate for the investigator to say something li'e the follo"ing, EJohn, "e are
still at an early stage in this investigation. There are other eole "e need to
intervie" and evidence that has not yet been analy1ed. ! fully understand your
osition in this matter and if you had nothing to do "ith )crime* your innocence "ill be
roven. ! "ill let you 'no" if "e need to tal' to you further.E
/hen dealing "ith feigned or self-roagated anger, certainly it "ould be "rong for
the investigator to decrease his confidence of the susectFs guilt, e.g., E/ell, John,
thereFs something here that you havenFt comletely told the truth toE. This retreating
osition "ill reinforce the susectFs belief that if he maintains his anger long enough,
the investigator "ill eventually be convinced of his innocence. & much more
roductive resonse to feigned or self-roagated anger is an insight statement such
as the follo"ing, EJoe, ! can tell from your emotional state that you are very "orried
about "hat "ill haen to you because of this thing. ! "ish ! could tell you that if you
tell me the truth nothing "ould haen to you, but !Fd be a liar if ! said that. !Fm not
here to give you a hard time. The only reason ! came bac' in here to tal' to you is to
give you an oortunity for inut in my reort before ! send it out.E
This resonse accomlished a number of imortant goals. #irst, the investigator has
not bac'ed off at all on his confidence of the susectFs guilt. $econd, the investigator
is actually using the susectFs aarent anger as further evidence of his guilt through
an insightful connection to the susectFs fear of unishment. To further refute the
susectFs attemt to avoid conse7uences through feigned anger, the susect is
essentially told that he "ill be unished for his crime. #inally, the investigator ma'es
a statement against self-interest imlying that a confession in not needed and that
the only reason the interrogation is being conducted is to give the susect an
oortunity to exlain the circumstances behind his crime.
The ole of An@iety %uring Interrogation $etember 2002
The ole of An@iety %uring Interrogation
& sychological model has been develoed that describes the relationshi bet"een
erceived conse7uences and anxiety during an interrogation.)=* The model states
that the interrogatorFs goal is to legally reduced erceived conse7uences associated
"ith telling the truth, "hile also legally increasing erceived anxiety associated "ith
continued denial. The use of the "ord EanxietyE "as carefully selected in this model
to avoid confusion about "hich interrogation techni7ues "ould be considered roer
or imroer "ithin the @eid 3ine $tes of !nterrogation. Aesite this, during a recent
consultation, an attemt "as made by oosing counsel to argue that intimidation
techni7ues are roer during an interrogation because they increase the susectFs
anxiety. This is certainly not true, nor is it consistent "ith our model.
& clear distinction must be made bet"een anxiety and fear. &nxiety describes a
generali1ed feeling of arehension or uneasiness directed in"ard, to"ard the
sub(ect. &s an emotion, it is closely related to guilt or shame "hich are also directed
in"ard. 6onsider a hyothetical erson, Tom, "hose extravagant lifestyle has
caused him to fall behind on bill ayments. /hen he goes to bed at night he "orries
about ho" he "ill ay rent and "ill he have enough money to buy food. These
feelings of arehension are generali1ed and directed in"ard. !n addition, because
they are self-generated, Tom has control over the level of anxiety exerienced )he
could move to a less exensive aartment, sell his car, change his sending habits,
#ear, on the other hand, is a secific feeling of dread that is directed out"ard, to"ard
the ob(ect of a threat. 6onsider that a man named Jerry has fallen so far behind on
his rent that he received an eviction notice from his landlord. 9ecause of the
secificity of this threat Jerry may "ell exerience fear and this feeling "ill be
directed out"ard to"ard the threat of not having a lace to live. Of most imortance
)for interrogation*, because the fear is directed a"ay from Jerry, he does not have a
sense of control over the threat in his mind he believes that if he fails to come u "ith
money to ay his rent he "ill not have a lace to live.
9ecause anxiety and fear both manifest themselves through autonomic arousal it is
temting to classify them on a continuum "ith anxiety reresenting the lo" end of the
arousal scale and fear defining the high end. #rom a sychological and legal
ersective, ho"ever, this is misleading. 4ven though anxiety and fear may both
result in similar arousal states, "ith resect to interrogation, the imortant distinction
is the origin of the emotion "hich subse7uently affects the erceived control the
sub(ect has in alleviating the emotional state.
The reason anxiety-enhancing techni7ues are considered legal during an
interrogation is that the sub(ect retains full control over his decision to confess. The
sub(ect may exercise his free "ill to reduce the anxiety of an interrogation by "al'ing
out of the room, re7uesting an attorney or telling the truth. :o"ever, because fear is
the result of an outside threat to the susect , his or her free "ill may be imaired.
The susect may "ell come to believe that the only "ay to avoid the threat is by
confessing. This "ould be true for both the guilty and innocent susect "hich is
recisely "hy courts evaluate the resence of threats in deciding the admissibility of
a confession.
@eturning to the earlier consultation, the attorney attemted to argue that intimidation
techni7ues merely increased a susectFs anxiety level, and, therefore, should be
considered roer "ithin the @eid Techni7ue. The attorney failed to recogni1e the
distinction bet"een anxiety and fear. /ith this distinction in mind, it may be beneficial
to list secific interrogation techni7ues and comare those "hich increase a
susectFs anxiety )roer* to those "hich increase a susectFs fear )imroer*.
RI would hate to see you ten years from now worrying that your wife
or employer might find out what you did and having to face the
conse'uences then itQs not worth it.R
Increases anxiety B
R-isten" if you donQt start telling the truth IQm going to lose my temper
and get angry. elieve me" you donQt want to get me angry
2interrogator slaps hand down on desk top and is C inches from
suspectQs face3.R
Increases fear B
RIf this is something you planned out long in advance that tells me Increases anxiety B
youQre basically a dishonest person. ut" if this happened on the spur
of the moment" that would be important for people to know.R
R#he fact that you havenQt told me the truth about this tells me youQre
an incompetent mother. ?ou know what they do with incompetent
mothers* #hey take away their children. If you continue to say you
didnQt do this IQm going to have your children put in a foster home and
you will never see them again7R
Increases fear B
RIQm sure this has been bothering you ever since it happened. ?ou
probably havenQt slept well at night and perhaps have been smoking
and drinking more than you usually do. 1ut your life back on a normal
track BB letQs get this thing straightened out7R
Increases anxiety B
R?ou know what you are* ?ouQre a criminal. !hat you did is a crime
and I could pick up the phone and have you arrested right now. ?ou
want to be arrested* ?ou want to spend Christmas in 8ail*R
Increases fear B
RI certainly did not have to come in here and talk to you about this. I
could have simply turned in my report without your explanation. &rom
talking with you earlier I thought you were a decent person but maybe
I was wrong. 6aybe you donQt care about what people think or about
your future at all. If thatQs the case IQm wasting your time and mine.R
Increases anxiety B
RIQm going to ask you a 'uestion and one of two things will come out
of your mouth either that you did this or your teeth.R 2%.?.1.). lue3
Increases fear B
&n imortant resonsibility a rofessional investigator assumes is to 'no" "hat
statements or behaviors are ermissible during an interrogation and "hich ones are
not. 4secially "hen testifying, an investigator must be able to defend the techni7ues
used to elicit a confession. !n this regard, exlaining the distinction bet"een anxiety
and fear may become central to the admissibility of a confession. &s a general
guideline, if the statement or action addresses "hat the investigator may do or "hat
might haen to the susect if he continues to deny involvement in the offense, the
statement invo'es fear and should be avoided. !f the statement or action addresses
the susectFs o"n ercetion of his future or ho" others may erceive him if he
continues to deny involvement in the offense it invo'es anxiety and is robably
The I)portance of a Written !tate)ent &ugust 2002
&n emloyee has been intervie"ed and interrogated concerning the issue of
falsifying time card entries. &t the conclusion of the interrogation the investigator
brings in a "itness "ho is told that the emloyee admitted that he falsified his time
card on several occasions in the last six months. :o"ever, no "ritten statement is
ta'en from the emloyee. The emloyee is terminated for time theft and files a
"rongful discharge suit, "hich also alleges slander, emotional distress and
discrimination. /hen this case goes to court the comany has nothing "hatsoever in
"riting from the ex-emloyee indicating any act of "rongdoing. :e is bound to deny
ac'no"ledging the time card violations and the result of the trial "ill rest on the
investigatorFs credibility "hen he testifies that the sub(ect did ma'e incriminating
3ot having a statement signed by the defendant reresents a otential nightmare for
rosecutors, cororate attorneys and the investigator "ho "ill face a rough cross
examination concerning his motives to fabricate the incriminating "ords allegedly
made by the defendant. This is esecially true in civil suits "here the emloyerFs
actions "ere rimarily based on believing "hat the investigator reorted "ere the
incriminating statements made by the emloyee, and not on hysical evidence.
#urthermore, "hen the only "itness to an oral confession is another investigator the
defense may build a consiracy theory arguing that one investigator is simly
covering for the other investigatorFs incometence so that they can both 'ee their
/hile an oral confession is legally admissible as evidence, it is much more difficult
for the defense to attac' a "ritten statement signed by the defendant. /hen the court
has a "ritten document attesting to a defendantFs involvement in a crime this not only
suorts the investigatorFs testimony that the defendant did confess, but also
enhances the investigatorFs credibility "hen denying other allegations that may be
made relative to the interrogation. On the other hand, "ithout such a signed
statement, the investigator has no indeendent corroboration suorting any events
of the interrogation and he "ill face an uhill battle at trial "ith each allegation of
5etFs return to the interrogation of the emloyee susected of time card violations.
:ere is the actual ortion of the interrogation "here the investigator claimed the
susect confessed<
!< &re you falsifying your time card every day or (ust every once in a "hile8E
$< !f ! did it, it certainly "asnFt every day.
!< Lood, thatFs "hat ! thought all along. /hat is the total number of times you did it
during the "hole six months that you "or'ed here8
$< !f it haened at all it "ould (ust be a coule of times.
!< /hat is the largest amount of time that you got aid for that you didnFt really "or'.
/ould it be B or H hours8
$< &bsolutely not.
!< /hat do you thin', maybe one or t"o hours8
$< !f ! "as off on my time it certainly "as not by hours.
!< $o maybe u to an hour or so.
$< ! have no idea.
!< 9ut you "ere off on your time card on a number of occasions in the last six months,
$< ! might have been.
The investigator "ho "as brought in to "itness the EconfessionE "as told that the
susect admitted falsifying his time card on a number of occasions in the last six
months. &cting on that same information, the comany decided to terminate the
emloyee. The roblem is that this emloyee never confessed to falsifying his time
card. The original investigator, anxious to rove the emloyeeFs dishonesty, "as the
victim of selective listening. :e "anted to hear that the emloyee falsified his time
card so "hen the emloyee said, E!f ! did it, it "asnFt every dayE the investigator
believed that the emloyee had made his first admission of guilt. The investigator
either failed to hear or comrehend the emloyeeFs 7ualifying statement, E!f ! did it.E
This emloyee may or may not be guilty of significant time card violations. &ll that
can be stated "ith certainty is that he did not ac'no"ledge them during his
interrogation. This introduces a final benefit to ta'ing a "ritten statement, "hich is
that it commits the sub(ect to the admissions made during an intervie" or
interrogation. The above mentioned emloyee "ould never have "ritten or signed a
statement such as,
EAuring the six months that ! "or'ed at \/] 6ororation ! have falsified the hours
that ! "or'ed D to 8 times. The first time "as in #ebruary 2002 "hen ! added 2 hours
to my time card. The last time "as in June 2002 "hen ! also added 2 hours of time
that ! did not "or'. The total amount of time ! have been aid for that ! did not "or'
"ould be bet"een =2 to =B hours. ! am very sorry ! did this and the reason ! did it
"as because ! have not been given enough hours to ay my bills. 3o threats or
romises "ere made to me to "rite this and everything ! "rote is the truth.E
:ad the investigator in this case attemted to ta'e such a "ritten statement he "ould
have immediately recogni1ed that the emloyee had not confessed to time card
violations. This may have resulted in further interrogation of the emloyee or a
reali1ation that the emloyee "as not involved in significant time card violations. !n
either event, the ta'ing of a "ritten statement in this case "ould have otentially
rotected the comany from civil liability.
The issue arises as to "hether a "ritten statement should be ta'en from every
sub(ect "ho has made incriminating statements. &s a guideline, it is rudent to ta'e a
"ritten statement anytime the sub(ectFs admissions may lead to an adverse imact on
the sub(ect, e.g., susension, demotion, termination, rosecution. !t only ta'es one
la"suit to areciate the imortance of this advice.
!n conclusion, our exerience has been that about 80I of susects "ill readily "rite
out their o"n statement after they confess. #or the remaining 20I, the investigator
can "rite out a statement, "hich the susect "ill read, ma'e any re7uired
corrections, and then sign. This rocedure generally ta'es no more than =0-=H
minutes and serves three imortant functions. The first is that it "ill enhance the
investigatorFs credibility in court "hen he testifies that the susect did, in fact,
confess. $econd, a "ritten statement "ill assure that the investigator understands
exactly "hat the susect is confessing to. #inally, the statement "ill commit the
susect to his admissions, decreasing the li'elihood that he "ill later claim never to
have confessed.
*oing %irectly fro) an Interview into an Interrogation
July 2002
!n the @eid Techni7ue a clear distinction is made bet"een intervie"ing and
interrogation. The intervie" is non-accusatory, 7uestion and ans"er rocess that is
designed to elicit information. &n interrogation is accusatory in nature and is
designed to elicit the truth from someone "hom the investigator believes has lied.
#urthermore, the t"o rocedures are generally searated in time. &t the comletion
of the intervie" the investigator stes out of the room and returns in five or ten
minutes to start the interrogation. The retense for steing out of the room may be
to revie" notes, tal' to another investigator or to ma'e a 7uic' hone call.
There are several benefits for creating a brief searation of time bet"een the
intervie" and interrogation. This ause allo"s the investigator time to formulate an
interrogation strategy, e.g., "hat confrontation statement to ma'e, "hat themes and
alternative 7uestion to use. 9y searating the intervie" from the interrogation it is
easier for the investigator to go from the non-accusatory and fact-finding tone of the
intervie" to the accusatory and ersuasive tone of the interrogation. #inally, the
investigator can use his absence from the intervie" room as a retense to strengthen
the confrontation of the susect at the outset of the interrogation. & ossible loy
might be something li'e, EJim, ! (ust got off the hone "ith the crime lab and they
"ere able to match hair follicles from the bedroom. !n this folder are the results of our
entire investigation and there is no doubt that you are the erson "ho too' this girl
from her bedroom.E
There are situations "here an investigator may go directly from an intervie" into an
interrogation "ithout any time eriod searating the t"o rocedures. The first
involves an environment in "hich it is imractical for the investigator to leave the
susect alone after comleting the intervie". 6onsider a college student "ho "as
intervie"ed in his dorm room about a date rae. The investigator 'no"s that the
student came from a rivileged family and also 'no"s that he had a single dorm
room. 4ven though the student "as not ta'en into custody )thus, no Miranda
"arnings "ere re7uired* there "as a concern that had a formal intervie" been
scheduled at the university olice station the studentFs father "ould have arranged for
an attorney to be resent during the intervie". #urthermore, being in a single dorm
room allo"ed rivacy for the intervie" and interrogation. :o"ever, the intervie"
environment does not lend itself to a lausible reason for the investigator to ste out
of the room follo"ing the intervie" and return ten minutes later to initiate the
Knder circumstances of this nature the investigator should comlete the intervie"
and immediately confront the susect. :o"ever, the standard confrontation
statement should be some"hat modified. & ossible statement for the reviously
mentioned date rae is, ETom, "e have been investigating this incident since it "as
reorted and ! have as'ed you a number of 7uestions that ! already 'ne" the
ans"ers to. &fter tal'ing to you and revie"ing all of the evidence, there is no 7uestion
that you did force )victim* into having sex "ith you.E Knli'e a standard confrontation
statement, "hich is made "hile standing, "hen circumstances re7uire that the
investigator go directly from an intervie" to an interrogation the investigator "ould
remain seated.
& second circumstance "here the investigator may go directly from an intervie" to
an interrogation occurs "hen the susect e"hibits a clear indication of wanting to
confess during the intervie". Often this "ill occur early during an intervie" "here, for
examle, the susect becomes confused "hen relaying his alibi or erhas "hen he
is as'ed a 7uestion such as EAid you )fire that gun*8E and the susect uts his head
do"n and simly sha'es his head imlying a denial. !f it "ere decided to initiate an
interrogation at this oint, rather than directly accuse the susect of involvement in
the offense, the investigator "ould immediately develo a theme. !n the latter
examle, the investigator may state<
EGou 'no" Tom, in cases li'e this the imortant thing to establish is "hy someone
did something. Once "e get the araffin test bac' "eFll be able to determine if you
fired a gun in the last B8 hours. 9ut that test "onFt tell us "hat the circumstances
"ere. ! 'no" you "ere drin'ing that night and alcohol tends to cloud a ersonFs
(udgment in that they "ill do things "hen they are drin'ing that they never do
other"ise. ! can tell from loo'ing at you that you are sorry about doing this but ! donFt
'no" the circumstances behind "hat haened )continue "ith theme*.E
!nterrogating a susect rior to comleting an intervie" should be reserved for
susects "ho clearly exhibit symtoms, not only of decetion, but also of "anting to
confess. Once the interrogation is initiated the investigator should not return to the
7uestion and ans"er format of the intervie". !n other "ords, the decision to initiate
an interrogation at some oint during an intervie" is a ermanent one. Once the
investigator engages in an interrogation, even if for only a fe" minutes, and then
attemts to return to the intervie"ing format, the sub(ect is unli'ely to offer any
meaningful information during the remainder of the intervie" and the success of a
subse7uent interrogation is severely diminished.
#urthermore, there are clear ris's involved in a remature interrogation. 9y cutting
the intervie" short, the investigator loses otential insight into the susectFs crime
that may be rovided during a full intervie". The abbreviated intervie" also may
inhibit the investigatorFs ability to establish the level of raort needed to ersuade
someone to tell the truth. #inally, the investigator loses the rocedural advantages of
searating the intervie" from the interrogation. These are each significant factors
contributing to the success of an interrogation and the investigator should carefully
"eigh them before deciding to terminate the intervie" and engage in an immediate
interrogation of a susect.
Conducting An E@it Interview June 2002
/hen an emloyee gives his t"o "ee' notice to leave a comany, the tyical
resonse centers around ho" to find a relacement for that erson. /hat is often
overloo'ed is that the dearting emloyee reresents a otential "ealth of
information in such areas as violations of comany olicy, theft, sexual harassment,
and emloyee drug use. The reason this emloyee is a valuable source of
information is because he robably has direct or indirect 'no"ledge of "rong-doings
"ithin his deartment and "ill often reveal this information because there is no fear of
being terminated or discilined by the emloyer.
One of the 'eys to a successful exit intervie" is to introduce the intervie" in a
manner that encourages truthfulness. The emloyee should be allo"ed to feel
comfortable revealing misconduct by others and should be made to feel imortant by
roviding his inut to cororate decisions. The follo"ing introduction accomlishes
these t"o goals<
EJim, something "e have learned over the years is that to really find out "hatFs
haening in a articular division of the comany, "e need to tal' to the eole "ho
"or' there. GouFve "or'ed in )shiing and receiving* for almost five years and have
done an outstanding (ob. ! "ould li'e to send a little time this afternoon revie"ing
your observations and exeriences "ith )6omany*. ! 'no" that "e are not erfect
and that sometimes things haen "ithin the "or'lace that shouldnFt haen. #or
some time no" "e have tal'ed to emloyees "ho have decided to leave the
comany in an effort to learn ho" "e can imrove our organi1ation. The information
they have rovided has been very helful in ma'ing cororate decisions.
There are a coule of imortant things to 'ee in mind during our discussion. The
first is that none of the information you tell me "ill be released to your co-"or'ers. $o
this information is confidential in that regard. $econd, much of "hat you tell me today
!Fve robably already heard from other emloyees that !Fve tal'ed to, but ! certainly
"ould areciate your candor and inut. /hen a grou of emloyees "or' in the
same area around the same eole they oftentimes tend to observe the same thing.
9ut ! am as'ing you to share all of your observations "ith me, even if you thin' ! am
already a"are of the situation, because your ersective on things in very imortant
to me.E
#ollo"ing this introductory statement, the intervie"er should as' some bac'ground
7uestions. One reason for this is to allo" the emloyee to feel comfortable tal'ing
about their (ob exerience, but in addition, this information "ill hel target areas to be
addressed later during the intervie". !t "ould not be aroriate at the outset of the
intervie" to as' the emloyee "hy he or she is leaving the (ob as this 7uestion
immediately uts the dearting emloyee in a defensive osition. -ossible
introductory 7uestions "ould be<
:o" did you originally come to "or' for )6omany*
/hat ositions have you "or'ed "ithin the comany )ho" long, "hich locations*
/hat shifts have you "or'ed8
/ho have your suervisors been8
The intervie"er "ill then "ant to cover secific toical areas "ith the dearting
emloyee. The se7uence of these toics should go from less serious to more serious
behaviors. The reason for this is that most emloyees "ill ma'e admissions to less
serious misconduct and by the time the more serious issues are raised the emloyee
has already established a attern of sharing sensitive information. This ma'es
admissions to the more serious areas much easier to ma'e. &s an examle, the
follo"ing se7uence of toical areas might be discussed "ith the emloyee<
Piolating comany olicies
$afety violations
$exual harassment
/or' related drug use
4ach toical area should be introduced "ith a short statement to encourage
admissions. &fter the area is introduced, the intervie"er should as' a series of
rincial 7uestions that address secific behaviors. !f the dearting emloyee ma'es
an admission to the rincial 7uestion, aroriate follo"-u 7uestions should be
as'ed. The follo"ing is a ossible introduction for violation of comany olicies,
along "ith rincial and follo"-u 7uestions. 3otice that all of the rincial 7uestions
are hrased in the ast tense. This is to reinforce, in the emloyeeFs mind, that he
soon "ill be an ex-emloyee and cannot suffer conse7uences for admissions.
EJim the first area ! "ould li'e to discuss "ith you concerns not follo"ing comany
rules. 3o" everyone bends rules on occasion and "e exect that. /hat "e "ould
li'e to identify are roblem areas "here ma(or rules are violated on a regular basis.E
E/hat ercent of emloyees in your "or' area sho"ed u more than =H minutes late
to "or' at least once a "ee'8E
)!f there are time cards* EAo you 'no" if someone else unches their time card for
EAid any of your managers or suervisors reort to "or' more than =H minutes late at
least once a "ee'8E
E/ere any of your co-"or'ers discilined or tal'ed to about their tardiness8E
E:o" "ere they discilined8E
E/hat ercent of emloyees came bac' from lunch more than =H minutes late8E E!s it
usually the same ones or does it vary8E
E/hat ercent of emloyees in your "or' area left "or' more than =H minutes early
at least once a "ee'8E
E&re you a"are of emloyees "ho called in sic', "hen in fact, they "ere not sic'8E
E/as this common for everyone, or did some eole do it much more than others8E
E:o" often did emloyees in your area use the comany hone for ersonal calls8E
E&re there one or t"o eole "ho tended to do this more than the others8E
E:ave emloyees in your area used a comany vehicle for ersonal errands8E
EAo you 'no" "hat ersonal errand this emloyee did8E
E:ave you seen emloyees intentionally damage merchandise in the shiing and
receiving area8E
E/hat "as damaged8E; E:o" "as it damaged8E
E:as a suervisor ever told you to 'ee something secret8E
E/hat did he or she as' you to 'ee secret8E
&s these rincial 7uestions reflect, the dearting emloyeeFs ans"ers "ill generally
indicate "hether or not there is a otential roblem "ithin a articular area. The
follo"-u 7uestions should establish the extent of the roblem but not re7uest the
names of emloyees resonsible. /e have found that a dearting emloyee "ill
continue to divulge meaningful observations as long as secific names of co-"or'ers
are not elicited. On the other hand, if the intervie"er resses for a secific name )or
too many details* after the first admission is made, the dearting emloyee "ill be
reluctant to volunteer further information. Therefore, it is our recommendation to go
through all of the toical areas in a general sense before attemting to elicit secific
6onsider that a dearting emloyee has ac'no"ledged, during his exit intervie", that
he is a"are of t"o emloyees "ho smo'e mari(uana during brea's, an emloyee
"ho intentionally damaged comany roerty and an emloyee he susects of theft.
To elicit the names of these emloyees, the intervie"er might say something li'e<
EJim, youFve been really helful this afternoon and ! areciate your honesty. Much of
"hat youFve told me has either been susected or mentioned by others. ! "ould li'e
to discuss these emloyees in a bit more detail "ith you. &s ! told you earlier,
anything you tell me today "ill not get bac' to co-"or'ers. !n fact, !Fve robably
already heard their names before but ! "ant to ma'e sure "e are tal'ing about the
same eole.E
E/ho is it that you susect has ta'en merchandise from the "arehouse "ithout
E/hy do you susect )3ame*8E
EAo you thin' anyone is heling him do this8E
E/hat merchandise do you susect him of ta'ing8E
E:o" do you thin' he is getting it out of the "arehouse8E
E/ho intentionally damaged the lam shiment that you told me about8E
E/hat other comany roerty have you seen him damage8E
E:as he made any verbal threats to co-"or'ers8E
E&re you a"are of any violent behavior he has engaged in outside of the (ob8E
E/ho is using mari(uana during brea's8E
E:o" do you 'no" this8E
E/ho else do you thin' is a"are of this8E
EAo you 'no" if they are selling any drugs from the comany8E
The urose for the exit intervie" is to elicit, in an efficient manner, relevant "or'
related information an emloyee may ossess. /hile oinion 7uestions such as,
E:o" did you li'e "or'ing for )6omany*8E or E/hat changes could you suggest to
imrove our comany8E may be aroriate as ice-brea'ers for the intervie", "hat
needs to be develoed is factual information the emloyee has seen, heard or "as
told. 9y develoing factual information a disgruntled emloyee, "ho is motivated to
offer negative oinions about co-"or'ers or suervisors, is much easier to detect
because of the lac' of secific observations to suort any derogatory remar's.
The information learned through an exit intervie" may be used in a number of "ays.
!t could serve as the imetus for an internal investigation or heightened security. !t
might indicate the need to counsel a manager or suervisor on enforcement of
comany olicies or treatment of emloyees. !n an oosite situation "here the exit
intervie" indicates good comliance "ith comany olicies and favorable raort
"ith management, the manager should be a"arded "ith ositive feedbac'.
Considerations with espect to the +se of Evidence %uring an Investigation
May 2002
The @eid Techni7ue reresents a structured investigative aroach to solve cases
involving little or no evidence. The first ste of the techni7ue is factual analysis in
"hich the investigative information is analy1ed to identify ossible susects and
assess each susectsF robable involvement in the offense. The second ste is the
intervie" of ossible susects to develo additional investigative information and
behavior symtoms indicative of truth or decetion. /hen a susect exhibits
decetive behavior during the intervie", the investigator may move into the final ste
of the techni7ue "hich is to interrogate that erson. The interrogation is conducted in
an effort to learn the truth from that individual. !n some cases an investigator is able
to gather enough evidence of a susectFs guilt that a confession is not needed to
successfully rosecute that erson. 6ollecting rima facie evidence of a susectFs
guilt, ho"ever, is a rare occurrence. !n most cases the investigator only obtains
circumstantial evidence that oints to"ard a articular susectFs robable
involvement in a crime. !n other cases, there may be limited hysical or testimonial
evidence that further imlicates the susect. This "eb ti "ill offer recommendations
on the use of such evidence during the course of the investigation.
eco))endation =1 When inviting a non-custodial suspect in for a voluntary
interview3 do not )ention specific evidence that points toward that personBs
There are basically t"o reason "hy guilty susects voluntarily agree to be
intervie"ed or ta'e a olygrah examination. The first is the belief that they can lie
"ithout being caught. The second is that they do not "ant to incriminate themselves
by being the only erson "ho is not cooerating "ith the investigation. :o"ever, this
entire thought rocess changes considerably "hen the investigator reveals
incriminating evidence to a susect. 6onsider the follo"ing invitation for a voluntary
EJim, ! need to tal' to you about a robbery of a gas station cler' last #riday night. Gou
already have a record for robbery and "e have t"o "itnesses "ho sa" you drive
a"ay from the gas station right after the robbery. !n addition, ! 'no" that you have
been sending a lot of cash since the robbery. /hat time can you come in and tal' to
me about this8E
3o susect in his right mind "ould agree to meet "ith this investigator. The susect
has little choice but to believe that the investigator is already convinced of his guilt. !n
addition, this invitation leaves little doubt that the susect is the only erson being
considered as guilty of the robbery. Knder this circumstance, most guilty susects
"ould force the investigator to rove a case against him and not cooerate "ith the
investigation. & much more roductive invitation to this susect "ould be as follo"s<
EJim ! am investigating a situation "here some money "as ta'en from a gas station
cler' last #riday night. ! am in the rocess of scheduling reliminary intervie"s for
eole "ho "ere seen around the gas station that night. Gour name has come u on
that list and ! "as "ondering "hether you could come in and tal' to me about this8E
This invitation is much more li'ely to result in the susect agreeing to submit to a
voluntary intervie" for t"o reasons. The first is that the susect believes there is no
real evidence ointing to"ard his involvement in the robbery, thus increasing his
belief that he can lie successfully during the intervie". $econdly, the susect does
not "ant to incriminate himself by being the only erson seen around the gas station
that night not to cooerate "ith the investigation. Auring our seminars "e emhasi1e
that an investigator is much more li'ely to elicit the truth from a susect "ho
voluntarily agrees to be intervie"ed )"here Miranda "arnings are not re7uired* than
a susect "ho is ta'en into custody. @emember that (ust because an investigator has
robable cause to arrest a susect, he is not obligated by la" to lace that susect in
eco))endation =4 %uring an interview3 never "ring up evidence until first
giving the suspect an opportunity to tell you a"out it voluntarily2
& common mista'e investigators ma'e during an intervie" is introducing evidence
rematurely. 6onsider a hit and run case "here the investigator 'no"s, from tal'ing
to a body sho mechanic, that the susect relaced a headlight and damaged grill on
his vehicle three days after the accident. The susect told the mechanic that the
damage occurred in a ar'ing lot "here someone must have bac'ed into his car. !f,
during the intervie", the investigator sho"s the susect a coy of the "or' order and
as's him to exlain ho" his car got damaged, obviously the susect "ill relate the
same story he told the mechanic. :o"ever, if the investigator first as's 7uestions
along the follo"ing lines, much more meaningful information may be learned<
O< E:ave you been involved in an accident at all in the last t"o "ee's8E
O< E:as your car received any damage in the last t"o "ee's8E
O< E:ave you had any reair "or' done on your vehicle in the last t"o "ee's8E
&n innocent susect, "ho "as in no "ay involved in the hit an run accident, "ill
resond truthfully to these 7uestions and relate details of the ar'ing lot incident and
reair "or' done. The decetive susect, not "anting to incriminate himself, is li'ely
to ans"er EnoE to these 7uestions. !t is an axiom of detecting decetion that a
susect "ho lies about small events is li'ely to be guilty of the crime. :o"ever, the
investigator must invite the susect to lie. To do this, evidence revealing the truth
)"itness statements, ast arrest record, recent urchases, etc.* must be "ithheld
from the susect during the intervie" at least until the susect has first been given
the oortunity to tell the truth on his o"n volition.
eco))endation =5 +se evidence strategically during an interrogation2
The vast ma(ority of interrogations are conducted on susects for "hom there is
insufficient evidence to rove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 9efore a susect "ill
accet the conse7uences of his crime by telling the truth, he must first believe that
there is already a high robability that his guilt has been, or "ill be established. !f an
investigator begins an interrogation by laying out circumstantial evidence that tends
to imlicate the susectFs ossible involvement in the offense, the susect "ill
immediately recogni1e that there is insufficient roof of his guilt to obtain a conviction.
6onse7uently, early introduction of evidence during an interrogation often reveals the
"ea'ness of the investigatorFs case. !n addition, "hen an investigator reveals secific
evidence during an interrogation the susect has something tangible to attac' as the
follo"ing dialogue illustrates<
!< EJoe, you told me before that you didnFt have any body "or' done on your car yet !
'no" that you had a front headlight and grill relaced at the local 9uic' dealer three
days after this accident. ! tal'ed to the mechanic "ho did the "or' and have a
statement from him so donFt lie and tell me you didnFt hit that man.E
$< E5et me exlain something to you. #irst, ! did not hit the man and ! donFt 'no"
anything about that. GouFre right in that ! didnFt tell the truth about the reair "or'. !
thought it "ould ma'e me loo' guilty so ! didnFt tell you. 9ut ! didnFt hit that guy "ith
my car.E
This susect is unli'ely to tell the truth about his involvement in the hit and run
accident. :e no" 'no"s that the only evidence the olice have is the reair "or'
done on his vehicle and he can easily exlain it a"ay. 6onsider, ho"ever, that the
investigator initially "ithheld this evidence and used it more strategically later during
the interrogation as illustrated<
!< EJoe, ! thin' you resonded as anyone else "ould have under the circumstances.
This guy is out "al'ing in the dar', "earing dar' clothes and heFs been drin'ing so
heFs staggering all over the road. Gou are driving by and he ractically "al's right in
front of your car and this thing haens. &t that oint you got scared and continued
driving. Most eole "ould have done exactly the same thing.E
$< E/hat roof do you have that ! did this8E
!< E! "ould love to sit do"n and go over "ith you, iece by iece, all of the evidence
that "eFve collected on this case but itFs against deartment olicy for me to do that.
4ventually, of course, youFll have a chance to see all of the evidence but by then my
reort "ill be submitted and it "ill be out of my hands. Joe, youFre not some sort of
clever criminal "ho has done things li'e this your "hole life. /hen something li'e
this haens to an average guy li'e you and me "e donFt 'no" enough to cover our
trac's. & criminal "ould have ta'en his car out of state to have the headlight and grill
relaced. Gou had it done at the 9uic' dealer right here in to"n three days after the
accident. & criminal "ould have gone bac' and collected the arts of the grill from
the accident scene so they could not be matched "ith the bro'en grill that "as
relaced. &gain, ! canFt discuss the secific evidence "ith you, but "hat ! thin' "ill be
imortant to bring out is "hether or not you "ere urosefully aiming your car at this
guy or if it really "as (ust an accident...E
& successful interrogation relies extensively on retense and innuendo. !f
circumstantial evidence is introduced at all, it should be mentioned in assing as if it
is the icing on the ca'e. !t doesnFt ta'e a s'illed defense attorney to successfully
attac' circumstantial evidence - most criminal susects are 7uite caable of doing
this on their o"n. #urthermore, it has been our exerience that interrogations
centered around incriminating evidence are the most li'ely to involve illegal threats
and romises of leniency from the interrogator. #rustrated by the susectFs erhas
imlausible but ossible innocent exlanation for the evidence, the investigator
resorts to tactics that may "ell cause a subse7uent confession to be suressed as
evidence in a court of la".
!n conclusion, desite television ortrayals of investigators routinely gathering
over"helming forensic evidence of a susectFs guilt, in real life the most common
form of evidence admitted at trial is the so'en "ord. 4xamles include a victimFs
hysical descrition of the defendant, eye "itnesses "ho can identify the defendant,
"itnesses "ho refute the defendantFs alibi, "itnesses "ho offer testimony relating to
the defendantFs motive or roensity to commit the crime and the defendantFs
confession. 9ecause investigators often only develo evidence that tends to"ard
roving a susectFs involvement in a crime, but is insufficient to rove guilt, the
evidence must be used (udiciously. !n some cases, an investigator is better off not
mentioning circumstantial evidence at all. @emember the adage that it is sometimes
better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to oen your mouth and remove all
Evaluating the Truthfulness of a eported !e@ual Assault &ril 2002
/isconsin recently introduced legislation that "ould rohibit a sexual assault victim
from being as'ed to ta'e a olygrah examination. Many states have already assed
such a la". 6learly doubting the veracity of a sexual assault victimFs claim is not a
olitically oular osition. Pictim advocate grous argue that the olygrah further
traumati1es the sexual assault victim. !t is interesting to note that a robbery victim is
not afforded the same consideration. 3either are the arents "ho claim that their
child "as abducted. !n fact, the #9! recommends that in such cases one of the first
investigative stes should be to administer a olygrah examination to the arents.
3onetheless, many agencies are legally rohibited from utili1ing the olygrah
techni7ue to ascertain the truthfulness of a rae victim.
6ertainly the ma(ority of reorted sexual assaults reresent legitimate claims. Get in
our office each year, "e identify "omen "ho have comletely falsified a reort that
they "ere raed. /e can add to that list a significant number of "omen "ho claimed
to be raed "hen, in fact, the sex act "as consensual. The most fre7uent motives for
a false claim of rae are to gain attention or to exlain a"ay a regnancy or sexually
transmitted disease. !n some cases "e have encountered a "oman "ho "as caught
engaging in a consensual sexual act and, to save face, reorted that she "as being
raed. On rare occasions "e have encountered a false claim of rae motivated
through revenge against the named raist. @egardless of the motive, false claims of
sexual assaults have cost deartments hundreds of "asted hours loo'ing for a raist
that does not exist. !n some documented cases, innocent defendants have been
convicted based on the alleged victimFs identification of the man even though she
"as never raed.
$exual assaults can be divided into t"o broad categories. !n the first, a secific
erson is named. Often these "ill involve ac7uaintance raes. !n these cases the
named susect "ill either say that he did not have sexual intercourse "ith the victim
or that it "as consensual. This is an ideal situation for the accused man to ta'e a
olygrah examination. The roblem is that too often the susect is immediately
arrested based on the victimFs comlaint. 9ecause of the arrest and re7uired Miranda
"arnings, the susect is li'ely to as' for an attorney and no attorney "ould agree to a
olygrah examination conducted by a olice agency "ithout first having his client
examined rivately. !n most cases, therefore, "e recommend that the susect not be
arrested, but rather be voluntarily intervie"ed, at "hich time a olygrah examination
may be offered as a "ay to 7uic'ly resolve the issue.
The second situation is not so easily resolved. !n this case the victim reorts that she
"as sexually assaulted but no secific susect is identified. These reorts can be
classified on a continuum of being highly robable, robable or susicious. /ighly
pro"a"le reorts "ill be suorted "ith clear hysical evidence of rae )vaginal
tearing, bruising, seminal fluid, foreign ubic hair*. !n these cases the victimFs account
should be acceted at face value. !n addition, A3& analysis should be conducted on
foreign body fluids or tissues. $tranger raes tend to be a serial crime and the
gro"ing database of A3& samles collected from sex offenders may lead to an easy
identification of the raist.
The pro"a"le rape comlaint lac's comelling hysical evidence but contains
characteristics that are fre7uently resent in factual reorts. The reason for the lac'
of hysical evidence is often because the victim delayed reorting the rae. There
are a number of reasons "hy legitimate rae victims do not reort the assault in a
timely manner. $ome are too embarrassed to come for"ard. Others exerience guilt,
believing that they someho" invited the attac'. Auring the victimFs intervie" it is
valuable to as', E/hy did you decide to reort "hat haened to you no"8E & victim
"ho is falsifying the rae claim is often unable to identify any secific reason for her
delayed reort. On the other hand, a legitimate victim is often able to articulate a
secific reason for the delayed reort. !n some cases this may relate to emotional or
hysical after effects of the rae, such as nightmares, regnancy or contracting an
$TA. !n other cases the victim may refer to a conversation "ith a confidante "ho
eventually convinced her to reort the attac'. !t is highly suggestive of a legitimate
claim "hen a victim reorted the assault to a close friend or family member shortly
after its commission.
&nother reason a sexual assault case may lac' hysical evidence is because the
raist did not carry through "ith the crime. & reort of attemted sexual assault
should be carefully scrutini1ed for its veracity. Most raists "ill carry out their crime
once it has started. On the other hand, a victim "ho fabricates a rae for attention
receives all of the sychological gains by reorting an attemted rae, or abduction
and yet does not have to exlain "hy there is no hysical evidence to suort her
The suspicious se@ual assault may include a number of 7uestionable elements.
The first assessment concerns the descrition of the rae itself. The behavior of
actual raists tend to be fairly similar. One tye "ill attac' the victim out of the blue,
"hich may involve an abduction. & second tye "ill gain the victimFs confidence and
coerce the victim into having sex. The abduction tye rae is often brutal and may
involve unnecessary violence. The coercive rae is much more assive and the
raist may even aologi1e after the attac'. /hen a rae victim incororates elements
from both tyes of raes )coercive and random attac'* into her ortrayal of the crime,
a number of issues arise.
To identify inconsistencies in a reort it is often beneficial, during the initial contact, to
as' a victim to "rite out a comlete descrition of everything that haened. !deally,
the victim should be seated alone in a room "ith several ages of lined aer "ith
the 7uestion on to of the first age< E/rite do"n everything that haened "hich
caused you to file this comlaint.E The investigator should encourage a detailed
descrition by telling the victim that he "ill return in =H or 20 minutes. /hen the
investigator returns, the "ritten statement should be revie"ed to ma'e certain that
the elements of the crime are covered and that sufficient investigative leads are
resent. !f these are absent, the investigator should only see' clarification in those
areas. This rocedure offers a means for a victim to relate sensitive information at
her o"n ace and to minimi1e the emotional trauma associated "ith having to
verbali1e "hat haened to her. Of e7ual significance, the victimFs "ritten account
can be analy1ed for veracity through content analysis and rovide a baseline of
behaviors and se7uences of events "hich can later be used to identify
inconsistencies in the reort. $everal days after "riting out the initial reort, the victim
can be aroached to clarify some asects of her account. 6omared to their original
statement, a legitimate victim "ill relate the same events, robably "ith greater detail
and certainly in the same se7uence "hereas the fabricating victim may significantly
omit or change 'ey events. 6hanges in se7uence of events is articularly imortant
to note.
!n a second recounting of the rae, the legitimate victim may recall slightly different
"ords or hrases made by the raist. :o"ever, if the "oman initially reorted that
the man first struc' her in the face and then undressed her, but in the second
account that he undressed her first and then hit her in the face, this discreancy in
the se7uence of events suorts the susicion of a robable falsification.
& second consideration is the descrition of the raist. &n actual rae victim "ill
reserve a real memory of the image of the raists )if one exists*. !t "ill not change
"ith time or suggestion. !n a fabricated claim, there is no factual image of the raist
to recall. 6onse7uently, it may change "ith time or suggestion. !n this regard, it is a
useful intervie"ing techni7ue for the investigator to urosefully incororate
inconsistent information "ithin an intervie" 7uestion. 6onsider that the victim
reorted that the raist had a scar running do"n his right chee'. Auring a
subse7uent intervie", the investigator might as', E3o" you said in your "ritten
statement that he had a scar on his left chee', about ho" long "as the scar8E The
legitimate victim, relying on factual recall, "ill readily detect this discreancy and
correct the misinformation in the investigatorFs 7uestion. The fabricating victim is
li'ely to miss the inconsistency and readily rovide an estimated length of the scar.
#inally, the victimFs lac' of cooeration in the investigation may ma'e the claim
susicious. & legitimate victim "ill be anxious to catch the man "ho raed her. $he
may exhibit some reluctance to testify at trial, but "ill generally be very cooerative
during the investigative stage. & victim "ho has fabricated the rae claim may ut off
aointments to loo' at mug shots or may be unreasonably unavailable to identify a
ossible susect in a lineu. /hen "or'ing "ith a s'etch artist, she may offer very
vague information or inconsistent information. !n one case of a false claim of rae "e
investigated, the descrition of an un-mas'ed susect started off as :isanic and
then "ent to &frican &merican but ended u as ossibly 6aucasian. &n exerienced
s'etch artist "ill develo a retty good sense of "hat a normal victim or "itnessF
descrition sounds li'e during the session. The investigator should tal' to the artist
and as' "hether or not the victimFs recall, detail, consistency and verification
statements "ere normal or unusual.
!n conclusion, the first ste of any sexual assault investigation is to assess the
veracity of the victimFs reort. !n some cases, there "ill be absolutely no doubt that
the victim "as raed. !n many cases, the nature of the reort itself "ill suort a high
robability that the victim "as sexually assaulted. !n rare cases, the victimFs reort
may be (udged as susicious. The most valid means to ascertain a victimFs
truthfulness is through the olygrah techni7ue. /hen this is not a legal otion, the
investigator should arrange for the victim to ta'e a 9ehavior &nalysis !ntervie".
Kltimately, the evidence re7uired to dro an investigation or charge a victim "ith
obstruction of (ustice "ill be a confession. To obtain a confession, of course, the
alleged victim "ill have to be interrogated. The decision to confront and interrogate a
"oman "ho claims that she "as raed should only be made "hen there is a
reasonable susicion that the reort is false.
The ole of .otivation in the Interpretation of a !u"#ectBs Behavior #ebruary
!n sychology, a ersonFs motivation generally relates to the strength of their desire
to accomlish a secific goal, "hich is also referred to as their drive. On the other
hand, the concet of motivation in criminal investigation refers to the need a susect
fulfilled by committing a criminal act such as financial gain, o"er, esteem, etc. This
difference is not incomatible, for a ersonFs clarity in defining a secific goal and the
drive to accomlish that goal both encomass the construct of motivation. !f a
susect lac's either a secific goal or the drive to accomlish that goal, inferences of
truth or decetion are often misleading.
& good examle illustrating the relationshi bet"een goal orientation and the drive to
accomlish a goal is the research that has been ublished investigating detection of
decetion. 5aboratory studies create an artificial scenario "here sub(ects are
assigned the role of either committing a moc' crime or not committing it. These EliarsE
or Etruth-tellersE may then be administered a olygrah examination or face to face
intervie" to collect data "hich is subse7uently analy1ed for indications of truth or
decetion. /ith this methodology, the tyical result is that neither rocedure
achieves accuracies much above chance levels. :o"ever, "hen using similar data
derived from actual criminal susects )field studies* the same analysis consistently
reveals accuracies far above chance levels.
The difference bet"een these t"o oulations is the level of motivation. ETruthfulE
laboratory sub(ects often do not form a clear goal of needing to be reorted as telling
the truth. /hile the decetive laboratory sub(ects may have a clearly defined goal of
avoiding being detected in a lie, they have very little drive to accomlish that goal.
6onse7uently, both EtruthfulE and EdecetiveE laboratory sub(ects roduce similar
olygrah charts or behavior during an intervie". On the other hand, because a
criminal susectFs livelihood, reutation and freedom are at sta'e, both innocent and
guilty susects form clear goals and a strong drive to accomlish the goal. !t is
imortant to areciate that innocent and guilty susects form different goals during
an intervie" or olygrah examination. The innocent susectFs goal is to be
exonerated or reorted as telling the truth. The decetive susectFs goal is to not
have his guilt identified. This difference in goal orientation forms the basis for all
inferential lie detection rocedures.
/ith this bac'ground, it must be remembered that not all criminal susects oerate
from high levels of motivation. & common excetion is the innocent erson "ho is
essentially told, at the outset of the intervie", E! donFt believe you had anything to do
"ith this crime.E Knder this circumstance the erson has no need to establish a goal
of being exonerated. The result may be unresonsive olygrah charts and ossibly
misleading behavior symtoms. 4xamles of these misleading behavior symtoms
include failing to name a articular susect, vouching for everyone, failure to
seculate as to ossible motivations by the guilty and offering a noncommittal
unishment to"ard the guilty erson. !n essence, the unmotivated innocent sub(ect
lac's a number of underlying attitudes seen from an innocent susect "ho is highly
motivated to be exonerated.
To maintain high levels of motivation during an intervie", an investigator should
avoid do"nlaying the susectFs ossible involvement in a crime. Auring a formal
intervie" our introductory statement to all susects is, E!f you "ere involved in )crime*
our investigation "ill clearly indicate that. !f you had nothing to do "ith this it "ill sho"
that as "ell.E Our exerience has sho"n that, esecially susects "ho are innocent
of involvement in a criminal offense, need to be stimulated to form a clear goal of
needing to be exonerated to roduce behavior indicative of that fact.
!n the oosite situation, the guilty susect may be so over"helmed "ith evidence
against him that he does not form a strong inner drive to escae being detected in his
crime. !n essence, this susect exeriences a feeling of hellessness going into a
olygrah examination or intervie". Auring a olygrah examination this susect
may not exhibit significant arousal "hen he denies involvement in the crime - he is
convinced that the olygrah "ill detect his lie and, therefore, is not motivated to
avoid detection of decetion. Auring an intervie" his nonverbal behavior may aear
"ithdra"n and distant but the verbal content of his resonses to behavior rovo'ing
7uestions may be more tyical of the innocent. #or examle, the susect may oenly
ac'no"ledge that a crime "as committed and that he had the best oortunity and
motive to commit it. :e may even offer a reasonably harsh unishment for the guilty
erson and deny that the guilty erson should be given a second chance. This is
exactly the behavior dislayed by a guilty susect "ho, rior to our intervie", had
already told her husband about her commission of the crime. &cting on factual
information "e interrogated the susect and she readily confessed. Auring a ost-
confession intervie" she exlained that her husband had already forgiven her and
she had acceted the fact that she "ould be unished for "hat she did. /hen as'ed
"hy she did not (ust come for"ard and admit her guilt she stated that husband
advised her to lie.
/ith resect to the guilty susect "ho lac's motivation because he has given u, "e
generally suggest that an investigator "ithhold incriminating evidence from a susect
until the intervie" or even interrogation. 9y doing so, not only is the susect more
li'ely to agree to be intervie"ed, but his level of motivation "ill remain high. Auring
an intervie" the investigator "ants the guilty susect to believe that he can escae
detection by suggesting that no crime "as committed, oening u the investigation
by naming unrealistic susects, stating that the guilty erson deserves leniency, etc.
The receding comments all relate to the sub(ectFs internal motivation during non-
accusatory rocedures )olygrah examination and intervie"s*. /hat haens "hen
the external level of motivation is significantly increased through an accusatory
interaction, such as during an interrogation8 There are some behaviors, both truthful
and decetive, "hich become more obvious during an interrogation. #or examle, a
truthful susectFs denials become much more forceful and emhatic during an
interrogation. On the other hand, the accusatory nature of interrogation may amlify
intrinsic factors affecting a ersonFs behavior )ersonality, culture, intelligence, etc.*
"hich may decrease the reliability of some behavioral observations. #inally, there are
a number of secific behavior symtoms "hich ta'e on 7uite different interretations
"hether they occur during a non-accusatory intervie" or an accusatory interrogation.
One of these is the use of non-contracted denials, e.g., E! did not start that fire.E
Auring an intervie", non-contracted denials are more often heard from decetive
than truthful susects. :o"ever, during an interrogation, non-contracted denials,
esecially "hen delivered in a staccato fashion, are associated "ith truthfulness.
$imilarly, a bolstered hrases such as, E! s"ear, ! donFt 'no" anything about that
fireRE is indicative of decetion during a non-accusatory intervie". Auring an
interrogation an innocent susect, out of frustration or anger, may ma'e the same
statement. On the nonverbal level, staring or a for"ard-leaning osture throughout an
intervie" is often a sign of decetion, "here the guilty susect is forcing his resence
on the investigator. :o"ever, during an interrogation these behaviors may be a good
sign of sincere anger and shoc', "hich is more indicative of truthfulness.
These are but a fe" examles of behaviors "hich are affected by the nature of the
interaction "ith the investigator. They indicate "hy, "hen "e do consultations to
evaluate a susectFs behavior, "e al"ays as' "hether or not the susect has been
accused of involvement in the offense or has been reviously interrogated on it.
9ecoming confrontational "ith a susect introduces a ne" variable to consider "hen
evaluating behavior. !f the accusation is clear and direct such as, ETom, there is no
doubt that you are the erson "ho started that fireRE "e can confidently assess the
susectFs behavior. /here roblems arise is "hen the investigator shifts from non-
accusatory to accusatory 7uestioning and then returns to non-accusatory 7uestions.
& lesson "e emhasi1e during our training seminars is "orth reeating< !f you are
going to intervie" - intervie". !f you are going to interrogate - interrogate.
!n summary, an investigator must be a"are of the sub(ectFs level of internal
motivation to form clear goals and the drive to accomlish that goal. !n this regard,
the investigator should aroach each intervie" in an imartial manner and certainly
not do"nlay the ossibility that the erson being intervie"ed is considered as
someone "ho may have involvement in the offense, or be motivated to "ithhold
information. $econd, the investigator should not over"helm a susect "ith
incriminating evidence rior to the intervie". To do so not only decreases the
li'elihood that the susect "ill voluntarily agree to be intervie"ed, but may create a
sense of hellessness "hich can distort goal orientation and cause misleading
behavior or olygrah charts. #inally, the investigator must areciate the influence
that the nature of the interaction "ith a susect )non-accusatory, accusatory* has on
that ersonFs behavior.
%onBt Overloo6 The Person Who eported The Cri)e January 2002
& guideline "e teach during our seminars is that the first erson intervie"ed during
an investigation should be the individual "ho reorted the crime. The rimary reason
for this is because that erson often can rovide the most accurate investigative
information surrounding the crime. 6onsider a homeo"ner "ho reorts that someone
entered his home and stole (e"elry from a bedroom. The investigator needs to
establish that the (e"elry actually existed, "hen the (e"elry "as last seen, "ho has
'eys to the home or 'no"ledge of an entry code, "hether doors are al"ays loc'ed,
"hich ac7uaintances 'ne" "here the (e"elry "as 'et, etc. &s "ith any intervie",
the investigator must 'ee in mind that the erson "ho reorted the crime may lie
about these details. !n fact, in a significant number of our investigations, the erson
"ho reorted a crime also turns out to be the eretrator of the crime.
The most common circumstance "here the reorter of a crime is also the eretrator
occurs "hen the reorter has the best oortunity and means to commit the crime.
Knder this circumstance the susect reorts his o"n crime because it "ould be
susicious not to. !n other "ords, the susect "ould logically have been the first
erson to discover the crime. This may involve the husband "ho claims that he
returned home from "or' and found his "ife stabbed to death, the individual "ho
reorts that his car "as stolen from an aartment ar'ing lot or the individual "ho
reorts unauthori1ed charges on his latest credit card statement. & contributing
motivation to reort oneFs o"n crime is the belief that by reorting the crime the
erson "ill escae scrutiny or even consideration as a ossible susect in the crime.
The follo"ing case, involving a teller "ho stole J=000 from his cash dra"er to ay
exenses related to renting an aartment, is tyical of a guilty erson "ho reorts his
o"n crime<
&t the end of the day the teller reorted a J=000 shortage to his suervisor. :e
reorted his o"n theft because he 'ne" it "ould have eventually been discovered by
auditors and he "ould then have to face tough 7uestions about "hy he failed to
discover a J=000 discreancy in his funds. Auring his 9ehavior &nalysis !ntervie" he
denied having any susicions as to "ho may have stolen the money. !n fact, he
denied the robability that his shortage "as the result of emloyee theft. @ather, he
suggested the ossibility that a customer may have reached over the counter and
grabbed the money or that he may have mista'enly given a customer too much
money. The teller oenly ac'no"ledged violating ban' rocedures by failing to 'ee
his cash dra"er loc'ed and also leaving it unattended for a eriod of time. :e also
volunteered the fact that he did not verify stras of money he received from the main
There are a number of characteristics of this intervie" that are tyical of many guilty
susects "ho reort their o"n crime. One of these is that the susect failed to name
a articular erson as someone he susects may be guilty of the crime. To do so
"ould re7uire ointing a finger at someone he 'no"s is innocent. @ather, these
susects "ill often suggest unrealistic exlanations for the commission of the crime.
!n this regard, it is not uncommon for the susect to ac'no"ledge the ossibility that
he may be inadvertently resonsible for the act. This might include careless use of
smo'ing materials in an arson, accidentally thro"ing a"ay a deosit in a theft or
causing a souseFs desondency "hich resulted in an aarent suicide "hen, in fact,
the susect staged the suicide. 9y acceting )non-criminal* resonsibility for an act
the guilty susect relieves a great deal of anxiety associated "ith his crime because
he is telling art of the truth. #inally, these susects often ac'no"ledge sloy
security rocedures in connection to the crime )not verifying money stras, leaving
house doors unloc'ed, loaning 'eys to unauthori1ed ersonnel* . 9y doing so, they
oen u the investigation by roviding access to individuals "ho normally "ould not
have the means to commit the crime.
&nother variation of crimes reorted by the eretrator involves delayed reorting of
an on-going crime. & manager at a savings and loan "as embe11ling funds from
customerFs loan ayments. &fter stealing almost J2H,000 over a six-month eriod of
time he reorted the embe11lement and initiated the investigation. :is reorting of
the thefts coincided "ith the dearture of an emloyee in the loan deartment "ho
recently resigned to send time "ith her children. Loing into the investigation "e
certainly believed that she "as the rime susect. :o"ever, the first erson "e
intervie"ed "as the manager and his behavior clearly reflected decetion. &fter a
relatively short interrogation he confessed. !n his confession he stated that he "as
concerned that the embe11lement "ould be detected in an u-coming audit and sa"
an oortunity to divert susicion from himself by reorting the embe11lement shortly
after the loan deartment emloyee resigned.
The most common motivation for a susect to reort his o"n on-going crime is a fear
that he "ill be caught in the near future. & tyical case is the drug dealer "ho comes
for"ard to reort drug sales in his neighborhood. 9y doing so he is hoing to diffuse
allegations buyers "ill ma'e against him once they are arrested. & arallel situation
exists in a sexual harassment case "here the harassing suervisor files a comlaint
against the comlainant, again in an effort to negate that ersonFs credibility. !t is
human nature to believe the first erson "ho comes for"ard. The investigator needs
to recogni1e this ossible underlying motive esecially "hen the reorter is later
imlicated in criminal behavior. & revealing 7uestion to as' during the intervie" in
these cases is, E/hy did you decide to reort this no"8E Often the decetive susect
cannot identify a credible cause and effect relationshi exlaining his decision to
reort the crime.
The final variation of the guilty erson reorting his o"n crime is the most rare. !n this
circumstance the eretrator intended to flee after committing the crime, but
someone discovers him at the crime scene. /e "ill call this second erson the
discoverer. Knder this circumstance, the eretrator may decide to run and hoe that
the discoverer cannot identify him. !f that is not a viable otion, he may turn to the
discoverer and reort the crime. -ossible examles include homicide, arson or
criminal damage to roerty. /e have also "or'ed cases "here the eretrator "as
caught during the commission of his crime, e.g., stealing merchandise from a
"arehouse or using illegal drugs at "or'. @egardless of the circumstance, as soon
as the eretrator reali1es that he has been seen, he turns to the discoverer and
says, E6all ?==, the aartment building is on fire,E or, ELee, it smells li'e someoneFs
been smo'ing mari(uana in here.E $uch a ortrayal of imlied innocence by reorting
the offense is often effective at diverting attention a"ay from the eretrator. !n fact,
many of these cases are solved only after an investigator has eliminated a number of
ossible innocent susects and then goes bac' to conduct a formal intervie" of the
reorter. /hen a crime is committed in an unoulated or rivate area it is unusual to
have one erson discover the crime shortly after its commission. To have t"o
indeendent eole ma'e this claim is highly imrobable.
& thorough intervie" of the discoverer may also rovide meaningful information. The
investigator should 'ee in mind that a susect "ho has (ust narro"ly escaed being
caught committing a crime "ill tyically aear overly anxious and nervous to the
discoverer. 9eing in this frame of mind, the reorterFs ans"ers to initial 7uestions
as'ed by the discoverer may be inconsistent or 7uite vague. !n addition, the reorter
may as' inaroriate 7uestions of the discoverer such as, E:o" long have you been
standing there8E or, E/hat did you see8E &n investigator should ta'e advantage of
the discovererFs recollections of the reorter. !n articular, the discoverer should be
as'ed 7uestions about the reorterFs demeanor and aearance, e.g., frightened,
guarded, 7uiet, out-of-breath, flushed, ersiring, etc. The conversation bet"een the
reorter and discoverer should also be exlored. The investigator may learn that the
reorter offered the discoverer a comletely different exlanation for his resence at
the crime scene than "hat the reorter later told the resonding officer.
!n conclusion, "hen an investigator intervie"s the erson "ho reorts a crime, there
is a tendency to afford that erson instant credibility because he came for"ard to
reort a crime. This credibility is robably "arranted "hen the reorter could have
(ust as easily not ic'ed u the hone and hoed that someone else "ould call the
olice. :o"ever, "hen the reorter of the crime has immediate access and
oortunity to commit it the investigator must maintain a high index of susicion to
identify ossible behavior symtoms of decetion. To accomlish this, the reorter of
a crime should be intervie"ed in a rivate and controlled environment. Most
imortantly, the intervie" should incororate behavior rovo'ing 7uestions to elicit
behavior symtoms of truth or decetion.
!creening (ew E)ployees' Part I 3ovember 200=
In light of the tragic events of (eptember 11
" there is a heightened awareness to properly
screen new employees. #he terroristSs attack on the !#C and 1entagon has greatly expanded
the definition of a Asensitive position.T In August of this year who would have imagined
that crop dusters" truck drivers" water treatment employees or airline caterers would re'uire
employees of the highest integrity* As 1resident ush stated" A#he ;nited (tates will never
be the same again.T
#he purpose for preemployment screening is to predict future behavior. !hile it will never be
possible to perfectly forecast a personSs behavior" psychologists have long established that
the best predictor of a personSs future behavior is to evaluate their recent past behavior.
Consider that 4ohn and 4oe are both applying for a position of trust. 4ohn has been discharged
from two employers in the last A years and has a criminal conviction for possession of
mari8uana. In addition" 4ohn has stolen N0KK in merchandise from employers in the last A
years. 4oe has never been fired from a 8ob and his employment history reflects steady
promotions. 4oe has no criminal record and has not stolen from recent employers. Gven
though there is no guarantee that 4ohn will engage in acts of dishonesty if hired" research
strongly supports the finding that if such activity does occur" 4ohn will be much more likely
involved in it than 4oe. &rom a productivity" loss prevention and safety perspective" employers
should hire only those 8ob applicants who represent a low risk for misconduct.
#here are a number of preemployment screening procedures to evaluate a personSs past
behavior. #he following chart lists the advantages and disadvantages of some of these+

(creening 1rocedure
Advantages )isadvantages
)rug #ests Accurately detects recent
drug use
)rugBusing applicants may
abstain while seeking
Criminal >ecord Check !ill reflect criminal
convictions only in those
counties checked
)oes not reveal crimes the
applicant committed but was
never caught for
1rior Gmployer Contacts :erifies that the applicant
worked for the employer
1revious employers often
will not reveal adverse
1reemployment 1olygraph
Can identify past adverse
behaviors that only the
applicant knows about
#he Gmployee 1olygraph
1rotection Act of 1EHH
precludes most private
employers from using the
&ace to &ace Integrity
Can identify past adverse
behaviors that only the
applicant knows about
>e'uires an interviewer
trained in forensic
interviewing techni'ues
An employer must recogni@e that no one knows more about a 8ob applicantSs past behavior
than the applicant himself. #o thoroughly learn about a personSs past re'uires a procedure
where the individual provides that information" which is then sub8ect to verification either
through physiological data 2polygraph3 or behavior symptom analysis 2Integrity Interview3.
ecause neither the polygraph nor the Integrity Interview are 1KKW accurate" an employer
should implement additional preemployment screening tools as part of the entire employee
selection process. At a minimum" an employer should contact past employers. &alsification of
an employment application is the most common area of deception for 8ob applicants. #his
includes failure to list all past employers" reasons for leaving 8obs" 8ob responsibilities and
level of education or training.
!hen filling a position of trust 2money handling" access to merchandise or company records3
the employer should not only verify the applicantSs employment history but perhaps conduct
a criminal record check and re'uire drug screening as well. It is also advisable to re'uire that
the applicant produce original documents that are 8ob related. Gxamples of these documents
may include a valid drivers license" a social security card" high school or college transcript"
professional license and proof of legal ability to work in the ;.(.
#he face to face interview with a 8ob applicant is undoubtedly the most important part of the
screening process. #oo often" this meeting is conducted with the assumption that everything
the applicant wrote on the employment application is the truth. >ather than verifying the
information on the application" the employer spends time talking about benefit packages"
hours" wages and promotion possibilities within the company.
A properly conducted preemployment interview should consist of the applicant being asked to
review his last five years of employment history including the specific dates of employment"
8ob responsibilities and reason for leaving each 8ob. #o gauge 8ob performance and reliability"
the applicant should be 'uestioned about past disciplinary actions" promotions" absenteeism
and tardiness. #he applicant should also be 'uestioned about use of illegal drugs in the last
two years and other drug related activities 2buying" selling" use during or 8ust before work
hours3. &inally" the applicantSs illegal activities should be pursued starting with any criminal
convictions in the last seven years. It is important to reali@e that approximately HKW of
criminal admissions elicited during a preemployment interview involve crimes the applicant
was never arrested for. #herefore" the interviewer must ask specific 'uestions about engaging
in crimes for which the applicant was never caught.
)epending on the position being applied for" the preemployment interview should delve into
specific past acts of recent 8obBrelated behavior. A person applying for a cashBhandling
position should certainly be asked if he stole money from past employers. An applicant for a
driving position should be thoroughly 'uestioned about his driving record especially as it
relates to accidents that were unreported and driving under the influence" even though he was
never caught. A police candidate with previous law enforcement experience should be asked
about use of excessive force during an arrest" theft from a crime scene or per8ury while
testifying in court or applying for a warrant.
A 8ob applicant who presents a high risk for liability" dishonesty or safety concerns will not
volunteer adverse information on an employment application. #he employer must
aggressively seek out this information to detect unsuitable applicants before they are put on
the payroll and 8eopardi@e the companySs future productivity. In uncertain economic times it
is tempting to view preemployment screening as a luxury easily cut from a corporate budget.
5owever" human resource professionals have long known that it is far less costly in time and
money to identify an un'ualified 8ob applicant and not hire that person than to fire that same
applicant after his behavior has hurt the companySs productivity" profit or reputation.
!creening (ew E)ployees' Part II Aecember 200=
The imortance of a face to face intervie" "ith a (ob alicant to evaluate their
recent ast behavior "as emhasi1ed in the last "eb ti. One reason emloyers are
reluctant to as' robing 7uestions during a reemloyment intervie" is the fear of a
subse7uent la" suit. This discussion "ill focus on legal asects of reemloyment
screening and cost-effective strategies in ma'ing hiring decisions.
The underlying legal rincile alied to areas of roer in7uiry during a
reemloyment intervie" involves a concet called a 9ona #ine Occuational
Oualification )9#OO*. !n other "ords, can the emloyer demonstrate that the
information elicited by the 7uestion is necessary to assess the alicantFs suitability
for emloyment. &ny "ritten or verbal 7uestion as'ed of a (ob alicant in the
selection rocess must satisfy a 9#OO.
!t may, therefore, be considered imroer to as' the alicant if he rents or o"ns a
home but it "ould be ermissible to as' for the alicantFs mailing address since the
emloyer needs to 'no" "here to contact the alicant. 6ertainly it "ould be
imroer to as' about the alicantFs origin of birth but it is ermissible to re7uire
roof of being able to legally "or' in this country )uon being offered a osition*.
#undamental to any emloyment osition is a ersonFs integrity, honesty and
reliability. Therefore, an alicant "ho lies on an emloyment alication about being
fired from a revious osition has demonstrated a lac' of integrity. &n alicant "ho
ac'no"ledges recent drug use, sholifting or auto theft indicates not only dishonesty,
but otential oor reliability as "ell. !t is a reasonable ossibility that an alicant "ith
a roensity for illegal activity ris's being caught and arrested and therefore, "ill not
be able to sho" u for "or'.
There are a number of federal la"s "hich regulate hiring ractices. The longest
standing are discrimination la"s under Title P!! of the 6ivil @ights &ct of =?DB and the
&ge Aiscrimination in 4mloyment &ct of =?%> enforced through the 47ual
4mloyment Occuation 6ommission )44O6*. These acts create rotected classes
of eole and rohibit an emloyer from using race, age, religion or national origin as
grounds for dis7ualifying a (ob alicant from emloyment. &n emloyer "ho does
not hire a (ob alicant from a rotected class may be challenged to articulate
secific grounds for their not-hire decision. & valid defense for 44O6 claims is that
the emloyer utili1ed a 9#OO in dis7ualifying a (ob alicant. &n examle of this
rincile is a (ob alicantFs contact "ith olice. !t is generally considered
discriminatory to as' "hether or not an alicant has been arrested for a crime.
:o"ever it is la"ful to as' if the alicant has been convicted of a crime.
!n =?88 the #ederal government adoted the 4mloyee -olygrah -rotection &ct.
This legislation argues that the olygrah is not a reliable indicator of truth and
decetion and therefore rohibits most rivate emloyers from as'ing, re7uesting or
re7uiring a rosective emloyee from ta'ing a reemloyment olygrah
examination )or other urorted lie-detection device such as a voice stress analy1er*.
4xemt from this restriction are all government emloyees and rivate emloyers
"ho oerate sensitive businesses such as nuclear o"er lants, drug manufacturing
or armed security services. There is also The &mericans "ith Aisabilities &ct of =??0
)&A&*. -reemloyment 7uestions relating to the alicantFs medical or emotional
health are rohibited under the &A& unless the alicant has been offered a osition.
/ith resect to illegal drug usage, the act ermits emloyers to only 7uestion (ob
alicants about recent drug usage and unsuccessful treatment in a drug
rehabilitation rogram. @ecent drug usage has been defined as a eriod of t"o years
and unsuccessful treatment in a rehabilitation rogram involves any use of an illegal
drug since leaving the treatment.
To rotect against discrimination claims it is recommended that emloyers establish
re-existing ob(ective standards of unaccetable behavior against "hich all
alicants are comared. &s an examle, an emloyer may consider a erson as
unsuitable for emloyment if the alicant has been fired from a (ob in the last H
years, has used any illegal drugs in the last 2 years, has stolen money from
emloyers in the last H years or committed a theft crime in the last % years. 9ecause
the same ob(ective standards are alied to all alicants for a articular osition, the
emloyer is in a osition to demonstrate that the not hire decision "as in no "ay
Ktili1ing ob(ective hiring standards in this manner can also decrease the costs of
reemloyment screening. &n emloyer should first imlement the least exensive
and time-consuming rocedures to re-screen (ob alicants. #re7uently, this "ill be
a face to face intervie" designed to verify information on a "ritten alication. Our
exerience indicates that bet"een 2H and >0I of (ob alicants ma'e dis7ualifying
admissions during an !ntegrity !ntervie". This allo"s the emloyer to reserve more
exensive and time-consuming re-emloyment rocedures for those remaining
alicants "ho are most li'ely suitable candidates for the osition.
6onversely, it is less cost effective to reverse this rocess "here the emloyer first
sends the time and money to assess an alicantFs 'no"ledge, s'ills and abilities
and then ob(ectively evaluates the validity of the "ritten alication and the
alicantFs integrity through a face to face intervie". 9ecause the initial assessment
tends to be sub(ective, very fe" alicants are eliminated. This means that almost all
alicants for a osition go through the entire extensive screening rocess. !t is much
more cost effective to eliminate un7ualified alicants at various stages of the
/hile this "eb ti resented legal guidelines for reemloyment screening, it "as
designed as an overvie" of some #ederal guidelines regulating reemloyment
in7uires. &s such, it is not intended to be all-encomassing.. !n addition, there are
various state statutes that regulate reemloyment in7uires. Our best
recommendation is to develo a standardi1ed "ritten emloyment alication that
satisfies all state and federal guidelines and to have each (ob alicant comlete an
alication. #urther, the first stage of the hiring rocess should be to verify the
information "ritten on that alication.
Evaluating O)issions within a !uspectBs !tate)ent October 200=
&n earlier "eb ti discussed the evaluation of inconsistencies "ithin a susectFs
statements. !nconsistencies reresent factual changes in an account "hereas
omissions reresent exected information not included "ithin a resonse. !t must be
reali1ed that both truthful and decetive sub(ects "ill edit )omit* information from an
account. 6onse7uently, it is not the resence of an omission that necessarily
indicates decetion, but rather "hat "as omitted.
To evaluate omissions, an investigator must areciate that every sub(ect ma'es
conscious or reconscious decisions concerning the Ebest ossibleE resonse to an
intervie" 7uestion. !f the sub(ect is telling the truth, the best ossible resonse "ill
include accurate information he believes the investigator needs to 'no" to hel
establish the sub(ectFs truthfulness. 6onsider that a sub(ect innocent of a rae
allegation is as'ed, E/hat is your understanding for the urose of the intervie" "ith
me today8E /hile there are do1ens of ossible resonses to this 7uestion, the
follo"ing resonse is tyical of an innocent susect< E& lady is claiming that ! raed
her in the ar'ing lot outside of 9oydFs Tavern last #riday night. ! "as at 9oydFs that
night until around ==<00 but ! sure didnFt rae anybody.E This sub(ect omitted a great
deal of information from his resonse such as "hen he arrived at the tavern, "ho he
"as "ith and ho" much he had to drin'. :o"ever, the information he chose to
include "ithin his resonse is his best ossible resonse to the investigatorFs
7uestion to ortray innocence.
6onsider a decetive sub(ectFs resonse to this same 7uestion< E! guess some lady is
saying that ! did something to her.E This sub(ect very urosefully omitted the nature
of the allegation )rae* as "ell as the alleged location and date of the assault. To
include this detailed information "ould increase the susectFs anxiety "hich, of
course, he does not "ant to do. !n addition, the guilty susect is often overly cautious
not to volunteer information that may not be 'no"n about his crime. !f the investigator
as'ed a follo"-u 7uestion such as, EAo you 'no" "hen or "here she is alleging this
haened8E and the sub(ect denied 'no"ing that information even though it is
documented that he "as reviously told these details, this strongly suorts
*uideline =1' It is suggestive of deception when a suspect o)its including
i)portant details within a response2 A suspect who offers inappropriate clai)s
of ignorance concerning a cri)e or allegation is often deceptive2
9ased uon thousands of intervie"s, "e have found that truthful sub(ects tend to
include certain 'inds of information "ithin a resonse that is often excluded from a
decetive sub(ectFs resonse. One category of this information relates to emotions. !f
a truthful sub(ect "as frightened, uset, angry or frustrated he or she "ill be oen
"ith this information during an intervie" because emotional states become
intermingled "ith behaviors "hen recalling a factual occurrence. On the other hand,
a decetive sub(ectFs resonse often focuses entirely on behaviors, e.g., first this
haened then that haened and then ! did this. To fabricate emotions "ithin the
account becomes an unnecessary lie so these are often inaroriately omitted.
$econd, a truthful sub(ect "ill include secific details "ithin their resonse because
they believe the information "ill be helful in solving the crime. Aecetive sub(ects
often omit secific information )times, dates, locations, descritions* because it
re7uires more lies to remember. !f this information is elicited during follo"-u
7uestions, often decetive susects remain vague as to secific details, e.g., ELosh, !
could have arrived home anytime bet"een H<>0 and %<00 last #riday nightE; E! canFt
remember her ever touching my bare enis but ! "ouldnFt 'no" if she did it "hile !
"as aslee.E
#inally, "hen aroriate, truthful sub(ects may include a sontaneous, unsolicited
denial or statement of verification. To the decetive susect, unsolicited denials are
an unnecessary lie and, conse7uently, they "ill omit them from their resonse.
Knsolicited statements such as, E! sure didnFt steal any money to cause that
shortageE, E! never had any sexual contact "hatsoever "ith my nieceE, or E ! never
robbed anyone in my lifeRE are much more li'ely to be included "ithin a truthful
sub(ectFs resonse and omitted from the decetive sub(ectFs resonse.
Auring our child abuse seminar, an intervie" is sho"n of a high school girl "ho
claims to have been raed in a bathroom at her school. This false allegation, as
confirmed through her confession, offers an excellent study in omission. /hen as'ed
to relate everything that haened on the day of the reorted rae she volunteers an
emotional state rior to the rae, E! "as "orried about being late to class because !
already had some tardy slis.E Get during her entire account of the rae itself she
never once mentions being frightened, embarrassed or exeriencing hysical ain.
$he is so vague in the details of the rae that the raist is not referred to by a secific
gender until follo"-u 7uestions are as'ed. :er initial account referred to EsomeoneE
entering the stall and, E! "as forced u against the bac' "allE and E! "as made to ull
do"n my (eans.E The reason the case "as referred to our office "as that the victimFs
hysical descrition of the raist varied greatly over time.
*uideline =4' Truthful su"#ects include e)otions3 i)portant details and
spontaneous denials within their response2 %eceptive su"#ects )ay o)it this
& last consideration in evaluating omissions "ithin a resonse involves the se7uence
of information volunteered. /hen resonding to a 7uestion it is human nature to
lace imortant information before less imortant information; a sub(ect "ill rioriti1e
events and occurrences based on emotional imact or novelty. /hen emotional or
novel information is included to"ard the end of a resonse, this is susicious. !t
strongly suorts decetion "hen the emotional or novel event is omitted entirely
during an initial resonse and only surfaces through the as'ing of follo"-u
&ssume that during a training seminar in 5as Pegas ! lost a great deal of money
gambling. ! need cash to ay for my taxi ride home so ! as' my training artner for a
loan. 9eing embarrassed about my gambling losses, ! ma'e u a story about having
money stolen from my "allet "hen ! left it behind in the hotel room. &fter arriving
home my "ife as's me ho" the course "ent and ! rovide details about the audience
and location but, of course, omit the fact that ! lost money gambling. & coule of days
later my "ife haens to tal' to my training artner "ho immediately brings u the
theft from my "allet. #ollo"ing that conversation my "ife as's me, EAid anything
unusual haen during your tri to 5as Pegas8E My resonse is, E3o" that you
mention it, there "as an incident "ith my "allet "here some money "as ta'en but it
"asnFt that much.E /ill my "ife believe me8 Of course not. 9eing the victim of a theft
and having to borro" money to get home "ould have been the most memorable
exerience of that tri and, if it really haened, it "ould have been the first thing !
told her about. The fact that ! omitted it from my initial descrition of the tri clearly
suorts the robability that there "as no theft from my "allet.
/e hear these 'inds of omissions on a regular basis from susects "e intervie". &
7uestion that often brings out this omission is, E/ho did you tell about )issue*8E !n
one memorable case an alderman, "ho had recently been indicted by a grand (ury
for extortion, stated that he had not told his "ife about the indictment because he,
Edid not "ant to unnecessarily uset her.E !n another case the susect claimed that
t"o men robbed him of an J=8,000 store deosit yet he never told his best friend
about the robbery because, E!t "as really none of his business.E !n both cases, the
susects confessed.
*uideline =5' A truthful suspect will include e)otional or novel infor)ation
early during a response2 A deceptive suspect )ay "ring up this infor)ation at
the end of a response or o)it it altogether2
!n conclusion, often "hat a sub(ect does not say in resonse to a 7uestion is as
imortant as "hat he chooses to say -- Omissions reresent a conscious decision.
Aecetive sub(ects avoid detailed descritions of their crime and are reluctant to
volunteer information that may not be 'no"n by the investigator. The decetive
sub(ect may choose to omit emotional states or a sontaneous denial "ithin his
resonse because they reresent unnecessary lies. #inally, the susect "ho laces
emotional or novel information to"ard the end of his resonse or omits them
altogether has offered a behavior symtom suorting decetion. &s "ith all
behavioral assessments of a susect, identifying omissions should be considered
collectively "ith other observations before an oinion of decetion can be suorted.
The Polygraph Technique3 Part I' Theory &ugust, 200=
#he polygraph instrument" erroneously called a Qlie detectorQ" is nothing more than a
monitoring device to record different physiological systems. #he first polygraph was
developed in 1EKH by a ritish )octor to monitor a motherQs physiology during labor
contractions. In the 1E9KQs this technology was applied to a techni'ue used to 'uestion
criminal suspects.
#he polygraph instrument monitors three physiological systems. It records changes in
respiratory rate and volume" heart rate and blood pressure as well as sweat gland activity. #he
reason these systems are monitored is that they each reflect arousal of the autonomic
2involuntary3 nervous system 2A%(3. #he A%( contains two types of nerves. #he first type"
parasympathetic nerves" conserve energy and keep the systems in a relatively resting state.
#he second type of nerve" sympathetic nerves" prepare the body for action in what is called a
fight or flight response. )uring intense emotional states such as surprise" fear" anger and pain"
sympathetic nerves are activated. &rom polygraph charts a trained examiner can identify
whether or not a particular 'uestion stimulated sympathetic arousal.
As can be seen" the polygraph instrument itself plays a minor role in detecting deception.
>ather" it is the 'uestioning techni'ue that is critical. #he simplest techni'ue relies on sub8ect
recognition to stimulate autonomic arousal. Consider a burglary in which NAKK in cash was
stolen from a cookie 8ar. A suspect who is innocent of this burglary would have no idea where
the NAKK was stolen from. 5owever" the guilty burglar would certainly remember that unusual
hiding place. A suspect could be given a polygraph examination where the central 'uestion
asked is" R!as the stolen NAKK hidden in a MMMMMMMMM*R In the blank the examiner could read
the words 213 shoe box" 203 desk drawer" 293 night stand" 2<3 cookie 8ar" 2A3 8ewelry box" 2C3
pocket book" 2F3 stereo cabinet. If this series of 'uestions was asked on three different tests
and during each test a sub8ect exhibited autonomic arousal to the item" Rcookie 8arR this result
would clearly support the finding of guilty knowledge" and therefore imply involvement in the
burglary. #his simple recognition test is called a 1eak of #ension test because often the
deceptive sub8ectQs autonomic arousal gradually builds to the point of recognition whereupon
the body exhibits relief" thus forming a literal peak on the polygraph records.
/ftentimes however" through police 'uestioning or media coverage" details of a crime become
known to innocent suspects and the above mentioned 1eak of #ension test is not a viable
design. In this circumstance the polygraph techni'ue is used to identify whether or not a
sub8ect is telling the truth when he answers RnoR to a crime 'uestion such as" R)id you steal
NAKK from a cookie 8ar in a home on 6ain (treet*RCommon sense might indicate that a lying
sub8ect would exhibit autonomic arousal to this 'uestion and a truthful sub8ect would not.
5owever" this is rarely the case. A truthful sub8ect may exhibit arousal to this 'uestion as a
result of recogni@ing the importance of the 'uestion. &urthermore" a deceptive sub8ect may not
exhibit arousal to this 'uestion because of fatigue" ingestion of drugs or a variety of
underlying psychological factors. #o overcome these difficulties" in the 1E<KQs 4ohn G. >eid
developed the Control Luestion polygraph techni'ue.
!hereas the 1eak of #ension polygraph techni'ue relied on recognition" the Control Luestion
techni'ue relies on a more involved psychological process called attention. In any highB
motivation situation a person focuses his thoughts" perceptions and actions toward a particular
goal. Attention is the process of excluding competing stimuli in favor of a particular goal.
#o illustrate" consider that a polygraph instrument was attached to two parents attending a
high school band concert who also happened to be close friends. /ne of the parentQs son plays
oboe while the otherQs son plays trumpet. )uring a particular piece of music there is an oboe
solo as well as a trumpet solo and both parents are aware of each otherQs apprehension over
the upcoming solos. #he process of recognition would predict that both parents would exhibit
similar autonomic arousal during both the oboe and trumpet solos. 5owever" because these
are competing stimuli" attention takes over. #he polygraph charts of the parent of the oboe
player would show much more arousal during the oboe solo compared to the trumpet solo.
#he polygraph charts of the parent of the trumpet player would show opposite results.
Conse'uently" even though recognition occurred in both parents during the playing of each
boys$ solo" their respective attention was direction toward one solo or the other. #he
fascinating feature of attention as a psychological process is that it excludes competing
stimuli. It results in not only heightened arousal to a targeted stimulus" but also inhibits
arousal to competing stimuli.
>eturning to the earlier burglary example" consider that it is known that the sub8ect taking the
examination has a previous 8uvenile conviction for stealing a car from a neighborQs driveway.
)uring an interview that preceded the polygraph examination the sub8ect explained that he
pled guilty to this charge even though he did not steal the car. Investigative information" as
well as the sub8ectQs behavior" leave no doubt that he did steal the car. ased on this
information" the examiner may establish the following set of polygraph 'uestions where
'uestions 213" 203 and 2<3 are relevant 'uestions and 'uestions 293 and 2A3 are control
)=* EOn July =H
, 200= did you brea' into a home on Main $treet8E
)2* EOn July =H
, 200= did you steal money from a home on Main $treet8E
)>* EAid you ever steal anything from a erson you 'ne"8E
)B* EAid you steal JH00 from a coo'ie (ar in a home on Main $treet8E
)H* EAid you ever ta'e someone elseFs roerty "ithout their ermission8E
&ssume that "e are examining the erson guilty of the burglary. :e is lying to all five
of the above 7uestions and yet, because the urose of the examination is to
establish his truthfulness in the burglary, through the rocess of attention he "ill
exclude the 7uestions concerning general thefts even though he is lying to them )the
olygrah is not a lie detector*. :is attention "ill be focused to the relevant 7uestions
concerning the July =H
&ssume no" that this sub(ect is innocent of the burglary. :e is telling the truth to
relevant 7uestions )=* )2* and )B* but lying to control 7uestions )>* and )H*. 4ven
though the burglary 7uestions are imortant to him )through recognition* the rocess
of attention "ill exclude those 7uestions in favor of the much more threatening
7uestions concerning general theft. John @eid described this henomenon in the
terms of emotionally "eighted 7uestions. :e theori1ed that a sub(ect "ill exhibit the
most significant arousal to 7uestions "hich hold the greatest emotional "eight as a
result of threatening a articular goal during a olygrah examination. The goal of an
innocent sub(ect is to be reorted as telling the truth during the examination. Thus,
the control 7uestions are the most threatening. The goal of a decetive sub(ect is to
not be detected as lying to the issue under investigation. Thus the relevant 7uestions
are the most threatening.
The control 7uestion olygrah techni7ue comensates for many of the inherent
roblems associated "ith a recognition test. !n short, for a sub(ect to be reorted as
telling the truth during a olygrah examination he must demonstrate the ability to
exhibit symathetic arousal through his resonses to control 7uestions. & decetive
susect "ho has ingested drugs or for some sychological reason does not exhibit
autonomic arousal during decetion "ill not be mista'enly reorted as telling the truth
because those factors "ill also inhibit resonses to control 7uestions. &n innocent
sub(ect, "ho may exhibit false arousal to crime 7uestions because of recognition, is
rovided stronger cometing stimuli through control 7uestions.
The Polygraph Technique Part II' 0alue %uring an Investigation $etember 200=
Gach year in the ;nited (tates hundreds of thousands of polygraph examinations are
administered. #he primary value of the polygraph techni'ue is to eliminate innocent suspects
early during an investigation. #his greatly assists an investigation in that investigators can
focus their efforts on other suspects. !hen a suspect is identified as deceptive" fre'uently the
suspect will confess during an interrogation that follows the polygraph examination. !hile
this may sound like a positive finding" it is not because it encourages incompetent examiners
to use the polygraph instrument as a psychological prop to elicit confessions.
1roperly administered" the polygraph techni'ue is a nonBaccusatory diagnostic procedure that
allows an examiner to collect physiological data to infer whether or not a sub8ect is telling the
truth to relevant 'uestions 2see August web tip3. Accusatory interrogation has no place in a
properly conduced polygraph examination 2>eid and Inbau" #ruth and )eception the
1olygraph E -ieBdetectorR #echni'ue " !illiams and !ilkins" 1EFF3. ;nfortunately" the private
environment and intimate relationship an examiner forms with a sub8ect during a polygraph
examination creates an ideal breeding ground for a confession. #his factor is significant
enough that some state supreme courts have ruled that taking a polygraph examination is so
inherently coercive that any confession made during the course of a polygraph examination
should be suppressed. It should be understood that a confession obtained during an
interrogation following a polygraph examination is accepted in all states.
(ince the polygraph is not a lieBdetector" its usefulness during an investigation is entirely
dependent on the competency of the examiner. A competent examiner will be accurate in
determining truth or deception approximately EKW of the time 2based strictly on chart
analysis3. #his figure will increase if the examiner incorporates other means of detecting
deception such as behavior symptom analysis. #he competent examiner will be unable to
render a definite opinion of truth or deception in about 1KW of sub8ects examined. An
examiner who boasts of an accuracy rate above EAW and an inconclusive rate less than AW
should be avoided.
#raining in the polygraph techni'ue can range from two to six months of instruction. #he best
training programs include not only the basic classBroom instruction" but an internship period
as well. )uring this internship the studentQs charts and procedures are carefully scrutini@ed to
develop clinical skills. &ollowing this training and obtaining a license" if re'uired" competent
examiners will 8oin a professional organi@ation such as the American 1olygraph Association
or the Association of 1olice 1olygraphists.
An important part of an examinerQs training is to identify those sub8ects who are at risk for
producing erroneous results. #he ideal sub8ect is one of average" or above average
intelligence" who is not mentally impaired and is in reasonably good medical health. It is also
important that the sub8ectQs emotional state is relatively stable during the examination. A
leading cause for false positive results 2reporting a truthful sub8ect as deceptive3 is anger
within the sub8ect. #his anger may be caused by prior interrogation or an accusatory preBtest
interview. Inade'uate development or selection of control 'uestions is another cause for false
positive results.
&alse negative results 2reporting a deceptive sub8ect as innocent3 may be the result of
improper 'uestion formulation in which relevant 'uestions are phrased in such a way that they
do not present a significant threat to the guilty person. (ub8ects with a lower intelligence may
also increase the risk of a false negative result. In some cases" a guilty sub8ect may engage in
countermeasures that the examiner fails to recogni@e during chart analysis. Identifying
countermeasures is a critical part of a competent examinerQs training. In our office almost 0AW
of guilty suspects are identified primarily because of their use of countermeasures. Innocent
sub8ects allow their body to respond normally during a polygraph examination. It is the guilty
sub8ect who will consciously try to manipulate the polygraph recordings. In this regard"
agencies should be very cautious when using an examiner who relies exclusively on computer
analy@ed charts. %one of the software developed for this purpose is capable of identifying
specific sub8ect countermeasures.
Another aspect of a competent examinerQs training is to identify unsuitable sub8ects. Denerally
speaking" children under the age of 1< are not suitable for the polygraph techni'ue. (ub8ects
with significant mental disorders" such as diminished mental capacity or symptoms of
detachment from reality are often not suitable for the techni'ue. #he sub8ectQs mental state is
also an important consideration. &atigue" intoxication" anguish and trauma may each render a
sub8ect unsuitable for the polygraph techni'ue.
!ithout a doubt" however" the greatest risk for erroneous polygraph opinions is outside
pressure. Agencies place tremendous pressure on polygraph examiners to obtain findings
consistent with predetermined expectations. #here is pressure to form an opinion in every
case and" when a sub8ect produces deceptive polygraph results" to obtain a confession from
that sub8ect. &or these reasons the position of a polygraph examiner should be somewhat
autonomous from other agency functions. #he personality of the examiner should be such that
he or she is an analytic thinker and possess a great deal of selfBconfidence with little interest
in pleasing others or advancing in rank through politics.
!ith this background" the following are recommendations for the proper use of the polygraph
techni'ue during an investigation+
/nly use a wellBtrained" competent examiner=
^ ;se polygraph examinations early during an investigation when there are multiple
suspects with opportunity" access and motive=
&or legal reasons" do not use the polygraph as a ruse to get a guilty suspect into a
controlled environment merely to conduct an interrogation=
Avoid engaging in accusatory interrogation if the suspect may be willing to take a
polygraph examination=
Accept the examinerQs opinion that a particular sub8ect is unsuitable=
)o not place pressure on an examiner for a definitive opinion B1KW are inconclusive=
^ If practical" have a second examiner Rblindly reviewR polygraph charts to verify the
original examinerQs opinion=
)o not rely on an examiner to solve your cases with a confession. #he techni'ue
should serve as a diagnostic investigative aid to establish a personQs truthfulness.
Interrogations of Children July, 200=
3ational statistics "ould readily suort the claim that, in the last decade, children
are increasingly involved in more serious crimes. !t no longer shoc's the average
listener to learn that a =2-year-old shot and 'illed his teacher, t"o =>-year-old boys
gang raed a girl after a school dance or a =B-year-old robbed a classmate of his
lunch money at 'nife oint. &long "ith these incidents are reorts alleging that olice
obtained false confessions from children involving very serious crimes. /e have
been consulted on a number of such cases. !n our oinion, some of them "ere
clearly truthful confessions "hile others "ere robably false.
$everal myths exist "ithin the uninformed ublic concerning crimes committed by
children. One is that, because of limited cognitive abilities, a child guilty of a crime
"ould readily confess after a short eriod of 7uestioning. !f anything, children are
more resilient in maintaining and selling lies than a socially resonsible adult. &
related myth is that children are unable to comrehend the conse7uences of their
crime. /hile the concet of long-range times, such as a =0 to =H year rison
sentence, may be incomrehensible in an eleven-year-oldFs mind, the child has
enough a"areness of future conse7uences associated "ith his crime to lie about it.
&fter all, if a child believed that it "as alright to set fire to his H
grade teacherFs car
he "ould readily admit to the arson. #inally, exerienced adolescent criminals are
very a"are of the (uvenile criminal (ustice system. The belief that, as a (uvenile, the
"orse thing that might haen to them is suervision or robation offers an incentive
to fight the system and force the government to rove its case, i.e., not confess.
Knder this circumstance, "hen a (uvenile is "aived to adult court and no" faces
serious conse7uences, there is ublic outrage that the rosecution did not try hard
enough to offer a lea bargain "hich "ould have given the (uvenile a chance at
rehabilitation and a roductive life.
The receding, of course, alies only to the child "ho is guilty of a crime. &
rofessional investigator must conduct his intervie"s and interrogations al"ays "ith
the ossibility in mind that the susect may be innocent. !n this regard, the common-
sense guideline offered by rofessor #red !nbau should be heeded, E6ould "hat ! am
about to do or say cause an innocent erson to confess8E This guideline does not
refer to an innocent erson in general, but the erson resently sitting in front of the
investigator. 6onse7uently, even if a (uvenile is being interrogated on the issue of
homicide, the investigator must areciate that he or she is still a child.
& general distinction can be made bet"een childhood )= - ?* and adolescence )=0 -
=H*. /hile both grous "ill be motivated to lie to avoid conse7uences associated "ith
acts of "rong-doing, sychologically they are oerating at 7uite different levels. !t is
our general recommendation that a erson under the age of =0 should not be
sub(ected to active ersuasion techni7ues during interrogation )themes, alternative
7uestions*. &t this age the child is suscetible to suggestion and is motivated to
lease a erson in authority. The interaction bet"een the investigator and child
should be limited to a 7uestion and ans"er session "hich is centered on factual
information and simle logic. /hile children in this age grou generally have good
memory s'ills, it is selective and the investigator must be cautious in forming
oinions of decetion based on inconsistent recall. !n this younger age grou the
rimary difficulty "ith resect to interrogation is the childFs undeveloed level of social
resonsibility and inability to comrehend the concet of future conse7uences; their
lives focus around Ehere and no"E concets.
On the other hand, most adolescents have develoed a sense of social resonsibility
to the extent that they 'no" if they admit committing a serious crime they "ill suffer
some future conse7uence. #or this reason a confrontational interrogation may be
used "ith this age grou involving some active ersuasion. The extent of ersuasive
tactics should not be dictated by the seriousness of the crime, but rather the maturity
of the child.
!n general, courts have not established steadfast rules regulating the admissibility of
confessions offered by children. @ather, they loo' at the totality of circumstances
including the childFs age, maturity, intelligence and revious exerience "ith
authority. $ome states have assed statutory re7uirements affecting the intervie" or
interrogation of (uvenile susects. !n some states a arent or guardian must either
give ermission to allo" their child to be intervie"ed or ermitted to be resent
during the intervie". Other states re7uire legal reresentation "hen intervie"ing a
child "ho has become the focus of an investigation. !nvestigators, therefore, should
be familiar "ith resective state la"s "hich may imact on their intervie" or
interrogation of a child in their state.
/hen a child is ta'en into custody and advised of his or her Miranda rights, the
7uestion of "hether the child is caable of ma'ing a 'no"ing and voluntary "aiver of
those rights may arise. 6ertainly a child under the age of =0 is incaable of fully
understanding the imlications of "aiving Miranda rights. Gounger adolescents also
may fall into this category. /hen older adolescents "aive their Miranda rights, it may
be helful to have the susect reeat bac' to the investigator "hat the rights mean.
This insight "ill hel the court decide if the "aiver "as valid.
6ourts routinely uhold the use of tric'ery and deceit during interrogations of adult
susects "ho are not mentally imaired. /ithin the area of tric'ery and deceit,
clearly the most ersuasive of these tactics is introducing fictitious evidence "hich
imlicates the susect in the crime. 9ecause of its ersuasive imact, this tactic
should not be used during 7uestioning of children under the age of =0. 6aution
should be exercised "hen introducing fictitious evidence during the interrogation of
an adolescent. #actors such as the adolescentFs level of social resonsibility and
general maturity should be considered before fictitious evidence in introduced.
The ultimate test of the trust"orthiness of a confession is its corroboration. The
admissions, E! shot and 'illed Mr. JohnsonE or, E! forced $usie &dams to have sex
"ith meE may be elicited from an innocent (uvenile )or adult* susect. These
admissions only become useful as evidence if they are corroborated by )=*
information about the crime the susect rovides "hich "as urosefully "ithheld
from the susect, andCor, )2* information not 'no"n by the olice until after the
confession "hich is subse7uently verified.
!t must be recogni1ed that historically innocent eole have confessed to crimes they
did not commit. & disroortionate number of these susects are children and
mentally imaired adults. /hile the exosure of a false confession is al"ays
detrimental, the stigma attached to a la" enforcement agency that allegedly induced
a false confession from a child is tremendous. 6onse7uently, the intervie"s and
interrogations of child susects should be conducted by investigators trained in that
area of exertise "ith the admonition that an uncorroborated confession, esecially
by a (uvenile, is li'ely to be suressed.
Interviewing vs2 Interrogation June, 200=
& concet "e teach in our basic course is, E!f youFre going to intervie", intervie". !f
youFre going to interrogate, interrogate.E There are t"o imortant arts of this lesson.
The first is that there are significant rocedural differences bet"een intervie"ing and
interrogation. The second is that if these rocedures are intermingled, the
investigator "ill often be ineffective in accomlishing the goals of either one.
An Interview
&n intervie" is a non-accusatory 7uestion and ans"er session "ith a susect, victim
or "itness. The goal of an intervie" is to gather information and ma'e an
assessment of the sub(ectFs credibility. $ome of this information "ill be investigative
in nature. 4xamles of investigative 7uestions include, E/hen did you arrive home
last night8E; EAo you have access to a handgun8E; EAo you 'no" "ho Lloria $mith
is8E Other intervie" 7uestions are secifically designed to elicit behavioral resonses
from a sub(ect such as, EAo you thin' this lady really "as raed8E or, ETell me "hy
you "ouldnFt force a "oman to have sex "ith you8E
!t is imortant that the investigator maintain a non-accusatory tone and demeanor
during an intervie". This is so even "hen he 'no"s that the sub(ect has lied to an
investigative 7uestion or exhibits clear indications of decetion to a 7uestion
designed to evo'e behavioral resonses. Knder this circumstance if the investigator
becomes accusatory or challenging the sub(ect "ill become guarded and reluctant to
offer information. & sub(ect "ill offer much more meaningful information if he does
not feel threatened or intimidated. !n short an investigator should allo", and in some
cases, even invite sub(ects to lie during an intervie". &s long as the sub(ect
continues to ans"er the investigatorFs 7uestion information is being learned.
Auring an intervie" the investigator should tal' about 20I of the time and the erson
being intervie"ed 80I. To accomlish this balance, the investigator should 'ee his
7uestions succinct and, "henever ossible, elicit a narrative resonse from the
sub(ect. Too often, investigators reveal so much information through their 7uestions
that follo"ing an intervie" the sub(ect has learned much more about the investigation
than "hat the investigator has learned about the susectFs ossible involvement in
the crime.
An Interrogation
The urose for an interrogation is to elicit the truth from a erson "hom the
investigator believes has lied during an intervie". !t reresents, therefore, an effort to
ersuade the sub(ect to tell the truth. !n some instances, an innocent erson "ill be
interrogated. Knder this circumstance interrogation tactics used must not be so
ersuasive as to elicit a false confession. & articular tactic to avoid is to threaten the
sub(ect "ith inevitable conse7uences follo"ed by a romise of leniency if the sub(ect
The interrogation should not consist of accusatory 7uestions for this "ill only lead to
further denials from the sub(ect. @ather, it should consist of a monologue during
"hich the investigator ma'es statements designed to ersuade the sub(ect to tell the
truth. The monologue often addresses the circumstances "hich led u to the
sub(ectFs commission of the crime. !n addition, logic and rationale arguments )based
on evidence* may be used to ersuade the sub(ect to tell the truth.
Auring an interrogation, the investigatorFs demeanor should be understanding to"ard
the sub(ectFs criminal behavior. !t is sychologically much easier for a sub(ect to tell
the truth to someone "ho aears to understand "hy he committed the crime. &t no
time should the investigator remind the sub(ect of the seriousness of his offense or
ossible unishment for it. $uch reminders merely reinforce the sub(ectFs effort to
avoid conse7uences through continued denials.
!f the investigatorFs ersuasive statements have an imact on the sub(ect, the guilty
sub(ect often exhibits signs "hich indicate that he is considering telling the truth. &t
this oint the investigator as's a 7uestion "hich offers the sub(ect t"o choices
concerning some asect of the crime. #or examle, EAid you lan this out for months
and months in advance or did it retty much haen on the sur of the moment8E !f
the sub(ect no" ac'no"ledges that the crime haened on the sur of the moment,
this reresents his initial admission of guilt.
Once the sub(ect ma'es an initial admission of guilt, active ersuasion stos and the
investigator returns to the intervie"ing mode "here a full confession is elicited by
as'ing non-accusatory 7uestions. !f the sub(ect is truly guilty of the offense he "ill be
able to rovide the investigator "ith details of the crime that only the guilty erson
"ould 'no".
On the other hand, if the investigator ma'es no clear distinction bet"een intervie"ing
and interrogation, less information "ill be learned "hen 7uestions are as'ed during
the interaction that resembles Eintervie"ingE and the ersuasive imact of the
EinterrogationE stage "ill be minimi1ed. Of most concern, ho"ever, is that the guilty
sub(ect may never truly be ersuaded to reach a stage "here he is "illing to oenly
tal' about his crime )the first admission of guilt*. Knder this circumstance, often
active ersuasion is used to extract details of the confession iece by iece. The
voluntariness of that confession, and even its trust"orthiness, may later be
challenged in court.
Evaluating Inconsistencies Within an Account May, 200=
!t is a common trial strategy for an attorney to attac' inconsistencies "ithin testimony
offered by a victim, "itness, or an investigator. &nd yet most victims, "itnesses and
investigators tell the truth "hen testifying. On the other hand, consider a susect "ho
told an arresting officer that a friend drove him home on the night of a crime. $everal
hours later the susect tells an investigator that he drove himself home that night.
This inconsistency suorts the oinion that the susect has rincial or secondary
involvement in the crime under investigation. :o"ever, not every inconsistency in a
susectFs statement suorts decetion. !n fact, "hen an account is reeated t"o or
three times "ith erfect consistency this should be vie"ed susiciously. The 7uestion
then becomes, "hen do inconsistencies in an account suort decetion8
!t is first imortant to distinguish bet"een inconsistencies and omissions bet"een t"o
statements. &n inconsistency refers to a change of fact bet"een t"o accounts. /hen
a sub(ect initially reorts that on a articular afternoon he "as golfing "ith friends and
later recalls that on the afternoon in 7uestion he "as "atching a football game alone
in his aartment, this is an inconsistency. &n omission, on the other hand, refers to
information left out of an original account that is included in a subse7uent statement.
Auring our training seminars "e sho" the intervie" of a "oman "ho fabricated a
story that she "as abducted from a ar'ing lot. /hile her statements "ere all
consistent, during her initial descrition of the assault she omitted the very significant
detail that the abductor had a 'nife.
& second imortant consideration is "hether or not a susectFs statement reresents
a true inconsistency. & security guard susected of arson may state at one oint
during an intervie", E! chec'ed the floors around 8<00 and didnFt smell any smo'e --
everything "as fine. ! donFt believe ! entered any of the rooms. ! (ust "al'ed the
halls.E 5ater, he may ac'no"ledge that it is ossible that he chec'ed the floors as
late at 8<=H and may have entered some rooms, because he occasionally does this.
The guard did not contradict himself because he used 7ualifying hrases in his first
statement )EaroundE and E!F donFt believeE*.
& naive investigator may believe that if a erson is telling the truth there should be a
erfect correlation bet"een t"o accounts relayed at different times. :o"ever, there
are circumstances "hen a truthful erson may rovide inconsistent ob(ective
recollections of "hat haened, "hen it haened and even "here it haened. The
t"o most imortant factors to consider "hen evaluating inconsistencies are the
assage of time bet"een the event and its recollection as "ell as the significance of
the event. 6onsider a susect "ho initially reorted that t"o "ee's ago #riday "hen
he arrived home from "or' his "ife "as out shoing. &fter tal'ing to his "ife or
giving more thought to the evening, he may no" recall that she had already returned
from her shoing tri by the time he arrived home. This inconsistency should, in no
"ay, tarnish his overall credibility.
6onversely, consider the susect "ho initially reorted that his "ife struc' him "ith a
frying an "hich caused him to grab a 'nife to fend off her attac' at "hich time he
stabbed her. Auring a subse7uent intervie" he no" ac'no"ledges that, because he
"as coo'ing, he already had the 'nife in his hand at the time his "ife struc' him "ith
the frying an. The cause-effect relationshi bet"een being struc' and grabbing a
'nife is certainly significant and it is highly imrobable that a erson could someho"
be confused as to the se7uence of these t"o events.
& ersonFs state of mind at the time of an event should also be evaluated. !ntense
emotions )anxiety, fear, ain* or intoxication may certainly influence an individualFs
recall. :o"ever, such conditions should be associated more "ith omission and
memory 7ualifiers )! believe, etc.*. /hen a erson "ho "as admittedly intoxicated or
frightened at the time of an event exresses no uncertainty in recollections and offers
an inflexible version of events the investigator should be susicious of the veracity of
the recollections.
#inally, ossible motivations for inconsistent statements must be assessed. & rae
victim may initially reort that the assailant ulled do"n her (eans and later change
her statement indicating that she undressed herself at the manFs instruction. This
inconsistency ma'es erfect sense since many legitimate rae victims are initially
reluctant to ac'no"ledge any level of cooeration "ith the raists, including engaging
in friendly conversation "ith him before the attac'. !n instances "here a susect is
interrogated and subse7uently identified as being innocent, it is often because the
susect reviously lied about his alibi, access, motive or involvement in a crime
unrelated to the issue under investigation.. !n each of these cases, the susect "ill
be able to articulate a reasonable exlanation for the earlier lie. & susect may
exlain that he offered a false alibi to avoid disclosing that he has been having an
affair. :e may ac'no"ledge lying about 'no"ing the victim for fear of becoming a
susect in the investigation or lie about being behind on bills )having a financial
motive* for the same reason. /e are not suggesting that "hen these tyes of
inconsistencies surface during an investigation that they indicate truthfulness. !n fact,
they often suort decetion. /hat is being suggested is that "hen these
circumstances exist the innocent susect is able to offer a lausible exlanation for
his revious lie.
The following guidelines are offered to interpret suspect inconsistencies that
support the opinion of deception<
1. #he inconsistent event is significant in nature and would not likely to be forgotten.
#here are inconsistencies in the se'uence of significant events that relate to causeBeffect
relationships during a crime.

#he sub8ect changes his statement after being challenged either with actual or fictitious
evidence e.g." RIf we were to talk to neighbors in that area would any of them tell us they
saw your car in her driveway that day*R R%ow I remember. I actually did go to her house
that day and drove in the driveway but decided not to go in.R

<. #he suspect rigid in recollections of remains facts that are usually estimated" e.g." R #hree
weeks ago I was at #omQs house from F+1K until 1K+ <K.R
Gven though the suspect was under the influence of alcohol or drugs" he exhibits no
uncertainty as to his recollections of minor events" e.g." RI am certain that 8ust before this
happened 4ulie stopped playing pool and went into the bathroom knowing that 4ohn was
in there. (he was in the bathroom for seven minutes and when she came out she had a
smile on her face and her blouse was untucked..R

C. #he suspect is unable to offer any reasonable explanation for his earlier inconsistency.
The following inconsistencies would not necessarily support deception and
)ay3 in fact3 indicate the nor)al )e)ory process of a truthful person<
1. (mall discrepancies in estimates of time or distances
0. #he event represents an everyday behavior for the sub8ect
A significant time period elapsed between experiencing an insignificant event and relating

#he suspect has a rationale explanation for his inconsistency" e.g." RAfter reviewing my
calender I remembered that ...R

A suspect who lies about his alibi to cover an embarrassing event 2being with a prostitute3"
protect a friend or prevent disclosure of an illegal activity unrelated to the crime 2using
drugs at a friendQs house3.

A suspect who lies about access or motives and" when interrogated" sincerely states that he
did not reveal this information earlier because he was afraid it would make him look

!n conclusion, significant inconsistencies in a susectFs statements certainly suorts
an oinion of decetion to the issue under investigation. These are most li'ely to
occur "hen the investigator challenges the susectFs original statement "ith real or
fictitious evidence. Most guilty susects are able to relate a consistent account
because they 'ee their stories simle. !nnocent susects, "ho are anxious to get
everything right, may offer minor inconsistencies bet"een t"o accounts.
.irroring and its 0alue %uring Interviews and Interrogations &ril, 200=
What is .irroring9
@ecently ! "as tal'ing to one of my sons about a ossible location to send our
sring vacation. My left hand "as in my oc'et and ! "as illustrating "ith my right
hand. My left foot "as slightly extended. &s my son listened to my ideas and
discussed ossible activities, his right hand "ent into his oc'et, he illustrated "ith
his left hand and his right foot "as extended slightly to"ard me. :is comments and
facial exressions aeared ositive, but his osture left no doubt that he agreed
"ith the vacation lans, for his osture mirrored my o"n. Mirroring refers to the
tendency of t"o eole to reflect each otherFs osture "hen they are relating "ell to
each other or are in agreement.
The oosite henomenon is also true. /hen t"o eole disagree or are emotionally
distant they often assume different ostures. 6onsider the traffic sto "here the
driver is as'ed to ste out of the vehicle and tal' to the olice officer. The officer may
stand frontally aligned "ith the driver "ith his hands exosed using occasional
illustrators. The driver may cross his arms and orient his body a"ay from the officer.
These non-congruent ostures should alert the officer that the driver may not be
acceting the remise for the sto or may be other"ise non-cooerative.
The exlanation for mirroring may relate to the fact that a ersonFs osture
reresents the foundation for other nonverbal communication. &n individualFs osture
reflects their interest level, emotional involvement and confidence. /hen exressing
thoughts, ideas or feelings the one erson "ho "ill surely accet them is a reflected
image of that same erson. To say this another "ay, "hen "e have a conversation
"ith a mirror, the mirror "ill al"ays agree "ith our osition.
+se of .irroring %uring an Interview
Auring an intervie", the investigator should be a"are of his o"n osture and assess
"hether the susectFs osture is mirroring his o"n, "hich "ould generally suort
oenness and candor. #or examle, if the investigator is sitting "ith his right leg
crossed over his left leg at the 'nee and he is leaning slightly to the left, it "ould be
an indication of sincerity if the susect eventually crossed his left leg over his right
and leaned slightly to the right. To test this assessment, the investigator may assume
a ne" osture, for examle lacing both feet on the floor and leaning slightly bac' in
the chair. !f the susect eventually assumes the mirrored osture, it further suorts
the oinion that the susect is being forthright.
&nother techni7ue to assess mirroring during an intervie" is for the investigator to
mirror the susectFs osture. !n fact, theraists teach the techni7ue of consciously
mirroring another ersonFs osture to better relate to that ersonFs feelings and
orientation. !f a susect is sitting uright in the chair "ith one foot extended in front of
the other, the investigator could assume the mirrored osture. One of t"o things "ill
haen. The susect, if truthful, "ill be comfortable "ith the mirrored osture and
may start to oen u and offer more meaningful information. & decetive susect, on
the other hand, is li'ely to exerience anxiety "hen the investigator mirrors his
osture and may s"itch to a ne" osture.
& caveat is re7uired here "hich is that if a susect exhibits a osture reflecting
aggression )for"ard lean, arms crossed or threatening gestures to"ard the
investigator* mirroring this osture is li'ely to result in an escalation of aggression by
the susect. This is obviously an undesirable situation in an arrest, intervie" or
interrogation. Knder this circumstance "e teach investigators to act in an oosite
manner from the susect. !f the susect is yelling, the investigator should tal' slo"er
and at a conversational level; if the susect extends his hand to"ard the investigator
in a threatening manner, the investigator should extend one or both arms "ith the
alms exosed u"ard. !n other "ords, to maintain control of the situation, the
investigator must not fuel it by mirroring the susectFs aggressive behavior.
+se of .irroring %uring an Interrogation
The rimary benefit of mirroring occurs during an interrogation. Auring early stages of
an interrogation the investigatorFs osture should reflect confidence. That is, he
should have his feet flat on the floor, his hands should be extended and there should
be a for"ard lean to his body. This is necessary to resond to the susectFs early
denials. :o"ever, as the interrogation continues and the susect starts to mentally
debate "hether to tell the truth, the investigator should assume the confession
osture. That is, he should brea' ga1e do"n to"ard the floor, and go into a head and
body slum. The guilty susect, "ho "ants to tal' about the circumstances of his
crime, "ill often mirror the investigatorFs osture and also assume a head and body
slum. Once the susect is in this osture he should be as'ed an alternative
7uestion to elicit the first admission of guilt.
&fter a susect has acceted the alternative 7uestion, the investigator no" needs to
bring him bac' into the conversation to elicit the full confession. Most susects are
reluctant to discuss the details of their crime. This tas' is rendered much easier if the
investigator mirrors the susectFs osture at this stage of the interrogation. Often the
susect "ill have a for"ard lean to the body, exhibit very little eye contact and may
have hand contact "ith the face. The investigator "ho sits u erect in the chair, grabs
and en and aer and, "hile loo'ing directly at the susect, says, EO'ay, tell me
"hat haenedE is at to get a s'etchy account of the crime. On the other hand, if the
investigator mirrors the susectFs osture, erhas by lacing his left hand over his
eyes, assuming a slight for"ard lean in the chair and directing his eye contact
rimarily to the floor the same 7uestion is bound to elicit a much more forthright
account of the crime.
!n conclusion, because mirroring occurs at a reconscious level, it serves as a
valuable behavior symtom to assess a susectFs candor during an intervie" and
also as a rocedure to allo" a susect to feel more comfortable telling the truth
during an interrogation. This rincile alies not only "ith criminal susects, but in
everyday interersonal communication. The next time you find yourself in
disagreement "ith another erson, mirror their osture and there "ill be a tendency
)on both your arts* to see' agreement. &n easier tas' is to observe t"o conversing
individuals. !f there is general agreement bet"een the t"o, their mirrored ostures
"ill reflect this.
!electing the Proper Issue in a Child Physical A"use Investigation March, 200=
The nature of most crimes involve a central criminal behavior such as stealing
money, starting a fire, selling drugs or having sexual contact "ith another erson.
Knder these circumstances, the focus of the intervie" "ill secifically address the
criminal behavior, e.g., EAid you steal that J20008E, EAid you start the "arehouse
fire8E :o"ever, "hen investigating hysical abuse to a child, the crime is often
secondary to an earlier behavior "hich may not be, in and of itself, criminal.
6onsider the case of an infant "ho has several healing bro'en bones that are
consistent "ith sha'ing the child and ulling or t"isting the childFs leg. The criminal
element that needs to be established is causing the in(uries to the child, yet the
behaviors that resulted in satisfying that charge )sha'ing the child or t"isting a childFs
leg* may not, in and of themselves, involve a criminal act.. & number of cases of this
nature have come to our attention "here the focus of the intervie", and esecially
the interrogation of the susected abuser, "ere imroer, "hich contributed to the
suression of the subse7uent admission.
The Interview
!n this tye of investigation, it is imroer to select as a rincial issue "hether or not
the sub(ect is resonsible for the childFs in(uries, in this case the bro'en bones.
6onse7uently, it "ould be imroer to as' a susect, EAid you brea' your childFs
ribs8E or, EAid you do anything to brea' your childFs uer leg bone8E The reason for
this is that the guilty susect may not 'no" if his treatment of the child "as
resonsible for the bro'en bones )unless it "as a comound fracture "here the bone
enetrated the s'in*. #urthermore, through defense mechanisms, the guilty susect
may come to truthfully believe that his handling of the child did not result in the
6onsider the analogous case "here three individuals randomly fired "eaons into a
cro"d of eole "here a erson died from gunshot "ounds. !n this case, it "ould be
imroer to 7uestion a susect as to "hether or not he 'illed the victim. The reason
for this is that the erson resonsible for causing the death "ould not 'no" if it "as a
bullet from his gun that struc' the victim, and may also come to believe that
robability alone "ould favor the fact that it "as more li'ely one of the other t"o
shooters "ho fired the fatal shot. !n this case, the issue of 'illing the victim is
secondary to "hether or not the sub(ect "as one of the three ersons "ho fired a
gun into the cro"d.
Once an investigator understands this concet it becomes much easier to structure
the intervie" and interrogation of a erson susected of hysical abuse to a child.
The focus of the intervie" generally should not be if the sub(ect caused the in(uries,
but rather did the sub(ect engage in any behaviors that may have caused the in(uries.
&s a samle list of 7uestions for the reviously mentioned case, the investigator may
A" a( "i*e did (ou sha,e "he 1hild.

!hat caused you to do this* 2!hat was the sub8ectQs emotional state*3
5ow long did you shake him*
!here did you hold him when this happened*
5ow often have you done this*
)id anyone see you do this*
!hat was the childQs physical appearance after the incident*
A" a( "i*e did (ou 'ull "he 1hild<s le!.

!hy did you pull his leg* 2!hat was the sub8ectQs emotional state*3
)emonstrate how hard you pulled his leg.
!as anyone else present when you did this*
!hat was the childQs physical appearance after pulling his leg*
A" a( "i*e did (ou "$is" "he 1hild<s le!.
!hy did you twist his leg 2!hat was the sub8ectQs emotional state*3
)emonstrate the twisting action.
!as anyone else present when you did this*
!hat was the childQs physical appearance after twisting his leg*
Obviously, there are many other toical areas that should be covered "ith the sub(ect
such as the childFs general temerament, "hether the sub(ect "as intoxicated or
under the influence of drugs "hile ta'ing care of the child, his exlanations for the
childFs in(uries and "hether the sub(ect "as hysically abused as a child. The
imortant oint being made here is that for the urose of detecting decetion, the
focus of the intervie" should not center on "hether the sub(ect caused the childFs
in(uries but "hether he engaged in any behaviors that may have resulted in the
The Interrogation
& sub(ect guilty of hysically abusing a child is li'ely to either minimi1e or outright
deny engaging in behaviors that may have resulted in the childFs in(uries. The direct
ositive confrontation should address these behaviors, not that the susect caused
the childFs in(uries. !t "ould, therefore, be imroer to start out the interrogation,
EJohn, the results of our investigation clearly indicate that you caused your sonFs
bro'en leg.E &s mentioned earlier, the susect guilty of child hysical abuse often
refuses to cognitively accet resonsibility for in(uries to the child and therefore, at an
intellectual level, he is telling the truth "hen he resonds, EThatFs cra1y. ! "ould never
do anything to harm my child.E 4ven though the sub(ect has sha'en his child and
t"isted his leg )and 'no"s that he has lied about these activities during the
intervie"*, in his mind he may refuse to accet resonsibility for causing the childFs
in(uries. To continue the interrogation based on the remise that he is resonsible for
brea'ing the childFs leg invites a later claim of a coerced-internali1ed confession. !n
this circumstance, the defense argues that the investigator attemted to convince the
susect that he must be guilty of the charge against him.
& roer confrontation statement "ould be directed to"ard the susectFs denial of
engaging in behaviors that may have caused the childFs in(uries. &n examle
confrontation "ould be, EJohn, after revie"ing all of our evidence, it is clear that you
have )sha'en the baby* )t"isted the babyFs leg*.E This confrontation addresses a
secific behavior. The susect 'no"s "hether or not he did or did not sha'e the baby
or t"ist the babyFs leg. !f the investigator is uncertain as to "hat action the susect
may have engaged in to cause the childFs in(ury, an ambiguous confrontation may be
desirable such as, EJim after revie"ing all of our investigative findings it is clear that
you have not told the truth about the nature of contact you had "ith your son.E
The interrogation theme, resented after the confrontation, is intended to recreate the
circumstances for engaging in the behaviors "hich may have led to the childFs
in(uries. -ossible themes include losing oneFs temer because of the childFs behavior
)crying, failure to slee, tal'ing bac'* or having an affected (udgment because of
alcohol or drug use. !t "ould be imroer to suggest a theme that the susect
inadvertently or accidentally engaged in behavior that caused the childFs in(ury. One
does not inadvertently or accidently sha'e a child or t"ist a childFs leg to the oint of
causing hysical in(ury. $uggestions of accidentally in(uring the child may be
interreted by some courts as offering a romise of leniency. -ossible alternative
7uestions to elicit the first admission of guilt might be, EAo you sha'e the child every
single day, or does that (ust haen on rare occurrences8E or, EAid you t"ist the leg
comletely around "here you heard the bone brea', or "as is a artial t"ist8E
!f the susect ac'no"ledges engaging in behaviors that may have resulted in the
in(uries the confession must carefully document the dates, times and fre7uencies of
engaging in this behavior. 9ecause these behaviors are difficult to 7uantify, it may be
useful to videotae the susect recreating the sha'ing, t"isting or ulling action on a
life-si1e doll. !t "ould also be imortant to include "ithin the confession the susectFs
state of mind at the time of the behavior )being angry, intoxicated, frustrated* and any
noticeable effects on the child follo"ing the behavior )crying, lethargy, discomfort*. !t
must be remembered that in many cases of hysical child abuse, the symtoms of
the abuse "ill not directly correlate to the offenderFs behavior. That is, the in(uries
may not be aarent until days or even "ee's follo"ing the abuse. There are
excetions to this guideline such as "hen the child dies as a direct result of the
abuse )suffocating the child, bending the childFs head resulting in a bro'en nec'* or
"hen bruising, s"elling or bleeding occur in direct roximity to the behavior. &bsent
these criteria, the confession should not contain the statement, E! caused my sonFs
bro'en leg by t"isting itE or, E! 'illed my child by sha'ing her.E These statements
invite the defense argument that his client could not ossibly be certain that his
behaviors resulted in the reorted in(uries )or death* and, because of that, the
confession "as obviously coerced and should be considered untrust"orthy.
& confession is traditionally considered an ac'no"ledgment of committing a crime
and in most situations a erson certainly 'no"s "hether or not he committed a
articular crime. :o"ever, in some cases of hysical abuse to a child the guilty arty
may not reali1e that the sha'ing of a child caused a cerebral hemorrhage or that the
t"isting of a childFs leg resulted in a fracture. Knder this circumstance, it is imortant
that the intervie" and interrogation focus only on behaviors the susect 'no"s he
either did or did not engage in.
4very rosecutor and child rotective service investigator "ould love to go into a
court "ith a signed confession ac'no"ledging that the defendant did cause the
reorted in(uries to the child. The reality is that some individuals resonsible for
causing in(ury to a child do not 'no" for certain that their actions caused the in(uries.
:o"ever, an abuser certainly 'no"s "hether or not he shoo' a baby, t"isted a leg,
ulled an arm or ushed the childFs head against a "all. Knder this circumstance, the
statement or confession from a susected abuser should attest to his ac'no"ledged
treatment of the child. /hether this treatment in all robability led to the childFs
in(uries is a 7uestion for a (udge or (ury to decide.
<uestion -or)ulation *uidelines' Part I January, 200=
&s'ing 7uestions is one of the first language s'ills a child develos. :o"ever, almost
all of our 7uestion as'ing s'ills are develoed under the assumtion that the erson
ans"ering our 7uestion "ill tell the truth. 6onsider 7uestions that might be as'ed
around a familyFs dinner table< E@yan, do you need a ride home from the dance or are
you getting a ride "ith someone else8E; E9en, ho" did your #rench test go8E; EMom,
6lare didnFt call "hen ! "as gone, did she8E /hen there is a lo" robability of
decetion, ho" a 7uestion is formulated is relatively unimortant as long as the other
erson understands "hat is being as'ed.
This is not the case "hen intervie"ing a susect, "itness or victim "ho is motivated
to "ithhold information. Knder that circumstance, the investigator needs to hrase
7uestions in such a "ay that the 7uestion "ill not invite decetion and, if the erson
chooses to lie to the 7uestion, the 7uestion should stimulate behavior symtoms
indicative of that fact. Too often, ho"ever, investigators formulate intervie" 7uestions
relying on rules learned for as'ing conversational 7uestions and may be una"are of
ho" imortant 7uestion formulation is in the role of detecting decetion. &s an
examle, each of the 7uestions in the receding aragrah are imroerly hrased
for detection of decetion uroses. This "eb ti, as "ell as next monthFs, "ill offer
basic guidelines "ith resect to roer formulation of intervie" 7uestions.
Avoid as6ing co)pound questions
& comound 7uestion combines t"o in7uires "ithin a single 7uestion. #or examle,
an emloyee susected of stealing money from a safe may be as'ed, EAid anyone
ever give you the combination to the safe, or did you ever find it "ritten do"n
some"here8E !f the emloyee ans"ers E3oE the investigator does not 'no" if the
emloyee is denying both areas of in7uiry or (ust one of them. &ssume that the
emloyee "as never given the combination to the safe but did discover it "ritten
do"n on a "all calender. /hen ans"ering E3oE, the emloyee is telling art of the
truth, and therefore, may exhibit very fe" behavior symtoms suggestive of lying.
6ontributing to the aarent truthful behavior symtoms "ill be the susectFs natural
tendency to sychologically focus on that art of the 7uestion to "hich he is telling
the truth )not being given the combination*.
:o"ever, had the investigator searated these t"o areas of in7uiry, 7uite different
behaviors may be elicited as the follo"ing dialogue illustrates<
O< EAid anyone ever give you the combination to the safe8E
&< E3o, never.E S direct eye contact, on timeT
O< EAid you ever find the combination "ritten do"n some"here8E
&< EAid ! find it "ritten do"n8 3o.E Slaughs, and covers eyes "ith handT
6omound 7uestions are often as'ed as a matter of efficiency. The investigator
reali1es that he needs ans"ers to t"o 7uestions, e.g., EAid you touch your daughterFs
bare vagina or did she have any contact "ith your bare enis8E and combines the
in7uiries to shorten the intervie". The additional time sent in searating the t"o
issues, ho"ever, may rovide valuable behavioral information.
Avoid "roadly worded questions
!t is the inexerienced arent "ho as's their child, E:o" "as school today8E The
child inevitable resonds, E#ineE or E3ot badE and the arent assumes that the child
turned in all home"or' on time and received assing grades on all tests. The
seasoned arent "ill sit do"n "ith their child and as' secific 7uestions; E/hat "as
your grade on the history exam8E; EAid you turn in your chemistry assignment8E;
E:o" much more "or' do you have to do on your social studies ro(ect8E These
secifically "orded 7uestions are much more li'ely to elicit meaningful resonses.
These examles introduce an axiom of lie detection< !t is much easier to lie to a
broadly "orded 7uestion than a 7uestion that addresses a secific activity.
&ssume that a susect is guilty of embe11ling J=2,H00 by stealing auxiliary cash
funds and "riting fictitious reimbursement chec's to ma'e the boo's balance. Auring
an intervie" this susect may be as'ed, EAid you steal any money from the
comany8Eand the susect is li'ely to ans"er, E3o ! did not.E The ans"er is obviously
a lie but the embe11ler may exhibit minimal behavior symtoms of decetion
because of the broad "ording of the 7uestion. & ossible reason for this is that the
7uestion is anticiated and does not stimulate an emotional connection to the crime;
the closer a 7uestion relates to a susectFs crime, the more emotional "eight it "ill
& much more roductive line of 7uestioning "ould be to as' the susect a series of
secifically "orded 7uestions concerning the embe11lement scheme. 4xamles of
these include<
E:ave you ever ta'en money for yourself from the auxiliary cash fund8
E:ave you left the comany "ith any money that did not belong to you8E
E:ave you sent any money stolen from the comany8E
E:ave you "ritten any chec's to a fictitious account8E
E/hen "e contact the eole to "hom the reimbursement chec's "ere "ritten, "ill
they tell us that they received the chec's8
Text boo's addressing intervie"ing s'ills emhasi1e the imortance of as'ing the
right 7uestion. /hat is the right 7uestion8 Often "e do not 'no" until it is as'ed, but
it is never a broadly "orded 7uestion. & rime examle is a reemloyment
screening intervie". !f a (ob alicant is simly as'ed, E!n the last t"o years have you
used any illegal drugs8E almost every alicant "ill resond, E3oE. :o"ever, if the
intervie"er as's more secific 7uestions about drug usage, often admissions or at
least decetive behavior, "ill result as the follo"ing dialogue illustrates<
!< E!n the last t"o years have you tried heroin8E
&< ELosh no.E
!< E:o" about some of the social drugs li'e cocaine, acid or seed8E
&< E3oeE
!< E!n the last 2 years have you exerimented "ith mari(uana8E
&< E3ot on a regular basis.E
!< E/hen is the last time you exerimented "ith mari(uana8E
&< EOuite a "hile ago.E
!< EAid you have any in the last 2B hours8E
&< EOh gosh no. !t "as last "ee'end.E
The reviously mentioned axiom "arrants reetition< !t is sychologically much easier
for a susect to lie to a broadly "orded 7uestion than one "hich secifically
addresses his act of "rong-doing.
Be aware of the i)portance of question synta@
/ith the revious guideline in mind, rior to conducting a formal intervie", the
investigator should reare a list of secific 7uestions to as' a sub(ect relative to the
crime. &s an examle, consider a homicide case in "hich the victim )9ob* "as 'illed
Aecember =%th. 9ob "as 'illed near a farmerFs field several miles from his residence.
:e "as shot three times "ith a .22 caliber "eaon. On the day of his death, 9ob
received a J=000 loan "hich "as given to him in cash but not found on his body.
!n rearing for this intervie" the investigator "ould "ant to elicit ans"ers to the
follo"ing 7uestions<
Aid you see 9ob at all on Aecember =%th8
/ere you resent "hen 9ob "as shot8
Aid you steal 9obFs money8
Aid you shoot 9ob8
/as 9ob inside your car on Aecember =%th8
Aid you meet "ith 9ob outside of to"n8
On Aecember =%th "ere you near the farmerFs field8
/ere you resent "hen a gun "as fired on Aecember =%th8
Ao you have access to a .22 caliber gun8
Aid you fire a .22 caliber gun on Aecember =%th8
:o"ever, if the 7uestions are as'ed in the order resented, the investigator is setting
himself u for failure. !n the above examle, if the investigator starts by as'ing the
susect, EAid you see 9ob at all on Aecember =%th8E and the susect ans"ers E3oE,
he is committed to deny the next four 7uestions on the list. !n fact, given this denial to
the first broad 7uestion, an investigator "ould not even as' the remaining 7uestions
"ithin this area of in7uiry. 6onse7uently, the investigator is relying on a single
assessment of the susectFs behavior relative to his commission of the crime; and
that assessment is to a broad 7uestion "hich, as reviously stated, is the easiest
tye of 7uestion to lie to.
&s reviously stated, an investigator is much more li'ely to detect decetion if
multile 7uestions are as'ed relative to the susectFs ossible involvement in a crime
or act of "rong-doing. The guideline to follo" is that these 7uestions should be
arranged from the most narro" in7uires to the broadest in7uires. /ith this in mind,
the follo"ing 7uestion syntax resents itself in this homicide case<
Aid you shoot 9ob8
/ere you resent "hen 9ob "as shot8
Aid you steal 9obFs money8
Aid you meet "ith 9ob outside of to"n8
/as 9ob inside your car on Aecember =%th
Aid you see 9ob at all on Aecember =%th8
On Aecember =%th "ere you near the farmerFs field8
Aid you fire a .22 caliber gun on Aecember =%th8
/ere you resent "hen a gun "as fired on Aecember =%th8
Ao you have access to a .22 caliber gun8
& susect 7uestioned about this homicide can ans"er E3oE to each of these 7uestion
"ithout committing himself to a denial to the subse7uent 7uestions. This greatly
increases the investigatorFs ability to elicit significant behavior symtoms of guilt or
innocence for t"o reasons. #irst, it ermits the as'ing of secific 7uestions "hich are
more sychologically difficult to lie to than broadly "orded 7uestions. $econd, there
is an accumulative effect of increased anxiety "hen a decetive susect has lied to
several 7uestions "ithin a articular area. 9y the time the investigator as's broader
7uestions, such as EAid you see 9ob at all on Aecember =%th8E or, EAo you have
access to a .22 caliber gun8E the susect is more li'ely to tell the truth. These
ac'no"ledgments, of course, rovide imortant information about the susectFs
oortunity and access to commit the crime.
Auring an actual intervie", these 7uestions "ould not be as'ed in this secific
se7uence, but "ould be searated by the as'ing of less threatening 7uestions to gain
general bac'ground information or clarification. The oint being made here is that the
se7uence in "hich 'ey investigative 7uestions are as'ed during the course of an
intervie" is critical, and re7uires rearation.
<uestion -or)ulation *uidelines' Part II #ebruary, 200=
This "eb ti offers a continuation of the January ti. The emhasis of this information
is that ho" a 7uestion is as'ed often dictates the ease at "hich a decetive sub(ect
can lie to the 7uestion. Obviously, the investigator should as' intervie" 7uestions in
such a "ay as to not invite decetion.
%o not predicate a question "ased on infor)ation su")itted earlier "y the
!n many investigations, the sub(ect "ill have reviously offered information, either in
"riting or verbally. This tye of information may be the sub(ectFs earlier stated alibi,
an earlier statement of events or simly a stated osition of denial. !t is a rime
mista'e for the investigator to refer to the sub(ectFs earlier statement "hen as'ing a
7uestion as the follo"ing examles illustrate<
E! see you are resently unemloyed )in reference to an emloyment alication*,
"hy did you leave your last emloyer8E
E!n your deosition you stated that you "ere never alone "ith Ms. Qelly, is that
EThe other night you told the officer that you arrived home around 8<00 that evening.
/here "ere you before 8<008E
9y incororating a sub(ectFs earlier statement "ithin the 7uestion the investigator, in
essence, is acceting the truthfulness of that statement. & sub(ect "ho is told that he
earlier testified that he "as never alone "ith the victim of the crime is unli'ely to
state, E&ctually ! lied during that deosition. !n truth ! "as alone "ith her for about =H
minutes.E !n addition, by redicating a 7uestion based on information earlier
submitted by a sub(ect reminds that erson of "hat their earlier resonse "as and
this decreases the li'elihood of detecting inconsistencies bet"een the t"o accounts.
This concet naturally leads to the next guideline.
%o not reveal incri)inating evidence until first as6ing the su"#ect a"out it
!t is an axiom of intervie"ing that a sub(ect "ho lies about small things is robably
lying about the issue under investigation. On the other hand, a erson innocent of a
articular crime is inclined to tell the truth about ast acts for the simle reason that
they came reared to tell the truth during the intervie". 6onsider a rae susect
"ho is 'no"n to have been 7uestioned before about a rae similar to the one being
investigated. !t "ould be imroer to as' this susect, E! 'no" you "ere a susect in
a revious rae allegation, "hat haened there8E & much more roductive 7uestion
to as' "ould be, E:ave you ever been 7uestioned concerning an allegation of rae
before8E This 7uestion allo"s the truthful sub(ect to ac'no"ledge the earlier
investigation and laces the decetive susect in a dilemma. :e must decide
"hether to reveal that he "as reviously investigated or lie to the 7uestion. Many
guilty susects "ill deny being 7uestioned about such revious accusations.
%o not suggest a possi"le answer within the question
9ecause investigators routinely conduct intervie"s, they often form an exectation of
"hat a ersonFs ans"er "ill be to an intervie" 7uestion. To elicit this ans"er more
efficiently, there is a tendency to rovide the exected resonse "ithin the 7uestion.
/hen the exected ans"er is less than the truth, ho"ever, the investigator has made
it very easy for the decetive sub(ect to lie to him as the follo"ing examles illustrate<
O< E&fter you left "or' last night, did you drive straight home8E
&< EThatFs right.E
O< EAid you return to "or' at all that night, or did you (ust stay in your aartment8E
&< E! stayed in my aartment.E
O< E$o you heard your neighbors arguing last night. /hat "ere they arguing about,
money roblems or something8E
&< EGeah, it "as something li'e that.E
:ad the investigatorFs 7uestion not suggested a resonse, much more meaningful
and accurate information may have been learned<
O< E /here did you go after you left "or' last night8E
&< E/ell, ! stoed off to tal' to a friend and eventually drove home.E
O< EAid you return to "or' at all that night8E
&< E&s ! recall, ! sent most the night in my aartment.E
O< E$o you heard your neighbors arguing last night. /hat "ere they arguing about8E
&< E!tFs retty common 'no"ledge that they had marital roblems. #rom "hat ! heard
it sounded li'e she "as going to leave him.E
%o not tag a question
Tagging a 7uestion refers to adding unnecessary information to an already as'ed
7uestion. Often the investigator as's the initial 7uestion and senses that the susect
aears uncomfortable so, to relieve the susectFs discomfort, the investigator
continues tal'ing. One reason for this guideline is that it ma'es the investigatorFs
7uestion longer, thus allo"ing the decetive susect more time to formulate a more
credible resonse. The rimary difficulty encountered "hen tagging a 7uestion is that
by doing so the 7uestion almost al"ays becomes more secific and may invite
decetion. The follo"ing tagged 7uestion allo"s a susect guilty of committing a
burglary shortly after leaving school to ans"er the 7uestion "ithout lying<
O< E/here did you go after leaving school that day8 Aid you meet u "ith friends or
maybe go out for a soda or something8E
&< E3o. ! didnFt get together "ith any friends.E )The susect did not meet u "ith
friends or go for a soda, he bro'e into a home*
:ad this 7uestion been limited to, E/here did you go after leaving school that day8E
The susect is forced to lie outright or engage in some form of evasion "hich may
elicit helful behavior symtoms, e.g., E/here did ! go8 /ell, ! retty much "ent
straight home.E The follo"ing are examles of imroerly tagged 7uestions follo"ed
by the roerly formulated 7uestion<
!M-@O-4@< E!s there anyone you susect of doing this. 3o" ! reali1e that you may
not 'no" eole very "ell because youFre ne" but maybe youFve heard a rumor or
sa" something unusual.E
-@O-4@< E!s there anyone you susect of doing this8E
!M-@O-4@< E:as anything li'e this ever haened to you before. 3o", !Fm not
suggesting that you hang around "ith eole "ho do this sort of thing but sometimes
eole get in circumstances out of their control and they might get 7uestioned about
doing something or maybe even they "ere (ust 7uestioned as a "itness to "hat
someone else did. :as that haened8E
-@O-4@< E:as anything li'e this ever haened to you before8E
Avoid opinion questions when see6ing specific infor)ation
Oinion and (udgment 7uestions form the basis for many of the behavior rovo'ing
7uestions that ma'e u the 9ehavior &nalysis !ntervie" and are of immense value
during an intervie". :o"ever, "hen see'ing secific information about a ersonFs
behavior )"hat "as done, "hat he said, "hat "as heard, "hat "as seen* an oinion
7uestion is unli'ely to elicit meaningful information. Oinions or (udgements are not
fixed in time and, therefore, can be modified to fit a ersonFs needs at any given oint
in time. On the other hand, behaviors are fixed in time and cannot be altered or
changed through sychological maniulation -- either a erson did or said something
or he did not.
6onsider a homicide investigation "here a husband is being intervie"ed concerning
the shooting death of his "ife, Lloria. To exlore ossible motives for this crime an
investigator may as' the husband, E:o" did you get along "ith Lloria8E The guilty
susect can easily resond to this oinion 7uestion by saying, E/e had a really great
relationshi, ! canFt believe sheFs gone.E !n the husbandFs mind ?0I of the
relationshi "as great and he really is having a hard time believing that he lost his
temer and shot her. -roer 7uestions to as' to exlore the husbandFs motivations
should center around behavior as the follo"ing illustrate<
EThe night your "ife "as 'illed did you have an argument "ith her8E
EThe night your "ife "as 'illed did either of you raise your voice to"ard each other8E
EThe night your "ife "as 'illed did you discuss a toic of disagreement8E
EThe night your "ife "as 'illed did you learn something that uset you8E
The husband may, of course, lie to these 7uestions but because they secifically
address behaviors, these 7uestions are li'ely to elicit verbal and nonverbal
symtoms of decetion.
& classic examle of imroer use of oinion 7uestions is illustrated in the screening
rocess of emloyees considered for sensitive ositions. 9ecause of my osition, !
have been intervie"ed on a number of occasions concerning ast students or
ac7uaintances. Auring these security-screening intervie"s ! "as as'ed 7uestions
similar to the follo"ing<
E!s this erson considered trust"orthy8E
EAoes this erson have a roblem "ith alcohol8E
E!s this erson addicted to any illegal drugs8E
E:as this erson done anything to bring into 7uestion their loyalty to the Knited
EAoes this erson ose a threat to the national security of the Knited $tates8E
!t "ould re7uire an extremely forthright erson )or erhas one "ith a vengeance
motive* to volunteer adverse information "hen as'ed these oinion 7uestions.
Avoid )e)ory qualifiers
Memory 7ualifiers can be a good symtom of decetion "hen the intervie"erFs
7uestion is direct and does not re7uire long-term recall. 6onsider the follo"ing
O< EAid your niece ever touch your bare enis8E
&< E&s far as ! recall she hasnFt.E
:o"ever, "hen as'ing a sensitive 7uestion it is common to include memory 7ualifiers
"ithin the 7uestion to ease the stigma of the statement. &n everyday examle is
"hen ans"ering the hone and it is clear that the erson on the other end has dialed
the "rong number. /e donFt say to the caller EGouFve dialed the "rong number,E
rather, "e say something li'e, E! believe you may have the "rong number.E !n
retrosect, this is a silly statement to ma'e since there is absolutely no doubt that the
other erson called the "rong number and yet "e incororate 7ualifying "ords )!
believe, may* to allo" the caller to feel better about his mista'e. $imilarly, during an
intervie", "hen a memory 7ualifier is included in the investigatorFs 7uestion, the
decetive sub(ect exeriences less anxiety during their resonse. 4xamles include<
O< EAo you recall if you signed your name on this chec'8E
&< E3o ! donFt.E
O< EAo you remember having an argument at all "ith your "ife last night8E
&< E3ot at all.E
:ad the memory 7ualifier been omitted from these 7uestions, the sub(ect may reveal
significant behavior in his resonse<
O< EAid you sign your name on this chec'8E
&< E! donFt remember doing that.E
O< EAid you have an argument at all "ith your "ife last night8E
&< E! "ouldnFt really call it an argument, it "as more of a disagreement.E
%o (ot as6 (egative questions
The final guideline aears very obvious and yet is fre7uently violated. & negative
7uestion is one that exects agreement to a remise "ithin the 7uestion. The
follo"ing examles each reresent negative 7uestions<
O< EGou donFt 'no" "ho did this, do you8E
O< E3o one ever gave you the combination to the safe, did they8E
O< EGou didnFt leave your aartment for any reason, did you8E
The hraseology of each of these 7uestions most certainly "ill elicit agreement from
the sub(ect, regardless of the truthfulness of that agreement. Many times negative
7uestions are as'ed as an imroer follo"-u 7uestion to an evasive resonse, as
illustrated in the follo"ing dialogue<
O< E/ere you ever inside her aartment8E
&< E! hardly 'ne" her so !Fve never had a reason to be in her aartment.E
O< E$o youFve never been inside her aartment8E
&< EThatFs right.E
The roer follo"-u 7uestion to as' in the above intervie" "ould have been, E!
understand that you hardly 'ne" her but have you ever been inside her aartment8E
&n investigator may be very s'illed at covering all the relevant areas "ith a sub(ect
during an intervie". Get, if these areas are addressed "ith imroerly formulated
7uestion the investigator may fail to elicit meaningful information. #urthermore,
imroerly hrased 7uestions may not stimulate behavior symtoms indicative of
decetion. The end result is that a decetive sub(ect may escae detection.
#ormulating roer intervie" 7uestions is an ac7uired s'ill that ta'es ractice. To
imrove this s'ill it is beneficial to electronically record intervie"s. This allo"s the
investigator to go bac' and identify mista'es in 7uestion formulation. This evaluation
can also be done by a third arty "ho is either resent during the intervie" or
listening in an ad(oining observation room.
.iranda3 Article 51 and Constitutional Advise)ents Aecember, 2000
Auring training seminars fre7uently the issue comes u as to the best time to advise
a susect of his constitutional rights. There are both legal and sychological
considerations in ans"ering this 7uestion. 5egally, Miranda rights must be
administered rior to 7uestioning a susect "ho is in custody. Therefore, the
investigator must have robable cause to arrest a susect, and actually lace the
susect in custody before the Miranda rights are re7uired. The legal concet of
custody exists "hen a susect erceives that he is not free to leave an immediate
area. The legal test, ho"ever, is different in the K.$. Military and in 6anada. !n those
(urisdictions, a focus of susicion romts the necessity of obtaining a "aiver of
article >= rights )military* or 6onstitutional &dvisement )6anada*. & focus of
susicion is a much broader concet than custody. !t exists "hen the investigator
forms a reasonable exectation of a susectFs ossible involvement in an offense.
-sychologically, a susect is much more li'ely to "aive Miranda or other form of
constitutional rights if they are first brought u in a casual manner. The follo"ing is an
examle of a casual introduction of Miranda rights< EJoe, ! "ould li'e to as' you a fe"
7uestions about this charge against you, but before ! do that, you should 'no" that
you do have the right to remain silent; anything you say may be used against you;
you have the right to an attorney; and if you cannot afford a la"yer one "ill be
rovided free.E &fter an aroriate ause to ermit the susect to resond, he
should be told< E! "ould li'e for you to tal' to me about this matter Ssecifying the
case under investigationT, OQ8E !f the susect exresses or other"ise indicates a
"illingness to tal', even by an affirmative nod of his head, the investigator may
roceed "ith the 7uestioning.
#ollo"ing this verbal "aiver, if a deartment olicy re7uires "ritten "aivers, the
"aiver document "hich secifies each of his constitutional rights "ould then be
executed. 9y first eliciting a verbal commitment to tal' to the investigator, the susect
is much more li'ely to sign the more intimidating formal Miranda "aiver. This foot-in-
the-door aroach to obtain a Miranda "aiver in no "ay imacts on a 'no"ing and
voluntary "aiver of the susectFs rights since the formal document is ultimately
resented in court. :o"ever, it does greatly ease the stigma attached to the formal
"aiver of rights.
The second sychological consideration is "hen to see' the "aiver of Miranda or
constitutional rights. Pery clearly, it is sychologically "rong to advise a susect that
he has the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney (ust before accusing him
of committing a crime. !f rights are issued at that stage, once he is told that the
investigation clearly indicates that he committed the crime, he is li'ely to invo'e his
constitutional rights. Therefore, the best time to issue the "arnings is (ust rior to
conducting a non-accusatory intervie", not an accusatory interrogation. /ith these
concets in mind, consider the follo"ing scenarios course articiants have related
to us<
Scenario $< & non-custodial susect that volunteers to be intervie"ed concerning a
crime. 9ecause the susect is not in custody, no Miranda "aiver is re7uired or
obtained. #ollo"ing the intervie" the susect is interrogated and eventually admits
that he did commit the crime. The susectFs incriminating statement rovides
robable cause to effect an arrest. !s the investigator legally obligated to interrut the
susectFs confession and advise him that he has the right to remain silent8 Lenerally
the investigator is not. 4ven though robable cause may exist to arrest the susect,
the environment and circumstances of the interrogation are still non-custodial. The
investigator can obtain full details of the confession "ithout advising the susect of
his Miranda rights because the susect is still free to leave the room. This assumes,
of course, that the investigator did not imly custody through his actions or
statements, e.g., EGouFre not leaving here until "e get this clarifiedE, E/ith the
evidence "e already have ! could loc' you u.E & common ractice is to have the
susectFs oral confession "itnessed by a second investigator. -rior to ma'ing a
formal confession, therefore, the susect "ould be advised of his Miranda rights, and
most li'ely "aive them since he has told the truth in the resence of a "itness. $ome
deartments have avoided this issue entirely by releasing the susect after he has
signed a formal confession. $everal hours later, the susect is then arrested and
ta'en into custody. Obviously the susect cannot later claim that he "as not free to
leave during his intervie" or interrogation. & basic legal rincile to 'ee in mind is
this< robable cause is re7uired to ma'e an arrest but establishing robable cause
does not re7uire the investigator to arrest a susect.
Scenario %< & ractice "e have come across is for an investigator to Mirandi1e every
susect rior to 7uestioning. This includes, of course, a large number of susects for
"hom there is no robable cause to arrest. One rationale for this ractice is that it
rotects the investigator in court against ambiguous claims of "hether or not a
Miranda "aiver "as re7uired. :o"ever, the rimary benefit is that by issuing the
Miranda "arnings the investigator imlies that he has robable cause to arrest the
susect. This is an area of tric'ery and deceit "hich has not been addressed by the
courts and "e can offer no guidelines in that resect. :o"ever, there is another
asect of this ractice for "hich "e can exress a clear oinion. Obviously, if an
investigator advises every susect of his constitutional rights, many susects "ill ta'e
the investigator u on his offer and choose to remain silent. Knder this circumstance,
the investigator simly tells the susect that he is not under arrest and continues to
7uestion the susect as if no Miranda "arnings "ere issued. Our osition is that
once Miranda rights are given they must be honored. This "ould be true even if the
rights "ere rematurely given out of ignorance or under a circumstance "here the
investigator 'ne" that the issuance of such rights "as unnecessary.
Scenario &< 6onsider a (urisdiction "here focus of susicion is the threshold to
re7uire the advisement of rights. & crime "as committed and a number of ossible
susects are intervie"ed. 9ased on decetive behavior during one of the susectFs
intervie", the investigator forms a susicion that this is the susect "ho may have
committed the crime. &s a result of this susicion the investigator must no" advise
the susect of his constitutional rights rior to conducting an interrogation. :o"ever,
as reviously stated, advising a susect of his constitutional rights (ust rior to
conducting an interrogation greatly increases the chance that the susect "ill invo'e
those rights. Knder this situation it "ould be advantageous to advise the susect of
his rights rior to conducting a formal intervie". Therefore, in situations "here there
is even the slightest chance that the susect may subse7uently be interrogated, "e
recommend a remature advisement of constitutional rights rior to the intervie". !f
the rights are introduced at that stage, in a casual manner, most susects "ill agree
to tal' "ith the investigator.
Scenario '< & susect has been advised of, and "aived, his Miranda or
constitutional rights. The susect exhibits decetive behavior during his intervie" but
before embar'ing on an immediate interrogation, the investigator "ants to gather
additional information about the susect or the crime. #ive hours later the investigator
initiates an interrogation. Aoes the investigator have to re-advise the susect of his
constitutional rights before starting the interrogation8 The ans"er is that he does not.
& general guideline, at least in the Knited $tates, is that once a susect has "aived
his constitutional rights, they do not have to be refreshed for u to 2B hours.
The re7uirement of issuing constitutional rights to a susect "as not instituted to
revent investigators from obtaining confessions from ersons guilty of committing a
crime. #urthermore, courts rovide latitude as to ho" the rights are introduced and it
is ermissible to give them rematurely. Therefore, it is our recommendation to )=*
introduce constitutional rights in a non- threatening, casual manner; )2* to allo" a
non-custodial susect to fully confess rior to administering constitutional rights and,
)>* if circumstances may develo "hich re7uire the issuance of the rights, it is much
referable to advise the susect of those rights rior to an intervie" as oosed to an
interrogation. &s a caveat to this entire discussion, during our training exeriences
throughout the Knited $tates "e have encountered various interretations and
alications of the Miranda decision. Consequently3 this we" tip )erely offers our
reco))endations and an investigator should chec6 with his or her local
prosecutor to )a6e certain that these guidelines are consistent with
depart)ental policies2
Creating A Te)porary Interviewing oo) 3ovember, 2000
!n an ideal "orld, an intervie" or interrogation "ould al"ays be conducted in a room
secifically designed for that urose. Most businesses, ho"ever, do not have a
room set aside for intervie"ing (ob alicants or emloyees susected of acts of
"rong-doing. 6onse7uently, intervie"s may be conducted in an oen cubical, a
business office, a conference room or even a storage facility. /ith a little rearation,
many of these saces can be converted into a rather satisfactory intervie"ing room.
I)portance of privacy' &ny erson "ho is motivated to "ithhold information should
be intervie"ed in rivate. This grou includes (ob alicants, victims, "itnesses and
emloyees susected of "rongdoing. -rivacy is necessary because eole almost
al"ays share sensitive information "ith only one erson at a time. Therefore, the
most critical asect to assure a sense of rivacy is to conduct intervie"s one on one.
That is, there should only be t"o eole in the room, the intervie"er and the sub(ect.
!f this is not feasible, the intervie"er should sit about B_ - H feet in front of the sub(ect,
"hile the 2
arty )another investigator* should sit off to the side.
!t is imortant that the intervie" room have a door that can be closed so the sub(ect
"ill not be concerned about someone outside of the room overhearing "hat is being
discussed. #or much the same reason, it is imortant to 'ee electronic recording
devices, such as a tae recorder or camcorder, inconsicuous. This is not to suggest
that all electronic recording must be surretitious. !n fact, many states re7uire t"o-
arty consent to electronically record a conversation. :o"ever, it is a ivotal
misunderstanding of human behavior to believe that a sub(ect "ould candidly ma'e
admissions against self interest "hile staring at a camcorder or loo'ing do"n at a
tae recorder laced in lain vie" on to of a des'. Therefore, a camcorder should
be laced off to the side of the sub(ect and a tae recorder on the floor or other lace
"hich is concealed from the sub(ectFs constant vie".
%istractions' 6ontrolling auditory distractions is more imortant than visual
distractions "ithin a temorary intervie" room. !f a sub(ect can hear outside voices
behind a closed door, he or she may be concerned that those on the outside may
also be able to overhear the intervie". 4ven in the most basic intervie" environment,
internal auditory distractions can easily be eliminated. This simly re7uires
disconnecting a des' hone, turning off a beeer or cell hone.
!i,e considerations' !f an intervie" room is too small )DF x %F* it is li'ely to cause
un"anted arehension, and erhas even a feeling of claustrohobia. This is
undesirable both from a sychological and legal ersective )coercion*. 6onversely,
intervie"ing in a room that is too large )20F x =HF* creates a different roblem in that it
is difficult to achieve a one-on-one relationshi "ith another erson in such a vast
sace. This can usually be remedied by arranging the furniture in such a "ay that the
intervie" ta'es lace in a corner of the room, creating the sychological imression
of an =0F x =0F sace. Lenerally, this arrangement is achieved by utting the
intervie"erFs chair near a bac' "all and the sub(ectFs chair about H feet in front of the
sub(ectFs chair. & conference table or des' ositioned off to the sub(ectFs side
comletes the effect.
Eli)inate "arriers< & barrier is any hysical ob(ect laced bet"een the intervie"er
and sub(ect. !n many office environments this "ill reresent a des' or table. 9arriers
are undesirable for a number of reasons, but rimarily they offer a sychological
shield behind "hich a decetive sub(ect "ill hide. & erson is much more li'ely to tell
the truth if their entire body is exosed to the intervie"er. 6onse7uently, the room
should be arranged in such a "ay that the chairs in "hich the intervie"er and sub(ect
sit are laced to the side of, or a"ay from a des' or table. #or examle, if a vice-
resident of oerations calls an emloyee into his office to be intervie"ed concerning
ossible fraudulent activities, t"o chairs could be ositioned facing each other to the
side or in front of the vice-residentFs des'. The vice-resident can olitely as' the
emloyee to have a seat in one of the chairs "hile he sits directly in front of the
emloyee in the other. Auring an intervie", the distance bet"een the chairs should
be about B _ - H feet aart. This reresents a natural distance in "hich t"o eole
feel comfortable interacting. !f the distance is shortened, say to three feet, the
intervie"er "ill be erceived as authoritative and condescending. This is obviously
not desirable if the goal is to allo" the erson being intervie"ed to feel comfortable
telling the truth.
&ocation' $uose an emloyee embe11led J=H,000 and could choose bet"een
confessing at her lace of emloyment or in our office located in do"n-to"n
6hicago8 Ten out of ten guilty susects, if given the choice, "ould choose to confess
in our office. The reason is simle. 3o emloyee "ants to confess guilt only to leave
the room to face co-"or'ers and suervisors "ho are undoubtedly a"are of the
investigation and "ho "ill exress resentment for the roblems the emloyee has
caused. This common sense lesson teaches the follo"ing imortant rule< intervie" or
interrogate susected emloyees a"ay from co-"or'ers and suervisors. & guideline
"e follo" is that if the guilty emloyee cannot leave the intervie" room "ithout being
seen by co-"or'ers, it is not a roer room in "hich to conduct the intervie".
#re7uently, under this circumstance, "e "ill arrange to conduct
intervie"sCinterrogations at a nearby hotel. Most hotels have small meeting rooms
"hich afford rivacy and the furniture can be arranged in such a "ay as to create a
desirable intervie"ing environment.
Conclusion< Many of the investigations conducted by staff members of John 4. @eid
and &ssociates occur outside of our office. #urthermore, "e are often successful in
resolving those cases "ith a confession. & contributing factor to our success is
establishing the correct environment in "hich to conduct the intervie"Cinterrogation.
Once "e visit a clientFs location "e survey the remises loo'ing for a suitable room in
"hich to conduct the intervie"s. !f one is found "e "ill modify that room to suit our
needs. !f none is found, rather than hoing that "e might be successful in solving the
case "ith the intervie"ing sace that is available, "e "ill suggest that the intervie"s
be conduced at a nearby hotel. 9y conducting intervie"sCinterrogations "ithin a hotel
conference or meeting room, our staff has obtained countless confessions that
other"ise may never have been obtained on the clientFs remises.
Behavior Provo6ing <uestions' The Punish)ent <uestion October, 2000
The 9ehavior &nalysis !ntervie" is a structured intervie", develoed by John 4. @eid
and &ssociates, designed to elicit behavior symtoms indicative of truthfulness or
decetion. The core of the intervie" consists of as'ing a series of behavior rovo'ing
7uestions. These 7uestions tend to elicit different resonses from a susect "ho is
innocent of a crime than from a susect "ho is guilty of a crime. @esearch has been
conducted on these 7uestions to develo models "hich define common
characteristics of a truthful or decetive resonse. This "eb ti "ill resent a
behavior rovo'ing 7uestion called EThe -unishment Ouestion.E
The unishment 7uestion is generically hrased, E/hat do you thin' should haen
to the erson "ho )did crime8*E !t is imortant that the unishment 7uestion
secifically address the issue under investigation. !n a homicide case, for examle,
the susect "ould be as'ed, E/hat do you thin' should haen to the erson "ho
'illed Jeff Johnson8E !f the issue under investigation "as the theft of J2H00 from a
vault, the unishment 7uestion "ould be hrased, E/hat do you thin' should haen
to the erson "ho too' that J2H008E !f a claimant "as being intervie"ed concerning
a ossible fraudulent auto theft claim, the 7uestion "ould be "orded, E/hat do you
thin' should haen to a erson "ho "ould lie about having his car stolen8E
/hen an innocent susect is as'ed to cast (udgment against the erson guilty of the
crime he has little difficulty exressing a harsh unishment. &fter all, it is because of
someone elseFs crime that the susect is being 7uestioned. Tyical innocent
resonses to the unishment 7uestion include, E:e should be rosecuted and sent to
(ailRE; E#or 'illing that cler' ! hoe he gets life in risonRE; or, E:e should be fired and
robably rosecuted. $tealing J2H00 is not etty theftRE
& 'ey resonse to listen for from the innocent susect to the unishment 7uestion is
"hether the susect is tal'ing about the guilty erson as being someone else. &ctual
examles of this from verified innocent susects "e have intervie"ed include, E/ell,
!Fd li'e to have a shot at him firstRE; E&fter "hat heFs ut me through ! hoe they thro"
him in (ailE; and, ETo do that to a girl this guyFs got to be really sic'.E & very religious
susect "ho "as verified as innocent resonded to the unishment 7uestion as
follo"s< E!tFs against my beliefs to (udge anyone harshly, but after you find out "ho did
this ! "ould li'e to sit do"n "ith him and do a little reaching because his soul needs
!nnocent susects offer a ersonal oinion in their resonse to the unishment
7uestion. The susect has been as'ed secifically "hat do you thin' should haen
to the erson "ho committed the crime. !n all of the above examles, the resonse
reflects a ersonal oinion.
!n addition to the above verbal resonses, the innocent susectFs resonse to the
unishment 7uestion is often accomanied by characteristic nonverbal and
aralinguistic cues. 3onverbally, the susect "ill offer direct eye contact and erhas
lean for"ard in his chair. 9ecause the 7uestion may stimulate an emotional
resonse, the susect may use illustrators )hands moving a"ay from the body*.
/ithin the aralinguistic channel, innocent susects offer longer, more thoughtful
resonses than decetive susects; after all, they are seculating about someone
elseFs crime. Most tyically, innocent susects "ill onder the unishment 7uestion
before ans"ering it because it is a reflective 7uestion and, therefore, a delay of
thoughtful deliberation is not uncommon. The volume and strength of conviction,
ho"ever, "ill remain steady throughout the susectFs resonse.
/hen a decetive susect is as'ed the unishment 7uestion he is being as'ed to
(udge himself. &lying the axiom that guilty susects believe that their crime "as
some"hat (ustified, it is not surrising that one of the models defining the guilty
susectFs resonse to the unishment 7uestion is to offer a lenient unishment.
4xamles of this include, E/ell, ! thin' robation may be aroriateE; EMaybe ay
bac' the moneyE; E-erhas some tye of sychological treatment "ould be bestE; or,
E$ince no one "as really hurt, ! thin' suervision "ould be sufficient.E
Aecetive resonses to the unishment 7uestion may fail to tal' about the guilty
erson as being someone else. Often, the decetive susect may insert some sort of
conditional language "ithin his resonse so as to excuse his o"n situation. &
susect guilty of molesting a young boy resonded to the unishment 7uestion,
E/ell, if a erson has done this to do1ens of children ! thin' that has to be ta'en
seriously.E & susect "ho eventually confessed to stealing J=000 ans"ered the
unishment 7uestion as follo"s< E! "ouldnFt ta'e it to court unless they had actual
hysical evidence to sho" that the erson too' the money.E & susect "ho murdered
his mother-in-la" resonded, ELee, thatFs a tough one. /hat haened certainly
"asnFt good -- ! mean it "as terrible. 6ertainly the matter should go to court.E
& decetive susect may evade a direct resonse to the unishment 7uestion and
not offer a ersonal oinion. The most common form of evasion is for the susect not
to ta'e any osition at all, e.g., E! donFt 'no". That "ill be u to a (udge.E Other
evasive resonses to the unishment 7uestion include, E!Fm sure he "ill rosecuted
and sent to risonE and, E!t is comany olicy to fire anyone "ho steals.E &s these
last t"o examles illustrate, "hen a susectFs resonse to the unishment 7uestion
includes a harsh (udgment it is imortant to determine if the susect is offering his
o"n ersonal (udgement. !f he does not, he is evading the 7uestion.
& decetive susect may engage in significant nonverbal behaviors "hen resonding
to the unishment 7uestion. :e may avoid direct eye contact, cross or uncross his
legs or engage in various grooming behaviors. /ithin aralinguistic evaluations,
decetive resonses to the unishment 7uestion tend to be shorter and more
guarded. The decetive susect may ans"er this 7uestion too 7uic'ly, "ithout giving
it ade7uate thought or attemt to disguise the anxiety the 7uestion caused by
reeating the 7uestion before ans"ering it )for the urose of buying time to thin' u
the best ossible resonse.* #inally, the decetive susect may lose interest in his
resonse "here he begins his resonse at a normal volume and rate, but by the time
he finishes the resonse, both his volume and rate decrease significantly. !n this
instance, even though the susect may suggest a harsh unishment for the guilty
erson, he does not really believe his ans"er.
!t is imortant to remember that the unishment 7uestion is one of many behavior
rovo'ing 7uestions that should be as'ed during a roerly conducted 9ehavior
&nalysis !ntervie". !t "ould most certainly be imroer to assess a susectFs guilt or
innocence based on a resonse to a single behavior rovo'ing 7uestion. #or
information on interreting other behavior rovo'ing 7uestions, see our text The
!nvestigator &nthology.
Assessing Attitudes' The 0icti) .entality $etember, 2000
& susect guilty of a crime often dislays attitudes during an intervie" "hich are
tyically 7uite different from those attitudes exhibited by an innocent erson. Auring
an investigation, an investigator may note that one sub(ect aeared sontaneous,
oen and confident, "hile a second sub(ect may be described as being unconcerned,
guarded and unhelful. 4ach of these general characteristics reresent the sub(ectFs
attitude. One of the attitudes commonly associated "ith the decetive susect is
referred to as assuming a Evictim mentality.E Knder this circumstance, the guilty
susect, either overtly or subtly, alleges that he is a victim "ithin the investigation.
&ssuming the role of being a victim is a very natural osition to ta'e "hen a erson is
7uestioned about an act of "rong-doing for "hich he is resonsible. !n various
circumstances, my children have tried to reverse their role from being the eretrator
to that of the victim. 4xamles include, E! "as minding my o"n business "hen 9en,
for no reason, hit meE; E@yan, or someone else silled that soda in my room. !
shouldnFt have to clean it uE; or, EAad, you al"ays believe 6ollin (ust because heFs
younger than me.E 4ach of these statements are designed to convince me, the
arentCinvestigator, of my childFs innocence. !n truth, ho"ever, each statement
rovides a symtom of the childFs robable involvement in the act of "rong-doing -- in
each instance, the child is ortraying a victim mentality.
One common examle of the victim mentality is for a guilty susect to argue that he
is being set u or framed. The suggested eretrator of this alleged frame may be
the a fictitious guilty susect, the victim of the crime or the olice. /hen a susect
states, E!Fm being framed for this thing. $omeone lanted that cocaine in my
aartmentE the robability is high that the susect 'ne" that the cocaine "as there all
along. /e have intervie"ed a number of verified innocent susects "ho, in fact, "ere
imlicated through evidence lanted by the guilty arty. !t is of interest to note that
none of those innocent sub(ects claimed that they "ere being set u or framed.
@ather, they simly maintained their innocence and cast no blame on anyone else for
ma'ing them aear guilty.
&nother examle of the victim mentality is the guilty susect "ho ma'es an
un"arranted attac' against the investigator claiming some form of re(udice. The
allegation may involve race, gender, religion or other affiliation, e.g., EThe only reason
you thin' ! did this is because !Fm a 5atin QingRE 4secially "hen this tye of
allegation is made sontaneously, seemingly out of no "here, it is li'ely emanating
from a guilty susect. Our exerience indicates that an innocent susect "ho
reresents a minority grou "ill state their innocence "ithout any reference
"hatsoever to their affiliation. !t is the guilty susect "ho deserately "ants to believe
that the investigator is re(udiced )so as to reduce the susectFs o"n guilt feelings*
"ho ma'es these tyes of un"arranted accusations.
#inally, consider the susect "ho sontaneously mentions during an intervie" that
he "as victimi1ed in the ast. The child molester may exlain that he "as molested
as a youth; the thief may relate that someone once stole money from him; or a
susect "ho "as correctly identified by the victim may bring u the fact that years
ago he "as "rongly accused for something he did not do. !n the first t"o examles
erhas the imlied message is that because the susect "as himself a victim he
"ould never victimi1e someone else. !n the latter case, the susect may bring u his
ast victimi1ation in an effort to imeach the victimFs identification. @egardless of the
cause, susects "ho aear anxious to inter(ect information that they have been
victimi1ed at some time in the ast are often guilty. &n imortant 'ey to evaluating
this behavior, of course, is that the susect volunteers this information. On the other
hand, if the information is develoed in resonse to the investigatorFs secific
7uestion addressing ast similar incidents, little meaning should be attached to it.
#rom a sychological ersective, it ma'es erfect sense that a guilty susect "ould
try to ortray himself as a victim during the course of an intervie". & susect "ho
believes that his crime "as morally (ustified feels that it is "rong that he be harshly
unished for his act. !n his mind, he truly believes that he is a victim )of the criminal
(ustice system or society in general*. This distorted thought rocess naturally invites
such claims that the susect "as set u or framed, that the investigator is re(udiced
or may be revealed by the susectFs comelling need to tell the investigator of a ast
incident "here the susect "as victimi1ed. &s "ith all behavioral observations, it is
imortant that the investigator consider any statement suggesting a victim mentality
in the context of the conversation and that all of the sub(ectFs attitudes must be ta'en
into consideration "hen formulating an oinion of the ersonFs truthfulness.
T/E I.POTA(CE O- T/E E.P&OA.E(T APP&ICATIO( &ugust, 2000
!t is often imractical for an emloyer to ersonally intervie" every erson alying
for a articular osition. #or this reason, most (ob alicants are initially screened by
revie"ing a "ritten summary of the candidateFs bac'ground. This information "ill
tyically be rovided through either an emloyment alication or a resume. /hile
emloyment alications are customary for individuals alying for hourly ositions,
for rofessional ositions, a resume is fre7uently acceted in lieu of an emloyment
alication. !t is our recommendation that, regardless of the osition being filled, the
emloyer re7uire each alicant comlete a standardi1ed emloyment alication.
&n emloyment alication is suerior to the ersonal resume for a number of
reasons. & resume is not standardi1ed for all candidates alying for a articular
osition and therefore may invite claims of discrimination if, for examle, hiring
information is available from some candidates but not for others. #or examle,
consider a resume that contains a hotograh of the alicant "hich deicts a blac'
male BH to H0 years old. &fter receiving this resume, the emloyer may decide, for
vague reasons, not to offer the alicant an intervie". Knder this circumstance, the
emloyer may be legally challenged that the reason the alicant "as not offered an
intervie" "as based on race or age bias. :ad the candidate comleted a legally
accetable emloyment alication, otentially discriminatory information "ould not
have been develoed and the candidate "ould have no grounds uon "hich to
challenge the emloyerFs decision.
The rimary reason for re7uiring all candidates to comlete an alication, ho"ever,
is that resumes are notoriously inaccurate. 9ecause the candidate chooses "hat
information to include )or omit* "ithin a resume, it is designed in such a "ay as to
resent the candidate in the most favorable light. & 6ongressional study found that
bet"een oneChalf and t"oCthirds of all resumes contained misleading information or
outright lies. There are do1ens of subtle "ays to misreresent oneFs bac'ground on a
resume. 6onsider, for examle, an alicant "ho does not "ant to list the fact that
she "as fired from an emloyer a year ago. Knder the emloyment section she "ill
simly not list that (ob. :o"ever, on a (ob alication "hich re7uires her to Elist all
emloyersE that you have had in the last H years, it becomes more difficult to conceal
such information
The easiest lie to tell is one based on oinions or beliefs. 9ecause these statements
reresent a ersonal assessment their veracity is imossible to disrove. 3ot
surrisingly, many resumes contain oinion information. 6onsider the follo"ing
"I am a highly motivated individual, see(ing a challenging position that will
ta(e advantage of my interpersonal and organi)ational s(ills in a team*oriented
#usiness climate+ I complete tas(s in a timely fashion and have always #een
willing to ta(e on additional personal responsi#ility+"
This may sound li'e the erfect candidate for a osition. The only roblem is that this
descrition reresents the candidateFs self-assessment. !t is merely a ersonal
oinion and, therefore, the candidate cannot be held accountable for roviding
misinformation if the characteri1ation turns out to be the furthest thing from the truth.
On the other hand, an emloyment alication re7uests the same information from
all alicants alying for a osition. Ma'ing initial screening decisions based on
uniform information greatly enhances the emloyerFs ob(ectivity. 9ecause the
alication develos relevant and meaningful information about each candidate, the
accuracy of the re-screening rocess is greatly enhanced.
&t a minimum, an alication should re7uire that the candidate list every emloyer
the candidate has "or'ed for over the last five years, their osition, the reason for
leaving the (ob and "hy they are loo'ing for a ne" (ob. !t should elicit ob(ective
information relevant to the osition being alied for. 4xamles of ob(ective
7uestions include, EAo you have a college degree from an accredited
university8E,E&re you licensed or certified in )field*8E, E:as your ractitionerFs license
been susended or revo'ed8E, E:ave you been discharged from a revious
emloyer8E, E:ave you received discilinary action at a (ob in the last H yearsE, E!n
the last % years have you been convicted of a crime8E, E&re you currently using any
illegal drugs8E etc. The emloyment alication should conclude "ith a signed
statement attesting to the truthfulness of the information sulied "ithin the
6ertainly an un7ualified alicant could lie on an emloyment alication and be
erroneously hired. This is most li'ely to occur in comanies "ho fail to verify
information on an alication through a face-to-face intervie". &s a saving grace,
ho"ever, because the alication reresents a comany document, the emloyer
may have grounds to discharge a ne"ly hired emloyee if it is learned that the
alication "as falsified. This is not necessarily the case "ith a resume because their
creative design often ma'es roving intentional falsification difficult.
Just because an individual is alying for a rofessional osition such as a hysician
assistant, accountant, aralegal or office administrator offers no guarantee that the
erson does not resent a ris' if hired. Get, "hen see'ing to fill these tyes of
ositions, emloyers fre7uently rely solely on a resume and never have candidates
comlete an emloyment alication. This ractice ma'es re-screening of otential
candidates much more sub(ective, invites un7ualified candidates to hide their
"ea'nesses and may eliminate solid grounds uon "hich to discharge an un7ualified
emloyee "ho should not have been hired in the first lace. Of aramount
imortance, ho"ever, is to remember that the emloyment alication is an
instrument designed to facilitate re-screening. & final hiring decision should be
made only after the information "ithin the alication has been verified through a
face to face intervie" and aroriate bac'ground chec's.
The +se of -ollow-up <uestions to Elicit Ad)issions July, 2000
&n earlier "eb ti offered guidelines to interret a sub(ectFs verbal behavior ,Sept+
$---.. !n addition to assessing the truthfulness of a resonse, verbal behavior also
rovides insight for as'ing follo"-u 7uestions. The fact that the sub(ectFs initial
resonse to a 7uestion contains an identifiable behavior symtom often indicates that
the sub(ect is not comfortable telling an out-right lie. Knder this circumstance, as'ing
a follo"-u 7uestion fre7uently results in an admission or further meaningful
Many times a decetive sub(ect avoids an out-right lie to the intervie"erFs 7uestion
through evasion. &n evasive resonse relies on the intervie"er ma'ing an
un"arranted assumtion as to "hat the sub(ect meant to say "ithin his resonse.
Once a 7uestion is as'ed, there is a natural tendency to fit the resonse into a
reconceived exectation of an ans"er. !f the resonse does not directly ans"er the
7uestion, our mind fills in the ga and laces the ans"er into a EyesE or EnoE
category, even though the sub(ectFs resonse merely imlies a definitive osition
&s a young arent ! as'ed my 'ids a series of 7uestions (ust before they left for
school. One of them "as, E:ave you brushed your teeth8E !nvariably, ! received an
affirmative ans"er, "hich "as the literal truth. :o"ever, over the years ! have
learned to follo"-u that EyesE ans"er "ith the 7uestion, E:ave you brushed your
teeth today8E Oftentimes, this follo"-u 7uestion resulted in the child rushing u to
the bathroom to brush his teeth. There are numerous examles of evasive
resonses, but the follo"ing dialogue illustrates the basic formula for as'ing a follo"-
u 7uestion to an evasive resonse. That is, agree "ith the sub(ectFs initial statement
but re-as' the 7uestion in its original form.
L+ R)id you have sexual contact with your stepBdaughter*R
A+ RI consider her the same as a natural daughter. I canQt believe she would say such a
L+ RI uders"ad" but what I was wondering is whether or not you had sexual contact with
your stepBdaughter*R
A+ R(exual contact* %o. I wouldnQt consider it sexual contact.R
& common mista'e intervie"ers ma'e in as'ing a follo"-u 7uestion, under this
circumstance, is to modify the initial 7uestion, often ma'ing it more secific. !t is
imortant to remember that it "as the original "ording of the 7uestion that caused
the sub(ectFs behavior, and it is that 7uestion "hich should be re-as'ed. To illustrate
this, consider the follo"ing intervie" of a father "ho sexually molested his ste-
daughter by rubbing his bare enis against her vagina<
L+ R)id you have sexual contact with your stepBdaughter*R
A+ RI consider her the same as a natural daughter. I canQt believe she would say such a
L+ RI understand" but did you put your finger in her vagina or fondle her breasts at all*R
A+ RAbsolutely not7 I canQt believe that anyone would think that IQm a child molester7R
.e)ory <ualifiers
/hen a sub(ectFs resonse contains a memory 7ualifier such as, E! believe,E ETo the
best of my 'no"ledge,E or, E&t this oint in timeE it is often roductive for the
intervie"er to re-hrase the original 7uestion as a hyothetical one. The follo"ing
dialogue illustrates this<
L+ R)id you leave your house at all last &riday night*R
A+ R%ot as far as I remember.R
L+ RIs i" 'ossi&le you may have left your house last &riday night*R
A+ R!ell maybe for 8ust a short time. #hatQs right. I did go to the store around F+KK.R
!ntervie"ers "ho have received training in as'ing a bait 7uestion should consider the
sub(ectFs use of a memory 7ualifier as a good indication that if a bait 7uestion is
as'ed addressing that activity, that the sub(ect "ill ac'no"ledge the activity.
$ub(ectFs "ho incororate memory 7ualifiers "ithin their resonse are basically telling
the intervie"er, E!f you can roduce evidence that ! did this, then ! "ill ac'no"ledge
Addressing !pecific %enials
& resonse that contains a secific denial addresses only a narro" asect of the
intervie"erFs 7uestion. #or examle, if a (ob alicant "as as'ed, E:ave you ever
been as'ed to leave a (ob8E a secific denial "ould be, E!Fve never been fired from
any full-time emloyer.E The intervie"er needs to recogni1e "hat the alicant is not
denying. !n this instance, the alicant may have been as'ed to leave a osition
under a mutual agreement, "hich is aramount to being fired. & second ossibility is
that the alicant may have been fired from a art-time emloyer. !t is, therefore,
imortant to as' follo"-u 7uestions "hich address both of these ossibilities. The
follo"ing is an examle of this, "here the investigator "ants to establish the sub(ectFs
access to a handgun<
L+ R)o you have any handguns in your home*R
A+ RIQve never purchased a handgun in my life.R
L+ R5ave you received a handgun as a gift*R
A+ R%o.R
L+ R5ave you received a handgun in trade for something else*R
A+ R%o.R
L+ RAre there any handguns in your house that belong to someone else*R
A+ R!ell" my dad has an old .<A from the army that he keeps here.R
Clarifying Esti)ation Phrases
&s the name imlies, an estimation hrase offers a ersonal oinion usually as to
length of time or ho" often something occurred. Often, decetive sub(ects "ill use an
estimation hrase to hide incriminating information. /hen a sub(ectFs resonse
includes an estimation hrase, the intervie"er should as' a follo"-u 7uestion "hich
suggests a more incriminating ans"er as the follo"ing examles demonstrate.
L+ R!hen is the last time youQve experimented with an illegal drug*R
A+ RItQs been a long time.R
L+ R5ave you used any this week*R
A+ R/h gosh no. ItQs been < or A weeks BB ever since I started looking for a 8ob.R
L+ R5ow often did you and your wife fight*R
A+ R%ot that often.R
L+ R!ould it be maybe three or four times a week*R
A+ R%o. 6aybe twice a week.R
L+ R!hen is the last time you saw -inda*R
A+ RItQs been 'uite a while.R
L+ R)id you see her at all yesterday*R
A+ R%o. I think it was two days ago.R
This same follo"-u techni7ue can be used effectively "hen a susect delays his
ans"er to a direct 7uestion. & delay before ans"ering a direct 7uestion often
indicates that the sub(ect is debating "hether to tell art of the truth, or a comlete
fabrication. 9y suggesting an incriminating resonse before the sub(ect verbali1es his
ans"er, it becomes much easier for the susect to tell art of the truth as the
follo"ing dialogue illustrates<
L+ R)uring your meeting" did your hand come in contact with your secretaryQs thigh*R
A+ R;m...R
L+ R!ere you massaging her thigh with your hand*R
A+ R/h no. It was really 8ust kind of a light touch and I didnQt mean anything sexual by it.R
L+ R5ow long would you say your hand was on her thigh*R
A+ R-etQs see ...R
L+ R!as your hand on her thigh during most of the meeting*R
A+ R/h gosh no. #en" maybe 1A seconds at the most.R
!u"#ective Ter)inology
&n intervie" 7uestion should be hrased in such a "ay as to transmit a single, clear
meaning. Therefore, it "ould be imroer to as' a sub(ect, EAid you engage in
internal esionage against the Knited $tates.E This is an ambiguous 7uestion
because it re7uires )or assumes* that the sub(ect 'no"s "hat esionage is and that
he can differentiate bet"een internal and external esionage. 6onse7uently, a
sub(ect "ho sold classified information to a foreign comany may exerience little
anxiety "hen denying this ambiguous 7uestion.
$imilarly, "hen a sub(ectFs resonse contains ambiguous terminology, the intervie"er
must not assume that the sub(ect is attaching the same meaning to "ords as the
intervie"er. Therefore, "hen a sub(ect incororates sub(ective, technical or legal
terminology "ithin a resonse, the intervie"er should either have the sub(ect define
the meaning of the "ord, or ursue the area "ith 7uestions that transmit a single,
clear meaning.
@eturning to the examles under 4vasive @esonses, the first dialogue concluded
"ith the follo"ing statement by the sub(ect, E$exual contact8 3o. ! "ouldnFt consider
it sexual contact.E This resonse contains sub(ective terminology )sexual contact*
and re7uires clarification. 9ecause the resonse imlies some contact, an
aroriate follo"-u 7uestion to as' at this oint may be, ETell me about the contact
you have had "ith your ste-daughterFs vaginal area8E
!n the second examle, "ithin this same section, the sub(ect resonded, E&bsolutely
notR ! canFt believe that anyone "ould thin' that !Fm a child molesterRE The term Echild
molesterE is obviously sub(ective and "ill be defined 7uite differently by a 6hild
-rotective $ervice investigator than a father "ho is having sexual contact "ith his
ste-daughter. /hen a sub(ect uses descritive or legal language "ithin a resonse
it is often roductive, as a follo"-u 7uestion, to have the sub(ect define the term. !n
this instance, the sub(ect may describe a child molester as a erson "ho abducts
children and forces them to engage in erverted sexual acts. 6onveniently, of
course, this definition does not aly to the comliant, non-invasive sexual contact
the sub(ect had "ith his ste-daughter.
The +niversal -ollow-up <uestion
The easiest lie to tell is one that is based on a artial truth. This is esecially effective
if the truth is some"hat incriminating. Too often, once an intervie"er hears the
sub(ect ma'e an admission against self interest, the ans"er is acceted as the "hole
truth. This is rarely the case. 6onse7uently, our final suggested follo"-u 7uestion is
"hat "e call the universal follow*up because it alies to many ossible resonses
during an intervie". Pery simly, once a sub(ect ma'es an admission against self
interest, the investigator should as' the same 7uestion excluding the admission, e.g.,
DBesides for that222D, as the follo"ing dialogue illustrates<
L+ R5as your driverQs license ever been suspended*R
A+ R;nfortunately" yes it was. ack when I was 1F" I had too many speeding tickets and it
was suspended for three months.R
L+ R?esides for ha#i! i" sus'eded $he (ou $ere /@ has your license been suspended
any other time*R
A+ RActually" there was another incident which is kind of complicated because it involved a
);I where it was suspended for six months. ut I have it back now and everything is
straightened out.R
L+ R?esides for "hose "$o o11asios" has your license been suspended any other time*R
A+ R#here was 8ust one other time" again for a );I" and that one was for 10 months. I 8ust
got my license renewed last month" which is why IQm applying for a driving position.R
Many susects "ho lie during an intervie" escae detection by offering minor
admissions "hich the intervie"er accets as the "hole truth. @eturning to some
earlier examles, under Memory Oualifiers, the universal follo"-u 7uestion to as' in
this dialogue "ould be, E9esides for going to the store, did you leave your house any
other time that night8E /ithin the dialogue for $ecific Aenials, an aroriate follo"-
u 7uestion to as' is, E9esides for that .BH, do you have any other handguns in your
home8E The rule, simly stated, is that anytime a sub(ectFs resonse to an intervie"
7uestion contains an admission, no matter ho" insignificant, the universal follo"-u
7uestion should be as'ed.
!n summary, "hen a sub(ectFs verbal resonse contains a behavior symtom
indicating ossible decetion, the intervie"er should ursue the area "ith follo"-u
7uestions in an effort to learn more of the truth. Through exerience, "e have found
that the follo"-u 7uestions suggested in this "eb ti are often beneficial in
develoing admissions or more meaningful information.
The +se of Tric6ery and %eceit %uring Interrogation June, 2000
Auring an interrogation, an investigator attemts to ersuade a susect to tell the
truth, oftentimes to rovide incriminating evidence that "ill be used in a subse7uent
rosecution. #urther, interrogations are generally conducted in situations "here there
is insufficient evidence to assure a conviction and, in many cases, the susectFs
actual guilt may not be =00I certain. !f an investigator "as re7uired to be comletely
truthful "ith a susect, the interrogation "ould sound li'e this< EJoe, ! am not sure you
committed this crime and "e do not have enough evidence to rosecute you for it.
Therefore, ! "ould li'e you to confess to me so that "e can convict you and send you
to rison.E Obviously, under this circumstance, no susect "ould ever confess. Out of
necessity, therefore, interrogation relies extensively on dulicity and retense.
&n !nvestigator may exaggerate his confidence in the susectFs guilt, establish a
misleading reason for the interrogation, such as needing to establish the
circumstances that led u to the crime, dislay feelings of symathy and comassion
to"ard the susect that are far from genuine, and, in some cases, falsely tell the
susect that evidence exists "hich lin's him to the crime. Tric'ery and deceit during
an interrogation, therefore, occurs on a continuum. !t is the latter extreme )lying to a
susect about evidence* that raises most 7uestions.
!n =?D? the K.$. $ureme 6ourt uheld a confession obtained by the use of tric'ery
"here a homicide susect "as falsely told that his accomlice had already confessed
;6ra7ier v. (upp<. $ince then, numerous other #ederal and $tate courts have
similarly uheld confessions obtained through the use of substantial deceit by the
investigator. :o"ever, courts have also imosed limits on the use of tric'ery and
deceit. #or examle, an investigator cannot use a tactic that "ould Eshoc' the
conscience of the community,E such as the investigator introducing himself as the
susectFs court aointed la"yer and obtaining a confession under the retense of
needing to 'no" the truth to best defend the susect. $imilarly, a #ederal court ruled
that it is imroer to manufacture fictitious evidence against the susect and using
the EevidenceE during an interrogation. The general guideline is that false verbal
assertions are ermissible, e.g., EThe crime lab identified your A3& on the victimE but
creating false evidence )tying u a fictitious crime lab reort* is not.
6ourts recogni1e that falsely telling a susect that his fingerrints "ere found inside
the victimFs home, for examle, "ould not be at to cause an innocent susect to
& erson of normal intelligence and mental caacity "ould certainly not
lace greater confidence in the investigatorFs statement than his o"n 'no"ledge that
he "as not in the victimFs home. The tactic of falsely telling a susect that evidence
lin's him to the crime scene has layed an instrumental role in ersuading many
guilty susects to confess "ho other"ise may not have done so. !t is, ho"ever, a
ris'y interrogation ractice, and one that should be used "ith caution.
The inherent danger of lying to a susect about the existence of fictitious evidence is
"hen the susect does not believe the investigatorFs statement. Knder this
circumstance, the investigatorFs credibility may be irrearably damaged. This is
esecially true "hen the susect calls the investigatorFs bluff and demands to see the
evidence )as fre7uently haens "ith more street-"ise susects*. Once the
investigator loses the susectFs trust, the susect may dismiss the investigatorFs
aarent confidence in his guilt, 7uestion the investigatorFs symathetic demeanor,
and challenge the entire retense for the interrogation. !n other "ords, the susect
may reali1e that the investigator is only interested in obtaining evidence to be used in
an effort to unish him for his crime.
/ith this in mind, the follo"ing recommendation is offered< introduce fictitious
evidence during an interrogation only as a last resort effort to sto ersistent, but
"ea', denials or to maintain the attention of a susect "ho exhibits clear signs of
sychologically "ithdra"ing. 6ertainly, resenting fictitious evidence against a
susect early during an interrogation should be avoided as it often results in
un"anted denials.
9ecause of the reviously mentioned ha1ard, only rarely does our staff out-right lie to
a susect about the existence of evidence lin'ing him to the crime. @ather, they infer
that such evidence exists. 4xamles of these statements include, E! "ouldnFt be
tal'ing to you this "ay unless ! had roof that you "ere "ith her that nightRE, or, E!Fve
seen the evidence and thereFs no doubt you "ere inside that homeRE $imilarly, the
investigator may simly state, E/e 'no" that she got into your car right outside the
school yard and "e 'no" that you drove do"n Kniversity &venue "ith her in your
6entral to each of these statements, is that the investigator does not identify the
secific evidence that lin's the susect to the crime scene, e.g., fingerrints, eye
"itnesses, A3&, etc. @ather, the secific form of evidence is left unsaid. This
aroach minimi1es the inevitable challenge by the susect of, E/ho is your
"itness8E, or E5et me see that crime lab reort.E
&nother aroach, that has a similar safeguard, is to refer to the evidence in the
future tense. This "as used successfully in a case "here it "as 'no"n that the
eretrator left a "ad of gum at the crime scene. The investigator stated, E/e
recovered the gum and are in the rocess of having the saliva "ithin the gum
analy1ed for A3& mar'ers. /e both 'no" that "hen "e get those results bac' itFs
going to sho" that you "ere the erson "ho che"ed that gum and left it in the
!n summary, investigators are legally granted "ide latitude "ith resect to the use
tric'ery and deceit during an interrogation. /hile out-right lies concerning the
existence of evidence that lin's a susect to a crime scene or victim can be very
ersuasive, there is al"ays a ris' that the statement may not be believed or that the
susect "ill insist on seeing roof of the evidence. Therefore, it is often
advantageous to merely imly the existence of such evidence, or ma'e reference to
the fact that the evidence "ill shortly establish the susectFs resence at the crime
The ole of Eye Contact %uring Interpersonal Co))unication May, 2000
/hen average eole are as'ed about nonverbal communication, most "ill mention
eye contact. The eyes are considered Ethe "indo"s of the soulE and The 4agles
"arned that, Eyou canFt hide your lying eyes.E /hen Judge Judy detects ossible
decetion, she admonishes the "itness to loo' her in the eyes. 4ffective
communicators learn not only ho" to read the meaning of another ersonFs eye
contact, but also to use their o"n eye contact to influence other eole. This field of
study is referred to as ga7e and mutual ga7e. !nterestingly, of all ossible nonverbal
behaviors studied, eye contact is generally least influenced through
sychohysiological rocesses, but rather is a learned resonse deending on
societal rules. #urthermore, not all societies teach the same rules. The follo"ing
discussion alies generally to "estern culture.
Brea6s of *a,e
6onsider that you are attending a seminar and the instructor as's for a volunteer to
come to the front of the class to demonstrate a rincile. !f you do not "ant to be
called uon, your eyes "ill immediately go do"n to the table to. This unconscious
dro of ga1e sends the message of shame, guilt or embarrassment. !n other
situations, for examle "hen a clergyman exresses his condolences at the assing
of a loved one, a dro of ga1e signals symathy and comassion. 3eurolinguistically,
a do"n"ard brea' of ga1e indicates that emotional centers of the brain are being
Obviously, "hen an investigator is intervie"ing a susect, victim or "itness,
unconscious do"n"ard brea's of ga1e may send the un"anted message, E! am
uncomfortable as'ing you these 7uestions.E To instill confidence and credibility, it is
imortant that a sea'er maintain eye contact "hen addressing another erson.
:o"ever, during an interrogation "hen the investigator is dislaying symathy and
comassion to"ard the susectFs unfortunate situation, a do"n"ard brea' of ga1e
may greatly enhance the investigatorFs sincerity. $imilarly, during an interrogation,
the susect "hose eyes dro do"n"ard often means that the susect is
exeriencing remorse and guilt. This can be a 'ey behavior that the susect is on the
verge of confessing.
& different meaning is attached "hen the eyes brea' ga1e to the side or u"ard.
Knder this circumstance, the sub(ect may be recalling factual information, forming an
oinion, editing unnecessary information from a resonse or fabricating an ans"er.
$uch brea's of ga1e should be exected from a truthful susect "ho is as'ed a
hyothetical 7uestion, or one that re7uires long term memory. &s an examle,
consider t"o susects "ho "ere as'ed the follo"ing 7uestion concerning an alibi
"here they both claimed that t"o "ee's ago they "ere home alone on the night of
the crime. EAid you receive any telehone calls that evening8E The first susect,
"ithout brea'ing ga1e resonds, E3o one called at all.E The second susect, after
brea'ing ga1e and delaying slightly, resonds, E3o one called at all.E 4ven though
their verbal resonses "ere the same, the second susectFs resonse is more
credible because the 7uestion re7uires accessing memory and, thus, a brea' of ga1e
"ould be aroriate.
.utual *a,e
/hen t"o eole are conversing about a toic of mutual interest the normal level of
eye-to-eye contact is bet"een >0 - D0I of the time. This is referred to as mutual
ga1e. /hen interacting "ith a sea'er, the listenerFs eyes generally focus on the
sea'erFs mouth. & conscientious communicator "ill recogni1e "hen the other
erson raises his ga1e slightly to ma'e direct eye-to-eye contact. /hen the ga1e is
held it is a signal that the other erson "ants to say something. 6onsider a
committee meeting "here you strongly disagree "ith a roosal a sea'er is ma'ing.
!n an effort to be recogni1ed and voice your disaroval, you "ill attemt to ma'e
direct eye contact "ith the sea'er. 3onverbally, you are as'ing ermission to be
called uon to sea'.
Auring an interrogation a susect "ho has been 7uietly listening to the investigatorFs
theme may try to establish mutual ga1e to see' ermission to sea'. !nvariably, if
this ermission is granted, the susect "ill offer a denial. /hether the denial is
truthful or decetive "ill re7uire further assessment, but the societal rule remains<
-rior to interruting a sea'er, often an attemt "ill be made to establish mutual
ga1e "ith that sea'er.
Mutual ga1e by an investigator can be used during an intervie" to encourage a
sub(ect to continue to tal'. &ssume that you have as'ed a sub(ect the 7uestion, ETell
me about your relationshi "ith )the victim*8E and the susect offers a shallo"
resonse. 9y establishing mutual ga1e "ith the susect follo"ing his resonse sends
the nonverbal message, E! "ant you to tell me more.E Knder this circumstance simly
by loo'ing at the susectFs eyes, and erhas nodding your head, most susects "ill
continue to tal'.
(ature of Eye Contact
4ye contact can be generally described as cold, hard, enetrating, "arm or soft.
Ouantifying these descritions can be difficult, but they refer to uillary dilation and
related muscles affecting the oening of the eye lids and contraction of the eye
bro"s. & cold, hard stare may signify defiance, anger or authority. &s an examle,
"ith the roer stare a arent can send the nonverbal message to a child, EAonFt do
thatRE & susect "ho dislays this tye of eye contact may be legitimately angry,
"hich is more often associated "ith truthfulness. !f the stare is forced and
inconsistent "ith other nonverbal behaviors, it may reflect defiance "hich is more
often associated "ith decetion.
Auring an intervie", an investigator should avoid a cold hard stare since it signifies
an emotional detachment from the susect, "hich is undesirable. @ather, "arm and
soft eye contact should be used. This tye of eye contact encourages oen
communication since it is associated "ith oenness, trust and li'ing. !nnocent
susects, "ho are not overly nervous, often dislay "arm and soft eye contact during
an intervie". 6onversely, a decetive susectFs eyes are often described as shifty,
unfocused or averting.
-actors Influencing Eye Contact
!n addition to culture, a sub(ectFs eye contact may be influenced by their ersonality,
general nervous tension, their emotional state and various medical conditions. !t is
imortant, therefore, that an investigator establish a baseline of normal eye contact
for each sub(ect before attaching significance to this behavior. Of e7ual imortance,
an investigator should be a"are of his or her o"n eye contact "hen communicating
"ith others. $ome eole simly have atyical eye contact. They may engage in a
enetrating, cold hard stare "hen conversing about even insignificant toics. Others,
may exhibit generally oor eye contact "hen tal'ing to a trusted friend about a toic
of mutual interest. $uch deviations from societal norms may cause difficulties for an
investigator "hose success is so closely associated "ith effective communication.
E&ICITI(* A(% E0A&+ATI(* A( A&IBI &ril, 2000
One of the most efficient means to eliminate a ossible susect in a crime is if his
alibi roves to be correct. This is only true, ho"ever, "hen the investigator is
absolutely certain of the time of the offense and "hen there are indeendent
"itnesses to corroborate the alibi. Knfortunately, in many situations, an investigator
must ma'e an immediate decision follo"ing an intervie" "hether or not to interrogate
a susect, "ithout the benefit of being able to verify an alleged alibi.
There are a number of behavioral characteristics "hich tend to suort or refute the
validity of an alibi. To ta'e advantage of these, the investigator must elicit an alibi in a
manner "hich rovides the most meaningful of information. 6onsider a home
invasion "here a (e"eler "as robbed by a man last #riday night at %<>0. The
traditional intervie" 7uestion as'ed to elicit this susectFs alibi "ould be, E/here
"ere you last #riday night at %<>08E The susect may resond, E! "as shoing at Q-
Mart for a birthday resent for my nehe".E #ollo"-u 7uestions may reveal that the
susect urchased a football, for "hich he aid J2H.00 cash, but he did not 'ee his
receit. #urthermore, the susect denies encountering anyone he 'ne" during his
shoing tri. !s this alibi true or false8 Liven this limited information it is imossible
to tell. $uose, ho"ever, that the susect "as as'ed the follo"ing 7uestion to elicit
his alibi< ETell me everything you did last #riday night from D<00 until ?<00.E This
7uestion offers the otential for much more meaningful information. 9ecause it does
not reveal the time of the crime )%<>0*, the innocent susectFs detail and recollections
of his activities should be similar before and after the commission of the crime. The
decetive susect, ho"ever, 'no"s "hen he committed the crime and this guilty
'no"ledge may influence his recounting of events. :e may offer s'etchy information
rior to and after the commission of the crime, but very secific details at the time of
the crime )a rehearsed alibi*. On the other hand, the guilty susect may tell the truth
about his general activities before and after the crime, "hich includes a fair amount
of detail, but he conveniently glosses over the details of his "hereabouts at the time
the crime "as committed )an unreared alibi*. $ome crimes involve incriminating
activities before and after the actual commission of the crime. Knder this
circumstance, the guilty susect must fabricate most of his account, "here the entire
account tends to be vague. 6onsider the follo"ing t"o resonses to the 7uestion,
ETell me everything you did last #riday night bet"een D<00 and ?<00.E
$K9J46T =< E&t D<00 ! had (ust arrived home from "or' and ! too' a sho"er because
! 'ne" ! "as going to go out for i11a. ! had already arranged "ith a friend from "or',
@ic' Johnson, to meet at the -i11a :ut on $unset &ve. /e "ere going to meet there
at 8<00. @ic' "as bringing a date and ! "anted to bring one too but ! didnFt get a
chance during the day to call anyone. &round D<>0 ! called 9etsy Qing, a girl ! dated
in high school and occasionally go out "ith, but there "as no ans"er so ! ended u
going alone. On $aturday my brother "as having a birthday arty for my nehe"
-aul and ! hadnFt yet gotten him a resent. There is a Q-Mart right across the street
from the -i11a :ut so ! left my aartment at around %<00 and got to the Q-Mart at
maybe %<=H. ! 'ne" ! "as going to get him a football so ! ic'ed one out and then, to
'ill time, ! loo'ed at caming stoves and lanterns. 3ext month !Fm going to go "ith
some friends on a caming tri u 3orth and ! still need some basic e7uiment. &t
any rate, ! only bought the football and that "ould have been around %<BH or so. !
"ent right from the Q-Mart do"n the street to the -i11a :ut and arrived before @ic'
and Lloria. ! ordered a beer "hile ! "aited for them and they arrived a little after 8<00.
/e ordered a i11a and a itcher of beer and "e "ere there until after ?<00. /e left
together and ! didnFt get home until about ?<>0.E
$K9J46T 2< E&t D<00 ! "as (ust hanging in my aartment and ! needed to buy a
resent for my nehe"Fs birthday so ! "ent to the Q-Mart on $unset and bought him
a football. &t %<>0 ! "as inside Q-Mart buying the football. ! aid J2H.00 cash for it in
the exress lane. 4ventually, ! left and "ent out for i11a at -i11a :ut. ! thin' ! "as
still at the -i11a :ut at ?<00 because ! didnFt get home that night until later.E
!n analy1ing these t"o alibis, the first aears to be much more credible than the
second. !n addition to the details offered "ithin the first statement, other indications of
truthfulness include< =. $ecific information "ith resect to time, eoleFs names and
locations; 2. The account contains unnecessary information )thoughts, things that
"ere not done*; >. The account follo"s the susectFs normal behavior, e.g., he has
gone out "ith these friends for dinner in the ast and often dines in at this -i11a :ut.
On the other hand, the second alibi is s'etchy excet for the time eriod of the crime.
!t contains the follo"ing decetive criteria<
=. Pague information "ith resect to time, eoleFs names and locations;
2. The absence of unnecessary information [ the account focuses on behaviors to
connect one event to the other;
>. ETime-gaE hrases that indicate something is being left out of the account, e.g.,
Eafter a "hileE, EeventuallyE, Ethe next thing ! 'ne"E;
B. The account may not reresent the susectFs normal behavior, e.g., this is only the
second time in =0 years that the susect has eaten at this articular -i11a :ut [ he
almost al"ays orders a i11a for delivery. & 'ey in eliciting a meaningful alibi in this
manner is to instruct the susect to tell you everything that he did bet"een t"o time
eriods )generally a coule of hours before and after the crime*. & 7uestion such as,
ETell me "hat you did last #riday night,E "ill often result in a general accounting of
events from both the truthful and decetive susects.
T/E O&E O- %E-E(!E .EC/A(I!.! I( %ETECTI(* %ECEPTIO( March,
The act of committing a crime is al"ays associated "ith an emotional state. Most
criminals exerience some level of shame, guilt or loss of self-esteem. Others
rimarily exerience a fear of being caught. & very fe" )the sychoath* "ill
exerience excitement and thrill. 9ecause shame, anxiety and fear are all
undesirable emotional states, the mind "ill attemt to reduce these negative feelings
by using defense mechanisms. & defense mechanism is a habitually emloyed
ad(ustive reaction designed to reduce un"anted feelings by distorting or denying the
/e all use defense mechanisms to coe "ith everyday guilt and anxiety. !f ! am late
in "riting the monthly /eb Ti, and conse7uently exerienced guilt or shame, it
"ould not sooth those feelings by ac'no"ledging that ! rocrastinated and "as
oorly organi1ed. To reduce my guilt and shame ! may utili1e any number of defense
mechanisms. ! may blame my boss for assigning me too many other tas's "hich did
not leave me enough time to "rite the /eb Ti. ! may reduce guilt by contrasting
"hat ! did to something much "orse, e.g., it "as only a coule days late, not a "hole
month. ! may forgive my tardiness by forming a belief that others engage in the same
behaviors as ! do and, therefore, ! am no different than anyone else. There are many
other ossible defense mechanisms, but these illustrate the concet[ they all
reduce un"anted feelings and are habitually emloyed. & erson does not
consciously distort or deny the truth. The mind does it unconsciously.
Auring an intervie", "hen an investigator 7uestions a guilty susect about the crime
he committed, it can be safely assumed that the susect has already emloyed one
or more defense mechanisms to hel him coe "ith his crime. The innocent susect,
on the other hand, has no need to reduce guilt or shame associated "ith the crime
under investigation. Therefore, "hen defense mechanisms are identified during an
intervie", they should be associated "ith a guilty susect. 6onsider the follo"ing
examles of resonses to intervie" 7uestions<
O< /ave you ever 0ust thought a#out forcing a woman to have se" with you1
&< 2ell, sure+ !very guy thin(s a#out that #ut that doesn3t mean I3d follow
through with it+
This illustrates the defense mechanism of identification. /ith identification a sub(ect
forms a false belief that others share his attitudes. & susect guilty of committing a
crime "ould li'e to believe that he is no different than the ma(ority of the oulation.
The above susect could be as'ed, E/hat ercentage of men do you thin', at some
oint in their life, have forced a "oman to have sex "ith them8E & guilty susect often
relates a very high ercentage.
O< 2hy do you thin( some people do file a false insurance claim1
&< May#e to get #ac( at the insurance company for charging such high
This resonse suggests the defense mechanism of pro0ection. !t can be defined as
lacing blame a"ay from ourselves and onto someone or something else. The
homicide susect may blame the victim for getting him angry; a burglar may blame
an accomlice for tal'ing him into brea'ing into the home; a robber may blame his
addiction to drugs for causing him to have to steal money. 9ecause ro(ection is such
a common defense mechanism, the investigator should actively see' information
during an intervie" to hel identify "ho or "hat the guilty susect may have blamed
for his crime.
O< 2hat do you thin( should happen to the person who too( this 4%5551
&< 2ell, I definitely thin( that there should #e disciplinary action #ut I don3t
thin( they should go so far as to have the person put in 0ail unless it was for a
very large amount+
/hen a susect contrasts his crime to something much "orse he is using the
defense mechanism of minimi)ation. /e all exerience some level of relief 'no"ing
that something bad could have been much "orse. !n the guilty susectFs mind, a rae
or robbery "as not that bad because the victim "as not 'illed. Arug dealers minimi1e
their crime by contrasting the relatively minor drugs they sell to something much
harder li'e heroine. & comuter hac'er may minimi1e his crime by contrasting the
mere disrution of a commercial "eb site to brea'ing into a national security
comuter and selling information to the highest bidder.
O< Did you start that fire1
&< 6o, #ut I was smo(ing in the area where the fire started and I have this
strange feeling that may#e my cigarette may have accidentally started the fire+
This is a ossible examle of rationali)ation "herein a erson re-describes the
intentions behind his act. /henever, during an intervie", a susect accets ossible
resonsibility for the crime in a "ay that removes criminal intent, rationali1ation
should be susected. &ctual intervie" examles "e have heard from susects "ho
later confessed include being the erson "ho may have un'no"ingly thro"n a"ay a
missing money from an evidence room, a susect "ho said he ossibly had
inadvertent contact "ith a ste-daughterFs bare breast "hen tuc'ing her into bed and
a susect in a hit and run accident "ho told us he had a vague recollection of maybe
hitting something "ith his car. !n each of these cases the guilty susect reduced
considerable guilt associated "ith his or her crime by acceting ossible hysical
)but not legal* resonsibility for it.
Obviously, there are cases in "hich a susect may be telling the truth "hen
ac'no"ledging that an act occurred accidentally or inadvertently. & guideline to
consider is that the decetive sub(ect often introduces his resonsibility for the crime
as a mere ossibility. The guilty susect generally does not come out and say, E!t
must have been my cigarette that started that fire because it started right "here ! "as
smo'ing and it couldnFt have been anything else.E
O< /ow do you feel a#out #eing interviewed concerning this forged chec(1
&< I feel li(e I3m #eing framed for this thing+ I don3t (now why you3re tal(ing to
me a#out this+ It could have #een any#ody+ 2hy would I need to forge
someone3s chec( when I have my own chec(ing account 7 tell me that1
The defense mechanism involved in this resonse is displacement. &n emotional
tirade, esecially "hen it comes out of no"here and is not accomanied "ith
suorting nonverbal behaviors, is often emanating from a decetive susect. &
erson "ho feels guilt or loss of esteem because of something he or she did may
reduce that feeling by dislacing it "ith anger directed to"ard the intervie"er. &nger
is a much easier emotion for the susect to deal "ith than guilt because anger is
directed a"ay from the susect to"ard someone or something else. Luilt or shame,
on the other hand, are directed in"ard and the best "ay to deal "ith them is to
ac'no"ledge the truth [ something most susects do not "ant to do.
!n summary, almost every susect "ho has committed a crime "ill reduce un"anted
feelings associated "ith their crime through the use of defense mechanisms. On the
other hand, a susect innocent of committing a crime has no need to reduce feelings
of guilt, anxiety, shame or fear of being caught. Therefore, "hen a susectFs
resonse to an intervie" 7uestion reveals the use of a defense mechanism, it
suorts the oinion of decetion. &s "ith any behavior symtom, it is imortant to
evaluate the totality of the sub(ectFs behaviors throughout the entire intervie" to loo'
for trends and atterns before a final oinion of truth or decetion can be rendered
"ith confidence.
0EI-AI(* A( E.P&OA.E(T /I!TOA %+I(* A PEE.P&OA.E(T
I(TE0IEW #ebruary, 2000
!t is "ell established that the best redictor of a (ob alicantFs future behavior is that
ersonFs recent ast behavior. This is articularly true "ith resect to their
emloyment history. :as the alicant demonstrated good reliability "ith ast
emloyers8 Ao the alicantFs ast (ob duties and resonsibilities 7ualify as the tye
of exerience needed for the resent osition8 :as the alicant been discharged
from a revious emloyer, or resigned under ressure8
Knfortunately, it is not ossible to ans"er these 7uestions by merely revie"ing a (ob
alication or resume. & number of studies have sho"n that u to =C> of (ob
alications are inaccurate or contain false information. /ithin the emloyment
section, the three most common areas of misreresentations are failing to list
emloyers, the reason for leaving a (ob, and the (ob osition. & smaller ercentage of
(ob alicants "ill falsify their salary or dates of emloyment "hile the smallest
ercent "ill list fictitious emloyers. This exlains "hy emloyer references, "ho "ill
tyically only verify an alicantFs emloyment and dates of emloyment, often reveal
very little falsified information. !n most situations, the only "ay to identify inaccurate
information about an alicantFs emloyment history is by conducting a face to face
intervie" "ith the alicant.
6onsider the follo"ing information from a (ob alication you must intervie" today.
The (ob alication listed this information about their most recent emloyer<
4mloyer< #irst 3ational 9an'
-osition< &ssistant oerations manager
$alary J>H,000
Aates of emloyment< June, =??% [ 3ovember, =???
@eason for leaving< 6areer advancement
Many intervie"ers "ould 7uestion this alicant along the follo"ing lines<
O< ! see your last (ob "as at the #irst 3ational 9an'.
&< ThatFs right.
O< ! assume that "as a full time osition8
&< Ges, ! "or'ed B0 hours a "ee' and only called in sic' three days during the t"o
years ! "or'ed there.
O< That is 7uite imressive. /hat "ere your duties as an assistant oerations
&< ! "as in charge of teller scheduling and "or'ing "ith tellers "hen there "ere
balancing or rocedural roblems. ! also "as involved in training ne" tellers. ! made
resentations during our monthly meetings and assisted the oerations manager in
some of her duties.
O< !t sounds as though they gave you a lot of resonsibility.
&< Ges they did and ! handled it very "ell. My erformance revie"s "ere al"ays
O< 3o" you left the ban' in 3ovember for career advancement. /hat do you see
yourself doing > years from no"8
&< ! believe ! have the exerience and otential to become an oerations manager at
a larger facility, "hich is "hy ! alied here. Three years from no" ! "ould hoe to be
"or'ing at or near that level.
!f all (ob alications "ere comleted truthfully, this intervie"ing aroach may be
7uite ade7uate. 9ut "hat if this "as one of the >>I of (ob alicants "ho falsified
their alication8 The nature of the intervie"erFs 7uestions almost guarantees that
the misinformation "ill go undetected. The reason for this is that the intervie"erFs
7uestions are all redicated on information already submitted by the alicant. !n
effect, the intervie"er may already be buying into the alicantFs lies and is merely
giving the alicant an oortunity to exand on them and ma'e the misinformation
aear more credible.
#or this reason "e recommend that the human resource intervie"er have the
emloyment alication out of sight during an intervie", and "or' "ith the alicant
to develo a fresh emloyment history. !n other "ords, intervie" an alicant as
though you have no 'no"ledge, "hatsoever, about the ersonFs bac'ground. There
are a number of advantages to this aroach. &s already mentioned, it eliminates the
ossibility that the intervie"er "ill suort re-existing misinformation on the
emloyment alication. !t also forces the alicant to re-construct, from their o"n
memory, their emloyment history. Ksing this guideline, here is ho" the reviously
(ob alicant "ould be intervie"ed<
O< &re you resently emloyed8
&< /ell, !Fm a art-time "aitress but itFs (ust to carry me over until ! find full-time
O< ! understand. /hat is the name of that emloyer8
&< !tFs the Lolden Late restaurant. ! didnFt ut it do"n on the alication because itFs
not really relevant.
O< ThatFs fine. /hen did you start "or'ing for the Lolden Late restaurant8
&< Aecember 2, =???.
O< &nd "here did you "or' before that8
&< The #irst 3ational 9an'.
O< /hat "ere your starting and ending dates for "or'ing at the ban'8
&< ! started right after graduation so that "ould be June of =??% and ! left in
3ovember of =???.
O< /hat "as your osition at the ban' "hen you left8
&< /ell ! "as hired as a teller, but ! also did some administration tye duties.
O< Tell me about those.
&< ! heled the oerations manager train ne" tellers and heled younger tellers
balance their dra"ers and stuff. ! attended monthly oerational meetings and had
inut in those.
O< /hen you left, "hat "as your title8
&< ! guess a teller. They really didnFt have a (ob descrition for "hat ! did.
O< !n 3ovember, before you left, "hat ercentage of your time "as sent "or'ing as
a teller8
&< ! donFt 'no". Maybe ?0I.
O< O'ay. /hy did you leave that (ob8
&< /hy did ! leave8 /ell, its 'ind of hard to exlain. Gou see some ne" accounts that
! had oened came u short and because of those discreancies they had, li'e an
internal investigation and stuff. /ell, there seemed to be a misunderstanding and !
didnFt "ant to be, you 'no", caught u in the middle of it so ! decided to leave. !tFs
really too comlicated to exlain.
O< Aid they as' you to leave the (ob8
&< /ell... ! "ould consider it sort of mutual, if you 'no" ! "hat mean.
/hile this intervie" examle "as created, it is tyical of the (ob alicants "e screen
everyday. 6onsistent "ith national research, about >>I of (ob alicants "e
intervie" have falsified their (ob alications to the extent that the emloyer )our
client* considers the alicant an unsuitable ris' if hired. @e-creating an emloyment
history from scratch during a reemloyment intervie" certainly ta'es more time than
feeding the alicant 7uestions derived from their existing alication. :o"ever, the
extra time sent in the re-screening rocess more than comensates for the costs
of increased liability, decreased moral and roductivity from hiring one undesirable
B+I&%I(* APPOT %+I(* A( I(TE0IEW January, 2000
!ntervie"s in the oular television sho" Aragnet "ere often receded "ith the
admonition, EJust the facts maFam.E The emotional detachment dislayed by $gt.
#riday, ho"ever, is generally not conducive to eliciting meaningful information from a
sub(ect. -eole are more comfortable telling the truth to someone "hom they trust
and can relate to. This is recisely "hy an investigator should send the first several
minutes of an intervie" develoing a raort "ith the sub(ect. #or the uroses of an
investigative intervie", raort can be defined as Ea relationshi mar'ed by
conformity.E !f roer raort has been established, a sub(ect should feel comfortable
discussing the issue under investigation in a 7uestion and ans"er format. Ouestions
addressing the issue under investigation should not be as'ed until the sub(ectFs
behavior reflects this relationshi. $ome behavior symtoms that indicate raort are
an uncrossing of the arms, a for"ard lean or comfortable osture in the chair, longer,
more detailed resonses and head nodding in agreement "ith the investigatorFs
!dentifying the urose for the intervie"
Kon first meeting a sub(ect the investigator needs to identify the issue under
investigation. /hile the follo"ing introduction accomlishes this goal, it may create
other roblems< E9ecause of the revalence of insurance fraud and the susicious
nature of this fire ! need to 7uestion you to find out if you had anything to do "ith
starting it.E & truthful claimant "ould li'ely be offended by this very direct aroach
"hereas the decetive claimant "ould redictably become guarded. & more tactful
"ay of introducing the urose for the intervie" "ould be, E!Fm really sorry about your
loss and ! "ant to rocess this claim as 7uic'ly as ossible. &s art of that rocess !
must as' you some 7uestions concerning the fire. !s this a convenient time to or
"ould you li'e to schedule a time to come in to see me8E This aroach is much
more li'ely to set the stage to develo raort for several reasons. #irst, there is no
imlication of involvement on the art of the sub(ect -- the intervie" is erceived as a
re7uired formality in rocessing the claim. !n this regard, an investigator should avoid
using the hrase E! need to as' you some routine 7uestionsE "hen introducing an
intervie" because it arouses susicion in many sub(ects. $ubstitute hrases to
consider using include, Eto clarify circumstancesE, E to assist in our investigationE or
Eto hel rocess your claim.E The stated urose for the intervie" should be
erceived as either beneficial to the sub(ect )to hel resolve the sub(ectFs status* or
as a re7uired act by someone other than the investigator, e.g., Ebefore "e can close
this case the deartment re7uires us to intervie" anyone "ith ossible information.E
&s a second oint, the roer introduction offered the sub(ect a choice of being
intervie"ed no" or later. &ll innocent sub(ects, and the ma(ority of guilty ones, "ill
agree to be intervie"ed at the resent time )a susect "ho uts off the intervie"
"ithout good reason should be vie"ed susiciously*. The rincile of offering the
sub(ect this choice is that it diminishes the investigatorFs erceived control over the
sub(ect. @aort is difficult to establish if a sub(ect believes that he has no choice but
to ans"er an investigatorFs 7uestions. -sychologically, by offering this choice, the
investigator is delegating some o"er to the sub(ect, "hich is an essential element of
&s'ing introductory 7uestions
Once the urose for the intervie" has been identified, it "ould be the unusual
sub(ect "ho "ould immediately feel comfortable resonding to 7uestions concerning
the investigation. Therefore, the the investigator should roceed by as'ing non-
threatening 7uestions. &s reviously stated, the urose in doing so is to get the
sub(ect accustomed to the 7uestionCans"er format of the intervie". This "ill also
rovide the sub(ect an oortunity to assess the investigatorFs ersonality and
demeanor. $ub(ects "ill feel most comfortable tal'ing to someone "ho aears
leasant, organi1ed and non-threatening. &t the same time, the investigator should
ma'e assessments of the sub(ect. These "ould include the sub(ectFs normal level of
eye contact, his communication s'ills, intelligence and general nervous tension.
!ntroductory 7uestions should aear to have some relevant urose. #or examle, it
may be suggested by the investigator that he needs to establish some basic
information about the sub(ect. #rom that oint the follo"ing 7uestions may be
E:o" long have you lived at this addressE
E/hat is your marital statusE
EAo you have any childrenE
E/here do you resently "or'E
E/hat do you do at "or'E
These 7uestions are actually toical areas designed to sa"n further conversation.
/hen aroriate, the investigator should as' sincere follo"-u 7uestions to dra"
out the sub(ectFs resonse. Ksing a fe" of the above 7uestions, the dialogue may go
as follo"s<
O< E:o" long have you lived at this address8E
&< E/eFve been here for almost =H years no".E
O< E This is a nice lace. Aid you build it8E
&< E3o. ! thin' it "as about H years old "hen "e bought it.E
O< E&nd you are resently married8E
&< EGes.E
O< E/hat is your "ifeFs name8E
&< E9arbara.E
O< E$heFs not here no"8E
&< E3o. $he "or's second shift at Johnson 6ontrols so she "onFt be home until about
This conversation should continue for a minute or t"o until the investigator
recogni1es that the sub(ect is comfortable "ith the intervie"ing rocess. !t is
recommended that the investigator avoids as'ing introductory 7uestions "hich do not
aear to have any relevant bearing on the investigation. Knder that circumstance
the susect may become susicious that the investigator is attemting to force
raort. 4xamles of these 7uestions "ould be, E/hat 'ind of movies do you li'e8E
E/ho is your favorite author8E or, E/ho do you li'e for the suer-bo"l this year8E The
susect, after all, 'no"s that the investigator "ants to discuss a crime "ith him and it
is inaroriate to get into these unrelated areas.
Aecember, =???
@ichard Ofshe, a rolific defense "itness "ho chamions the belief that olice
routinely elicit false confessions, recently testified that the ma(or criticism of the @eid
Techni7ue is its use of the Eaccident scenarioE during an interrogation. !f investigators
loo' for the accident scenario "ithin the index of any of the three editions of 6riminal
!nterrogation and 6onfessions3 they "ill not find it. :o"ever, "hat Ofshe is referring
to can be found on . =0> of the >
edition of that text2 Ofshe states that through the
use of the accident scenario, the @eid Techni7ue teaches investigators ho" to elicit a
false confession. This "eb ti addresses this statement as "ell as the aroriate
time during an interrogation to suggest a more morally accetable motive for an
offense other than "hat is 'no"n or resumed.
The interrogation techni7ue Ofshe refers to is a t"o-art rocess. !f the investigator is
unable to ersuade the susect to tell the truth through the use of standard
interrogation themes, it may be suggested to the susect that the crime "as
committed accidentally or inadvertently )a gun "ent off accidentally during a robbery,
a fire "as inadvertently started "hen the susect "as laying "ith matches*. !n the
case of a theft, the suggestion may be that the susect merely intended to borro" the
money and "as unable to return it. !f the susect ac'no"ledges hysical
resonsibility for the crime, the investigator "ould then initiate the second art of the
techni7ue "hich is to oint out inconsistencies bet"een the susectFs version of
events and "hat actually haened in an effort to learn the true circumstances
behind the act. !t is clearly our osition that an innocent susect "ould not be more
at to admit 'illing another erson accidentally, for examle, than on urose. This
statement assumes, of course, that the susect "as not offered any romise of
leniency or threatened in any "ay. #or examle, it "ould be clearly imroer to tell a
susect, E!f you "ere (ust sho"ing your friend the ne" gun and you ulled the trigger,
not reali1ing that it "as loaded, thatFs an accidental shooting. !f thatFs "hat haened
tell me about it and you can "al' out of here and slee in your o"n bed tonight. On
the other hand if "e leave this thing as it stands, all of the evidence indicates that you
'illed this guy and if you sit there and say nothing all youFre doing is buying more time
in (ail.E
@ichard Ofshe has fre7uently stated that the accident scenario is designed to elicit a
false confession. !f roerly used, this statement is certainly not accurate. The
techni7ue is not designed to, nor is it at to cause an innocent erson to falsely
accet resonsibility for a crime he or she did not commit. &t most, it allo"s a guilty
susect to accet hysical resonsibility for committing his crime couled "ith a false
intention behind his act. & susect "ho originally stated that he "as "or'ing at the
time his girlfriend "as shot to death and, "ho through the use of this techni7ue, no"
states that he did accidentally shoot his girlfriend "hen he "as cleaning his gun has
not offered a false confession. @ather, he has, in all robability, offered an incorrect
circumstance surrounding a factual statement that he is resonsible for shooting his
girlfriend. !f the investigator is unable to elicit the necessary criminal intention behind
the shooting, it "ill be u to a (ury to ma'e that determination. :o"ever, the
investigatorFs efforts to learn the truth by suggesting an accidental shooting hardly
suorts the claim that the susectFs claim that he is resonsible for his girlfriendFs
death is false.
$uggesting a more morally accetable motive for the susectFs offense often
rovides a legal defense for the susect should he maintain that osition, "hich is
clearly undesirable. #or this reason, this interrogation techni7ue should be reserved
for those situations in "hich hysical or circumstantial evidence is available to
contradict the susectFs stated motive -- it must be remembered that this is a
steing stone aroach to learning the truth and if the susect does not "al' the
entire ath"ay "ith the investigator, all that has been accomlished is that the
susect, at most, has offered a ossible admission of guilt. /hen hysical or
circumstantial evidence ointing to the susectFs true intent is absent, this
interrogation aroach should be avoided. &n examle "ould be a child molesting
case "here the child reorts that her Kncle touched her bare vagina. /ith a lac' of
hysical evidence suorting the childFs claim, it "ould be inaroriate to suggests
that the susect may have inadvertently touched his nieceFs vagina "hile "restling
"ith her. !n contrast, consider an embe11lement case "here it is 'no"n that the
embe11ler stole funds over a eriod of =8 months. !n this case it "ould be
aroriate to suggest that the susectFs original intention "as (ust to borro" the
funds and "as unable to reay them.
AA(*I(* A (O(-C+!TO%IA& I(TE0IEW 3ovember, =???
Auring our training seminars "e advocate that if the otion is available it is referable
to conduct a non-custodial intervie" rather than a custodial intervie". To ersuade a
guilty sub(ect to voluntarily agree to resent himself at the investigatorFs location for
an intervie" re7uires that the intervie" be introduced in the roer manner. & ast
case clearly illustrates an imroer aroach<
& business o"ner suffered a theft of J2000 from a deosit bag that "as left in a bac'
office. $even emloyees had access to the stolen money. The o"ner called a
meeting of these emloyees and announced that if the erson "ho stole the money
came for"ard by Monday there "ould be no rosecution. On the other hand, if no
one came for"ard all emloyees "ould be sub(ected to lie-detector tests and "hen
the guilty erson "as identified, he "ould be rosecuted to the full extent of the la".
3eedless to say, no one came for"ard and confessed. /hen the olygrah
examinations "ere scheduled several of the emloyees refused to ta'e the
examination, "hich "as their legal right, and the case "as never solved. 9ecause of
a general lac' of insight to human behavior, the business o"ner un'no"ingly created
a situation "hich almost guaranteed that the emloyee "ho stole the J2000 "ould
not be detected.
The follo"ing guidelines are offered to assist an investigator, or business o"ner, to
encourage susects of a crime to voluntarily agree to be intervie"ed<
*uideline =1< 3ever threaten a sub(ect "ith ossible conse7uences if he is involved
in the crime, or if he does not sho" u for the intervie". !t is sychologically "rong to
remind a sub(ect that if he cooerates "ith the investigation he may "ell be convicted
and go to rison. Most eole "ho commit crimes are chance-ta'ers. They "ill
generally accet the ris' of cooerating "ith an investigation unless the resented
sta'es are so high )threatened rosecution* that they out-"eigh the ris' of
cooeration. $econdly, it is legally imroer to threaten the sub(ect "ith ossible
arrest, or some similar tangible conse7uence, if he fails to agree to be intervie"ed. &
sub(ect "ho resents himself for an intervie" in order to avoid being arrested )or
'ee his (ob* is hardly ans"ering 7uestions voluntarily.
*uideline =4< -resent the intervie" in a ositive light. To understand this guideline it
is aroriate to as', E/hy "ould any erson guilty of a crime agree to ta'e a
olygrah examination or agree to be intervie"ed by the olice8E There are t"o basic
reasons. One is that the erson is afraid that his refusal to cooerate "ill ma'e his
guilt more aarent. & second reason, and one that alies to many guilty susects,
is a need to maintain full ersonal control of oneFs destiny; this translates to the guilty
susectFs drive to EbeatE the olygrah or to lie convincingly during an intervie". To
feed this belief the investigator should resent the intervie" as a means by "hich the
sub(ect can be cleared from susicion. Most certainly, during an invitation to be
intervie"ed a sub(ect should not be told that there is strong evidence imlicating him
in the crime. To the contrary, the intimation should be that the sub(ectFs name came
u eriherally during the investigation. !n some situations an altruistic aeal may
be effective, "here the sub(ect is told that because he 'no"s some of the eole in
the investigation his insight "ould be very helful. !n the reviously mentioned
emloyee theft case, a much different outcome may have resulted had the emloyer
stated, E! reali1e that it is unli'ely that any of you too' the money but to obtain
reimbursement from my insurance comany they are as'ing that you all ta'e a
olygrah examination.E
*uideline =5< !mly that others also have been, or "ill be intervie"ed and avoid
discussing secific evidence against the susect. & guilty susect is unli'ely to
aear voluntarily for an intervie" if he believes that he is the rime susect and,
therefore, the only erson to be intervie"ed on the case. Knder that circumstance, in
his mind, the roosed intervie" is nothing more than a ruse designed to elicit a
confession. $imilarly, the hrase, E/e "ould li'e you to come do"nto"n to ans"er
routine 7uestionsE should be avoided. !f the 7uestions "ere routine, they could be
as'ed at the resent time.
On the other hand, by stating that others also "ill be or have been intervie"ed allo"s
the guilty susect to feel comfortable cooerating "ith the intervie" rocedure
because he is surrounded by other ossible susects. &voiding any mention of
evidence ointing to the sub(ect ermits the guilty sub(ect to believe that there is no
solid evidence against him and that the intervie" is a mere formality of the
*uideline =7< 9e reared to exlain "hy the intervie" must be conducted at your
location. Liven a choice, most sub(ects "ould refer to be intervie"ed in a familiar
surrounding such as their home or lace of business. This environment, of course, is
often not conducive for the investigator. One "ay around this dilemma is to contact
the sub(ect by hone to set u the intervie" in the investigatorFs office. :o"ever,
telehonic communication does not have the same ersuasive effect of tal'ing "ith
the susect directly. Auring a face to face invitation for the intervie" the investigator
should have a reared resonse to offer "hen the sub(ect suggests that the
intervie" be conducted at the resent time. $ome excuses to consider for scheduling
the intervie" in the investigatorFs office may be that your artner needs to be resent,
you do not have the case file "ith you, or that a deartmental olicy re7uires that
investigative intervie"s be conducted in your office.
The follo"ing dialogue incororates these guidelines and is designed to obtain the
cooeration from the sub(ect to sho" u at a scheduled time for a non-custodial
!< E@ic', "e are loo'ing into the incident last "ee' "here that school girl "as shot by
someone in a car. Auring the course of our investigation, "e have develoed a
number of leads and eoleFs names. Gours "as one of them.E
$< E&lright.E
!< E/hat "e have done is to schedule these eole for intervie"s to eliminate them
as ossible susects. !n fact, everyone "ho has come in for their intervie" so far
"eFve been able to eliminate. /hat "eFre hoing is that one of these eole "ill have
seen or heard something that can hel us out. /ould you mind coming to our office
for an intervie"8E
$< E/ell, ! donFt 'no". /hy donFt you (ust as' your 7uestions no" because ! donFt
'no" anything about that.E
!< E/hen "e have direct evidence ointing to a erson "e "ill intervie" them in their
home. 9ut "eFre at an early stage of the investigation so all !Fm doing today is
arranging intervie" times. !Fve got three eole to schedule after you. 3o" you "or'
until B<00 is that right8
$< Geah.
!< E!Fm "ondering if you could ma'e it by B<>0 tomorro" afternoon.E
$< E:o" long "ill it ta'e8E
!< EThe other intervie"s have lasted less than an hour.E
$< E$ure. !Fll be there by B<>0.E
!< ELreat, "eFll see you then.E
&s a legal consideration, it is certainly referable for the sub(ect to arrange his o"n
transortation to the investigatorFs office. & sub(ect "ho is transorted to the office by
the investigator is some"hat limited in his ability to freely leave the office area. !f the
sub(ect is transorted to the office by an investigator it "ill be imortant for that
investigator to remind the sub(ect that he is there voluntarily and is free to leave at
any time.
BE/A0IO October, =???
One of the rinciles of behavior symtom analysis taught in the @eid Techni7ue is
that the investigatorFs demeanor has a significant influence on the sub(ectFs behavior.
#or examle, an investigator "ho becomes accusatory, authoritative and demeaning
during an intervie" "ill redictably cause a sub(ect, regardless of his innocence, to
exhibit symtoms of fear, anxiety or resentment !t is recisely because of this that "e
emhasi1e the imortance of conducting an intervie" in a non-accusatory tone and
to assume a comassionate and understanding demeanor during an interrogation.
/hen an intervie" or interrogation boils do"n to a session "here the susect is
simly accused of lying and as'ed to re-tell his story, the ability to detect decetion
through analysis of the sub(ectFs verbal and nonverbal behavior is greatly reduced.
Knder this circumstance the investigator is left to evaluate information such as
inconsistencies in a sub(ectFs story or unintentional verbal sli-us. #urthermore,
because of the sub(ectFs emotional state, the investigator has no "ay of 'no"ing if
the inconsistencies in the sub(ectFs story are coming from a confused decetive
sub(ect or a frustrated and anxious truthful one.
!n truth, "e do not 'no" "hat an innocent or guilty sub(ectFs behavioral resonses
might be during accusatory 7uestioning because that has never been a ractice of
the @eid Techni7ue -- our intervie"s are al"ays conducted in a non-accusatory
fashion and our interrogations, "hile they start out "ith a clear statement of
involvement, 7uic'ly become a comassionate endeavor in an attemt to understand
"hy the susect committed the crime. Auring an intervie" "e have never accused a
susect of lying to us. $imilarly, during an interrogation "e "ould never admonish a
sub(ect for lying to us and ma'e him go through his account again. -erhas these
techni7ues do result in confessions and are used successfully by other investigators.
:o"ever, they do not reresent techni7ues advocated or used by John 4. @eid and
&ssociates and, therefore, "e do not have any guidelines to offer "ith resect to ho"
a guilty or innocent sub(ect may resond to them.
& recent laboratory study conducted by Qassin and #ong suort our teachings in
this area.
Pideo-taed intervie"s of students "ho "ere assigned either guilty or
innocent roles in committing a moc' crime "ere analy1ed by student observers.
These intervie"s consisted of eliciting an initial statement from the student but then
the investigator became angry and said, EAammit, sto lying to meR /e caught you
cold. 3o" tell the truth.E The sub(ect "as then told to restate his alibi. The average
intervie" lasted less than five minutes.
:alf of the student observers "ho revie"ed the video-taed intervie"s "ere
EuntrainedE and relied on common sense )inconsistencies in accounts, verbal sli-
us, general nervousness* to formulate oinions of the sub(ectFs truthfulness and the
other half "ere EtrainedE in behavior analysis by "atching a >0 minute video
describing some of the behavior symtoms used to evaluate a sub(ect during a non-
accusatory intervie". The study roduced t"o redictable findings< first, neither the
trained nor untrained student observers "ere able to identify truthful or decetive
sub(ects above chance levels. $econd, the trained students, "ho relied uon
behavior symtoms elicited during a non-accusatory intervie", erformed statistically
oorer than the untrained students.
!n conclusion, a sub(ectFs behavior during the course of an intervie" or interrogation
can be influenced by many factors such as the environment in "hich the behavior
"as elicited, the sub(ectFs intelligence or age, the sub(ectFs emotional state and, of
course, the investigatorFs demeanor. 4ach of these variables need to be considered
"hen deciding ho" much "eight to afford behavioral observations. To the extent
ossible, the investigator should eliminate or minimi1e the effects of these variables.
#or examle, an investigator should try to conduct an intervie" in an environment
free from outside or internal distractions, a sub(ect "ho aears angry or uset
should be calmed do"n before an attemt is made to elicit secific behaviors of truth
or decetion. Most certainly, the investigator should not do or say anything during an
intervie" that "ould lace the susect on the defensive or cause unnecessary
anxiety or arehension.
I(TEPETI(* 0EBA& P/A!E! $etember, =???
Auring an intervie" a sub(ect freely chooses "hich "ords or hrases to use "hen
resonding to the investigatorFs 7uestion. This choice is not random or haha1ard; it
is carefully selected to offer either the most accurate resonse ossible or to avoid
the anxiety telling less than the truth "ould cause. 6onsider the follo"ing homicide
examle "here 9ob "as found stabbed to death at %<00<
O< E/hen did you last see 9ob8E
@)=* E@ight around B<00 Tuesday afternoon.E
@)2* E! believe it "as sometime on Tuesday.E
@)>* E&s far as ! remember it "as earlier this "ee'.E
@)B* E!ts been 7uite a"hile.E
@)H* E! really canFt say.E
#rom these resonses alone, it is not ossible to say "hich ones suggest decetion.
$ome variables that influence this assessment include ho" long ago the sub(ect did,
in fact, see 9ob, the sub(ectFs fre7uency of seeing 9ob and the li'elihood that the
sub(ect "ould secifically remember the last time he sa" 9ob. /hat can be stated
"ith confidence is that each resonse, starting "ith @)=* through @)H*, accets less
and less ersonable resonsibility.
The anxiety a sub(ect avoids by selecting certain hrases in his resonse may be the
result of uncertainty, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem or the fear of having a lie
detected. To hel identify ossible decetion, the context in "hich a statement is
made is a 'ey consideration. &s an examle, consider the sub(ect "ho is as'ed, E&t
any time did you touch QatieFs bare vagina8E and his resonse is, E! donFt believe that
has ever haenedE or, E! "ould have to say that ! did not.E 9oth resonses reflect a
lac' of certainty concerning the alleged behavior. !f the sub(ect "as a grade school
teacher he has no legitimate reason to be uncertain about contact "ith her vaginal
area, and decetion should be susected. On the other hand, if the sub(ect "as a
hysician "ho gave Qatie a sortFs hysical the uncertainty may be understandable.
The follo"ing list of hrases and their interretations should rimarily be used to
stimulate follo"-u 7uestions during an intervie", rather than as a clear indication of
decetion. $ome of the guidelines list as )=*, the most tyical interretation and )2*, a
secondary consideration. & good exercise is to monitor your o"n use of these
hrases. &fter you have used one of them, as' yourself "hy you chose to use it and
"hat another erson could have as'ed you at that oint during a conversation to
learn more about your ans"er. &s "ith all behavior symtoms, it should be
remembered that there are no universal "ords or hrases that are al"ays associated
"ith truthfulness or decetion and that the context in "hich a hrase is used is a
critical assessment.
Phrase > I"er're"a"io
AAs far as I 1a
ATo "he &es" of *(
AIf I re1all 1orre1"l(...A
AA" "his 'oi" i "i*e...A

5/6 I a* o" /BBC 1er"ai of $ha" I a* sa(i!.
5)6 I a* &la*i! *( 'oor *e*or( for o" "elli! (ou "he
1o*'le"e "ru"h.

AThe e9" "hi! I ,e$...A
A?efore I ,e$ i"...A

5/6 I a* lea#i! so*e"hi! ou" of *( a11ou".
5)6 This ha''eed #er( -ui1,l(

ATo &e hoes" $i"h (ou...A
ATo "ell (ou "he "ru"h...A

I ha#e o" &ee 1o*'le"el( hoes" 5"ru"hful6 $i"h (ou u' "o
"his 'oi" 5usuall( "hrou!h o*issio6.

A%ui"e fra,l(...A
A%ui"e hoes"l(...A
Wha" I a* a&ou" "o "ell (ou is ol( 'ar" of "he "ru"h.

AAs 1ra:( as i" souds...A
ANo" "o e#ade (our
-ues"io4 &u"...A
ADou 'ro&a&l( $o<"
&elie#e "his...A

I $a" (ou "o a11e'" *( res'ose e#e "hou!h i" is 1ra:(4 is
e#asi#e or is o" &elie#a&le.

AAs I "old "he o"her
ALi,e I $ro"e i *(
AEarlier I "old (ou...A
AAs I 're#iousl(

5/6 I do<" $a" "o lie "$i1e a&ou" "his.
5)6 I a* frus"ra"ed ha#i! "o !o "hrou!h "his a!ai.

AI s$ear...A
AAs God is *( $i"ess...A
ADou<#e !o" "o &elie#e

5/6Dou should<" &elie#e $ha" I a* a&ou" "o sa(.
5)6 Dou 'ro&a&l( $o<" &elie#e $ha" I a* a&ou" "o sa(.

AI 1a<" re*e*&erA
AI 1a<" "ell (ou...A
AI 1a<" hel' (ou ou".A

5/6 I" is o" i *( &es" i"eres" "o re*e*&er4 "o "ell (ou4 or
"o hel' (ou ou".
5)6 ?e1ause of so*e i"risi1 reaso 5e*&arrass*e"4 fear4
a!er6 I do<" $a" "o "al, a&ou" "his.

AI 'ro&a&l(...A
AMos" li,el( I...A
AI" $ould &e "('i1al for
*e "o...A

I" is 'ossi&le "ha" so*e"hi! o"her "ha $ha" I said i *(
res'ose reall( ha''eed.

AM( as$er $ould &e...A
AI $ould ha#e "o sa(...A

5/6 I a* offeri! a es"i*a"io ad do<" ,o$ for 1er"ai.
5)6 If I "ell (ou $ha" ha''eed I $ould i1ri*ia"e *(self.

AI feel...A
AI &elie#e...A
AI "hi,...A

I a* offeri! a o'iio4 &u" ha#e o s'e1ifi1 'roof "o &a1,
u' *( 'osi"io.

AI ,o$...A
AI re*e*&er...A
AI heard...A
AI sa$...A
I a* "elli! (ou so*e"hi! "ha" I 'ersoall( $i"essed.

RI do<" ,o$A <