INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES P R E S E N T E D B Y D AV I D B . M A C D O U G A L L I N F O R M AT I O N S E R V I C E S , L L C . C O L U M B I A , S . C . A Licensed South Carolina PI since 1979 South Carolina Association of Legal Investigators (SCALI) National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI) National Council of Investigative and Security Services (NCISS)
South Carolina Public Defender Investigator Association This presentation is the result of decades of extensive psychological, sociological and anthropological studies conducted by the brightest and best minds of all time. Naaaa.not really but it is the result of decades
of trial and error I N T E R R O G AT E : Ask questions of someone, especially a suspect or prisoner, aggressively. INTERVIEW: A meeting of people face to face Synonym: conversation
Who does the best interview? Why would you conduct an interview if the police already did? Here is a quote from a North Carolina police investigator Theres a lot of investigative work you do that you dont put on paper because you open yourself up to
the defense bringing it up in court. W H Y S H O U L D AT T O R N E Y S NOT CONDUCT INTERVIEWS ALONE ? Their time is more valuable
They cant testify to impeach the witnesses WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE HOW
WHY Youre looking for I N F O R M AT I O N . . . Good, Bad or Indifferent Just the Facts Maam,
Just the Facts W H O C A N Y O U TA L K W I T H ? CO-DEFENDANTS? .a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer. ...a non-lawyer employed or retained by a lawyer shall be responsible for conduct of such a person that would
be a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct if engaged in by a lawyer. INTERFERENCE WITH THE INTERVIEWEE Improper intimidation of a witness may violate a defendant's due process right to present his defense witnesses freely if the intimidation amounts to substantial government
interference with a defense witness' free and unhampered choice to testify. U n i t e d S t a t e s v. S a u n d e r s ( 1 9 9 1 ) The State v. Brad Edward Williams In 1997 the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed a murder conviction because an investigator for the solicitor's office called the defendant's attorney and told him that it would be improper to interview the
witness and that the Solicitor's Office would not allow the interview." Generally, courts have found unconstitutional intimidation where the government has advised a potential defense witness that it would not be in his "best interest" to talk to the defendant or his attorney. But dont worry about Brad
PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW Know the case Know what your witness is supposed to know
Know what questions youre going to ask Bring accoutrements
Interview forms Pictures Diagrams Reports Prior statements Ta p e & o r v i d e o r e c o r d e r HOW ABOUT A
SURREPTITIOUS RECORDING?? Probably not a good idea.... T h e S o u t h C a ro l i n a S u p re m e C o u r t h a s s a i d t h a t a l a w y e r m ay n o t re c o rd a n y c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h o u t prior knowledge and consent of all parties. THE INTERVIEW
Do you call and make an appointment? As a ruleNO! Show upunannouncedbe polite Fully identify yourself with credentials Fully identify your representation Fully identify your purpose Give them your business card Let them process all youve told them Take accurate notes
Record when appropriate Speak like a professional Ingratiate yourself to the witness Avoid bling and other distractions Fresh breath Dress to impress business attire Who is going to be taken more seriously...
DONT GIVE THEM TOO MANY WAYS OUT They can say NO but you dont have to accept NO Dont get angry; be persuasive. Appeal to their sense of fair play DONT threaten or intimidate.it could be criminal Be conversational Get them talking, keep them talking and LISTEN Obtain detailed information
N a m e s i n c l u d i n g a / k / a s
Date of birth Social Security number Close family member address Family member phone number Employer Spouses name Anything else? What is the value of a N O N - S TAT E M E N T - S TAT E M E N T ?
LO C K E M I N LOCK EM OUT EXCITED UTTERANCE
Excited Utterances In South Carolina an Excited Utterance is, A statement relating to a startling event or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition. The statement must relate to a startling event or condition; The statement must have been made while the declarant was under the stress of the
excitement; The stress must have been caused by the startling event or condition. SHOULD YOU MEMORIALIZE THE INTERVIEW? Wr i t t e n ? ? I f s o Who writes it? NCR forms Audio recording
Video recording S h o u l d t h e s t a t e m e n t b e s w o rn ? Give them a copy THE INTERVIEW REPORT Does your client want a written report? If so remember the most important criteria... GET IT RIGHT! GET IT ACCURATE! GET IT 100% CORRECT !
Review your final report with the interviewee Send interviewee a copy Retain ALL your notes and recordings In your report include your observations Any obvious prejudices Any religious artifacts Bumper stickers Will they make a good witness Do they speak English
Will they be a credible witness Body language But its WRONG to WHICH WITNESS IS M O R E B E L I E VA B L E ? GROOM YOUR WITNESS Answer their questions
Prepare them for cross examination Allay their fear of what they will be asked Explain hearsay: a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Ask about their background Meet and greet them at court
SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS Do you pay a witness for video or photos? Do you pay a witness for testimony?
Do you use intimidation? Its not cross examination
Dont give away trial strategy to witnesses Ask questions to which you know the answer Thank you for your attention Go forth and investigate!
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