Investigator Tips

Current Investigator Tip

Investigators' Demeanor During Interviews and Interrogations

Aug 10, 2022

This article explores how an investigator's own bearing and emotional self-control promote mutuality of respect with even the toughest of subjects and enhance the productivity of every questioning session.

The ability...

Previous Tips

Common Errors in Evaluating a Suspect's Truthfulness

Dec 01, 2005

Over the years we have been consulted on cases in which an investigator was absolutely convinced that a particular suspect was lying when, in fact, the person was telling the...

Responding to a Suspect’s Request to See Evidence During an Interrogation

Nov 01, 2005

It is rare to conduct an interrogation under circumstances where the investigator has absolute proof of the suspect's guilt. At the outset of most interrogations there is merely circumstantial or...

The Significance of Specific Denials During Interviews and Interrogations

Oct 01, 2005

Recently, I reviewed a videotaped interview of an 17-year-old suspect who was being questioned about starting a fire that burned down his parent's home. During the interview the investigator asked...

If a Lie is Repeated Often Enough, Can The Person Come to Believe That The Lie Is True?

Sep 01, 2005

During our seminars participants ask many interesting questions about the psychology of lying and factors that affect lie detection. A common question relates to the effects of repeating a false...

Evaluating the Suspect Who Accepts Some Responsibility for the Crime

Aug 01, 2005

During the course of interviewing a suspect who is guilty of committing a crime it is not uncommon for the suspect to acknowledge some level of responsibility for committing the...

The Use of Follow-Up Questions During an Interview

Jul 01, 2005

The primary goal of an interview is to develop meaningful information from a subject. The first step in this process is to ask the right questions. However, merely...

Electronic Recording of Interviews and Interrogations

Jun 01, 2005

It has long been recognized that a confession is the strongest piece of evidence a prosecutor can produce against a defendant in a court of law. Consequently, any competent defense attorney will...

Use Caution When Expressing the Urgency for a Suspect to Confess

May 01, 2005

It is human nature to put off unpleasant decisions. Being in my 50's, I know that I need to eventually get long-term care insurance. Even though I fully intend to...

Do You Invite People to Lie to You?

Apr 01, 2005

No one wants people to lie to them. Yet, I have encountered numerous parents, teachers and investigators who regularly invite deceptive answers from people they question. I am certain they do not...

Developing an Interview Strategy

Mar 01, 2005

Some interviews are free-flowing and spontaneous. Often, these interviews are conducted in an uncontrolled environment such as a street corner, an employee's office or over the telephone. Because the person...

A Review of Legal Issues Concerning Trickery and Deceit During an Interrogation

Feb 01, 2005

A number of recent cases involving an investigator's use of trickery and deceit during an interrogation have caused problems in the subsequent trial. In some of these cases the confession was...

Consideration For an Investigator's Attire

Jan 01, 2005

The very first impression a subject forms of an investigator will be based on physical observations -- not only gender, race and body type, but also attire. The desired perception...

Issues to Consider Regarding Possible Suicidal Suspects

Nov 01, 2004

It was about 4:00 in the afternoon when one of our regular clients called and requested an "emergency" polygraph examination for a 19-year-old female employee they suspected was stealing jewelry from...

Testifying on a Suspect's Behavior Symptoms

Oct 01, 2004

Recently, the Washington Supreme Court reversed a rape conviction partially because the trial court admitted an investigator's testimony that the defendant's verbal and nonverbal behavior symptoms were indicative of guilt...

Selecting the Proper Alternative Question

Sep 01, 2004

The Reid Technique of interrogation relies on two important underlying psychological principles. The first is that it is much easier for a person to tell the truth if that person...

The Importance of Accurate Corroboration within a Confession

Aug 01, 2004

The Importance of Accurate Corroboration within a Confession

Of all possible evidence presented against a defendant at trial, a confession is afforded the most weight. Because of this, we have...

Interviewing Elderly Subjects

Jul 01, 2004

Interviewing techniques presented in textbooks or during seminars generally assume that the person being interviewed is an emotionally healthy and mature individual with a normal IQ. Twenty-five years ago, when...

Lying to a Suspect: How Far Can an Investigator Go?

Jun 01, 2004

During the course of an investigation an investigator often must rely on duplicity and pretense in an effort to develop evidence against the guilty suspect. Common examples include...

Investigating Possible Fabricated Claims

May 01, 2004

A recent case involving a University of Wisconsin student who falsely claimed that she was abducted highlights some important characteristics of these investigations. This particular case quickly achieved national attention...

False Confession Cases - The Issues

Apr 01, 2004

In the past several years a number of false confession cases have received extensive publicity. In several of these cases the convicted individual has been exonerated by DNA testing and the actual...