Articles Tagged with interviewing

The Reid Technique is one of the more known and familiar interrogation and interview techniques used by law enforcement.  We mostly become familiar with interrogation methods because of court-martial pretrial motions practice to suppress coerced or false confessions.  The value of various police interrogation techniques is not limited to police interrogations.  A trial counsel or a defense counsel preparing for a court-martial can benefit from knowing, understanding, and practicing some of the law enforcement interview and  interrogation techniques.  (NOTE, it is unethical for an attorney to lie during a witness interview, be careful, that is one technique that is not permitted.  And it is unethical for a counsel to fail to identify themselves as a prosecutor or defense counsel when interviewing witnesses.)

Before I begin an interview, especially with a complaining witness in sexual assault case, I want to know about that person.  At the first contact, and from then on, I constantly assess the person:  their emotions, their physical and emotional responses, their word choice, their mannerisms.  I’m doing that because I want to establish rapport.  (You should of course do the same to the client.)  I’ve said this many times, but I’ve frequently been the one to educate the prosecution witnesses on the process and what’s going on and why.  That has benefitted me and my client numerous times.  The “victim” appreciates you for telling them what’s going on.  I cannot remember how many times a “victim” tells me that no one will tell them what’s going on.  Defense counsel — this is your moment to establish rapport.

If you establish rapport with a witness you will get more information, the witness will respond better to you, and the witness may be less antagonistic to the client.  I had not realized that at least one author calls this “isopraxis.”  I know it as mirroring.

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