Response to students post
Interviews and interrogations have the same motive; to gather information, find the truth, and get an confession where needed. There are many similarities and differences between the two, but they are both equally important and the success of both depends on the characteristics and commitment of the investigator. Prepping and planning for an interview or interrogation are equally important, but it is viewed as more critical in planning for a successful interrogation (Swanson, Chamelin & Taylor, 2011). The purpose of an interview is to gather information regarding their case, and following that, typically, is the interrogation where the investigator hopes to get a confession (Stevens, Chamelin & Taylor, 2011). An interrogation takes serious planning and preparation and an investigator can lose their evidence or confession if done incorrectly. It is important in both for the investigator to build a rapport with the subject they are interviewing or interrogating. Prepping for an interrogation requires the investigator to fully educate themselves on the facts of the case, the offense, and learn as much as possible about the witnesses, victims and suspects (Stevens, Chamelin & Taylor, 2011). Interviewing witnesses and victim(s) and determining their credibility, including their motives, intent, perception, and any criminal history, is very important to know how strong the evidence against the suspect is. The investigator must learn the background on the victim(s), the nature of losses or injuries, and any other information pertinent to the case such as life or business insurance, or their relationship to the suspect (Stevens, Chamelin & Taylor, 2011). Then, the investigator must fully understand and determine what crimes were committed and what they are going to be pressing against the suspect. Once an investigator has all information needed, questions prepared, and is organized and ready, the suspect is either interviewed or interrogated, depending on how much evidence the investigator has already. While the investigator must be organized and ready, they understand that any successful interrogation is not organized, neat, and step-by-step but rather is personable and goes with the flow of the conversation and depends on the characterization of the interrogator and interrogatee (Swanson, Chamelin & Taylor, 2011). The surroundings of an interview and an interrogation are equally important as well, however with an interrogation it is important that it takes place in absolute privacy (Swanson, Chamelin & Taylor, 2011). For an interrogation, the room should be small and sparsely furnished without decor or anything to distract the subject being interrogated. There should be just two chairs, or three if there are two detectives involved, and if there is a table it should be small and placed to the side as to not cause an obstruction between the interrogator and the interrogatee (Stevens, Chamelin & Taylor, 2011). The distance between them should be short, too much distance takes away the advantage to read the subject's facial reactions and expressions, and not enough space can cause discomfort. Professionals believe 27 inches is the perfect amount of space for white American males (Stevens, Chamelin & Taylor, 2011). Items in the room such as a two-way mirrors and obvious recording devices can be intimidating and may cause the subject to refuse cooperation, therefore, they should be small and unobtrusive (Stevens, Chamelin & Taylor, 2011). Interrogations can not be intrusive into the suspect's well-being and must be somewhat accommodating, meaning if the suspect is hungry, thirsty, wants legal council, wants to call a family member, or break for a smoke, the interrogator must let them. Otherwise, the interrogation can later get thrown out because of the length of time, lack of food, or fatigue causing them to "confess under duress just so they can be released."
2) State of Appeals case out of Utah.
Based on information obtained from court documents for State v. Rettenberger, filed in the Supreme Court of Utah on August 27, 1999. On November 20, 1996, Todd Jeremy Rettenberger was taken into custody by the Woods Cross Police Department for questioning in the murder of Matthew John Wicker. Rettenberger was read his Miranda rights, and having never been interrogated by police before, he did not know what to do. When detectives informed him why he was being questioned, Rettenberger made several comments that he needed a lawyer, wanted to plead guilty and would have his lawyer contact the officers. However, they skirted and twisted their way around his requests because he did not directly demand a lawyer. During the first interrogation lasting up to two hours, Rettenberger admitted his involvement. He was placed into solitary confinement and interrogated the next day. At the beginning of the second interrogation, he attempted to recant his previous statement but by the end of that interrogation, he again admitted his guilt. Both interrogations were video taped, Rettenberger was denied his request to call his mother and to use the restroom. Detectives continually remind him that if it were go to jury trial, the death penalty is on the table, and remind him of the evidence against him. Rettenberger moved to suppress his confession on grounds that his confession was involuntary from police coercion and that he had invoked his right to counsel and to remain silent and those invocations were not honored by detectives. His request was denied. Rettenberger was found guilty of murder and aggravated robbery. During the appeal, the Supreme Court of Utah reviewed the interviews and evidence. The court determined that Rettenberger's confession was involuntary due to the conditions of the 22 hours he spent in solitary confinement without a pillow or blanket, his diminished mental capacity and deficiencies, and was overborne by the suggestive and coercive techniques used by detectives during interrogations. They also determined that his statement consisted entirely of information fed to him by detectives during both interrogations. The court overturned the case.
State v. Rettenberger (1999). State of Utah v. Todd Jeremy Rettenberger in Supreme Court of Utah. August 27 1999. Accessed 12 Jan 2017. Retrieved from https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=7299176338251196427&q=State+v.+Rettenberger&hl=en&as_sdt=6,45&as_vis=1
Swanson, C., Chamelin, T., Taylor, R. W. (08/2011). CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION, 11th Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259766306/
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