Chain of Evidence
CRJ426 Investigative and Forensic Interviewing
Colorado State University Global
John Locke has been identified by surveillance video in the robberies of several Subway restaurants. He is brought in for questioning, and detectives conducting the interview are aware that he is a seasoned criminal.
CHAIN OF EVIDENCE
Chain of evidence or chain of custody is an absolutely critical part of an investigation and evidence documentation. The process of documenting evidence as it passes from one person’s custody to another also helps the court maintain its confidence in the integrity and authentication of the evidence (Badiye, Kapoor & Menezes, 2019). If at any point along the chain of custody, evidence is lost or compromised, it becomes inadmissible in court which can be detrimental to a case. In the case of John Locke, he was identified robbing multiple Subway restaurants; this means that investigators will need to use their skills of building rapport with multiple individuals from all of the locations as well as with John Locke.
John Locke will be brought in for questioning since he has been identified in the surveillance tape from the restaurants. As a seasoned criminal, Locke will likely be aware of the process which means that he can try to manipulate it to his benefit and building rapport with him may not be as simple as it sounds. Trust is important to building rapport so the investigators who question him should start with body language that indicates trust. Body language speaks much louder than words do; detectives entering the interview room with friendly smiles is important as smiling is a gesture of confidence, happiness, enthusiasm and acceptance (Schafer & Navarro, 2016). Walking in with a smile can also break tension, so long as it is an appropriate smile, and my put Locke more at ease.
Additionally, the way the investigators address Locke is also important. Referring to an interviewee by their last name or even formal title inspires respect between the parties. If Locke asks the interviewer to call him by an informal name or his first name, they should as a sign of respect.
During the interview, the investigators will want Locke to share as much as possible. One tactic that could keep him talking are “conversational encouragers”. Conversational encouragers are verbal nudges that show the speaker that you are listening and want them to continue.
Because they have the evidence of him on tape robbing the restaurants they will most likely want to present this to Locke because it is strong evidence that will discredit his attempted claims of innocence. Presenting evidence like this, especially when a suspect is emotional can increase them to not fully process the information they are being presented with (Schafer & Navarro, 2016).
EVIDENCE BASED APPROACHES
There are two evidence based approaches that an investigator can use when trying to get a confession: an accusatorial approach or an information-gathering approach. Atkinson, Dianiska, Meissner and Swanner (2016) tell us that an accusatorial approach tries to elicit a confession by using manipulative, psychological tactics; using an information-gathering approach relies on building rapport and asking open ended questions. Both of these approaches are useful but information gathering, in my opinion, is the best option. It is not the duty of the detective or investigator to force a suspect to confess, even if the evidence of their guilt is laid out right there in front of them. It has been seen countless times that accusing someone into making a confession does not end well for anyone involved.
Typically, in an information-gathering approach the interviewer will use evidence as a means to authenticate or challenge the facts presented by the suspect. This method is far more advantageous when it comes to getting the truth out of someone. When you lay out evidence and begin to accuse the interviewee, they can clam up, shut down, become defensive or even aggressive. This kind of behavior does not help get a confession and can hurt the prosecution’s case in the long wrong; both of these situations want to be avoided.
Atkinson, D., Diansika, R., Meissner, C., & Swanner, J. (2016, October 05). Developing Diagnostic, Evidence-Based Approaches to Interrogation. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211368116300651
Badiye A, Kapoor N, Menezes RG. Chain of Custody (Chain of Evidence) [Updated 2019 Nov 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551677/
Schafer, J., & Navarro, J. (2016). Advanced interviewing techniques: proven strategies for law enforcement, military, and security personnel. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas, Publisher, LTD.