Interrogatory Evidence

 

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Statue of Liberty

Interrogatory Evidence
Standing the Test of Judicial Review

When investigating a crime, the first assurance in obtaining a successful outcome, must begin with the basics of information collection and organization.

You must develop the following abilities:

  1. The ability to grasp the logical outline of a case.
  2. The ability to facilitate the delivery of information from sources having involvement with a case.
  3. The ability to organize collected information in a form that is logical, pertinent and concise.

Information that I have empirically accumulated combined with that provided by retired members of the FBI are skills that it takes years to master. These skills are the same skills that professional security and investigative personnel need, no matter the field of specialization.

Conducting Criminal Investigations and Obtaining Signed Statements Which are Self-incriminating or Incriminating Others.

Purpose: Criminal cases may arise from any violation of the law and may range from simple theft to the most complicated cases of murder, fraud, racketeering, grand larceny, rape, extortion and defamation of character. In most cases assigned to my bureau, the client lacks sufficient evidence to prove a crime has been committed and who committed it. Therefore, the investigator must establish sufficient evidence that a crime was committed, who committed it, and how it was committed so that the evidence can be turned over to the appropriate legal authority jurisdiction dependent, for filing of charges, effecting an arrest, and obtaining a conviction. To accomplish this, the initial investigation must be accomplished within established Protocol which will ensure that any evidence obtained will stand the test of judicial review in the light of the rules of evidence, the rights of the individual against self-incrimination, and the protection of the law against entrapment.

Evidence: After studying all known facts pertaining to the act or event under investigation, a decision must be reached as to whether each person who is to be questioned and from whom a statement is to be obtained may be expected to incriminate himself. Obviously, there will be times when the investigator must realize that he may not be able to obtain a properly executed, signed statement which will hold up in court as evidence against the person making the statement, but may be able to obtain a statement from one individual which incriminates others, even though the individual giving the statement is also involved but refuses to incriminate himself. It is often necessary not to incriminate one or more persons in order to obtain sufficient evidence on the true perpetrators of the crime. Once a statement is obtained from one person involved in the act, which incriminates others, the investigation has gained an edge on these persons when they are interrogated and they may in turn incriminate the first person. If on the other hand, the person being interrogated can be persuaded to waive his rights against self-incrimination, a full and complete statement should be obtained which includes the elements shown below and in the waiver form, which I will discuss in detail later.

Interrogation Site: In all cases possible, the suspect should be interrogated under controlled conditions such as the executive offices of his place of employment if the act is against his employer. This provides a psychological disadvantage to the suspect and further validates the investigator's case since the interrogation was conducted on company time and property. Any employer has a legal right to have questions asked of his employees about his company's business. In other cases, the investigator must select the site, which will give him the greatest advantage over the suspect.

Immunity from Prosecution: In some cases when the act is against an employer or Law Enforcement Profession, the Professional may decide to grant immunity to one employee who was involved but who cooperates, reveals facts, agrees to testify, and incriminates other as a participant witness. The employer cannot, however, promise immunity of the law when the act involves a violation of the law and the effects of the act go beyond his place of employment or Jurisdiction. A simple act of stealing (could be national security data), although it may be grand larceny in scope, must be substantiated by the person from whom the item(s) is stolen by filing a complaint, swearing out a warrant, and agreeing to prosecute and can therefore grant immunity. If he does prosecute the others involved, however, he has no control over the possibility that they may implicate the person to whom immunity is granted and if the authorities take the initiative in the pursuit of the facts, the person to whom immunity is granted will lose the immunity promised by the employer since the case will be out of his hands so to speak. Under no circumstances can an investigator or employer promise immunity to any person involved in a crime against "humanity" such as murder, rape, assault with a deadly weapon, treason and so forth. Obviously, then the investigator must make every effort to obtain incriminating statements without any implications, which will stop the investigation and its discovery from standing the test of judicial review. In part two this examiner will take you from the initial client contact to trying of the case in the courtroom. I will provide photocopies of law enforcement "Complaint Report"(s), Discuss further Immunity from Prosecution, Witnesses, Techniques of Taking an Incriminating Statement. Reports/Audit format, Why Reports/Audits are necessary, Accuracy, Fact vs. Hearsay, Opinion, Forensic Evidence, When Reports/Audits are Written, How reports/Audits are Written and the actual cases of successful prosecution and conviction.

By Scott D. Neff, DC 

& TM 1998 American Academy for Justice Through Science. All rights reserved.