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Practical Aspects of Interview and Interrogation

2nd Edition, September 14, 2001

Complete Document

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Active, Most Current

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ISBN: 978-0-8493-0101-8
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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2nd Edition, September 14, 2001
  • Published Date: September 14, 2001
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 540
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


Since the first edition of this text was published a decade ago, interrogation has come under attack as its opponents focus on the possibility of false confessions. It is disconcerting to interrogators that false confessions exist. Why would individuals confess to crimes they did not commit? It boggles the mind that this could occur; however, with the advent of DNA evidence, it is clear that, in a number of capital cases, an innocent person was convicted.

Critics of interrogation point to these injustices and then completely condemn interrogation tactics without offering an alternative. If one examines criminal cases at random, it is clear that most cases are resolved by confession, not forensic evidence. Most interrogation critics have never questioned a suspect, much less tried to obtain the truth. Instead, to prove impropriety they blindly accept what the suspect says happened during the interrogation. They then point to experiments with college students to confirm their belief in coerced confessions.

There is no doubt that false confessions exist. However, common factors are present in most false confessions. The extreme level of threats, length of interrogation, or mental condition of the subject, are a few of the most common. Very compliant individuals may give false confessions — but they may also confess when they are actually guilty.

Thoughtful criticism is always of value, as it causes one to examine longaccepted positions and attitudes. Many avenues have been opened when the proper questions have been asked. Because of such questions, we have rethought our positions and tactics. We are committed to understanding why false confessions exist. Besides reviewing the literature, we have begun to talk with those who have falsely confessed to a crime. The edited interview granted by Christopher Ochoa in Chapter 4 is one example that we wanted to share with the reader. He confessed to a murder and rape, then implicated his roommate in the crime. Ochoa was exonerated by the efforts of the University of Wisconsin Law School Project Innocence, a confession from the real killer, DNA testing and the State of Texas, which re-examined the evidence in the case.

In the coming years, we intend to continue to broaden our understanding of the interview and interrogation process by examining what we do and why. We intend to encourage change where it is warranted and to defend the process against self-proclaimed experts who have never had to seek the truth in real life. Valid criticism is always welcome, but the blanket condemnation of a process without the offer of a solution should similarly be condemned.