05/01/2018||May/June 2017 Investigator Tip: The Value of Behavior Provoking Questions – A Case Study |
The investigative interview process in the Reid Technique is called the Behavior Analysis Interview (BAI). The BAI consists of three types of questions: Initial Questions designed to develop biographical information, establish rapport, acclimate the subject to the interview environment, describe the investigative process and establish a behavioral baseline for the subject.
The second group of questions are the Investigative Questions, which are designed to develop the subject’s story or version of events concerning the issue under investigation, his/her alibi during the time period in question, and the who, what, when, where, why and how of activities relevant to the issue under investigation. In previous Investigator Tips we discussed using open-ended questions to develop the subject’s pure version of events, and how to use follow up questions to develop additional details from their initial account. (See March/April 2017 and May/June 2017 Investigator Tips: Using Open-ended Questions During the Investigative Interview Part 1, and Part 2).
The third type of questions are the Behavior Provoking Questions designed to elicit responses that can be evaluated as to the subject’s credibility about their potential involvement in the issue under investigation. There have been in excess of 25 behavior provoking questions developed over the years but this Investigator Tip will only discuss four of them, and then illustrate their use in a case involving 2 subjects. Research has indicated that most truthful subjects answer the behavior provoking questions one way while deceptive subject’s answer the same questions in a very different way.
Click here for the complete Investigator Tip
04/06/2018||Legal Updates Winter 2018|
The Legal Updates Winter 2018 column contains cases which address the following issues:|
- When the interview became custodial the suspect should have been advised of his Miranda rights
- Promises on leniency nullify the admissibility of the confession
- Officer’s questions to defendant while at door of her residence, were compelling, thus giving rise to the need for Miranda warnings
- Lying about DNA evidence is not coercive
- Lying about footprints, fingerprints and other evidence is not coercive
- Court finds confession inadmissible due to denial of subject’s request for an attorney
- Court suggests police used Assistant Principal to question student to avoid the advisement of rights
Click Here to read the Winter 2018 Cases
03/28/2018||An example of Dr. Richard Leo’s testimony on the issue of false confessions|
In the case, US v. Begay (February 2018) the US District Court, D. New Mexico described Dr. Ricahrd Leo’s testimony as he described his view of current police interrogation methods, and false confession issues.|
Click here for the details.
01/26/2018||Clarifying Misrepresentations About Law Enforcement Interrogation Techniques|
Over the years social psychologists, defenses attorneys and some academicians have offered a number of criticisms of current law enforcement interrogation practices, and, in particular, the Reid Technique. Some of these criticisms are:
• the goal of an interrogation is to get a confession whether it is true or not
• investigators use minimization tactics in which they offer the suspect leniency if he confesses, and harsher punishment (maximization) if he does not
• investigators oftentimes interrogate innocent people whom they have erroneously classified as guilty
• investigators use coercive tactics and procedures to secure confessions
• investigators feed crime details to the suspect so that the authenticity of their incriminating statements is difficult to assess
• investigators lie to the suspect about evidence
• investigators do not modify their tactics when questioning juveniles or mentally impaired individuals
• the interrogation is designed to make the suspect feel isolated and hopeless so that he sees no way out except to confess
• the Reid Technique is a guilt presumptive approach
In this paper we will address each of these criticisms and set the record straight as to exactly what we teach with respect to law enforcement interrogation techniques, and the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation in particular.
12/28/2017||How defense attorneys describe the Reid Technique in the courtroom - and where they go wrong|
In Radilla-Esquivel v. Davis (December 2017) US District Court, W.D. Texas the defense attorney made a number of erroneous assertions about the Reid Technique. His statements (taken from the US District Court opinion) are in blue in the attached document, with the correct information detailed thereafter|
12/18/2017||Federal Appeals Court upholds confession of “Making a Murderer” subject Brendan Dassey|
In Dassey v. Dittmann (December 2017) the U.S.Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, upheld the admissibility of Brendan Dassey’sconfession, ruling that the “state court’s determination that defendantconfessed to murder voluntarily was not an unreasonable application of SupremeCourt precedent.” From the Court of Appeals decision:
Whether Dassey's confession was voluntary or not is measured againsta general standard that takes into account the totality of the circumstances….Some factors would tend to support a finding that Dassey's confession was notvoluntary: his youth, his limited intellectual ability, some suggestions by theinterrogators, their broad assurances to a vulnerable suspect that honestywould produce leniency, and inconsistencies in Dassey's confession. Many otherfactors, however, point toward a finding that it was voluntary. Dassey spokewith the interrogators freely, after receiving and understanding Miranda warnings,and with his mother's consent. The interrogation took place in a comfortablesetting, without any physical coercion or intimidation, without even raisedvoices, and over a relatively brief time. Dassey provided many of the mostdamning details himself in response to open–ended questions. On a number ofoccasions he resisted the interrogators' strong suggestions on particulardetails. Also, the investigators made no specific promises of leniency.
After the state courts found the confession voluntary, a federaldistrict court and a divided panel of this court found that the state courts'decision was unreasonable and that Dassey was entitled to a writ of habeascorpus…. The state courts' finding that Dassey's confession was voluntary wasnot beyond fair debate, but we conclude it was reasonable. We re–verse thegrant of Dassey's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
…. Turning to the techniques used in the interrogation, theinvestigators told Dassey many times that they already knew what had happenedwhen in fact they did not. Such deception is a common interview technique. Toour knowledge, it has not led courts (and certainly not the Supreme Court) tofind that a subject's incriminating answers were involuntary…. Also, most ofthe incriminating details in Dassey's confession were not suggested by thequestioners. He volunteered them in response to open–ended questions.
…. The requirement that courts take “special care” in analyzingjuvenile confessions does not call for habeas relief here. The state appellatecourt met the requirements for analyzing juvenile confessions by consideringDassey's age, his intellectual capacity, and the voluntary absence of hismother during the interrogation. The state court noted that the officers readDassey his Miranda rightsand that Dassey later remembered his rights and agreed to talk anyway. Thecourt assessed coercion in relation to Dassey's vulnerabilities, including his“age, intellectual limitations and high suggestibility.” The court did notlimit its inquiry to only whether the most abusive interrogation techniqueswere used. The court examined the tones and volumes of the investigators'voices, finding that the officers “used normal speaking tones, with nohectoring, threats or promises of leniency,” though they did prod Dassey to behonest and sought to establish a rapport with him. The court even consideredDassey's physical comfort by noting he sat on a sofa and was offered food,drink, and restroom breaks.
Click here for additionaldetails from the court’s opinion
click to get to the full Appellate Court Decision
11/08/2017||Massachusetts Supreme Court confirms that minimization/maximization techniques are acceptable |
In the case of Commonwealth v. Cartwright (Novemebr 2017) the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts stated that “ …. we have not acted to prevent police investigators from suggesting to a suspect being interviewed that the investigators are convinced, based on evidence, of the defendant’s guilt…. Nor have we concluded that an interviewing officer's efforts to minimize a suspect's moral culpability, by, for example, suggesting theories of accident or provocation, are inappropriate, or sought to preclude suggestions by the interviewers “broadly that it would be better for a suspect to tell the truth, [and] ... that the person's cooperation would be brought to the attention of [those] involved.”|
Click here for additional details
11/05/2017||Why the Reid Technique® Method Continues to be the Most Effective Means Available to Learn the Truth|
One of the fundamental precepts of the Reid Technique is to use sound reasoning, understanding and empathy to motivate subjects to tell the truth. John Reid started using this approach over 70 years ago and it is as effective today as it was then.
John Reid was a visionary who was ahead of his time. He demonstrated the effectiveness of treating people, even those who have committed heinous crimes, with decency and respect. John Reid tried to see the good in all people and tried to understand why they would commit their crimes. John had the patience and insight to understand the pre-existing thought process of others and he was able to use this insight to make an emotional connection with a subject and gain a level of trust and understanding that made it possible for him to engage in the art of persuasion to motivate even the most hardened criminal to tell the truth.
John developed a systematic approach that would protect the innocent, identify the guilty and motivate the guilty to want to tell the truth. He did this without the use of threats or promises of leniency. He did it by tapping into pre-existing rationalizations that originated in the mind of the suspect. John’s understanding of human behavior allowed him to empathize with those who made bad decisions and committed a variety of crimes.
Today there are critics who have a very shallow understanding of the psychology of the Reid Technique and create a false narrative by suggesting that the inappropriate tactics used by investigators over the years are part of the Reid method….nothing could be further from the truth, as illustrated by our core principles:
- Always conduct interviews and interrogations in accordance with the guidelines established by the courts
- Do not make any promises of leniency
- Do not threaten the subject with any physical harm or inevitable consequences
- Do not deny the subject any of their rights
- Do not deny the subject the opportunity to satisfy their physical needs
- Always treat the subject with dignity and respect
- Do not conduct excessively long interrogations
- Exercise caution when interrogating juveniles, suspects with a lower intelligence or suspects with mental impairments
For over seventy years through our training programs John E. Reid and Associates has been providing investigators with the techniques and skills necessary to conduct effective investigative interviews and interrogations.
We have listed a number of facts regarding the Reid Technique® method for your review:
Click here to continue
11/03/2017||Legal Updates Fall 2017 |
The Legal Updates Fall 2017 column contains cases which address the following issues:
- Federal Appeals Court upholds confession of “Making of a Murderer” subject Brendan Dassey
- Massachusetts Supreme Court confirms that minimization/maximization techniques are appropriate
- The value of recording interrogations – demonstrating a knowing waiver of rights
- The value of recoding interrogations – demonstrating a violation of rights
- The value of recording interrogations in determining custody
- Value of recording interrogations in examining the claim of intoxication
- Value of recording to assess understanding and waiver of rights
- Value of recording interrogations to determine if the suspect’s will was overborne by promises of leniency
- Court rules that the use of the Reid Technique did not violate the defendant's due process rights
- Court finds juvenile confession involuntary: noting that as in the Elias case, the investigators did not appropriately change their approach for a juvenile interrogation
- Court rejects the testimony of Dr. Brian Cutler on false confession issues
Click here for updates
11/01/2017||The November - December Investigator Tip: FACTUAL ANALYSIS|
Factual analysis can be defined as estimating the probability of a suspect's guilt or innocence based on investigative findings. Each investigator uses factual analysis to narrow the scope of suspects - to eliminate innocent suspects and to focus the investigation around a particular suspect most likely to be guilty.
As an introduction, factual analysis is divided into five component parts: Opportunity/Access, Attitude, Motivation, Biographical Information, and Evidence.
Click here to access the complete Tip
10/11/2017||ALERT TO ALL PROSECUTORS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICALS!!!|
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
JORDAN MONROE, Defendant.
Cr. No. 16-055 WES
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF RHODE ISLAND
September 11, 2017
You should be aware of certain comments made by Chief Judge, William E. Smith, of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island in the above referenced case regarding the Reid Technique in deciding the defendant's motion to suppress incriminating statements. Among other things, the defendant, Jordan Monroe, claimed that the Reid Technique rendered his statements involuntary. Judge Smith followed the established legal precedent in finding that the use of the Reid Technique did not violate the defendant's due process rights, and rejected the defendant's claim. However, Judge Smith personally sided with the position taken by some criminal defense attorneys and a few law professors, who question the voluntariness of any incriminating statements made by a suspect while being questioned by law enforcement officers using the Reid Technique.
Click here for the opinion.
09/12/2017||The Reid interrogation technique successfully used in India|
We have conducted several training programs in India. This week our interview and interrogation techniques were used to successfully resolve a high profile case:
"Kochi: The Kerala police team probing the February 17 actress assault case used modern scientific methods to collect evidence. The case diary submitted in court to counter the accused-actor Dileep’s bail plea revealed the use of ‘stool pigeon’ and ‘Reid Method' techniques for the probe over a period of six months."
The article is entitled “‘Stool pigeon’ & ‘Reid Method’: how police employed scientific techniques to corner Suni"
Click here to access the story
09/01/2017||Sept/Oct Investigator Tip - The fundamental foundation of the Reid Technique of Interrogation: Empathy and Understanding |
The Reid Technique consists of a three-phase process beginning with Fact Analysis, followed by the Behavior Analysis Interview (which is a non-accusatory interview designed to develop investigative and behavioral information), followed by, when appropriate, the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation. While all subjects in an investigation are interviewed, very few are interrogated.
Once it is determined by the investigative information that the subject is involved in the commission of the crime, the interrogation begins by advising the subject of the investigation results. The investigator then begins to develop what we refer to as a theme in which we offer the subject a “moral excuse” for the suspect’s commission of the offense or minimizing the moral implications of the conduct.
Click here for the Investigator Tip.
8/31/2017||The Legal Updates Summer 2017|
The Legal UpdatesSummer 2017 column contains cases which address the following issues:
- Objectionable interrogator tactics
- Court allows testimony of false confession expert Dr. Richard Leo
- Court limits the rebuttal testimony on false confession issues of Professor Paul G. Cassell to the testimony of Dr. Richard Leo
- The language of the Miranda warnings – how precise does it have to be?
- Court excludes the testimony of Dr. Charles Honts on false confession issues
- Court excludes the testimony of Dr. Solomon Fulero because “it invades the province of the jury”
- If the police have possession of the defendant’s car keys and cell phone, is he free to leave the station?
- Defendant’s incriminating statements were inadmissible because the Miranda warnings were deliberately delayed
- 13 factors to consider in determining whether a police interrogation was coercive
- The value of video recording the interrogation
- Does a subject have to be advised of his Miranda rights when questioned at a Fish, Wildlife and Park’s game check station? No
- Court emphasizes the need to exercise “special caution” when assessing the voluntariness of juvenile confessions
Click here for updates.
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