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Making a Case: Interviewing Suspects

Within this topic there are three areas to consider: > Detecting Lies. > Interrogation Techniques. > False Confessions. Each of these areas has a.

Dec 23, 2015



Joy Nelson
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  • Slide 1
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  • Within this topic there are three areas to consider: > Detecting Lies. > Interrogation Techniques. > False Confessions. Each of these areas has a research study to support the findings under the heading of interviewing suspects.
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  • You do not have to say ______, but it may ____ your _______if you do not mention when _________ something which you may later ____ on in court. Anything you do say may be given in ________
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  • You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you may later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence
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  • The idea is that this caution should be used in as simple non- technical language as possible. Why?
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  • How easy is it to detect lies? Think of ends to these three sentences: > The most unusual thing I have ever done is... > My most frightening experience was... > I think it is wrong to... One of these must be a lie tell them to the person next to you and see if they can figure out which.
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  • Why So that police can establish guilt (which will lead to an arrest) or innocence. What are the problems with researching this area of forensic psychology (think ethics!)
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  • Better training at detecting lies means better conviction rates (Vrij earlier research) - 57% accuracy rate of detecting lies Ekman (1991) found: - 64% Secret Service - 73% CIA - 67% Sheriffs - (however lots of students in lab conditions used)
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  • So previous research had issues Mann et al. therefore decided to use real police officers with real witnesses in an attempt to make the study more ecologically valid. Police often link body language such as looking down and putting their hands over their mouths to lying but what about microexpressions?
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  • This is a field experiment of Kent Police Officers, used to detect lies. Participants included 24 females and 75 males (a total sample of 99). 78 were detectives (8 were trainers, 4 traffic officers, 9 uniformed response officers).
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  • Ps judged the truthfulness of people in videos of real-life police interviews. These included 14 suspects and showed their head and torso (why is it useful that they could see these things?) 54 clips ranging from 6 145 seconds
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  • To begin with Ps filled out a questionnaire about their experience detecting liars. They then watched the clips and indicated whether they thought it was a lie or the truth and how confident they were. Finally they listed the cues they had used. Note the quantitative and qualitative data used in this method.
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  • The average detection of lie accuracy was 66.2% and truth accuracy was 63.6% (significantly greater than chance). Truth accuracy correlated positively with length of experience in interviewing (so you can be trained). Cues used most frequently included gaze and movements (plus vagueness, contradictions and fidgeting)
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  • The accuracy levels were highest in members of the sample who were ordinary police officers. No control group could be used on ethical and legal grounds (Why? Can you suggest a way around this?) A final comment is that good lie detectors will rely more on story cues (i.e. Contradictions) than the stereotypical view that liars are given away by fidgeting. In your notes, evaluate this study (i.e. Its method and sample)
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  • Ecological validity Ecological validity was high due to the clips being of real police interviews No control group Does not prove that the police were any better than anyone else- but not possible to have a control group for privacy Generalisability Used a variety of job roles within the police Only from 1 area- are other areas different? Ethics Ethically sound- kept confidentiality and privacy laws Police were not 100% accurate Human error?
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  • Usefulness No control group- hard to apply Useful in saying that police are good at identifying lies Ethnocentrism
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  • Read through the handout and observe the commentary on the interrogation technique. The difference between an interview and interrogation is that an interrogation is accusatory. At what points in this example is the officer accusatory? An interrogator should be understanding, patient and non-demeaning. How is this evidenced?
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  • The equivalent of the UK caution in the US: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you? Came about as a result of the 1966 case of Miranda Vs Arizona, and it was intended to make suspects aware of their right to silence.
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  • Inbau was opposed to the Miranda rights, which he felt placed the rights of the individual above the rights of society as a whole. Inbau was a famous critique of the Miranda rights and was also famous for developing an approach to interrogation, which utilised deceit and tricks in order to force confession. His book Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, is used widely in the USA.
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  • Direct confrontation Chance to shift blame Interrupt denial of guilt Ignore alibis. Use them to force guilt. Keep eye contact and use first names Offer alternatives and note suspects reaction. Silence/tears Give two choices (either of these will suggest guilt) Admission of guilt in front of witnesses Obtain signed confession Read through the steps in your textbook (p. 33). Where is the interrogator playing good cop and when are they playing bad cop? Evaluate the effectiveness of these techniques. What criticisms could you raise?
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  • The final area of consideration is that of false confessions. Considering the Inbau et al. Research, why do you think false confessions should be understood?
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  • Kassin and Wrightsman suggest 3 types of false confession: 1. The voluntary confession 2. The coerced compliant confession 3. The coerced internalised confession False confessions arise as a result of false memories, which can be implanted during periods of anxiety.
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  • A case study into a case of false confession. A 17 year old male was accused of the murder of two elderly women. No forensic evidence linked the subject, FC, but due to expenditure and no alibi, he was arrested.
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  • FC was denied access to a solicitor and confessed to a police officer after an initial 14 hour interview with breaks. He then repeated his confession in front of a solicitor. And signed a written confession. A year later he was released from prison after somebody else pleaded guilty to the crimes.
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  • Analysis of the police interview: Questions were leading Questions were accusatory and suggested that FC was sexually impotent. Analysis of FC by psychiatrists while in prison: No evidence of mental illness IQ of 94 Scored high on a Suggestibility scale.
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  • Consider: What was the purpose of the police interview? How does it follow the Reid steps? What situational factors would have induced false confession? (Relate it to the individual vs situational debate)