Private Investigation 7 week Discussion
Week 7: Week Seven - Class Discussion
Only 300 words
Class Discussion 300 words
Instructional Objectives for this activity:
Compare and contrast taking written and oral statements.
There are definite advantages for private investigators in becoming skilled at obtaining written and recorded statements from witnesses.
Please respond to all of the following prompts in the class discussion section of your online course:
• Discuss the two primary techniques for obtaining a witness interview and statement.
• Discuss the advantages of a written statement and a recorded statement.
• What new technologies can assist a private investigator in the completion of these tasks?
In the Book
Chapter 6, “Written and Recorded Statements,” pages XXXXXXXXXX.
Most people have a favorite dish or meal that they are proud to prepare. Spaghetti and chili are favorites, especially chili. You never heard of a Tuna Casserole Cool OFF, did you?
However, not everyone else agrees to the particular taste, ingredients, and preparations that make the best chili. It is like that with some interviewers who have been doing what they have been doing; because that is the way, they do it. There is a lot of ego involved in both pursuits and each interviewer has his or her opinion about the right way to conduct an interview and take a statement. Most are not open to other ideas of presentation.
Since it is impossible to take a witness statement without first interviewing the witness, we will review the basics. The process begins with the attorney and the type of case presented. It continues with case strategy and the client’s objective.
A lesser skilled interviewer can obtain the statement of a traffic accident or personal injury witness and over time, prepare and gain the skills required when a defendant’s life or liberty are on the line.
This course will focus on less critical interviews of subjects or witness of traffic accidents and personal injury accidents. In reality, these are the first interviews you are likely to conduct, unless you already have some training in this field.
The information a person has, or does not have about a particular incident is brought forth by means of a witness interview. The purposes of a written statement are:
Make a record if the witness’ words for reference
Refresh a witness’s memory before testifying
Provide the attorney with testimony he can expect at trial
Lock-in a witness who may try to change testimony later
Have a means of selecting the most valuable witnesses
To know what obstacles the attorney may have to overcome with this witness
May be used in absence of the witness under some circumstances
Before you attempt to interview a witness, you need answers to the following questions. At the risk of being trite, the more information you have going in, the more information you can bring out.
What is the purpose of the interview?
Is this a friendly or hostile witness?
Is this the first interview?
Does the attorney-client have a theory on strategy?
Could this witness to be reduction or defiant?
Does the witness claim to have no knowledge of the matter?
In other words, know what you be walking into with this witness. We may have no idea of the witness’ attitude until we “hit the front door,” yet we need to prepare for any eventuality. This may be the one and only contact with this witness and we need to make the best it.
You may, or may not make an appointment with a particular witness. This element of surprise does not allow him an opportunity to be swayed by well-meaning, yet uninformed friends. My colleagues may ignore strategy by consistently insisting upon appointments under all circumstances.
• Ask if there is anything else the witness wishes to add to the statement
• Allow witness to hold statement in his hands to number pages, make, and initial corrections
• Ask witness to write in his hand, “I am giving this statement of my own free will and without promise of compensation”
• Take the statement in your hand and read it aloud to the witness and get his agreement verbal
• When witness agrees, write” End of Statement” then draw single line to signature line
• Return the statement to the witness for date and signature.
When signed, put the completed statement in your folder, thank the witness then leave
Hawks, C., Evans, D XXXXXXXXXXPrivate investigations I: An introduction. Unknown: LawTech Publishing.