Defining Key Terms in Videotaping Interactions: Interview, Interrogation and Confession

definingIt’s important when discussing the potential impact on the electronic recording of interactions between witnesses and law enforcers to ensure key terms are clearly understood. The most important distinctions must be made between an interview, an interrogation and a confession.

Learn more from the following definitions pulled from videotaping research on the empirical experiences of required electronic recordings of interviews and interrogations on investigator’s practices and case outcomes.

Interrogation: An interrogation describes an accusatory interaction with a suspect believed to be involved in a crime. Through active persuasion, the investigator attempts to convince the suspect to tell the truth using arguments that are based on factual or emotional elements of the crime.

An interrogation may result in a confession, a partial admission or, when the suspect does not make any incriminating statements, an increased belief of his probable involvement in the crime.

Some interrogations may produce the opposite result, where the investigator accepts the suspect’s denials as truthful statements. A suspect may or may not be taken into custody prior to an interrogation.

Confession: A confession is a statement acknowledging commission of a crime coupled with information about the crime that would only be known by the guilty person and/or that can be independently verified following the confession.

An unsupported statement such as, “I didn’t intend on killing him,” “I’m sorry I did this,” or “I lied about my alibi” is not a confession. A confession may be offered by a suspect who is either in custody or not in custody.

Interview: An interview is a non-accusatory question and answer session with a person who may have useful information about a crime under investigation. This person may be a witness, an informant, an individual with helpful knowledge or a suspect.

Some interviews result in confessions or incriminating statements. In other situations, the person may be cleared of any wrong-doing. If the person being interviewed is a suspect he may or may not be placed in custody.

iRecord understands the importance of these distinctions and the imperative nature of getting all comments and statements made, whether in an interrogation, through a confession or an interview documented clearly.

What’s more, being able to share these digital pieces of information with ease is equally critical. To learn how iRecord can help you achieve this with it’s ONE-Touch technology and state-of-the art systems, contact us today.

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