What’s the difference between an interview and an interrogation?
These are actually loaded words and they are often used interchangeably depending on the way the speaker wants to characterize the questioning.
An “interrogation” projects the image of yelling, threatening and banging fists on the table.
The term “interview” has a softer, gentler connotation.
I always conduct “interviews”. If you were a fly on the wall, heard a recording or watched a video of me interacting with someone, any reasonable person would call it an interview. This includes when I talk with witnesses, victims, suspects or anyone.
However… that’s because I’m not a police officer! And that’s an important distinction because cops are way more limited in what they can say or do before it really is an interrogation!
If a police officer conducted the exact same interview I conducted, using the sames words, tones, gestures, mannerisms and even with my exact same intention of being a super nice guy… well… then he would be conducting an interrogation.
How is this possible?
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1983 (South Dakota vs. Neville) that an “interrogation” is “questioning or its functional equivalent, that is, any words or actions on the part of the police that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incrimination response from the suspect.”
The difference is that I am not a police officer!
Of course, I’m not an attorney either, so this isn’t legal advice, it’s just an overview of concepts you should know.
Here’s the big thing…
Your interview will come to light eventually.
Either a defense attorney will get a copy of it, the media might get a copy of any recording made or even your own client might hear the interview and decide you stepped over the line! And if your client is a law firm, you may have just lost a lucrative client!
My point is, always (always!) act with honor and conduct your investigations ethically.
Is there a time you think it might be okay to “step over the line” and do something unethical? Share the scenario in the comments and let’s examine the situation together.
Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.
P.S. – Don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here…