d. Determine in advance what information to develop during questioning.
possible, prepare a list of specific questions to be asked, avoiding questions
certain to get straight "yes" or "no" answers.
Prepare questions such as: "What
did you see?" rather than "Did you see the accident?" Questioning must be conducted
on the basis of accurate information.
Inadequate or faulty information will not
impress the suspect; it will make him more confident of his lying. A suspect who
is told that his fingerprints were found at the scene of the crime, when at the
time he was wearing gloves, will be encouraged to lie.
e. Legal Preparation.
Legal preparation on military and civil laws that apply
to the offense under investigation is a must before conducting an interview or an
Knowledge of these laws will enable you to recognize an
It will assist you, also, in evaluating the reliability
of any statement made by a witness, victim, complainant, or suspect. Be acquainted
with those portions of the Manual for Courts-Martial, 1984, that set forth
requirements and tests for the admissibility of evidence.
Be familiar with the
specific acts which, when established, constitute the elements of proof of the
crime alleged and under investigation.
Know and avoid the specific actions and
conditions that have been held by the courts to constitute duress. Seek constantly
to protect the rights of persons involved in a case. Seek also to protect yourself
from charges that might arise from your own misconduct. In addition, try to ensure
that the information developed is complete and conforms to the general rules
relating to the admissibility of evidence. In any case of doubt, contact the staff
PART D - RIGHTS OF A PERSON BEING QUESTIONED.
a. Prior to questioning any person suspected or accused of any criminal offense,
the following question should be asked prior to any rights advisements: "HAVE YOU
BEEN ADVISED OF YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND REQUESTED A LAWYER WITHIN THE LAST 30 DAYS?"
If the answer is "YES," the interrogator should ask, "WHEN AND WHERE?" and then
notify defense counsel. If the answer is "NO," continue on with rights advisement
and interrogation if suspect waives his rights.
b. When about to question a person suspected or accused of a criminal offense,
ensure that his rights are protected per Article 31, UCMJ and/or the Fifth
Amendment to the US Constitution.
The suspect or accused is also entitled to
counsel, as provided by the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution.
c. Before a statement can be used against an accused in court, it must be shown
that the rights of the accused were protected.
It must also be shown that the
statement(s) were freely and voluntarily given and that the accused was warned of
his rights. In addition, it must be shown that he understood the warning and that
he waived those rights. To ensure a person's rights are protected, the following
procedures will be followed:
Before any questioning, tell the suspect or accused of: