the confession or statement is attacked by the defense in any ensuing trial as not
a true account of the actual statement or confession.
(3) To protect yourself against any possible charge of violation of Article
31, UCMJ, you should record the condition and circumstances under which the
confession or statement was received.
Record the condition of the interrogation
room, the persons present, the witnesses, and time the interrogation was begun, the
time it ended, and the time of the confession. It is also a good idea for you to
have a general knowledge of the subject's activities once he came under police
control; items such as the time he was picked up, or how long he was under police
control prior to the interrogation or interview.
Was he allowed to eat, smoke,
drink, or use the latrine? Was the subject under undue restraint while in custody?
The answers to these questions may have an effect on the validity of his statement
If you are aware of any injustice to the subject, you should
attempt to correct it before the interview or interrogation.
(4) If a subject is charged with
more than one crime, or is confessing to
more than one crime, you should make sure
that each crime is a separate confession:
one crime, one confession. The exception
to this rule would be when the two crimes
are so closely related, that the subject
cannot discuss one without mentioning the
(5) A statement or confession should never refer to any past arrests or
Admissibility as Evidence.
a. Confessions and admissions are admissible as evidence during a trial as an
exception to the hearsay rule. This is based on the theory that the accused should
not be allowed to complain of a lack of opportunity to question his own
(1) Statements, on the other hand, fall under the hearsay rule, and, in
general, are inadmissible as evidence if the person who made the statement is
unavailable for cross-examination; the court cannot observe the person; and, the
person was not under oath when the statement was made.
(2) Hearsay is an out-of-court statement offered in court in order to prove
the truth of the matter stated.
b. In the obtainment of statements from suspects or accused and in the use of
confessions or admissions in court, the criminal investigator is governed by the
provisions of Article 31, UCMJ, and the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
They provide that no person shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a
witness against himself; no person shall be compelled to answer any questions, the
answer to which may tend to incriminate him; and no person may compel any other
person to incriminate himself.
investigator can compel a
subject to give testimony, or to give an oral or