1. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Dialogue Interview Room Scene

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sprirj, Nov 4, 2014.

    So in my book, the police have caught a man and brought him in for questioning. They know the guy is linked to the crime, but they need some kind of confession, in order to unravel the rest of the story, and the following pages of the book. This is the first time the pace of the book slows, and I can really explore the characters as they come face to face (good vs bad). I want the interview to be realistic, eg drawn out over some time, but other than what I've seen from tv cop shows, I'm at a loss at the way I can approach this, especially as to how the cop interrogates the suspect. I've looked at forums, and read up on police interview techniques, but without experiencing it, I'm not sure if my scene is believable. Has anyone first hand knowledge of the routine? Or know anything about this, which may be of some help.

    Thank you!
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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  3. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    On the issue of 'realism', don't depend upon a confession to solve the case. It's not unusual for those confessions to be determined inadmissible in court. "Were you forced to sign this confession?" / "Were you promised anything in exchange for this confession?" / "Were you under duress when you signed this confession?"

    All it takes is a wrong word from someone under oath to throw out an entire case. And if the confession does not jibe with witness testimonies, it's out the door as well. So, confessions are nice. But they are really nothing more than the bow on the package. If you don't have evidence, hard, solid, irrefutable evidence to substantiate and back up a charge, the confession, by itself, is not worth too much.
     
  4. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Thanks ginger coffee, I will look at these to see if it helps.

    Wordsmith, that is interesting, as from what I have read a signed confession is the most important thing - admitting guilt - that's why there are set rules and they take so much time in interviews.

    Even people who are innocent, with all evidence pointing at someone else have been sent down due to them confessing to a crime they did not commit, such is the power of police techniques.

    The crime in my story is a multiple murder. The man was caught at the crime scene, with a lethal weapon, but it was not the right murder weapon. The police need a confession from the suspect of his motives and what he was doing there, but as they saw the murders take place, they already know they don't have the correct man. So my confession, is not for the crime itself but a confession of a clue to allow the police to proceed with the investigation. I hope I've made this clearer...?
     
  5. karmazon
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    From what I've read about police interviews there aren't the typical shouting matches you see on TV, but rather, the police officers are trying to build rapport with the suspect, make him feel like he can trust the cops so the conversation is usually much calmer than fiction portrays.

    You could have the police conform to the behavior change stairway model which I know the FBI uses.
     
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  6. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You may run into a conflict between what's actually realistic and what readers think is realistic. So many of us are inundated with cop shows and detective books and whatnot that we have a pretty clear idea of what we think goes on in interview rooms... and deviating from that 'truthiness' might be a problem, even if it's totally justified by reality.

    You're also probably going to distort reality in order to make things more dramatic. I've sat in on some police interviews for low level stuff (drug possession, theft, etc.) and they're DULL. Murder would probably be a bit more interesting, but they're also going to be way more careful, taking their time and making sure every single detail is covered. A realistic scene may not be good fiction.
     
  7. thewordsmith
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    And that's really the crux of the problem with confessions, isn't it? Some people are quite easily intimidated while others have strange motivations of desiring notoriety. And, still others, may feel they are protecting someone else. (In Kentucky a year or so ago, a man confessed to the brutal beating murder of his teenaged stepson. He and his biological son, also a teenager, had been charged in the crime. In the misguided belief that he was protecting his son, he confessed to the crime and was subsequently sentenced. Less than a year later, his son was arrested for an assault and, a few months later, yet again, he was charged with a violent crime. The father, in between the two charges, recanted his confession. Now, both of them face a life in prison. Go figger.)

    Gruesome, but intriguing. I'm still not clear as to why they would need a confession from the witness if they already had him at the scene. He would hardly need to confess that he was there, they already know that. Perhaps what you are looking for is a signed statement, an affidavit swearing as to what he saw at the crime scene? This is somewhat different from a confession.
     
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