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How OPDV Can Help
Resources: Helpful Checklists
Review Checklist: Further On-Scene Investigation: Interviewing the Accused
- The rules of evidence require that as soon as you take someone into custody as an accused or suspect, that individual be given Miranda Rights before questioning
- The rules of evidence require that as soon as you identify an accused or suspect, that individual be given Miranda Rights before questioning.
- Interview the accused in a separate room or area from the victim. If the accused does not freely offer information, ask that accused, directly, “What happened?”
- In the incident report document all statements of the accused. Often these are admissible in court and key to the case.
- If the accused states that he was fighting back in self-defense, be sure to take photos to help determine if that is true; you are looking to show whether injuries, if they are present, are consistent with self-defense injuries. Remember that bruises to the outer arms or surfaces of hands of the accused could be consistent with a victim’s attempt to break/bite free from attempted strangulation or attack from behind, rather than self-defense of the accused.
- Remember that some batterers see themselves as the victim; allow them to explain this viewpoint.
- Document in the incident report the demeanor of the accused and whether or not he appears under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Note if his clothing is torn, and his general physical condition. The more details the better.
- Document all uncooperative actions of the accused, especially if he does not want you to interview the victim outside of his earshot or objects to your interviewing the children or taking pictures. All such information should be specifically documented in your report.
- Interview the accused as fully as circumstances allow.
- Inquire about the nature of the disturbance.
- Be alert to possible incriminating statements.
- Protect the constitutional rights of the accused.
- Solicit information as to the possible whereabouts of the accused (place of employment, relatives, friends, etc.).
- Make reasonable efforts to locate and interview the accused for any statements or evidence they wish to provide prior to arrest or obtaining a warrant.