5 Heuristics of Interviewing Eyewitnesses

DOI: 10.4324/9781003263173-7

Our life is frittered away by detail … Simplify, simplify.

Henry David Thoreau

Investigators rely on their keen sense of experience and interaction with witnesses and victims of crimes to ask the right questions and eventually come up with the identity of the assailant. While many of these cases are solved without fanfare every day, we sometimes read about wrongful conviction cases where investigators make suggestions to victims that allow them to believe they had selected the correct suspect while prosecutors ignore the unreliability of eyewitness statements and move to convict an innocent person. If we allow our investigators to rely heavily on heuristics that ignore ...

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