Collecting Testimonial Evidence

The following is a list of rules when interviewing witnesses.  For each rule:

·         Determine together whether you agree with the rule, and, if so, why?

·         Alternatively, if you disagree, what is the basis of the disagreement?

·         Also, to the extent possible, what if anything is missing from the rule?

1.       Plan your interview before you meet with the witness.

2.       Conduct the interview in a private place.

3.       Do not conduct the interview when you are in a hurry.

4.       Witnesses at the location should be kept separated, if possible, or told not to speak to others regarding the allegation. 

5.       Always speak in a calm voice, without sarcasm or anger.

6.       When you begin the interview, be clear about your purpose.  Don’t make unnecessary “small‑talk”.

7.       Whenever possible, begin questions with the words “who”, “what”, “where”, “why”, “when” and “how”.

8.       Ask follow‑up questions when appropriate.

9.       Do not ask leading questions, vague questions or double questions.

10.     Avoid giving the witness the impression that you believe or disbelieve what he or she has told you.