A Good Interrogator
The suspect was troubled; his face reflected the distasteful concept of confession. However, a good interrogator controls the physical environment, from the moment that suspect is dumped into that small cubical, left alone to stew in a sound proof isolation, where fear of the unknown patrols the heart. It’s there when it is difficult for any suspect to ponder their legal status. They light cigarettes to calm themselves as they wait, staring abstractedly at four stained cinderblock walls, and a dirty tin ashtray on a plain table, a small mirrored window and a series of water stained loose tiles on the ceiling. The suspect ponders the thought of being arrested and his attempt to get through to the interrogator was so strong that his questions were scraped in his throat.
Control was the reason a suspect was seated farthest from the interrogation room door, and the reason the room’s light switch can only be operated with a key that remained in possession of the interrogator. Every time a suspect has to ask for a cigarette, water, coffee or a trip to the bathroom was a reminder that he has lost control.
The thrill of control radiated through the interrogator, and she almost laughed with the sensation. This clandestine behavior was marvelous entertainment. She wanted to heighten the control, let the situation become more and more nerve wrecking. A good interrogator has two goals in mind: first, to emphasize her complete control of the process; second, to stop the suspect from opening his mouth. If a suspect was able to blurt out his desire for a lawyer, if he was able to ask for counsel definitively and declined to answer questions until he gets one, it’s over. To prevent that, the interrogator must allow no interruption of her soliloquy.
“My name is Detective Renee Taylor, and I want to tell you that this is some serious shit you got yourself involved in and I’m here to help you sort it out.”
“Listen, I don’t…”
“Don’t speak, just listen,” she cut him off. “You may say something that I know will be a lie, and trust me. There is a shit load of people who lied to me in this very room who are now on death row.”
Control, a good interrogator has to maintain it. She had to say whatever in order to maintain it. She had to keep talking until it was safe to stop, because if the suspect thinks for one moment that he can influence the conversation, he may just demand an attorney.
She kept talking until a grim mood began covering the suspect. A confession was about to form from his lips, but she held her hand out to stop it. She wanted panic to set in. He had to confess with desperation. The real truth comes out when you’re trapped like a caged animal. She played the suspect so well.
She seemed to harden, if only on principle.
There was a touch of panic coming from the suspect. The interrogator was sure she saw it. The suspect was cloaking it with fidgeting motions, but the uncertainty was there. The inability to speak, or answer her questions was disturbing him.
She wanted a confession, but the confession had to be with substance. The confession needed to be with the presence of fear, and with the absence of lies.
The interrogator then allowed the suspect to answer all of her questions. The questions were asked in rapid fire succession. The questioning started off with height, weight, name, nick names, parents girlfriends, this acclimated the suspect to the idea of answering questions before the direct interview began.
Even if the suspect asked for a lawyer, he must at the very least according to the most aggressive interpretation of Miranda ask definitively: “I want to speak to a lawyer and I don’t want to answer questions until I do.”
Anything less leaves room for a good interrogator to maneuver. The distinctions could be subtle and semantic.
The suspect was way past that. He just wanted it to be all over. He confessed verbally and in written form that he shot and killed his friend over a twenty five dollar debt.
Being a good interrogator, she came close to real tears as she touched his hand and said sometimes bad things happen to good people.
The interrogator then leaves the room feeling that the confession has been successfully negotiated.
© 2013 Frank Atanacio