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Internal Investigations 101: Different Approaches to Interviewing Targets/Suspects, Part I

An internal investigation is an important mechanism an organization can use to address an allegation of wrongdoing, determine legal liability, identify individuals or parties with culpability, comply with regulatory requirements, develop corrective measures and enhance operational efficiencies. Buckner is pleased to continue its blog series highlighting best practices, strategies and techniques that can be used by organizational leaders and counsel during an internal investigation. Today’s post will begins a discussion on several methods to approach an investigation target. The first method is the “direct approach”. An investigator uses this method when he or she concludes the target’s involvement in the allegation or guilt is “reasonably certain”, which can be characterized as the level of certainty exercised by a reasonable person. In a direct approach, the investigator “assume[s] an air of complete confidence with regard to evidence or witness statements that point to the suspect. . . emphasize[s] the strength of the evidence and how it implicates the suspect beyond any doubt.” Further, the investigator acts “in a brisk and accusatory manner” and “state[s] that an admission is not really important because the quantity and quality of evidence already on hand is more than enough to bring the investigation to an end.” Overall, an interview of the target under the direct approach “is not to learn if the suspect committed the offense, but to learn why” and is “an opportunity for the suspect to tell ‘the other side of the story’”.

Source: “Private Investigation: Interrogation Approaches and Tactics”, Learning Shop USA, available at: http://learningshopusa.com/private-investigation-interrogation-approaches-and-tactics-2.

Contact attorney Michael L. Buckner (+1-954-941-1844; mbuckner@bucknersportslaw.com) for additional information on conducting internal investigations and intelligence-gathering.

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About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.

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