Arson Individuals Constitutional Rights Essay - Essay Prowess

Arson Individuals Constitutional Rights Essay


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Where is the best place to conduct an interview with a person who could best be described as a “good citizen?” Why?

Evaluation of subjects is done in regard to the timing and the environment of the interrogation site and circumstances of the case (Redsicker & O’Connor, 1997, p. 435). It is important to evaluate the subject’s experiences and background, including anxiety, motivation, location, previous encounters with law enforcement and timeliness. Witness and victims to an accident are likely to be traumatized due to high levels of anxiety and emotional shock, hence may be unable to recall the incidents the investigator must be understanding and patient and not to label the victim as uncooperative (Redsicker & O’Connor, 1997, p. 453).

The investigator should be able to identify the motives of the interviewee because some may be willing to cooperate with the investigation for malicious intentions (Redsicker & O’Connor, 1997, p. 534). The injured person may be out to seek revenge, a criminal may be fronting himself as the voluntary interviewee to victimize others or eliminate competition while other informants may be seeking monetary rewards. The location for the interview also influences the kind of response an investigator is likely to get, and the informants are categorized as a street person, good citizen, or professional type (Redsicker & O’Connor, 1997, p. 231). The street person will most likely prefer an interview conducted in an alley or the back of a petrol station while a good citizen will want the interview from the police station or in the comfort of his home.

Victims of past encounters with law enforcement and past criminals will avoid investigators if their past experience was negative, while the law abiding citizens will be willing to cooperate (Redsicker & O’Connor, 1997, p. 634). The investigator should also evaluate the possibility that a witness could have been passively or actively participated in the accidents or could be an interested party in the case. Therefore, one should pay keen interest on self-incriminating statements which could shift the direction of the investigations and possible court case.

Where is the best place to conduct an interview with a person who could best be described as a “street person?” Why?

There are two most common errors that occur during interviewing. Many interviewers fail to allow the interviewee to narrate their part of the story which can be attributed to inadequate training on the part of investigators. The majority of investigators rise from the ranks of a police detective, whose main tasks involve mechanical skills of filling pre-printed forms and writing complex reports on crimes, and not the soft skills and excellent communication skills needed for the fire outbreak investigator (Redsicker & O’Connor, 1997, p. 765). Consequently, this inadequacy manifests as frequent interruptions during the interview, which ends up confusing the interviewee resulting in a disjointed flow of the events leading to the accident.

The solution to this problem is for the interviewer to adopt good listening skills either by acting as a concerned listener or as a father confessor, portraying a sympathetic listening and being nonjudgmental. The father confessor acts like a religious minister and allows the interviewee to confess his feelings while the concerned listener acts as an understanding stranger. Furthermore, the investigator must be able to identify if the victim, criminal or witness has a personal problem that might hinder from confessing and offer to be his best friend to release the tension and develop trust in order to foster good communication (Redsicker & O’Connor, 1997, p. 55). The second error during interviewee is that some investigators tend to talk too much and fail to give the witness, victim or criminal enough time to confess or narrate their story. The investigator should allow the exchange of information between him and the interviewee, but should not varnish them with a lot of details concerning the case.

The timing of the interview should be short so that the victim will not forgotten the occurrences to minimize the chances of fabrication of the story (Redsicker & O’Connor, 1997, p. 59). Delays in interviewing the victims or witnesses may give time for clouding of the events leading to the accident with conversations and observations about the occurrence, hence the need to interview them as soon as possible.

Where is the best place to conduct an interview with a person who could best be described as a “professional type?” Why?

The best place to conduct an interview with a person who could best be described as a “good citizen” is in the police station or at the comfort of their home because they usually have nothing to hide and are willing to cooperate with the investigator and law enforcement authorities, and their major desire is for justice to be done and guilty criminals to be punished. They have no past criminal records and are not in fear of being located in a police post (Redsicker O’Connor, 1997, p. 54).

The person who is best described as a “street person” will best be interviewed in secluded places, for example, in an alley or at the back of the petrol station because they have a past criminal record, hence would prefer not to be seen as an investigator or in a police station (Redsicker & O’Connor, 1997, p. 596). Their past encounters with law enforcers may be negative, which could hinder them from cooperating with investigators.

A person who is best described as a “professional type” would be interviewed at the comfort of their workplace or office because they have no criminal record and spend most of their time at the workplace.

Constitutional Rights Of Individuals Suspected Or Accused Of Arson

Suspects and people accused of arson are accorded some rights according to the fifth and sixth amendments to the Constitution of the United States (Redsicker & O’Connor, 1997, p. 79). The individuals must be given the right for the representation by legal counsel, and should never be compelled to witness against themselves. According to the Fifth Amendment, the suspects cannot be deprived of liberty, life or property without an appropriate legal course of law, nor shall their property be confiscated or taken for public use without compensation. They are also entitled to a fair public hearing by an impartial jury. In the case of Miranda v. Arizona, the outline of protection of suspects against compulsory self-incrimination was given. The suspect must be informed of his rights and questioning can only start if he knowingly waives these rights. They include the right to remain silent and not answer questions, to be told that anything they say can be used against them court of law, that they have a right for an attorney before speaking to the police  or during the proceedings. Where a suspect cannot afford an attorney, he should be provided with one by the state and no cost, and can choose to remain silent until the attorney is provided. However, the suspect can choose to waive these rights, but can invoke his rights at any time during the proceeding at which time the questioning should stop (Redsicker & O’Connor, 1997, p. 59). The Miranda warnings are unnecessary where the suspect volunteers give information or offers to make a confession when they are not being interrogated or when they are being interviewed by a private investigator.

Self-Incriminating Statements

If an investigation is being conducted with a person who is not under arrest and they make a self-incriminating statement, the interview must be stopped and the Miranda warnings given. The completeness of the interview circumstances should be closely examined and contested in the trial (Redsicker & O’Connor, 1997, p. 89).


Redsicker, D.R., & O’Connor, J.J. Practical Fire And Arson Investigation. Boco Raton: CRC Press, 1997. Print.


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