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Written records of police interrogation: differential registration as determinant of statement credibility and interrogation quality

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The backbone of Dutch criminal procedure is the case file including a large number of written records. In Dutch courts the focus is primarily on evaluation of written records. The written record of police interrogation is a mediated account of the interrogation itself. In this study we explore how individual differences in the production of written records by police officers affect the jurists' evaluation of the suspect's story and of the quality of the interrogation itself. In the first study, five police officers produced written records of one and the same interrogation on video of a denying suspect. In the second study, three of those written records are evaluated by jurists. They are asked to determine story acceptability of the suspect and procedural fairness of the interrogation. Findings show that a short and simple interrogation of a suspect results in written records that are quite different (Study I). It is further shown that these differences affect the jurists' evaluation of some of the core issues addressed in a criminal process (Study II). Implications of these findings are discussed as well as a number of possible ways to improve the current state of affairs.
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Keywords: credibility; police interrogation; procedural fairness; story acceptability; written records

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Leiden University, Law Faculty, Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, Amsterdam, the Netherlands 2: NSCR, Amsterdam, the Netherlands 3: VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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