Highlighting Deception in the Interview, or How to Obtain a Confession
by Peter Hyatt
I do not debate this with anyone, at any time. I will even say, "roll the tape and watch" knowing that I am armed with not only thorough analysis and personal resolve, but with something on my side that no matter what we say, what we do, what we mandate, or what we outlaw, remains the same:
"No man can lie twice"is the principle in Statement Analysis that you nor I will ever prove wrong.
Since we cannot prove it wrong, why don't we flip it on its head, forget the negative of proving it wrong, and utilize the positive to get a confession or admission, which is the ultimate climax of all the work we have done: Getting to the truth, and successfully closing the case.
If I have the written statement before the interview (the key to Analytical Interviewing), I know that I am not only going to get the information I seek, but if I have highlighted deception in the written statement, I am going to get my information that I want and need, and I am likely to get something else, too, because of how I present the information processed through the lens of analysis.
With this confidence, I often get confessions or admissions (mostly admissions) in the interview due to a specific technique that is only available to those who have done solid analysis work on the statement, and who know how to present the "acutely sensitive" portion of the statement to the subject, in the interview. For legal purposes, there is no need to differentiate between confession or admission; it is only in the social science arena that the difference is important.
Let's look at an example of a known liar and a technique employed by him and how this can, and should be, turned around and put right back at the liar. Had this been done, even with lawyers present and ready to silence him, he would have confessed. In fact, early in the investigation, he almost did.
Does anyone remember the combatant deposition in which George Anthony rose up in righteous indignation, asking a question, but not waiting for any reply, making it a declaration of insult:
"How dare you, sir!"
He was responding to the statement which referred to Caylee Anthony's remains; you know the remains that George Anthony first smelled in the trunk of his car.
It was a declaration statement, not a question seeking an answer.
It was not a "rhetorical' question, in the sense that there was no completion to how one would "dare" to call a "missing" child, "remains."
We have a need to use quotation marks, literally, as a means of communicating deception.
Caylee was not missing.
There was no "dare" proposed to the attorney who referenced Caylee's remains; thereof, the word "dare" in quotation marks.
George Anthony, no matter who you believe, knew Caylee was dead from the time he smelled her in his trunk; even if you are on the fence as to assisting Casey on dumping her little body where she had buried her pet turtle. Therefore, "missing" is in quotation marks, indicating a need for "more information" from the writer, to the reader. The additional information is that the report of being missing was fraudulent; deceptive from the start.
What was left after nature had its way with Caylee's body was literally "remains", yet George Anthony feigned indignation over this term.
Was it ever a dare?
No, it wasn't.
Was she ever missing?
No, she was not.
Was she ever alive, making the use of remains inappropriate?
No, she was dead from the time her mother killed her.
The jurors said, "we knew she had killed her, but the prosecution didn't prove it."
How then, you might ask, did they know she was dead?
In Statement Analysis, where does this deceptive indignation find itself classified?
Consider it the same as "sermon" or "sermonizing."
Statement Analysis recognizes that when a question is answered and a sermon like response accompanies it, it is a "need to persuade."
This is most often seen in two topics:
Drugs and Theft.
I once had a theft case in which a young man described his father and uncle as "low life" in prison for theft, and that they were "lower than drug dealers" in his mind. I noted "sermon", that is, as if he is preaching an anti-allegation message.
His statement showed indication and the interview was conducted from the analysis.
He answered questions while holding his written statement on his lap, referencing it until I said, "Is that your written statement? You don't need to hide it. You can use it for your answers."
I didn't mind.
I then said, "Look here, I have it too."
I showed him my copy except my copy was a bit different. It had colors on it, and it had blue areas concentrated close together. I watch his eyes as they scan the specific colored portions of his statement.
It has quite an impact upon a subject's emotions and it never fails me.
Eventually, as is often the case with Analytical Interviewing, he made an admission because he was confronted with his deception and could not look upon it and lie about it. It took a few hours and I had to let him preach to me about the continual and generation evils of theft, especially when compared to drug dealing (he was signaling his future plans to increase profit margin by moving into pain killers from relatives resold on the street at a heck of a mark up.
He could not bring himself to lie about his lie, when the lie, itself, was the topic before him. It is a technique used in Analytical Interviewing that produces admissions (or confessions; the difference being that in an admission, the subject admits he 'did it', but a confession shows an internal distress over the immorality or unethical nature of what he did. Most, due to the presence of their deceptive indicators, only 'admit' but are in no mood for confessing anything: they are angry at being called on the carpet through the skillful analysis being presented to him in a way that leaves him no way out.
The liar hates being called a liar because it is the undoing of his life.
Yes, you read that correctly: it is his life that has been undraped before "the world", even if it is just a handful of people who know.
This is the nature of a liar:
He or she has been lying since childhood, and due to success, has developed a sense of contempt for the rest of the world, as being too stupid to discern the deception. The craft has been honed at the expense of the kindergarten teacher, the parent, sibling, coach, love interest, boss, and so on. The track record yields a tremendous egotistical mentality that recoils from the thought of being caught, but once caught, strikes a blow, like a Cobra, outward, with venom.
Many detective know this and use it to get a suspect to take a polygraph, but this is a much higher level skill that warrants specific training, and actual, hands on practice:
Once the analysis of the statement is finished, and specific deception detected, questions are formulated which seek to:
a. Use the subject's own words, which disarms him due to the familiarity in the brain, with the specific words used;
b. Carefully bring the subject to the point of deception by first allowing him to confirm points of truth, elevating his confidence and comfort level
c. Once 'in a roll' of "success" (they are very bold when telling the truth), the trap is sprung, and at the precise location of deception, the question is now put into the form of a statement with,
"here, specifically, here, you are deceptive indicated..." but it must be built up to where there is no argument left.
It also can be done "third party" with great effect:
a. Using the subject's own words, he is permitted to affirm point after point that you know is true, and will only build his confidence. Then the trap is sprung this way:
"We have a written report from an expert who has shown us that here, at this point, you are what they call "deception indicated"; this is how we know you were not truthful."
The ego of the subject will not allow him to look at the lie, that is his own words, and call them a lie.
If you alter the words, even slightly, you might lose him.
He is a fish that cannot resist his own bait.
In far deeper context, this is what brilliant and high paid therapists use, a do sales professionals who are the best and brightest.
Training is key and it comes from learning the principles of Statement Analysis, practicing it over and over and over (think, 1000 hours initially), then learning how to design the questions with his own words, and how to present the lie.
It is a powerful and amazing technique so that even if the subject gets up to walk out in anger, he is likely to stop and "explain" things.
In law enforcement, the detective must, at this point, have the same preparation as a human resources professional:
You must be armed with a "carrot."
The stick is the blunt presentation, but a carrot is the plea bargain, the deal, the offer to resign, or whatever your planning has come up with because you are very likely going to get a confession or admission at this point.
Detectives can discuss this, before hand, with both their immediate superior and the assistant district attorney. The "cooperation", that is, the admission is not just the only psychological relief the guilty can experience, but an incentive (reduced charge, for example) can be added to this.
Human Resources can seek to bring a "carrot" to the table, such as, "if you return the stolen items, and resign immediately, we are prepared to not file formal charges against you"; something that companies can do to avoid bad press, while still removing the trouble from the company.
The subject has a psychological need for closure of his "lie" because he does not lie, but is a liar, it is his habitual walk in life, and wants to end the "undraping" of his life: get it over with. (This is the technique we teach when a skillful polygrapher wishes to confront the suspect with his failed test results: it is critical to use his words and not just the failed test. He can psychologically distance himself, with ease, from the failed test, or even the wild lines on paper; but he cannot readily distance himself from his own words which came from his own dictionary, of which he, himself, the most important and smartest man in the world, chose. (See the build up?).
The "no man can lie twice" rule, therefore, is the single best method of obtaining an admission.
For the mental health professional, this is only done when it is not only therapeutically indicated, but a 'crash setting' or contingency plan is in place.
This is because suicide is a possibility.
The client/patient is about to be "undone" through the brilliance of the therapist's work, and his deception is about to come down. This is something so serious that it has been destroying his own life, and/or the lives of his loved ones and it is all based upon a lie; living a lie, maintaining the lie, and so on, and the "intervention-like" moment must have the contingency plan for possible hospitalization.
Analytical Interview training produces this result. It is not easy, nor is it for the careless but for those professionals who seek to reach high levels of success in their careers.
Each confession or admission makes him more confident, stronger, and more valuable to those around him.
In Human Resources, this is a wall of protection that makes him or her be the "go to guy" when "it's on the line" and the company needs help.
For the therapist, it is the brilliance of learning the source of the issue, something that sounds easy, but is most often a failure, with attendant or even tangent sources claimed as "the" source.
When the actual source is not uncovered, the 'poison' continues, and the harm, pain, and damage lives on. This is where the therapist gets a reputation for rare genius. He literally follows the linguistic footprints, breaks the code, and uses the code to get to the truth. It does take time, not simply in the learning, but in therapy, even the rare genius will need time to interview, review the notes, interview again, review notes, and so on. Yet, even if months were invested, when this magnitude of a discovery is made, it can be life changing, as it can be healing. I would guess that most people who have acute struggling, would embrace this far more than going to the therapist year after year, being coddled, er, I mean, 'supported', while putting the therapist's children through college. The top professionals, themselves, have deep emotional satisfaction at blowing open a case, and discovering the root of the destructive element, and sleep well at night, knowing they have helped 'unclog' a troublesome deep rooted issue that had previously been destroying their patient, including, possibly, the patient's physical health.
Just as the detective reemerges from the interview room with a signed confession, to the shock of his colleagues, this satisfaction is far deeper than his paycheck.
The Human Resource professional also shares in this, including those who do internal investigations.
A $1.2 million dollar settlement is scuttled because the interviewer "destroyed" the fraudulent case with the truth even to the point of a signed admission. Yes, the value of the saved insurance cost is one thing, but the company's reputation may have been saved, and the professional feels a satisfaction that is unshakable, due to getting something that no one thought possible.
The training helps the professional take the new skill of statement analysis and turn it into a confession by the subject, often signed and dated, with no hope of having it overthrown because it is his own words.
We are most comfortable with our own words. When husbands and wives live together for many years harmoniously, they not only parrot each others' words, they "enter into" each others' language; that is, there internal, subjective personal dictionary and "share" them, one with another.
When decades go by, people often say how they look alike.
This is not a Hallmark card lie, it is true because when they begin to share a dictionary, they often imitate, without notice, the face expressions that are regularly used with certain words and phrases. As they mimic each others' faces, they 'look alike', that is, show distinctiveness's that previously had only been seen as from one, but not both.
This training is quite exciting, especially after Statement Analysis reaches the point where solid work is regularly being done and Interview training is desired and the attendees are eager to learn; so much so that they also say, "roll the tape!" and care little for the embarrassment of making mistakes in the mock interviewing, knowing how this will lead to sharpness, precision, and ultimate success.