CID Interview Tactics
Never answer questions from law enforcement without having an experienced court martial attorney at your side. You may think that you are helping yourself by being cooperative, but you are not. If you are asked questions by a military investigator or a member of your chain of command, politely and respectfully tell them you that you do not want to answer any questions and that you want to speak with your military defense attorney.
In the typical case, the chain of command escorts you down to CID or MPI to be questioned. Once in their office, you will spend the first thirty minutes or so filling out administrative paperwork. During this time, the investigator will try to build rapport with you. When they do this, they are trying to gain your trust and have you lower your guard. A military investigator is not your friend. An investigator is not trying to help or protect you. The investigator is trying to get you to say something that will be used to convict you.
1) Lying: An investigator is allowed to lie to you about evidence in order to get you to talk. For instance, the investigator could say that you were caught on camera, they have your fingerprints on some object, or that someone heard you make an incriminating statement. None of these statements have to be true. Although you may be told that it is urgent to cooperate right now, nothing will happen to you by saying you want your defense attorney present.
2) Guilt: An investigator may try to appeal to your conscience or religious beliefs to get you to talk by saying they know you are a good person or that God can forgive you of your sins. As true as those statements may be, they will not help you if you give a statement to the investigator.
3) Promises: An investigator might make a promise to you that they will recommend leniency if you cooperate. While they may keep their word, such a recommendation does not carry any weight with the chain of command. An investigator simply does not have the authority to promise you anything.
4) Pretextual Phone Calls or Text Messages: If you are smart, and decline the offer to answer any questions without your military defense attorney, then CID will release you back to your chain of command. At that point, you may feel that you have nothing to worry about. However, one of the government’s favorite tricks is a called a pretextual phone call or text message. With this trick, the investigator will have a friend or maybe your accuser call or text you. During the call or text, they will want to ask you about the allegations or state something that implies that you did something wrong. You should never take the bait by responding. If you do, you can bet that there will be a military investigator listening in on the call or reading everything you write in your response text. If you are called or you receive a text referencing the allegations, you should simply respond that you have been instructed by your court martial defense attorney to not speak about the allegation. You should then politely end the call or text conversation.
5) Seizing Electronics: If law enforcement believes it can find evidence against you on your phone or computer, they will request authorization from a military magistrate to seize these items. You should plan on having your phone and computer seized by law enforcement. In order to avoid losing information that may be helpful to your defense, you should take steps to save important information from your phone or computer. If you have not saved this information before these items are seized, it will be much harder for you and your defense to prepare your case.
Experienced Court Martial Attorney
Without the assistance of an experienced court martial attorney, you will not know how much of what CID is telling you is true or false. You will also not know if what you say in response to their questions will end up hurting you and your case. To protect yourself, never answer questions from law enforcement without having an experienced court martial attorney at your side.
Mr. Coombs in an experienced court martial attorney. He has over 18 years of experience in representing Soldiers just like you. Unlike other civilian attorneys, Mr. Coombs specializes in representing only Army soldiers. If you are being questioned by law enforcement, contact our law office to find out how we can help.