A Further Look as Signed Witness Statements

While there are several types of witness statements, signed handwritten or typewritten statements are the preferred form. All signed statements should begin with a preamble. This preamble should identify the witness making the statement and include their full name, age, occupation, the identity of their employer and their home address. The preamble should also include any pertinent information relating to their background or qualifications as a witness. This would include their education, dates of graduation, certifications, specialties and their degree of expertise in relationship to the investigation, particularly if they are serving as an expert witness.

While there are several types of witness statements, signed handwritten or typewritten statements are the preferred form. All signed statements should begin with a preamble. This preamble should identify the witness making the statement and include their full name, age, occupation, the identity of their employer and their home address. The preamble should also include any pertinent information relating to their background or qualifications as a witness. This would include their education, dates of graduation, certifications, specialties and their degree of expertise in relationship to the investigation, particularly if they are serving as an expert witness.

Signed statements should be recorded on standard paper. The entire statement should be written in just one paragraph by the
private investigator conducting the interview. There should only be one initial paragraph indentation. The margins should be maintained on both sides of the statement page, and the statement should run to the margins as evenly as possible. The last line of each page of the statement should be left blank and the witness should be asked to sign their name on the last line of each page of the statement. Finally, at the end of the entire statement, the witness should be asked to write the following “I have read these pages and they are correct to the best of my knowledge”. They should then sign their name again at the end of the statement. This final portion, in the witness’s own handwriting, is the most crucial and validating part of the statement. In the event that the witness moves from their present address, the name and address of a close relative should also be included, although this is rarely utilized.

After identification of the witness who is giving the statement, the private interviewer should proceed to record all of the interviewee’s relevant knowledge related to the investigation. The normal chronological sequence of events, from beginning to end should be observed and recorded respectively. As the witness speaks, the
private investigator should record their information. The private investigator must listen to what the witness is saying and reduce it to writing, while simultaneously assessing the witness’s demeanor and formulating appropriate questions. After the interview, the private investigator should also complete a statement write-up form to serve as a cover sheet, to insure that all of the information conveyed by the witness is recorded in some form.

Recording statements, while accurately reducing the words of the interviewee, assessing their demeanor and formulating new questions is no easy task. Only through experience with a variety of witnesses will a private investigator become an expert at conducting an interview and recording a signed statement.

Pennington & Associates ltd. provides witness interview services. Private investigators are available for immediate service in Ohio throughout the cities of Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, Jackson, Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Columbus, and surrounding areas. Service is immediately available in West Virginia throughout the cities of Huntington, Charleston, and surrounding areas.
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