Roll, Benny, Roll!
This are the extent of my notes. I would hand things to Investigator Himan, and he would file them. I did take notes to organize myself and to help Investigator Himan organize the investigation just on my board. And I have a board in my office, it's a, dry-erase board. And, for example, Investigator Himan would say, "I need to have someone look at different things, how we can get a hair analysis done," And I would put my name next to that. And then he'd say, "I need a background done for this person." I would assign someone to do that if he wasn't going to do it. He'd say, "I need a court order to get e-mail records," put his name next to that, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I had asked him and was under the impression that he was taking photographs of the board, and when we finished that we would clear it. That wasn't done. And I apologize for that.
DPD Supervisor of Investigations, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, 4/19/2007
Q: You've been a member of the Durham Police Department for [nearly] twenty years, correct?
Q: Before being offered, and accepting, that job, you were required to attend police academy instruction and training, correct?
Q: In fact, you had to be certified as having successfully completed such training before starting your employment with the DPD, right?
Q: In other words, you could not be hired as a Durham police officer until having passed that professional course of training, correct?
Q: That professional training included instruction in the appropriate and acceptable ways of interviewing witnesses, no?
Q: And, "witnesses" includes crime victims, suspects, and third parties with information relevant to assist in your investigation of a crime, doesn't it?
Q: And you passed that training, of course, didn't you?
Q: You were also trained in the manner in which to make and keep notes of witness interviews, correct?
Q: Passed that training, too, right?
Q: And that training instructed that you, whenever possible, make your notes contemporaneously, that is, at the same time as, your conversations with witnesses, isn't that so?
Q: In fact, writing down witness statements at the very time the statements are made is the favored practice, is it not?
Q: An officer who writes a witness statement into his notes at the time the statement is being made is an officer using good and accepted practice, isn't that true?
Q: Well, an officer writing his notes of a statement at the time the statement is made is not doing anything wrong, is he?
Q: He's not going to be reprimanded for that, is he?
Q: Because, if you're writing down a witness statement at the time the statement is made, you are following the favored practice taught to you all the way back in the police academy, correct?
Q: I'm sure you strive, every day, to perform your job according to the proper procedures you were taught all the way back in the police academy, don't you?
Q: Because you want to do things right, right?
Q: Because you're a good officer?
Q: Your training also taught you that you should take great care to write down witness statements in your notes as accurately and completely as possible, correct?
Q: You've been trained to record the witness' statements in writing as the witness is speaking, correct?
Q And to ask the witness to repeat or clarify a particular statement that you want to memorialize perfectly in your notes, right?
Q: You were trained, in fact, to use quotation marks to connote written notes that record exactly what a witness said, were you not?
Q: And that is your own custom and practice, isn't it?
Q: So, if a witness interview note written by you includes matter framed by quotation marks, you are indicating by the quotation marks that that is exactly what the witness said, fair?
Q: If it's in quotation marks, it's not your own summary or impression of what was said, it is what was said, right?
Q: And it is, of course, your custom and practice to include in your interview notes any and all information that you deem relevant, or important, to on-going investigation, isn't it?
Q: I mean, you'd never not write down information given by a witness that you felt was important to solving the crime, right?
Q: So, you always do write down any and all important information told to you by the witness you're interviewing, correct?
Q: What do I mean? I mean, information that you, in the course of your investigation, and in consideration of your training and experience, feel is important to the case?
Q: You don't "leave out" any important stuff then, agreed?
Q: That's very important to the conduct of a thorough criminal investigation, isn't it?
Q: It's very important to justice-minded criminal investigation, isn't it?
Q: What do I mean? I mean that you know, from your training and experience, that your notes of witness interviews are often used by the District Attorney's office in the prosecution of defendants charged with the crimes you've investigated, isn't that so?
Q: You know, from your training and experience, that you might expect to be called as a witness at a criminal trial to read your investigative notes to a jury, correct?
Q: In fact, you've testified to juries in open court "X" times, haven't you?
Q: And you know, from your training and experience, that your notes of witness interviews are often introduced in open court as evidence in criminal trials, correct?
Q: You know, from your training and experience, that trials of crimes charged often occur long after, sometimes years after, the alleged crime and your investigation of it, don't you?
Q: And, knowing that, you always make sure that your contemporaneous notes of witness interviews are as full and complete and accurate as possible, correct?
Q: To help refresh your own recollection when you are called upon to testify about events long past, correct?
Q: Because your own memory of, say, investigating a purse theft would be sharper and more accurate at the time you spoke to witnesses shortly after the theft occurred than it would be, say, three or four years after its occurrence, fair?
Q: And you'd agree with me, wouldn't you, that the purpose of a criminal trial is not exclusively to secure a conviction against an accused?
Q: You'd agree with me, wouldn't you, that the dual purpose of a criminal trial is to see that, both, the guilty are convicted and that the not guilty are set free?
Q: In other words, to insure that justice is served?
Q: Which is, in large part, why it is your own custom and practice to make your notes of witness interviews at the time of the interview, or as quickly as is reasonably possible for you to do so, correct?
Q: So that the jury will have a record of witnesses recollections of a particular event at a time shortly after the event occurred, correct?
Q: Because, in your experience, the recollections of witnesses tend to change over time, do they not?
Q: In fact, it has been your experience that witnesses memories of particular events fade with time, hasn't it?
Q: Yes or no: Do you mean by that answer that, in your experience, some witnesses' memories have actually improved over time? Um-hum.
[Seek court permission to have 3 pieces of scrawl marked for identification]
Q: Now, your job also requires you to make and keep comprehensive reports of all information developed during the course of investigation, does it not?
Q: A typical such report, as opposed to witness interview notes alone, would include all relevant information you have developed pertaining to a particular investigation, fair?
Q: The report might be added to from time to time as an on-going investigation proceeds, correct?
Q: It might also include investigative information developed by other officers working on the case, correct?
Q: It would include information, for example, about the scene of the crime? Personal observations upon canvassing an area? Complaining witness or witnesses? Injuries? Personal property damage? Evidence secured from the scene? Eyewitnesses? Descriptions of suspects? Contact information -- addresses, phone numbers, and the like? Witness interviews? Fair? Anything else?
Q: Good and accepted practice is to type information already secured onto the report as soon as is reasonably possible, correct?
Q: What do I mean? I mean, if you're sitting around the station, having already secured the name and address of a suspect, and fellow officers are out in the field trying to secure the identity of a second suspect, it would be good and accepted practice for you to type the name of the suspect you've already identified onto the report, wouldn't it?
Q: There's nothing in Departmental Regulations or police academy training instructing that you should not enter the information you already possess, is there?
Q: There's nothing in Departmental Regulations or police academy training instructing that you should wait for fellow officers to complete every phase of on-going investigation before you type information you already possess onto the report, is there?
Q: In fact, the favored practice is to type information onto those reports as soon as possible after the information is received, isn't it?
Q: Even if further investigation is on-going, right?
Q: Because if information already received is recorded in a timely manner, there is virtually no possiblity that the information will be accidentally misplaced or lost, right?
Q: Most of this is pretty much just common sense, isn't it, Sergeant?
Q: And it happens, on occasion, that you interview a witness with another officer, doesn't it?
Q: And the other officer contemporaneously makes written notes of the witness' statements, as well, correct?
Q: Because, like you, he or she has attended and passed police academy training, correct?
Q: Because, like you, that other officer has learned the DPD's accepted, proper procedures, correct?
Q: Because, like you, he strives every day to do his job correctly?
Q: Because, like you, he strives every day to follow proper and favored procedure, correct?
Q: Because he's a good officer, right?
Q: In fact, all officers conducting investigations for the Durham Police Department report to you, don't they?
Q: Because, since February, 2006, you have been the Department's Supervisor of Investigations, correct?
Q: In fact, it is your responsibility, in that role, to insure that all officers follow good and accepted practice and procedure in the conduct of their investigative and reporting duties, correct?
Q: If an officer was unacceptably late in filing reports of information developed during the investigative course, it would be your job to talk to that officer, correct?
Q: It would be your job to order that officer to timely file his report, correct?
Q: It would be your job to monitor his conduct thereafter, and see that your order has been carried out, correct?
Q: It would be your job to impose reprimand or punishment, possibly including termination, if the officer continued to disregard your order and proper Departmental practice, correct?
Q: But you haven't had to reprimand or punish officers under you for untimely report filing since you became Investigations Supervisor, have you?
Q: Because the Durham Police Department only employs good, competent officers, doesn't it?
Q: Okay. Now, on those occasions when you and another officer interview a witness together, you compare your own notes with those of your brother officer soon after the interview, don't you?
Q: And you expect, even before comparing your notes with those of your brother officer, that his and yours will memorialize similar, if not exact, information, correct?
Q: And, as concerns particular information contained in the comprehensive report, the particular officer who developed that information is typically the officer who types it onto the body of the document, correct?
Q: There is space provided on the formal report for the investigating officer to type in statements secured during witness interviews, correct?
Q: The information typed in that space on the formal report would include all of the important information included in your original notes of the witness interview, correct?
Q: And since you always include any and all important information stated by a witness in your hand-written notes, you simply have to type onto the formal report the entirety of what you've previously written down when interviewing the witness, correct?
Q: And, in the event that a witness was interviewed by you and another officer, that officer's hand-written notes would also be transferred to the formal, typed report, correct?
Q: But there shouldn't be any significant or important difference between his report entry and yours, should there?
Q: Because you interviewed the witness together, right?
Q: Heard the same statements at the same time, right?
Q: And, following good and accepted police procedure, you both took notes contemporaneously, that is, at the same time the statement was being uttered, correct?
[Insert 633 additional questions, here.]
Q: Now, there are Departmental regulations, are there not, setting forth the time by which information previously collected is to be typed onto the formal report, correct?
Q: Well, have you, in your lengthy career, developed a custom and practice that you strive to follow regarding the time between your conduct of an interview and when you type your notes of that interview into the formal report?
Q: Okay. Is it fair to state that the formal, typed report is to be filled in within a reasonable time following the collection of the information that is to be memorialized upon the body of the report?
Q: What constitutes a reasonable time?
Q: Well, I understand that circumstances of a particular investigation, or of an officer's personal life, might vary the definition of "reasonable time" a bit from case to case but, certainly, you'd agree with me that the passage of four months between investigation undertaken and typing the investigative results into a formal report is unreasonable, wouldn't you?
[Insert 897 additional questions, here]
Q: It would be particularly unreasonable when counsel representing an individual or individuals indicted for the crime under investigation have demanded your report for months and months, wouldn't it?
[Seek court permission to have neatly-typed, single-spaced, thirty-three page "Report" marked for identification]
Crystal Mess, August 25, 2006
Where are Gottlies' real notes?
Do it, Ben.