Lesson 2

Wednesday, 13 November 2019 21:49 Written by  Published in Fairness Read 142 times

EVER EVER EVER Motto DivderLesson 2

Lesson 2 - Basic rules of Analysis

We need to think of the writer as being invisible; and the statement is the only thing that we can see.

This means that when using this technique we do not deal with the writer, we only deal with TheirWords.

If a statement is brought to you by another investigator, get into the habit of letting them know that you would rather not hear any details about the case. This will help you in providing them with an unbiased opinion about the statement

Nothing MoreNothing Less….

"Nothing more": means you are not allowed to add anything to the statement.

Example: The writer says, “
I went to the store to get groceries for my mother, and on the way I was robbed”. You can’t say, “He probably spent the money on drugs.” As you can see aside from sounding pretty stupid, you would have no basis for your assumption. It would be pure speculation, and solving a case by way of speculation, is solving a case by way of luck. Simply put, if it’s not in the statement, leave it out of your analysis

"Nothing less": means you are not allowed to disregard something the writer may have added to their statement.

In analyzing statements we are not allowed to use any outside knowledge.
If the writer didn't mention something, then as far as we are concerned, that something didn't happen.

Example: Before we can say that "Linda" is the writer's wife; the writer has to say "my wife Linda". If the writer does not say it, then “Linda” is not his wife. If they are married, and the writer still doesn’t call “Linda” his wife, then the writer doesn’t acknowledge, “Linda” as being his wife, and there is a pretty good chance that the writer and “Linda” have a bad relationship.

The Pronoun "We"

In both spoken, and written statements, we consider:


Pronouns help us shorten sentences; the pronoun WE is a short and clear way for an individual to describe themselves and someone else or a group; after proper introductions have been made. The pronoun WE also acknowledges a partnership; it indicates togetherness between two or more people. Excluding the pronoun WE can be significant, particularly when the individuals are spouses, couples, partners, or supposedly have a close friendship.

In the following versions of an account of events given by a husband, the first statement indicates the NORM while the second one denotes a deviation from the NORM:

Statement 1

My wife and I went to a friend’s house warming party. WE arrived at the party a little late. The party was still in full swing when WE left for home."

Statement 2

My wife and I went to a friend’s house warming party. My wife and I arrived at the party a little late. The party was still in full swing when I took my wife home."

The second statement reveals distance between the husband and his wife. Once the husband introduces his wife into the statement ( by referring to her in somewhat of a proper social introduction ), then using the pronoun WE is the shortest way to refer to both of them at once, and would be the expected NORM. Yet, the husband avoids using the pronoun WE. Why? Perhaps because there is no togetherness or partnership in the relationship. If later that night the wife is murdered, and the husband, recounting the day's activities, provides a statement devoid of the pronoun WE, investigators questioning the husband should focus on the couple's relationship. If the husband admits to marital problems, but strongly denies any involvement in the death, then barring contrary evidence, investigators may clear him as a suspect. But, if he insists everything was great, then he should be looked at more closely as a possible suspect.

A shift from THEY to WE is also significant, as it implies a degree of personal involvement. In white-collar crime cases, a guilty person who denies involvement may find it difficult to keep the pronoun WE out of a statement. In such instances, investigators need to search the entire statement for the pronoun WE. Then, during the interview, we would focus on the transaction described with the pronoun WE. This pronoun indicates that the writer was involved. In short, it says without saying directly, that the writer was an active participant…a partner.

Another example of this shift in the use of pronouns often can be found in alleged rape reports. In the following two statements taken from rape reports, the focus is on the pronoun WE:

He forced me into the woods" vs. "WE went into the woods."

The first statement represents the NORM. The second statement, which contains the pronoun WE, is a deviation from the NORM.

Veteran rape investigators are alert to the sudden appearance of the pronoun WE in a victim's statement. From their experience of interviewing rape victims, they have NORMED the true rape victim to use the pronouns he along with I, and never the pronoun WE to describe the assailant and herself. Because the pronoun WE indicates togetherness, the investigator reading a WE in an alleged rape statement should ask if the victim knew the assailant and if they were together before the rape occurred. If the victim denies this, there is reason to believe the statement is false.

In this report the writer forms a partnership with her abductor:

On the morning in question I Mary Smith was walking up towards Lafayette Market I was on Penn. and Mosher I was then approached by the defendant ( Jay ) he then asked me could he treat me to breakfast me being an ass hole agreed WE ( this “WE” is OK as it comes before the crime starts ) then proceeded to walk up Penn. Ave. and in between Mosher and Lafayette there is this like little gap and the defendant Jay then pushed me into the gap using a black gun and forced me into his van which was burgundy I got in being afraid for my life, and I begged and pleaded for my life and I asked him not to hurt me several times. He began foundling with my breast and telling me that he wasn't going to hurt me he just wanted some head meaning oral sex I told him I would do anything just as long as he didn't hurt me, WE ( this “WE” is unexpected and should lead us to question the validity of this statement ) were riding and riding as I remember and when I finally realized where WE ( again this “WE” is unexpected and should lead us to question the validity of this statement ) were located and I as I remember WE ( and again the pronoun “WE” is unexpected and should lead us to question the validity of this statement ) were near St. Agnus Hospital and then I saw a police car coming down the street and then started panicking and trying to get the police officers attention. He got scared I assume and he told me to get out of the van. I carefully got out of the van looking behind me. My name is Mary Smith I have been on the streets for exactly 25 years of my life.”

Let’s take a look at a Car-Jacking statement to see if we can find what would be considered out of the NORM or unexpected

At approx. 2300hrs while doing a round at Tremont Hotel, I took our blue utility van I went out on to St. Paul to Lexington made right turn then to Charles St. where I stop at light I was looking in the left direction when the passenger door open and 2 black males one armed with a gun stuck it in my face and said for me to drive. I drove straight where WE ( forms a partnership ) went to Martin Luther King Blvd. and made a right to Franklin St. at that time they had me pull over and they told me to get in back and stay down or they would put hot ones in me. WE ( forms a partnership ) drove around a lot where they where laughing joking I know that they stop at a package store I was to scared to get up I know because the one guy told him to get 2 cups finally after driving it seemed for hrs. they pulled over and tied my hands and blind folded me I got out the van and could feel concrete steps by footing then went into a building I could hear a TV, kids crying and dog barking. But didn’t go into there went into must have been another apartment they put me in a room may have been a big closet or something to that effect told me if I yelled or anything else. They take me out. Then it seemed like hrs. and hrs. they came back and would check on me. Finally this morning at about 0800hrs. they brought me out and put me in the van I thought this was it WE ( forms a partnership ) didn’t travel but about 2-5 min if that they didn’t have me tie up but had blind fold on stop the van told me to get out sucker drove off the street was Laurens and Mount at the corner where a funeral parlor is there was a lady walking I asked her was there a police station or has she seen a policeman she said western district is right there I walked down actually ran and told the first police men I saw which was officer Lawman.”

Use of the pronoun WE forms a partnership between the victim and the suspects and is unexpected. The writer in this case was confronted and confessed that he was not abducted; he said he went out on a drinking binge with some friends; he made up the car jacking to cover his using a company vehicle.

This next statement will be one of today’s assignments ( ASSIGNMENT #2 ) count the number of time the pronoun “WEor its form appears in the statement. I’ll give you a clue there are more than three of them. Send your answer to
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Put your name and Assignment #2 in the topic box - It might help if you copy the statement - cut and paste it into your email and highlight, make bold, or change the color of the text.

I parked and started getting out of my car when a white male about 200 pounds, 6 feet tall approached me and told me to get back in the car or he would hurt me. He then got in the back. I got in the front and began to drive. He told me to drive west on the highway. He asked me if I had any money. I told him no. Were driving for about an hour. During that hour, he hit me repeatedly on the right side of my face. When we got to the exit, I told him our car had no gas. He got mad and told me to get off the exit. We went straight off the exit for about 4-5 miles. He told me to turn down the first street on my left. We went down it about 1/4 of a mile. He told me to stop. He opened the door, put both feet out, hit me, and took off walking quickly. He took off to the east of where I was parked. After that, I took off and lost sight of him."

Investigators experienced in statement analysis would question the truthfulness of the above statement. A true abduction statement, when NORMED, includes phrases like "
He forced me to drive..." or "He made me get off at the exit...." Traumatized victims who are being truthful do not generally use the pronoun WE to describe themselves and assailants. Investigators concluded that the above statement revealed deception.

When interviewed, the writer subsequently confessed that no abduction occurred. She was, in fact, with a man she knew.

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns, e.g., my, mine, your(s), his, hers, its, our(s), their, and theirs, reveal the attachment that the writer or speaker acknowledges toward a person or object. A suspect will change the pronoun or drop the pronoun completely when opting not to show possession or admit association with a particular object or person.

For example:

I was cleaning my gun. I was putting my gun away. The gun discharged."
I was cleaning my gun. I was putting my gun away. The gun discharged."

This person, wanting to disclaim ownership of the gun that discharged ( either accidentally or intentionally ), stopped using the possessive pronoun my. It was no longer his gun… under his control. Instead, it became the gun. Also, notice he omitted the pronoun “I” from the third sentence. It could have read, “
I cleaned my gun. I was putting my gun away when I accidentally discharged it.” or something to that effect.

Another example of a change in possessive pronouns can be found in the following statement written by a person whose home caught fire:

I left my house right after breakfast to join my friends at the track for the day.... I drove back to my house, made a few phone calls, then went out to dinner with Stan Thompson.... Stan dropped me off at my house around 10:00. After I changed my clothes, I left the house to spend the night at my cousin Tom's. Around midnight we heard fire engines and got up to see what was going on."

The same statement marked for pronoun usage:

I left my house right after breakfast to join my friends at the track for the day.... I drove back to my house, made a few phone calls, then went out to dinner with Stan Thompson.... Stan dropped me off at my house around 10:00. After I changed my clothes, I left the house to spend the night at my cousin Tom's. Around midnight we heard fire engines and got up to see what was going on."

In this account, after the writer consistently used the pronoun "my" to describe his house, he omitted the pronoun the last time the house was mentioned. Was it because the house burned down, and it was no longer his house? If so, then this change should have occurred much later -- after midnight -- when the writer learned that the house was burning. Based on the statements made by this writer, investigators should question why the switch in references occurred the last time the writer was in the house. Was it because when the writer spread accelerant on the floor of the house, the writer already subconsciously giving up possession of the house because he had set the fire? Just as arson investigators try to discover if valuable possessions have been removed from a house prior to a fire, those skilled in statement analysis look for the exact point at which the owner stops taking possession by failing to use the pronoun my.

Note: The word “
LEFT” entered the statement just before “his house” changed to “the house” there will be more on the as the course continues


Nouns denote persons, places, and things. Yet, nouns take on different meanings depending on the individual. When examining the words used by a suspect, the investigator needs to note any changes for this reason:


If suspects substitute a different word after using one word consistently, they telegraph their knowledge that something in their lives has changed. Although language changes can occur with any part of speech, they are observed more often with nouns.

In one statement written by a suspect in a homicide investigation, a significant change in noun usage occurred. A young man shot his wife in the face with a shotgun. The woman died instantly, and the husband claimed the shooting was accidental. Investigators asked the man to write a statement of the events that occurred during the day of the shooting. The husband wrote a detailed statement, using the noun "wife" seven times to refer to his wife.

He then wrote:

I lost control of the gun. I sensed that the barrel was pointing in Linda's direction and I reacted by grabbing at the gun to get it back under control. When I did this the gun discharged. It went off once and I looked over and saw blood on Linda's face."

What caused the husband to start using "Linda," his wife's first name? Did this occur at a significant point in the narrative? Prior to this point, investigators had NORMED the husband as using the noun "wife." When the spouse went to church with her husband, she was "my wife." When she later called to her husband, she was "my wife." However, when the barrel of the gun was pointing in her direction and when there was blood on her face, two critical points in the statement, the spouse was no longer referred to as "my wife." She became Linda.

Investigators have determined that perpetrators find it nearly impossible to admit to harming a family member. The husband in this case could not admit that he had killed his wife. He removed the family relationship by substituting the name "Linda." The husband also failed to introduce Linda to the reader. After using the noun "wife" seven times, the name "Linda" suddenly appears -- a change in language. The reader does not know for certain who Linda is. It can only be assumed that Linda is the wife, but the husband gave no proper introduction such as "my wife, Linda."

The NORM for healthy relationships is a proper, clear introduction, known as a SOCIAL INTRODUCTION. However, in turbulent relationships, introductions are often confusing or missing completely. The lack of a proper SOCIAL INTRODUCTION most likely indicates a poor relationship between the husband and his wife.

Verbs -
Past, Present, and Future tense

Verbs express action in the past, the present, or the future. In statement analysis, the tense of the verb is important. When analyzing statements, investigators and analysts need to concentrate on the tense of the verbs used by interviewees. In a truthful statement, the use of past tense is the NORM because by the time a person relates the event, it has obviously already occurred.

For example, the following statement typifies the NORM:

It happened Saturday night. I went out on my back deck to water the plants. It was almost dark. A man ran out of the bushes. He came onto the deck, grabbed me and knocked me down."

The next statement shows deviation from the NORM:

Saturday night. ( missing “I” was ) Out on my back deck watering the plants. It’s ( it’s = it is = present tense ) almost dark. A man runs out of the bushes. He comes onto the deck, grabs me and knocks me down."

The shift to present tense is significant because events recalled from memory should be stated by using the past tense. The change to present tense could indicate deception. Knowing this, an investigator interviewing the victim of the second statement is forewarned that the account may be fabricated.

In most cases present tense is an indication of "construction" meaning the statement is be constructed as the writer goes along.

The use of past or present tense is also significant when referring to missing persons. In such cases, the NORM is to describe the person in the present tense, as in, "
I just pray that Jenny is all right."

When children are missing, in the parents' hearts and minds the child remains alive, sometimes long after the point of reason.

As evidenced in the Susan Smith case, use of past tense almost immediately after the alleged abduction shows a significant deviation from the NORM.
It is important to note that the word “WOULD” can be used in a past events to cover a "general" statement, but it should always raise an eyebrow if found in a "specific event" statement.


Specific Event, “
That would be when I put the money in the bag
Generalized event – “
But every night the men would come around and lay their money down

Irrelevant Information

Irrelevant information in a statement can also provide clues to deception. A truthful person with nothing to hide, when asked the question, “
what happened?” will recount the events chronologically and concisely. Any information given that does not answer our question is irrelevant or unconnected. People involved in crimes may feel the need to justify their actions. In such cases, the information in the statements will not follow a logical time frame or will avoid stating what really happened.

They also may include more information than is necessary to tell the story. In such instances, investigators should scrutinize this irrelevant information and question why this person felt the need to include it.

For example, in a homicide investigation involving a young woman shot by her husband, the husband told the officers that he was cleaning his gun when it accidentally discharged. Investigators asked the husband to write a statement about his actions on that day. He provided a detailed statement, writing at length about the rust on his gun and a previous hunting trip. He failed, however, to describe fully his activities on this specific day. The amount of irrelevant information prompted the investigator to view the husband as a suspect.

Missing information

The following are signals indicating missing information or missing time.

The following is a list of "unnecessary connections" indicating missing time:

Later on, sometime later, shortly thereafter, afterwards, after this/that, the next thing I remember/knew, finally, eventually, from there.

Words that demonstrate a lack of commitment:

"I don't remember", "I cannot remember", "I don't know".

Mark the following verbs:

Started, Began, Commenced, Continued, Proceeded, Resumed, Completed, Finished, Ended.

Lack of Commitment

Another important factor in statement analysis is a person's lack of sincerity. When analyzing a statement, investigators should note if the person acts as if he or she has a loss of memory by repeatedly inserting “
I don't remember” or “I can't recall” into the statement, particularly at key points in the narrative.

We have all at one time or another been involved a situation where someone has answered I don't remember to a specific question. In these instances, we are basically unable to detect deception because the writer might be truthful. How should we distinguish a situation in which the writer says I don't remember in an open statement? How should we perceive this disclaimer?

Considering that an open statement comes as an answer to an open and broad question, the writer uses an editing process. No writer can tell everything that happened. Everyone will edit his or her reality. This is an innocent process that means nothing for us concerning the question of whether the writer is deceptive or not. The editing process means that the writer gives us only what they remember and only what they think is important enough to be included in their statement.

So here comes the question - how can a writer remember that he doesn't remember?

The conclusion must be that I don't remember in an OPEN STATEMENT comes to replace information that the writer INTENTIONALLY took out.

We should also look to see if the person hedges during the narrative by using such phrases as I think, I believe, kind of or to the best of my knowledge These phrases, called qualifiers, also serve to temper the action about to be described, thereby discounting the message before it is even transmitted.

Clearly, the person giving the statement is avoiding commitment, and warning bells should ring in the investigator's ears. The following is a transcript of a verbal statement written by a college student who reported that a man broke into her apartment at 3:30 am. and raped her. A statement regarding such a traumatic experience should be filled with conviction, this statement does not.

He grabbed me and held a knife to my throat. And when I woke up and I was, I mean I was really asleep and I didn't know what was going on, and I kind of you know I was scared and I kind of startled when I woke up, you know, you know I was startled and he, he told, he kept telling me to shut up and he asked me if I could feel the knife."

It is important to consider the phrase, "
I kind of startled when I woke up." Certainly, this is not a normal reaction for a woman who awakens in the middle of the night to see an unknown man at her bed and to feel a knife at her throat. The word terrified more appropriately comes to mind. Using the words "kind of startled" shows a gross deviation from the expected NORMAL reaction of terror. In this case, if the writer had said, “I was startled” it would have cleared up two points: first, she would’ve been speaking in first person, past tense, and second, she would’ve committed herself to the statement.

Another example of lack of conviction can be found in a written statement given by a relative of a woman who mysteriously disappeared. Investigators asked the missing woman's sister-in-law to recount the activities that took place on the weekend of the disappearance. After claiming memory lapses and showing a general lack of specificity, the sister-in-law ended her statement with "...
that was about it. These were my actions on the weekend to the best I can recall." Any investigator reading the above statement should seriously question whether the events were described accurately and completely. The woman's closing statement "...That was about it. These were my actions on the weekend to the best I can recall" clearly shows a lack of commitment to her statement.

Balance of the Statement

Statements should be examined by investigators for overall balance, because a statement is more than just a series of details. Statements need to sound like an account of the event. A truthful statement has three parts. The first part details what was going on before the event occurred (the Trivial Issue 1 = TI-1). The Trivial Issue places the event in context. The second part describes the occurrence itself (the Main Issue, = MI), and explains what happened during the event, whether it was a theft, a rape, a robbery, a fire, etc. The last part (the Trivial Issue 2 = TI-2) tells what occurred after the event, including actions and emotions, and should be nearly twice as long as the first part (TI-1). The more balanced the three parts of the statement, the greater the probability that the statement is true.

There are two ways to check the “Statement Structure Percentage”:

Incident Statements

In an “incident statement” we can quickly determine the “Statement Structure Percentage” by checking the division of the TI1-MI-TI2

While obtaining these statistics we need to ask ourselves the following questions:

Where is the MI in the statement?

As was previously discussed, the MI is the reason for the investigation; murder, arson, rape, theft, etc.

To locate the “Main Issue” start reading the statement from the beginning, when the crime/incident starts, mark that point as the beginning of the “MI” when the crime/incident ends, mark that as the end of the main issue. Everything before the beginning of the Main Issue is the “TI-1” everything after the Main Issue is the “TI-2

How is the statement divided ( by percentage ) to, “ TI-1, “ MI” and “TI-2”?

Some courses insist on doing “Line Counts” to find these statistics, however, I’ve found that using “Word Counts” is less subjective, and helps analysts reach a more reliable “statement structure percentage”.

To do this in Microsoft Word, all you have to do is use the built in “Word Count” tool along with the “highlighters” to temporarily mark off you “Main Issue”. With the MI highlighted go over it with the “Word Count” tool.

If you are using WORD you can use the word count in your toolbar to quickly count words.

Note: A little known fact about Microsoft’s “Word Count” tool, if you select only a portion of the text in a statement and hit the word count button, it will only count the selected words. This is perfect for what we do; as once you have located the main issue, you can temporarily highlight it using a “Grey” highlighter. Before we do anything, select or deselect all of the text in the entire statement and hit the “Word Count” button, this will give you the total number of words in the statement. Now by selecting everything before the MI and hitting the “Word Count” button it will give you the number of words in TI-1, next select all of the words in the MI, hit your “Word Count” button and it will give you the number of words in the MI, finally, select all of the text after the MI, hit the “Word Count” button and you’ll have the word count for TI-2.

You now have four numbers

1. The total number of words in the statement
2. The number of words in TI-1
3. The Number of words in MI
4. The Number of words in TI-2

To arrive at the “Statement Structure Percentages”, you’ll need to divide the number of words in TI-1 by the number of words in the statement, that number will be the percentage of the statement devoted to TI-1. Now divide the number of words in MI by the number of words in the statement that number will be the percentage of the statement devoted to MI, and finally, divide the number of words in TI-2 by the number of words in the statement, that number will be the percentage of the statement devoted to TI-2

With these numbers there are two things we look for:

First, is the Main Issue more than 60% of the statement, or less than 40% of the statement?

Second, Is the TI-1 longer than TI-2?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, there is a strong chance that deception will be found in the statement.

The Three Parts of a Statement should Break Down as follows:

Approximately 1/2 of the statement should be about the main issue ( the event itself ). The remaining half of the statement should to be broken into two parts. The first part (TI-1) that comes before the event should be approximately one third of the remaining half, or 17% of the statement. Finally, the second trivial issue (TI-2), the part that comes after event, should be made up of two thirds of the remaining half, or 33% of the entire statement.

The following breakdown is what we expect:

BEFORE the main issue (TI-1) approximately 17% of the total statement
DURING the main issue ( MI ) approximately 50% of the total statement
AFTER the main issue (TI-2) approximately 33% of the total statement

The reason for this is psychological: the first part sets up the event; then the event occurs; and finally, there is closure. Truthful statements tend to spend a great deal of time on closure.

Investigators should conclude that an abnormal distribution within a statement could indicate deception.

For example, if the three parts of a statement are clearly out of balance, e.g., the "before" section is too long and the "after" section is too short, then examination of the statement should reveal that in the first part, the writer provided too much information totally unrelated to the incident. This imbalance should signal the investigator to ask their self, is the writer stalling or trying to justify his actions?

Also, if the statement contained little information on what happened after the incident and lacked any indication of emotion -- no or few appropriate signs of anger, shock, or sense of loss -- it may be a deceptively written account of events. A writer who shows no concern about the consequences of an incident may ultimately confess to be deceptive in his/her statement.

Alibi Statements

In “alibi statements” we should check the pace at which the information is given. The pace is given to us by checking the “objective times” and comparing them to the “subjective times” ( = the number of lines or words the writer wrote between the objective times ).

If no times are mentioned, Erwin Sulak an instructor and member of our discussion group, suggest dividing the statement into thirds, basically by obtaining a total word count, and subtracting 33% from it, you will come up with a location of the critical incident/event in a statement.

I’ve found that Erwin’s theory works well with alibi and general statements.

The following material entitled - Deception, Structure, Critical Event and The Truth - was written by Erwin Sulak and is intended solely for the use of the TheirWords Analysis Group directed and coordinated by Ken Driscoll. Any reproduction or use outside the group is unauthorized.- Erwin Sulak, ©2002

Deception, Structure, Critical Event and The Truth - Erwin Sulak, ©2002

Communication analysts use narrative construction and balance as indicators of sensitivity, deception and truthfulness. In short, a truthful narrative has balance. If we accept that a truthful narrative devotes approximately 1/3 to the beginning, approximately 1/3 to the main event or critical incident and the ending takes up the balance or about 1/3 of the narrative, we see a balance or proportionality to a truthful narrative. Avinoam Sapir states that “around 85% of deceptive people devote more subjective time ( =amount of lines to the time BEFORE than to the time AFTER.” ) Other practitioners opine that the degree to which the beginning exceeds 60% of the narrative, the greater the indication of deception.

If we accept that, in spite of attempts to conceal or deceive, a narrative provides us with valid clues to the truth, then where do we find the truth or critical event when we find a lack of balance in a narrative? I believe there are clues, keys and indicators in the basic rule of proportionality. I believe there is evidence that in a narrative, which is deceptive on its form, an individual will still project the true critical event at about the 1/3 point of the narrative. I believe there is evidence that our brains, despite our attempts to hide the truth, may use the rule of proportionality and provide indications of the critical event.

I have tested a number of statements which on their form appear to be deceptive in that the beginning exceeds 60% and in some cases 90% of the total narrative. In those statements I have plotted points within the narrative from 25% to 40% of the narrative. In a number of such cases, and using a “rule of thumb” of 25 to 40%, and using other indicators of sensitivity, concealment and deception, I have been able to identify the true “critical event.”

In summary, I believe this is another tool to test statements which may have indications of deception on form for the true critical event or the point in time at which the critical event took place.

Erwin is the author of Finding the Truth: Effective Techniques for Interview and Communication, a 280-page manual published by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

For more information about his seminars contact Erwin at 210-523-0546 or
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Sally Skiles at the San Antonio Society of CPA’s at 210-828-2727 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A Quick Look a Perspective

Words - that indicate action or perspective – We will cover this more as we train, but for now as your third assignment, I want you to first read the following statement, then think about everything you can tell me about “Ken” and “Chuck”. What they were doing in the bathroom etc. and how you know?

I was walking downstairs from lunch to the restroom. I spoke to Den Howe on my way into the restroom. Den mentioned that Chuck Barnes and Ken Roberson were in the restroom. When I walked in Chuck was standing at the urinal and Ken was standing by the sink. They were talking trash but nothing really specific sticks out but, Chuck was saying something like you don’t want to mess with me and Ken was saying pretty much the same. Chuck and Ken were talking as if they would finish it later. Next thing I know I got bumped, Chuck and Ken were tangled up like hugging but wrestling. I’ve seen it before at work, usually after 1 minute it stops. By the time I walked out and got on my equipment, Chuck came out and I went back in the restroom. Ken was lying in front of the door. I could barely open it. His hood was over his head. When I pulled his hood back, Ken had some kind of mucus coming out of his mouth. His eyes were shut, black and blue looking. Ken whole face looked pretty bad. Ken was shrugged agai against the wall. I tried shaking him and yelling Ken while Den and others went to get help.

Before you read the next paragraph stop and think about the question I asked you before you read the statement. What can you tell me about “Ken” and “Chuck”? What were they doing in the restroom etc. and more importantly; how do you know?

Think about it, look at this statement and tell me what it means for Chuck to have been “
standing at the urinal”, and Ken to have been “standing by the sink”. What is the difference between being “at” something, and being “by” something? These are the kind of things we need to look for when we analyze for perspective.

If the writer would have said:

Ken was at the sink and Chuck was at the urinal, or Ken was by the sink and chuck was by the urinal we might not know for sure if being “at” or “by” means “using” or “standing near”, we can assume one means “being near”, while the other actually means “using”, but without out asking, we wouldn’t know for sure. However, this statement is different the writer used both being “at” and “by” meaning there is a difference, one of them was “using”, and the other was “just standing”

I’ll make this assignment multiple choice:

By saying
Ken was by the sink and Chuck was at the urinal; does the writer tell us that most likely:

A. The writer has nothing useful to add
B. Ken was by the sink ( not using it ) chuck was at the urinal ( using it )
C. Ken was by the sink ( using it ) Chuck was at the urinal ( not using it )
D. It beats the heck out of me; tell me more

Send your thought to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. from feedback obtained since I began asking everyone has agreed with B, being by a sink is not using, and at a urinal, would be using the urinal; just as if I would have written/said, “
I was at the sink when he came in.” most would agree I was using the sink, otherwise I may have said, I was by or near the sink, likewise saying/writing, I was by or near the urinal probably means I was not using it. And again, only when you have both, do you have a difference; otherwise the writer/speaker wouldn’t have used different words.

Some Basic rules of Analysis

Total Belief in the Statement

This rule dictates that we should ask the question: Is it possible that the statement is truthful but the writer still committed the crime?

We analyze statements according to what is unexpected and not according to what is expected.

This means that we expect the writer:

To establish commitment. Therefore, if the writer passes the test of commitment ("first person singular - "I" - and past tense") that does not mean that the writer is truthful. However, if the statement didn't pass the test of commitment, then we can conclude that something is wrong.

To use the "I". If the "I" is present, which is the expected; it doesn’t necessarily mean that the writer is truthful. However, it is unexpected that the "I" would be missing; and therefore if the "I" is missing we should suspect some sort deception.

Not to use the "we" in a violent crime, once the crime started. If the "we" is missing that does not necessarily mean that the writer is truthful. However, if the "we" is present in a violent crime (after the crime started) that is unexpected and might indicate deception.

Maintain consistency in the language.

This means that the analyst needs to establish the subject's regular language before reaching a conclusion that the writer changed his/her language. That’s where the Forensic Analysis comes in; we will compare the statement to itself. Just because, one person uses “told” and is found to be deceptive doesn’t mean everyone using “told” is deceptive. We need to first discover what the “NORM” in a statement, and then look for what is out of the “NORM”.

The shortest way to give a sentence is the best way. Anything different from the shortest way is meaningful."

We measure the statement in inches. The question that we should ask ourselves should be: Could I write this specific sentence in a shorter way? If we could, but the writer didn't, then we should ask ourselves: why didn't the writer use a shorter sentence? There must be a reason that prevented the writer from going with the shortest way.

Oddly enough, many people will begin trying to answer question before they are asked, and this leads to their giving long answers. It is a way of them trying to avoid questions later. Look closely at these long sentences, to see what question they may be trying to answer before it is asked, as they may lead you to ask those very questions

A Truthful Statement Reflects Reality.

This means:

The distance inside the statement between two people ( or between the writer and an object ) reflects a distance in reality between them.

The proportions ( or pace ) inside the statement should reflect the proportions in reality.

That means that something which took longer in objective reality will be represented in the statement ( = subjective reality ) by more lines or words than something which took less time in the objective reality.

As we do in reality, we apply the same rules of manners and politeness inside a statement as well.

This means that we expect the writer to introduce people "properly" = we should know of whom the writer is referring to.

The order in which people enter the statement reflects their priority in the person's life. This should be taken with a grain a salt, I believe, the order in which a person enters the statement, might reflect, the order of importance in the event/incident that is being described in the statement. I have found the way people are introduced to be a more accurate gauge in judging the importance a writer places on an individual.

For example:

Yesterday we ended our training with a statement in which the writer introduced the following people in the following order

Previously you and I talked about my wife,
that I file an emergency petition on Ann
fight with hersisters,
I was sitting in myson'sbedroomon the bed, with him.
Annwas in our bedroom laying in bed
Betty, mytwelve-year-old stepdaughter, was in her bedroom.

The rule of first person would have us believing, the writer’s wife was most important, followed by Ann, her sisters, his son, and then Betty. However, we don’t know for sure what his wife’s name is, we don’t know who Ann is, or her sisters names, we don’t even know his son’s name or age, but we know a lot about Betty; his 12 year old stepdaughter. Not only did he give her a proper social introduction, but, he told us what she was wearing.

Betty came out of her room wearing her sleepwear. This is a T-shirt, and panties.
Ann had on a T-shirt but no underwear

From the words “
Ann was in our bedroom” it is safe to assume that Ann and the writer are a couple, if not married. Now let’s look at the words “Panties” and “Underwear” most would agree “Panties” is a more sensual or sexy word than “underwear”. So, why does the writer use the more provocative word while referring to his 12 year old stepdaughter, than he does while referring to his wife?

It is safe to say that even though Betty was introduced last, she really is the most important person in this statement, and even though his son was introduced first, he was least important, and that in this case they were introduced to match the sequence of events, in many cases the writer will adjust events to fit the most important people in his story, in some cases they can’t. This case may have happened in the order he tells, but may not have happened as he says… more on this later

We’ve reached the end of Lesson 2… if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to e-mail or P.M. them to me at
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Last modified on Thursday, 22 September 2022 23:46
Baltimore Police Historical Society

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