Monday, October 28, 2013
Federal law enforcement agents are required to write interview reports of the witness interviews that they conduct. The most common report is the FBI 302. Prosecutors read and rely upon these reports in conducting their investigations. These reports are often handed over to the defense as potential Jencks material (witness statements, usually of a testifying case agent) orBrady/Giglio material (statements containing exculpatory or impeachment information). The vast majority of such reports are records of a particular interview at a particular place and time.
But a composite interview report purports to document several interviews occurring over an extended time period. A key witness might be interviewed six times during the course of a year. The composite interview report memorializes in one document the information obtained in all of the interviews without revealing what particular statement was made in which distinct interview.
What is wrong with this practice? The accused does not get an accurate picture of the interview subject's story as it evolves, which it inevitably does.