IF A “CHILD” IS INVOLVED, IN ANY WAY, YOU MUST HAVE:
1. A LAWYER WHO HAS BEEN FORENSICALLY TRAINED TO TALK TO CHILDREN
2. A LAWYER WHO KNOWS THE INS AND OUTS OF A CHILD ADVOCACY
Once a child has accused you of being involved in a Sex Crime, it’s time to get the BEST lawyer in your corner whose sole focus is Sex Crimes and questioning and interviewing children. You need a lawyer who knows how to aggressively and appropriately defend cases involving children. You can’t afford to hope, pray and think that a defense lawyer has those skills, you must KNOW that your defense lawyer HAS those skills. When hiring Blank Law, PC you are guaranteeing yourself you have the BEST lawyer with all of those skills and plenty more!
WHAT IS A FORENSIC INTERVIEW?
The goal of a forensic interview is to obtain a statement/s from a child in a sensitive, unbiased
and truth-seeking maner. This can be done by anyone who has been forensically trained on
how to properly talk and question children.
A FORENSIC INTERVIEW OF A CHILD MAY BE DONE BY:
- LAWYER – Attorney Nicole Blank Becker
- POLICE OFFICER
- CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER – Each county in Michigan has their own CAC. (See below for additional information on CACs)
LAWYER : Attorney Nicole Blank Becker has been forensically trained to interview and question children in a sensitive, unbiased and truth-seeking manner. Using those specific skills, and Nicole’s twenty (20+) plus years of practicing criminal law, Nicole has interviewed and
questioned 1,000s of children. Many of those children were as young as three (3) years old. Nicole has the training, experience and patience to handle any child at any age.
NICOLE HAS BEEN FORENSICALLY TRAINED ON:
✔ HOW TO talk to a child
✔ HOW TO confirm a child knows the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie
✔ HOW TO question the child about the potential of misidentifying the perpetrator
✔ HOW TO ask questions of a child whose touching may of occurred during routine caregiving
✔ HOW TO understand a child’s language
✔ HOW TO question a child about the possibility of wanting to retaliate against the accused
✔ HOW TO appropriately approach a child about sensitive private part conversations
✔ HOW TO question the child to see if they have been Coached about what to say
✔ HOW TO find out what the child is really saying
✔ HOW TO question a child about any outside influences there may be on a child
✔ HOW TO look for indicators of not telling the truth by the child
✔HOW TO ask open ended questions of the child
✔ HOW TO follow up with the next question if the child decides not to talk
✔ HOW TO handle a child who only shakes their head yes and no
✔ HOW TO engage a reluctant child
POLICE OFFICER: Once a police officer learns that the accuser is a child, the police officer will make arrangements for the child to be interviewed at a CAC. A police officer typically will not interview a child. When determining if the accuser is a “child”, the majority of the police departments in Michigan consider a person under the ages of 15 or 16 years old to be a child. There are some exceptions to this generally followed rule. If a police officer does in fact interview a child, he/she must interview the child using the forensic protocol.
Nicole has read dozens of police reports in which a police officer interviewed a child and did NOT use the forensic protocol. If the police officer does not use the forensic protocol when talking to a child, Nicole knows exactly how to cross examine that officer and show how improper his interview was and therefore the child’s accusations should not be believed.
CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER – “CAC”: If the accuser is a “child”, a police officer is supposed to request the parent, step-parent, guardian, etc. schedule an appointment for an interview at a Child Advocacy Center – CAC. The child will be interviewed at the CAC in the county in which
the crime occurred. Once the CAC is contacted by the accuser’s parents, step-parent, guardian, etc., they will set up a date and time for the interview of the child.
*THE FORENSIC INTERVIEW PROCESS: AT A CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER
Once the child is at the CAC, the child will eventually be interviewed. Only the interviewer and the child will be in the room when the interview takes place. Whoever brought the child to the CAC will NOT be permitted in the interview room with the child. In each county, the interview is observed by their Multidisciplinary Team (“MDT”). That team typically includes the detective, other members of the CAC team, the attorney who represents the state, CPS, Foster Care, etc. Every county has a slightly different set up for how those individuals observe the interview with the child. For example, some CAC’s use closed circuit tv, while some CAC’s use double sided mirrors.
Defense attorneys are not allowed to observe a child being interviewed at a CAC . That puts defense attorneys at a disadvantage. Some CACs will videotape the interview, but some do not. If the CAC does not videotape the interview, again defense attorneys are at a disadvantage. When that happens, it leaves a lot of room for assumptions and potentially unreliable information.
By hiring Blank Law, PC you know you have a skilled, experienced defense team that has:
✔ Attended 1,000s of CAC interviews with children
✔ Observed 1,000s of CAC interviews with children
✔ Read 1,000s of police reports generated as a result of observing an interview with children
Bottom Line: Nicole knows exactly what should happen and what should NOT happen at a CAC interview of a child.