2018 Speaker Bios
He received his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut. He later served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Kansas; taught at Purdue University; served as a U. S. Supreme Court Judicial Fellow, working at the Federal Judicial Center; and was a postdoctoral research fellow and visiting professor at Stanford University. Dr. Kassin is author of Psychology (Prentice Hall, 4th edition) and Psychology in Modules (Pearson Custom Publishing). Along with Steven Fein and Hazel Markus, he is also lead author of Social Psychology (10th edition), published by Cengage Learning. He has published numerous research articles and book chapters and has co-authored or edited various scholarly books, including: Confessions in the Courtroom, The Psychology of Evidence and Trial Procedure, The American Jury on Trial: Psychological Perspectives, and Developmental Social Psychology. Dr. Kassin’s presentation will go over false confessions and the research surrounding them.
Detective Jim Trainum (retired) was with the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department for a total of 27 years – the last 19 of which he was assigned to the homicide branch. He created and was the director of his department’s Violent Crime Case Review Project, which oversaw the review of old homicide cases. Trainum has presented at universities, police academies, prosecutor’s offices, legislative bodies and conferences on various topics ranging from cold case investigative techniques, criminal profiling, avoiding investigative pitfalls, videotaping of interrogations, police reform issues and false confessions Trainum is the co-author of a chapter in the book Criminal Investigative Failures in which he details the circumstances surrounding a false confession which he obtained in 1994. He is the author of the article “I Did It” – Confession Contamination and Evaluation that was published in the June 2014 web edition of The Police Chief magazine. Trainum’s recent book, How the Police Generate False Confessions: An Inside Look at the Interrogation Room reveals the tactics that investigators use that cannot only lead to not only false confessions but bad witness statements and false guilty pleas as well. He is currently assisting in the reviews of the policies and practices of homicide units for the Police Executive Research Forum and participating in research projects designed to identify and correct the causes of wrongful convictions and other investigative failures.
Trainum’s presentation at Elite Training Day is “Avoiding the pitfalls that lead to bad confessions.”
Presentation Synopsis: Obtaining admissible, accurate, and reliable information from victims, witnesses, and suspects is the most important and most frequently used skill of an investigator. Unfortunately, even the most skilled and well-meaning investigator can fall victim of the pitfalls that can lead to an inadmissible and/or unreliable statement or confession. This presentation discusses those pitfalls, how to recognize and avoid them, and ways to help test the reliability of your statement and confession evidence.
Dr. Michael Skerker is an associate professor in the Leadership, Ethics, and Law department at the U.S. Naval Academy. He received his BA in Comparative Literature from Brown University (1997) and his MA and PhD in Ethics from the University of Chicago Divinity School (1999, 2004). Before joining the faculty of USNA, he taught at the University of Chicago and DePaul University. His academic interests include professional ethics, just war theory, moral pluralism, theological ethics, and religion and politics. Publications include works on ethics and asymmetrical war, moral pluralism, intelligence ethics, and the book An Ethics of Interrogation (University of Chicago Press, 2010). His book The Moral Status of Combatants, defending the post-Westphalian idea of the moral equality of combatants, is in pre-publication review. Prof. Skerker is on the advisory committee to the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group and consults with major police departments on interrogation and undercover operations.
Dr. Skerker’s presentation at Elite Training Day is “Interview Ethics.”
Presentation Synopsis: Interview ethics have to take into account three stakeholder groups: the interviewers(s), the suspect(s), and the wider public. Acceptable norms and tactics have to be consent-worthy to all three groups since anyone in principle could be an interrogator/interviewer, a suspect, or a victim of crime. Audience members should leave with a framework for morally evaluating interview tactics.
Michael Reddington, CFI
Michael Reddington, CFI is an executive resource, Certified Forensic Interviewer and the Vice President of Executive Education for Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates. Michael created the Disciplined Listening Method after identifying that the cognitive process which drives interview subjects to commit to saying “I did it” is nearly identical to the cognitive process that drives employees and customers to commit to saying “I’ll do it” and “I’ll buy it”. As a result The Disciplined Listening Method integrates business communication research and best practices with non-confrontational interview and interrogation techniques to teach executives the skills and perspectives they need to use the truth to their advantage.
Michael Reddington’s presentation at Elite Training Day is “The Truth That Binds.”
Presentation Synopsis: Both interviewers and their subjects can feel immense pressure during the interview process. Crossing the threshold from maintaining silence to sharing the truth can be one of the most difficult decisions any victim, witness or suspect has to make. Simultaneously interviewers may feel intense pressure to resolve an investigation from their organizations, the victim’s families and themselves. The feelings of uncertainty developed by these potentially suffocating pressures can either unite interviewers and subjects on a quest to achieve a common goal, or drive them irrevocably apart. Join Michael Reddington, CFI at Elite Training Day 2018 and learn how interviewers can take advantage of uncertain circumstance and bond with their subjects to inspire a commitment to the truth.