Interview Question (Legal Interview and DV Interview)
Legal Interview Guide
DATE OF CONVICTION:_______________
DATE OF SENTENCE:________________
TRIAL ATTORNEY'S NAME AND
APPELLATE ATTORNEY'S NAME AND
1. Did you file for an appeal? At what point are you in the appellate process? (E.g. Request for an attorney? Court of Appeals? Supreme Court?(request for review? request granted? brief filed?) Circuit Court post-judgement motions? Request for habeas relief? Habeas filed? Or are all avenues of relief exhausted?)
2. What was your trial like?
a. If you plead, why did you plead?
b. If not, what was your defense?
c. What jury instruction were given?
d. What did the judge say to you?
e. What was the composition of the jury?
3. What was your major concern about the trial level proceeding? Was trial attorney available? Were the consequences of plea/conviction explained to you? Was evidence of domestic violence presented? Were these issues raised on appeal?
4. If your trial lawyer did take the abuse into account, how was it brought up at trial? Do you remember whether the judge told jury members that they should consider the abuse when making a decision?
5. Was domestic violence considered in the sentencing process? did your lawyer bring it up? Did the probation agent ask you about it and/or include it in the pre-sentence report?
6. Was there a psychological report? If so, was it obtained at your request, at the prosecutor's request, or at the request of the court? Did you sign a release to give the psychological evaluation to the court? To your lawyer? To the probation department? Did your attorney see it before the judge did? Did you see it before the judge did?
7. Are all the facts of your case on record? If not, what non-record issues or facts are important to the case? (i.e. things your attorney knew that were not brought up, off-record discussion with the judge, discussions with your lawyer that were not made part of the record). Is there supporting evidence such as police or hospital records?
8. Have you seen the Parole Board? How many times? What happened?
9. What do you feel is the greatest injustice about your conviction?
10. What are your plans upon release? Do you have a job, a place to live, a place to parole out to?
11. What is your prison record like? How many major and minor misconduct tickets do you have? What for? What is your security classification level? How many points do you have?
Michigan Battered Women's Clemency Project Interview Questions
Date of birth:_________________________
General Questions About the Relationship and the Offense
What was happening in your life at the time you committed the offense?
Please describe the incident.
Why do you feel that you committed this crime? (If she says she committed the crime because she was battered, ask her to explain what she means by that. Get as much information in her own words as possible.)
TELL THE WOMAN THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HER AND HER BATTERER.
History of the Abusive Relationship
Assailant's status (alive/dead, where he is living, if alive):____________________________________
1. When did you first meet your partner?
2. In the beginning, what was the relationship like?
a. Describe your partner's behavior toward you.
b. If you had a disagreement, how was it handled?
c. How did you partner feel about you and the relationship?
d. How soon did you commit to the relationship? (i.e. living together, going "steady", marriage?)
3. At what point did you begin to have concerns about the relationship?
a. Describe specific situations.
b. Describe things your partner said to you.
c. What was a typical argument like?
(IF ASSAILANT WAS NOT AN INTIMATE PARTNER, ASK ABOUT WHAT RELATIONSHIP SHE HAD WITH THE ASSAILANT AND WHEN SHE BEGAN TO HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP.)
SHOW THE WOMAN THE POWER AND CONTROL WHEEL ATTACHED TO THIS LIST. READ THE ABUSIVE TACTICS AND THE EXAMPLES LISTED. ASK HER WHICH TACTICS HER ASSAILANT USED ON HER. ASK HER TO COME UP WITH EXAMPLES. LET HER USE HER OWN WORDS TO DESCRIBE THE EXPERIENCE.
Did you partner ever....
4. Destroy your personal possessions?
5. Rip or tear your clothing?
6. Rip the phone out of the wall?
7. Smash or throw items in the house?
8. Bang or punch walls?
9. Put fear in you by using looks, actions, voices?
10. How often were you afraid of your partner?
11. What effect did this have on you?
Did your partner ever...
12. Give you time limits or make you report your whereabouts?
13. Check your mileage?
14. Control your choice of friends?
15. Restrict you from seeing certain people?
16. Lock you in the house?
17. What effect did this have on you?
D. Emotional Abuse
Did your partner ever...
18. Call you names? Which names? How often?
19. Try to make you think you were crazy? How?
20. Force you to take drugs or alcohol?
21. Tell you that you could not do anything right?
22. What effect did this have on you?
E. Economic Abuse
Did your partner ever...
23. Tell you that you could not work?
24. Disturb you at work?
25. Take your money?
26. What effect did this have on you?
F. Using Children
Did you partner ever...
27. Criticize your parenting skills?
28. Use children to give you messages or threats?
29. Force children to watch the abuse?
30. Use visitation as a way to harass you?
31. Direct the children to disobey you?
32. Direct the children to verbally attack you?
33. Threaten to take the children and prevent you from having custody or seeing them again?
34. Sexually or physically abuse the children?
35. What effect did this have on you?
Did you partner ever threaten to...
36. Kill or harm your pets?
37. Kill or harm you?
38. Cause trouble so that you would lose your job?
39. Kill or harm your family/kids?
40. Commit suicide?
41. Report you to welfare?
42. (If lesbian) tell your friends, employer, etc. your sexual orientation?
43. How often did he carry through on his threats?
44. How did this make you feel?
Did your partner ever accuse you of...
45. Having affairs?
46. Not being where you said you would be?
47. Being attracted to different people?
48. Being a lesbian? (for lesbian women - not being a true lesbian or not femme or butch enough?)
49. How did this feel?
I. Using Male Privilege
50. Did your partner ever treat you like a servant?
51. What were your partner's ideas about what male/female roles should be?
52. What were your views of marriage? Of roles for men and women?
53. What did your partner expect from you?
54. Did he/she ever ask for you opinion or permission?
55. What effect did this have on you?
J. Sexual Abuse
Did your partner ever...
56. Force or coerce you to have sex or to do particular sex acts?
57. Force or coerce you to have sex with another person or animal?
58. Rape you with an object?
59. Threaten to give you a sexually transmitted disease?
60. Call you sexually derogatory names (whore, slut, etc.)?
61. What effect did this have on you?
K. Physical Abuse
62. Describe the first physical assault.
63. How did you feel after the first assault?
64. Describe a typical assault.
65. What was the worst assault?
66. How did you react?
67. What did you do to protect yourself?
L. Attempts to Seek Help
68. Did you seek medical treatment after an assault? How many times?
69. How many times did you call the police?
70. What happened when you called the police?
71. Did they arrest you?
72. How many times?
73. Did you have restraining order?
74. If you had a restraining order, did the police enforce it?
75. Did the police give you information on services like shelters?
76. Do you have medical or police reports?
77. Did you approach a religious or spiritual community for help?
78. How often did you try to separate yourself from your partner?
79. How often did you leave?
80. What did your partner do when you left?
81. Did you ever to to a battered women's shelter"
82. What else did you do to try and protect yourself and get help?
83. After your partner assaulted you, what did he do or say?
84. Did your partner ever talk about the assault?
85. Describe the fear you felt toward your partner.
86. What was your childhood like?
87. If you were abused, what happened?
88. How did you disclose the abuse you experience to your family? How did they respond?
89. Do you have any children? If so, where are they? When was the last time you saw them? What kind of relationship would like with them if you were to be released?
90. Do you have any medical problems? How have they been treated?
91. Who could write letters of support for you?