Sample Criminal Justice on Crime Scene Investigation

Crime Scene Investigation

Conducting a well-planned crime scene investigation is important in determining the issues surrounding a crime and identifying the potential suspects in addition to securing successful conviction during trials. The crime scene investigators must adhere to several prescribed guidelines to conduct successful follow-up investigations. However, Hess, Orthmann, & Cho (2016) point out that conducting a follow-up investigation does not imply that the investigators failed in their duties while conducting the preliminary investigations. Moreover, the approaches used in the follow-up investigations depend on the nature of the crime. For example, a crime scene investigator cannot use the same techniques used in a rape scene to investigate arson and homicide. Additionally, the crime scene investigators should conduct follow-up investigations using a methodological process to ensure that the crime scene receives minimum disturbance that can affect the integrity of the evidence. During the follow-up investigations, the investigators should debrief the responding or patrol officers in addition to speaking to witnesses and victims if possible to gain a better understanding of the crime. The primary objective of conducting the follow-up investigations is uncovering additional information that can help in elaborating the issues around a crime and identifying the potential criminals before presenting the evidence during legal proceedings. Consequently, one of the important strategies of conducting a successful follow-up investigation is conducting interviews that are effective, efficient, and complete with the witnesses, with encouragement to engage in post-interview communication with investigating officers. I believe that this allows the witnesses to provide additional information willingly without the need for prompting. Such responses are important because they are often accurate because the witnesses tend to provide only the relevant information. The investigators can use open-ended questions to encourage the witnesses to provide unsolicited information and discourage them from discussing the details with other individuals to avoid compromising the evidence.

Criminal investigators understand the various protocols used in investigating different crimes, and the process of reporting each major crime involves unique procedures. While the major crimes differ significantly, sex-related crimes and sudden deaths are among the commonly reported crimes. The main similarity between the two crimes is that the police must be informed about the crimes in verbal and written forms. However, the process of reporting sex-related crimes requires prompt action by the witnesses. As soon as a witness observes, hears, or suspects that a sex offense is in progress, the witness should call 911 to inform the police about the suspect’s details and location. However, the witness should not engage the criminal before the police arrive and should only give details about the crime in a written form. The witnesses should provide their contacts and indicate whether they intend to remain anonymous during the investigations and trial proceedings. On the other hand, reporting sudden deaths does not necessarily require the prompt reporting that occurs in reporting the sex-related crimes. The sudden deaths consist of unexplained, unnatural, and unexpected deaths, and such incidences must be reported to a coroner. The Coroner Service in Tseirbhis Chroineara (n.d.) recommends that the Registrar of Deaths, funeral undertakers, doctors, householders, and each individual in a premise or institution where the dead person lived must report to the Coroner as stipulated by the Coroners Act of 1962. The Coroner then conducts interrogations to determine the probable cause of death before allowing the doctors to complete and issue a death certificate to the Registrar of Deaths. However, the law prohibits the doctors from certifying deaths from unnatural causes.

Effective criminal investigators share three crucial characteristics that include integrity, strong communication skills, and analytic mind. Integrity in investigative work is vital because it helps in avoiding wrongful convictions and undue suffering of innocent people. Cases of people serving long jail terms or being executed for crimes that they did not commit are numerous in many parts of the world. Such cases often arise from poor investigative work or framing by the police, judges, or criminal investigators. As such, all criminal investigators should demonstrate the highest levels of integrity during their work. Communication skills are crucial because the criminal investigators must talk to the witnesses and suspects to determine the issues surrounding a crime. The investigators must be good listeners, ask the right questions to identify the truth, and prepare accurate incidence reports. The analytic mindset is crucial in investigative work because each crime usually involves many underlying interrelated issues that may not be apparent to a casual observer. For example, crime investigators focusing on serial rapists and serial murderers understand the importance of determining issues such as modus operandi during the profiling of such criminals. Consequently, the analytic mindset allows the criminal investigators to examine crimes using unique perspectives to draw valid conclusions.

I support the view that the investigators should maintain the privacy rights of suspects of crimes during criminal investigation processes. The main reason for supporting the privacy rights is that allowing the media to spread information about the alleged criminals may result in misinformation and wrong perceptions about the individuals. For example, the information spread to the public during the Boston Marathon Bombing led to the public calling for the death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev even before his trial started. As such, making information about suspects available to the public may increase the pressure on prosecutors and sitting judges to pass a harsh sentence on an individual. Additionally, making the information public may also assist the suspect in escaping because he or she will take extreme caution to avoid any arrest.

 

References

Coroner Service an Tseirbhis Chroineara. (n.d.). Deaths which must be reported to the Coroner. Retrieved from http://www.coroner.ie/en/CS/Pages/Deaths%20Which%20must%20be%20Reported%20to%20the%20Coroner

Hess, K. M., Orthmann, C. H., & Cho, H. L. (2016). Criminal investigation. Boston: Cengage Learning.