Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 1 The Crime Scene
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 2 Corpus Delicti“Body of the Crime” Authorities must prove: That a crime occurred That the person charged with the crime was responsible for the crime Top reasons for committing a crime Money Revenge Emotion—love, hate, anger Source of evidence Body Primary and/or secondary crime scene Suspect(s)
The purpose of crime scene investigation is to help establish what happened (crime scene reconstruction) and to identify the responsible person.
carefully documenting the conditions at a crime scene and recognizing all relevant physical evidence.
The ability to recognize and properly collect physical evidence is oftentimes critical to both solving and prosecuting violent crimes.
It is important to determine the full extent of a crime scene. A crime scene is not merely the immediate area where a body is located or where an assailant concentrated his activities but can also encompass a vehicle and access/escape routes.
In the majority of cases, the law enforcement officer who protects and searches a crime scene plays a critical role in determining whether physical evidence will be used in solving or prosecuting violent crimes.
Crime Scene Vocabulary CRIME SCENE: Any physical location in which a crime has occurred or is suspected of having occurred. PRIMARY CRIME SCENE: The original location of a crime or accident. SECONDARY CRIME SCENE: An alternate location where additional evidence may be found. SUSPECT: Person thought to be capable of committing a crime. ACCOMPLICE: Person associated with someone suspected of committing a crime. ALIBI: Statement of where a suspect was at the time of a crime.
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 6 Crime Scene Team A group of professionals trained in a variety of special disciplines Team members First police officer on the scene Medics (if necessary) Investigator(s) Medical examiner (if necessary) Photographer and/or field evidence technician Lab experts
Crime Scene Personnel POLICE OFFICERS are typically the first to arrive at a crime scene. They are responsible for securing the scene so no evidence is destroyed and detaining persons of interest in the crime. The CSI UNIT documents the crime scene in detail and collects any physical evidence. The DISTRICT ATTORNEY is often present to help determine if any search warrants are required to proceed and obtains those warrants from a judge. The MEDICAL EXAMINER (if a homicide) may or may not be present to determine a preliminary cause of death. SPECIALISTS (entomologists, forensic scientists, forensic psychologists) may be called in if the evidence requires expert analysis. DETECTIVES interview witnesses and consult with the CSI unit. They investigate the crime by following leads provided by witnesses and physical evidence.
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 8 Crime Scene Investigation Based on the scientific method, the Locard Exchange Principle, logic, and forensic techniques Involves: Recognition—scene survey, documentation, collection Identification—classification of evidence Individualization—comparison testing, evaluation, and interpretation Reconstruction—sequencing events, reporting, and presenting
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 9 Processing a Crime Scene Isolate and secure the scene Document the scene Search for evidence Collect and package evidence, maintaining the chain of custody Submit evidence to the crime lab for analysis
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 10 First Officer on the Scene A Assess the crime scene and assist the injured D Detain the witness A Arrest the perpetrator P Protect the crime scene T Take notes
Investigators gather information to: Reconstruct sequence of events Determine the modus operandi MO: the characteristic method of the crime Determine the motive of the crime
Processing the Crime Scene There are 7 steps to processing a crime scene Secure and Isolate the Crime Scene Record the Scene Photograph, Sketch, Take Notes Conduct a Systematic Search For Evidence Collect and Package Evidence Maintain Chain of Custody Obtain Controls Submit Evidence to the Laboratory
A starting point for a criminal investigation.
There is no "crime scene exception" to the Fourth Amendment.
That is, once the emergency is over, and police have secured the scene, then the police must comply with Fourth Amendment requirements.
guards against unreasonable searches and seizures
requires search and arrest warrants be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause
If the scene is a protected area such as a house or private part of a business, then a search warrant or consent must be obtained.
Of course officers can secure and protect the scene until these requirements are met (Flippo v. West Virginia).
Law Enforcement Personnel on the scene
In order for physical evidence to be analyzed and to tell its part of the story, it must first be properly collected.
In order for the proper collection to take place, the crime scene, must be properly secured, protected, and preserved.
Scene security, protection, and preservation is the responsibility of any and all law enforcement personnel who come in contact with the scene, the suspect, and/or the victim.
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 15 Crime Scene Reconstruction Stages Data collection Hypothesis formation Examination, testing, and analysis Determination of the significance of the evidence Theory formulation
Team Leader Assume control - ensure safety of personnel and security at scene, use of appropriate protective equipment to avoid any health hazard from blood or any other human body fluid. Conduct initial walk-through to make a preliminary survey, evaluate potential evidence, and prepare a narrative description. Determine search patterns, and make appropriate assignments for team members. Designate command post location and ensure exchange of information between search and investigative personnel. Coordinate and cooperate with other law enforcement agencies Ensure that sufficient supplies and equipment are available Control access to the scene and designate an individual to log everyone into the scene. Continuously reevaluate efficiency of search during entire course of operation. Release the scene after a final survey and inventory of the evidence has been done.
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 18 Crime Scene Survey Walk-through—performed by the crime scene investigator, the first officer, and sometimes the lead detective Purpose: Mentally prepare a reconstruction theory Note any transient or conditional evidence that could change over time Note environmental and weather conditions Note points of entry or exit, as well as paths of travel within the crime scene Record initial observations of who, what, where, when, and how Identify special needs within the crime scene for personnel, precautions, or equipment and notify superior officers or other agencies
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 20 Search Methods Line or strip method—best in large, outdoor scenes Grid method—basically a double-line search; effective, but time-consuming Zone method—most effective in houses or buildings; teams are assigned small zones for searching Wheel or ray method—best on small, circular crime scenes Spiral method—may move inward or outward; best used where there are no physical barriers
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 21 Documentation Notes—date, time, description of the location, weather and environmental conditions, description of the crime, location of the evidence relative to other key points, the names of all people involved, modifications that have occurred, and other relevant information Photography—photos of scene and surroundings; mid-range to close-up photos with various angles of each piece of evidence; photos as viewed by any witnesses Sketches—inclusion of date; time; scale; reference points; distance measurements; names of investigators, victims, suspects; a legend (key) Videography—allows for narration (non-subjective) and different perspectives
what should be present at a scene but is not (victim's vehicle/wallet) and objects which appear to be out of place (ski mask) and might have been left by the assailant.
Photographer/Photographic Recorder Photograph entire area before it is entered. Photograph victims, crowd, and vehicles. Photograph entire scene with overall, medium and close-up coverage, using measurement scale when appropriate. Photograph major evidence items before they are moved Photograph all latent fingerprints and other impression evidence before lifting and casting are accomplished. Prepare photographic log and sketch.
Documentation of physical evidence locations, as well as measurements showing pertinent size and distance relationships in the crime scene area.
Sketches Accurate rough sketch All objects should be measured against 2 immovable landmarks Label North Provide a scale ¼ in = x feet Anything in vicinity of CS should be included Doors, windows, furniture Outdoor CS Position of trees, hedges, vehicles, other structures More accurate sketch needs to be made later to be utilized in court Computer programs Sketches need to include Case number, date, location, name of investigator
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 29 Crime Scene Sketch Date: August 14, 2005 Criminalist: Ann Wilson Time: 11:35 am Location: 4358 Rockledge Dr., St. Louis, Mo. N 5 ft
Evidence Collector/Custodian Have significant evidence photographed before collection. Describe evidence and its location on appropriate bag or envelope. Sign and date evidence container/maintain chain of custody. Appropriately collect and package evidence to maximize evidence integrity. Maintain evidence log. Use appropriate protective equipment (gloves) and methods when dealing with potentially infective evidence (blood).
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 32 Collecting and Packaging Evidence One individual should be designated as the evidence collector to ensure that the evidence is collected, packaged, marked, sealed, and preserved in a consistent manner, maintaining the chain of custody. Each item must be placed in a separate container, sealed, and labeled. The most fragile evidence is collected and packaged first. Different types of evidence require specific or special collection and packaging techniques. The body is the property of the coroner or medical examiner; collection of evidence on the body is done by that department.
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 33 Packaging Most items should be packaged in a primary container and then placed inside a secondary one. Pill bottles, vials, manila envelopes, and plastic bags are good for most evidence. Trace evidence may be placed on a piece of paper which is then folded in a particular way called a “druggist’s fold.” These are then placed inside other containers such as paper bags, plastic bags, canisters, packets, or envelopes, depending on the type and size of the evidence.
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 34 Chain of Custody There must be a written record of all people who have had possession of an item of evidence, beginning at the time of collection. The evidence container must be marked for identification. The collector’s initials should be placed on the seal. If evidence is turned over to another person, the transfer must be recorded.
Record of individuals who have had physical possession of the evidence.
Documentation is critical to maintaining the integrity of the chain of custody.
Maintaining the chain of custody is vital for any type of evidence. In addition, if laboratory analysis reveals that DNA evidence was contaminated, it may be necessary to identify persons who have handled that evidence.
Controls are physical evidence whose origins are known, such as carpet fibers from a suspects home, that can be compared to crime scene evidence.
The crime lab must have a thorough sample of control materials for comparison.
Submitting Evidence to the Crime Lab
Evidence can be submitted to the crime laboratory by a crime scene investigator personally or via the mail
Chain of Custody must be maintained at all times
Many labs require specific documentation before they will process evidence
Evidence evaluated by the lab may take a long time to process, or be held due to back log.
Securing and Collecting Evidence Evidence must be properly packaged, sealed, and labeled Liquids and arsons Air tight, unbreakable container Biological evidence Breathable containers so evidence can dry out Prevent mold, kept in freezer Placed in Paper bindle Bindle placed in plastic/paper container Sealed with tape, signature on top Evidence log and chain of custody attached
Evidence Log Contains the following info Case # Item Inventory # Description of evidence Name of suspect Name of victim Date and time of recovery Signature of person recovering evidence Signature of any witness present during collection
Packaging Evidence Size of bindle depends on evidence Small Piece of sheet paper Large Large sheet of wrapping paper Packaging techniques Choose appropriate size of sheet paper for bindle Crease paper (9 squares) Place evidence in center square Fold left and right sides in Fold in top and bottom Insert top flap into bottom flap and tape closed Place bindle into plastic or paper evidence bag and fold bag closed Place seal over folded edge of evidence bag Have collector write their name over the folded edge Wet evidence Place in paper container and allow to air dry Wet evidence should NEVER be packaged in plastic container when wet (any DNA will degenerate and evidence may become moldy and useless) Controls must be obtained from victim and crime scene and package accordingly
It is sometimes necessary to bring in expertise from an outside agency.
The field of forensic science is so broad today that no agency will have every form of specialty service available from among its ranks.
Typically, specialists are brought in from industry, the academic community, private scientific laboratories, and similar concerns.
Some items to consider when dealing with outside specialists:
The competence and reliability of the specialist. The ability of the specialist to work at a scene within law enforcement guidelines. The role of the specialist in presenting expert testimony in court.
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 43 The Medical Examiner and the Coroner A medical examiner is a medical doctor, usually a pathologist, and is appointed by the governing body of the area. There are 400 forensic pathologists throughout the U.S. A coroner is an elected official who usually has no special medical training. In four states, the coroner is a medical doctor.
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 44 Medical Examiner’s Responsibilities Identify the deceased Establish the time and date of death Determine a medical cause of death (the injury or disease that resulted in the person dying) Determine the mechanism of death (the physiological reason that the person died) Classify the manner of death Natural Accidental Suicide Homicide Undetermined Notify the next of kin
Cause of death •Disease or event (injury) that lead to death • What process led to death
Any injury that causes a pathological alteration or condition in the body that leads to death
Ex. Blunt force trauma to the head, gunshot wound to the thorax
Mechanism of death
biochemical or physiological changes that lead to the individual dying
Manner of death • Why the cause of death came to be Natural Accidental suicide homicide undetermined
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 46 The Corpse “The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back. The brain has shut down. The flesh begins to soften. Nothing much new happens, and nothing is expected of you.” —Mary Roach, Stiff, W. W. Norton & Company, 2003
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company 47 People in the News Dr. Michael M. Baden is a renowned pathologist and was the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City and for Suffolk County. Dr. Baden was on the panel that investigated the assassinations of president John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He has been involved as an expert in forensic pathology in many cases of international interest, including: The remains of Tsar Nicholas of Russia and his family The Claus von Bülow murder trial Expert witness for the defense in the O. J. Simpson trial Reautopsy of Medgar Evers, civil rights leader Reexamination of the Lindbergh kidnapping and murder Autopsies of the victims of TWA Flight 800 Dr. Baden is the host of HBO’s Autopsy series and is featured on many of the crime talk shows.
Crime Scene Investigation Projects Synopsis of the crime Date Location (general and specific) Time People/witnesses Victim Suspects Manner and Mechanism of Death City/Town/Department investigating Weapons (if any) Any other relevant information Creative story re-creating the crime Sketch of the Crime Scene(s) Key Evidence Collected (classify) Transient/conditional evidence Units used (or should have been used) to analyze evidence Explanation as to how the crime scene was “botched” Analysis of how the crime scene should have been processed Crime Scene search pattern that was used (or should have been used) Pictures (victim, suspects, crime scene, evidence) Outcome of the case Groups of 3-4 Piece of Paper, Group members names and Case #_____ The Manson murders The OJ Simpson Case The Enrique Camarena Case The JonBenet Ramsey Case The Jeffery MacDonald Case The Sir Harry Oates Case