Criminal Investigation Investigative Task Force Research Paper

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[. . .] Once the item has been collected, it has to be stored properly (Burgess, Roberts, & Regehr, 2009). Failure to store the item in the proper manner can damage the investigation, and even render the evidence unusable (Deflem, 2006). The chain of custody must be clearly transferred from the person who collected the evidence to the person responsible for storing the evidence, in order to establish that the evidence has not been damaged or tampered with in any way (O'Hara & O'Hara, 2003). During the time the evidence is stored, it will be considered to be protected, but if anyone on the task force or from any agency needs to take the evidence out of storage for examination, testing, or other study, the chain of custody will have to be transferred to that person (O'Hara & O'Hara, 2003). Once the testing or other work is completed, the custody of the evidence will be transferred back to the person in charge of storing it, and this will need to be done every time the evidence leaves storage including when it makes its way to the courthouse for trial (Baden & Roach, 2001).

2. In what ways do the evidence collection procedures differ at the scenes of the explosions vs. The residences of each of the suspects? At the scenes of the explosion, the rules and regulations of collecting evidence from a crime scene apply. These rules are very specific about chain of custody and collection issues, so the evidence can be shown not to have been tampered with (Baden & Roach, 2001). At suspect residences, evidence may still be collected and must still follow a chain of custody showing where it came from. This is still evidence, but the residences of the suspects are not considered crime scenes. It is not necessary to close them off or ensure that nothing is touched or moved.

When investigators go to the residence of the suspect, they can search through everything and take what they feel will be evidence (Baden & Roach, 2001). Doing this does not require the investigators to preserve everything exactly as they found it, as they would need to do when collecting evidence from a crime scene (Baden & Roach, 2001). The evidence they collect, however, must be carefully marked in order to determine where it came from and why it was collected. As long as there was a valid reason for collecting it and the chain of custody can be established showing that it came from the house of suspect, it can be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding (Baden & Roach, 2001). VPD will have to be very careful when collecting evidence from the suspects' residences, especially if there are multiple agencies involved in the collection efforts.

D. Testimonial Evidence

1. Describe the steps necessary to ensure that verbal or written communications from each of the suspects are eligible as testimonial evidence in a criminal proceeding. In order to make sure that verbal or written communications from the suspects are able to be used as testimonial evidence in a criminal proceeding, the suspects have to have been read their rights (Baden & Roach, 2001). Additionally, it is vital that the suspects have made official statements to a law enforcement agency separately, and that they were given the opportunity to have a lawyer present (Baden & Roach, 2001). Generally, verbal statements are recorded in order to be used in criminal proceedings, and written communications are signed by the person making the statement and the officer who took the statement (Nickell & Fischer, 1999; O'Hara & O'Hara, 2003). Doing that protects the suspect and the officer and agency who collected the statement from that suspect.

2. Describe the direct and indirect consequences if the testimonial evidence is deemed inadmissible by the trial court. Testimonial evidence that is deemed inadmissible by the trial court can have both direct and indirect consequences (O'Hara & O'Hara, 2003). Directly, the evidence will be thrown out and the agency that collected it will not be able to use it as a part of the case (Baden & Roach, 2001). That could mean that the person on trial would go free, because there would not be enough evidence to convict (Baden & Roach, 2001). That is especially true if there are few pieces of evidence and the law enforcement agency was counting on a key piece of testimonial evidence to make its case (Deflem, 2006).

Indirectly, not being able to use testimonial evidence can do much more than cause the case to be lost (Deflem, 2006). If the court believes that evidence was fabricated, mistreated, coerced, or otherwise mishandled, it may determine that the case cannot go forward and the suspect may walk free (Deflem, 2006). Even if that does not happen, having evidence ruled inadmissible can cast doubt on other pieces of evidence and make the case against the suspect appear weaker in the eyes of the judge and jury, which can cause the case to be lost even if there is strong evidence of guilt (Baden & Roach, 2001).

E. Public Information

1. As the investigation proceeds, in general terms, what information is or is not available to non-VPD members of the task force? If a task force is truly working together, all information collected by the VPD should be available to the rest of the task force. When one agency decides to hold back information, that can cause difficulties in its relationship with other agencies in the task force (Baden & Roach, 2001). Unfortunately, that is often a problem for tasks forces, and can lead to difficulties coordinating the evidence and information needed to successfully bring a criminal proceeding against a suspect. VPD can avoid all of that by practicing transparency and providing any and all needed information to everyone on the task force. They can be trusted with this information, and should not be a part of the task force if there is no trust involved (Baden & Roach, 2001; Barak, 1998).

2. Other law enforcement agencies? Other law enforcement agencies that are not part of the task force do not need to have as much information as those who are part of the task force. This is not in the interest of holding back or keeping too much control over the information VPD has collected, but only in the interest of not providing information to people who do not need it. Even in the best of agencies, information does sometimes get leaked to those who should not have it (Nickell & Fischer, 1999). It is best to avoid providing information to those who do not need it, so the opportunities for people to provide information to others are more limited (Nickell & Fischer, 1999). The fewer people who are provided information regarding a criminal proceeding, the lower the chances of information being leaked to others (Baden & Roach, 2001; Deflem, 2006).

3. Family members of the deceased and injured victims? While VPD and other agencies will want to provide information to the family members of those who have died or been injured, an ongoing police investigation has to be protected carefully. Family members may not understand not to discuss information they have been given, or they may feel safe only telling other family members or close friends. If there is anything a police officer or agency does not want widely known, it is best to refrain from providing that information to family members of crime victims (O'Hara & O'Hara, 2003).

4. Credentialed news reporters? News reporters will take any information they are given and put it into a story that could potentially be read by millions of people (Deflem, 2006). Because of that, VPD should only release information it wants the public to have, such as a description of someone they are looking for. VPD should avoid providing details of an ongoing investigation, especially if there are other suspects that VPD may want to track down before those suspects realize they may be targets of an investigation.

5. Community members? Community members only need to know about obvious and current threats to public safety (Baden & Roach, 2001). Providing information beyond that allows too much information to be given out that could otherwise be protected by VPD and other agencies on the task force. If the people who have committed the crimes have been arrested, releasing their names to the community may be something VPD wants to do, except in cases of minors and in cases where doing so would hamper other parts of the investigation that are still taking place.

6. Who should be the point of contact for investigative information, and how should that designation be decided? A point of contact for investigative information should be agreed upon by the task force, or at the very least by the lead agency of a task force (Deflem, 2006). That point of contact must… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Criminal Investigation Investigative Task Force.  (2014, February 21).  Retrieved February 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/criminal-investigation-investigative/1221093

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"Criminal Investigation Investigative Task Force."  21 February 2014.  Web.  20 February 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/criminal-investigation-investigative/1221093>.

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"Criminal Investigation Investigative Task Force."  Essaytown.com.  February 21, 2014.  Accessed February 20, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/criminal-investigation-investigative/1221093.