Wayne W. Bennett's Criminal Investigation

Text book:
Criminal Investigation

Buy 'The Body in Question: Exploring the Cutting Edge of Forensic Science'

(7th Edition)
by Wayne W. Bennett.

Also see:
notes on
The Body in Question

Contents of Criminal Investigation:
  1. Criminal Investigation: An Overview.
  2. Documenting the Scene: Note Taking, Photography and Sketching.
  3. Searches.
  4. Forensics/Physical Evidence.
  5. Obtaining Information.
  6. Identifying and Arresting Suspects.
  7. Death Investigations.
  8. Assault, Domestic Violence, Stalking and Elder Abuse.
  9. Sex Offenses.
  10. Crimes against Children.
  11. Robbery.
  12. Burglary.
  13. Larceny/Theft, Fraud, White Collar Crime and Environmental Crime.
  14. Motor Vehicle Theft.
  15. Arson.
  16. Computer Crime.
  17. Organized Crime, Bias/Hate Crime and Ritualistic Crime.
  18. Gang Related Crime.
  19. Illegal Drugs and Terrorism.
  20. Writing the Reports, Preparing for and Presenting Cases in Court.

Guidelines for interviewing:

  1. Informal interview: at crime scene without chance to prepare.
  2. Formal interview done with preparation:
    1. Familiarize yourself with the case. Review field and lab reports, previous interviews with subject.
    2. Know about subject:
      • Age, birthplace, nationality, race.
      • Status in community.
      • Education level and work history.
      • Habits; associates.
      • History with the law.
    3. Know what the subject might be able to tell you. Make a list of questions.
    4. Decide on a time: ASAP unless the subject is traumatized; mutually convenient time that is minimal interruption to the subject's daily activity. Allow an adequate amount of time for contingencies.
    5. Place: preferably your office. Not a public place. No friends or relatives at the interview.
    6. Don't ask leading questions. Use open-ended questions. In interrogation, can use assumptions in questions, to show suspects that you know certain aspects of the crime.

Responses may vary with ethnicity or culture but in USA in general:

Spontaneous, open, up-front. Guarded, reluctant to offer information.
Helpful to suggest possible suspect or eliminate people as suspect. Unhelpful to finger people to lead you away from the subject.
Concerned to clear themselves. Unconcerned.
Sincere. Not abrupt. Insincere. Overly polite.
Immediate, forceful, consistent denial. Hesitant, weak, or evasive denial. Nervous laughter. Generalized response: 'always', 'generally', or 'typically'.
Juveniles: often lack social responsibility so have no guilt about lying.
Drunk or drugged: often apathetic so have no conflict about lying.

Elements of an interview:

  1. Introduction: informal, casual, small talk to start a conversation.
  2. Body: part 1.
  3. Body: part 2.
  4. Body: part 3.
  5. Closing.

Second contact: Follow-up with a call in two weeks:

  1. Reassure them they have not been forgotten about.
  2. Tell them what you can about how the investigation has progressed.

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