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Criminal Investigation Justice Series 2nd Edition by Lyman – Test Bank
Identifying Criminal Suspects: Field and Laboratory Process
This chapter introduces us to the forensic side of criminal investigations. Trace evidence analysis, questioned documents, DNA analysis are all discussed by the author. The forensics section also takes a look at ballistics from guns, fingerprints, and forensic photography.
Fingerprints then become an important section of this chapter. Not only are types and patterns of prints reviewed but also searching and “dusting” properly for prints are a topic of discussion. When dealing with fingerprints the author explains the tools of the trade for lifting prints. He also gets into great detail about how they are to be preserved.
The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) is covered next. This systems amazing capacities are briefly discussed before the next section covering DNA and how it effect criminal investigations. The author covers the idea of DNA analysis and samples, including elimination samples.
Handwriting analysis is also discussed in this chapter. Handwriting samples are shown as an importance evidence tool as well as how to determine the writing medium when collecting samples can solidify a case.
The author takes these criminal investigative analyses and fits them into a picture of how these items can assist solving a case. The culmination of photographs, witness information, medical examiner’s reports,, map of the victims travels and complete investigation of the incident can often lead to an arrest.
The last part of the chapter focuses on the suspect lineup. The author reviews case law concerning using a lineup and what is the best method. The line up is shown to be a key piece of catching a suspect and proper identification is shown to be key in final arrest.
- Summarize the role of the crime laboratory in a criminal investigation
- Identify the types and patterns of fingerprints as well as how to search for fingerprints
- Explain the development and preservation of latent fingerprints
- Discuss the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System
- Explain the role of DNA in criminal investigations
- Describe handwriting analysis
- Discuss the role of investigative analysis to solve crimes
- Explain the proper methods for conducting lineups
The Role of the Crime Laboratory in the Criminal Investigation
The crime laboratory plays a pivotal role in criminal investigation. Thus, criminalists are major contributors to the investigative process. The duties and qualifications of criminalists vary greatly from one position to the next.
The trace evidence unit identifies and compares specific types of trace materials that could be transferred during the commission of a violent crime. These trace materials include human hair, animal hair, textile fibers and fabric, ropes, and wood. Physical contact between a suspect and a victim may result in the transfer of trace materials such as hairs and fibers.
The questioned documents unit examines and compares data appearing on paper and other evidentiary materials. These surface data include handwriting, hand printing, typewriting, printing, erasures, alterations, and obliterations.
A crime laboratory’s DNA analysis unit analyzes bodily fluids and bodily fluid stains recovered as evidence in violent crimes. Examinations include the identification and characterization of blood, semen, saliva, and other bodily fluids using traditional serological techniques and related biochemical analysis. After the stain has been identified, it is characterized by DNA analysis using the restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. The results of the analyses are compared with results obtained from known blood or saliva samples submitted from the victims or suspects.
The Mitochondrial DNA Population Database is composed of complete nucleotide sequences of the first and second hypervariable segments of the control region of the human mitochondrial genome and consists of two main data sets. The first data set contains individuals from populations of forensic relevance and is contributed mostly by the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods and forensic laboratories. The second data set, based on mtDNA concordance, contains nucleotide sequences from ethnic groups around the world.
The forensic ballistics unit receives and examines evidence related to firearms, firearm components, ammunition, ammunition components, tools, and toolmarks. Evidence in a typical case may include a number of recovered rifles, pistols, shotguns, silencers and other muzzle attachments, magazines, holsters, and a variety of fired and unfired cartridges.
The latent print unit conducts all work pertaining to the examination of latent prints on evidence submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) laboratory. Latent prints are impressions produced by the ridged skin on human fingers, palms, and the soles of the feet. Unit examiners analyze and compare latent prints with known prints of individuals in an effort to make identifications or exclusions.
A crime lab’s forensic photography unit is responsible for imaging operations. This unit captures, processes, produces, analyzes, archives, and disseminates images using traditional silver-based photographic processes and digital imaging technologies.
Types and Patterns of Fingerprints
Identifying criminal suspects through the use of fingerprinting has proven to be one of the most effective methods for apprehending persons who might otherwise go undetected and continue their criminal activities.
Types of Prints
Among the most valuable clues for the investigator at the crime scene are fingerprints and palm prints. Generally, fingerprints can be divided into three main groups: latent, plastic, and visible.
A latent fingerprint (also called a patent fingerprint) is one that occurs when the entire pattern of whorls on the finger, which contain small amounts of grease, oil, perspiration, or dirt, for example, is transferred to an object when it is touched.
A plastic fingerprint results when a finger presses against plastic material and leaves a negative impression of friction ridges.
A visible fingerprint (also called a dust print) is a print that has been adulterated with foreign matter. If a finger is placed in a thin layer of dust, for example, the dust may cover the friction ridges.
Searching for Prints
Investigators must be judicious in their search for fingerprints, as such evidence may be located in not-so-obvious places at the crime scene. Doors, entry gained through windows, latches, windows and frames are many common places for fingerprints. Some burglars have been known to eat food or drink some- thing while in a residence. The investigator must anticipate this and take care to preserve any finger- prints left on glassware (including liquor bottles) and even on some types of food (detectable by super- glue fuming, discussed later). Electric light switches, circuit breakers, and light bulbs should also be examined closely for prints.
Development and Preservation of Latent Fingerprints
Several powders and chemicals are used for this purpose in addition to several techniques designed to develop such evidence.
To develop a latent fingerprint with powder, the powder used should contrast with the color of the surface of the print. The powder is lightly brushed over the print so it will adhere to the oils on the surface of the print pattern.
Iodine is used on the premise that it attacks the object and changes its color. The grease and oils naturally produced by the skin discolor very easily and naturally become good candidates for development with iodine.
Another process, involving the development of prints using amino acids present as a result of perspiration, is generally the most common method of fingerprint development for latent prints.
When a person touches a surface with a sweaty finger, sodium chloride remains (almost indefinitely) while the other chemical compounds decompose. If a solution of silver nitrate is used on the impression, a chemical reaction occurs between the sodium chloride and the silver nitrate, resulting in the appearance of two new chemicals: sodium nitrate and silver chloride.
The use of superglue fuming is a relatively simple procedure and is particularly valuable in developing prints on plastic bags, metal foil, waxed paper, lacquered wood, leather, and almost all hard surfaces. Even fruits, vegetables, and dinner rolls have been processed successfully with this procedure.
The detection and development of latent fingerprints left at crime scenes have taken a quantum leap forward with the use of laser technology. The laser procedure is a clean, relatively easy method to develop prints, and pretreatment of the specimen is not required.
Methods of fingerprint preservation include photography of the print and lifting techniques. In general, plastic and latent prints can remain for years, depending on the type of surface on which they are located.
Prints from Gloves
Indeed, such gloves—if located—may produce valuable evidence in locating the perpetrator. The glove itself may have a unique, identifiable pattern, as with a fingerprint.
The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System
The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, more commonly known as IAFIS, is a national fingerprint and criminal history database maintained by the FBI’s Criminal Jus- tice Information System (CJIS) Division. The IAFIS provides automated fingerprint search capabilities, latent searching capability, electronic image stor age, and electronic exchange of fingerprints and responses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The IAFIS maintains the largest biometric database in the world, containing the fingerprints and corresponding criminal history information for more than 47 million subjects in the Criminal Master File.
DNA and Criminal Investigations
DNA technology. DNA has given scientists the means with which to detect the remarkable variability existing between individuals. The results of this technology hold great promise in aiding the criminal justice system in making positive determinations of criminal identity.
The process of analyzing, or “typing,” DNA begins with DNA source material such as blood or semen. After the DNA is removed from the sample chemically, restriction enzymes known as endonucleases are added that cut the DNA into particles or fragments. The particles are then mixed with a sieving gel and sorted out according to size by a process called electrophoresis.
Elimination samples can be used to determine whether the evidence comes from the suspect or from someone else. It is important for the investigator, while still at the crime scene, to think ahead to the time of trial and possible defenses. For example, in the case of a residential burglary in which the suspect may have drunk a glass of water at the crime scene, an officer should identify appropriate people, such as household members, for future elimination sample testing.
People often adopt unique styles of their own, frequently characteristic only of that person. Such characteristics are identifiable to handwriting experts, who must be knowledgeable in both photography and microscopy. Writings may occur in many forms, including that on personal correspondence, desks, walls, and even dead bodies.
Collection of Exemplars
To understand how best to proceed with the handwriting analysis process, we should first consider that the average handwriting specimen has 500 to 1,000 characters, including elements such as form, movement, connections, alignment, punctuation, slant, spacings, and embellishments.
A requested handwriting standard is obtained from a suspect at the formal request of a law enforcement officer and is performed solely as a means to acquire a comparison document. It is logical to assume that no two samples of a suspect’s handwriting are identical. A sufficient number of exemplars must be collected to demonstrate to the examiner the range of natural variations in a suspect’s writing peculiarities.
A collected handwriting exemplar is a sample of the suspect’s handwriting that was not written for the purpose of examination and is not evidence in the crime under investigation. The obvious reason for this is that the sample document must be one that the suspect has not prepared or altered deliberately to match a suspect document.
The Writing Medium
The process of collecting handwriting exemplars includes being sure that the writing instruments (for example, paper, pencils) used in the sample are the same as those used in the suspect document. Things to look for in selection of paper include its size, thickness, color, and condition. The same type of instrument used for the document questioned should be furnished to the suspect for the control exemplar.
Criminal Suspect Composites
One method of developing an idea of the suspect’s general description is to have the witness provide information to a police artist so that a facial composite can be generated. In previous years, construction of the composite was done by a trained artist through drawing, sketching, or painting in consultation with a witness or crime victim.
Facial composites can assist law enforcement in a number of ways:
- Identifying the suspect in a wanted poster
- Gathering additional evidence against a suspect
- Assisting investigation in checking leads
- Warning the public against serial offenders
Investigative Analysis to Solve Crimes
For years, the means of identifying the type of person responsible for a particular crime was known as personality profiling, also known as criminal investigative analysis, which identifying psychological and social characteristics surrounding the crime as well as the manner in which it was committed.
The practice of profiling was developed during World War II by government psychologist William Langer to predict Adolph Hitler’s future actions. As it relates to criminal investigation, profiling is based on the notion that crime is, directly or indirectly, based on the personality of the person committing it.
The field of psychological profiling continues to grow as new areas are developed. Two of the newest areas include hostage negotiation and terrorism. The psychological profiling technique recognizes that emotions such as hate, passion, fear, and confusion may all have certain indicators somewhere at the scene.
One recurring problem in criminal investigation is the over-
reliance by criminal investigators on eyewitness accounts of crimes. This is especially a concern when the identification of a criminal suspect relies heavily on the word of eyewitnesses or victims. In 2009 the Innocence Project reported: “Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing.”
Numerous factors contribute to misidentifications by eyewitnesses. For example, human perception tends to be inaccurate, especially under stress. The average citizen, untrained in observation and subjected to the stress of being a victim of or witness to a crime, is seldom able to describe a perpetrator accurately even, in some cases, after coming face to face with the individual.
Law enforcement officers can also cause misidentifications by suggestive words or conduct. The average witness, anxious to make an identification and influenced by the police officer’s image as an authority figure, tends to be very sensitive to any suggestion made by the police regarding the identity of the perpetrator.
Identification procedures may be categorized as photo identifications, lineups, or show-ups.
Photo identification procedures may involve the showing of one or several photographs to a witness for the purpose of obtaining an identification.
In a lineup, eyewitnesses are presented simultaneously with a number of individuals. The type of lineup used by most police departments across the nation is the simultaneous lineup.17 In this lineup, the eyewitness views all the people or photos at the same time. In comparison, a sequential lineup involves people or photographs that are presented to the witness one at a time.
In either model, the lineup administrator can be blind— meaning he or she does not know the identity of the suspect— or non-blind—meaning the administrator knows the identity of the suspect. However, in a “double-blind” lineup, neither the officer administering the lineup nor the witness knows the identity of the suspect, so there is no way the officer administering the lineup can influence the witness in any way.
Researcher Gary Wells argues, however, that during simultaneous lineups, wit- nesses use relative judgment. This means that they compare lineup photographs or members with each other rather than to their memory of the offender. This is a problem when the perpetrator is not present in the lineup because the witness will often choose the lineup member who most closely resembles their recollection of the perpetrator.
On the other hand, during sequential lineups, witnesses must make a decision about each photograph or member before moving on to the next, prompting them to use absolute judgment. In other words, witnesses compare each photograph or person only with their memory of what the offender looked like.
The photo lineup is a commonly used investigative technique to identify suspects. When used improperly, however, innocent persons can be singled out for prosecution. Multiple-photo procedures are preferable. The photos may be shown individually, one at a time, or displayed simultaneously in a book or array.
Physical Lineups, if properly conducted, is significantly less suggestive than the show-up and hence is generally far preferable.
In a “show-up,” the witness is confronted with one suspect only (as opposed to an array). The show-up has been widely condemned by the courts and by experts in law, law enforcement, and law enforcement identification procedures.
The Right to Counsel at Eyewitness Identifications
The US Supreme Court expanded this ruling to provide for a right to counsel at any lineup conducted after formal adversary proceedings have been initiated against the suspect, whether by way of formal charge, preliminary hearing, indictment, information, or arraignment.
- Answer should include: Depending on the crime scene there would of course be trace evidence to be found at the location of the crime. Along with the DNA of the rape through semen from the attacker there my have been hair samples, fingerprints, and latent prints left at the scene. Preserving the prints from the first crime to the second three years later would have been important. Additionally the use of the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) would have been available.
- Answer should include: This answer would be personalized for each student.
- Answer should include: Each murder should have been focused on individually even though there were two similar type cases. Working them both individually would be the best method while always keeping the possibility of one suspect in mind.
Learning Outcomes 1:
- What are the various functions of the crime laboratory? Answer: Functions in crime labs include specialists in DNA (blood), trace evidence, handwriting analysis, toxicology, and ballistics, among others.
- How is DNA analysis used in criminal investigations? Answer: A crime laboratory’s DNA analysis unit analyzes bodily fluids and bodily fluid stains recovered as evidence in violent crimes. Examinations include the identification and characterization of blood, semen, saliva, and other bodily fluids using traditional serological techniques and related biochemical analysis. After the stain has been identified, it is characterized by DNA analysis using the restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. The results of the analyses are compared with results obtained from known blood or saliva samples submitted from the victims or suspects.
- What are examples of trace material? Answer: The trace evidence unit identifies and compares specific types of trace materials that could be transferred during the commission of a violent crime. These trace materials include human hair, animal hair, textile fibers and fabric, ropes, and wood.
Learning Outcomes 2:
- What are the three main groups of fingerprints? Answer: The latent fingerprint, the plastic fingerprint, the visible fingerprint.
- How does a latent fingerprint differ from a plastic print? Answer: A latent fingerprint (also called a patent fingerprint) is one that occurs when the entire pattern of whorls on the finger, which contain small amounts of grease, oil, perspiration, or dirt, for example, is transferred to an object when it is touched. A plastic fingerprint results when a finger presses against plastic material and leaves a negative impression of friction ridges.
- What are the different types of patterns of fingerprints? Answer: Arch Loop, Whorl, Plain radial, Plain tented, Ulnar, Accidental double, Central pocket.
Learning Outcomes 3:
- What are the various ways investigators locate and identify fingerprints at a crime scene? Answer: The search for prints should begin at the place of entry by the criminal. Investigators should be able, at that point, to determine whether or not the burglar’s hands were protected. If a door has been forced open, prints may be located on the lock or its immediate surroundings or in the general area of entry. When entry is gained through windows, broken glass should be searched for and documented.
- What is the significance of the new role that IAFIS fingerprinting technology offers the field of criminal investigation and identification? Answer: The IAFIS provides automated fingerprint search capabilities, latent searching capability, electronic image stor age, and electronic exchange of fingerprints and responses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Learning Outcomes 4:
- What are the different variables searched for by IAFIS to make a match? Answer: It combines with criminal histories, mugshots, scar and tattoo photos, height, weight, hair and eye color, and aliases to help match evidence with identities.
- How quickly do criminal investigators receive results back from IAFIS for criminal and civil cases? Answer: As a result of submitting fingerprints electronically, agencies receive electronic responses to finger- print submissions within two hours for criminal cases and within 24 hours for civil fingerprint submissions.
- How is IAFIS used in criminal investigations? Answer: The IAFIS maintains the largest biometric database in the world, containing the fingerprints and corresponding criminal history information for more than 47 million subjects in the Criminal Master File. The fingerprints and corresponding criminal history information are submitted voluntarily by state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies.
Learning Outcomes 5:
- To what extent has DNA technology improved methods of criminal identification? Answer: DNA has given scientists the means with which to detect the remarkable variability existing between individuals. The results of this technology hold great promise in aiding the criminal justice system in making positive determinations of criminal identity.
- Why are recent court rulings addressing the admissibility of DNA evidence in the courtroom significant? Answer: As time goes on, there will undoubtedly be significant legal and scientific challenges to the application of DNA technology in crime solving. Certainly, however, as the “bugs” are worked out, society as a whole will be the beneficiary of this captivating science, which enables virtually positive identification of both criminal suspects and their victims.
- What is the Southern blotting method of DNA analysis? Who developed it? Answer: A transfer method developed by Edward Southern, called Southern blotting, is used. In this process, the DNA is transferred to a nylon membrane in much the same way that ink is transferred to a blotter. The nylon sheet is then treated with radioactively labeled DNA probes, single-stranded pieces of DNA that can bind through complementary base pairing with target DNA. Whereas a single-locus probe “looks” for only one field, a multilocus probe looks for numerous fields simultaneously. The radioactive probe then merges with the specific DNA sequences found on the membrane fragments. The images that result from X-ray film placed in contact with the membrane to detect the probe configuration look like the price bar codes used on supermarket products.
- What is meant by elimination samples? Answer: Elimination samples can be used to determine whether the evidence comes from the suspect or from someone else. It is important for the investigator, while still at the crime scene, to think ahead to the time of trial and possible defenses.
Learning Outcomes 6:
- Why it is important to verify the origin of a requested exemplar? Answer: A requested handwriting standard is obtained from a suspect at the formal request of a law enforcement officer and is performed solely as a means to acquire a comparison document. It is logical to assume that no two samples of a suspect’s handwriting are identical. Therefore, a sufficient number of exemplars must be collected to demonstrate to the examiner the range of natural variations in a suspect’s writing peculiarities. In the event that investigators might not be successful in obtaining exemplars of a suspect’s handwriting, an exemplar may be obtained directly from the suspect.
- Why is it important to be sure that the writing instruments (for example, paper, pencils) used in the sample are the same as those used in the suspect document? Answer: The process of collecting handwriting exemplars includes being sure that the writing instruments (for example, paper, pencils) used in the sample are the same as those used in the suspect document. Things to look for in selection of paper include its size, thickness, color, and condition. In short, the sample paper should match, as closely as possible that used by the suspect.
- What are two skills needed by handwriting experts? Answer: They must be knowledgeable in both photography and microscopy.
- How are requested and collected exemplars used in handwriting? Answer: A requested handwriting standard is obtained from a suspect at the formal request of a law enforcement officer and is performed solely as a means to acquire a comparison document. A collected handwriting exemplar is a sample of the suspect’s handwriting that was not written for the purpose of examination and is not evidence in the crime under investigation.
Learning Outcomes 7:
- What are some of the well-known cases in which criminal composites have been used to identify suspects? Answer: Facial composites have been used successfully to identify suspects in numerous cases. Included are the Oklahoma “Murrah Building” bomber Timothy McVeigh and the Baton Rouge serial killer Derrick Todd Lee.
- What are some disadvantages of using a criminal composite? Answer: Although the FBI has determined artistic hand drawn composites are the ideal many departments lack the talented staff to do this so they rely on computer generated composites, which are not endorsed by the FBI.
- According to the FBI, what is the correct method for constructing a facial composite? Answer: Today the FBI maintains that hand drawing is still the correct method for constructing a facial composite.
- In what ways does a facial composite assist law enforcement? Answer: The facial composite can assist law enforcement in a number of ways: identifying the suspect in a wanted poster, gathering additional evidence against a suspect, assisting investigation in checking leads, warning the public against serial offenders.
Learning Outcomes 8:
- How has investigative analysis been used in the past to capture criminals? Answer: For years, the means of identifying the type of person responsible for a particular crime was known as personality profiling.
- What is the process of criminal profiling and how does it assist criminal investigations? Answer: Today, the process known as criminal investigative analysis is accomplished by identifying psychological and social characteristics surrounding the crime as well as the manner in which it was committed.
- What is Munchausen syndrome by proxy? Answer: More recently, caregivers with a dis- order called Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP) have become the subject of profilers. The disorder involves offenders who injure or cause illnesses in their children to gain attention and sympathy for themselves.
- What psychological and social characteristics are used by investigators to identify perpetrators and solve crimes? Answer: The psychological profiling technique recognizes that emotions such as hate, passion, fear, and confusion may all have certain indicators somewhere at the scene. After the information has been collected, the investigator analyzes the information and attempts to reconstruct the event. Techniques used are brainstorming to critique the case, use of intuition to follow hunches, and educated guessing. Profiling factors do not consist of clinical observations solely, but rather a collection of investigative data from which to draw inferences about the suspect, victim, and motive of the crime.
Learning Outcomes 9:
- What is the proper method of conducting a photo lineup? Answer: Consequently, multiple-photo procedures are preferable. In such procedures, the photos may be shown individually, one at a time, or displayed simultaneously in a book or array.
- What is the value of the composite sketch in identifying a criminal suspect? Answer: A composite may assist investigators for the initial choices to put in a photo array.
- In what ways do criminal composites assist the criminal investigator? Answer: Composites can assist law enforcement in a number of ways: identifying the suspect in a wanted poster, gathering additional evidence against a suspect, assisting investigation in checking leads, warning the public against serial offenders.
This site provides information related to research and statistics on DNA technology. This information is pertinent to investigators, scientists, officers of the court, lawmakers, victim advocates, or the casual observer interested in DNA technology. Links include statutes and case law, DNA databases, and tools for forensic scientists.
This site offers articles on various aspects of forensic science, including evidence collection and analysis as well as types of forensics.
This site is a forensic science education site. It includes career links and fun stuff such as criminology resources, criminology blogs, and “ridiculous scenes from shows such as CSI.”
These sites offer information on the work of criminalists, including training required, salary, and skills needed. They also contain links to colleges and universities offering criminal justice programs that include forensic science.
Legal Issues in Criminal Investigation
This chapter focuses on the search process of investigations, specifically seeing that it’s done legally. The probable cause necessary for a search or arrest is very important. The author makes full note of the exclusionary rule and cases where that has been important. Searches incident to arrest is fully reviewed as is the scope allowed for searches.
The exceptions to the exclusionary rule such as the good faith exception, the inevitable discovery doctrine, and computer errors exception are all thoroughly discussed by the author with relevant cases to back up what is and isn’t allowed in searches. The time to get a search warrant is shown through this section as well. There is also a full discussion of advantages to warrants and triggering conditions for obtaining one.
Next the author reviews the warrantless search. He talks of searches where the suspect gives consent, exigent circumstances, and searches incident to lawful arrest. The stop and frisk search, plain view search, automobile search, and open fields search are also part of this chapter.
The arrest of a suspect is the next part of the chapter. The actual definition of an arrest is extensively covered through case law and scenarios. The difference between detention, stop and frisk and arrest are all important discussions by the author.
Use of force is the last two pieces of this chapter. The author explains the proper use of force in arrest and when it is authorized to use deadly force. These are not easy answers and the author brings up many examples of case law.
- Identify the legal guidelines for conducting searches
- Explain the exceptions to the exclusionary rule
- Summarize what information must be contained on a search warrant
- Explain when warrantless searches are authorized under law
- Define an arrest
- Explain what is required for an arrest to be legal
- Explain when police officers can use force
- Explain when police officers can use deadly force
Legal Guidelines for Conducting Searches
The Probable Cause Requirement
The probable cause requirement is one of the most important components of the Fourth Amendment because it lies at the heart of police officers’ authority to search, seize, and make arrests. Probable cause is the minimum amount of information necessary to warrant a reasonable person to believe that a crime has been or is being committed by a person who is about to be arrested.
The Exclusionary Rule
The exclusionary rule relates primarily to cases involving issues of search and seizure, arrests, interrogations, and stop-and-frisk violations.
The exclusionary rule originated with the 1914 case of Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 (1914). In 1920, Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385 (1920), also addressed the exclusionary rule. Although the Weeks and Silverthorne cases were virtually ignored by state courts, the subsequent Mapp decision (Mapp v. Ohio, 1961) expanded the scope of the exclusionary rule by applying it to both federal and state courts.
Search Incident to Lawful Arrest
Chimel v. California (1969) was a watershed case that dealt with areas that are not in plain view that are searched without a warrant. It established that a search made incidental to a lawful arrest must be confined to the area around the suspect’s immediate control. The Chimel case is important, as it relates to criminal investigation; it changed the policy with regard to the scope of the search, as it relates to an officer’s authority to search incident to an arrest.
Exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule
Since the Mapp and Chimel cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has developed several exceptions to the exclusionary rule. These play a considerable role in shaping the manner in which police officers are allowed to behave before, during, and after a search and seizure of evidence.
The Good Faith Exception
One such case emerged in the summer of 1984 when the laws dealing with search and seizure changed dramatically in United States v. Leon, when the first good- faith exception to the exclusionary rule was decided. During the course of a drug trafficking investigation by the Burbank, California, Police Department, officers secured a search war- rant for the residence of Alberto Leon. Three prosecutors re- viewed the warrant before its being issued by a state court judge. The subsequent search netted large quantities of drugs, and Leon was arrested and charged with drug trafficking. The defense challenged the validity of the warrant based on the unreliability of the informant and moved to suppress the evidence. The US Supreme Court specified that evidence might be excluded if (1) police officers were dishonest in preparing the affidavit, (2) the warrant was deficient on its face (for example, a wrong or missing description of the place to be searched) such that no officer could reasonably serve it, or (3) if the magistrate was not found to be neutral. The practical effect of the Leon case is that any evidence seized through a search warrant is immune from suppression even if the judge signing the warrant was wrong and there was not probable cause to believe that contraband or other evidence would be discovered under the warrant.
The Inevitable Discovery Doctrine
The inevitable discovery exception to the exclusionary rule was developed in the 1984 Nix v. Williams case. This exception states that evidence that has been seized illegally or evidence stemming from illegally seized evidence is admissible if the police can prove that they would have inevitably discovered it anyway by lawful means.
The Computer Errors Exception
In 1995 Arizona v. Evans the court reasoned that officers should not be held responsible for a clerical error made by a court worker and held that the arresting officers acted in good faith based on the information available to them at the time of the arrest.
Searches with a Warrant
The search warrant has proven to be one of the most valuable tools in criminal investigation.
When Are Search Warrants Necessary?
Technically, a person may require the police to produce a warrant before admitting them into his or her home for a search. A warrant is not always legally necessary, and a police officer may have information of which a person is unaware that allows the officer to make a warrantless entry.
Advantages of Searching with a Search Warrant
A warrant represents an authorization by the court for officers to enter a designated location or structure and search for specific items. Specifically:
- Recover stolen property
- Seize drugs or other contraband
- Seize any other type of property used in the commission of a crime
The search warrant must contain specifics about the location to be searched, the objects being sought, the probable cause that indicates that there is property to seize, and a signature of the judge authorizing the search.
A search warrant also benefits the prosecutor by shifting the legal burden to the defendant. Instead of the prosecutor having to justify a presumably unreasonable search, it becomes the burden of the defendant to show that the evidence was seized illegally.
Basically, the search warrant sets forth the same facts as outlined in the affidavit. Prior to signing the affidavit, the affiant (the officer) must be certain that he or she is first sworn in by a judge
Anticipatory Search Warrants
An anticipatory search warrant is a warrant based on an affidavit showing probable cause to believe that at some future time, particular evidence of a crime will be located at a particular place. Anticipatory warrants may not be executed until some specific event (other than the passage of time) has occurred. The specified events are called triggering conditions.
The Fourth Amendment says that all searches must be preceded by the officer obtaining a search warrant.
Several exceptions exist to warrantless searches:
- Consent searches
- Searches under exigent circumstances
- Searches incident to lawful arrest
- Stop-and-frisk searches
- Plain-view searches
- Automobile searches
- Open-field searches
Search by Consent
Police can search without a warrant when a suspect gives them permission to do so. Searches in this instance must, of course, be subsequent to an initial detention that was lawful.
In the case of an emergency or exigent circumstances, a search may also be conducted without a warrant provided that probable cause exists. As a general rule, the police are authorized to make an emergency warrantless search when the time it would take to get a warrant would jeopardize public safety or lead to the loss of important evidence.
In 1968, the Supreme Court of the United States declared in the case of Terry v. Ohio (1968)1 that a police officer may stop a person for questioning if the officer reasonably suspects that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. All that is required is that the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the individual is involved in criminal activity.
The Supreme Court further declared in Terry v. Ohio that an officer who has stopped a suspect may “. . . search for weapons for the protection of the police officer, where he has reason to believe that he is dealing with an armed and dangerous individual.”
The Consensual Encounter versus Investigative Detention
Police contacts with citizens that do not involve an interrogation or arrest are referred to as consensual encounters. In order for the officer to stop the citizen from walking away, thus beginning an investigative detention, reasonable suspicion is required.
If there are no grounds for reasonable suspicion that the individual being interviewed is engaged in criminal behavior, he or she is free at all times to discontinue the interview and, as the courts have said, “go about his (or her) business,” that is, walk away from the officer.
In some cases, what begins as a consensual contact may evolve into something more based on information developed by the officer during the contact. This can occur when statements are made or other circumstances create reasonable suspicion to believe that the citizen has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.
The officer, however, must be able to point to specific facts, when taken together with rational inferences, reasonably war- rant the stop.
These facts could include:
- The appearance or demeanor of a subject suggests that he or she is engaged in a criminal act.
- The actions of the subject indicate that he or she is engaged in a criminal activity.
- The hour of day or night is inappropriate for the subject’s presence in the area.
- The subject’s presence in a neighborhood or location is inappropriate.
- The subject is carrying a suspicious object.
- The subject’s clothing bulges in a manner consistent with carrying a weapon.
- The subject is located in proximity (time and place) to an alleged crime.
- The officer has knowledge of the subject’s prior involvement in criminal activity.
The United Supreme Court has addressed this and concludes that flight from contact with police officers provides an additional basis for conducting an investigative detention. In the U.S. Supreme Court case Illinois v. Wardlow (2000), it was determined that fleeing constitutes an additional factor for determining reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigative detention.
Terry v. Ohio, other court decisions, and various state statutes give officers the authority to conduct a pat- down search or “frisk” of a suspect who has been the subject of a valid investigative stop if the officer reasonably believes that the suspect may possess a weapon.
Plain View Searches
Police officers have the opportunity to begin investigations or confiscate evidence without a warrant based on what they find in plain view and open to public inspection. This has become known as the plain-view doctrine, a doctrine first stated in the Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. United States (1968). The court ruled, “objects falling in the plain view of an officer who has a right to be in the position to have that view are subject to seizure and may be used as evidence.”
The criteria for a valid plain-view search were identified in Coolidge v. New Hampshire (1971).
The court identified three criteria:
- The officer must be present lawfully at the location to be searched.
- The item seized must have been found inadvertently.
- The item is contraband or would be useful as evidence of a crime.
The precedent established for warrantless searches of auto- mobiles is the automobile exception, or the Carroll doctrine (Carroll v. United States, 1925). This decision established that the right to search a vehicle does not depend on the right to arrest the driver but on the premise that the contents of the vehicle contain evidence of a crime.
In a 1981 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that warrantless seizures of evidence in the passenger compartments of a car, after a lawful arrest, are valid (New York v. Belton, 1981).
In a high-impact case, California v. Acevedo (1991), much of the confusion about vehicle searches was eliminated. The Acevedo case holds that if an officer has probable cause to believe that a container in an automobile holds contraband, the officer may open the container and seize the evidence, provided that the evidence is in fact contraband.
The law on vehicle searches has changed dramatically over the past 20 years, enabling police officers more latitude in their search and seizure authority. In Pennsylvania v. Labron (1993), the Supreme Court ruled that there is no need for a search warrant in vehicle searches if the vehicle is readily mobile, even if there is time to obtain a warrant. In a related case, the Court held that police officers with probable cause to search a car may inspect passengers’ belongings found in the car that are capable of concealing the object of the search (Wyoming v. Houghton, 1999).
In 1970, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the right of officers to search a vehicle that is moving or is about to be moved, provided that there is probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains items that are legally seizeable. In the Chambers v. Maroney (1970) case, the Court referred to the earlier case of Carroll v. United States and determined that a search warrant is unnecessary provided that probable cause exists that contra- band is contained in the vehicle, that the vehicle is movable, and that a search warrant is not readily obtainable.
Open Field Searches
In Oliver v. United States (1984), the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed its position that open fields are not protected by the Fourth Amendment. This differs from constitutional protection over buildings, houses, and the area surrounding them, known as curtilage. The curtilage is considered one’s yard.
In a 1987 decision, United States v. Dunn, the Supreme Court ruled that the warrantless search of a barn that is not part of the curtilage is valid. The Dunn decision, although still subject to imprecise application, is helpful because it narrows the definition of what buildings should be considered curtilage of the main residence.
Making An Arrest
Legally speaking, an arrest is a seizure of a person. This process is far from routine. It is the arrest that is one of the most critical aspects of an investigator’s responsibilities.
What Is an Arrest?
The term arrest may take on many different interpretations. For example, it is the official interaction between a peace officer (law enforcement officer) and a suspected lawbreaker when the suspect is captured and delivered before the court. It may also be construed as the simple restriction of one’s freedom by an agent of the government.
The Lawful Arrest
Probable cause is required for a lawful arrest. The general test the courts consider to determine whether probable cause exists for an arrest is whether facts and circumstances within the officer’s knowledge are sufficient to warrant a prudent person to believe a suspect has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.
Laws of arrest vary from one jurisdiction to another, but peace officers are generally authorized to make an arrest on the authority of an arrest warrant for either a misdemeanor or a felony offense. Under the strictest interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, a warrant should be required for all arrests. However, the courts have loosely interpreted this requirement in allowing officers to arrest without a warrant if they personally observe any violation of the law.
Arrests are authorized under the following conditions:
- When the officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a violation of the law “in his or her presence”
- When the officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a felony but “not in his or her presence”
- When the officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a felony whether or not a crime has been committed
Detention versus Arrest
Thomas Adams states that police intervention may be classified as a contact, a consensual encounter, an investigative detention, or an arrest:
- In this situation, the subject is free to walk away if he or she so desires. It is the sole decision of the subject whether or not to cooperate with an officer.
- Consensual encounter. In this situation, the officer may not exert any authority over the subject. Officers can continue to seek the subject’s cooperation but cannot demand it.
- Investigative detention. This is defined as something less than an arrest but more than a consensual encounter. Generally, this is when a person thinks that he or she cannot just walk away (Terry Ohio).
- This is the act of placing a person in custody for a suspected violation of criminal law.
Three constitutional requirements exist for an investigative detention, or a Terry stop, to be lawful:
- The officer must be able to point to objective facts and circumstances that would warrant a reasonable police officer to link the detainee’s conduct with possible criminal activity.
- The officer must proceed with the investigation as expeditiously as possible to avoid unnecessarily prolonging the period of involuntary detention.
- The officer must stay within the narrow investigative boundaries allowed for reasonable suspicion in Terry stop situations.
To satisfy the reasonable suspicion standard, the officer must possess objective grounds for suspecting that the person detained has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. Courts consider “rational inferences that arise from the facts,” as well as the facts themselves, in deciding whether the officer’s information was sufficient to satisfy the reasonable suspicion standard.
When Is a Person under Arrest?
The courts have held that a suspect is seized within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment whenever a law enforcement officer restricts his or her freedom to leave.
- Seizure by submission to a show of legal authority. The test for whether there has been a show of authority is objective— whether a reasonable person in the suspect’s place would feel that he or she was not free to ignore an officer’s request and walk away.
- Seizure by physical restraint. If the suspect does not submit to an officer’s show of legal authority, no seizure occurs until the suspect is actually brought under the officer’s con- trol. The free-to-leave test has been repeatedly adopted by the court as the test for a seizure.
This issue was considered in the California v. Hodari (1991) case, where the court ruled that a Fourth Amendment seizure does not occur when law enforcement officers are chasing a fleeing suspect unless the officers apply physical force or the suspect submits to the officer’s show of authority. A juvenile named Hodari was standing with three other youths on a street corner in downtown Oakland, California. When an unmarked police car was observed approaching, the youths ran in different directions. An officer exited the police car, pursued, and finally caught up with Hodari. Just be- fore being tackled, Hodari tossed away a bag containing crack cocaine that was later used as evidence to convict Hodari of possession of cocaine.
Upon review by the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices considered the issue of whether or not an arrest had been made. In a majority decision, Justice Antonin Scalia said, “An arrest requires either physical force . . . or, where that is absent, submission to the assertion of authority.” He later added, “Neither usage nor common-law tradition makes an attempted seizure a seizure.” The conviction was reaffirmed.
“The totality of the circumstances” must be considered when deciding if an arrest has been made. It must be shown that the officer’s words or actions would have led a reasonable person to believe that he or she was not free to leave before the officer attempts seizure of the person. Also, the person must somehow show his or her submission to the officer’s authority before the seizure actually occurs.
Other factors considered:
- The officer must have the appropriate legal authority to do so (for example, jurisdiction).
- Arresting officers must be sure that persons arrested fall under the authority of the law (for example, being physically placed into custody by the officer or submitting to the assertion of authority).
Use of Force
Balancing issues of a violent society with the safety concerns of police personnel creates many obstacles and concerns in developing departmental policies and procedures.
The prevailing police perspective is based on a serious concern for the welfare of officers who must cope with the constant threat of a violent society. In contrast, citizens are fearful that police officers may exceed their legal bounds and use force as a means of punishment rather than control.
Police officers deal every day with persons who are violent, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, mentally deranged, or just desperate to avoid arrest. To cope, officers are granted specific legal authority to use force under constitutional law and the laws of most states.
Our society recognizes three legitimate and responsive forms of force:
- To protect the officer or others from danger
- To overcome resistance
- To prevent escape
Police officers are taught that the penalties for abusing their authority to use force can be severe. The federal standard for police use of force was established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor (1989). In that case, the Court recognized that the police officer’s duty to make arrests and to conduct searches and investigatory stops carries with it the authority to use force reasonably or to threaten the use of force. The Graham decision allows officers to use force for two reasons only: defense and control, not punishment.
A court will use the following standard to determine whether such force was reasonable. First, the officer’s conduct will be compared with that of a “reason- able officer” confronted by similar circumstances. Second, when the judge and jury evaluate the officer’s actions, they must do so from the “standing in your shoes” standard.
Under the Graham decision, the Court identified three key factors based on the totality of the circumstances to use in evaluating an officer’s use of reasonable force:
- The severity of the crime committed
- Whether the suspect posed an immediate threat to the safety of officers or others
- Whether the suspect actively resisted arrest or attempted to evade arrest by flight
Levels of Force
Officers should constantly con- sider their options when approaching what they perceive to be a dangerous situation. In doing so, if the need to use force becomes a reality, proper application of force will be available quickly.
Use of Deadly Force
In 1967, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice noted that most police departments had no policy to guide them on the use of deadly force. In its most commonly used parlance, the term deadly force refers to actions of police officers that result in the killing of a person. As mentioned previously, police officers are legally authorized to use deadly force under certain circumstances.
Three factors that must be present to justify deadly force:
- Attacker must possess the power to kill or inflict crippling injury
- Attacker must be capable of immediately employing that power in an attack
- Attacker must act in a manner that a reasonable and prudent person would conclude that the attacker has intent to kill or inflict crippling injury
Fleeing Felon Rule
Until the mid-1980s, the shooting of a suspect by police was tolerated by many police agencies. Police officers in those early days often worked alone and lacked sophisticated communications technology with which to track suspects who were wanted by police.
Before 1985, police officers were legally authorized by most states to use deadly force in apprehending fleeing felons. In a watershed decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in March 1985, it was determined that Tennessee’s fleeing-felon law was unconstitutional. Tennessee v. Garner (1985) involved the police shooting and subsequent killing of an unarmed boy as the youth fled from an unoccupied house. In this case, the officer could see that the suspect was a youth and that he was unarmed. The officer argued, however, that if the youngster were able to leap a fence, he would be able to escape.
Reasonable deadly force is authorized under three circumstances:
- To prevent an escape when the suspect has threatened an officer with a weapon