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NCJ Number: 200652 Find in a Library
Title: Legal Considerations for Crime Scene Investigation
Journal: Law and Order  Volume:51  Issue:5  Dated:May 2003  Pages:46,48,50,51
Author(s): Vernon Geberth
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 4
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the legal issues that are pertinent when officers are investigating crime scenes.
Abstract: Crime scene evidence is of vital importance in making a viable case against a criminal suspect. However, police officers must be careful that their crime scene investigations are lawful, according to the U.S. Supreme Court and their local jurisdictions. Crucial evidence may be thrown out of court and murder convictions overturned if police officers unlawfully enter and search a premise. Several U.S. Supreme Court decisions are discussed as examples of the fourth amendment rights of criminal suspects, including Mincey v. Arizona (1978), Thompson v. Louisiana (1984), and Flippo v. West Virginia (1999). The main lesson of these court cases is that there is no homicide exemption to the privacy expectations provided by the fourth amendment. Search warrants are necessary where the victim and the suspect share a proprietary right to the premise in question. Case studies are offered throughout the article to illustrate key points and legal rulings. Underscored throughout the article is the importance of properly securing crime scenes, obtaining search warrants where necessary, and carefully collecting and preserving all pieces of possible criminal evidence.
Main Term(s): Crime Scene Investigation; Legal privacy protection
Index Term(s): Legal doctrines; Police legal limitations; Search warrants; Warrantless search
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