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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76760 Find in a Library
Title: Reporting the Suspect's Mental State - Training Key no 303
Corporate Author: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
Bureau of Operations and Research
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
Arlington, VA 22201
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This training key is designed to instruct the police officer in making accurate reports regarding a suspect's physical and mental condition at the time of arrest, especially in those cases in which a defense of diminished mental capacity is likely.
Abstract: The observations of the police officers and witnesses, who actually see the suspect's conduct and condition at the time of the offense, often provide the greatest insight into the defendant's mental state. The officer should be alerted to conditions which could indicate a defense of diminished capacity (i.e., bizarre conduct, extraordinary violence, the presence of drugs or alcohol, abnormal emotional response, or unexplainable actions). Specific suggestions are made to obtain a prearraignment psychiatric examination and samples of the suspect's body fluids and handwriting. These suggestions are accompanied by advice on how these may be regarded in court (i.e., whether evidence obtained by these means is considered testimonial or nontestimonial). Written detailed officer observations concerning certain odors, the suspect's reaction to light, and the suspect's manner of speech and coordination are all strongly advised. These all help to determine the presence of toxic substances and could indicate substance abuse. Both field sobriety tests and the gathering of background information which could indicate the presence of a prior history of aberrant conduct are also suggested. A discussion guide, a three-question quiz, and one suggested reference for further reading are provided.
Index Term(s): Criminal intent; Police report writing training; Police reports; Rules of evidence
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