Your field notes and case report should contain all essential case information. You are allowed to testify to information that is not contained within your case reports or field notes. However, doing so may allow your testimony to be challenged and can directly impact your credibility as a witness in the courtroom for the case.
For this journal assignment, review your 3-2 Criminal Investigations Journal: Field Notes and Report assignment and the murder scene field notes and report form. In your journal, answer the following questions as if you were responding to questions during testimony. You may not utilize any information that is not contained within your field notes or report to answer the questions. Your answers must be concise and cannot elaborate further beyond the information in your previous written notes and report. If your documentation does not contain the information you need to answer the question, state “I don’t know” or “I can’t remember.” Do not use “I think” or “I believe.” These are not acceptable ways of prefacing your testimony.
- Briefly describe the egress points and approach to the dwelling.
- Were there any impediments to egress points? What were they? List them.
- Have there been any recent attempts to enter through the rear of the home or the basement? Why or why not?
- Did you observe any evidence that illustrated an attempt to enter through the second-story windows? Is there any evidence illustrating assignment was not attempted? Why or why not?
- Could access from the home have been made from an adjacent building? Why or why not?
- Could someone have parked on the road adjacent to the side of the home for an extended period of time without being noticed? Why or why not?
You may not have been able to address each of these questions from your notes and report. You may return to the photos to review the crime scene. Consider whether the evidence is visible to you in the photos. How would your ability to accurately and cohesively record this information during the crime scene investigation for later review impact your ability to provide credible testimonial evidence?
For additional details, please refer to the Journal Rubric document.