Criminal Investigation-Ethical considerations

Criminal Investigation




The acquisition and enforcement of justice has a bearing on the maintenance of law and order in any contemporary human society. Needless to say, the contemporary human society has been experiencing numerous crimes, coming with varying magnitudes of gravity, as well as complexities. Two of the most common crimes in the contemporary human society include rape and homicide. The term homicide underlines the unlawful but unpremeditated voluntary killing of an individual. The conviction for such an offense would attract a sentence that is higher than that of manslaughter, but lower that the sentence for murder. Rape, on the other hand, underlines a situation where an individual forcibly penetrates another one in a sexual manner devoid of mutual consent (Roberson et al, 2007). Needless to say, the investigation and prosecution of these crimes necessitates the adherence to particular ethical and professional standards so as to ensure that justice is done without further damage to the victims.

Ethical considerations in the investigation of homicide and rape

Needless to say, the investigation of homicide and rape is extremely sensitive and would necessitate the adherence to ethical procedures right from the beginning. First, the investigator must show extreme sympathy and compassion to the friends and relatives of the deceased. Not only would they be upset by the death of the deceased but also may act as informants and witnesses for the case, in which case creating a rapport with them would be imperative (Bender, 2007). In the case of a rape investigation, the investigator must understand that the victim is traumatized. In essence, extreme sensitivity must be observed in asking the victim for any necessary detail to the investigation of the suspects and for their testimony, which may be used in court as evidence.

For both crimes, painstaking care must be taken in the collection, transmission and preservation of evidence, right from the crime scene. This would allow for the prevention of contamination or degradation of the evidence during evidence collection, as well as transfer of evidence for further analysis by other experts such as forensic pathologists, fingerprint technicians and DNA specialists (Bender, 2007).

On the same note, investigators in both cases would be required to maintain their journals in a cautious chronological manner and an orderly way. Pens should be used in making entries so as to eliminate the possibility of erasing the entries (Roberson et al, 2007). In case of errors, crossing the errors jut once would be preferable rather than trying to erase or white-out. This would eliminate any suspicion that any information was eliminated so as to untruthfully outfit the case (Roberson et al, 2007).

Reduction of ethical problems pertaining to rape and homicide

In the investigation of rape, it is imperative that the victim is not shown any distrust. Indeed, any testimonial evidence given should be seen as a step to the eventual conviction of the perpetrator (Roberson et al, 2007). In case the victim is a child, it is imperative that the investigators monitor the interplay between the child and the parents to ensure for any abnormal signs. These may include flinching in instances where the child and the parents have eye contact or when parents gesture in the direction of the child. In most cases, it is imperative that a child psychologist is called in to help with the investigations so as to reassure the child of her safety.

For both rape and homicides, it is imperative that the suspects are treated as innocent until their guilt is proven in a court of law. In this case, no undue coercion should be used to derive information from them (Bender, 2007). On the same note, they should be duly informed that any information or testimony that they give may be used against them in a court of law. In addition, they should be assured of their right to remain silent and to have an attorney even in instances where they cannot afford one.

Prosecution problems arising in case of unethical investigation

In case of unethical investigations in rape, the prosecutor may call for the dropping of the charges stating that the sexual contact was mutual rather than forced (Bender, 2007). In addition, the prosecutor may file for suppression of charges in pretrial motion in case he sees the charges as inaccurate. Homicide prosecutors may strike a plea bargain lessening the charges to manslaughter.

On the same note, the use of crime statistics and demographical data to incriminate an individual without any evidence to back up the investigation of the suspect may result in charges of fraud on the side of the investigator.

Ethical issues relating directly to the prosecutor in the case of rape and homicide

Prosecutors, like investigators are obligated to observe certain ethical procedures in the prosecution of rape and homicide crimes.

First, they must ensure that they do not presume the guilt of the defendant until it is proven. This means that their speech should not be excessively biased as to favor the defendant’s guilt rather it should be restricted to the evidence rather than bias of premeditated notions pertaining to the defendant (Bender, 2007). For both rape and homicide, the prosecutors have an ethical duty to study all evidence and determine its sufficiency and sustainability of the case in the court of law.

On the same note, the prosecutors must ensure that the evidence brought up in a court of law is relevant to the specific case. Further, the questioning of the defendant should be careful as to eliminate the possibility of double jeopardy or violation of the Fifth Amendment (Roberson et al, 2007). In this regard, it is imperative that defense attorney is given the opportunity to show the loopholes in the evidence produced.


Bender, M (2007). Criminal Investigation: A Method For Restructuring The Past. New York: LexisNexis Anderson Publishing

Roberson, C., Wallace, H & and Gilbert B. Stuckey, G.B. (2007). Procedures in the Justice System, Eighth Edition. New York: Prentice Hall.