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SOC 2760
Rob Shearer

Chapter 8- Intimate Partner Homicide November-14-10 1:04 PM - Prior to the mid-1970's, it was rare for the criminal justice system, and society in general, to take violence between spouses very seriously. → Before 1974, when a husband assaulted his wife, the assault was defined as a misdemeanour. → As a result, it is not surprising that criminologists failed to focus on intimate partner violence and homicide - In the 1980's, feminists and others in the battered women's movement began to bring the issue of domestic violence from behind closed doors into the publics eyes. Definitions - a term used to reflect the killing of a victim by an offender who is either currently or was formerly in a sexual relationship with the victim Uxoricide- (wife killing) fails to include former wives, those in de facto marital relationships and the killing of males by their wives Data on Intimate Partner Homicide - Despite the fact that men are more often the victims of homicide then women, men are less likely than women to be killed by their intimate partner - Nearly 1/3 of women and 5% of male homicide victims are killed by their intimate partner - Homicide committed by intimate partners may vary by the type of intimate relationship → The risk is higher with non married couples than married couples→ Intimate partner homicide rates tend to be higher with African American compared to other racial groups  Native American are lower than African Americans but still higher than white and Asian/Pacific - Offenders and victims tend to be, on average, higher than usual homicide offenders - Those with a bigger age difference between them have higher rates of victimization - Violence and abuse is often very common in the relationship before a homicide occurs U.S. Trends - Between 1976 and 2000 the number of men killed by their intimate partner has gone down 68% from 1,357 to 440 - Between 1976 and 1993 has remained fairly stable Comparisons Across the World - Intimate partner homicides are not uncommon in other countries → There is usually a higher percentage of intimate partner homicides in other countries than the United States  This is because there are higher percentages of other kinds of homicides → Australia- 22% → Canada- 1/5 murders is by an intimate partner Gender Differences in Intimate Partner Homicide 1 - Intimate partner homicides, including those in which women kill their male partners, are often linked to intimate partner abuse committed by males → Much of research about intimate partner homicide has focused on domestic violence and often on cases where men are offenders and females are victims - Research suggests that men and women kill their partners for different reasons → It is extremely rare for a woman to kill her partner as an end to a long cycle of violence that she has perpetrated against her partner → Men in contrast, quite often batter their partners for years before killing th→m Most perpetrators of intimate partner homicide kill their partners in situations where the men are trying to control their intimate partner → Men are also more likely to commit familicide or suicide than are women → Women who kill their partners, often, but clearly not always, kill as a method of self defense - It is rare that an intimate partner homicide is committed by more than one offender → Usually a partner and her lover or one lovers two partners → Women are more likely to do this and the second offender is usually an accomplice who has been brought in to help Explanations and Motivations - Categorize: divide incidents into experience and instrumental killings - Intimate partner homicides are often classified as expressive killings - An instrumental homicide is a killing in which the offender is attempting to gain something with the killing → Women and men involved in custody battles over their children have killed their partners to gain sole custody or to avoid paying child support or alimony - Intimate partner homicide may be motivate by sexual jealously, fear, good, anger, and rage. - The death of an intimate partner may evolve from a love triangle, a plot to obtain insurance money, or it could be a seemingly unavoidable end to a tragically violent relationship- It is important to realize that in an abusive relationship, not only is the abused partner at greater risk for homicide but so is the abuser. Instrumental Gain - The primary motive of most intimate partner homicides is to hurt or control the other person. - These killings often occur in the context of a domestic violence situation. There are intimate partner homicides, however, in which the goal is to gain money or property or perhaps even the custody of one's children → Often it is clear to police investigators that they are dealing with an intimate partner homicide Warning Signs for Intimate Partner Homicide - Prior history of domestic violence - Separation 3. Depression (his or hers) 4. His employment 5. Perpetrator threatens to hurt his or her partner 6. Victim believes the partner is capable of killing him or her 7. History of substance abuse or alcohol abuse 2 8. Stalking behaviour 9. Escalating violence 10. Incidents of violence involving choking 11. Perpetrator who has been arrested for violent crimes 12. Male partner who has been arrested for violent crimes 13. Male partner who is suicidal 14. Presence of a firearm in the home 15. Presence of the victim's children from another relationship Weapon Use: How Do Intimate Partners Kill One Another? - Knives are more common in intimate partner homicide → Knives or other sharp instruments stand out as the most common weapon used in intimate partners murder (33% of cases) but fire arms were a close second with 28% of the deaths involving guns, and 15% of victims were beaten to death, 13% were chocked to death - It is believed that men were more likely to be killed by knives than women because their female partners use weapons of opportunity, which are more likely to be knives for women than men → Wives are more likely than girlfriends to use a firearm The Potential of Public Policy to make a difference - Over the past 25 years or so, intimate partner homicide has decreased considerably - The availability of services for the victims of domestic violence, however, has not been a strongly linked to decreases in wife killing by husbands. → The public policy innovations put in place to protect battered women appear to have been more successful in saving the lives of abusive men than of the battered women → The smaller decrease in men killing their partners remain a curiosity - As with the earlier studies, their study explored possible explanations for the decrease in intimate partner homicide → They found that for a majority (65%) of the 48 cities studied, more alternatives to living with or depending on an abusive partner coincided with lower levels of intimate partner homicide → As Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) benefits declined, more unmarried men were killed by their girlfriends, and African American men, in particular, were more likely to be killed  There were increases in men killing their African American girl friends, but not white girlfriends when AFDC decreased → Unmarried intimates were also less likely to be killed when domestic violence arrest policies were more aggressive, but aggressive arrest policies did not appear to affect intimate partner homicide by spouse → Legal advocacy was connected with fewer killings of white wives by their partners Intimate Partner Homicide in Court - In the past, there were rules that permitted a husband to bear his wife as long as the instrument he used had a circumference that was smaller than the circumference of his thumb → The killing of a wife by her husband was not seen as a horrible 3 crime - A study in Canada found that individuals accused of killing their partners were significantly more likely to be convicted than those accused of killing non partners → This finding is likely connected to other facts → First; individuals who kill their partners are less likely to be charged with first degree murder than those who kill nonintimate partners → Second; those who are accused of killing partners are more likely to plead guilty than those who kill non intimate partners Battered Women's Syndrome in Court - Self-defense is an affirmative defense to murder → If defendants present convincing evidence that they killed another human being to protect their own life; the defendant will not be held responsible for t→e death The law if self-defense states that an individual may be reasonable force against another when the individual reasonably believes the other person is threatening her or him with imminent and unlawful harm. - With cases such as Francine Highes's killing of her sleeping husband, immortalized in the book The Burning Bed, criminologists and criminal justice professionals began to better understand the complications involved in a woman leaving her abusive partner - Battered women's syndrome in a psychological state akin to post-traumatic stress syndrome, which, in some cases, may explain why a woman kills her abusive husband → Battered women's syndrome is not a defense to murder → More than 30 states have allowed expert testimony on battered women's to be introduced in court cases → This testimony is sometimes introduced as mitigating circumstances that may explain why a woman would see no other option but to kill her partner → As a result, a jury may consider a woman's abuse in determining if he is guilty of when she kills an abusive partner 4 Chapter 14- Solving Homicides November-21-10 8:52 PM - Although some cases shown on television and in the movies are based on real cases and details are sometimes accurate → Solving homicides is not like a television show → In reality, homicide investigations are much more mundane, the work is a lot less flashy, and cases take more of the investigator's time than shown on television → For investigators in bigger cities it would be a luxury to work on one case at a time, and for those in smaller jurisdictions, a case a week would be extraordinary Homicide Clearance - A crime is considered "cleared" by the police when it is solved → Crimes including murder are usually deemed cleared when the police make an arrest, however crimes can be cleared in may other ways → When a crime is solved by means other than arrest it means it was "cleared exceptionally" → First: the identity of at least one offender has to be certain → Second: sufficient probable cause must exist that would justify prosecution for the crime → Third: the location of the offender must be known → Fourth: there must be something that prevents law enforcement from making an arrest When a murderer kills himself or is killed by the police, the murder is cleared exceptionally - Highest rates of homicide clearance are for cases involving African Americans - Lowest rates are for Latinos - When victims are older than 65, the homicide is less likely to be solved, and when the homicide is part of another felony crime, clearance is less likely. → It is not surprising that when the offender is a family member the homicide is more likely to be solved → Homicides with more physical evidence are more likely to be cleared, and when detectives have lower caseloads; they have higher clearance percentages - In the United States the percentage cleared decreased from 79% in 1976 to 63% in 2004 -Australia, which has far fewer homicides than the United States, maintains a stable clearance rate of approx. 88% - Canada also has fewer homicides than the United States, it has also been experiencing a decrease in solved homicide cases - Decrease in homicide clearance reflects changes in the type of homicide committed Homicide Investigation - "Dunkers" are amazingly easy to solve because the offender kills himself for the offender is obvious for another reason - The likelihood a homicide will be solved decreases with time → Early in an investigation, witness memories are most accurate and witnesses are easier to locate 5 → A mistake made by detectives early in an investigation can lead to nightmares for prosecutors who prosecute a suspect - Homicide investigation has evolved with technological advances in the analysis of psychical evidence Initial Response by Responding Officer - Vital information and lives may be lost if the responding officer fails to arrive quickly and perform their duties well → They must first determine if the victim is alive or dead and proceed appr→priate Second they need to arrest an offender if one is present and notify appropriate chains of command to apprehend an offender if an immediate arrest is not made → Finally the arriving officers must take the steps necessary to preserve the crime scene, the should be particularly aware of any vehicles or persons leaving the scene and should take care to note descriptive information of such vehicles and persons and the direction they head Five steps that an officer should take when arriving at a crime scene. ADAPT A- Arrest the offender when possible D- Detain and identify witnesses and suspects A- Asses the crime scene P- Protect the crime scene T- Take notes on everything - Noting any possible secondary crime scenes that will need to be secured for evidence collection → They should also be aware of anyone in the vicinity that may be linked to the crime -After initially assessing the scene for safety and security, it is the responding officer's duty to follow departmental guidelines in calling for back-up → Upon the arrival of any medical personnel, the integrity of the crime scene must be maintained → Officers need to indicate potential evidence to medical personnel and instruct them not to destroy any evidence → If there are any victims alive but are suffering from any life threatening injury, the officer should be certain to obtain any "dying declarations" if appropriate  Take notes on the names and agencies of any medical personnel and notes the location where they will transport the victim  Document the steps taken at each stage  All investigative and medical personnel at the scene should log in  Ride and report any statement made by injured persons, if an officer is not available medical personnel should be asked to do this. - The boundaries of the scene should be preserved → Secure any areas relevant to the crime scene, including where the crime occurred, where the victim was discovered as well as possible entry and exit paths of suspects  Secure a wider area than necessary → Officers also must be careful to consider any possible contaminators and take reasonable precautions to prevent them from destroying the scene's integrit Rain, snow, wind, sprinklers, helicopters and animals 6 → Officers must follow search and seizure laws and obtain consent and search warrants as necessary - Control of the scene must be turned over to the homicide investigator → The homicide investigator needs to be informed of the scene boundaries, potential witnesses, and any surviving victims, items possibly related to the homicide, statements heard and any other relevant information → The responding officer needs to document all possibly important information as soon as possible about the crime scene, witnesses, victims and all actions performed by the responding officer and anyone on the scene including medical personnel and other officers Preliminary Scene Assessment by Homicide Investigator - Be sure proper procedures are being used, safety practices are adequate - Pathways and scene boundaries should be assessed and changed if necessary and all personnel should be made aware of any changes → Prioritize the investigative steps to be undertaken and to ensure the integrity and security of the scene → Establish communication between each scene → It is also of the utmost importance that homicide investigators ensure that search warrants are obtained so any evidence collected will be available to the prosecutors  Valuable evidence can be excluded if search and seizure rules are not-used Police investigators may request that a judge magistrate issue a search warrant that will allow the officers to conduct a search legally → Law enforcement officers must show probable cause (reasonable belief) that specific illegal activities will or have been committed and detailed information about where the police will search, what they will be searching for and what they hope to seize Specifying the details → Record the correct address and be broad enough in their descriptions to cover what they may find but specific enough to convince a judge they are looking more evidence that is likely to exist → In certain situations police officers can conduct searches without a warrant  An officer may search a suspect and the immediate area within the control of the suspect → Police may also conduct consensual searches (voluntarily)  A homicide crime scene itself did not itself constitute an emergency situation that would allow officers to search without a search warrant - Witness memories may be affected by their interactions with others, so it is vital to separate them from each other and from other people → It is important to attain and record valid witness identification → The lead investigator must also assign officers to canvas the surrounding areas to ascertain who else may be a witness  They should learn to document what they learn → The lead homicide investigator must also be sure the scene is fully documented → The scene should also be documented through photography, rough sketches and notes→ It is the lead homicide detective's responsibility to oversee the collection of evidence and ensure that the proper chain of custody is followed and documented 7  If a proper chain of custody is not employed an important piece of evidence can be excluded from trial 1. Each piece of evidence should be properly labeled so its original location and position is known. The investigator should note this information in his or her notebook 2. The label should also note who discovered the item 3. Proper case numbers, date and time of collection should also be indicated on the evidence 4. Each piece of evidence should be packaged in a separate, properly sized, clean container that will protect the item and prevent cross-contamination 5. The evidence packing should be sealed to protect the evidence and prevent unauthorized individuals from handling it 6. Items of evidence should be marked to indicate where they should be delivered for analysis or whether it should be sent to evidence lockup 7. Careful records detailing chain of custody (where the evidence is moved to and from and by whom) must be maintained Evidence - Anything and everything has the potential to be evidence → Physical evidence may include concrete objects no matter how large or small The Body - Most often a homicide investigation begins with the body → The body often provides important evidence for further investigation and ultimately for the prosecution of a case. - When homicide investigators first come upon a dead body, the attempt to determine the cause of death and the manner of death. Cause of death may have two components : proximate cause and immediate cause - Manner of death is usually classified as one of the following: natural, suicidal, accidental, undetermined or homicide - The victims body is often important for determining the time of death, which can be important for narrowing in on particular suspects → It is often difficult to determine the time of death because so many factors may affect the variables investigators consider → Medical examiners usually have several methods to determine a time range within which the death was likely to have occurred Blood Spatter Evidence - Blood spatter evidence is where physics and criminal investigation meets → As blood drops splatter or drop splatter or drop from the human body, they are affected by gravity and velocity → The shape of the blood droplet can tell us the direction from which the blood traveled A round drop tells us it dropped directly down to the rest on the surface where it is discovered  Any other shape indicates the blood has not simply dropped  The tail points to the direction from which the blood came → Blood spatter may also tell us whether an offender used the right or left hand to beat or bludgeon a victim 8  If the blood track is to the victim's right and going away from the victim, the offender used the right hand to beat the victim  Several lines of blood indicates more than one strike and a wider blood track tells the investigator that a knife was an unlikely weapon because knives leave thinner tracks whereas objects like pipes leave wider tracks Fingerprints - Fingerprints are unique to each individual → Fingerprint evidence can be quite valuable. If a suspect denies being at the crime scene, finding his or her prints there can be damning - Investigators seek out three types of fingerprints at a crime scene 1. Latent prints: we have natural oil and perspiration on out skin, and when we touch surfaces, the natural substance on our fingers transfer to the surface 2. Patent prints: those that are left when an individual touches a foreign substance like blood or ink and then transfers the finger imprint in that substance to another object 3. Molded prints: those prints that individuals leave in a soft substance that they touch, such as paint - Although fingerprints have been used since the late 1800's in homicide cases, recent innovation have made it possible to obtain fingerprint evidence from surfaces such as human skin that do not usually show finger prints → Fingerprints can help identify suspects, but the police must already have fingerprints to comepare with those found at the scene of a crime - Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS) → Compares prints found at scene with millions of prints stored digitally DNA - Deoxyribonucleic acid analysis (DNA analysis) → Has become an important for solving homicides, with the exception of identical twins, each person's DNA is unique → A drop of blood, a piece of broken fingernail, hair and saliva and other bodily fluids contains DNA → Although DNA analysis is not as one might believe after watching an episode of CSI it is a valuable tool for solving homicides and prosecuting homicide offe→der Recovering DNA at a crime scene does not guarantee that a suspect will be apprehended  Law enforcement has a suspect in mind and a comparison of DNA found at the scene to the suspect's DNA can tie up the case, or in some cases DNA may rule out a suspect → When the police do not have a suspect in mind, DNA can still be helpful but only with the creation of DNA banks where DNA samples of convicted criminals are stored for comparisons in a crime Ballistics - Firearms leave unique markings on bullets → Today, ballistics experts can help identify potential suspects by comparing bullet casings - Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) links information about firearms across the nation - Ballistics, however involves more than determining whether a bullet was fired from a particular firearm 9 → Ballistics is another area in murder investigations where physics is used  Interior Ballistics: involves the movement of the bullet within the firearm  Exterior Ballistics: the study of the bullet in flight → Ballistics can also include the study of the impact of bullets and help determine what firearms were used, where they were fired from and where the offender and victim were and what they were doing at the time of the shooting Other Evidence - Cloth and carpet fibers, tires and shoe prints and even the methods used by a killer to commit a murder or at access the victim may help an investigator solve a murder → VICAP, the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program is a national database that the FBI established to help investigators share information across jurisdictions in the case of a serial offender → It is the duty of the police to solve murders and arrest the offenders, but their job does not end with the arrest  The police offender or detective is not the only one involved in solving crimes these days → Others involved in solving crimes include crimes scene investigators, fingerprint analysts, crime lab technicians and sometimes forensic anthropologists, psychological profilers and even entomologists Do Race and Class of the Victim Matter in Homicide Clearance? - Victim's social class, race and sex did not appear to make a difference, homicides that occurred in African American communities were less likely to be solved - Puckett and Lundman argued that this had more to do with the lack of cooperation from citizens in African American communities than with homicide detectives treating homicides differentl-Cases with Latino victims were less likely than those with white victims to be cleared by arrest Interviewing Witnesses - The testimony of an individual who witnesses a murder has served as a very powerful direct evidence for a prosecutor's case → The murder detective needs to inquire about who, what, where, when, why and how when questioning witnesses - To help witnesses identify a suspect three main methods are used to create a picture of the suspect → First: an artist may listen to the descriptions provided by witnesses and ask them questions as they make a sketch of the suspect → Second: in some jurisdictions, kits such as Identi-kit are used to generate a composite of the suspect → Third: and most technological, a computer graphic Identi-kit-type soft-ware programs are now available Interrogating Suspects - Interrogations are necessarily different than interviews because t
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