Criminal Justice Note Taking
RESEARCH PAPER: CASE REPORT ASSIGNMENT INSTRUCTIONS
For this Research Paper: Case Report Assignment, you will prepare a research paper. To date in the course, you have learned about the role of notetaking and the language required to complete a case/offense report. For this Research Paper: Case Report Assignment, you should discuss the elements of notetaking and its role in completing a thorough offense/case report. Additionally, the Research Paper: Case Report Assignment should discuss the major components of a case report in detail, to include the face sheet/cover sheet, Introduction, Reporting Person/Victim Statements, Witness Statements, Suspect Statements and Facts of the case and how these elements are critical to both, the completion of the report as well as any future investigations.
The Research Paper: Case Report Assignment must include the following elements:
• Title Page;
• Body (including an Introduction, Body Paragraphs/Argument Section, and Conclusion); and
• Reference Page
All components of the Research Paper: Case Report Assignment must be written using current APA formatting and must specifically focus upon and discuss the topics listed above.
The title page must use proper formatting as set by the APA style guide. The Introduction must be between 150–250 words and provide a clear summary of the paper.
The body of the Research Paper: Case Report Assignment must be comprised of 3–5 pages of content. The Title Page and Reference Page are not included in the page count. The introduction must include background information on the topics discussed, a well-written thesis statement, and a preview of points. The body must thoroughly discuss the elements listed, to include the role of notetaking, the purpose for effective, in-depth notetaking in the documentation of case/offense reports. Additionally, the Research Paper: Case Report Assignment should discuss with some depth, the major components of a Case Report in detail.
The Reference Page must include at least 3 scholarly/industry sources published within the last five years. The sources must be cited both in the body of the paper as well as in the Reference Page. Biblical references do not count toward the citation requirement.
Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the Turnitin plagiarism tool.
Numerous work activities in the criminal justice system will involve writing. The professionals must have the necessary writing skills for recording the cases concisely and accurately with adequate details. Law enforcement officials understood that note-taking is fundamental in undertaking their duties since it will be helpful during the court process. An officer with practical note-taking skills will be able to provide relevant and all case details within the respective reports such that the report or investigation could be deemed valid. This discussion intends to delve into the elements of note-taking and the role they each play in completing a thorough offense or case report.
The Elements of Note Taking In Criminal Justice
The notes required need to have an accurate and complete account of the investigators’ observations and activities. The accuracy and comprehensiveness of these notes will be determined by how the notes can answer fundamental questions specifically related to the who, when, why, what, where, and the how. The questions of why relate to the victims, the accused, the witnesses, the investigators, the scene preservers, those who obtained the evidence, who took custody of the evidence, who was at the scene, and any other person that played a role in the investigation (Sacramento State Police Department,2014). The questions will answer on what offense has been reported: the source of information, the offense committed, what was seen, what statements were made by the victims, accused, and witnesses, the obtained evidence, and what action was taken. The when element answers on the time in which the offense was committed and reported when the officer arrived at the scene when the officer contacted the victim and took a statement when each evidence item was obtained when the accused were informed of their rights to counsel and cautions, when the assisting officers arrived at the scene and when the officer made their notes.
The notes will answer where an offense was committed and report where the victims, accused, and witnesses were, where these three parties reside, where the evidence was obtained, where the evidence was stored, where the officers interviewed the three parties, and where the three made their statements (Sacramento State Police Department, 2014). The notes should answer how an offense was committed, how the offense was discovered when the office was reported, how the accused committed the offense, how the accused responded to the police rights to counsel and cautions, and how the victim was taken to hospital. The questions will answer why the offense was committed, why it was reported, why there was a time-lapse between the committing and reporting of the offense, why the accused committed the offense, and why the victim moved from the scene.
Notes that can give comprehensive answers to these questions will ensure that they could be used for reference throughout the investigation process, including in the court, as testimonies for the witnesses and suspects and will be considered a substantial account of the crime itself. The note-taking process is also required to include photographs. When it comes to taking photographs, different approaches could be incorporated. Nonetheless, the first rule is ensuring that nothing is touched until the photographs have been taken. Photographs are an essential and valuable tool for crime scene analysis and hence will need to provide an uncontaminated view of the crime scene (Universal class, 2022). Both close-up shots and overview shots need to be taken with the number of each, relying on the situation, location, and the circumstances of the crime.
Notes are expected to reflect the 4 Cs, specifically being clear, complete, concise, and consistent (McCartney & Patterson, 2021). The precise element means that there cannot be an apparent attempt by the investigator to make notes that are only eligible to them, thereby making it challenging for the Defense Counsel to read, for the officers that use symbols, they need to be ready to clarify join their meanings which need to make sense and be consistent throughout the notes. The complete element means that the notes need to have an introduction, the body, and a conclusion (McCartney & Patterson, 2021). The notes should also provide all pertinent information on the people. The concise element means that the notes should be considered the memory aids that will help in refreshing the officer’s mind. The notes should also be consistent, which means they need to be recorded with a similar style and format to demonstrate the patterns. These four elements will guide the officer to understand what they will include in their notes, considering that they are permanent records that could be referenced later.
The Major Components of a Case Report
Case reports will typically comprise several significant components, including the face sheet/cover sheet, Introduction, Reporting Person/Victim Statements, Witness Statements, Suspect Statements, and Facts of the case. According to Merson (2016), the face sheet is usually a pre-printed sheet that needs to be completed by the officer to fill out the information on the offense, the demographics, and critical information relating to the incident. The information is valuable to numerous fields which go beyond the investigation. The information could be translated into data for crime analysis, police management, researchers, and the criminal justice systems as they look into the national trends in crime (Sage Publications, 2021).
The introduction will primarily entail explaining the officers’ initial response to the incident and articulating what will be included in the report’s body. The introduction would include the dates, time, location, the nature of the call or incident, the reasons for being at the scene, and the additional officers if they were present. From this introduction, the readers or viewers will obtain a clearer image of the case’s overview while demonstrating what they should expect in the following sections.
The third component comprises the reporting person and the victim statements. These are primarily summary statements of these involved parties: the person who reported the crime or the victim. These statements need to be taken keenly, with direct quotes being used whenever necessary. They will include the details of the events from these parties’ perspectives. The officers or investigators that are taking these statements need to be keen and critical if they are to learn about the particular facts of the case since the existence of a particular crime element may only be illustrated from the statements provided by the victims or the individuals reporting the cases (Sacramento State Police Department, 2014). These statements are taken in chronological order and will typically follow a similar order.
The witness statements are also a significant part of a case report as theft provides the information given by the witnesses on the case. The officers need to understand how the memory of the witnesses in the events will affect the final statement presented and how the case ends up performing. The free recall procedures, either oral or written, are known for producing the most accurate performance levels by the witnesses. It is advisable to mitigate the use of specific questions since they can be more leading or suggestive. Therefore, police reports need to have witness statements demonstrating information that the witness freely recalled. The suspect’s statements are also part of the case report, which provides an account of the facts of the case based on the perspective of the accused. It is important to note that suspects have the right not to be compelled to testify against themselves and the right to confess guilt (United States Institute of Peace, n.d.). Therefore, the suspect statements included in the report show that the suspect voluntarily made them. While the freedom from self-incrimination is broader in scope, some suspects could choose to provide their statements on the case which will be included in the report.
The final fundamental part of the police report encompasses the facts of the case. The information contained in the police report can be a fact or an opinion. For instance, the events’ date, time, and location are considered facts. Information such as the fault determinations like the suspect being accused of a crime is the opinions of the police officer. However, the report is required to provide all the case facts and opinions that are obtained during the investigation process. This will be shared with the court during the moistening of the case.
All these components within the reports are typically arranged chronologically so that the reader or reviewer can successfully read through the case. All the categories must be completed entirely as the report will act as one primary source of information for the case. The information provided in the case report will also be used by other criminal justice stakeholders, such as the researchers who could use the information to determine whether the case followed the due process the crime trends in the society while the other officers will look through the report to determine how to compile similar case report (Guss et al., 2020)s.
The criminal justice system professionals face immense pressure to carry out their respective activities. During investigations, law enforcement officials are forced to relive some of these incidents to find every relevant fact or information to a case. It is possible for these individuals to have to deal with extensive stress. The impact of this stress is that they could easily choose to fabricate information in some cases, such as using leading questions when making statements. The main aim is to see that they have solved their cases and could move on to them. However, this is biblically unethical since this could lead to the false prosecution of the wrong persons.
In law enforcement, living the Christian faith and having a Christian worldview means upholding ethics not only because it is legally and professionally prudent but because of the police officer’s desire to please God and abide by His word (University of Cumberlands, 2020). The biblical verse, James 1: 12-25, asserts, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him…But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” This verse acknowledges that individuals will always be tempted to act in a manner that satisfies their desires. However, the man must remain steadfast such that even after the trial, they will pass the respective tests. Ultimately, the criminal justice officials’ notes and subsequent care reports must remain as accurate and complete as possible.
Güss, C. D., Tuason, M., & Devine, A. (2020). Problems With Police Reports as Data Sources: A Researchers’ Perspective. Frontiers in Psychology, 2708.
McCartney, S., & Patterson, C. (2021). Preparing an Operational Report from Written Notes. Communications in Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice System: Key principles.
Merson, K.M. M. (2016). Report Writing for Law Enforcement and Corrections Professionals. [Liberty University Online Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://libertyonline.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780133913347/
Sacramento State Police Department. (2014). Report Writing Manual. Retrieved from https://www.csus.edu/campus-safety/police-department/_internal/_documents/rwm.pdf
Sage Publications (2021). Chapter 3: Police Report QWritting. Retrieved from https://us.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-assets/109525_book_item_109525.pdf
United States Institute of Peace. (n.d.). “Chapter 4: the Rights of the Suspects and the Accused.”
Universal Class. (2022). CSI: Scene documentation. Retrieved from https://www.universalclass.com/articles/law/csi-scene-documentation.htm
University of Cumberlands. (2020). Keeping the Christian faith in a criminal justice career. Retrieved from https://www.ucumberlands.edu/blog/keeping-christian-faith-criminal-justice-career#
Yuille, J. C., & Cutshall, J. (1989). Analysis of the statements of victims, witnesses and suspects. In Credibility assessment (pp. 175-191). Springer, Dordrecht.