CRIMINAL J LAW 401 – A prosecuting agency, the law enforcement
1. These reports may be sent to a prosecuting agency, the
law enforcement agency, special investigators, or governmental oversight
boards. If you are an investigator in a small office, you may be able to get by
with informal briefings given person-to-person or during meetings; however, if
you work in a large metropolitan office with many cases, you will need to
present your reports in written form.
For this assignment, you will be given a case study to
review. You will write an internal final case briefing to be attached to the
case report and the autopsy report. This briefing will go to the chief medical
examiner (ME). Include the following:
• All case
notes and pertinent information regarding the case
information collected from family members, witnesses, and/or other agencies
regarding the death
testing results, evidence results, and information leading to the
identification of the deceased and the identification of any evidentiary items;
and the final results of any testing performed or used by the assistant ME to
determine cause and manner of death (You may hypothesize the results of the
appropriate tests for the report)
and describe the investigative procedures which may have been or were used
during the investigation (based on information discussed and learned in class)
In writing this report, be mindful of your audience. What
information will the chief ME need in order to sign off on the case? How should
you present this information? Do any aspects of the case pose concerns or cause
uncertainty? Be mindful of ethical disclosure, legal implications, and level of
discretion when writing your report.
The report should be organized in a logical manner and
written with professional language with the following requirements:
• Between 4
and 6 pages in length
letter or Memorandum format.
spaced, 1” margins
audience is the boss of the organization, most probably the Chief Medical
Examiner: make sure you are writing this report with that audience in mind.
Victim has been
identified as Sharon Jane Miller, DOB 10/07/1987. Per police report, victim discovered August
17, 2014 by her sister, Valerie Edith Anderson, DOB 08/22/1985. The 911 call was recorded at 11:38am
(1138). Victim was discovered in her
apartment, located at 16B East Locust Street, Virtual, MD. Per Anderson, the sisters were going out to
lunch and Anderson had gone to Miller’s apartment to pick up Miller for lunch. This was confirmed by police via an
examination of the cell phones of each sister (Anderson gave consent) and a
review of the text messages on each cell phone.
Per Anderson, Miller had recently broken up with her boyfriend of four
(4) years. The family was happy the
relationship was done, as boyfriend was abusive. Per police, boyfriend is Todd Nathan Hughes,
DOB 02/14/1980. Per police, Hughes has
an extensive criminal record, including multiple arrests for domestic violence
and drug abuse. Miller also has a
criminal record, for domestic violence and drug abuse, which start about same
time she started dating Hughes.
Per police, Miller has an ex-parte against Hughes, which
Hughes had been arrested for violating.
Hughes was released from jail the day before Miller was discovered dead
(08/16/14). Police interviewed Hughes,
who stated that he had learned his lesson and did not go anywhere near Miller
after being released from jail. Hughes’s
mother backed up his story. However,
according to police, Hughes’s mother looked scared and Hughes had bruises and
lacerations on his hands, which Hughes stated he got in jail. The Virtual Jail did not have a record of
Hughes being involved in any fights while at the jail. Hughes’s alibi for the time after he was
released from jail is his mother.
Miller’s mother (Dorothy Edith Miller, DOB 04/30/1962),
interviewed at home, stated that the family and that Miller did not know that
Hughes had been released from jail. They
are sure he had something to do with her death.
Anderson also feels that Hughes had something to do with Miller’s death,
as he threatened to kill her and get away with it when he was arrested the last
time for violating the ex-parte.
Miller’s father (Jeffrey Mark Miller, DOB 06/01/1960), interviewed at
work, also felt that Hughes was responsible.
Victim was wearing a floral print summer type
“sun” dress when discovered.
No injuries or discernible cause of death was visible on victim. After being turned over, blood was discovered
on the back of victim’s dress. Victim
was not wearing any underwear and blood was discovered to emanate from vaginal
area of victim. However, the amount of
blood lost is not enough to cause death.
In addition to the injuries surrounding the vaginal area discovered at
the scene (lacerations and contusions) there were contusions on the facial and
breast area of the victim. Palpitation
of those areas did not produce any bone movement that would indicate breaking
of the bones or any injury that lead to death.
One witness: resident of 16A East Locust Street, Edith
Margaret Williams, DOB 09/16/1934. Said
she heard loud voices from 16B at about midnight, but since this had been a
common occurrence, she didn’t think anything of it. She took out her hearing aid and went to
sleep. Williams was not sure if the
voices she heard were of Hughes, but she was sure Miller was the female
voice. She didn’t see anyone the night
of June 16 and did not see Miller at all on June 17. Without her hearing aid, Williams is
Police had arrived at apartment at 11:45am. Detectives arrived at 11:55am. CSI’s arrived at 12:01pm. Forensic Investigator (FI) from ME’s Office
arrived at 12:21pm. Victim transported
to Virtual Hospital by the Foot Livery Company on August 17 at 1:34pm. Autopsy ordered by FI. Victim transported to ME’s Office by Office
personal at 5:11pm June 17. Autopsy
performed on June 18 by Dr. W. Young. FI
performed time of death analysis at scene.
Livor mortis was along back (victim discovered on back) and was
fixed. Rigor mortis was fully involved
in all muscles. Liver temperature was
81.3°F. Based on information provided by
FI, Dr. Young determined TOD to be 11:30pm June 16 to 2:30am June 17.
Formal identification provided during autopsy using police
file fingerprints. Victim positively
ID’ed as Miller. During autopsy, Dr.
Young discovered evidence of forceful sexual encounter. There were lacerations and contusions both of
the thigh and outer vaginal area of victim as well as inside the vaginal cavity
of victim. Ejaculate material was also
discovered in the vaginal cavity of victim.
Ejaculate was collected by Dr. Young and signed over to police
detectives who attended autopsy.
Detectives also collected dress victim was wearing. Victim was not wearing any additional
clothing or jewelry when discovered. Dr.
Young also collected a known blood specimen from victim, which was signed over
During autopsy, Dr. Young discovered no visible reason for
death. Although there were lacerations
and contusions to the face and chest area of victim, none were deep or serious
enough to cause death. None of the
lacerations were deep: all were superficial.
There was no breakage of bone under any of the lacerations or
contusions. All organs were
examined. Excepting the damage to the
vaginal cavity, all organs were the correct size and shape for a 23/24 year-old
female. There were no remarkable
findings during the autopsy. Samples
were removed from the body for toxicology, including blood from the heart,
urine and vitreous humor. Also, multiple
slices were taken from the heart, lungs and brain for further microscopic
studies. Dr. Young has filed this case
as undetermined pending the results of the microscopic studies and the
The body was released to Smith Family Funeral Home on June
19, 2014 for burial.
CRIMINAL J LAW 401 – A prosecuting agency, the law enforcement