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CRJS 420 Criminal Investigation: Forum Topics

A collection of resources for CRJS 420.

Forum Topics 1-6

Forum 1

Topic: What does criminal investigation mean to you and why is it important?

Based on your opinion and your references, answer the following questions in your thread:

·         What does criminal investigation mean to you?

·         Why are criminal investigations important?

·         What purpose do they serve?

·         Finally, apply at least 1 biblical passage to the concept or practice of criminal investigation.

·         Explain why you picked the passage and what it means to you.


Forum 2

Topic: Robbery

A convenience store is robbed by a white male approximately 21 years old who was wearing a Liberty University baseball cap and t-shirt. The victim cashier’s description is consistent with the store’s poor quality security camera image. The store’s security camera image does not add or detract anything from the victim’s statement.

Two days after the robbery, a local police officer observed a vehicle in the vicinity of the convenience store which displayed a Liberty University student parking sticker. The officer stopped the vehicle and asked the student to produce a driver’s license. The student’s physical description and clothing matched that of the robber. The student claimed that he was shooting “hoops” alone on Liberty University's campus at the time of the robbery. After identifying the driver as John Smith, the patrol officer released the driver. A photograph of John Smith was obtained and entered into a photo array that was shown to the victim cashier. The victim cashier identified Smith as the robber.

Solely based on the fact pattern of this fictional incident, please provide an answer and an explanation of your answer to the following question. Your answer must not incorporate any additional information to the fact pattern, but it may incorporate references to case law.

Do you believe law enforcement has probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant for Smith?

Forum 3

Topic: Ayers Case

Based solely on the information contained in the article "Devastating Mix-up" in the Reading & Study folder, answer the following questions in your thread:

·         Did the police have probable cause to arrest Ayers?

·         If they did have probable cause, should they have conducted the arrest?

·         If you believe they should have waited to arrest Ayers, then explain what other information you would have wanted to know prior to his arrest.

·         Your explanation to this question must include statements pertaining to the believed danger to the community Ayers would have posed if he was the robber.


Eyewitness identification


Forum 4

Topic: Investigations gone wrong

Research and discuss an investigation that went wrong and whether it was a poor investigation and/or prosecution resulting from an investigation. Examples are the Duke Lacrosse case and the Richard Jewell Olympic bombing case. What went wrong and why? What were the ramifications? What should have been done differently?

Forum 5

Topic: Picking an investigative field

If you could pick 1 type of investigative field or specialty to work, what would it be and why? Examples might be general investigations, narcotics, child abuse, sex crimes, white collar, financial, corruption, property crimes, violent crimes, terrorism, internal affairs, etc. How would you prepare for this job?

Tell us why this type of investigation is important (what is the problem?). Finally, do you think investigators should specialize? Why or why not?

Forum 6

Topic: Informants

Discuss whether or not law enforcement should utilize informants to establish probable cause for search warrants. If so, then what weight should be given to their information?

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Robert Weaver
Jerry Falwell Library 2nd Floor
Subjects: Government, Politics