CJ311 Criminal Investigation

for U1T 2006

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


CJ 311 Criminal Investigation


U1T 2006 DL


Scheffner, Douglas W.


Senior Adjunct Facutly



Daytime Phone


Other Phone





Semester Dates

06-05-06 through 07-31-06

Class Days


Class Time



CJ100, CJ105, CJ200

Credit Hours


Criminal Investigation, 7th Edition

Author: Wayne W. Bennett and Kären M. Hess
ISBN: 0-534-61530-9

Textbooks can be purchased though the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased though the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
As indicated in each week's assignment.

Course Description:
This intermediate course includes a discussion of the nature and purpose of criminal investigation, historical background, tools employed skills  development, and techniques useful in the reconstruction of criminal  activity. Prerequisites: CJ100 and  CJ105 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
Your instructor's educational philosophy is based upon virtual lectures, examinations, information from web sites provided, writings from outside sources and dialogue with myself and fellow students.  Assignments are intended to encourage a thoughtful exploration of ideas and application of information provided during the course.  Contradictory thoughts are encouraged as part of the learning process.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Differentiate types of investigative techniques used in courts.
  2. Examine specific methods for investigation of major crimes.

Core Assessment:

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:
Each week, students are required to engage in discussion among themselves by answering and commenting upon questions posed for that week.  Each week's discussion is worth 20 points, with 1-10 provided for content and 1-10 points provided for timliness of submitting the discussion answers.  

Weeks 2-8 require a paper which provides the students opportunities to apply material learned from reading, vitual lecture and discussions.  Each paper carries a maximum of 100 points.

During the eighth week, a proctored final exam will be taken by the student which will combine multiple choice with short answer questions.

The grading scale is as follows: A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-79; D = 60-69; F = 0-59. The final exam will count 20% of your total grade, with each paper and discussion/participation worth 10%.  

Each student is responsible for:
Completing weekly Reading assignments.
Completing Weekly Discussion Questions.
Completing seven writing assignments, referred to as Papers.
Completing a proctored Final Examination

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Work should be submitted to the instructor by the last day of each assigned week.  Students experiencing a problem should contact the instructor to advise the reason work may be submitted late.  Unless authorized, late work will be subject to a penalty of 10 points reduction for each week late.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Policy #1:  Submission of Work:

A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday 12:01 am MST and Sunday at 11:59 PM MST. The first week begins the first day of the term/semester. Assignments scheduled for completion during a class week should be completed and successfully submitted by the posted due date.
Create a back up file of every piece of work you submit for grading. This will ensure that a computer glitch or a glitch in cyberspace won't erase your efforts.
When files are sent attached to an email, the files should be in either Microsoft Word, RTF, ASCII, txt, or PDF file formats.
Policy #2: Ground Rules for Online Communication & Participation

General email: Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. When sending email other than assignments, you must identify yourself fully by name and class in all email sent to your instructor and/or other members of our class.
Online threaded discussions: are public messages and all writings in this area will be viewable by the entire class or assigned group members.
Online Instructor Response Policy:  I will check my email frequently and will respond to course-related questions within 24-48 hours.
Observation of "Netiquette": All your Online communications need to be composed with fairness, honesty and tact.  Spelling and grammar are very important in an Online course.  What you put into an Online course reflects on your level of professionalism.  Here are a couple of Online references that discuss writing Online http://goto.intwg.com/ and netiquette http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html.
Please check the Announcements area before you ask general course "housekeeping" questions (i.e. how do I submit assignment 3?).  If you don't see your question there, then please contact me.  
Policy #3: What to do if you experience technical problems or have questions about the Online classroom.  

If you experience computer difficulties (need help downloading a browser or plug-in, you need help logging into the course, or if you experience any errors or problems while in your Online course, click on the  button in your Online Classroom, then click on the helpdesk menu item, and then fill out the form or call the helpdesk for assistance.  
If the issue is preventing you from submitting or completing any coursework, contact me immediately.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
Week 1: The Requirements for Criminal Investigation

Text: Chapters 1 and 2
Class Activities: Introduction to online computer conference learning. Introduction & discussion of syllabus/assignment schedule and course overview.  Overview of investigations and the various aspects of the preliminary investigation, proper documentation of investigative scenes and actions.
On-line Conference Assignment: These chapters list the basics as well as the ideals.  This week we will discuss what of these resources are available to a medium-to-small police agency and how smaller agencies can meet these expectations.
Weekly Discussion Questions:
Is it more difficult to be an investigator or a uniformed patrol officer in today's world?  What characteristics make either more difficult than the other?
How would you prioritize the equipment needed for crime scene documentation on a limited agency budget?  What would you provide first, then second and so on.
What should be done if investigators at the same scene take notes and write subsequent reports which indicate different information altogether?

Week 2:  Searches and Physical Evidence

Text: Study Chapters 3 and 4
Applicable assigned web-site reading:  http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/special/9704a/index.htm
Class Activities: Learn and discuss the various types of searches as well as the legalities involved.  In addition, study the basic types of physical evidence these searches seek to seize.
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
Examine and discuss examples of good and bad handling of physical evidence, who had been responsible, their results in court and what could have been done differently.
After having examined the main points of the Dept. of Justice Inspector General's report of the allegations of improper evidence handling at the FBI lab, provide your own opinion.  Do you agree with the IG, or do you feel differently?  Provide some support for your opinion.

Week 3: Obtaining information and Arrests

Text: Chapters Chapters 5 and 6.
Class Activities: Learn the basic considerations of questioning people, compare and contrast the differences between interview and interrogation.  Study arrest procedures and legalities involved in various circumstances to include problems with court presentation.
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
Often a great deal of emphasis seems to be placed upon obtaining a confession.  It can be argued that, by itself, a confession is worthless because it is so easily attacked in court.  Of what value, then, is a confession?
What are the legal basis for arrest?  This may vary in different states, so be prepared to examine some differences.  What are the ramifications of improper arrests?
Offer your opinion regarding the gradual dilution of the court mandates of the 1960's such as Miranda.  Each year the courts seem to find more circumstances and cases in which these rules are set aside.  Is this a good or bad trend for investigators?

Week 4: Death Investigation, Assaults and Sexual Offenses

Text: Chapters Chapters 7, 8 and 9.
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
Are there any factors which make homicide investigation more or less difficult than investigation of other crimes?  Or is homicide investigation no different than investigation of any other crime?
What are the elements of crimes of assaults (what kind of assaults are there?)?  What evidence would be available and would you seek to prove these elements?
What are the elements of the various crimes of sexual assaults (again, what kinds of sexual assaults are there?)?  What evidence would be available and would you seek to find to prove these elements?
Read the Application scenario A on page 231 of your text and provide answers to the two questions.  In addition, provide a list of what physical evidence you would search for in this incident.

Week 5: Crimes Against Children, Robbery, Burglary

Text: Chapters 10, 11 and 12
Applicable assigned web-site reading:  http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cri15.htm; http://www.msbp.com/
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
What makes crimes against children so different if the elements are essentially the same as for adult victims?  How do these differences impact the work of the investigator?
What are the elements of the crime of robbery? After determining these, what evidence would you seek to support and prove these elements?
On page 341 of your text, read the Application and provide answers to the questions posed after this example, with particular emphasis on question 5.  Provide discussion to each others' responses.
Examine the unique aspects of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy.  Provide information of how you would investigate this type crime.

Week 6: Fraud and White-collar Crime, Motor Vehicle Theft and Arson/Bombings

Text: Chapters 13, 14 and 15
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
In an actual situation in your instructor's community, an inmate of the county jail engaged in fraud by enticing elderly people from all over the United States into "investing" money into a bogus company he claimed to own.  Under your state laws, what crime(s) have been committed, what evidence would be found and how should this be investigated?
Read Application situation A on page 384 (page 404 of the 6th edition) and provide answers to the two questions posed.  How serious would you view this screw-up?  What measures could be taken to prevent this in the future?
In what ways are arson and bombing investigations the same or different?  What additional measures, if any, are needed for bomb investigations?
Using the concept of White Collar Crime as found in the text, what do you consider the most dangerous form and why?  Provide supportive reasoning for your choice.

Week 7: Computer Crime, Organized Crime/Cults and Gangs

Text: Review Chapters 16, 17 and 18.  
Class Activities: Review for Final Exam under "Final Exam Review" button.
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
What do you consider the most significant challenges to investigating computer crimes?
Is it necessary that official corruption be present in a community for organized crime to be active?
What do you see as the future of computer crime?  What types do you believe will increase or decrease?  Provide supportive reasons for your statements.

Week 8: Terrorist Groups, Drugs and Court Preparation

Text: Chapters 19 and 20
Class Activities: All students take final exam this week.  
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
Do you feel that the Patriot Act is justified in our war on terrorism, or is it an unwarranted erosion of the Bill of Rights?
What would you see as the differences between a "gang" and a "cult?"
What would you see as the differences between terrorist groups and gangs or cults?
Work through Application B, the LET Challenge, starting on page 510 (page 517 in the 6th edition), providing answers to the questions posed.  E-mail your instructor your answers along with explanations of why you chose as you did.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-87

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "WH".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .



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Last Updated:6/13/2006 9:36:50 PM