Part A – Critical Essay (2,000 words) – 50% of overall marks In what ways can psychological knowledge assist investigators in the prevention of flawed evidence gathering and potential miscarriages of justice? Discuss with reference to the following:
- ii. False confessions
Part B – Reports (2 x 1,000 words) – 2 x 20% = 40% of overall marks You are required to undertake TWO reports from the following options;
- A defence solicitor representing a person convicted of a sexual offence has asked for a report on the validity and limitations of polygraph (lie detector) evidence.
- ii. A civil liberties group has commissioned a critical report on police use of ‘super recognisers’ to identify suspects.
- iii. A prosecutor has asked for a report on best police practice in the use of facial composite software to generate likenesses of suspects
- . iv. The Police Superintendents Association has asked for a briefing on the effectiveness of crime linkage as an analytical technique to aid crime investigation.
- v. The College of Policing has invited you to write a section for a detective officer training manual on the theory and practice of offender profiling.
- vi. Prepare a 1000 word comment piece for the website of a criminal justice reform group on the topic: ‘Trial by jury: time for change?’
Part C – Reflections (400 words) – 10% of overall marks
In the final part of the assignment, you are asked to reflect upon your own personal learning over the course of the module. A number of prompts are suggested below, though these are not intended to be exhaustive or prescriptive. 3
| P a g e • To what extent has the module challenged /confirmed your views about the nature of the investigative process and witness reliability?
• Reflecting on the practical activities you undertook, and the contributions of guest lecturers, which topics did you find most interesting and why?
• Following your engagement with this module, what do you now consider to be the most desirable qualities for an investigator working in a forensic context?
https://media.law.wisc.edu/m/zmgvm/kassin_article_american_psychologist.pdf ( false confession)
Part A – IMPORTANCE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE IN ADVOCACY
Part B – CHOOSE ANY TWO FROM THE LIST OF THE OPTIONS GIVEN
Part C-REFLECTION ON LEARNING
The forensic psychology department helps the crime investigators in the recognition of flawed evidences and collection of right evidences in accordance with the case. The psychological factors of the criminals are assessed by the criminal psychologists and gather the right confessions about the case. The forensic psychologists describe that how the psychological knowledge can help investigators by assisting and preventing the flawed evidence gathering of a criminal offense. They typically evaluate witnesses to judge their credibility, competency as well as the sanity. Polygraph evidence can be helpful to detect a person convicted for sexual offence. Besides, the police superintendents can use crime analytical technique to aid crime investigation in a right manner. Hence, the application of psychological knowledge helps to make an abstract for scientifically based research and analysis on a number of criminal offences. Self realization by the psychologists is critically important for understanding the criminals and reviewing the victims.
Description in what ways can psychological knowledge assists investigators in prevention of flawed evidence
Psychology advocates the science and practice for increasing federal support for psychological research and as well as develops opportunities to present a number of testimony. This part includes the discussion on the description of the psychological ways that can help investigators in preventing flawed evidence. Psychological knowledge about the criminal helps the investigators to develop the investigation in the positive direction. Thus the forensic psychology helps in this process. Meissner et al. (2012, p.39) opined that the psychological investigation of the convict could be done through the interrogation of the convict in several ways. The investigators can also take part in this type of interrogation. The criminal psychology helps in the development of knowledge about the mental health of a person in accordance with his crime. The criminal mentality of a person could also be able to giving several false confessions about the case to protect him or her from the conviction. It also helps in the development of basic knowledge about the motive of the crime and the development of the criminal mentality of the convict.
The motive of a crime could be of different motives for example, property, rivalry, sexual intentions and other aspects. According to Bonta and Andrews (2016, p.32) the complexity of criminal psychology needed to be thoroughly assessed by the investigators to prevent the flawed evidences of a case. The violence’s against the female bodies that are the rape cases or the sexual harassments are different in the motivational terms of the criminals. Every crime has different motives of the criminal to protect them. However, the polygraph or the lie detection system is the final solution for the psychological knowledge development of the criminal or the convict. Based on the views of Chifflet (2015, p.247), the evidences of the case could be false in accordance with the criminal psychology as they can change the evidences in various ways. However, the polygraph test would be flawed by the convict if the mental strength of the convict is very strong. In some cases the narcotic test could be used by the psychologists to develop hard evidence against the convict and change the false evidences which were manipulated by the convict during the polygraph test. The criminal psychology helps the investigators to develop a solid evidence mainly to avoid any of the false evidences presented by the convicts or the criminals.
Proper application of psychological concepts helps to understand the causes of a number of crimes occurring in our society. As mentioned by Beaver et al. (2017, p.710), various types of psychological knowledge are applied for helping the investigators in understanding the motive of the criminals while analysing their answers related to a particular offence done by them.
Cognitive psychology helps to understand the inner mental health of a person. Moreover, it helps to emphasize on people’s thinking ability, communication manner, learning ability related to a number of practical applications. As described by Boduszek et al. (2016, p.1025), the evolutionary psychology helps to look at the types of human behaviour. For example, the types of traits that are adapted by the person under certain circumstances can be helpful to realize a specific circumstance. Additionally, the forensic psychology helps investigators to determine the criminal performing a particular offence. Thereby, the application of laws to punish the criminal becomes easier.
Sexual harassment, rape, under age child abduction, property crimes and several other crimes show criminal mentalities to falsify the evidences. The convictions of a person always negative and that is the point of view determined by the criminal psychologists and pointed out for the case that helps the investigators to develop the right evidences against the convict. The understanding of the psychological aspects of a criminal would be helpful for the investigator to analyse the confession as the false confession or the right confession about the case. However, the psychological methods used by the investigators would be nullified by the convict if his or her psychology is strong enough then the use of lie detector comes in to derive the proper statement. According to Meissner et al. (2012, p.27) the participation of forensic psychology comes forward mainly to collect data about the motive of the criminal for the crime. If the motive is understood by the investigator then the positive development of the case would be easier and the false evidences would be cancelled with the help of the knowledge about the criminal psychology. The understanding of the mental state of the convict would also help the investigator to put proper judicial acts over the convict. The forensic psychology uses various systems along with the psychological aspect determination of the criminal.
False confession would be a factor where the criminal psychology comes forward for the detection of the confession as right or false. The polygraph tool is used for this detection process of the confession. The psychological aspect of the criminals is the point for the forensic psychologists to help in the investigation for the investigators. Thus it can be said that forensic psychology is the main factor to detect the false confession over all the confession gathered. The confession of the witnesses is the main data for the investigation of a case as these are the most valuable factors of the case. However, the false confession could be effectively diverting the investigation process to a wrong way. Thus the detection of false confessions is important for the forensic psychology.
In this respect, the investigators can easily understand the motive of a criminal by applying their sense of psychology. In order to prevent false confession a proper planning is needed for understanding the behaviour of the criminal by applying the sense of evolutionary psychology. Thereafter, the analysis on the documentation of the description of criminal offence in a strategic manner is needed which, in turn, helps to understand the background of eye-witness. In words of Boduszek et al. (2016, p.32), gathering of a number of effective evidences and investigative note can help the investigators to realise the ways of false confession from the part of the criminal. Cognitive sense of psychology focuses on understanding the inner mental health of criminals. A strong analysis capacity can help the investigators to detect the false motive of the guilty. In this respect, various potential miscarriages of justice can be prevented effectively.
The eye witness factor is also needed to be interrogated with the psychological aspects for the detection of the false confession and the motives of the eye witness for the confession. The false confession detection is the main application of the forensic psychology to develop the right factor for the case to investigate every point of the crime properly. It can be highlighted that the polygraph tool used for the development of the right confessions and it only used for the detection of the false confession. Thus it can be stated that it is a useful tool for the detection of legitimacy of the confessions given by the convict and all the witnesses. However, there are limitations for the tool as well as it works on the basis of the bodily effect of the psychological changes of a person. If a person can deliberately force his emotions to reflect positive responses then the tool could not detect any changes in the psychological state of the convict thus the convict can slip through the process by the his or her presence of mind. However, the tool is almost correct as most of the person cannot hide their guilt feeling in times of giving false confession. Thus the confessions should be detected and identified as the false confession by the investigators for the development of the case in the right way for the proper solving of the case. The polygraph tool is used in the cases like sex offend, property, rivalry and others to determine the false confession among all the confessions.
Psychological knowledge is an important part of an investigation as it is the determining point of the confessions are right or wrong according to the case. As opined by Carlson et al. (2017, p.85), the laws that can be misused by the false evidence gathering are namely laws for rape, sexual grooming of child, abduction of child under sixteen, violation of person suffering from mental disorder and so on. When an investigator is conscious enough to apply the psychological methods to determine the ways of false evidence gathering, it appears as helpful to prevent the false confession. As described by Chifflet (2015, p.240), the proper psychological knowledge can greatly help an individual to analyse the consequences related to the particular offence. Interviewing the criminals is regarded as an essential part of investigation to determine his actual motive to do the offence. The sense of forensic psychology comes forward to perform this particular task. Investigators who are greatly involved in understanding the mode of offence need to be conscious enough to prevent the gathering of false evidence. Hence, once the rate of false confession is minimized on the part of the criminals then it will be advantageous to realise which act can be applied to punish the guilty. False evidences and the false confessions of the convicts show their psychological power to sustain against the convictions. The false confession of the convicts or the eye witnesses can be detected by the investigators in maximum times as they are effectively process these criminal psychologies for effective investigation. Thus the extreme psychological point views are needed to be assessed by different tools of forensic psychology. Importance of the detection of false confession is a main factor for a case solving in the criminal psychology and the forensic psychology. The effective development of a case is needed to consider all these factors.
It can be stated that the forensic psychology is an effective tool to understand the motive of the criminal along with the mental health of the person. According to the understanding of the psychology of the convict the investigator could analyse the case and remove or prevent the false evidences. Thus it can be concluded that an investigator should apply their psychological knowledge in such a manner which can be helpful to reduce the gathering of false evidences. In this regard, profiling of criminal behaviours through analysis can be regarded as the best technique that helps in enforcing laws and predicting criminal behaviour.
Report 1: A defence solicitor representing a person convicted of a sexual offence has asked for a report on the validity and limitations of polygraph (lie detector) evidence
Most of the psychologists believe the fact that polygraph test can be helpful to detect lies accurately. Hence, irrespective of all types of public controversies it has become a recognized symbol for detecting lies inferring deception through analysis of psychological responses and through a series of questions. This part included two facts focusing on the validity and limitation of lie detector for analysing a person convicted for sexual offence and the effectiveness of crime linkage as an analytical technique for aiding crime detection (refer to appendix).
A female jogger was raped and beaten senseless in the central park of New York in 1989 and her body experienced a severe damage during this incident that she survived but had not cured fully from the situation. Thus the defence solicitor of the case representing the convict had been asked for a report on the validity of the lie detector evidence and the police superintendents were asked for the briefing of the crime linkage as an analytical tool for the investigation.
Polygraph is a tool for the lie or the psychological condition detector of a person during the period of investigation. According to Grubin (2016, p.145) the tool could not be perfect in every case as it depends on the mental state of a person and the effects of the mental state over the body is detected by this tool. Polygraph is regarded as the recorder for assessing three indicators such as heart rate, respiration and skin conductivity. Dargis et al. (2016, p.222) opined that several questioning techniques are commonly used for polygraph tests. Besides the Control Question Test is also a part of polygraph test which focuses on comparison of different questions asked to a criminal in respect to the guilt done by him. The polygraph testing helps to detect whether the convict is directly or indirectly related to the offence. If a person tells the truth has been assumed to fear control questions rather than relevant questions. Besides, responses to control questions leads to the judgement for non deception and no difference between the relevant and control questions denote it that the result from polygraph tests is inconclusive.
Figure 1: Methods related to investigation
(Source: Influenced by Dargis et al. 2016, p.222)
Thus the mental strength of a person if strong then the tool could not detect perfectly about the person’s answers whether correct or wrong. In accordance with this condition the court asked thedefence solicitor to provide proper evidence about the validity of the polygraph evidence. Kassin and Gudjonsson (2004, p.34) opined that the four convict’s different statement was the cause of the court to question the solicitor about the proper evidence to develop the validity of the polygraph test. Thus it can be seen that the polygraph test has failed to detect the proper truth about the statement of the convicts as it has some limitations.
The mental strength of the convict suppresses the emotional guilt.
Triggering of positive responses in accordance with the accusations.
In words of Fritzon (2018, p.160), a person who is convicted for sexual offence must be subjected to polygraph testing. The following phenomenon says it that a convicted person of a sexual offence is presented by a defence solicitor to report for the polygraph evidence. The validity of polygraph testing relies on differentiating the anxiety caused by dishonesty and anxiety caused by something else. The convicted person at first is subjected to measurement of blood pressure as well as galvanic skin responses. Thus the fault in the polygraph method could be fatal in the detection of the truth of the statement and would be helpful in the slipping out for the convict from the custody of law.
The physiological responses indicate whether the convict acknowledges the truth or not. In this respect, various questions can be asked by the investigator to the convict. In case of a sexual harassment of a girl by a group of boys, the polygraph test helps to detect the actual offender within the group. Sometimes it is evident that the result from polygraph test is important to know the relevant information from the part of the offenders (Greenall and Wright, 2015, p.244).
The convicted person sometimes gets escape from the punishment as the polygraph lie detector fails to analyse their crime. As commented by Laursen et al. (2016, p.27), the limitations of this polygraph testing are as follows-
Sometimes, emotions trigger responses rather than the analysis of guilt’s
Countermeasures are taken the convict to avoid detection
Frequent gathering of false positive replies can create confusion for taking a firm decision.
Hence the defence solicitor representing a convict person for a sexual offence has decided it whether the person is directly or indirectly involved to the guilt. The polygraph report helps him to understand the actual scenario lies behind the sexual offence done by the convicted person.
Figure 2: Limitations
(Source: Influenced by Dargis et al. 2016, p.222)
It has been seen in this case that the forensic psychology helped the investigators to solve the case; however, the case was going in a wrong direction at first as the polygraph evidence was wrong and afterwards the crime linkage technique helped the investigators to solve the case. Thus the court asked the defence solicitor to show the mistakes of the polygraph test and the police superintendents to show the evidence in accordance with the crime linkage technique.
Report 2: The Police Superintendents Association has asked for a briefing on the effectiveness of crime linkage as an analytical technique to aid crime investigation
The crime linkage method is greatly used for understanding various behavioural changes of an offender. During the investigation of the criminals the improper coordination their speech and unstable behaviour help the investigators to detect the actual mode of crime done by a single offender.
In this case of sex offend or rape against the female jogger after thirteen years the voluntary confession of Matias Reyes changed the case as the DNA test and the perfect confession about the occurrence proved that he was the actual criminal. In case of sexual offence such as rape the polygraph test sometimes becomes unable to describe if that was occurred in group or not as the criminals may escape from the measurement by providing false replies.
According to Kassin and Gudjonsson (2004, p.35) this shows the effectiveness of the crime linkage as an analytical technique for crime investigation as Matias Reyes was convicted with three rapes and murder and in the custody. Based on the views of Slater et al. (2015, p.263) the crime linkage is a practice used by the police to relate the similar crimes committed by the same person and it would be helpful in investigating serial crimes as the awareness of other forensic methods among people helps the criminals to not let any evidence left against them. The solution for this case was find after the confession of the serial sex offender and murderer himself which was effectively a crime linkage process thus the court asked for the briefing on the effectiveness of the process as an evidence of the case against the actual criminal. The women body crimes are generally found serial crimes by a same criminal or group of criminal thus the crime linkage tool is useful in these factors for the psychology of the criminal would be found similar and found easily by this tool. The crime linkage tool was the main useful factor for this case as well. However, the case took long time to be solved as for the wrong detection of the polygraph tool. The crime linkage analysis is regarded as an analytical technique for behavioural analysis used for determining the types of possibilities of a series of crimes committed by a single offender. As mentioned by Mariano et al. (2017, p.380), multiple number of crimes are linked to a specific offender and this is done through crime linkage analysis. This helps the investigators and police superintendents to understand the future actions performed by a single offender.
The forensic psychology department of the crime branch helps the investigators to find out the psychological factors of the criminals and is a very important part of the investigation. The criminal psychology is a complex factor for the investigators to gather knowledge about the cause of the crime or the criminal mentality of the person. As stated by Mogavero (2016, p.117), the physical evidence left by the convict at the place of offence helps the police for investigating the phenomenon related to criminal offences from a single offender. In this respect, DNA and fingerprints of the guilty are regarded as essential evidence as they are unique for a particular person. The crime linkage method mainly focuses on analysis on two aspects such as behavioural stability and behavioural distinctiveness. A dishonest can be nervous while answering the questions asked by the investigators. Hence, the application of this method helps to detect a criminal by analysing the changes. In words of Rennison and Dodge (2017, p.35), the behavioural distinctiveness of the offender creates a situation which helps the police superintendents association to understand the actual perspectives of the murder or rape case. Using this analytical technique, the investigators as well as the police association can be able to examine the circumstances of crime and behavioural signature of the offender. Considering two or four crimes performed by a single offender the investigators can draw the conclusion that those are typically done by a single offender though there are lack of eye witness. This evidence was admitted by court and the presiding officer can concur that the accused was guilty of committing the crimes during the third and fourth incidents (Rocque et al. 2015, p.405). The DNA test of the semen sample found in the victim body was unidentified and the four convict semen sample was collected which was also not matched with the collected sample. However, the crime linkage tool was used and the match was found when the actual convict personally gave a confession about the crime. Thus the crime linkage tool was able to solve the problem for this case whereas the polygraph tool was not able to work on the case properly. The usefulness of the crime linkage tool was presented as the evidence for this case. The court found it was useful in the solving process for the case. Thus it can be stated that the crime linkage tool is useful in the context of serial sex offend, serial killing and other serial crimes as they are done by the same convict and the psychology of the criminal is same in these cases and this tools helps the investigators in this process as a psychological tool.
Thus from the report, it can be concluded that the use of crime linkage analytical technique is important for investigating for a serious crime such as murder or rape. The behavioural changes and behavioural stability are determined through the crime linkage method to understand the motive of the offenders. After detection of the motives of the offenders the case can be solved easily and the proper judicial effects would take action.
This case study shows the forensic psychology is the key factor for the effective evaluation and the investigation of the motives and the mentality of the convicts. Solving of the case shows the usefulness of crime linkage tool in this type of serial offends. The forensic psychological investigation process has helped me learning about the forensic investigation process.
In accordance with the case I can say that the case is a case of serial sex offend or rape. In this case at first the investigators convicted four boys as the witness based investigation and the presence of these people in the crime scene approximately the same time. However, the polygraph test was unable to state the innocence of the convicts and the case was long running. After thirteen years the confession of Matias Reyes proved that he was the actual criminal for this crime. I can say that the crime linkage process of the investigators solved the case properly. The role of the forensic psychology shows the development of the case in a positive direction. However, it is very interesting to me that the polygraph tool was nullified in this case which is used as a prime forensic psychological tool. The guest lecturers helped me to understand the case it was a critical case all along. The crime linkage procedure was also a interesting tool for this case as it was the main solving tool of this case. Influenced by the views of Grubin (2016, p.137) the polygraph test is the most useful tool for the sex offending cases.
The scenario related to the essay helps me to generate an idea that less number of false confessions helps the investigators to proceed over a particular crime and this can be achieved by applying modern psychological concepts such as cognitive psychology which helps to analyse the behaviours of the offenders. From the whole part, the application of crime linkage method is found to be more interesting for me as it is easily applied in criminal investigation and only their behaviours are needed to be analysed for determining criminal offences done by them.
According to the third point of reflection, I have learnt it that a number of qualities are needed by investigators such as easy problem solving skill, highly efficient analytical skill and patience to understand the actual intensity of the offenders. Moreover, I can state that the crime linkage method is an important analytical technique for determining the behaviours of offender who have committed a number of serious crimes.
The case study in the module helped in a way that perfects the thinking and the analysis process of my brain. The guest lecturers helped me in understanding the case and the point of views of the psychology in this case. The forensic psychology is the most effective factor for the solving of this case. Thus it can be concluded that the effectiveness of forensic psychology was a great help for this case.
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