Common Terms

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How to Sound Professional

Suspect- A term used to describe a person who the investigator has reason to believe commited the crime that is being investigated.

Criminal Intent- The legal term meaning that the person accused of the crime, intended on doing what ever actions that are deemed illegal. EXAMPLE: The suspect pointed the phaser and shot the ambassador, an action that he meant to do.

Criminal Negligence- The legal term used when the person accused of a crime did not intend on committing the illegal action but due to his obvious negligence, the action is still considered illegal. EXAMPLE: The suspect pointed his phaser at the armed gunman in the dark at an exteme distance but accidentally shot the ambassador. In this case, the suspect should have "reasonably" known that his actions could have caused harm to others.

Probably Cause- Knowledge held by the investigator that leads him to believe that a crime has been or is about to be committed by a specific person. This knowledge must be specific enough that the investigator can accurately describe this information to others, leading them to believe the same. The ammount of information varys greatly and must be determined on a case by case evaluation. This is not only a key point to law enforcement but also the most difficult to master. EXAMPLE: The investigator, after speaking to several witnesses who saw the crime occur, can now describe to the court why a specific person should be arrested.

Arrest- The physical detention of another person where that person is not allowed to leave. This is often marked by the placing of restraints on the suspect, or statements like "you're under arrest", although this is not required. Arrests can only be made upon probably cause that a specific person has committed a specific crime. EXAMPLE: The suspect is caught by the investigator leaving the scene of a crime covered in the victims blood. After speaking with the suspect, the investigator obtains probable cause to believe the suspect committed the crime and forces the suspect to leave with the investigator.

Investigative Detention- A brief intervention into the actions of another person for the purpose of obtaining voulntary information. The key point is that the person detained must have reason to believe that he is allowed to leave at any time he choses. Location of this detention does not matter. A person who is asked to come to the office is not under arrest so long as the person should reasonably believe that he can leave. EXAMPLE: The investigator asks a suspect to come to the Security office for questioning. The questions are in conducted in an open office within easy distance to an open door and the suspect is told that he can leave when he wants.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt- The amount of certanity that must be obtained to find a person guilty of a crime. This does not require that a jury or judge be 100% certain that the suspect committed the crime, only so certain that any other reasonable situation is discounted. EXAMPLE: After hearing all the evidence, the jury determined that there was no other reasonable explination to explain the situation other than the suspect committed the crime.