Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Richard H. Ward
Criminal investigation has changed dramatically over the past several decades. with the most important changes relating to advances in science and technology. The development of DNA analysis, firearms identification, single-digit (fingerprint) classification systems, and the application of computer technology to the investigative function bring a new dimension to basic criminal investigation. These have become important tools as a litany of court decisions and other policies have placed greater restrictions on an investigator's use of more traditional methods, such as interviewing, interrogation, and witness identification. Greater emphasis on human rights and past abuses in conducting investigations has resulted in U.S. Supreme Court decisions that narrow the arbitrary discretion of the investigator. The days of routinely beating suspects and subjecting them to third-degree interrogation methods or lengthy interviews, as well as illegal wiretaps, searches, and detention of suspects for long periods of time without probable cause, are largely practices of the past. ...