The aim of the investigative process is to discover who, what, where, how, why and when an event or situation took place. This paper will examine the common elements of the investigative process, also discussing the history and nature of the courts in the US.
The investigative process numerous elements; information, instrumentation and interviewing. The process is based on information. Law enforcement officers are only as good as the information they are able to gather. The investigator is tasked with finding and utilizing legitimate information sources. Instrumentation is entails the use of available tools to investigate and solve crimes. Technological advancements have enhanced the instrumentation process of investigation (Kuykendall, 1982). Lastly, interviewing victims and witnesses is a quite critical. Skillful utilization of interviewing techniques provides sufficient information to enable investigators carry on with the investigation process. However, courts presently rely heavily on physical evidence than interviews on account of the difficulty experienced in getting confessions.
Article Three of the US Constitution makes provisions for the courts system, which is headed by the Chief Justice and five Associate Justices who meet at the country’s capital. The Congress also ratified Judiciary Act, in 1789, allowing for the establishment of inferior courts. The act also marked the US into districts and circuits, creating three circuit courts with two Supreme Court justices assigned to both circuits to routinely attend circuit court meetings together with district judges of the state. The purpose of the circuit courts was to rule on cases for federal criminal cases, suits between citizens of different states and civil cases filed by the UD government (Kuykendall, 1982). They also served as appellate courts. However, in 1793, the number of Supreme Court justices in circuit courts reduced to one justice and circuit courts lost their appellate capacity following the establishment of the US Circuit Court of Appeals in 1891 before they were abolished in 1911. Congress subsequently created 13 district courts for each state that sat for cases involving maritime and admiralty cases and minor criminal and civil cases. The judges are required to live in their individual districts. The President then created the office of a district attorney in all districts. As new states emerged, new district courts were developed.
Kuykendall, J. (1982). The criminal investigative process: Toward a conceptual framework. Journal of Criminal Justice, 10 (2), 131-145.