Criminal Investigation: An Illustrated Case Study Approach, 1st edition

Published by Pearson (December 20, 2012) © 2014

  • James R. Lasley California State University-Fullerton
  • Nikos R. Guskos


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For community college and four-year college courses such as Introduction to Criminal Investigation, Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation, Forensic Investigation, Incident Investigation, and Police Investigation Methods.

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION: AN ILLUSTRATED CASE STUDY APPROACH is today’s most modern, complete, visual, and “reality-based” guide to criminal investigation. Unlike other texts, it presents both written cases and a full sequence of photos for each case, enabling students to view crime scenes from top-to-bottom, and realistically apply investigative concepts. The authors first introduce core investigative tools, demonstrating the proper use of law and evidence gathering techniques. Next, they present detailed methods for investigating a wide spectrum of specific crimes. Each type of crime is illuminated with a detailed case study and a complete series of properly-sequenced crime scene photos. This text’s “no punches pulled” coverage helps students understand exactly what to expect in the field. It also contains detailed coverage of many crimes that other books overlook, including street gang crime, and crimes involving explosives.

Hallmark Features

Comprehensive, up-to-date, and concise—focusing on today’s crimes and crime scene investigation techniques, and avoiding the irrelevant outdated material that still appears in many books on the topic

  • Teaches students techniques they will actually use, while maximizing interest and linking to crimes and techniques they may already have heard about or encountered

Thorough coverage of investigative roles and tools—including identifying, collecting and preserving physical evidence; interviewing and interrogation; report writing; lead and intelligence development; and forensic science

  • Gives students a comprehensive grounding in today’s investigative techniques 

Coverage of a full spectrum of crimes and crime scenes—including  homicides and woundings, sexual assaults, robberies, burglaries, larceny and vehicle thefts, computer crime, arson, drug crimes, transnational crimes, narco terror, and much more

  • Prepares students for virtually any type of crime scene they may encounter 

Detailed Discussion of Homicide Investigation—including a wide variety of crime scene case and photo material dealing with virtually every type of murder scene investigators are likely to encounter

  • Gives students the most thorough preparation for homicide investigation available in the field

Teaches visually, through realistic, accurately sequenced crime scene photos—helping students immediately start to apply the skills they are learning, reconstructing crime scenes and developing leads just as working investigators would

  • Helps students follow along with the actual experience of a crime scene investigator, participating actively at every step

Realistic and factual, with “no punches pulled”—showing students exactly what they can expect if they enter the field of criminal investigation

  • Helps students objectively evaluate whether they wish to pursue crime scene investigation as a career

Standalone chapter

1. Criminal Investigation. Then & Now
2. Investigators, Investigations and the Law
3. The Process of Investigating Crime
4. Identifying, Collecting and Preserving Physical Evidence
5. Investigative Interviewing and Interrogation
6. Investigative Report Writing
7. Developing Investigative Leads & Intelligence
8. Investigation & the Forensic Sciences

9. Homicide & Wounding Scenes
10. Sexual Assault Scenes
11. Gang Crime Scenes
12. Robbery Scenes
13. Burglary Scenes
14. Larceny-Theft Scenes
15. Vehicle Theft Scenes
16. Computer Crime Scenes
17. Arson & Explosion Scenes
18. Drug Crime Scenes
19. Transnational, Domestic & Narco Terror Scenes
20. From the Crime Scene to the Courtroom

James Lasley, Ph.D., is Professor of Criminal Justice at California State University, Fullerton, and has held previous faculty appointments at Washington State University, Arizona State University, and The University of Southern California. His previous criminal justice agency experience includes prior work with United States Probation and Parole (Washington, D.C.), The Los Angeles Police Department, and California Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.). He has also worked previously in the criminal justice private sector as a licensed Bail Bond Agent and Bounty Hunter (California) and has provided expert testimony on street gang matters in criminal trials, as well as in hearings conducted by the U.S. Congress. His published works include over 50 books and articles covering a variety of issues concerning policing, forensic science and investigation, which have been featured in a wide range of practitioner-, trade-, government-, and academic-oriented publications, including Muscle & Fitness Magazine, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, NIJ (National Institute of Justice) Research in Brief, and Justice Quarterly.

Nikos Guskos is a Criminal Justice professor and lectures at various universities including California State University, Fullerton, where he is currently an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Chapman University and is founder of the Guskos Institute-a criminal justice consulting firm located in Huntington Beach, CA. His teaching and research areas of expertise, in addition to criminal investigation, include street gangs, financial crimes, and homeland security. He is also presently an active member of law enforcement in Southern California and has several years of field experience in policing, which include patrol and specialized units focusing on gangs, financial crimes, and tactical training. Additionally, he is experienced as a first-responder to death scenes and has assisted in investigating several homicides. Presently, he is assigned to the Homeland Security Division of his department. Previous to his current assignment, he spent five years at the highest soft risk threat target in the Southern California region area. Responsible for enforcement, investigations and threat assessments. On a national level, he also serves as a consultant to The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) for research issues concerning policing and criminal investigation and is a proud veteran of the United States Army.

Retired Sergeant Randy Seymour has over 25 years of law enforcement experience with a large metropolitan Sheriff's Department. His assignments included Custody, Patrol, Specialized Street Gang Patrol, Patrol Training Officer, and Patrol Sergeant. He also has seven years experience as a Street Gang Detective and more than nine years as a Homicide Investigator. He was the lead investigator in close to 100 homicides including stabbings, shootings, blunt force trauma, strangulation, rape, and poisoning. He assisted in more than 100 additional homicides during his career. Sergeant Seymour was also the lead investigator in more than 30 deputy- and officer-involved shootings and has assisted in more than 30 additional shootings. He also investigated approximately 50 suicides from gunshot wounds, hangings, overdoses, bleeding to death from self-inflicted cuts, and stepping in front of trains or other vehicles. He also investigated more than 100 suspicious deaths where the cause of death was not initially known. Sergeant Seymour personally responded to more than 250 death scenes and conducted the appropriate investigation. He also taught homicide scenes, homicides, suicides, sudden infant death syndrome and gang related homicides to local law enforcement and law enforcement personnel from across the country. Sergeant Seymour has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Occupational Studies- Vocational Arts from California State University Long Beach.

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