FEATURED IN TRAINING
The first two articles of this series on investigating rape discussed legal definitions, the importance of care in handling the initial contact with a rape victim, identification and collection of rape evidence, the medical examination and the various uses of DNA evidence. In the third and fourth articles, I developed a fictional sexual-assault case based on an actual incident to demonstrate the practical application of previously discussed theory. Marie Delaney, a 32-year-old bank manager in Hartford, Conn., was raped in the stairwell of the bank s parking garage. Her assailant repeatedly struck her with a knife handle, fracturing her jaw and damaging her right eye so severely it had to be surgically removed. In this fifth and final installment, fictional detectives Anthony Capriati (aka the Cisco Kid) and Shirley Bascomb bring the investigation to a close.
To review the previous articles in this series, visit www.policeone.com/jetmore.
Physical Evidence Collection & the Exclusionary Rule
While detectives Bascomb and Newcomb of the Evidentiary Services Division processed the crime scene for evidence, Detective Lucas worked at the hospital with Judy Benson, a nurse trained in rape-case forensic-evidence collection, to gather physical evidence from the victim. Although conscious, Delaney was heavily sedated and being prepared for surgery, which complicated evidence gathering, including swabbing her mouth, taking an anal smear, scraping under her fingernails and photographing her injuries.
This situation poses an interesting legal question dealing with the exclusionary rule. Remember: The exclusionary rule prohibits the government (police) from using illegally obtained evidence against an accused in a criminal case. If the victim didn t give prior consent for the intrusive collection of evidence from her person, can prosecutors use the evidence in a criminal case against a defendant? Can consent be assumed? Can consent given at a later date be retroactive? A hospital employee, not the police, obtained most of the physical evidence. However, the nurse turned the evidence over to Lucas to be sent to the state lab for processing. Is the nurse then operating as an agent for the police and thus being used to circumvent the Fourth Amendment requirement relative to search and seizure? Or, is the collection of evidence from the victim an exigent circumstances exception to the Fourth Amendment? Talk these questions over with your colleagues, or, if you re a training officer, use the entire Marie Delaney case in class and pose these questions to your students. I discuss the answer at the end of the article.
Across from the Crime Scene
At the crime scene, Bascomb noted several items of evidentiary value, including a sneaker print in the blood and dirt in the parking garage s stairwell landing. After photographing and videotaping the impression, Bascomb called in a crew from the city and jackhammered out a cement block in a 4-foot square to preserve the print for lab analysis.
Meanwhile, Capriati, who was in charge of the investigation, had exited the garage s stairwell on the bottom floor and walked across the street to the Hartford Civic Center. Although it was now past 2300 hrs, the civic center had been open at the time of the rape. The Cisco Kid figured it was a good bet the rapist had entered the lobby where there were public rest rooms and ditched the purse. Sure enough, Capriati found the victim s purse in a metal trash bin in the men s room. Out front, a hot dog vendor known as Sammy the Snake peddled dogs from his street cart to a group of people, including two prostitutes who were Capriati s paid informants. One of them, Candy, told Capriati that a known rapist, Byron Jefferson, aka Kong, had been in the area and left shortly after the time of the rape on a Greyhound bus to South Carolina.
Capriati had arrested Byron Jefferson 10 years ago after a lengthy investigation into a series of brutal rapes in the city. Jefferson had taken one of the women from Connecticut to Rhode Island where he raped and left her for dead, but she survived. Jefferson was convicted in federal, not state, court. Capriati was surprised Kong was out of prison so soon.
Capriati called Bascomb to walk across the street to process the evidence in the civic center men s room. She passed Candy in the doorway as she entered and raised her eyebrows, but didn t say anything to Capriati other than, Where s your gloves? You didn t touch anything did you?
Capriati indicated the trashcan. The purse is in there. He must have gone through the purse, dumped a lot of stuff he didn t want and then tossed the purse in after he was done. Maybe you can get some prints. He told Bascomb he was going after Kong.
Bascomb was worried. You don t have any p/c this guy s the perp. It s probably him, but we have nothing linking him to the crime yet.
He was in federal prison and must be out on probation. If he left the state, that s a probation violation and I ll grab him for that.
Bascomb frowned. You better have a piece of paper in your hand if you catch him. We re local cops. It takes a hearing to determine a person has violated their probation. You re going to get jammed up.
Capriati laughed. Nah, I ve got you, Shirley, and you re going to call me on my cell phone in a couple of hours and tell me you found me some probable cause. Besides, the blood-splatter trail isn t the victim s. She took a piece out of him, probably his face. He s marked, and that s p/c.
Bascomb looked depressed. It would be a miracle if he s stupid enough to leave his prints, she said.
Capriati nodded. Well, he s not the brightest bulb in the box. Maybe we ll get lucky.
- Investigating Rape Crimes, Part 1 of 5
- Investigating Rape Crimes, Part 2 of 5
- Investigating Rape Crimes, Part 3 of 5
- Investigating Rape Crimes, Part 4 of 5