View Full Version : FBI or U.S. Marshal?

cate townsend
04-20-2011, 11:37 PM
In the story I'm writing, a murder is committed in a small town (incorporated with own PD) and the investigation is being handled by the local police. The investigator working the case figures out who it is, and learns that the guy committed a previous murder in a different state. At this point, what other law enforcement entities would get involved? My research has turned up many possibilities (major crime task forces, FBI, USMS, sheriffs...). The town is fictional, set in California.

Also, my MC (civilian) and the local police chief end up catching the killer. The killer shoots and mortally wounds the police chief, and tries to get away, but my MC gives chase to try and stop him, and ends up shooting and killing him.

What would the law enforcement or first responders to the scene do with my civilian MC? I figure they'd question him, but where? The scene takes place outside the city where the chief has jurisdiction, in an unincorporated area (county), so I figured the sheriff? But what if the case is being handled by a federal agency?

Any help/suggestions are greatly appreciated.

04-20-2011, 11:39 PM

I would assume the California State Police (or whatever they're called) would also be involved.

04-20-2011, 11:44 PM
County Sheriff would lead the investigation into the MC shooting the villain. Depending on the county and local "leanings" this could be a good shooting or a bad one with possible prosecution for murder.

The FBI and police agencies investigating the various murders will certainly want to interview the MC to try and gain more information on their own cases.

04-21-2011, 12:06 AM
Note that Bureau of Investigation and Intelligence might also get involved.

(Thank you to The Mentalist for making me aware of CBI's real life counterpart :D)

The Grift
04-21-2011, 01:05 AM
If the feds get involved it's probably going to be in one of the following ways:

1) The crime somehow has an interstate or federal nexus to his crimes. This goes beyond the fact that guy is wanted for a crime in another state, but that's a good place to start. For instance, if the first murder involved kidnapping, there is a presumption of interstate transport in any kidnapping charge that means the feds (specifically the FBI) automatically get involved, even if they know there was no actual interstate transport of the victim.

2) He has federal warrants out on him. In that case USMS will probably take the lead.

3) The locals request the aid of the feds or a federal/local task force gets involved.

USMS should probably be the lead, but there's plenty of instances where the FBI or another agency would take the lead as well. Plus, there are plenty of reasons why any one of literally dozens of federal agencies could want to get their hands on him. Illegal alien? ICE. Defaulted on some student loans? Department of Education OIG. Used an illegal gun in the crime? ATF task force.

You get the idea.