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rosehips
05-13-2015, 11:16 PM
Hi all,
In my story a police detective in a major city receives an envelope with photos and documents implicating a celebrity (who is not a resident of the city) in the sexual assaults of three girls (each who live in different cities--one in another state). He has the names of two of the girls who live in the same state he does, but not the third, who lives out of state.

I'm saying he would contact the FBI because the case isn't in his jurisdiction. Is that right?

If so, would he remain involved in the case in any way, assuming that the person who gave him the envelope is out of the picture and no longer a source of information?

Thanks!

cmhbob
05-14-2015, 12:12 AM
How close are the in-state cities to him? It's not at all unusual for one chief to call up a colleague a few counties over and say, "Joe, I've got some stuff here that looks to involve your city. Let's get together for lunch tomorrow and I'll let you see what I've got."

He might also call his colleague in the other city, and try and get him to show up. If he can have someone from the nearest FBI field office (http://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field) show up, even better. But FBI involvement is not automatic.

This all assumes there's no evidence that this is ongoing, or that someone is in immediate danger.

Remember that local LE doesn't exist in a vacuum, especially at the command level. Once someone makes chief, unless it's a tiny department, they've been "in the business" for a couple of decades at least. They're going to know people, from classes, from other departments, from trade journals, or from old cases they worked together. This is especially true at the local level, where the county sheriff is going to be on good speaking terms with the chiefs in her county. "Hey, Sheriff Joe, didn't you work that rape case a few years ago with someone form the FBI? You got a number for them? I've got something I want to run by them."

As far as future involvement, there probably won't be much, once things get turned over to the proper jurisdictions.

A good cop, once he or she realizes what they're holding, is going to limit handling the documents and evidence. He might call his senior detective in. "Sherry, get in here with some evidence bags and gloves." They'd also establish a chain-of-custody form immediately.

I'm probably leaving something out, but this should give you a start.

ETA: I'm not sure why I thought it was the chief. At any rate, your detective would go to his or her immediate supervisor, who might take it to the senior detective, or the chief.

rugcat
05-14-2015, 12:45 AM
Yes, exactly, local police departments do not operate in a vacuum.

They might notify the FBI, but more common would be for them to contact a police department in the jurisdiction where the other victim resided.

In a high-profile case I remember in Salt Lake City many years ago, involving a serial killer who was traveling through the country, the Salt Lake detectives contacted and worked very closely with detectives in Cincinnati Ohio.

FBI was also involved, but the major work was between the two departments. So for the sake of your story, you can have the FBI be involved or not pretty much to any degree that you wish.

ironmikezero
05-14-2015, 01:08 AM
The FBI doesn't get involved without some sort of jurisdictional justification. The two local agencies with primary jurisdiction could and would coordinate mutually supportive efforts to solve the cases. Don't underestimate the effectiveness of cooperative investigations. If you still feel the FBI must get involved to some degree for your story, have at least two of the cases on file in the ViCAP database; the submission/addition of a similar third case, especially with any sort of signature M.O., will get everyone's attention.

http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/vicap/homicides-and-sexual-assaults

rosehips
05-14-2015, 01:18 AM
Okay, thanks, that clarifies things.

The detective is in Sacramento, as is one victim, but other victims are in San Jose and Phoenix (but he doesn't have her name). So he could follow up with the first, but contact someone he knows in SJ about the second. What would he do about the third?

rosehips
05-14-2015, 01:19 AM
The FBI doesn't get involved without some sort of jurisdictional justification. The two local agencies with primary jurisdiction could and would coordinate mutually supportive efforts to solve the cases. Don't underestimate the effectiveness of cooperative investigations. If you still feel the FBI must get involved to some degree for your story, have at least two of the cases on file in the ViCAP database; the submission/addition of a similar third case, especially with any sort of signature M.O., will get everyone's attention.

http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/vicap/homicides-and-sexual-assaults

I thought because one victim is in another state, it would mean involving the FBI...?

WeaselFire
05-14-2015, 04:52 AM
What is the age of the victims? Why did this detective get the envelope? Any local connection at all? And, most importantly, what do you need for your story?

Normally, local agencies would refer this to the agencies with jurisdiction. But the FBI has some task forces that might be interested, and the local agency would certainly have the contact for their local FBI field office that they can refer this to. No agency would pass on notifying any place with local jurisdiction and would certainly notify any agency in their own state. A cautious detective with no other connection to this crime or investigation might forward the information to any agency that has jurisdiction, including state and federal agencies. Whether they might take them is another question.

Keep in mind, location of the victims isn't the only jurisdictional item. Location of the crime and location of a suspect can have their own jurisdictions.

Jeff

ironmikezero
05-14-2015, 10:40 PM
I thought because one victim is in another state, it would mean involving the FBI...?

Not necessarily . . . Passing along information/intelligence is one thing, but conducting an active investigation is another.

Absent a clear instance of federal jurisdiction (e.g., proof the same perp is kidnapping the victim/victims across state lines and subsequently murdering them), the interested federal agencies would most likely remain in a support role. There are statutory, regulatory, and departmental policy limitations which must be adequately addressed if a federal agency is to become actively involved in the investigation.

Rugcat, Bob, and Jeff have pretty much nailed it for you. It's a mystery, right? If this isn't a strict police procedural, I'd caution you not to over complicate any jurisdictional issues and keep it simple. Let your MC (detective) be your primary POV, thereby letting your readers learn only what the MC learns. Keep the interest and pacing up.

It's your story; craft it as you would like to read it.

rohstod
05-14-2015, 11:13 PM
The FBI is most likely to get involved in a murder case if the murder occurred on federal property, if the victim is a federal employee, or if the murder is tied into a RICO case. In this situation, your police detective would most likely just contact the other agencies and ask for their cooperation in the investigation. If you have kidnappings where the victim is being taken across state lines, you can also make the case for FBI involvement. Even then, they generally play more of a supporting role in the investigations.

rosehips
05-16-2015, 01:46 AM
Thanks, all. No, no kidnapping across state lines, so it sounds like the FBI would only act as support. Also, no murders, just sexual assault. The victims are minors, though, if that makes a difference. I mainly want to get the procedure right because the detective's intention will be to follow the correct steps. Things are going to happen to complicate matters and keep him involved, though. I just want to make sure that what he plans to do is the correct procedure. Thanks again!

rohstod
05-16-2015, 10:47 AM
Thanks, all. No, no kidnapping across state lines, so it sounds like the FBI would only act as support. Also, no murders, just sexual assault. The victims are minors, though, if that makes a difference. I mainly want to get the procedure right because the detective's intention will be to follow the correct steps. Things are going to happen to complicate matters and keep him involved, though. I just want to make sure that what he plans to do is the correct procedure. Thanks again!

Do you need the FBI to get involved for your story? If so, the easiest thing might be look over these sites and have your criminal violate a federal law.

http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/sex-offenders-and-sex-offenses-overview.html

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/cac/federal-statutes


Again, most sex crimes are a state matter; however, you might be able to find something where you could involve the FBI. The thing that hops out in my mind is that you said the victims are minors, which would make a difference.

I do want to clear up some confusion. Whether or not the crimes occur in different states isn’t relevant. In the situation you described, you have three different crimes, but each crime is a violation of state law.

Say, however, you have offender x kidnap victim y in Idaho. State matter so far. X puts Y in his/her trunk and drives to Utah. At this point, X has violated a federal law, which would be the transportation across state lines:

“the person is willfully transported in
interstate or foreign commerce, regardless of
whether the person was alive when transported across a State boundary, or the offender travels in interstate or foreign commerce or uses the mail or any means, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce in committing or…”

The act of crossing the state line with a kidnapping victim is the federal crime (it’s not that the crime occurred in a different state). Instead of thinking of it in terms of “the crime occurred in another state…” think of it in terms of what laws have been violated: state or federal? Does that distinction make sense? When you think of it this way, you have your answer as to which agencies will most likely head the investigations.

Sorry to keep going. I just read that response, and I wanted to clarify. :P