U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Criminal Investigations in Homicide Cases

NCJ Number
Penal Issues Issue: 16 Dated: March 2005 Pages: 3-6
Laurent Mucchielli
Date Published
March 2005
4 pages
This study examined the content of criminal homicide investigations in France with specific focus on unsolved cases which will never go to trial.
As part of a broad research program on homicide in the country of France, as well as a follow-up on an initial series of publications on the content of tried cases, this study focused on those cases which will never go to trial because they have not been solved. The intent was to understand the actual content of criminal investigations using two series of data. The first analysis consisted of 102 cases tried by a Cour d’Assises in the Paris area in the 1990s for homicide, attempted homicide, and infanticide, committed between 1987 and 1996. The second data analysis was derived from two stays in criminal investigations units. One period was spent in the homicide unit of the National Gendarmerie and the other took place in a National Police Crime Squad. In total, 21 files on crime were analyzed, as well as in-depth semi-directive interviews with 9 officers. Findings are presented in the areas of offender behavior after the crime, what makes a criminal investigation successful, and the lessons learned from unsolved cases. The main finding stresses the importance of give-and-take between the population-at-large and the police forces, with particular emphasis on the population-at-large being the main informers. The findings indicate that improved policing is a matter of establishing high quality relations with the general public, as opposed to better techniques and tools. Table, bibliography