Assessment 2: Homicide

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• You have three (3) major homicide cases to choose from for your review: these have each been selected for the wide breadth of information available. Sources for your essay may include media articles, official reports, court transcripts, scholarly books and articles and/or relevant statistical analyses.
• To help students get started, an example for each case is provided at the end of this document (these are samples only – you are not required to use them – but they are the kind of authoritative scholarly reference you should be looking for).
• Each of these cases has been through a criminal trial (and often appeal) process, during which problems with the investigative procedures (police and/or prosecution) have been widely debated.
• The assessment is in essay form, so your work should have a clear introduction, a body and a conclusion summarising your argument. Headings are allowed in this instance. It is suggested that students set out their work with a brief introductory paragraph, 4 subsections matching the 4 aspects of the set task, and then a final concluding paragraph.
• Your task is simply to develop a narrative based on the four (4) key criteria for this assessment: 1) summarise the crucial elements of the investigative process as relevant to the subsequent trial/appeal proceedings; 2) identify and clearly explain the major errors/flaws/weaknesses in these procedures; 3) come up with well framed and supported recommendations for how such errors might have been avoided (or might be avoided in the future); and 4) discuss how you think the media may have influenced the outcome of the case.
• The investigation review should demonstrate a clear and logical analysis of the particular case, supported by relevant research to explain the analysis and proposed solutions. Your understanding of the course content (including lecture materials, set text book and other readings) should be apparent in your analysis of the case chosen.
• The essay offers you the opportunity to critically analyse a major homicide investigation and to show your understanding of the key issues. Thus, it is expected that your research will be a combination of case-specific materials and scholarly/theoretical sources relevant to homicide offences and investigations more generally.
• Please note that your task is not to decide whether a person is guilty or innocent; nor is it to simply describe the crime and the investigation/court process in the manner of a media article. Your job is to critique the investigation in a formal, thoughtful, scholarly manner and to make cleareyed recommendations, which are not to be confused with emotive statements about the guilt or innocence of anyone involved. Your inquiry has the luxury of hindsight, so try to use language that acknowledges that.
• Students should take care to meet the criteria for presentation as set out in the Criteria Sheet: professional structure; technical accuracy; consistency of referencing. All submissions should feature a title page indicating student name and number, course title, which case you are reviewing, convenor name, tutor name and word count for your submission (not the allocated words). Abstracts are not required.
• All submissions must be in 12pt font and one and a half or double spaced; leave adequate (3cm) margins for marker comments to be provided.
• When submitting your essay via Turnitin, please name your document using the case name to make it easy for markers to identify: for example, “Homicide investigation review: Simpson case.”
• Referencing for court cases is as in the following examples:
• Submissions should feature APA in-text referencing where necessary and each submission requires a reference list. Students should not be using dubious/unverifiable internet sources such as Wikipedia, Murderpedia, Crime Library, Crime Museum, etc. In general, on-line sources (other than official scholarly journals and widely known media publications) should be assessed critically by students before use to establish their appropriateness.
• Finally, students should NEVER refer to victims, offenders, etc. only by their first (given) names. This is a piece of formal academic writing, and as such the people involved should be referred to either by their full name (or surname only) or else as victim, offender, witness, and so forth.
Sample sources:
Brown, W., Duane, J. & Benson, P. (1997). Media coverage and public opinion of the O. J. Simpson trial: Implications for the criminal justice system. Communication Law & Policy, 2(2), 261-287.
Mirabella, J. (2012). Scales of justice: Assessing Italian criminal procedure through the Amanda Knox trial. Boston University International Law Journal, 30(1), 229-260.
Tyson, D. (2009). Questions of guilt and innocence in the Victorian criminal trial of Robert Farquharson and the fact before theory internet campaign, Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 21(2), 182-204.

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