Because of the importance of scale, distance, and perspective, it is good procedure
to include a ruler or other scale measurement in the photograph, when practical.
However, because some courts have not allowed even this minor modification to the
scene, an identical photograph without the scale indicator should also be taken.
If the photograph is to have the highest quality as evidence, it must depict the
scene, persons, or objects precisely as they were found.
therefore be an exclusive function of the crime scene. That is, people should not
be working within the scene at the time it is photographed. Nor should extraneous
objects such as MP or Criminal Investigation Division (CID) equipment be included
Properly prepared sketches may be used during the questioning of persons,
reconstruction of the crime scene, preparation of the report of investigation
(ROI), and presentation of the information in court.
They are also valuable
sources of information for both the trial and defense counsels.
frequently introduced in court as evidence and used to acquaint the court with
crime scenes. They also help witnesses orient themselves as they testify.
The sketch complements investigative notes and photographs made during the crime
scene search. The sketch has the inherent advantage of any illustration with the
additional advantage that unnecessary detail can be eliminated to portray the most
essential elements of the crime scene and their relationships. There are several
techniques that may be used to establish the location of evidence and other
important items on the sketch.
However, it is important to remember that the
purpose of the sketch is to portray the information accurately, not necessarily
Therefore, it is not required that the investigator have artistic
ability to construct an adequate sketch of a crime scene.
Contents. Several items of information are considered essential in a crime scene
sketch. These are listed below. However, as with note taking, such a list should
not be taken as comprehensive.
Nor should it restrict the crime scene
investigator's judgement as to what he or she can include. The major constraint on
detail in sketching is the result must be completely intelligible to the viewer
without detailed study. If too much detail is included, the major advantage of the
sketch over the photograph is lost.
The sketch should include the following
Show critical features.
The sketch must indicate the accurate measurements
of the scene and the exact location of the evidence.
This is done by the
Use a caption.
The sketch caption is the heading (subject) of the
illustration. Examples of a caption could be--"Rough Sketch Depicting Camera
Positions and Distances" or "Rough Sketch Depicting Evidence, Measurements,