Case study: internal briefing report

As a medico-legal death investigator, you will be expected to complete reports regarding the cases that you have been assigned. These reports may be sent to a prosecuting agency, the law enforcement agency, special investigators, or governmental oversight boards. If you are an investigator in a small office, you may be able to get by with informal briefings given person-to-person or during meetings; however, if you work in a large metropolitan office with many cases, you will need to present your reports in written form.

For this assignment, you will be given a case study to review. You will write an internal final case briefing to be attached to the case report and the autopsy report. This briefing will go to the chief medical examiner (ME). Include the following:

  • All case notes and pertinent information regarding the case
  • Descriptions of the scene and body as you found them (Paint the picture for the ME. You may ‘create’ scene and body descriptions using the case notes and Death investigation: A guide for the scene investigator as your guide)
  • All information you need to collect from family members, witnesses, and/or other agencies regarding the death and how you plan to obtain that information
  • All information leading to the identification of the deceased
  • All items collected and who has custody of those items
  • All field tests conducted by LE and the results of those tests (you may create the tests and results LE would likely do using the case notes) and additional tests requested by LE
  • Explain and describe the investigative procedures which may have been or were used during the investigation (based on information discussed and learned in class)

In writing this report, be mindful of your audience. What information will the chief ME need in order to sign off on the case? How should you present this information? Do any aspects of the case pose concerns or cause uncertainty? Be mindful of ethical disclosure, legal implications, and level of discretion when writing your report.

  • The report should be organized in a logical manner and written with professional language with the following requirements:
  • Between 3 and 5 pages in length.
  • Business letter or memorandum format.
  • Double-spaced, 1” margins, 12 pt. Times New Roman font, indented paragraphs, appropriate headers.
  • The audience is the boss of your organization, most probably the Chief Medical Examiner, so make sure you are writing this report with that audience in mind.
  • First person, past tense, active voice.