1st Edition

Criminal Investigative Failures

By D. Kim Rossmo Copyright 2009
    400 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Avoid Major Investigative Traps

    What causes competent and dedicated investigators to make avoidable mistakes, jeopardizing the successful resolution of their cases? Authored by a 21-year police veteran and university research professor, Criminal Investigative Failures comprehensively defines and discusses the causes and problems most common to failed investigations. More importantly, it outlines realistic strategies for avoiding investigative pitfalls.

    Illuminated with case studies, this practical resource examines three main reasons for investigative failure:

    • Cognitive biases, such as tunnel vision, that lead to mistakes in reasoning
    • Organizational traps, such as groupthink, that investigators fall prey to within their agencies
    • Probability errors, such as the prosecutor’s fallacy, in forensic science and criminal profiling

    The Dangers of Assumptions and Organizational Ego

    Authoritative contributors from a variety of disciplines elaborate on the aforementioned core points with commentary and case studies of well-known crimes. Written in a quick-to-grasp style, this useful text provides practical advice for avoiding investigative failures. It is an invaluable reference for investigators looking to prevent future failures of justice and find the truth.


    Introduction, D. KIM ROSSMO

    Cognitive Biases: Perception, Intuition, and Tunnel Vision, D. KIM ROSSMO

    Organizational Traps: Groupthink, Rumor, and Ego, D. KIM ROSSMO

    Errors in Probability: Chance and Randomness in Forensics and Profiling, D. KIM ROSSMO


    Cognitive Biases in Human Perception, Judgment, and Decision Making: Bridging Theory and the Real World, ITIEL E. DROR AND PETER A. F. FRASER-MACKENZIE

    Bounded Rationality and Criminal Investigations: Has Tunnel Vision Been Wrongfully Convicted? BRENT SNOOK AND RICHARD M. CULLEN

    On the Horns of a Narrative: Judgment, Heuristics, and Biases in Criminal Investigation, DAVID STUBBINS AND NELSON STUBBINS


    Who Killed Stephanie Crowe? GREGG O. MCCRARY

    Milgaard v. The Queen: Understanding a Wrongful Conviction for Sexual Homicide, NEIL BOYD AND D. KIM ROSSMO

    A False Confession to Murder in Washington, D.C., JAMES TRAINUM AND DIANA M. HAVLIN

    What Happened to Theresa Allore? JOHN ALLORE AND PATRICIA PEARSON

    Wrongful Innocence Claims: Roger Coleman and Benjamin LaGuer, D. KIM ROSSMO


    How Police Departments Can Reduce the Risk of Wrongful Convictions, DOUG A. LEPARD AND ELIZABETH CAMPBELL

    Reducing Investigative Failures through Effective Major Case Leadership, JOHN C. HOUSE, JOSEPH EASTWOOD, AND BRENT SNOOK

    Necropsies and the Cold Case, JASON ROACH AND KEN PEASE

    Recommendations and Conclusion, D. KIM ROSSMO



    D. Kim Rossmo

    This book is absolutely required reading for any professional in the law enforcement, emergency services, forensic medicine, or forensic psychology field who has to make complex decisions.
    —Daniel Clark, Editor of International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, Vol. 11, No. 4, 2009

    This topic is vitally important for not only understanding the causes and prevention of failures, but for understanding and measuring success.
    —John Eck, University of Cincinnati, Department of Criminal Justice

    The concepts and strategies outlined in this book are invaluable for helping to accomplish an investigator’s primary objective: ‘find the truth.’ For those of us who care deeply about investigative excellence and justice, particularly police investigators, this book is a ‘must read.’
    —Doug A. LePard, Deputy Chief Commanding Investigation Division, Vancouver Police Department, Canada, From the Preface