Suppose a person is found dead, and it's investigated as a possible murder.

How would such a case be characterized in criminal law - a murder hypothesis, murder theory, murder mystery?

EDIT: As noted in the comments below, it would be helpful to know what such a case would be called even after it was officially closed (after not being solved for a long period of time, for example).

To cover my bases, I should also add a second possibility: It is known for a fact that a person was murdered. The only question is WHO DID IT? (If that makes things too complicated, I can delete this and revert to my original question.)

Would the same terminology be applied to each case?

  • 2
    Is there a reason you're overlooking "murder investigation?" – cpast Aug 7 '19 at 2:41
  • Hmmm...that could be the answer. However, if the case is unsolved for a long period of time, and the investigation is officially closed, what would it be called then? – David Blomstrom Aug 7 '19 at 2:50
  • (if we're talking about the US) Investigating a murder isn't a part of criminal Law, it's a process that is to gather information. If the police department fells as though there's sufficient evidence against someone then they'll refer it to the prosecutor and the prosecutor will bring criminal charges – User37849012643 Aug 7 '19 at 2:55
  • I think the field of terminology you're looking for is police procedural "'law", even changing the field of search all i'm finding is an investigation is referred to as open ,or closed. – User37849012643 Aug 7 '19 at 3:00
  • (I'm not even sure if I should call it a category of law, maybe police procedural rules......) – User37849012643 Aug 7 '19 at 3:06

Suppose a person is found dead, and it's investigated as a possible murder.

How would such a case be characterized in criminal law[?]

In legal terms, a "case" only exists when an action is brought by someone. In the case of a murder investigation, the legal case exists once the moment the prosecutor files their statement of case with the court and the court issues it.

The prosecutor only does this when an investigation has rendered enough evidence to charge the prospective defendant with a crime.

Now after a case is opened, evidence may still be gathered, if the investigation is still open, then the word "investigation" will be used in documents to refer to the murder investigation.

If a "case goes cold", this means that the police have gotten stuck in their investigation, and no charges have been brought to anyone, in this case, no legal case exists, the word case simply describes what the police are doing, and does not mean anything legally.

If you were to ask: what if we charge someone, and that person turns out to be innocent, but the investigation remains open. Well, it's still an investigation, and a new legal case will have to be opened down the line if the prosecutor wants to charge someone else

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.