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Indiana State Coroners Training Board

CTB > Guidebook Guidebook for Indiana Coroners

1996

A publication of the Indiana Coroners Training Board

David T. Skelton, J.D., Ed.D.
Professor and Attorney at Law
Department of Criminology
Indiana State University

Harry L. Marsh, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of the Crime Laboratory
Department of Criminology
Indiana State University


Introduction

This publication is the seventh version of a guidebook for Indiana coroners. The 2001 edition is an extensively revised version of the 1996 guidebook (prepared in cooperation with the Indiana State Coroners Training Board, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, the Indiana State Coroners Association, and many individual Indiana coroners who generously gave their time, advice, and experience to the authors in our effort to produce a practical working manual). Any utility of this manual is the product of the cooperative efforts of the many professionals in Indiana who are working to improve the quality and efficiency of death investigations and the operation of the office of the Coroner. Any errors in the manual are the sole responsibility of the authors.

Each part of this guidebook is written for the non-specialist. Because Indiana coroners come from such varied backgrounds and have such varied professional preparation and education, we have assumed that very few people know absolutely everything necessary to perform the duties of the Coroner. We have assumed, for example, that pathologists will have little need for the sections on autopsies, but that persons unfamiliar with the procedure might find useful information there. We think that experienced criminal investigators will not need the sections on securing the crime scene and gathering evidence, but that coroners or their deputies who have never worked as police investigators might benefit from this knowledge. The sections on law probably will be of little use to lawyers, but persons without formal legal training might find those parts of the guidebook helpful in identifying legal duties and responsibilities and in identifying potential legal problems. Through the work of the Indiana State Coroners Training Board, the Indiana State Coroners Association, and the work of individual Coroners in cooperation with other state and local agencies, Indiana Coroners work together to render mutual support and assistance toward the common goal of constantly improving and professionalizing death investigation in our state. Each of our 92 Coroners has an important contribution to make and significant knowledge to impart, but nobody knows everything. As Will Rogers said about 70 years ago: "Everybody's ignorant; just on different subjects."

We especially wish to thank our Institute of Criminology staff members. Jennifer Dennis Krozier was our very able research assistant for this project, and Lisa Hills was our dedicated secretary for this new guidebook.

We hope that you will find this guidebook useful. It is the product of the efforts of many people and it builds on the efforts of the authors of previous editions. Ultimately, however, it is the individual Coroner who determines how the job is done. We sincerely thank you for your public service in undertaking the difficult and demanding work of death investigation.

David T. Skelton
Harry L. Marsh
DeVere D. Woods, Jr.
Institute of Criminology
Department of Criminology
Indiana State University
Terre Haute, Indiana
June 1, 2001

About the Editors

David T. Skelton, J.D., Ed.D.
Dr. Skelton holds the Doctor of Jurisprudence and Doctor of Education degrees from Indiana University. He has served as Director of the Division of Safety Responsibility and Driver Improvement of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and as Regional Administrator for the Indiana Criminal Justice Planning Agency. He was an Associate Scientist of the Institute for Research in Public Safety and a faculty member of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. He joined the faculty at Indiana State University in 1975. He has been a member of the Indiana and federal bar for 30 years and has been certified as a civil mediator.

Harry L. Marsh, Ph.D.
Dr. Marsh holds the Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University. He is a retired Air Force officer with 14 years of service in the Office of Special Investigations and 3 years with the Defense Investigative Service. He conducted criminal investigations at many locations around the world and served as the USAF liaison to the Spanish police. He has been a faculty member at Indiana State University since 1987 where he has taught private security, criminal investigation, criminal justice administration, and criminalistics. He is the Director of the Crime Laboratory of the Department of Criminology. He has published extensively and has received awards for teaching excellence. He has also been a consultant to all levels of government and to private industry.

DeVere D. Woods, Ph.D.
Dr. Woods holds the Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University and has been a faculty member at Indiana State University since 1999. Previously he had a 25 year career as a police officer in Bay County, Michigan where he served as a crime scene investigator and in several command positions. He has testified as an expert witness in the areas of crime scene investigation and latent print identification. He has published extensively in the areas of crime scene investigation and community policing. He has also received specialized training in the investigation of death and in all aspects of scientific crime scene investigation. He also maintains an internationally recognized webpage on community policing [http://www.concentric.net/ dwoods/]..Acknowledgments

The Indiana State Coroners Training Board would like to thank the Indiana State Coroners Association and the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute for their continuing assistance in the improvement of death investigation and the professional development of coroners and deputy coroners in Indiana.

Acknowledgments

The Indiana State Coroners Training Board would like to thank the Indiana State Coroners Association and the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute for their continuing assistance in the improvement of death investigation and the professional development of coroners and deputy coroners in Indiana.

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