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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

Custody Status of Suspect

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Photo of a suspect in a jail cell
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

After a cold hit has identified a suspect, protecting the community should shape how an investigator approaches reopening a case, depending on the custody status of the identified individual. If the suspect is out of custody, the potential exists that the suspect will reoffend and harm the community. Police and prosecution must work diligently to locate the suspect and file charges as soon as possible. If the suspect is in custody, the applicable release or eligibility for parole date should be determined and the investigation should progress within this timeframe.

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