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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23556
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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What volume of information can a family of a murder victim,

Customer Question

What volume of information can a family of a murder victim, obtain in DC of thru the DC FOIA or any other way to assist in solving a 15 year old cold case?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 8 months ago.
Hello, Unfortunately, I don't have very good news for you, and I'd ask you up front to kindly not shoot the messenger. Homicide investigations are not matters of public record. You are not entitled to any of the investigation materials and reports reports, even though under your circumstance I understand why you'd like to have them.You can ask the police for them, but they don't have to give them to you and probably won't. If you've done that, and they've denied you, you could get what they have by subpoena.A subpoena is a court order, and to get such an order, you need to sign off on the order. The only way a judge will sign a court order is if you are in litigation and the documents are necessary and relevant to your case. So if, for example, you were suing someone for the wrongful death of your family member, you can subpoena relevant documents from the police. Or if the state is prosecuting, the prosecutor may be willing to share some discovery material with the family.Otherwise, you'd have to put in a request for the documents under your the Freedom of Information Act. Quite a lot is theoretically accessible that way, but in actuality, anything confidential will be edited out of the documents, so you may not be able to see what you're hoping most to be able to read. But that's your only avenue.Here's information on the Freedom of Information Act request for DC: They have a link for online submission, and will walk you through the process and the appeal process as well if your claim is denied.