In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it is revealed that many Ministry officials were Imperiused by the Death Eaters, and committed otherwise punishable crimes. It is also stated in various canon sources (Pottermore) that if a person is under a mind control spell, such as Imperius, he/she is clear of all charges.

But if the person in question is killed (presumably in action), is there a way to determine if they had been cursed (and acted under someone's control), once they are dead?

By "determine" I mean "obtain first hand evidence from the subject or their dead body directly by magical means" without relying on second hand evidence (witnesses, etc). Like in the real life, we may detect that a person was under influence of drugs, by performing a medical test. Or, in Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire, use of Priori Incantatem to detect that a certain spell has been cast by a given wand.

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    First, please clarify "determine". I'm not a lawyer, please forgive me if I use words wrong, but I know that usually when a crime happens, there is a really complicated process, some investigation that comes to a conclusion. Are you talking about some clearly identifiable and irrefutable trace or some spell that reveals what has happened? Because I would assume that there is a method to determine what happened and it's an investigation, the same stuff that we have in reality. The books hint at wizards using such methods if I'm not mistaken. For example, Harry's trial-thingy in book 5. – Raditz_35 Sep 21 '18 at 10:53
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    Second (not enough space), it is pointed out quite often that people that are still alive claim to have been influenced when they were not to get out of a hairy situation. While I can make up some reason why determining this could be more difficult for a person that is alive, I do not know why this has to be the case and I'm not aware of any indication. Could you comment on why you believe that people that are still alive get away with it, but it is reasonable to assume that there could be a method to determine it for the dead? – Raditz_35 Sep 21 '18 at 10:54
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    By "determine" I mean "obtain first hand evidence from the subject directly" without relying on second hand evidence (witnesses, etc). Example: use of Priori incantatem to detect that a certain spell has been cast by a given wand. If a subject is alive, then they are cleared when the curse is lifted. But does it leave a detectable trace when they are dead? – TimSparrow Sep 21 '18 at 11:10
  • You don't need to include update/edit headings, we can tell from the revision history. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 21 '18 at 11:16
  • Thanks, this excludes the trivial answer. I still wish you would comment on my 2nd point though. It just makes more sense to establish first that you can determine it and then establish that it still works on a dead person than jumping to the more specific problem that is less likely to have any canonical answers. Many questions here get answered by using common sense and stating that nothing of the sort has ever been stated, kind of like the investigation I mentioned. So why not solve the general problem first? It's the logical first step imo – Raditz_35 Sep 21 '18 at 11:49

There doesn’t seem to be a way to determine who’s Imperiused.

There doesn’t seem to be any magical way of determining if someone was or is under the Imperius Curse. After the first war against the Dark Lord, the Ministry has difficulty figuring out who had acted of their own free will and who had been under the Imperius Curse. If there was a magical way of determining who was Imperiused, figuring it out wouldn’t have been so difficult for the Ministry.

“Years back, there were a lot of witches and wizards being controlled by the Imperius Curse,’ said Moody, and Harry knew he was talking about the days in which Voldemort had been all-powerful. ‘Some job for the Ministry, trying to sort out who was being forced to act, and who was acting of their own free will.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 14 (The Unforgivable Curses)

In addition, the Ministry wasn’t always right in their final decision. Some of the Death Eaters were able to claim they were Imperiused and get themselves cleared despite having acted of free will.

“Avery – from what I’ve heard he wormed his way out of trouble by saying he’d been acting under the Imperius Curse – he’s still at large.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 27 (Padfoot Returns)

Both Avery and Lucius Malfoy were known to have gotten themselves acquitted this way. If there was a magical way to determine if someone was Imperiused, it should have a better success rate.

It doesn’t seem likely this would change if the person is dead.

There’s nothing in canon that implies this would change and the Imperius Curse would become detectable by magical means if the person who was possibly Imperiused was dead. The Imperius Curse doesn’t seem to leave a detectable presence on living people, since it’s clearly shown that there isn’t a reliable way of determining whether someone was under it, and there’s no reason given to think it would suddenly become detectable after death. It seems much more likely that the Imperius Curse would still leave no trace after the person’s death.

  • That is also the first that came to mind, it is one of the mayor topics in the books. I would just amend that we know that people got away claiming the Imperius. But we don't know whether it is really impossible to determine or whether the authorities were just not interested (whether bribes, secret sympathizers or whatever reason). – QuestionAuthority Sep 21 '18 at 18:12
  • @QuestionAuthority If there was a known way to determine if someone was under the Imperius Curse, even if some Ministry officials didn’t want to use it, once other wizards knew about it they’d expect the Ministry to use the more reliable method. Also, there were other officials like Barty Crouch Sr. who would want it used, as they were intent on catching the Death Eaters. As no one complained about the Ministry being either corrupt or incompetent (including people who’d know like Arthur Weasley), it’s unlikely there was any way they could be expected to reliably determine who was Imperiused. – Bellatrix Sep 21 '18 at 18:57
  • I could think of Veritaserum or an unbreakable vow. But I agree that is a help in interrogation and not a direct detection. – QuestionAuthority Sep 23 '18 at 14:47

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