This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, Flowers & Forensics, seeing the judge, and knock and notice. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 74 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional, quality crime related fiction. This week I'm giving you a tip on a great new forensic science resource, and I'm also answering your questions about getting a warrant signed by a judge and the realities of knock and notice. But first, as always, I need to thank my gold shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp of vickitharp.com, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com, and Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com for their support. I also want to send a huge thank you to my Coffee Club patrons. You can find the links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/74, and to learn about setting up your own Patreon count for your author business, or to support the show for as little as $2 per month, visit writersdetective.com/patreon. P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
Before we get to this week's questions, I have a fantastic forensics resource that I'm really excited to share with you. I will include this in the January Writer's Detective APB that will be going out later this week, which if you aren't already aware is my mailing list. One of my new year's resolutions is to be more on top of my mailing list for 2020, so if you're interested in getting emails from me with curated links to writer's resources like the one I'm about to share with you, just go to writersdetective.com/mailinglist to sign up.
Okay. This name may sound familiar because she's been a long time member in the Writer's Detective Facebook group, answering all sorts of forensics questions. I'm happy to share that Melissa Kreikemeier has a brand new website and blog at flowersandforensics.com. Melissa is a former forensic scientist turned professional editor specializing in crime fiction and other scientific content. Melissa is awesome and she's already killing it with her blog by covering things like what crime scene investigators actually wear, or how long do DNA results actually take. What are the different types of crime labs and how do they work, and a whole lot more. Definitely bookmark this resource for future reference. Melissa tells me she has quite a few more informative blog posts already scheduled to go live soon. So again, her site is flowersandforensics.com
In the Writer's Detective Q&A Facebook group, author K.A. Lugo of jackslaughterthrillers.com and I had a back and forth about serving a search warrant at a crime scene. It brought up the topic of who actually gets the warrant signed. I've talked a lot about search warrants and arrest warrants on this podcast, and even how statements of probable cause are part of a warrant affidavit. How an affidavit is actually an application for a search warrant and how the one authoring an affidavit for a warrant is called an affiant, or affiant. However you want to pronounce it. But in my conversation with K.A., I realized I've overlooked a pretty important aspect of being the affiant in seeking a search or arrest warrant. In K.A.'s scene she had the detective Lieutenant bringing the search warrant to the scene where the detectives were about to serve the warrant.
From a writer's perspective, this seems like a pretty logical thing for the boss to do, right? Because getting the warrant is a very important thing and that's what bosses do, very important things. Or at least they like to think so. But here's the thing, it's the detective that gets the search warrant. It's not because it's, here we go with air quotes again, their job to get the warrant. The reason it's the detective's job to get the warrant, signed by the judge, is because the detective is the affiant or affiant. I still like affiant better. When you author a warrant affidavit, you bring that affidavit and the warrant itself, the warrant being the court ordered that the judge signs, and the affiant swears to the judge under penalty of perjury that in that affidavit the detective believes that the facts set forth are the truth as far as they know. The judge will not sign a warrant until the person who wrote the affidavit swears that what they've written to tell the judge the story of what happened so far and the explanation of how this equates to sufficient probable cause is the truth... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau. Items in Evidence, Assessing Urgency, and Police Radio Encryption. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Happy new year. Happy 2020 welcome to episode number 73 of the Writer's Detective Bureau. The podcast still dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime related fiction. And this week I'm answering your questions about whether a search warrant is needed to seize evidence from another police agencies' evidence room, assessing urgency and the realities of police radios being encrypted. But first I need to thank my gold shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com. C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com. Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp at vickitharp.com. Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com and Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com for their support and also a huge thank you as always to my coffee club patrons. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/73 and to learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, or to support the show for as little as $2 per month, visit writersdetective.com/patreon P. A. T. R. E. O. N.
As I'm recording this Australia is fighting enormous brush fires right now. As a longtime resident and first responder in Southern California, I know firsthand how devastating these wildfires can be and the size of the burn in Australia is unprecedented, far beyond anything I've seen in California. So please join me in donating directly to the front lines where help is needed most. I've listed several agencies you can donate to, whether it's a specific fire service supporting animal rescue efforts or the relief efforts through Red Cross or Salvation Army. All of those links are in the show notes at writersdetective.com/73 and if you can't donate money right now, you can help spread the word through your own social media channels. I know I have listeners and even some patrons in new South Wales, so please know that we're thinking about you all and we're doing our best to help you guys.
This week's first question comes from Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com. Hey Adam, good to hear you're feeling better. Thank you very much. The sickness over the holiday was not fun. I have a followup question on the current podcast. If police department A needs to obtain evidence that police department B has in their possession, do they need a warrant or is it sufficient that department B already had a warrant to collect it? What process and paperwork would be needed? Would it be different if the two departments are in different States? What if the feds are one of the departments and the local PD is the other? Thanks for the question, Craig.
In the United States search warrants are, as we've talked about many times, the way government is able to legally search a location based upon the framework laid out in the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution, which says, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized."
So the relationship the fourth amendment is talking about is the one between the people and the government. So from a constitutional standpoint, the government has already legally seized the evidence. Since your scenario you mentioned that the police department B had a search warrant when they seized the evidence. So no, a second search warrant would not be needed as we're not talking about trying to seize evidence from a private person. As for the paperwork, there would certainly be a chain of custody form to sign, which is an official record of who had the evidence and when. And then of course there would also be various reports in both agencies, normal cases that would document the transfer from one agency to the other, and there'd be an explanation in the report as to why this was a logical or needed thing to do. All those T's would be crossed and I's dotted because defense attorneys will and rightly so, scrutinize anything that might remotely appear to be evidence tampering... Continue reading...
12/29/2019 0 Comments
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, one free phone call from jail, video evidence, and inmate release notifications. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 72 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime related fiction. In this last episode of the decade, I'm answering your questions about your one free phone call from jail, obtaining video evidence from another department, and notifying victims of an offender's release from custody. But first, I need to thank Gold Shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp of vickitharp.com, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com, and Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com for their support. And I'd also like to send a huge thank you to my Coffee Club patrons, I really appreciate you guys. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/72 and to learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business or to support this show for as little as $2 per month, visit writersdetective.com/patreon. P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
Welcome to the last Writer's Detective Bureau episode of the decade. I hope you've had a wonderful holiday season and thanks for sticking with me after my unanticipated break. Santa brought me a sinus and upper respiratory infection that required three doctor's visits in three different rounds of medication and after recording episode 71, the infection caused bronchitis, which we were careful not to have turned into pneumonia fortunately. So, thanks for your understanding with me missing an episode last week. Fortunately, the hardcore antibiotics have... well, they've got me back to 100% now and it was just in time for me to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in order to allow my counterpart to have some Santa time with his young kids for the holiday.
But all in all, it was a great holiday, so I hope you guys had one as well. I'm thankful for feeling so much better. Oh, and my wife knocked it out of the park with my Christmas gift this year. She got me a fricking cappuccino machine for as much as she says I'm hard to buy for, she proved how much she truly knows me. And I'd like to know the one thing you were most thankful for this holiday season. Post the picture on Instagram and tag me @writersdetective. And that way, as we wind down this decade, I'd love to be able to see of your holiday cheer and the things that made you smile. All right, so let's get into this week's first question.
Bec Hatch asked this question in the Facebook group, which if you haven't joined yet, you can find by going to writersdetectivebureau.com/facebook. So Bec writes, "I have a question about a recently arrested person, that single phone call they get to make. Is that recorded or listened to by the police? Can my guy make it completely in private or will the arresting officers be nearby? Thank you." Hey, Bec, your arrested person gets a free completed phone call upon arrest, and it may be as many as three free phone calls. But they can make additional calls after that, it's just that they're going to have to pay for them one way or another. Usually the person receiving the phone call will have to pay like an old-school collect call, and then we'll talk about calling cards and stuff in a minute. But all outbound phone calls from the jail are recorded with the exception of calls that are flagged as going to known local attorney's offices, like the phone number for the attorney's office is flagged in the system... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, transsexual protagonists, Inside Man, and romance undercover.
I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 71 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime related fiction. This week I'm answering your questions about how human resources at a police department would handle confidentiality of a transsexual employee, poking plot holes through the movie Inside Man, and handling romance while undercover.
But first, I need to thank gold shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson of ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp of vickitharp.com, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com, Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com, and Joan Raymond of joanraymondwritinganddesign.com for their support.
I also want to send a huge thank you to my coffee club patrons. I really do appreciate each and every one of you. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/71.
To learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, or to support this show for as little as $2 per month visit writersdetective.com/patreon. P-A-T-R-E-O-N
Welcome back to the Bureau. I had an unintentional one week hiatus, a little more than one week actually, due to a sinus and upper respiratory infection, which kept me in bed and sounding horrible for over a week. Well, I still sound horrible, so I apologize for that, but the show must go on. So let's get into this week's first question.
Tony Dutson writes, "I'm one of those who found the Writer's Detective Bureau through the Creative Pen podcast and Love Your Work. I also have a sticky question for the Bureau. When Hollywood went into overdrive by flipping character's sexual preferences, they've done better lately. I wanted to write a trans anti-hero like a trans Dexter or Hannibal Lecter. My character goes through the complete sex reassignment surgery, female to male, before becoming a CSI. My question is how much of his reassignment will be revealed by the hiring process and will that information be kept confidential? Will senior officers be informed or will HR keep the reassignment confidential?"
Great questions, Tony. I will confess that I know very little about labor law or human relations, human resources work, but I do know that their primary focus is to maintain an inclusive and safe workspace. So for starters, if your character transitioned prior to being employed by the police department, then it's a nonissue. The department can't even ask about gender as part of the hiring process. Applicants for police officer positions do go through full on medical examinations, but it sounds like your character is more of a civilian crime scene investigation specialist or forensic technician or serologist or however you want to classify the title. Those jobs as a civilian likely don't have the same kind of medical exam as part of the hiring process, but even if it was disclosed, then yes, it would be kept confidential.
Now, if a supervisor came to HR and inquired, now, regardless of whether HR knew any of those details about their employee, that would likely be treated as an effort to single out that employee and should spur its own inquiry. I guess walking into HR and asking the gender of an employee, you know, especially of a subordinate is not normal workplace behavior. I'm pretty sure no one's ever walked into my HR asking about my gender, you know, so who does that? The answer is that it's someone who's looking to make it an issue and that's a big red flag. From statistics that I've read 90% of people identifying as transsexual report sexual harassment in the workplace, 90%, and I can only imagine that percentage would be even higher in law enforcement, unfortunately. I personally would hazard a guess that the other 10% in that survey didn't trust the surveyor enough to admit it in the survey without fear of repercussion... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, boot, deconfliction, and pending further leads. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 70 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime-related fiction. And this week I'm answering your questions about being on field training as a trainee police officer, how interagency deconfliction works for narcotics investigations, and what paperwork duties in the Detective Bureau might really look like. But first, I need to thank my gold shield patreons, Debra Dunbar, from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp, of vickitharp.com, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelia.com, Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com, for their support. And to Joan Raymond of joanraymondwritinganddesign.com for upping her monthly pledge to the gold shield level. And I am also hugely thankful for my coffee club patrons. I really do appreciate you. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/70. And to learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business or to support the show for as little as $2 a month, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
For those listeners here in the United States, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and regardless of where you are in the world, I am thankful for having you as a listener. I spent my Thanksgiving at home fortunate not to have to work, surrounded by friends and family, which more than makes up for the fact that I will be working through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which I'm happy to do so. My counterpart will be able to be at home with his little ones on Christmas morning. With this being the last day of November, it also means we've hit the end of NaNoWriMo, so if you were taking part, I hope you hit your writing goals.
All right, let's get into this week's first question. This week's first question comes from Darlene Chaney, who posted in our Facebook group, which if you haven't joined yet, you can quickly find by going to writersdetectivebureau.com/facebook. Darlene writes, yep, it's me again. I've been told that a rookie cop has to have their field training officer, FTO, with them at all times while on duty. Is this correct? Darlene posted this in our Facebook group and gold shield patreon, Craig Kingsman, helpfully replied, well, the rookie can use the restroom by himself. In all seriousness, FTOs are there to train the new officer. So yes, if they are still in the FTO phase, meaning still in field training, they should be with them at all times when out in public. And this is primarily for the trainee's own safety.
As I've mentioned on this podcast before, the majority of the tactics that we've developed over the years when it comes to officer safety tactics, are one's learned from officers being killed in the line of duty. So if your trainees only law enforcement experience is having gone through six months of a police academy or however long it was, then they still have a ton to learn about doing the job safely in the real world, meaning not getting themselves or their partners killed. When you are out in public and you're in uniform, things happen in an instant. And it seems that some cops, and I know that military veterans will attest to this too, but it seems that every squad or unit has someone that gets more than their fair share of the random, crazy, unavoidable stuff happening to them or right in front of them. And we call these officers shit magnets. Shit magnets will have the DUI car crash happen right in front of their patrol car. Or they will walk out the door of the coffee shop and right into a domestic violence situation unfolding. Shit finds them just like a magnet... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau justified shootings, FBI arrests in calling for backup. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the Writer's detective Bureau. Welcome to episode 69 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime related fiction. This week I'm proving I've grown beyond seventh grade humor mostly, and I'm answering your questions about an investigation into a justified shooting, where FBI books there are arrestees, and calling for backup.
But first, I need to thank my Gold Shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp, vickitharp.com, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barrelli of nataliebarelli.com, and Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com for their support. I also want to send a huge thank you to my Coffee Club patrons. I really do appreciate you. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/69. To learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, or to support the show for as little as $2 per month, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
..This week's first question comes from Marco Carocari, who asked this in the Facebook group, "During a shootout, my protagonist who's a regular guy manages to stop the antagonist by shooting him, and saves a detective's life, who's with him at the scene. What happens to my protagonist when the responding team of officers and detectives arrive?" The shooting happens on different turf than the detective whose life he saved is assigned to." And also, "What is the process of detectives getting info from my protagonist, interview him there or at the precinct process for fingerprints, photos, et cetera. What else? How long would all of that take approximately? Since he's a witness, I assume he's free to leave after the interview. The antagonist/perp's shot, as well as the second detective shot by the perp are in critical condition at a nearby hospital, if that makes a difference. If my protagonist fully cooperates, can he have legal representation there? Or would that end any interview if he seeks right to counsel? Thank you for your feedback."
There is a lot to answer here, so I'm going to take Marco's questions one at a time. What happens to my protagonist when the responding team of officers and detectives arrive? The arriving officers are going to treat this like every other shooting scene they respond to. They'll treat everyone as a potential threat until deemed otherwise. Meaning, officer safety is going to be the responding officers primary concern as they arrive. Once they've locked down the scene and deemed it safe, so to speak, they're going to assess and deal with any threats to life they encounter. And by that I mean, medical threat to life. Somebody is about to die out. We just had multiple shootings. So that means getting the evidence destroyers. Sorry. I mean the fire and medics. Kidding. Kind of not really. But getting fire and medics to respond to the scene to treat anyone that's been shot or injured.
Realistically, they would have already staged in the area having been dispatched at approximately the same time as the police officers. So they just wait nearby until it's safe for them to come into the area. From there, the patrol officers will request detectives respond out most likely. And that will most likely be done through an established notification protocol of some sort. Marco, I know you're writing about LAPD, so I'm assuming this scene is happening outside the city limits of Los Angeles based on not being on his turf. So for the sake of answering this, let's just say this happens in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, which is the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. So assuming we're in sheriff's jurisdiction, the patrol supervisor, likely a sergeant that is overseeing the patrol deputies, that initially respond to this call, they would request, or that sergeant would request the sheriff's department's detectives.
Depending on the sheriff's departments notification protocol, That could be handled in one of a few ways. The sergeants on duty supervisor, most likely a patrol lieutenant who might be referred to as a watch commander might be the one to notify the supervisor in detectives. Given that this is Los Angeles, there's a pretty good chance that they have detectives working on a night shift, so it could also be as simple as that patrol sergeant calling the on-duty night detective. Now that only really happens in very large jurisdictions. The majority of the country doesn't have night detectives. And then another alternative might be to make the request over the radio to dispatch, and then dispatch handles the notification to the watch commander or the detective supervisor or even an on duty detective directly. I can't speak to the absolute correct answer here as I don't know what the current protocol or staffing levels are like at the sheriff's department currently, but I'd go with whichever of those options works best for your story... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau: 20BooksVegas, POIs and UNSUBs and wire tap technicalities.
I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 68 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime related fiction. And this week I'm talking about the 20BooksVegas conference and answering your questions about police acronyms and slang like POI and UNSUB as well as the more technical side of setting up a wiretap investigation.
But first I need to thank Gold Shield Patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicky Tharp of vickytharp.com, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com and Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com for their support. I also want to send a huge thank you to my coffee club patrons, both my brand new coffee club members and those of you that have been supporting me for months and even over a year now. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/68. To learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business or to support the show for as little as $2 a month, visit writersdetective.com/patreon. P A T R E O N.
If you hear some extra rasp in my voice this week, it's likely because I just got home from 20BooksVegas. Whiskey, cigars, and speaking on the police procedural panel took their toll on my throat, but all of it was an absolute blast. Patrick O'Donnell, author of the book Cops and Writers moderated the panel and we were joined by author and former LAPD detective, Paul Bishop, who is a master at interview and interrogation as well as Scott Moon, who is not only an author and police sergeant, but is also one of the hosts of the Keystroke Medium podcast. So definitely check that one out as well. The highlight of the entire conference though was getting to meet so many of you. I still find it very surreal that you are really out there listening to me talking to this microphone in my home office. So for those of you that came up to say hello, thank you so much.
There were a lot of highlights like drinking whiskey and beer on Mark Dawson's dime. Thank you Mark. Not that you're listening and hanging out every night with my new best buddy Patrick O'Donnell. Now we were already friends online and through the telephone, but we are definitely drinking and cigar smoking buddies for real now. And by the way Patrick, well so I should let you guys know that on Patrick's way home, that bastard won $1,000 on a video poker machine at the airport. Nobody wins at the airport. I know you're listening, Patrick, you are buying the next steak dinner next year. Seriously, if that isn't a sign that you are in the right place doing the right thing. And by that I mean heading into retirement in a matter of weeks and getting more writing done, then I don't know what is. You deserve it buddy. Okay, so I can't stop talking about 20Books because it was overwhelming.
I mean, it was overwhelmingly awesome, but it was a lot to process. Being only five or six hours from Vegas depending on traffic, the drive home was the perfect way to decompress and think about the entire weekend. You may, since we're just kind of getting to know one through this magic of the podcast thing, I guess I should explain that I'm an introvert. What Myers-Briggs calls an INFP or an INFP-A depending on what online test you take, but I'm an introvert that has learned how to put on the extroverted hat or helmet when needed. I wear more helmets than hats these days, but you might be surprised to learn just how many cops are actually introverts, which I think plays more into that gruff public exterior that many cops have than most people realize. So keep that in mind for your character creation.
But anyway, the conference. 20BooksVegas was amazing, especially for introverts. I've been to a ton of conferences and trainings over the last two decades, probably more than most pharmaceutical salespeople and there have only been a handful that would classify as amazing. 20BooksVegas was one of them. 20BooksVegas is the main conference for the 20BooksTo50K group, a conference of self published authors that are there to learn how to grow their self publishing author business meeting other self published authors that are making five, six and even seven figure incomes. Man. I mean, this is not snake oil salesmanship, none of the phony get off your feet and dance, MLM motivation, musical conference kind of stuff. No one was selling you on anything but the power of you. A lot of hard work and some pretty tactical and practical knowledge.
This conference was unlike any other because everyone there... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau: hate crimes, proactive investigations, and island time of death. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode 67 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime-related fiction. And this week I'm answering your questions about what constitutes a hate crime. How do you search warrants in a proactive investigation where a crime hasn't occurred yet, and death investigations in paradise.
But before we get into that, as always, I need to thank Gold Shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicky Tharp of vickitharp.com, Chris Ann, Larry Darter, and Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com for their support. Also special thanks to Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com for upping his monthly Patreon pledge to the Gold Shield level. Thank you so much. I also want to send a huge thank you to my Coffee Club patrons for your support. You all keep the lights on in the Bureau and I truly appreciate every single one of you. You can find links to all of the listeners supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/67. And to learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
..And our first question this week comes from author Jesse Nori. Jesse writes, "Hi. What makes a crime a hate crime? What evidence would be needed to prosecute a crime as a hate crime? And do the accused ever point the finger back at prosecutors saying, 'I'm only being prosecuted because I'm part of a marginalized group and therefore prosecuting me is a hate crime', or some such thing. Hopefully you get the point. Thanks." Great question, Jesse. Crimes become hate crimes when the motive for the crime, the specific intention of the suspect was to commit the crime against their victim because of the victim's perceived disability, gender, nationality, race, or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or the victim's association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. So if I commit any crime, a battery, a robbery, a rape, a murder, because of my perception of your gender or sexual orientation or race or what have you, then that's a hate crime even if that list doesn't actually apply to you.
But let's say I, as the suspect think it applies to you, that makes it a hate crime. Does that make sense? So if I hit someone because I think they're gay, then that's a hate crime, regardless of whether or not my victim is actually gay or not. The key thing to understand is that hate crimes are really just regular crimes like robbery, battery, rape, murder, like I just mentioned, but they are committed with an intent of hatred against a perceived characteristic. What makes this hate crime designation different is that it is a sentence enhancement, meaning stiffer penalties for the crime than if it was just a regular crime not motivated by hate. Now for your detective. It means they need to not only prove who committed the crime, but they also have to prove that their intention was based on targeting this victim because of one or more of those characteristics listed in the criminal statute.
So that may hinge on the interrogation of the suspect, or it could be proven by witness statements about what the suspect, let's say, was yelling or was wearing at the time of the crime. Can I prove a stabbing is a hate crime because a light-skinned male stabs a dark skinned male? Just given those facts, no, I can't. But if I have witness statements, or cell phone video, or surveillance video of the suspect yelling racial slurs at the time of the attack, or wearing neo-Nazi tattoos or clothing while attacking a victim that is perceived to have a characteristic like dark skin or sexual orientation that neo-Nazis are known to target, that's a pretty easy hate crime to prove. Pretty much any crime can be a hate crime, if you can show the relation between the crime and the victim or victims being targeted.
Is a swastika painted on your own front door a crime? Probably not, thanks to the first amendment's right to free speech, unless you have a landlord. And I know some of my EU listeners are probably thinking, "What the ... right now?" But painting that same swastika on a synagogue, or a church, or a gay bar is definitely a hate crime because it's vandalism, the crime, targeting the person or persons associated with that location... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, subject matter experts, red dot lasers and approaching suspects. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 66 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime related fiction. And this week I'm answering your questions about the role subject matter experts play in an investigation, the real purpose behind those red dot laser sights for firearms and my thoughts behind approaching a suspect you want to interview. And as always, I need to thank my gold shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keaton, Vicki Tharp of vickitharp.com, Chrysann, Larry Darter, and Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com for their support. Also, a special thanks to one of my anonymous patrons for upping their pledge to the gold shield level.
I give these shout outs as a thank you, but you are by no means required to have your name or website mentioned. Either way, thank you all for your support and my thanks of course also to my coffee club patrons for their support. You all keep the lights on in the Bureau and I truly appreciate every single one of you. You can find links to all of the, I'll call them nonymous, which is the opposite of an of anonymous, right? So all the anonymous writers supporting this episode, you can find them in the show notes at writersdetective.com/66. And to learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
As I record this, it's day two of NaNoWriMo. It's the 2nd of November, 2019 and I hope you've had a solid start if you are partaking in NaNo, and you might actually just want to hit pause right now and get your word count in. Hopefully, this is a prize for you, or some sort of little present you're giving yourself after having completed your daily word count. We are just a few days away from 20BooksVegas, the conference that I'm attending. So if you are attending, please come join me and Patrick O'Donnell, from Cops and Writers, for happy hour on Tuesday night at Billy Joe's bar at the conference.
And check out our police procedural panel on Thursday at 1:00 PM. Patrick's moderating the panel and I will be one of his speakers. So according to the Sched App, that's like schedule, or schedule, S-C-H-E-D, that the conference is using, we already have 140 people attending our panel. So if you are attending 20BooksVegas, I will include a link in the show notes to the sched.com page where you can RSVP for your seat and I cannot wait to meet you. All right, so let's get into this week's first question.
Native Ben-Meir asks, "You speak about cops working with PIs and how it is a one way street. What about expert consultants? Could they get involved in the case as they do on TV shows or is that pure fiction? What about volunteers? Could they be more involved in the case or would they be no more than an administrator lackey? Could you even have volunteers involved in a crime or murder investigation? And the obvious followup would be a PI which volunteers with the police?" Thanks for the questions, Native.
It isn't pure fiction, but it is far more limited than TV will have you believe in most cases. Most experts get involved with a case when it comes to testimony during trial, to explain to a jury what the expert believes the evidence should mean to them, which leads experts to being called by both the prosecution and the defense, often to provide competing expert analysis. When experts are used by law enforcement during the investigative process, they're being used for a very specific purpose and the detectives will limit the information given to the expert to only that part of the case for which they need expert advice. They will intentionally limit how involved the expert actually gets in the investigation itself.
"Agent Starling, where the heck did this come from? It's practically mush."
"It was found behind the soft palate of a murder victim. The body was in the Elk River, West Virginia."
"It's Buffalo Bill, isn't it?"
"I'm afraid I can't tell you any more about that."
"We heard about it on the radio. You mean, this is like a clue from a real murder case? Cool."
"Just ignore him. He's not a PhD."
When Clarice Starling reaches out to the entomologists, in Silence of the Lambs, she doesn't read them in on her serial killer investigation. She needs their expert opinion on the one thing she's inquiring about and that's it. Also, by limiting the information provided to only what is necessary, it helps prevent any eventual argument by the defense that the expert's opinions were tainted by the investigators.
Besides experts, or not, they are people and people love to talk, especially when they're doing something important. So just like when the entomologists in Silence of the Lambs are asking if it's involving the Buffalo Bill case, she shuts them down. Need to know, right to know, is always the smartest play... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, The Ripoff Episode. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau. Welcome to episode number 65 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional-quality crime-related fiction. Unfortunately this week, I am totally ripping you off by only answering one question, and it's about burglary. Real quick, I need to thank my gold shield patrons, Deborah Dunbar, C.C. Jamison, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barelli, and all of my coffee club patrons for their support month after month. To learn more about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
Welcome to The Ripoff Episode, sponsored by, not really, Stanley Steemer. Okay, I'm calling this The Ripoff Episode, not because of this week's only question is about burglary, but because I literally need to be on the road in half an hour, and my entire scheduled recording time today has my neighbor getting their carpets cleaned by Stanley Steemer. Now, they do a great and thorough job, which means they have been making noise for hours, and I'm trying to get this episode recorded while the steamer's pump is off right now, so let's get into it. This week's question comes from Stephanie Burnham. "Can you describe how the police handle a residence that's been burgled? In Baltimore, I saw a burglary detail visit the victim and they dusted for fingerprints, surveyed for footprints, and use Ziploc bags for dust and fiber particles. Is it the same in California, San Diego per se?"
Before I get into answering Stephanie's question, just real quick, burglary is the crime of intentionally entering a building to commit theft or any felony. In some states, they may refer to this as breaking and entering, but in California, and San Diego in particular, the crime is burglary, which is a very different crime from robbery, which is the taking of property from a person through force or fear. Just remember a house isn't robbed, it's burglarized.
All right, to answer your question, Stephanie burglaries are initially investigated by the patrol officers that respond to the initial call that the resident made to the police, and they will take a report as to what was taken. They will note especially the timeframe for when it could have possibly happened, and then they'll search for evidence just as you saw in Baltimore. And that could mean dusting for fingerprints or even canvassing the neighborhood to identify witnesses or find neighbors with surveillance cameras or Ring doorbells that may have caught footage of the suspects.
Most patrol cars will have a latent fingerprint kit for them to be able to dust for prints and a basic crime scene kit for collecting evidence, but if it's going to be an extended forensics search, they may call for CSI, and CSI could be the department's forensics team, forensic science team, or it could be somebody on the patrol squad that has a little bit more CSI training and has a more advanced CSI kit assigned to them. It could be one of those two things. Once the report is written, it may go to a detective for follow-up, or the case may be suspended if there aren't any further leads. And like I've said before on this podcast, it's not about the money, it's about the money... Continue reading...
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