2/23/2020 0 Comments
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, experience is the greatest teacher prosecuting a serial killer and federal supervised release. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau. Welcome to episode number 80 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 little things that police work teaches cops about daily life, prosecuting a serial killer when not all of the victims have been found, and how someone on federal supervised release would show up on the radar of the US marshals.
But first, I need to thank gold shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from Debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from CCJameson.com, Larry Keaton, 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 and silver cufflink patrons. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/80. To learn more 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.
Before I get into this week's questions, after last week's podcast episode where I talked about the ethical concepts of utilitarianism and deontology, Rankin Johnson commented in the Facebook group, "Adam, I'm a regular listener of your podcast and I enjoy it, but I just listened to the February 15th podcast and I didn't think you gave a fair interpretation of utilitarianism. You said that a utilitarian might not arrest the police chief's kid for DUI, which would avoid an embarrassing story in the paper. John Stuart Mill would be horrified. A utilitarian might choose not to arrest for DUI because arresting the defendant would cause him to lose his job and thereby his house rendering his children homeless or because if he arrested the chief's kid, the charges would be dismissed and he would be fired and could no longer provide for his family. But in light of the harm caused by drunk driving, I suspect that most utilitarians would want to see the drunk driver arrested.
"Utilitarianism, like any other moral philosophy can be twisted or misused to reach a desired end, but that's not the flaw in the theory. It's user error." To which I replied, "Rankin, you are 100% correct about this and I'll offer a more accurate account of how utilitarianism can be the right thing to do in a practical law enforcement scenario." And then Rankin kindly replied, "Law enforcement looks inherently utilitarian to me because it's filled with choices about where to spend limited resources. By contrast, when I was working as a criminal defense attorney, my arguments were often deontological. The police officer didn't have a lawful reason to search the trunk of the car. So it doesn't matter that he found 17 pounds of cocaine in a dead body, or that hearing had to be held within three days of arrest. It doesn't matter that the arresting officer was in the hospital because my client allegedly shot him."
So first of all, Rankin offered excellent examples of deontology at work right there. So in his examples, the right thing for the police officer to do was to obey the fourth amendment. So the question is whether it's right to search the trunk or not, and whether the officer found the cocaine and the dead body shouldn't factor into the analysis of right version versus wrong. Because in deontology, as we talked about last episode, the outcome is irrelevant. It's whether the act itself is moral. But to get back to Rankin's original point, I did not give utilitarianism a fair shake in my example. Now, if you recall from the last episode, I talked about the decision on whether to arrest a police chief's son for DUI. And I agree with Rankin that my commentary wasn't a fair interpretation of utilitarianism. A more appropriate example might be one where an officer pulls over a woman for speeding. He quickly learns that she's a single mom raising two kids and speeding to get from her day job to her night job because she works two minimum wage jobs to provide for her kids and barely makes ends meet... Continue reading...
2/16/2020 0 Comments
This week, on the Writer's Detective Bureau: privatizing the police, the driving philosophy of law enforcement and sucking chest wounds. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 79 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 the perils of privatizing police work, the driving philosophy of law enforcement, and how you can differentiate your characters by how they view their jobs and what happens when a screwdriver is used as a weapon to the chest. But first, I need to thank Gold Shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson of ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicky 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 Silver Cufflink and Coffee Club patrons for supporting this episode. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/79. 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.
Jason is back again this week and he writes in asking about the theme of soft localized collapse in law enforcement options. So Jason says, "I'd like to hear about what infrastructure and say, creative legislation may currently exist that allows for privatization of law enforcement. In the absence of such infrastructure, would you mind taking a kick at explaining what that might look like, what national or statewide events might cause it, and maybe best and worst case scenarios as to how traditional law enforcement personnel like yourself might view such things? Sheepdog instincts go haywire? Some of you guys put on masks Batman style where jurisdictions overlap? Feel free to go crazy with the speculation. Let's date ourselves again. Remember "Kuffs?" Christian Slater, I'm going to use a condition like the Police Special idea and run with it. I'd like to make it sound like law enforcement evolution gone awry, but eerie and believable."
Well, just to start as for law enforcement dawning masks like in the, "Watchmen," I don't see that happening when it comes to uniformed patrol. The whole reason we have badge numbers and name tags is because the public believes in accountability from its police. But that said, I have donned to balaclava quite often when I was serving search warrants while working in covert operations. So while there is a balance of overt versus covert, when it comes to operating the field, at least at the investigative level, not the patrol level, we don't get to hide our names in police reports or our faces when taking the stand in court. But yeah, good old Christian Slater as fourth wall breaking, San Francisco Patrol Special Officer Kuffs, circa 1992. I went back and watched a few YouTube clips of Kuffs and I'd actually seen that movie a few times when it first came out. I'd totally forgotten that the actor Troy Evans played police Captain Morino. Now, you might recognize Troy Evans as Detective Johnson, AKA Barrel, half of Crate and Barrel, that detective duo on Amazon's TV show, "Bosch." He's such a great actor.
Yeah, Patrol Specials still exist in San Francisco to this day, but City Hall and modern policing are slowly phasing out that police force. That, as far as I'm aware, is one of a kind. The San Francisco Patrol Special Police force has been around since 1847, which would've been smack in the middle of the San Francisco area's Gold Rush, and it was formed as a type of community policing force that was paid for by the local businesses and other private clients within a Patrol Special's beat. Now, that beat itself was actually a proprietary geographic area that the Patrol Special owns and can ultimately, sell when it comes time to retire to another Patrol Special. Back then, it was a novel way to subsidize extra policing in a big and growing city. But now with policing, in California especially, under continual mandates, requirements, and scrutiny as to their powers and expectations and authority, I fear that the Patrol Specials are losing a battle of attrition.
Although they still wear a police uniform, carry a gun, and a San Francisco PD radio, they no longer have peace officer powers of arrest, which means the ability to arrest based upon probable cause. Rather, their arrests are made under the citizens arrest section of the law, meaning their arrests are ones made solely when they observe a crime being committed... Continue reading...
This week on The Writer's Detective Bureau: Security Clearances, Task Forces, and FBI RAs. I'm Adam Richardson and this is The Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 78 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 security clearances, FBI Resident Agencies, which are their satellite offices, government budgets, and how chain of command works on a task force. So we've got a lot to cover this week. But first I need to thank my Gold Shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, CC Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicky Tharp of vickitharp.com, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com and Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com for their support. And huge thanks to my Silver Cufflink and Coffee Club patrons as well. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/78. 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.
A writer named Jason asked a series of questions for me to answer on this week's podcast. Jason writes: My near future domestic US detective is going to be working alongside an agent from a foreign organization whose operating protocols are extravagantly different. This foreign agent will be operating within my detective's own agency's jurisdiction and under his leadership, so we'll be conforming to strange, stricter standards. What I need to know is how, and under what circumstances, might something even similar to this come about? Specifically, this partnership in my book will be officially secret. It's intended to be ended once the problem that caused it to form is dealt with in about three to nine years. And I'd like to hear things like the names of departments, standards of operation or liaison offices. What would the chain of command look like and what conditions would the agency that dispatched them to investigations impose on such a partnership and its own right?
Do law enforcement agencies or even individual task forces "Hide things in the budget?" Were a state-level bureaucracy intending to add extraordinary duties in a secretive department to handle them to a local law enforcement agency, what means might they use to go about transferring the budget, keeping it hidden? And could you tell me who exactly they'd be trying to hide this from? Oversight of some sort I assume, but I've got no details. I guess I most need to know what would confine those two in that sort of position here in now, how they'd be hidden from the public and any tells that might give such a thing away so I can start warping it into something futuristic and wacky.
And then Jason goes on to say, "It's hard to tell what I find most valuable from your podcast, but I find one of the most inspiring things to be the invitation you give for the layman to dig into this sort of thing in the first place Among all the valuable information. I'd like to thank you for that the most. Had I not found your podcast, I don't know that I'd have written this ever... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, quarantine, narcotics case jurisdiction and SAR. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode 77 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime related fiction. This week, I'm talking about isolation and quarantine by public health, narcotic case jurisdiction, and using SAR to search for missing children.
And real quick, I need to thank Gold Shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp of vikitharp.com, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com, and Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com for their support with this episode. I also want to send a huge thanks to my coffee club patrons. And you can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/77. 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.
I was intrigued by the news story this week about the quarantine of Americans returning from China where there's obviously, as you know, been an outbreak of the Coronavirus, which led me down a bit of a research rabbit hole about the powers of public health authorities when it comes to quarantine or isolation. Federal law title 42 US code section 264, empowers the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Surgeon General, the power to isolate and quarantine. And that power has been delegated to the CDC, our Center for Disease Control, to handle the actual boots on the ground implementation of isolation or quarantine. Now that's at the federal level. And the states have one as well. So in California, we have a health and safety code that provides authority to the state's department of Health Services to conduct isolations and quarantines.
So according to the CDC website, if a quarantinable disease is suspected or identified, CDC may issue a federal isolation or quarantine order. So public health authorities at the federal, state, and local, and even tribal levels may sometimes seek help from police or other law enforcement officers to enforce a public health order. So according to the CDC, breaking a federal quarantine order is punishable by fines and imprisonment. And it's also a misdemeanor crime in most states for state level violations.
So what's the difference between isolation and quarantine? Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. So if you think back in history to the leper colonies, that would be isolation. Where quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. So the interesting thing and the reason why I'm talking about this, or at least interesting to me, is that the quarantine and isolation orders are issued by a health officer, not usually a judge like in a criminal matter. But it's still a matter of government restricting the movements and freedom of its citizens. So it could be an interesting area in the law to write about.
So if we were to look at detentions of citizens on a spectrum, with one end of the spectrum being public health and the other end of the spectrum, criminal apprehension, the closer we get to the criminal side of things, the more we start to deal with due process, like probable cause and needing warrants and authority from courts to do so. But on that public health end, the government can actually restrict your freedom of movement without any kind of legal due process. And I guess the middle ground of that public health on one end to criminal detention on the other spectrum would be mental health holds, which would be right in the middle. But anyway, check out cdc.gov for more on public health orders for quarantine and isolation, especially if you're considering writing a story about bioterrorism or how to deal with the legalities of dealing with a disease epidemic and preventing it from becoming a pandemic
So this week's first question comes from Marnie Werner. Marnie writes, "I have a jurisdiction question. I have a cabin in the woods where a drug gang is receiving bulk shipments of drugs and repackaging for sale. I haven't decided if it's located on county land, state forest or national forest land, but it's not on private property. Who has jurisdiction? In other words, who would go in and make the bust if it's located on state or national forest land? And what evidence would be needed for a warrant to do so?" And now that I think about it, is a warrant needed to go on the property if it's on public land and is a separate warrant needed to be able to arrest people? Does it make a difference if the cabin is owned by a private party or abandoned and not owned by anyone?"... Continue reading...
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