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...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, Preptober, FBI consultants and SWAT standoffs. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 64 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 preparation for NaNoWriMo, the state of the Bureau, creating an FBI consultant as a character and the role of a hostage negotiator in a SWAT standoff.
But before we get into that, as always, I need to thank my Gold Shield Patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjamison.com, Larry Keeton, Vicky Tharp of vickitharp.com, Chrysann, Jimmy Cowe of crimibox.com, Larry Darter, and Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com for their support. Also my huge thanks to the Coffee Club Patrons for their support month after month. You all keep the lights on in the Bureau and you can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode by going to the show notes at writersdetective.com/64. 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.
So as I record this, we are over halfway through October, 2019, or Preptober 2019 if you're planning on participating in NaNoWriMo. I'm sure you've heard of National Novel Writing Month, which is every November. But I'm encouraging you to join hundreds of thousands of other writers this November by signing up at nanowrimo.org and going after the goal of writing 50,000 words this November. I know, it sounds daunting. But one of the reasons why I'm suggesting this is because once you sign up, you get access to a ton of support and community and they have a great Nano Prep 101 section under writers resources. There you will find several weeks worth of writing preparation tools, like developing a story idea, character development, experimenting with a plotting method, exploring your story setting and getting your life and schedule organized for writing throughout the month of November. The ultimate goal of NaNoWriMo is for you to write 50,000 words towards a brand new novel in November. So you can plan plot, pen and outline in preparation for November 1st but everyone starts November with zero words written.
I love this idea because it's a to start a brand new story, a blank slate, and it will get you set up perfectly for having some writing momentum into the new year. Realistically, after writing through November, you'll probably take the holidays off to let that story marinate and then January means you'll already have a running start for the published my book, new year's resolution. And the NaNoWriMo word count goal forces you to work on your time management skills.
Now, speaking of time management and book publishing, some big changes are happening here at the Bureau. Some of you may know that I hired an assistant earlier this year... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, inside a crime scene, search warrant limitations, and criminal appeals. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 63 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 what it really feels like inside a crime scene, the limits of a search warrant, and some clarification on cold cases and criminal appeals, but I have some people to thank first.
As always, I need to thank my gold shield patrons on Patreon, specifically Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp of vickitharpe.com, Chrysann, Jimmy Cowe of crimibox.com, and Larry Darter for their continued support, and special thanks this week to Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com for upping her pledge and becoming a gold shield patron just a few days ago.
I'd also like to thank all of my coffee club patrons for their support every single month. Your support keeps the lights on in the Bureau. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode by going to the show notes at writersdetective.com/63. To learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
.We're starting this week with a flashback to 2015 when I first started my blog and when award-winning and bestselling crime writer Sue Coletta gave me a shot at my very first guest blog post. You can still find it up on Sue's website AT suecoletta.com. before we get into our first question, which will line up nicely with this actually, I thought I'd blow the dust off of this guest blog post I did, and share what it really feels like inside a crime scene.
It's a familiar scene. A dead body is on the floor. Blood spatter is everywhere and spent shell casings are strewn about the room. The first police officer on scene checks the area for the shooter, but he's GOA. The officer then checks the victim for a pulse, DRT (GOA means gone on arrival, and DRT is some unprofessional slang for dead right there). This is a murder scene. The crime scene is locked down. The yellow tape goes up and homicide detectives are called.
What happens next? Well, before CSI swabs a single blood droplet or a homicide detective opens a single drawer, your detective needs a warrant. I know what you're thinking, "But this is a homicide scene." Well, hang on a second. In 1978, the U.S. Supreme court ruled in Mincey v. Arizona that even though a homicide occurred inside a building, it does not give law enforcement carte blanche to search the premises for evidence beyond what is in plain view.
In other words, if investigators wanted to search beyond what is immediately visible, things like bullets stuck in walls, blood spatter behind the bookcase, or looking into drawers, they need a search warrant to further bolster the warrant argument. The court ruled that it was not reasonable for law enforcement to freeze the crime scene for hours and hours or to bring in scientific experts that are not sworn law enforcement officers without a warrant.
It's time for you to meet the Mincey warrant. It's a relatively short fill-in-the-blank search warrant for a crime scene. The next time your detective responds to a crime scene, consider mentioning the Mincey warrant to add a little bit of realism to your story. At this point, the Mincey warrant has been approved, and your investigative team can go into the scene and do all the CSI processing you've seen on TV, but what's it really like inside the crime scene?.. Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, ruses, brought in for questioning, and recording gaps. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 62 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 when cops are allowed to lie, what it really means when you're brought in for questioning, and what happens when there are gaps in the recording of an interrogation.
But before we get into that, 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, Dharma Kelleher of dharmakelleher.com, Chrysann, Jimmy Cowe of Crimibox, and Larry Darter for their support.
I'd also like to thank all of my Coffee Club patrons for their support every single month. Your support keeps the lights on in the bureau, and you can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/62, 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.
So when I was talking about not tolerating lying, I was specifically talking about, number one, on the stand or anytime you're providing testimony or a sworn affidavit, like when you're swearing out a search warrant or an arrest warrant. Yeah, even in writing a police report, especially when it comes to what you personally did or saw as a police officer. Police reports are never going to be perfect, and when errors arise in a police report, it's usually the result of statements given by the people being interviewed.
So we write our reports based upon what we believe to be true at the time. So if a witness or a victim lies to us, that lie is going to end up in the police report, but under no circumstances should an officer knowingly put false information into a report. Number two, in any official capacity within your department or chain of command, like in reporting to your supervisors or filling out your timecard.
I say official because we're still talking about a workplace here. If we're planning a surprise birthday party for a coworker, I'm not going to be the party-pooper. I'm going to lie right to his face when he asks what I'm doing this weekend just like any of us would really do. But if it turns into something official, like whether I'm available to respond in to work, uh, well, then sorry, buddy. I'm not going to be making it to your party anyway.
All right, so let's talk about when we can lie or use a ruse. Let's get this first urban myth out of the way right now. I do not have to tell you I am an undercover cop. Now, I'm not allowed to entrap you. Meaning, I'm not allowed to entice you into committing a crime you had no intention of committing. I can't plant that seed. But if we're sitting in a bar and having a friendly conversation, and you confide in me that you murdered someone, or you trust me to become a drug dealer for you, then no. I can definitely lie about my identity and yes, lie about my being a cop.
Now, next. Much more commonly, I can legally use a ruse, which is legalese for "pull some shenanigans" in an interview or an interrogation. The US Supreme Court landmark decision Frazier versus Cupp, C-U-P-P, in 1969 and in subsequent case law allows for voluntary confessions to be admissible in court, even if deceptive tactics were used to obtain those confessions.
So I can lie to you and tell you that your coworker told me what you did when in fact I haven't talked to her. I can tell you I have your fingerprints at a crime scene when I really don't. I can tell you that your co-conspirator is in the next interview room giving you up for your role in the robbery, even if we haven't really found him yet.
I've talked before on this podcast about using strategy in an interrogation. So if I'm going to use this ruse, this bluff, I have to be damn sure it's not going to backfire. If this really is the guy, and I tell him I have his fingerprints, but he knows he wore gloves, then he knows I'm lying and that this whole interview is just a fishing expedition. It means my interview just died because I revealed that it's a bluff, but sometimes that bluff is all we have... Continue reading...
If you like what you read here, consider joining the mailing list for updates, seminar notifications and more!