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...
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