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...
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