April 6, 2022

Personal Ties to a Homicide, Chalk Outlines, Jury Duty for Cops, and ChefsForUkraine

Adam talks about what happens if a homicide detective has personal ties to a homicide victim, if chalk outlines are really used, whether cops can serve on a jury, and how reviewing this podcast on Podchaser.com can raise money for ChefsForUkraine...


Adam talks about what happens if a homicide detective has personal ties to a homicide victim, if chalk outlines are really used, whether cops can serve on a jury, and how reviewing this podcast on Podchaser.com can raise money for ChefsForUkraine during the #Reviews4Good campaign.

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Transcript

This week on the writer's detective bureau, personal ties to a homicide victim, chalk outlines cops on jury duty and chefs for Ukraine. I'm Adam Richardson. And this is the writer's detective bureau. Welcome to episode 119 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 what happens when a detective has personal ties to a homicide victim,

the realities of chalk outlines at murder scenes, whether cops can serve on jury duty and how leaving a review of this podcast can help raise money for chefs for Ukraine. But before we get into that, I want to tell you real quickly that I put together a free lesson on the items. A detective carries every day. I go over some of the key pieces of gear we rely upon and how we use and carry them.

The lesson is about 20 minutes long. It's a 20 minute long video, which basically is just me doing a show and tell, I even reveal what goes into those pouches. You see on a uniformed officers duty belt. So if you'd like to watch the free lesson, just go to writers, detective.com forward slash E D C EDC as in everyday carry.

So for the free lesson on crime fiction, protagonists everyday carry it's writers, detective.com forward slash E D C. This week's first question comes from author Tessa Webert of Tessa weichert.com who by the way, has her latest murder mystery novel releasing today. And it's called dead wind. And it's book three in the investigator, Shana merchant series, congrats on the launch of dead wind Tessa.

So Tessa writes, my question is about situations where detectives might be involved in a case that involves a family member or friend say if the identity of a homicide victim isn't initially known, but as eventually revealed to be someone with whom the detective has had a personal relationship, I assume that the detective would be removed from the case due to conflict of interest. But what happens if the homicide occurs in a very small community with limited law enforcement resources with the detective supervisor,

bring in a more impartial investigator from a different region and would the original detective likely keep tabs on the investigation, considering their proximity to colleagues and other detectives, great questions, Tessa, once there is a conflict, the bosses will definitely take the investigator off of the case. There are a ton of reasons why this would happen. Assuming the investigators didn't know the of the victim initially,

they likely don't have an ID on a suspect either, right? And when you have no suspect, that makes everyone a suspect in logic dictates that you start with looking at the people that knew the victim, which in a very basic and overly broad pool of possible suspects technically would include your detective now, is it likely? No. Is it possible? Yeah,

it is until proven otherwise. And you can bet that a savvy defense attorney will latch on to any issues that arise from having a personal connection to the decedent in a case that you're investigating. Now, this doesn't even begin to delve into the potential pitfalls of impartiality as the investigative team starts digging into the decedent's personal life, especially when it comes to interviewing people that the decedent knew ostensibly they may know or knew the detective as well.

So you can see how this would likely start getting very sticky unnecessarily. So, so, you know, since we can predict that what is predictable is preventable and that's how the bosses would look at it, depending on the size of the police agency, bringing in an outside investigator or investigators. I mean, if you're going to reach out for help, you might as well get the help you need right.

More than one investigator, or if your agency is used to operating with one detective on homicides, you might even have that supervisor handle the investigation, which might happen if they had previously been the homicide detective before being promoted. So either of those two things would be the possible would be a possibility here in the U S asking for a county Sheriff's department to help or a neighboring police department or the state police to handle the homicide investigation are fair play when you're dealing with a really small town,

especially in remote areas. Now, I know your Shana merchant series, a Tessa is set in the remote areas of Ontario Canada. So if you're thinking about your current series, as far as the story setting goes, in that case, opp the Ontario provincial police for those listeners, not familiar with Canadian law enforcement would certainly pull in investigators from elsewhere as for keeping tabs on the investigation.

I'm sure. I mean, human nature is that we would want to keep tabs on that investigation, but in reality, they should not, at least while the investigation is still active, obviously they can't prevent overhearing stuff. And if they have friends that are on that investigation team, I'm sure they're going to hear tidbits, but you can go back. I mean,

you can bet. I should say that that detective, that character will go back and read the case file once this entire case is all over. But the problem with keeping tabs on an active investigation is that a, it isn't yours and B you may be tangentially involved through your personal, personal life. You know, that you never know whether you're going to end up as in part of that investigation,

or if you're going to end up as a defense attorney witness for something related to the case that you, you know, at this point, you have no idea about, and you're better off not knowing about it. So, you know, you're a way better off, and frankly it's much more professional to stay in your own lane and trust that your colleagues will find justice for your friend or your loved one,

just like any other friend or family member trusts the homicide detectives to seek justice on their behalf in every other case. Thanks for the questions Tessa, and for everyone else, don't forget to check out Tessa, wagger its latest novel, dead wind, which is out today and you can find online or through your favorite bookstore Before we get to our next question,

I just need to quickly thank my Patrion patrons for supporting the show, especially my gold shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from Debra Dunbar com CC Jameson from CC Jameson com Larry Keeton Vicki Tharp of Vicki tharp.com. Larry darter, Natalie Barrelli Craig Kingsman of Craig Kingsman dot com. Lynn Vitale, Marco Carocari of Marco Carocari dot com. Rob Kerns of nightfall, press.com,

Mariah stone of Mariah stone.com, Aurora Jacobson and Kaylee for their support. Along with my Silver Cufflink in coffee club patrons, you can find links to all of the patrons supporting this episode in the show notes at writers, detective.com forward slash 1 1 9. And to learn more about using Patrion to grow your author business, or to support the show, check out writers,

detective.com forward slash Patreon, P a T R E O N. Amy Renshaw of Amy Renshaw, author.com writes dear Adam, thank you so much for your help with my previous question about closing a department store after a murder occurs there in 1912, I appreciate the details you shared about photographs and fingerprints. Now I'm wondering, is it plausible that a chalk outline of the body would have been drawn to indicate its position after removal?

I've seen resources online explaining that this practice is no longer used, but I'm not sure when it originated or if it would have been used in 1912. Thanks again, for your helpful podcast. You were very welcome, Amy. I did a bit of research as well as I have never seen a chalk outline in my over a quarter century of law enforcement experience.

Well, other than all the swag gift shop stuff they use over at skeletons in the closet, which was the Los Angeles coroners gift shop, which sadly closed in 2019. But I mean, who doesn't need a beach towel with chalk outline, right this seriously though, in my own research, which I say with air quotes, because it certainly was not conducted with double-blind studies and peer reviewed.

It was okay. I'll be honest. It was Google, but in my expert, Google searching, I did find one pretty reasonable explanation for the use of truck outlines because to me, even if it was 1912, adding chalk to my crime scene seems like it would be potentially more destructive than constructive to my investigation. Right? So what could that reasonable explanation be?

It's that the media used the chalk outline to convey in a newspaper photo where the body had been removed to kind of show in relation to the rest of the crime scene, where the body had been located. Now I cannot attest to how accurate that truly is, but I can tell you that as I perused the photo TECA archive of official LAPD photos, that date from the 1960s,

all the way back to 1925, and these were photos that were pulled from LAPD records in 2001 for preservation, it's a pretty amazing story, but in all of those photos, and you can check these out for yourself, by the way, by going to writers, detective.com forward slash LAPD archive. And that will take you to this archive in, you can read the story about how they were preserved,

but in all of those photos, I only found one image where a body had a chalk outline. And I should mention that if you go to the archive, you will see dead bodies, but none that are overly grotesque, but I do want you to be forewarned. Anyway, I did find one official photo from the LAPD that included a chalk outline with the body still inside the outline.

And there are notations to the knife, which was still in the decedent's hand in the photo and their notation as to where the decedent's head is depicted in the outline, don't worry, his head is still attached. It's nothing gross, but as far as like drawing this blob of an outline, they point to where the head is as well. And you can see that picture specifically.

I will also link to that. You can go to writers, detective.com forward slash chock, C H a L K, and that will take you so you can actually see this chalk outline photo from 1950 and back then they would hand write the case number, the date and the photographer's initials or name right on that picture. Negative. So 1950 was when this chalk outline was photographed around a body.

One other thing I should mention is that I've only ever seen Chuck used on asphalt and assuming your crime scene is still inside the departments for I'm picturing marble or hardwood floors, slick surfaces, you know, something that wouldn't work well with chalk. So that might even be a plausible out on not having to use the chalk in your story, or it could be a topic of discussion between a couple of characters and a bit of dialogue that you could use solely to frustrate your editor.

So long story short, I don't know how common it was or when it originated, but it was apparently done occasionally up until 1950 by the LAPD Annabel Robinson asked can someone who's been found, not guilty in a trial, be tried again for the same crime and can a cop not working on the case, be in a jury. If so, in what circumstances,

thanks for the questions. Anabel. Once someone has been found guilty in a trial, no, they cannot be tried again for the same crime. Now I'm going to save you going all the way back to episode 23, which is when I talked about the concept of dual sovereignty, which here in the United States, we have where we've separated out crimes as state crimes and federal crimes in California.

Section two 11 of the penal code is the crime of robbery. Robbery is using force or fear like a gun. For instance, to steal something, you Rob a liquor store with a gun and you're going to be arrested and prosecuted for the crime of robbery. I violation of two 11 PC, but if you Rob a federally insured bank in California, you not only commit the state crime of robbery,

two 11 PC under California state law. You also commit the federal crime of bank robbery, which would be a violation of title 18 United States code section 2 1 1 3. So let's say I as a police detective in California, sworn to enforce state law arrest you as you flee this bank and I book you in jail for two 11 PC and the local da charges you with two 11 in superior court.

And we go to trial and lo and behold, their jury finds you not guilty. We cannot try you in a California state court for this crime. Again, even if we find new evidence later, we had our shot and we blew it. Double jeopardy laws apply here, but the dual sovereignty laws mean that you could still be charged with the federal crime of bank robbery under title 18 of the United States code section 2 1 1 3,

2,113. So these are two completely separate legal systems that play in, even though the robbery was one action. It was a state crime and a federal crime that you committed and each have the chance to be prosecuted. Now on a side note, as a California peace officer, I am only sworn to enforce state law. I can launch investigations of state crimes,

meaning crimes listed in the state codes, like the penal code and make arrests and seek search warrants through state courts. But I need to be a federal agent or deputy us Marshall to enforce federal law and seek prosecutions through federal courts. So I hope that makes sense. As for the jury question being a cop off duty, can I be on a jury now?

It depends on the laws of each state. And it also depends on what kind of cop that I am. What I mean by that is which section of the penal code I received my peace officer powers from here in California, a local police officer or deputy sheriff is granted peace officer powers pursuant to penal code section eight 30.1. But if I'm paunch or Jon from chips,

eight 30.2 is the section that grants peace officer powers to the California highway patrol members. And so it goes through eight 30 of the penal code. You're going to have 0.3 0.4, that kind of thing, different sections for different types of cops. Now, when it comes to jury service rules of California, the California code of civil procedure specifically says that peace officers in eight 30.1,

like I am, are exempt from jury duty in criminal and civil cases. So I do not get to serve on a jury while I'm still a full-time cop, but there are some sections, like if I was a police officer for the California state university police department, then for whatever reason, the way that it's written in the California code of civil procedure,

I would be exempt from serving on a criminal jury, but I could still be called to civil jury duty. So it really depends on the state and the particular laws. Now that said, even if I was allowed to sit on a jury and this may be the case, once I retire and I'm no longer exempt under the law, any criminal defense attorney worth her salt would use VOD deer,

the, your process that questioning of potential jurors to dismiss me from their case before we go, I would like your help with something. This month, April, 2022 pod chaser.com is doing their annual reviews for good fundraiser. And it's benefiting world central kitchen chefs for Ukraine who are serving hot meals, 24 7 to Ukrainians fleeing the war at eight different border crossings, as well as supporting local restaurants in 12 Ukrainian cities.

And the only thing it costs you is a few minutes of your time. When you log into pod chaser.com and leave a review on a podcast pod chaser, we'll donate 25 cents to chefs for Ukraine. Now, if I reply to your review, which of course I will pod chaser, we'll add another 50 cents for each of my replies. Then on top of that,

my awesome podcasting host Libsyn is matching all of these donations. So that would be a dollar 50 in donations for every review you leave. And I reply, and you can leave reviews for all of your other favorite podcasts as well. So let's do some good together this April and support the chefs feeding Ukraine right now. So to leave a review for this podcast,

just head to writers, detective.com forward slash Ukraine. Thank you so much for listening this week. This show is powered by your questions. Send them to me by going to writers, detective.com forward slash podcast. Thanks again for listening. Have a great week and write well