Monday, December 10, 2007
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office
Deputy Jonathan Wallace Deputy Donta Manuel
November 28, 2007 D/S's Wallace and Manuel were tragically killed during the pursuit of a stolen vehicle. Deputy Wallace was 23 years old and had been on the job less than two years. Deputy Manuel was 33 years old and had 13 years experience. They both leave behind loving families and thousands of others grieving.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
“It was obviously a natural death – you’re naturally going to die when you get shot that many times”.
“A friend will help you move. A real friend will help you move the body”.
Famous last words: “What are you gonna’ do now, Shoot me”?
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I saw this quoted in a memoriam once and it never left me. This is who we are and what we do every single day of the year.
The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Cadaveric spasm or shock- the stiffening and rigidity of a group of muscles immediately after death, a kind of instant rigor mortis, a muscle phenomenon in which some muscles of the body become stiff instantly, rather than in the usual two to eight hours normal rigor takes to develop.
Contact wound- a star shaped wound that occurs when a firearm is pressed against the body and fired. The gasses expands under the skin and bursts away from the body.
Paterred injuries- reflects the identity of wounding object (hammer blows).
Petechial hemorrhages- small pin-like hemorrhaging under skin and membrane lining of the eyelids, usually noticeable in asphyxia related homicides. Also seen on the inside of lips.
Stippling- pinpoint hemorrhaging due to the burned gunpowder discharged from a firearm, usually indicates proximity of firearm to victim.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I recently saw a story announcing the new candidates for the “Stella Awards”. For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck, who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico where she purchased the coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right?
7th Place: Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury after breaking her ankle after tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.
6th Place: Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.
5th Place: Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to subsist for days on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish.
4th Place: Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle, even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.
3rd Place: Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone (coccyx). The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?
2nd Place: Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge at the time. The jury awarded her $12,000, plus dental expenses.
1st Place: This year's runaway 1st place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set! The Oklahoma jury awarded her $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.
Note:While I do believe that this actually happened, I cannot say that it happened recent enough to be in “this year’s” stories. Regardless, they certainly are funny, believable in this litigious society of sue anyone you can, and printed here for entertainment, and not as a Law Review subject matter.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Observation Skills Exercise
How do we know that this table being sold on eBay belongs to a man?
Email your answers if you can figure it out. I will post the name of the Super Sleuth (unless you tell me not to).
I will post the answer in the near future.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
Old Brooklynites (and neighboring areas) understand. If you ain't from Brooklyn, just forget this; you wouldn't understand. Some is for older, some is for younger. You're truly from Brooklyn if you can relate to any of the following:
1. Alternate side of the street parking.
2. Ate at Chock Full O' Nuts Shops (date nut bread and powdered donuts that were crunchy).
3. Ate dinner every Sunday night at Fong Fongs on Church Avenue.
4. Ate Italian food at Collaro's on Coney Island Ave.
5. Bought bobka at the original Ebingers on Flatbush Avenue, or at Butterbun on Nostrand Ave. 6. Bought Ebinger's Black-Out Cake (and didn't count the calories)
7. Bought knishes from Mrs. Stahls in Brighton, or Ruby the Kinish Man.
8. Bought knishes on the beach and didn't mind the sand.
9. Bought pickles out of a barrel. The salt made you pucker.
10.Can name all the Brooklyn High Schools. Just try and do that today (impossible).
11.Don't speak with an accent - everybody else does.
12.Drove over the Marine Park Bridge for a 10-cent toll, and Brooklyn Battery Tunnel for 35 cents.
13.Everybody knows somebody from the neighborhood, even if it is your mother's cousin's son-in-law's sister's boyfriend.
14.Got a "Kitchen Sink" at Jahn's.
15.Got a J.D. card and feeling like Al Capone.
16.Had a prom date at the Club Elegante.
17.Had roller skates with keys.
18.Hand ball in the park.
19.Hit two sewers in punch ball.
20.It's not the "shore", its the "beach" idiot.
21.Kings Plaza.... how come we get the crappy mall?
22.Knew who the neighborhood wise guy was, but you'd never tell the cops.
Want to see more of these pearls? http://www.brooklyn-usa.org/Pages/Remberberwhen.htm
Reprinted from the official Brooklyn Borough President's Website.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
What should you do when a suspect who waived his Miranda rights says he might want a lawyer? This is the question that the US Supreme Court recently ruled on.
WHILE I AM PRESENTING THE FACTS ACCORDING TO THE US SUPREME COURT RULING, THIS IN NO WAY IS MEANT AS A GUIDE IN A FLORIDA STATE COURT! ALWAYS REFER TO YOUR DEPARTMENT'S LEGAL BUREAU, OR THE SA's OFFICE FOR PARTICULAR RULINGS. THIS IS MEANT FOR THE FURTHERANCE OF THE INVESTIGATORS LEGAL KNOWLEDGE!
A fairly common scenario, you obtain a valid Miranda waiver from a suspect in custody and begin interrogation. Part way through your questioning, the suspect begins to feel uneasy about going forward and says something about remaining silent or talking to a lawyer. What then? Must you stop interrogating? Do you need to clarify his wishes, or can you keep talking? The US Supreme Court gave the answers in Davis v. U.S. The Supreme Court acknowledged its earlier ruling in Edwards v. Arizona that a statement obtained through police custodial interrogation will not be admitted to prove guilt at trial if it resulted from questioning that continued after the suspect's request for an attorney. But where it is not necessarily clear that a suspect who has already waived his rights is asking for an attorney, the court declined to place burden of resolving the ambiguity on the police. If a suspect makes a reference to an attorney that is ambiguous or equivocal in that a reasonable officer in light of the circumstances would have understood only that the suspect might be invoking the right to counsel, our precedents do not require the cessation of questioning. Rather, the suspect must unambiguously request counsel. He must articulate his desire to have counsel present sufficiently clearly that a reasonable police officer in the circumstances would understand the statement to be a request for an attorney. Finding that the statement, "Maybe I should talk to a lawyer," was not an unequivocal, unambiguous invocation of the right to counsel, the court upheld the admission of Davis's statements and unanimously affirmed his conviction and sentence. The five-member majority held that it is not necessary for officers to stop an interrogation when the suspect makes an ambiguous reference to invoking his rights.
There are no magic words that a suspect has to use to constitute a clear and unambiguous invocation of Miranda. Certainly a statement such as "No more questions", or "I want a lawyer" are unambiguous. Wishy-washy qualifications such as "I think" or "Maybe I should" would normally be ambiguous enough to come within the Davis rule that there is no need to clarify the suspect's wishes and no need to stop questioning. It is further noted that the Davis ruling only applies where the suspect initially gave a clear, unambiguous waiver when given his Miranda rights. Once he has waived, the burden shifts to him to clearly, unambiguously assert his rights if he wants questioning to cease. For example, if the suspect responds to the Miranda admonishment by saying something like, "I think maybe I should get a lawyer," you should not proceed without clarifying whether or not you have an invocation of counsel. It's only after a clear waiver has been obtained that the Davis rule kicks in. NOTE: Not all states follow the US Supreme Court rulings on exclusionary issues. States are free to interpret their own constitutions as providing greater protection to criminals than the US Constitution provides. Where do you suppose Florida falls?
Work should be fun. Yes, work should be fun. When you are doing exactly what you want to do, then you are successful, and happy. Be safe and remember, work should be fun!
Here are some excerpts from actual police reports;
They were all conversating.
We conversated telephonically.
They were living domesticatarly.
Seeking the location of his whereabouts.
He was of Jamaican assessment.
Seeking to identify his identification.
Identified a pattern of unrelated crimes.
He was wearing a multi-colored white t-shirt.
He is known to congregate by himself.
The eyewitness is blind and didn't see anything.
They went into a feet pursuit.
He has numerical arrests on his rap sheet.
The bus driver was working off duty at the time.
The information was received from an anonymous CI.
His sister states she was not related to her brother.
The suspicious package was examined and determined to be not suspicious.
The unarmed security guard fired 2 shots at the perp.
All the calls that day happened another day.
Report writing 101?...
There are a multitude of associations and organizations for investigators in the private sector. Some organized by specialty, others by geographic area. Here is a listing of some of the more unusual:
The European Council of Detectives. You can check their web site at:
The Professional Investigators and Security Association based in Charlottesville, VA, they can be found at:
National Defender Investigator Association.
National Association of Legal Investigators. This association represents private investigators who conduct work for the defense. They also have a national accreditation program.
The Council of International Investigators, headquartered in Singapore.
World Association of Detectives. This international group hosts an annual convention that brings detectives from all over the world. They claim to be the largest and oldest association of its kind in the world.
The search engine Google has a free feature available that can be very helpful. It's called "Desktop", and can be accessed from Google's main search page. One of the functions of this program is it index's your hard drive. Once installed, the program stores and arranges emails, files and web history on your machine. This process occurs once during a period when your computer is idle for more than 30 seconds. As you continue to receive emails, this feature automatically adds them along with any updates to your files and web browsing history. This would allow you to quickly find emails, and view previously visited websites. Google Desktop creates cached copies (snapshots) of your files and other items each time you view them, and stores these copies on your computer’s hard drive. As a result, you can often use Desktop to find items you accidently deleted, instead of having to recreate them from scratch.
Desktop is also a great tool for parents who want to monitor their child's internet use. The program runs virtually undetected except for a small icon in the system tray (the bottom right corner of your screen where programs that are running show small symbols). There are also alot of other features to this free program. To find out more about about it, go to Google's main page and right above the searchbox in the middle of the page click on "more". That will open a small side menu that says "even more". Click on that and you arrive at all sorts of "extras" within Google. Find the icon of a small multi-colored swirl and that is "Desktop". Once there, click on "Features" and you will be taken to a full explainantion of what this little program does. Happy hunting!
Friday, March 02, 2007
1. Instead of “Objection!” he keeps yelling, “Bingo!”
2. She keeps asking you things like, “Would it kill you to say you did it?”
3. Your legal team is suing each other because someone ate the last bagel.
4. The only motion he’s made has been rubbing his crotch.
5. He giggles uncontrollably every time anyone says the word “briefs.”
6. He’s incredulous that he lost the case and says, “Well, it worked on Judge Judy!”
7. Instead of “Your Honor,” your attorney addresses the judge as “Player.”
8. She’s drinking rum and cokes for breakfast in the parking lot.
9. Half of his previous clients have tried to kill him.
10. His law degree is from the University of Baghdad.
Reprinted from APB
Document Scanner that Fits in a Pocket:
DocuPen is a handheld color scanner, no bigger than a pen that can fit in your pocket, that helps you scan documents for retrieval later on. Docupen offers a 24-bit color scanning device that is just 8-inches long and less than 1-inch wide, can be easily carried in your pocket, and is USB interfaced in a very simple manner that can download scanned documents to your computer. Few buttons to worry about, and the scanning is simple to accomplish. A slow pass across the page with the “pen” will save the document to the scanner. When you get back to your computer, simply plug it into the USB port. The document is scanned into your computer. The pen can hold about 100 pages in its internal memory. In addition to the color devices, there is also a black-and-white only device available. The manufacturers web site can be found at:http://www.planon.com/ The color version runs for around $300; the B&W one for considerably less, at around $100. It may be a convenience you find worth having.
Homicide: The killing / death of a human being by another human being.
Murder: Unlawful homicide.
Practically speaking, all “murder’s” are “Homicides”, but NOT all homicides are murders. For example, death caused by another under legal means – justifiable homicide – is still a homicide, but is not an “unlawful” homicide – NOT a murder. A Police Officer shoots and kills another during the proper performance of police duties; “Justifiable” Homicide is ruled; the incident is still a “Homicide” – but NOT a murder.
Did you know that 92% of police injuries are caused by edged weapons?
The most common weapon used to inflict these injuries is a screwdriver.
The minimum safe distance from an assailant wielding an edged weapon is 21 feet.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
1. What to do about all those highly qualified recruits who are lined up around the corner.
2. How to spend all that federal money.
3. Missing the season finale of “Dancing with the Stars.”
4. Who will win this season’s “Project Runway” and “Flavor of Love.”
5. Guilt stemming from wealth and a stress-free existence.
6. Who fathered Anna Nicole’s baby.
7. Earthquakes. (East Coast only).
8. Tornadoes (West Coast only).
9. Who actually shot J.R.
10. Answering fan mail.
Reprinted from APB
Reviewing a recent edition of an investigative magazine, I noticed that corporations are reporting their hiring managers have been researching employment applicants on internet “social networking” sites, and uncovering a lot of interesting information on these prospective employees.“Social Networking” sites are another name for the popular sites such as MySpace.com, Facebook, etc.Not sure which are the popular sites in your area? Ask a teenager! They’ll know! How does this apply to the detective? Recent information also provides information being uncovered on some subjects that reveal another side to him/her that the investigator could find very valuable. For example, evidence of gang affiliation searching through the MySpace pages of a subject may be uncovered through photographs that are posted, web sites they link to, or comments made on their comments pages. Perhaps you’ll find photos posted of people in gang-significant clothing demonstrating gang signs. Certainly an interesting fact to be aware of. A detective had noted one such anecdote. A detective from Victorville, California ran a query using the term “Victimville”, which was a gang-slang for that town, on MySpace. There were about 350 such links, however, a search by the particular gang-name returned a manageable 3-sites; visiting the links on those sites connected to links of friends of those posted, providing a wealth of background information prior to sitting down and interviewing his subject. Certainly something worth keeping in mind. Remember, sometimes the detective doesn’t know what he/she is looking for until he finds it!
Sunday, February 11, 2007
INTERNET AUTOPSY DATABASE - Searchable collection of over 49,000 autopsy facesheets.
BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY - Contains biographical information on thousands of notable people spanning from present day to ancient times
ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Search thousands of newspapers, magazines, journals and books using a keyword.