crime

KN, p. 251 “2019 TopTen New Posts”

 

 

Many warm thanks to all the Kerrian followers. Readership was up by over 50% in 2019. That’s not a typo. You spread the word and people kept on reading and sharing.

 

The Kerrians’ 2019 was a year of returning to fan favorite topics that focused on how law enforcement officers work, with the result that four of those articles were in the TopTen new articles for the year.

 

Interest continues in the new recipes from the Kerrian Kitchen and we’re delighted that you enjoy them as well! Like I keep saying, we taste-test everything and nobody ever died after eating at our house. 😉

 

Sadly, suicide is on the rise in the USA again and the interest in the article seen here is welcome. It is based on the death of a real family friend. Pass along the information to others, please.

 

Here are your Top Ten favorites from 2019:

(Click on the links and enjoy them again or read them for the very first time.)

 

10: “Greek Salad

 

9:  “Pumpkin Pancakes (GF)

 

8:  “Meatloaf – Comfort Food

 

7:  “Suicide

 

6:  “Where Did They Move the Graves?

 

5:  “Scotland Yard Is Not in Scotland

 

4:  “Do You Want to be an FBI Agent? – Part 2

 

3:  “SWAT Team Experience

 

2:  “Cucumber Slushies

 

1:  “Do You Want to be an FBI Agent? – Part 1

 

 

Keep a lookout for changes at the Kerrian website. Many will be behind the scenes as we make www.kerriansnotebook.com more cellphone friendly.

 

The changes will occur over the next few months and I’ll let you know through the newsletters and on Facebook as soon as they happen.

 

Happy New Year, everyone, and keep those cards, emails, letters, and messages from around the world coming. We read and enjoy them all!   🙂

 

 

 

 

KN, p. 245 “Was It Burglary or Robbery?” and other questions answered

 

Crime scene investigations have a few terms associated with them that are sometimes misused or misunderstood. Check out some accepted legal definitions.


Robbery or Burglary?

Robbery is a crime where someone takes an item without permission directly from someone else, without any intention of giving it back, and does this by force or threat of force. The wording of the criminal act may differ slightly from State to State.


A burglary occurs when someone enters a home or business illegally, intending to steal an item or commit a felony while inside the building.


While you might think that robbery and burglary are talking about the same act – a theft of your property – they are indicative of different circumstances. In a robbery, someone actually came and took something from you (often face-to-face), perhaps threatening you while demanding your money or cellphone. But, a burglary occurs when you are not present, like a break-in and theft at your house while you’re at work.

 

Assault or Battery?

Assault and Battery are sometimes used interchangeably but refer to different legal occurrences. Assault is when a person is threatened with attack (someone says they will hit the targeted person), and battery takes place when a person is physically attacked (someone hits him/her).


Battery
is the unlawful use of force resulting in the injury of someone else. Battery always includes assault.

 

 

Civil or Criminal Cases?

Civil Actions are brought before the court to protect and enforce private rights.


Criminal Law
determines what is criminal behavior and sets punishment to be imposed for that criminal behavior. The idea behind criminal law is to prevent harm to society.

 

 

Murder or Homicide or Manslaughter?

Homicide is a legal term for any killing of a human being by another human being and is not always a crime. Hearings are held to determine whether shooting deaths are justifiable killings in self-defense. Murder and manslaughter fall under the category of unlawful homicides.

 

Murder is an intentional killing when it is:

  • unlawful (not legally justified), and
  • committed with “malice aforethought.”

 

“Malice aforethought” means that the killer intended to kill someone without legal justification. But, in some jurisdictions, malice aforethought can also be in place if the perpetrator causes the victim’s death during an intentional beating or other reckless disregard for life – even if the original intent had not been to kill, but do bodily harm.

 

Voluntary Manslaughter occurs when a person:

  • is strongly provoked in a situation that could provoke any reasonable person and
  • kills in a heat of passion caused by that extreme frustration.


Interesting to note that for the “heat of passion” defense to hold up in court, the person must not have had time to “cool off” after being provoked. Example: a husband comes home to find his wife committing adultery and is so incensed that he kills the lover right then.

 

But, in that same scenario, if the husband chases the lover out of the house, then buys a gun, and only after a few hours goes to the guy’s house and shoots him, that might be considered premeditated murder. He had time to cool off and consider his options before the shooting.

 

Involuntary Manslaughter often refers to unintentional homicide from criminally negligent or reckless conduct. It can also refer to an unintentional killing through commission of a crime other than a felony.

 

Manslaughter convictions often result in prison time, depending on the jurisdiction’s laws, as well as the judge/jury assessment of the circumstances and the credibility of the person on trial.

 

Determining State of Mind at the time of the alleged crime is an important component to deciding whether unintentional second degree murder or involuntary manslaughter has been committed. In general, the decision centers on whether the defendant has been found ethically responsible.

 

Deposition or testimony?

During a deposition, witness testimony is given under oath, just not in a courtroom. A deposition is not conducted in front of the Judge or the Jury. Information gathered during a deposition can be used to discover evidence that the opposing side has prior to the trial date.

 

Testimony given either in court or at the deposition is equally legally bound by perjury laws. You can’t lie under oath without consequence, some quite severe.

 

Barrister or Solicitor? (in England and Wales)

Up until recently, only barristers had an exclusive right to plead in all English and Welsh courts. Barristers are not paid directly by the clients.

 

Until recently, clients could only hire (and pay) solicitors, not barristers. The solicitors hire the barristers to represent their clients in superior court (high court) if that step is needed. Solicitors are allowed to represent clients in magistrate or county court. Since 2004, if a solicitor has enough experience, they might be allowed to speak in superior court, but serious criminal or civil cases are much more likely to be handled by a barrister with extensive trial experience.

 

*Source of murder/manslaughter information: www.nolo.com

 

KN, p. 82 “Is that your footprint?”

 

 

 

 

It’s been raining off and on for days. It rained last week during a party, and people were tracking water and a little mud from the driveway runoff onto the porch all afternoon. We had so many different kinds of footprints that it would have made for a great crime scene demonstration.

 

Because, one of the most overlooked pieces of evidence at a crime scene is created by footwear.

 

Imagine: If a window breaks as a thief enters the premises during the commission of a burglary, the glass will fall into the house, and onto the floor or rug below the window. When the thief steps through the window, unless the thief has wings, he/she will probably plant a foot right in the middle of the glass. And walk through the house, most likely tracking minute pieces of that glass. That glass may also become embedded in the grooves of the sole of the shoe, creating a distinctive footprint.

 

If the investigating officer can place a suspect at the scene with the footprint, then there is probable cause to fingerprint that suspect and hopefully establish a link to the crime.

 

A new method of eliminating suspects right at the scene involves stepping into a tray that contains a pad soaked with harmless clear ink that doesn’t stain, then stepping onto a chemically treated impression card. No messy cleanup, immediate results, and it can even show details of wear and tear on the shoe. This can be a way to establish a known standard (we know where this impression came from) to compare with multiple tread prints at the scene.

Footwear Clear Ink Impression

 

 

Another tool for creating a known standard is the foam impression system. It takes a bit longer, (24 hours) but clear, crisp impressions can be made, including of the pebbles and bits stuck deep into the grooves and the writing on the arch. Very helpful when trying to place suspects at the scene. A rock stuck in the sole is a random characteristic that can’t be duplicated, so becomes another point of identification.

 

This is how it works: Somebody steps into a box of stiff-ish foam – a bit like stepping into wet sand.

 

An impression is made instantaneously. The detail is great – down to the wear on the heel.

Pre-mixed dental stone (made with distilled water and the powder) is used to fill the impression.

It takes 24 hours for the cast to become firm enough to pop out of the foam. We now have a permanent record of the footwear tread, which could be used for comparison to other prints found at the scene.

Footwear Casts

 

Occasionally footprints are found on the ground outside a window or in the gardens surrounding a house after a burglary or homicide. Ever see a crime show on TV where the fictional investigator makes a snap judgment about the height and weight of the owner of the footprint because of the depth of the impression? That’s merely a plot device and is not scientific evidence in real life. A crime scene photographer or investigator can photograph the footprint (next to a measurement scale), make a take away cast, and then compare the impression with those of the suspects or other bystanders at the scene. Beware: making a cast of the print destroys the print, so a photograph must be taken before pouring that first drop of dental stone.

 

Footprints can be found at bloody crime scenes as well. The suspect walks through the blood, tracks it through the house, cleans it up, but the prints are still there, even though not obvious to the naked eye. Blood just doesn’t go away, no matter how hard you try to get rid of it. It seeps into the cracks and crevices of a floor and even behind baseboards.

 

A savvy investigator will collect sections of carpet (or flooring) taken from where the suspect might have walked during the commission of the crime, then conduct a presumptive test for blood (LCV – Aqueous Leuco Crystal Violet), find a usable footprint, compare it to a known standard, and then be able to place the suspect at the scene.

 

 

 

 

Be careful where you walk. That footprint can be used as evidence.

 

 

 

*Photos taken by Patti Phillips

 

 

 

 

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