The U.S. Department of Justice has just released the updated guide for Child Forensic Interviewing: Best Practices. Interviewing crime victims is tough enough, but that is compounded when it is a child. Every investigator should read this guide since they don’t know when they will encounter a case involving a child. So many things can go wrong when dealing with children as victims and it is our job to keep them safe. Don’t let a guilty person walk away due to an investigative error.
President Obama has decided to release 6,000 Federal prisoners early this year as part of his Criminal Justice Reform as per the Washington Post, but does that make it a good idea? There are only two types of people in the world: Civil Libertarians and Crime Control Advocates. Civil Libertarians are loving this idea since most of the felons being released are drug offenders and not “violent.” Crime Control Advocates have often said, where there are drugs, violence follows – whether it’s addicts robbing people or burglarizing homes to get money for their habit. Since these crimes had a federal nexus, where they part of organized crime? If so, that puts a different spin on ‘not violent” drug offenders.
So how will this play out in the communities that get these inmates back?
In Brownsville, Brooklyn, at the corner of Livonia and Saratoga Avenues, stood a small twenty-four hour candy store named Midnight Rose’s. This wasn’t any ordinary candy store. It housed some of the most lethal for-hire Jewish and Italian contract killers that this country has ever known. While sharing egg creams and betting on Dodger games played at Ebbets Field, these men, dubiously named Murder Incorporated by the press, carried out over eight hundred contract murders. Many if not all are still unsolved.
For an investigator, avoiding contamination of your witnesses and victims was a task that was hard enough. Now, that task has become Herculean with our interconnected social lives, 24 hour news channels and mobile technology. What do we need to do?
Mistakes at a crime scene can all too easily send an investigation off on the wrong track or lead to a vital clue being missed, but sometimes the problems run deeper than simple human error or incompetence. Sometimes a crime has been left unsolved, or the wrong person convicted, because the investigators focused on dragging out a confession from their favorite suspect, rather than actually trying to find out who committed the crime.
Probably the worst case of this kind occurred in Iceland in the 1970s. Six people were coerced into confessing to involvement in the murder of two men who had disappeared, ten months apart, on the island. The case is not just a testament to the need for proper interviewing techniques, but also a shocking insight into just how malleable our memories can be.
The U.S. Supreme Court decided on two cases today that effect the way law enforcement obtains information from cell phones: Riley v. California and U.S. v. Wurie.
In a rare unanimous decision, the Supreme Court has made it perfect clear: law enforcement must obtain a search warrant if it wants to go through a suspect’s cell phone. The Court cited that technology has changed so rapidly and the amount of information available on the phone an individual’s right to privacy with the device is apparent.
When the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Better know nothing than half-know many things,” he may have been speaking to law enforcement regarding social media investigations. Currently, there are several social media platforms that investigators must learn about and new ones that are being created everyday. Here is a quick plan on how a detective squad can stay on top of it all.
Social media has not only changed the way we communicate with one another, it has changed the way law enforcement investigates criminal acts. In the midst of the social media and mobile revolution, law enforcement has found itself at a seminal moment in the investigative process. The tactics being used are still so nascent that very few departments even have policies regarding the use of social media for investigations. The fundamental question for investigators is, “with so many platforms, where do we begin?”
Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 10 PM EST, I will be making my third and fourth appearances in Investigation Discovery Channel’s new show, Tabloid. This episode will not disappoint what Tabloid fans already expect!
“Headless Body in Topless Bar.” One of the most famous newspaper headlines of all times was spread across the front page of The New York Post on April 14, 1983. Always noted for their catchy headlines, The NY Post certainly out did themselves.
Gun violence continues to plague society, fueling the debate over which measures might curb incidents of gun-related crime. Among the most visible concerns for gun-rights proponents and detractors alike is the rise in gun crimes involving children.
School incidents, whether among grade-schoolers or college students garner focused attention from law enforcement personal, social commentators and psychological analysts; each asking the questions: “What is behind the negative gun culture among kids?”, “And how can we put an end to gun crimes committed by young members of society?”
Police departments looking to increase their current homicide clearance rates by closing old cases is a challenge. With shrinking budgets and staff, many departments find themselves shelving old cases in order to keep up with the daily workload. Get a fresh set of eyes and a full evaluation of your cases from the cold case experts and let us discover what cases are primed for further investigation.