Monday, September 26, 2011

I thought this was a myth?

Spontaneous human combustion, I mean.

I really thought it was all a myth. But apparently there's been a (new?!) case of it, in Ireland. And those Irish coroners, they know what they're talking about. I guess.

Anyway, the BBC wrote that the poor gentleman was found dead at his home.

"The fire had been confined to the sitting room. The only damage was to the body, which was totally burnt, the ceiling above him and the floor underneath him."

Every other cause of death/fire was ruled out. Here's the rest of the story.

So, there you have it: spontaneous human combustion -- just one more thing I have to worry about.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ah, dodgy lorry drivers. The same everywhere.

A while ago I wrote an entry about a serial killer seminar I attended. The bottom line was that the FBI believes there may be up to 200 serial killers roaming the USA, using their jobs as truck drivers for cover.

On a somewhat lighter note (not hard, obviously) it's nice to know that my people back home also have an eye on dodgy lorry drivers.

That's all from the good folks at Ladybird books, thanks so much!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Of motorcycles and choppers.

See how modern coppers are in England? They have radios, motorbikes, and even choppers. And by that I mean helicopters. Obviously.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Meet Constable Plectrum

. . . and continue to enjoy a simple but accurate explication of how the po-po in the UK works. It's pretty much the same here, of course. Just fewer truncheons. And Constable Plectrum would be making ten million dollars a year in the NBA.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A complete explanation of all things police.

I have spent plenty of time explaining how the DA's office works and what we do here. But I have neglected to properly explain the role of the police.

When I was a child growing up in England we had a series of books called Ladybird Books, which explained all kinds of things with simple pictures and text. "Easy Reading" books, they were called.

So, for your edification, I will present, in a series of posts, a full and complete explanation of what the police do, where, and why. (And is that a record for the number of commas in one sentence?)

Please, take these seriously. This is important.

To be continued . . . .

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A new series: typos and mis-speaks

As a writer, I'm finely attuned to the use of language in my daily encounters. Or, maybe, being a righter I'm finally tuned to the utilization of wordiage.

Either way, I often come across tidbits and titbids (oooh, that sounds like an adult auction site) where someone in a hurry has mis-typed or said something without thinking. They won't be long posts, obviously, and I will always disguise the speaker.

We begin with a line from an offense report:

"Michael stated that he just wanted to leave the house for a bit and get some fresh hair on his bike."

A wonderful mental image to start the morning.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm doing it for the children

Not my children, I hope, but other people's. Yes, today was my first day as a juvenile prosecutor and, as you'd imagine, I wandered around wide-eyed and confused. Luckily, I'm working with good folks whom I already know and who are more than prepared to take me in hand and show me how it works.

So far, I sat in on the morning docket, which is vaguely like our adult docket. The kids are represented by a lawyer, and often have a parent with them, as they discuss the resolution of their case(s). They use a lot of deferred prosecution and in-home probation, and stern but kindly words from the judge.

As I've said before, the system is set up to try and keep the kids' records clean, to give them treatment, counseling, and guidance rather than hammering them. After all, who amongst us hasn't strayed a little, eh? Well, okay, those of us locked away in boarding schools didn't have much chance to launch our shenanigans on the world, but I'm willing to believe if I'd been roaming the English countryside unrestrained, there'd have been a few cows tipped. . .

So I'm looking forward to learning a lot and maybe presenting you with some stories (heavily edited and disguised, of course) to show you how juvie justice works around here.

Wish me luck.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Don't blink!

I think I've mentioned that my latest murder trial, the cold case from April, is going to be featured on CBS's 48 Hours. Well, they've put out a trailer promoting the new season and, if you don't blink, you'll see me and my case!

Here's the promo (my case starts at about 00:50 seconds):

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Crimes at home (pt. 2)

Continued from earlier in the week, where I was converting the crimes I see in court every day into infractions for my family.

Stalking (third degree felony):
This would consist of Henry shadowing Nicola, mimicking everything she does, making faces, and generally not leaving her alone.

Violation of protective order (third degree felony):
See above, and add me yelling, "Henry, if you do that one more time . . ."

Evading on foot (class B misdemeanor):
The likely result of the above two felonies, plus me saying, "Right, that's it, come here now, young man!"

Perjury (class A misdemeanor):
What I get when I finally catch him and ask what happened.

And finally, . . .

Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (second degree felony):
Imagine a big pile of us on our bed at night, reading books, a sweet quiet moment we create every night before putting the kids to bed. We're all snuggling in close, the occasional kiss and hug. Then a vile fog emerges from the under the covers, shrouding us with its bilious odor. And Henry grinning like he deserves a medal for the noxiousness of his bodily fumes . . .

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crimes at home (pt. 1)

A post from last week started this way:

My life at home is usually pretty separate from what goes on around me at work. You know, less heroin, fewer aggravated robberies, barely any check forging, and not so much with the driving around the cul-de-sac swigging bourbon.

And that got me thinking, you know, especially with my impending move to the juvenile division: Could I convert the crimes I see in court every day into infractions for my family? Let's give it a shot.

Failure to stop and render aid (3rd degree felony, usually when someone causes an injury accident on the roads and then flees):
Henry pushes Nicola down the stairs, then comes whistling innocently into the kitchen for a glass of milk.

Huh, this is pretty easy. . . lemme try another one:

Possession of a controlled substance (degree depends on amount, usually crack, meth, cocaine, etc.):
Nicola is caught with chewing gum (she's five -- she's allowed it when she's 18.) This happened last week, and she's still serving a sentence for it.

Tampering with evidence (third degree, usually drugs being swallowed or flushed):
Nicola spits the aforementioned gum into a tissue, and heads for the trash can, whistling innocently).

Retaliation (third degree, like when someone is arrested and they threaten to kill the cop or a witness):
Are you kidding me? An every-day felony, depending on who's done what to whom, and who's tattling on whom. (See also Terroristic Threat and Harassment).

This is fun (for me, anyway) so I'm going to do more later in the week. . .

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Canadians, floating feet, and a lack of suspicion

What do you get when you mix the following: eleven running shoed-feet washing ashore, tidal patterns, and Canadian investigators?

Not much, apparently.

You must have seen this story by now, and because the specter of a serial killer looms large (in my mind) I had to mention it here:

Another human foot has washed ashore in British Columbia, keeping investigators on their toes in the case of 11 mysterious feet in running shoes that have appeared on area beaches since 2007.

The possible "non-suspicious" explanations in the story are hard to swallow. Not so much because they are implausible but because they are just so damned uninteresting. For those too lazy to click, the thinking is that all these people died in unrelated ways, and because running shoes are buoyant these days, while the rest of their bodies disappeared into the wavy blue, their feet made it to shore.

I prefer to think that no, they have a bead on a serial killer, one with a running shoe fetish. Maybe a cabal of them, evil men who sit around their evil lair at night and take bets on which foot will bob to the beach next. Slicer Simon wagers on the small, petite feet of women while Hatchet Harry bets on the bigger, more robust clodhoppers of men.

Hmmm, I think I have a new story to write...

Can't we all just be friends? Err... no!

Every time we have a trial, Judge Lynch goes to great pains to explain to jurors that 'not communicating' with trial participants, each other, and the media includes every known form of technology. It's kind of cute because, legal genius that he is, Judge Lynch probably doesn't use too many of the social media outlets. You can tell by the way he talks about them. Anyhoo. . .

If only all jurors everywhere listened to their judges instructions.

The story begins like this:

A North Texas juror who was booted from a trial has been cited for contempt after trying to “friend” the defendant on Facebook.

Yeah, I know. Amazing. Full story here.