Monthly Archives: April 2014

Victim/Accomplice

When does a victim become an accomplice or were they always a accomplice and never really a victim?  This is a subject for discussion because I haven’t researched the answer.  Let’s create a hypothetical situation.  Let’s say, for the sake of our discussion, that two people are attacked by some person or persons.  Victim #1 dies, but Victim #2, although appearing to have been attacked as well, survives.  When pressed by investigators for a description of the attacker(s) or better still to provide the identity of the attacker(s) Victim #2 refuses to cooperate. 

Victim #2 recovers from the attack while Victim #1 is buried.  Victim #2 resumes everyday life without so much as offering condolences to the family of Victim #1 and all the while the killer remains free.  Victim #2 surely remembers something, but offers nothing.  At what point does Victim #2 go from being a victim to aiding and abetting in the commission of a murder? 

If Victim #2 is too afraid to cooperate with law enforcement that implies that Victim #2 knows who the attacker was?  It seems as though you can only really fear something if you know who you are dealing with and what the consequences of going against that person might be.  All the while Victim #2 allows the attacker(s) for roam around free to strike again.

One alternative is that Victim #2 was never really a victim at all.  Victim #2 took one for the team in order to set up Victim #1.  If that is the case, Victim #2 is probably Accomplice #1.  Of course the Attacker(s) may have used Victim #2 to get close to Victim #1 and then tried to eliminate Victim #2 as a potential witness by turning a single homicide into a double homicide. 

I don’t really have an answer, just a lot of questions and I’ll leave flat circles out of the discussion for now.

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Landlords beware!

In talking with attorneys who represent alleged pot growers and drug producers of various types I have heard how landlords specialize in in renting to folks engaged in this line of work.  Often times landlords can charge exorbitant rates for turning a blind eye.  However, those same landlords are subject to property forfeiture laws if the arresting agency can show knowledge on the part of the landlord.   I would think that above market rental rates would be one such indicator of knowledge as well as complaints from nieghbors.

For those readers who might be thinking that they can benefit from drug trade without actually dealing in drugs, you may want to think again.

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Your car has its own “Black Box”

Automotive Black Boxes

For nearly two decades Ford and GM have included what are often referred to as Black Boxes to record certain accident related data pertaining to your vehicle.  Generally this data was stored or generated by the Air Bag Module which processes data from sensors placed throughout a vehicle to determine whether or not air bags should or should not be deployed (inflated).

The systems were originally developed for and installed in race cars to help build safer vehicles.  Over time they were inserted in consumer vehicles and after some court battles the means to readily download this data for use in accident reconstruction cases became available.  

Depending on the system, impact sets off the sensors which transmit data to the Air Bag Module.  The ABM gathers information on speed, RPMs, whether or not seats are occupied, whether seat belts are engaged, whether the brake is engaged and point of impact.  This data is stored in the module and can be downloaded in a very readable form for varying periods of time.  Typically situations calling for the deployment of air bags are stored indefinitely and those that do not are retained for a certain number of ignition cycles.  (Each time you start the engine and then shut it off = one ignition cycle.)

The data can be downloaded from the car or the module can be removed depending on the circumstances.  Either way hardware is necessary to access the data.  Therefore, a technician can not pull up near your car and conduct a wireless download of data.

This information is collected by law enforcement in many accident situations, but insurance companies have been slow to download the data from their clients’ vehicles in non-fatal situations.  In fact most cars go to scrap before data is downloaded or the driver effectively erases the data after X number of ignition cycles are exceeded.  Either way important evidence is destroyed.

One of the the concerns about this data involves privacy and the issue of who owns the information.  The US Senate just passed a bill that says the car owner or lessee is owner rather than the manufacturer or lessor.  http://editorial.autos.msn.com/blogs/post–senators-propose-law-covering-car-black-box-data

You should be aware that this data exists and could be used to prove your case if you are ever involved in an accident. 

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Public Access is being limited in Sacramento County

Sacramento County is now following a trend of the many other counties (most notably Los Angeles County) and effective July 1, 2014 it will charge for access to on-line court records.  I expect that the same will shortly be true for the County Recorder’s records as well.

You can go to https://services.saccourt.ca.gov/ for the specifics involved in researching what was once freely available access to public records.  In the meantime here is a copy from the Court’s web site regarding what you can expect to pay.

A public access fee will be charged when searching for cases by name. In order to conduct a name search, you must first create an account then purchase the desired number of name searches. The fees are as follows:

  • $1.00 for one (1) name search
  • $3.50 for five (5) name searches
  • $25.00 for 75 name searches
  • $250.00 for 30 consecutive days of unlimited name searches
  • $2,500.00 for 365 consecutive days of unlimited name searches

There are no refunds for unused name search credits. Name search credits do not expire, with the exception of the 30- and 365-day name search options.

Happy hunting!

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