Tag Archives: P.I.

Money to Municipalities will do a lot to drive the legalization of marijuana.

The town of Coalinga, CA decided to bet it’s future on building a prison.  The town lost the bet and the prison sat unused.  Nothing was gained but debt to the community.  The city council decided to the sell the prison for over $4,000,000.00 to a company in Southern California that grows and produces medical marijuana.  Now a place that would have housed offenders of the various marijuana related criminal statutes will in fact be a home to the production of the medical marijuana products.  According to the article at the link below at least 100 jobs have already been created.  It appears that the ability of municipalities and states to generate cash from marijuana will do more to drive the move to legalize it than anything else.

Coalinga, CA sells it’s prison to a Medical Marijuana company.

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Stuff I sometimes wish I had, but I’m glad I don’t.

The Huffington Post reports in this article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/05/dea-surveillance-cover-up_n_3706207.html?ir=Politics&utm_campaign=080513&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-politics&utm_content=Title that the DEA has a Special Operations Division (SOD) that collects tons of information into a database of roughly one billion items to establish and share tips and evidence among other agencies, including the NSA.  Read the article to get all the details because on summary on my part will not do it justice.

One of the things the article discusses is the creation of “parallel construction.”  According to the article,

“It’s just like laundering money – you work it backwards to make it clean,” said Finn Selander, a DEA agent from 1991 to 2008 and now a member of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which advocates legalizing and regulating narcotics.

Some defense lawyers and former prosecutors said that using “parallel construction” may be legal to establish probable cause for an arrest. But they said employing the practice as a means of disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants. 

Burying the source of evidence means that defendants may not be able to investigate its veracity.  If the source is an informant, a defendant cannot delve into the motivation of the informant.  I can tell you that from the standpoint of someone working on the defense side of things this can be a real problem.

There are many days when I wish I could access phone records with just a few key strokes.  However, I can get something through public records, a witness volunteering information or the issuance of a subpoena, I can’t violate someone’s rights and when you score that tidbit of information that has meaning in a case you get a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

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Shrinkage (Not George Costanza Shrinkage)

I recently received a photo from an I Phone via an E-mail.  The resolution was sorely lacking and upon further investigation I found that the photo as received was 2 megapixel resolution rather than the full 8 megapixel the phone’s camera is capable of providing.

Apparently, I Phones automatically downsize the resolution of photos when you use the share function.  With the help of an IT friend, I found the following solution at lifehacker.com.

“Even though your iPhone snaps pictures at pretty decent resolutions (2048×1536 from the 3GS, 1600×1200 on previous iPhone versions), your device automatically resizes photos to a measly 800×600 when you go to email them. Here’s how to fix that.

The resized pictures may be enough under certain circumstances, but if you want your pics to make it through your email in their full glory, it’s a simple matter of copy and paste.

As weblog Geek stuff points out, the resizing only happens when you share photos from your photo library via your iPhone’s traditional Share button—which imports the resized pictures into an empty email. Instead of taking that route, either tap and hold on a single picture and then tap copy or select multiple pictures in album view and tap the Copy button at the bottom of your screen. Then head back to the home screen, fire up Mail, compose a new email, and paste the photos into the new message. Rather than the smaller, resized pictures, you’ll get the full resolution versions.”


If getting the best possible resolution is important when using photos for evidence you may wish to make use of this advice and get the full muscle your I Phone camera has to offer.

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The job isn’t all serious stuff


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March 13, 2013 · 12:46 PM

Thank the volunteers.

To any of you who may have yet to cast your ballot today,  I hope you will take a moment while on your way out to thank the volunteers who help to make the process possible.

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Happy Halloween and Happy Anniversary to Sherlock Holmes!

October 31, 1892: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Is Published

On this day in 1892, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle was published. The book was the first collection of Holmes stories, all of which had been published in The Strand Magazine between July 1891 and July 1892.

The book contained twelve stories, all of which featured Doyle’s famous detective Sherlock Holmes.

(Courtesy NPR)

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International flavor

Our international reach was expanded to Albania today.  I’m not sure what that means exactly, but it does get your attention.

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Just two weeks to the class at the Learning Exchange

Just two (2) until our next class on How to Find Anything on Anyone at the Learning Exchange.


See you there.  (If you can find the classroom.)

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Access to Public Records is becoming more restricted.

Just about the only thing you can count on when searching for information through access to public records is that there is  little if any consistency.  Shrinking state and municipal budgets have an obvious impact on your access to public records.

Entities that got into setting up sophisticated on-line access to information early will no doubt be able to continue to do.  However, there is not guarantee that will be the case.  While Sacramento County continues to maintain some of the best on-line services that I have worked with, the San Joaquin County Court  (Stockton, CA) shut down its on-line index in the last year or so.  Initially the site posted a notice that it was complying with State rules regarding limiting access to birth, death and marriage records.  That excuse made no sense because all the other California Counties did not seem to share that interpretation.  It seemed to be a matter of cost and only one of cost.  Now a search of San Joaquin County Court records requires a trip to the courthouse in Stockton.  In the past, such a trip would be avoided.  Now you have to find time during the work week to conduct an in person search just to see if there any files that may be of interest.

Here in Sacramento County, access to records has been reduced by cuts to the number of staff working in the records departments of the County Courts.  The most noticeable effects appear  in the Family Law Records Department.  A recent effort to gain access to a file took six (6) hours.  The first three were spent waiting in line to order a file that was stored in archives.  Seven (7) days later when the file was available,  another three (3) hours were spent waiting in line to get the file, review its six or so pages of material and return it.  The reason for the delay is simply explained by the presence of fewer people working behind the counter.

One other example of how  access to information is becoming limited due to budget constraints appears in Los Angeles  County, where you have to set up a credit card account to gain access to the on-line case index. If you don’t have a credit card, you need to drive to one the several court houses in LA County and do the your search the old-fashioned way, by hand.

In each of these cases reduced access is not the result of re-characterizing the status of a document, it is simply the result of tougher economic times.

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8 Facts to Try to Gather Before You Start a Search for Someone

Before starting a search for someone or hiring someone to conduct the search, you should try to collect as much information about the subject of your search as you can.  Below is list of 8 facts that really help find the subject of your search.  You don’t need all 8, but the more you have at the start of your search, the greater the likelihood of success.

1.  Correct Spelling of the subject’s Name

You won’t believe how much this helps and how often people don’t have it.

2.  A Middle Name or Middle Initial

This can really help narrow your search.

3.  Date of Birth (DOB)

This again can go a long way toward narrowing your search to the person you are looking for.  Just knowing the year of birth is helpful in because many sites will include an age range for possible matches.  The Sacramento County Case Index allows you to search criminal records using the subject’s name and DOB.  This really narrows things for the person doing the search.  Yolo County requires a DOB to run a criminal case file search.

4.  Social Security Number

Although this can be tough to come by, it really helps with the expensive national data base searches.  Having a SSN is kind of like finding fingerprints on the murder weapon.

5.  Last Know Address

Having the last know address or any address known to have been good is a huge aid in finding someone.  Even if it is just a city or town, as long as you know it was good once upon a time it can be of help.

6.  The Subject’s Profession

When running a search it can be of great help to include the subject’s profession or the name of the company they were known to work for.

7.  Hobbies or Other Interests

Much like a subject’s profession, adding a known hobby or interest to your search queries can lead to the right person.

8.  Other Related Parties

The name of the subject’s spouse, parents or children can help you sift through court files, residence records and in come cases you will find who you are looking for by checking the social media sites maintained by people associated with your subject.

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