Archive for the ‘Criminal Defense Investigations’ Category
I came across these comments yesterday, and I just had to laugh:
Back in 2009 a local amateur blogger named Mike Martin who has a “rag” called The Columbia Heartbeat decided to play Amateur Sleuth and attempt to solve a local murder here in Columbia, MO. Mr. Martin was poorly equipped to play Amateur Investigators, as most amateurs are. Not understanding rules of evidence, statement corroboration, proper interview techniques, and the differences between facts, theory, conjecture, and just outright wild speculation Mr. Martin proceeded to solve the Jeong Im murder: Jeong Im Murder
Mike Martin Has It All Figured Out
Mr. Martin proclaimed himself to be a greater detective than all of the MU Police Department and the Columbia Police Department. He was going to solve the crime that nobody else had at this time been able to solve. Mr. Martin made a lot of public statements and got a lot of publicity for this. The Missourian Newspaper ran an article that seemed like it was looking to Mr. Martin’s brilliant powers of observation to conduct a new, fresh analysis of this case. Mr. Martin was having a grand old time with all of his new found publicity. Why, Mr. Martin became a local celebrity in Columbia, MO.. The problem with publicity in professions like mine is that publicity puts further pressure on one to PRODUCE!
So, as time goes by Mr. Martin finds that he needs to start showing that he has done something on this case. He needs a SUSPECT! And Mr. Martin not only proclaims to the entire world that he has a suspect, but that he SOLVED this case. Mr. Martin never really names his suspect, but he does drop enough hints that most of the people that know about the Jeong Im murder quickly determine who his suspect is. Mr. Martin claims that the person that murdered Jeong Im was a work associate of Jeong Im’s. Read Mike Martin’s “solving” of this case below:
Now, when you read the link above titled “Mike Martin’s Suspect” you will see Mr. Martin pointing the finger at the work associate of Jeong Im’s, who Mr. Martin has given an alias to (as Mr. Martin would have you believe) protect two women that this man had been harassing. Yes, Mr. Martin not only has a suspect here, he proclaims to the entire world that his suspect is the man that murdered Jeong Im. Oh, but Mr. Martin is being careful, after all he did give his suspect an alias…… Now Mr. Martin is wondering why the MU Police and the CPD could not be as efficient as he is in solving this case? Our HERO, Mr. Martin has now solved the Jeong Im Murder Case! The only problem is that nobody knows this case is solved but Mr. Martin! Mr. Martin is telling everyone he solved this case. Mr. Martin is telling everyone that he has a “Bonafide Suspect”! But where is the arrest? Where is the charge? Where is the court case for this “solved murder”?
The reality here as you read this, is that Mr. Martin is an Amateur Blogger seeking attention impersonating a Professional Investigator, like myself and many others that get paid for conducting proper investigations. Mr. Martin got his nose out of whack a long time ago because he (Yes, Mr. Martin) checked the wrong box on his property tax form for his house it cost him a bit more money than it would have if he would have just read the form and filled it out like he was as intelligent as he pretends to be. When confronted with this difference by the local Tax Assessor and informed that he could not go back and correct this error, Mr. Martin threw a fit! So, Mr. Martin decided to start a “rag” know as The Columbia Heartbeat to harass and strike back at the evil city government of Columbia, MO. for calling him on his error and holding him accountable for it, thus the birth of the Columbia Heartbeat.
Today, Amateur Bloggers come from all walks of life. They write their opinions, and let the world see them. Some Amateur Bloggers are good about fact checking and researching their material, and not making un-provable and false allegations to the public; they are RESPONSIBLE BLOGGERS, other simply don’t care as long as they are getting some attention. Unfortunately for the citizenry of Columbia, MO. Mr. Martin falls in the latter category. While Mr. Martin likes to criticize other bloggers like Matthew Akins of Citizens For Justice, the fact is that Matthew Akins would NEVER accuse anyone of murder without having solid evidence, Matthew Akins does fact check and research his articles, he does proper video taped interviews for his articles. Matthew Akins does not speculate and throw out wild theories with no base to support his contentions. But Mr. Martin does…… Watch….
Cut back to 2009 when Mr. Martin proclaimed to the world that he had solved Jeong Im’s murder. The reality is that Mr. martin just shot off at the mouth and accused an innocent man of murder. The person that Mr. martin accused of murdering Jeong Im has recently been shown to be innocent of the crime. How, might you ask? Because the REAL investigators at MU and the CPD have figured out who actually committed the murder. I say REAL investigators, because they knew better than to throw out wild accusations to the public. They had enough professionalism to try to be careful not to slander someone’s good name. They did not run off at the mouth for attention. They knew that investigations like this take time, and they patiently worked their case. And here is the result of their case work:
There is a lesson to be learned here. Let the professionals do their jobs! If Mr. Martin had actually been in charge of this investigation he would have caused an innocent man to be jailed, and possibly imprisoned. Mr. Martin simply took a person that was a close work associate of Jeong Im’s and with a lot of conjecture and little speculation, he wildly accused an innocent man of murder; all for a little attention. And the Missourian and The Columbia Tribune just ATE IT UP! I have never seen such an on-point display as to why people that are not properly trained should never try to conduct an investigation that could cause a person to lose their liberty. To be polite, Mr. Martin is a bumbling, attention seeking, arrogant, self-centered, IDIOT that does not care who he causes damage to as long as it benefits himself! Personally, I knew the day would come that this murder would be solved, the MU Police and the CPD held the case open, followed up on leads, and patiently waited for the right lead to develop, and they did all of this without slandering anyone’s reputation.
Ricky B. Gurley
Back in August of 2010 I did a series of articles on a young man named David Riley. You can reference these articles easy enough just by going to the tag cloud on the right hand side of the screen and clicking the name “David Riley” or just by clicking this link: David Riley. David Riley is a young man that went to a store one night to buy some beer, after he had already been drinking, he purchased his beer and he walked out to his car with his designated driver. On the way to his car he kicked a bottle across the parking lot, and drew the attention of what he would soon discover would be an undercover Police Officer. David Riley said some things to the Police Officer that were not very nice, and in return the Police Officer drew his firearm and proceeded to beat David Riley senseless, along with a few other Police Officers that responded to the undercover Police Officer’s calls for back up; all in full view of the store video camera. David Riley was then taken to the hospital where he was verbally humiliated by security staff and the Police. David Riley was then taken from the hospital to the jail after he received medical care, and charged with resisting arrest and some other “cover my ass charges” by the Police. David Riley then bonded out of jail, in horrible physical condition from the beating that he had just suffered. From there this incident basically ruined his life. He was coerced by a Prosecutor (actually I’d personally call it blackmailed by a Prosecutor) to plea to his charges and accept a conviction. He suffered some mental health issues, which in turn caused him to lose his auto dealership and his family. All and all, it was a fine years work of ruining a man’s life by the CPD and the Boone County Prosecutor’s Office; so that the CPD could keep it’s butt covered and looking like they’d never do anything improper.
When this incident first occurred, I got the call from the Defense Attorney the next day to start an investigation on this case. I knew where to start, at the scene of the incident. RMRI, Inc. wrote up a Notice To Preserve Documents and served it on the store that this incident took place at; and RMRI, Inc. actually received a copy of the video tape before the CPD did. RMRI, Inc. measured out the place where the incident occurred, how far the undercover Police Officer was from David Riley when the verbal exchange took place. RMRI, Inc. interviewed all of the store clerks that were working that night. RMRI, Inc. also requested any property that was taken from David Riley by the CPD the night of the arrest, on behalf of David Riley. Interesting enough the CPD returned a pocket knife that David Riley was carrying that night. Interesting because the CPD tried to claim that David Riley was trying to rob the undercover Police Officer; wouldn’t they have kept the knife as evidence if this had really occurred? As I conducted this investigation it became apparent to me that David Riley was a victim of Police Brutality. But let’s be fair and forthright here; David Riley was no angel. David Riley had some very serious criminal convictions in his background, be probably used alcohol a little too much. Sometimes he could be disagreeable and hard to deal with. But we should all understand that none of this precludes him from being a victim of Police Brutality. So, I took a special interest in this case. I have always felt very strongly about Police Abuse and Police Brutality issues. I don’t think that any citizen should have to suffer a beating at the hands of the Police, who are supposed to be protecting and serving the citizenry. Yes, there are times when the Police must get physical and quell a physical threat, but that is called self defense or defense of the public. So, in this particular case; I did all I could to make my community aware of what had happened to David Riley. I spoke at a City Council Meeting, I spoke at a Police Officer’s Review Board Meeting, I spoke to the media and I blogged about it.
Here is an article where the Columbia Tribune wrote about me trying to bring some awareness to this issue: Investigator Stirs Up Closed Case.
Well, I had some people that believed I was right and some people that thought I was using the media to get some attention for myself. I can understand how some people might feel that way, often times when a person is trying to bring some attention to an issue that they are involved in; it is hard to distinguish who they are trying to get attention for. I told the CPD spokeswoman at the time, that this case would wind up costing the city some money. The CPD spokeswoman responded as if the CPD did everything right, and there was no way that David Riley could ever be on solid ground to sue the CPD.
And there is a twist…….
In the last two weeks David Riley was offered a settlement of he received $55,000.00 by the City of Columbia, MO. to NOT go to Federal Court with his case, which he accepted. We don’t know what the amount of the actual settlement was, but you can bet it was more than $55,000.00, because that amount is what David Riley personally received, he also had to have money for his hospital bills, and of course his attorney had to get paid for his hard work. Here is the Columbia Tribune Article on the settlement: City Settles With Man Who Was Beaten During 2009 Arrest
All I can say is good for David Riley. I am glad that he got some money to try to get his life back on track with. I also hope that the City of Columbia, MO. realizes that the undercover Officer that beat David Riley that night and his cohort, just cost the City of Columbia a significant amount of money.
I also want to make something else clear. When this incident occurred, Chief Burton had only been Chief of the CPD for a few months. While technically speaking, Chief Burton was in charge, he was so new that he was having to rely on his staff to see how the CPD was structured, what the policies were at the CPD, what their strengths and weaknesses were, and just to get a feel for how the CPD functioned overall. We don’t see these incidents in Columbia, MO. anymore. Chief Ken Burton has made tremendous strides to try to prevent these types of incidents from occurring. Chief Burton has terminated the employment of Officers that have behaved this way in the past, at great personal sacrifice to himself. We now have a wonderful Chief of Police at the CPD that cares about the citizenry here in Columbia, MO., and is tough enough to make the hard decisions in his job. Chief Burton has bought these types incidents way down. And, I think it is fair that we don’t put the responsibility of this on him ; he was not at the CPD long enough when this incident occurred to really implement any change that would have prevented this.
Last week I blogged about some new technology that RMRI, Inc. now has. This technology is proprietary to RMRI, Inc., so I won’t be very specific about the technology itself, however I would like to update my readership on the effectiveness of the technology based on test results at RMRI, Inc.
Not only have I been impressed with this new technology; but so has the people that have contacted me and requested that I use it to help them in their cases. I have heard nothing but good feedback from the people that have utilized this product to enhance their investigations.
In the most recent case, I was contacted by a Private Sector Fugitive Recovery Agent to assist him in locating a fugitive from justice that has a verified warrant out for their arrest. Due to the fact that this Fugitive Recovery Operation is underway as I write this; I can’t give specifics about it. I will follow up with specifics about it in a later post. However I can say this; the Private Sector Fugitive Recovery Agent contacted me at 9:00 PM on January 8, 2013 (last night) and by 9:30 PM on January 8, 2013 (30 minutes later) the Private Sector Fugitive Recovery Agent had a verified location on his Fugitive From Justice and is now making all of the arrangements to recovery this fugitive. This was all conducted from my computer at my desk. After weeks of field work, interviews, and “Address Checks” to no avail; RMRI, Inc. and the new technology that we can deploy to gather critical information on a subject was able to locate this fugitive within thirty (30) minutes!
In another case RMRI, Inc. was contacted by an attorney to run a background check on a subject. The attorney reported that she had previously had a computerized background check conducted on her subject; and did not get any current information back about her subject; but did get a good amount of historical data back pertaining to her subject. I used RMRI, Inc.’s new technology to run this attorney’s subject for background information, compiled the report along with some visual data graphs that are generated by the technology and sent all of the results over to the attorney. Within one (1) hour I received a phone call from the attorney; she said that she had never seen a report like this, and she was just “blown away” as to how much more information was found on this report in comparison to the reports she got back from ordering a Computerized Background Check from another company. She stated that she felt like she knew everything there was to know about her subject, and that now she had information that she could actually use in her case. This attorney stated that she would be calling RMRI, Inc. for all of her information needs, from this point forward.
In a third case, an Investigator from Maryland named Fred Schroeder contacted RMRI, Inc. about running some information on a few subjects of an investigation he was conducting. Within one (1) hour the Investigator had several reports pertinent to his investigation, and he was also highly impressed. This Investigator indicated that the data that he received answered a question that he would have had to research prior to receiving this report. This Investigator also indicated that he would be using RMRI, inc. for all of his information needs in the future. Below are Fred’s words as quoted from an email he replied to RMRI, Inc. with after receiving these reports:
Good Morning, Ricky.
I have finally had the chance to look over the “reports” you supplied the other day regarding our current investigation.
I am Totally Impressed with the Comprehensive Information contained in your reports. I have been a Defense Based Private Investigator for 30 years and have closely watched the evolution of Information Reports and you absolutely hit a Home Run. As a matter of fact, your report answered the next question I was going to research.
The problem I’ve been having with “reports” is that maybe 10% of the information is “Real” and the other 90% based on “Speculation and Cross Over Information” gathered from other Data Bases.
Your Reports supplied 60% Real And Useful Information. We look forward to a continuing relationship.
Regards & Thank You.
Frederick W. Schroeder, 6th
Schroeder & Associates Investigative Services.
Folks; I think RMRI, Inc. has something here that can benefit the Legal and Investigative Community alike. Of course, as I have stated before there are limitations. If the data you need is not aggregated on-line; we will not be able to get this data, and there are also some limitations as to what various states make available on-line. Barring these limitations; I simply have not seen and do not know of any other source that will pull out the type of information from the Internet and compile it in as comprehensive and easy to read report with good, useful graphics as what RMRI, Inc. has rolled out. The cost of this information is a little higher than what would be paid for standard database results; however when one considers that value of having actionable intelligence that one can rely on; I believe the cost is competitive with standard database results that contain a lot of “canned data”.
Ricky B. Gurley.
As we progress in this technological world we find that information has become a commodity; and accurate, current information is a precious commodity. It is not enough to just have information on a person or a business when there is a need to investigate a person or a business, the information must be actionable! There is only one way that information is actionable and that is if it is current, accurate, and in-depth.
Today there are more files kept on consumers than ever before. We all have a file! There can be no doubt that we all have a vast amount of information that is kept about us in a file on a computer, somewhere. Rarely do we get to see all of the information that is archived and stored about us. One of the problems with accessing this information is that it is broken up into pieces and stored on various computers, depending on the category and classification of this information. There is no central repository for this information, but we are getting close to having a central repository for consumer data. So, the problem for the consumer that has a legitimate need for this information is ACCESS!
While there is no known central repository for consumer data, there is technology that can pull these files on consumers from the various storage mediums that they are housed in and combine them into one report. Even with this technology there is still a problem for the consumer. That problem is accuracy and “freshness”. In order to act on information one has to have accurate and up to date information. Personal data archived on computer systems is often “stale” and inaccurate by the time it is made available to the consumer. In order to overcome this problem, one has to have access to data coming directly from the terminal as it is being archived in the system, instead of access to “canned data” that has been archived for three (3) to six (6) months, and have the resources to check and verify the sources of information against alternate sources of the same information.
Once there is a system in place that can tackle these two (2) problems, a better, more accurate and current grade of information can be produced for those that have a legitimate need for it. RMRI, Inc. has tackled these two (2) problems! RMRI, Inc. is not relying on one (1) database to solve these problems, nor are we simply ordering a report and reselling it. We have developed a streamlined process by which multiple databases are pulled together and the information from those databases is put into a cue where it is checked for integrity and accuracy, and then all of the relevant information that has passed the necessary checks for accuracy, freshness, and integrity are then put into a consumer report with visual mapping, that is actionable!
NOW THE CONSUMER THAT HAS A LEGITIMATE AND LEGAL NEED HAS ACCESS TO GREATER, MORE ACCURATE, AND UP TO DATE INFORMATION THAN EVER BEFORE; AT AN AFFORDABLE COST!
RMRI, Inc. now has the technology to deliver actionable information to our clientele! From detailed current location information to in-depth criminal histories all the way to full, all inclusive National Comprehensive Reports that span everything from location information to utility information to asset information, criminal and civil records; and RMRI, Inc. can quickly put it at your fingertips.
RMRI, Inc. now has the latest, cutting edge technology to offer our clientele actionable investigative intelligence at competitive industry prices. Considering the value of accurate and current intelligence over stale, outdated data our clientele can expect significant long term savings in time and money when in need of investigative intelligence.
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Ricky B. Gurley.
I have been following the Ryan Ferguson case for quite sometime now. This is an interesting case, to say the least. I’ll admit that myself or anyone else will know exactly what happened that fateful night that Kent Heitholt lost his life. There are many different theories about what happened that terrible night, and most of these theories have been explored quite well. Most of the theories that I have heard seem to be fairly reasonable.
Now I’ll concede that theories are just that, THEORIES. However in a case like this, when you have two boys locked up in prison on a conviction that has at this time resulted from a trial in which there was no forensic evidence, a recanted confession from a person that literally confessed on a dream, two witnesses that not only recanted but also state that their testimony was coerced by the Prosecutor; it seems to me that the theories are as plausible as the conviction.
The one thing about this case that has been disappointing to me is that not EVERY theory has been explored so well. With Ryan’s team focusing on Michael Boyd as a “person of interest” whom the Police have investigated and ruled out, and hanging their hopes on recanted testimony that only begs the question of “when were these witnesses lying?”; I am not real surprised that Judge Daniel Green’s ruling came back as it did. The evidence that was presented in this case was really not all that compelling, to me. The evidence did raise further issue overall, as to,whether or not Ryan Ferguson actually committed the crime, but it did leave a lot of credibility questions about these witnesses, and we are left with wondering again, at which point in this case did they tell the truth and at which point in this case did they not tell the truth.
I want to be careful here because I believe that one plausible theory about this crime needs to still be explored, and I don’t think this can be done effectively by giving too much detail about it. There is a plausible theory as to what occurred the night that Kent Heitholt lost his life. This theory is supported with evidence that seems to be just as sound as the evidence that sent Ryan Ferguson to prison. What is disappointing is that nobody has really followed up on this theory. It is disappointing because the energy that went into exploring any connection that Michael Boyd may have had to this crime, and getting witnesses to recant, diverted attention away from what could have very well been a “bombshell” that may have blown this case wide open.
It is not like I have not been talking about, and even to a degree following up on this theory. I have actually been voicing my opinion about this theory for a long time, and there seems to be no interest in following this theory up. Personally, I can’t afford to thoroughly follow up on this theory as it should be followed up on, and I don’t know of many people that can; it would take quite a bit of work. I believe that not following up on this theory has been to the peril of Ryan Ferguson, and that is sad. It may be to late to follow up on this theory, and that is even sadder…
Ricky B. Gurley.
I have been on the Internet for a very long time, probably longer than most Private Investigators have. I am always amazed at the information one can find on the Internet. Most of the information on the Internet is information that we freely give about ourselves. Between social networks, email, and the ”deep web”, we can find out almost anything about anyone. It has become accepted and even expected that the consumer will inadvertently give out private information about their self on the Internet in current times. But what about Private Investigators? One would think that a Private Investigator would be cautious of what they allow others to see about them and their business on the Internet. Sadly, this does not seem to be the case.
The Private Investigation business is a funny business, while the Private Investigator has to be able to keep his or her case information confidential, he or she also has to find an effective way to advertise or market on the Internet these days, also. Often times Private Investigators blur the lines between marketing and giving out confidential information on the Internet. I was amazed eight years ago when I found a naked picture of one Private Investigator on the Internet. Not surprisingly this Private Investigator was the very person responsible for their naked picture being on the Internet. If this Private Investigator had not sent their naked picture to other unsuspecting people of the opposite sex in email, their picture would have never been found on the Internet. This is just an example of how careless one Private Investigator had become with their information. But there are literally hundreds of examples like this where Private Investigators have shared a little too much on the Internet.
We all remember the Baby Lisa Irwin Case, and one Private Investigator’s attempt to grab some attention by proclaiming how he was working this case, then “backpedaling” and stating that he was blogging this case as an “Investigative Journalist”, right? Look at all of the information and inferences one could make from that situation. First, the question comes to mind; why wouldn’t anyone actually hire him to work this case? Second, one has to wonder was this Private Investigator using his fee based, proprietary databases to cull information on this case, while he was clearly not working as a hired Private Investigator conducting a Private Investigation? Third, was it appropriate to share the results of his investigation with the public, while the Police were conducting an investigation into the disappearance of this infant, if he was not hired by anyone to conduct this investigation? It is one thing to conduct an investigation as a hired Private Investigator where you have an obligation to your client to investigate the case and keep the information that you gather confidential; it is entirely another thing to possibly interfere with a Police investigation by conducting an investigation for the sake of blogging about your findings for a little media attention. And to this day, this Private Investigator has put himself in the unenviable position of not being able to prove that he did one single thing that helped in locating this child; the only thing he did do was make himself look like an attention starved, low-rent Private Investigator that would do anything for a little media attention.
RMRI, Inc. works a good deal of very sensitive cases that go to court and can be “life altering” to our clients if certain critical information were to come out about our cases. RMRI, Inc. has a few hard and fast rules and protocols about how we conduct business and what we choose to let the public know about our business. First, the ONLY time we are working a case is when we have a paying client, we don’t work cases for free in the hopes of getting some media attention. In all cases that go to court, we enter into a contract with the client. If the case is something simple, where a contract is not necessary (such as: serving a summons) we get an email acknowledgement or an on-line acknowledgement that we are working for the client and that the client expects any information we find in the course of doing our work to remain confidential. We NEVER speak to anyone outside of the client and our team members about an active and ongoing case. Even after a case is completely finished we have a ninety (90) day wait time before we can even acknowledge that we had any involvement with the case whatsoever, and then after that ninety (90) days we can not mention anything that identifies the case we can just speak in general terms about the case. Our approach is quite simple; “we don’t want attention, we want to be paid”. We liken our work to that of any other job, we “punch in” and work, we “punch out” and go home, and we collect our pay. We work to make a living, not for glamour and fame.
While it is true that you can find RMRI, Inc.’s company name in certain publications for attorneys and certain news papers and magazines, what you wont find is any specific information about cases we work, such as names, dates, and specific locations. While you might see a mentioning of cases on our website, what you will not see is any specific mentioning of the details of these cases unless they are over seven (7) years old. While you might see a Facebook Page for RMRI, Inc., what you won’t see is any mention of a case we are working. We make tremendous efforts and take great pains at RMRI, Inc. not to blur the lines between advertising and giving out even a hint of information about our clients and our cases. RMRI, Inc. is not so desperate for attention that we are willing to forsake our client’s privacy for some media attention.
RMRI, Inc. is made up of two (2) licensed Private Investigators, one (1) Pending Licensed Private Investigator, one (1) Process Server, two (2) Technical Consultants qualified as Expert Witnesses, and one (1) Secretary and all of our staff have committed to keeping all case and client data at RMRI, Inc. confidential. Each member is well aware that intentionally “leaking” case and/or client information outside of the confines of RMRI, Inc. is grounds for termination and possible civil action.
A Private Investigator’s ability to keep his or her case and client information is paramount. Confidentiality in the Private Investigation Business is a justified expectation of the client. A successful and confident Private Investigator feels no need to boast about their cases or their clients. Confidentiality is the hallmark of any successful Private investigation Business. If you don’t understand confidentiality, you don’t understand the Private Investigation Business!
For the past two days I have been in court in Boone County, MO. Tonight on 04/10/2012 I got out of court around 10:30 PM. I was there with one of my Technical Consultants on a very interesting case. I want to discuss this case a little here on this blog.
First of all; before I post about this case I think that there are some really outstanding people who need to be acknowledged. The Boone County Sheriff’s Department’s Cyber Crimes Task Force deserves a lot of recognition. My company has worked cases involving several Internet Crimes Units in Law Enforcement; and this team is by far the very best in the state of Missouri. Andy Anderson, Scott Richardson, Mark Sullivan, and Tracy Perkins are simply phenomenal Investigators that are highly skilled, well-organized, and impressively knowledgeable about their work. These Detectives are an example of what Law Enforcement should be. These Detectives make sacrifices that most people could not begin to comprehend, everyday! They see things that are beyond heart breaking, and somehow manage to keep their humanity and integrity intact; indeed they are very special people. They are incredible people who we should all be grateful to. These wonderful people are keeping our children safe in Boone County and the surrounding areas, and doing a most impressive job of it! They are honest, decent people that I am proud to have working as Law Enforcement in the county that I live in. We owe them a tremendous debt!
When I post about the types of cases that RMRI, Inc. often finds itself working, I have a policy that I never mention the name of the defendant on my blog. So, here in this blog entry we will simply call the person that was charged in this case “The Defendant”.
In the case that I am posting about tonight a person was charged with Possession of Child Pornography and Promoting Child Pornography, two very serious felonies that have a potential of sending the defendant to prison for thirty years if convicted of these two crimes. This person was a young college student when they were charged with these offenses. A college student doing what most college students did back when Limewire was a functioning piece of software. This person was downloading music and videos, and was curious about what they could get from Limewire. As you can imagine, as a college student this person’s curiosity was vast and even extended into wanting to view some adult content material. In the process of downloading files from Limewire this person also downloaded three files that can only be termed as “illegal content”. These three files are what constituted the charges that were filed against this person.
When the defendant in this case had their computer seized and had a computer forensics examination performed on their computer, there were literally hundreds for music and video files on the computer and three clearly identifiable illegal files on their computer. Due to these findings, the defendant was charged with Possession of Child Pornography for having the files on their computer and Promotion of Child Pornography for having these files in a shared folder on their computer.
Now there is no doubt that the defendant downloaded these files, there is no doubt that the defendant possessed these files, there is no doubt that these files resided on the defendant’s computer in a shared folder. These facts were well established by the The Boone County Sheriff’s Department’s Cyber Crimes Task Force . And I will say this, if that were all that it would take to be guilty of these crimes, then the defendant would be guilty. However, these cases are far more complex than this. In almost every crime there is an element of intent, except in a few crimes which are called “Strict Liability Crimes”. In these intent based crimes the Prosecution has to show that the Defendant knowingly intended to commit the crime. In this case that means the Prosecution has to prove that the Defendant intended to download thee files for the purpose of deriving some sort of sexual satisfaction by viewing these files.
In this case Tracy Perkins and Scott Richardson gave testimony as to their factual findings in this case. Both of these Detectives should be commended for giving honest, factual testimony with no embellishment whatsoever. I have come to expect that high level of integrity and honesty from the Detectives at The Boone County Sheriff’s Department’s Cyber Crimes Task Force .
Attorneys George Batek and Kathryn Benson questioned these Detectives on cross-examination thoroughly and these Detectives just relayed the facts of their case honestly and with no embellishment. George Batek and Kathryn Benson are two SUPER Attorneys too, they did not miss a beat in this case. George and Kathryn are simply two of the hardest working attorneys that I have ever met!
George Batek and Kathryn Benson contracted with RMRI, Inc. to aid them on the technical aspects of this case about forty-five days ago. I chose to bring Steve Turner in on this case due to his extremely extensive knowledge of computers, the Internet, and working with people from novice computer users to advanced computer users in instructing them on how to properly use their computers and maintain their computers for over twenty years. Steve Turner was able to quickly develop a profile on the level of sophistication that the defendant possessed with regard to computers and the Internet-based on how the defendant used their computer. Steve Turner was able to demonstrate that the defendant was only a novice computer user and easily made some mistakes on setting their computer up and maintaining the software on their computer. Steve Turner gave Expert Witness testimony on exactly how the defendant managed to get the three files in question, and how it was entirely possible that the defendant mistakenly downloaded these files due to making some mistakes that only a novice computer user would make. Steve Turner is simply a phenomenal person with an impressive amount of experience and knowledge when it comes to working with computers, servers, the Internet, mobile devices, and telecommunications devices.
It is first necessary to say that The Boone County Sheriff’s Department’s Cyber Crimes Task Force did nothing wrong or incorrect. Their methodologies are sound, they are thorough, and they have a very impressive knowledge of Digital Forensics and Digital Evidence issues. Their work was never at anytime in question. The question simply came down to this: Was a Jury ready to send a young adult to prison for a long time and negatively impact their life for a long time over what may have very well been a simple mistake made by a novice computer user? And this Jury had the humanity and the wisdom to refuse to do so and to return a verdict of Not Guilty on both charges.
I have to admit that when the verdict was read I made a “whooping sound” that I felt quickly ashamed of afterwards, but this was because I really had some reservations about the wisdom of the Prosecution in charging this young person with these very serious crimes over what even looks like on its face to be a completely unintentional. I know that the Prosecutor was doing her job. And I am grateful that she too is a very tough lady with zero tolerance for these types of crimes. I have just never been sure in this case if it was wise to charge a young person with such terrible crimes. I mean, I have a hard time understanding the benefit to society in negatively impacting someone’s life with these types of charges for over what even on its face looks to be an honest mistake. But, I will concede that this Prosecutor is smarter than I am about these matters, and she has a level of understanding about the law that far exceeds my understanding of the law.
Despite my reservations about this young person being charged with these crimes; I was happy to be a part of this case. I was surrounded by really good and decent people on this case; two SUPER Defense Attorneys, four WONDERFUL Detectives that are just consummate Professionals at what they do, one of my Technical Consultants that I have become so proud to call a friend, a colleague, and a work associate, and a really nice, family that bound together with love for one another and showed that through their support of their family member, the defendant! In my mind, this was not a “win or lose case”; this was a case that restores one’s faith in people, in Law Enforcement, in the Family Unit and there is simply no better feeling than that!
Back in the last part of 2011 RMRI, Inc. was called upon to review a case in Camdenton, MO. The case involved a young man who had three illegal files on his computer. The state of Missouri Family Services Division has what is known as a “Stat Team”; this is the team of Investigators that conduct technical investigations for the Division of Family Services. The “Stat Team” conducts Computer Forensics Examinations in cases where they might have a complaint of sexual abuse in the family home. If the “Stat Team” finds illegal content on the computer that the Investigator is examining the Investigator that did the examination can refer this case for prosecution.
In the case that RMRI, Inc. was contacted about the Missouri “Stat Team” found three images on the defendant’s computer of an illegal nature. Often times RMRI, Inc. will be called in by the defense attorney to consult on these types of cases. Because these specific types of cases are so technical due to the very nature of these cases often the Defense Attorney wants to call on an expert to explain exactly what occurred on the defendant’s computer that resulted in these charges, to interpret the evidence since it will usually consist of a good deal of technical jargon, and to see if the Investigator made any statements that might indicate that he or she did not correctly interpret their evidence. RMRI, Inc. has some of the best expert witnesses in the state of Missouri for cases involving almost all manners of digital evidence. RMRI, Inc. has a “Technical Team” of two experts that have a combined fifty years of experience in working with everything from software development and programming, source code analysis, virus and malware defense and protection, computer repair, file recovery, software development, computer security consulting, and forensic acquisition techniques.
When RMRI, Inc. is first called in to consult on a case of this nature the first thing that we want to do is see all of the discovery on these cases. We want to see the report from the Investigator that did the forensic analysis of the computer in question, we want to see any deposition material where the Investigators were deposed by the defense attorney, we want to see any interviews conducted with the defendant, and anything else that the prosecution has provided that will give us an accurate picture of what happened to cause the defendant to be charged. RMRI, Inc. also wants to be present for any testimony that the Investigator that worked this type of case gives.
In the present case that we are discussing here, the testimony of the Investigator that conducted the computer forensics examination on the defendant’s computer gave us great pause as to whether this Investigator correctly interpreted the evidence that he found on the defendant’s computer. In this case the Investigator believed that the defendant downloaded three illegal files to their computer for viewing. The reality of the case is that the defendant never even knew that these files resided on their computer. These files were simply thumbnails that were residing in the temporary file section of the defendant’s computer and were put their as a result of the defendant looking at a website, but NOT even knowing that this website would place these thumbnail images on their computer as a result of viewing this website. Through careful and methodical research RMRI, Inc. was able to not only come to understand what had occurred on the defendant’s computer but was also prepared to prove what happened on the defendant’s computer.
The main figure in this case that was actually able to get this case dismissed at deposition without it ever seeing a trial was the attorney. The attorney is Deirdre O’Donnell of Phillips, McElyea, Carpenter, & Welch, P.C. who was one of the sharpest and most intelligent attorneys that I have ever worked with. Deirdre grasped the issues that we found very quickly, she understood our explanation of what occurred in this case, and she clearly understood what questions needed to be asked of the Investigator for the state of Missouri. Below are the contact details for Deirdre O’Donnell:
Firm: Phillips, McElyea, Carpenter, & Welch, P.C.
Phone Number: (573) 346-7231
Address: 85 Court Circle N.W., Camdenton, MO. 65020
After RMRI, Inc. heard the State’s Investigator testify, analyzed the discovery evidence, and then worked with Deirdre a little on going over what had occurred on the defendant’s computer, Deirdre decided to depose the State’s Investigator. RMRI, Inc. worked with Deirdre on some of the more technical questions that she would ask the State’s Investigator during deposition, and Deirdre already had a comprehensive understanding of the issues that we wanted to find out more about in deposition, but RMRI, Inc.’s Technical Expert wanted to make sure that Deirdre was armed with all of the questions necessary to give us a complete understanding of what lead the State’s Investigator to apply for charges against the defendant in this case.
Deirdre O’Donnell spent countless hours preparing for this deposition, and she went into the deposition and started asking key questions of the State’s Investigator as to what he believed happened on the defendant’s computer, and why he believed as he did. The State’s Investigator had enough integrity and honor to admit shortly into the deposition that he did not have a complete understanding of how to conduct a forensic examination at the time of his testimony because he had only had the basic computer forensics course at that time; since his testimony he had taken an intermediary computer forensics course and has come to understand that some of what he testified to may not have been completely accurate. At this point in time the Prosecuting Attorney “nollied” (dismissed) the case against the defendant. The State’s Investigator and the Prosecuting Attorney showed a tremendous amount of integrity and honor once they came to an accurate understanding of what had occurred in this case.
Deirdre O’Donnell fought intelligently and passionately for her client. Deirdre worked this case in the most effective way possible and achieved the best possible outcome on this case. It takes a lot of work to convince a Prosecutor that he or she should drop charges and not proceed to trial. The Defense Attorney has to be able to clearly convince the Prosecutor that a crime was not committed; and Deirdre did that perfectly! God forbid, but if I ever have legal problem in the Camdenton, MO. area the ONLY attorney I would hire in that part of Missouri would be Deirdre O’Donnell!
Earlier today I saw a post on Facebook that was interesting to me; because it raises a lot of questions and seems to prove what I personally have always known. Below is the post that I saw on Facebook; I took a screenshot of it:
Now it has never been a secret that I am very critical of Mr. Rugen. Personally speaking, I have never believed him to be an intelligent or even a competent Private Investigator. My opinion is based off of many years of being able to observe what he has done in my chosen profession, the Private Investigation business, watching his posts on private forums for Private Investigators, and observing some of his less than intelligent opinions on these forums. The only types of cases that I have ever seen or know of that Mr. Rugen has ever been able to claim any success at is serving subpoenas and judgment collections; which really do not require much skill.
It appears that Mr. Rugen is “giving up” on the Lisa Irwin case? Mr. Rugen also claims that he has been working this case as a “Investigative Reporter”, but more accurately as just an “attention seeking blogger”. The question that comes to my mind about Mr. Rugen claiming that he is not working this case as a Private Investigator is; why not? But the answer seems to be simple and even admitted by Mr. Rugen himself and that is that nobody will hire him. Generally speaking, if you read the Facebook pages regarding Mr. Rugen you will see that he is not held in high esteem, nor is he thought of as competent. It seems logical that the people with an interest in this case that would have a motivation to hire a Private Investigator in this case we are discussing here also read Facebook, and have probably made some calls to see what kind of a Private Investigator Mr. Rugen is. Going off of what Mr. Rugen has been saying, that nobody has hired him; one can only believe that Mr. Rugen’s “reviews” must have been less than stellar.
Mr. Rugen states that he has “put aside paid work that could be done” to work this case. Does anyone REALLY believe that? Does anyone REALLY believe that a struggling Private Investigator, who can not keep a girlfriend or a wife that would add to the household income, that could not pay his rent when he lived in Columbia, MO. and still owes his automobile mechanic $300.00 to this day, would turn down money to work this case? I think that the more likely scenario is that Mr. Rugen did not have any paid work to begin with. But lets say for a minute that he did have paid work coming in and chose not to do it to work this case; would anyone call that “smart business”? I mean, I do understand how Mr. Rugen’s dreams of fame motivated by having a few short clips of him on various News Stations might make one think that this could “drum up business” for him. But the fact remains, no matter how much publicity you get, nobody willfully pays for incompetence!
Now another issue that we can see from reading Mr. Rugen’s posts is that Mr. Rugen claims that since he has not been working as a Private Investigator on this case and he has been working in the capacity of an “Investigative Reporter” he is not bound by any confidentiality or general confidentiality implications. While this may be generally accepted, it is not an ethical stance by someone that is a state licensed Private Investigator. But there is an question that the general public may not be aware of, but another Private Investigator would be aware of; and that question is: Did Mr. Rugen use any databases that he has access to for Private Investigators ONLY to work this case which by Mr. Rugen’s own admission was not a Private Investigation? If Mr. Rugen used any of the databases for Private Investigators only, to work a non-Private Investigation case; then he may be in violation of his agreements with any of the database providers that he is signed up with. This is an interesting question, indeed.
Overall, Mr. Rugen is showing us all what I already knew. He has not made one single inch of headway in solving this case. He has not generated any useful leads or data the entire time he has been on this case. And he has somehow managed to upset the very people that he was supposed to be gaining rapport with on this case. Yes, it is long overdue for Mr. Rugen to take his attorney friend’s advice (Anthony) and just throw in the towel. While it might be a bitter pill for Mr. Rugen to swallow, my thoughts are that he should just admit to himself that he is in fact an incompetent Private Investigator and go back to the “easy money” that does not take a high level of intelligence to make; serving subpoenas and collecting judgments. Doing this may actually serve Mr. Rugen well. The fact is, that Mr. Rugen has done nothing but “spin his wheels” and at the very best got himself a little publicity on this case; meanwhile REAL Private Investigation Agencies (like RMRI, Inc.) are doing what they are supposed to be doing and working REAL private Investigation cases from PAYING CLIENTS, so they can pay their bills and support their families.
Well, maybe we can all breathe a little easier now? Perhaps Mr. Rugen has at least admitted that he is way out of his depth on a case that takes a REAL Private Investigator to even have any hope of solving?We’ll see……….
Well my audience will just have to forgive me; but it is time to say what needs to be said. There are always a few “media vultures” out there in the world, and we can see at least one showing up every day here on the Lisa Irwin Case.
I have had a pretty busy week, working PAYING cases, so I have not had much time to blog about this case in the past five days. Not to brag, but last week was somewhere around a $10,000.00 week for me. It is always important to take care of your paying clients first, and then focus on the topic that interest you. I have had to focus on paying clients. Apparently not all Private Investigators have paying clients to focus on; so they can try to play “Commentator” on cases like the one we are discussing here. Tonight I want to talk about how a “mediocre at best” Private Investigator can harm a case like this, and how a good Private Investigator can help a case like this.
I suppose the first place to start is with the approach that should be taken when working any case as a Private Investigator. One of the most important things to remember is that when it comes to how a Private Investigator works a case, the approach in at least one aspect is much like how a Doctor approaches a patient’s care; First Do No Harm! Often times in the Private Investigation business it is just as important to know what NOT to do as it is to know what to do. If you are a Private Investigator, the “Do No Harm Approach” requires one to be honest with theirself. A good Private Investigator’s first question to himself or herself should be: “Am I qualified to handle this case”? Think of it like this, you would not perform heart surgery on a patient if you did not have the necessary skills, training, and credentials to do so; would you? And if all you have done as a Private Investigator is serve subpoenas and conduct some “cheating spouse surveillance”, what makes you think you are qualified to even give any intelligent commentary on a Child Abduction Case, much less participate in such a case? I take exception to how one of my colleagues seems to want to insert himself into this case and act as if he is some kind of authority on the Lisa Irwin Abduction. What he is doing is selfish, harmful, and has the potential to take away valuable media resources from where they need to be. I will first call your attention to a post made by Mr. Ronald Rugen on 10/25/2011 which is pictured below:
Kris Cantil is a highly experienced Criminal Defense Investigator from Utah, that has spend more time adjusting her make-up in a courthouse bathroom than Mr. Rugen has in a courthouse. She is well qualified to understand the intricacies of a criminal defense case, and to certainly understand what a criminal defense case is. Click on her name and you can see her qualifications. Kris Cantil works for Kane Consulting and her question to Mr.Rugen is important and “dead on”. Folks, the attorneys working for Lisa Irwin’s parents are NOT a “Defense Team” at this point in time, they are simply trying to keep the focus on looking for the person that abducted Lisa Irwin, going on the assertion that the child was in fact abducted. despite what the media wants to title the attorney or attorneys here; there can be no defense without a prosecution and there has not even been an arrest made yet much less a prosecution. The harm in making statements like this is that it gives the public the inaccurate illusion that the parents of Lisa Irwin are the culprits in her disappearance. Now while I am not ready to say that Lisa Irwin’s parents had nothing to do with her disappearance, I am certainly not willing to point the finger at them just yet. The fact is that there just is not enough evidence to make a determination either way at this point in time. Attorney Cyndy Short was right when she said that “this is how people get wrongfully convicted”, these types of presumptuous statements make the public think that there is something that they don’t know but the person making this statement knows that may indicate guilt, which in turn causes public pressure to be put on the Police, which in turn often times impedes their investigation. This can all have the effect of making people rush to judgment in a case where evidence needs to be dispassionately analyzed. These cases have to be worked with a high degree of objectivity, which apparently Mr. Rugen does not have:
it is not hard to see from reading Mr. Rugen’s comment above that by his own admission he has not been very objective in regards to this case. he has “jumped to conclusions”, and implied that Lisa Irwin’s parents had something to do with the disappearance of their child. This is NOT what a good Private Investigator would do. A good Private Investigator would check out everything, including the parents; but he or she would be objective and receptive to reasonable and logical scenarios so as to not easily dismiss something that might be the key to solving this case.
I have personally worked two (2) Child Abduction Cases, and successfully concluded each one within one (1) week. Now, I will admit that both of these cases were non-custodial parental abduction cases; one (1) from Los Angeles, California over seven years ago for an attorney named Shirlee Bliss and one (1) here locally where we recovered the child in Kansas City, MO for the father named Orlando Hayes. These cases are easier than a “Stranger Abduction Case”, none the less they do require objectivity, professionalism, and the ability to keep a “low profile”. My Lead Investigator, Karen Giboney has worked multiple non-custodial parental abductions and “stranger abduction cases” Someone should as Mr. Rugen how many of these cases he has worked?
The media can be a useful tool in helping to solve cases like this. The media gets the word out so that citizens can be on the look out for the child and so that if there is someone out there that knows something they will know who to call and talk to about it. It is self serving and selfish for a Private Investigator to try to inject himself into a case like this for the sake of trying to get some publicity and attention. Someone should ask Mr. Rugen who hired him to work on this case?
Folks, it is important that you don’t give this mediocre at best Private Investigator the attention he is seeking, and you stay focused on the important media aspects of this case. Follow what the media is reporting about possible sightings. Follow what the media is reporting about person’s of interest. Keep your eyes and ears open for information that may relate to those topics, instead of following an “armchair quarterback” that serves subpoenas for a living and has high aspirations of being some kind of a recognized news commentator on cases that he has no experience in what so ever. If I had experience that Mr. Rugen has in the Private Investigation Business, I’d stay out of the media and keep my opinions to myself for being afraid that those opinions might come back to haunt me later on. PICTURE that, if you will…….
Ricky B. Gurley.
Every now and then RMRI, Inc. likes to give a fellow Private Investigator a “plug” when we have had an opportunity to work with one that impresses us. We are hard to impress at RMRI, Inc. and most Private Investigators in our local area are just not able to meet our requirements to receive work from us. RMRI, Inc. is very selective as to who we work with because we feel that the people we work with and refer potential clients to is a reflection on RMRI, Inc. There are many Private Investigators working in the state of Missouri, but only a very few that RMRI, Inc. would sub-contract work out to.
Matthew Allen is one Private Investigator that RMRI, Inc. is happy to be affiliated with, proud to sub-contract work to, and I am honored to call a friend. Matt has met all of the requirements that RMRI, Inc. has to receive referrals from RMRI, Inc. and to bring on in cases where his expertise is needed. Matt specializes in high-risk security and intelligence operations, he has worked around the world conducting these types of operations. Matt is competent, effective, and a total professional; with an extraordinary work ethic. Below are some pictures of Matt while he was in another country on an operation. His face has been blurred out due to the nature of his work:
RMRI, Inc. has enjoyed a professional working relationship with Matt for almost four years now and has never received anything other than a stellar work product from Matt every time. Matt has always been a part of making RMRI, Inc. “shine” on the cases that we have worked jointly together with Matt.
Matthew Allen is based out of Saint Louis, Missouri and owns and operates Intelligence Services, LLC. If you are looking for a competent Private Investigator or Security Specialist in Saint Louis, MO.; you could do no better than Matthew Allen. RMRI, Inc. will continue to foster a professional relationship with this very valuable resource. This is the type of professional that RMRI, Inc. works with and the level of professionalism and competence that Matt Allen provides is the level of professionalism and competence that RMRI, Inc. expects.
I’d highly recommend Matthew Allen to any person seeking a competent Private Investigator in the Saint Louis area and to anyone seeking a skilled Security Expert. Below are Matt’s contact details:
Telephone: (314) 517-6699
I can assure you that RMRI, Inc. has provided you with a very valuable resource in handling your investigative and security needs with this article.
The term “Process Service” or “Service of Process” just means the service of legal papers to witnesses for court proceedings. Typically this means serving subpoenas or summonses that give a person notice that they are to appear in court for some type of a legal proceeding. Now you are probably envisioning scenes from “Pineapple Express”; right? Well in reality serving legal papers in nothing like what you may have seen on “Pineapple Express”.
Serving legal papers in real life requires persistence, professionalism, patience, and tolerance while at the same time a strong desire to accomplish the task at hand; to be successful in this line of work one has to be very “mission oriented”. In reality a Process Server is just a “mailman” or sorts. While it may be true that we are just delivering papers it is also true that typically we are delivering papers that the recipients do not want. Due to the fact that we are often times delivering papers that are not wanted by the recipient we must understand that we are going to encounter some “resistance” to the delivery of these legal papers. So, it is important to be courteous, polite, patient, and even tolerant but at the same time firm, persistent, and even sometimes “coercive” in getting these legal papers served.
At RMRI, Inc. we take the job of serving legal process very seriously. We look at the entire process of serving legal papers as a necessary and vital component of the Justice System. The objective in criminal and civil cases is to find the truth so that the trier of fact can make often times life altering decisions based on the facts of the case. A subpoena is a demand for a citizen to show up and assist the court in finding the truth in a case through their testimony or through the production of documents that the witness may have that might allow the court to more intelligently discern the facts of the case. These witnesses that are subpoenaed to testify in court are an important part of the process of helping the court to make a ruling based on the facts of the case they are testifying in or producing documents for. It is completely understandable that having to show up for court and testify as a witness can be inconvenient; but this is a necessary inconvenience. Imagine if you will, that you are a witness in a case where a man is facing life in prison and you had information that could prove this man’s innocence and you evaded service and did not show up in court and an innocent man was convicted of a crime he did not commit? Imagine the opposite; that you had information that could prove that a person is actually committing a horrendous crime and you evaded service and did not show up for court and you caused a predator to be released into society to victimize more people? Now we can begin to see why the Process Server’s job is important and on that he or she should take seriously.
At RMRI, Inc. we have certain rules that we abide by when we serve legal papers. First, we always maintain a professional appearance, we are representing the client we work for and to a degree the courts when we serve legal papers; after all the court entrusted us as a competent persons to serve these legal papers. Second we are polite and courteous when we serve legal papers, we try to be quick in respect of the person’s time we are serving and we also try to answer any questions the person may have when we are serving them. Third, we are effective in the service of process; this means that sometimes it is necessary to be firm and to use unorthodox methods to get the papers we are assigned to serve, served. This does not mean that we are not courteous and polite; but it does mean that we expect the people that we are serving to also respect our time and to give us just some basic human dignity and respect when we are trying to serve them. RMRI, Inc. will always try to work around the witnesses schedule and make service as convenient as possible for the person being served. On average it takes RMRI, Inc. approximately ten (10) seconds to serve a subpoena; I don’t think that is too much to ask of anyone.
I hope this gave the reader a little insight into what a Process Server does, and why their job is an important job.
Last week the Missouri Lawyer’s Media did an article on a discovery issue that Prosecutors, Defense Attorneys, and Investigators have been wrestling with for a while now. In this article I was quoted by the reporter that interviewed me for this article. I wanted to take some time and elaborate a little further on my position in regards to this issue. First I’d like to present to you a copy of the article. I snipped the full article, but cropped out the other articles that were mentioned in this Trade Journal. Below is the entire article:
First of all I should state that I know some of the members of our Local Internet Crimes Task Force, and the ones that I know are good and honest people. I do trust the members of our local Internet Crimes Task Force and I don’t think they would ever do anything intentional that might send an innocent person to prison. I should caution anyone reading this that attempting to gain access to the hard drive of the investigating agency’s computer should not be the first course of action by the defense, a Digital Forensic’s Expert should first read the reports written by the Investigating Officer’s to try to determine if there is any cause to try to gain access to the investigating agency’s hard drive; often times there is no cause to do so. I should also state that I am not an attorney but I think it is also fair to state that most of the attorneys mentioned in this article are not Digital Forensics Experts either; and certainly not Merilee Crockett as evidenced by some of her statements in this article. The first quote from Merilee Crockett that I noticed was this:
A lot of people believe that once something is on a hard drive it is there forever. That’s a myth. There are no layers. It’s either there or it is not.
Well in essence that is true, but it is also over-simplistic. What is important to remember here in these types of cases is that we are dealing with Digital Evidence, and there is nothing simple about Digital Evidence. When someone tries to over-simplify how data on a computer is stored, over-written, or deleted there are a lot of key issues that get lost in the translation from complex to simple. First of all let me explain data deletion. When a file is “deleted” as the layman may believe, the file is not actually deleted initially, instead it is simply no longer linked to a “file tree” on the computer. The file is still on the computer for the time being until another file is saved and the space where that old file is at is reallocated for the new file, and then the old file gets overwritten. So often Digital Forensics Experts will say something like this to a layman as an example:
Nothing is ever deleted from a computer, it is overwritten. Think of the data on a computer as layers of information, and think of computer forensic software as a tool that can lift these layers of data to expose what you thought was once “deleted”.
Now one must understand that this quote is usually being made from a Digital Forensics Expert trying to explain data storage and deletion to a layman. This too is also an over-simplification of how data is stored, overwritten, and deleted. The difference is that what Merilee Crockett is saying here is for the purpose of trying to give an excuse as to why the defense should be hampered in discovery by limiting what can be key and important information that the defense needs, while all the Digital Forensics Expert is trying to do is give a layman an idea of what to expect in a Computer Forensic Examination. What may be the most accurate way to explain what happens is through this illustration listed below that was provided to me by a well known, and world renowned Digital Forensics Examiners and close associate of mine; Brian Ingram
How many computer novices and laymen do you think would completely understand that illustration above? There is one thing that is clear, if there is a file that occupies a portion of a cluster on a hard drive, then there is room for data from another file on the portion of that cluster that is not occupied, that portion of the cluster that is not occupied is called “File Slack“; and it is not only possible but also likely that a completely different file may occupy this same cluster in the unused portion of this cluster or the “File Slack”. This is a completely accurate illustration of the example that Digital Experts are trying to give laymen when they explain how data is overwritten and they use an example involving “layers of data”. And if you look at the example carefully, and read closely you will see that Merilee Crockett did actually simplify this issue to the point that some key issues on how data is recovered from a hard drive are lost in her “translation” of how data is stored, over-written, and deleted from a hard drive.
There is a reason that I gave the example of how an over-simplified interpretation of an issue such as what we are addressing here can be harmful. Prosecutors typically want to try to limit as much as they can with regard to discovery in a criminal case; but I should also say that there are a few Prosecutors that also believe in “Open Discovery” and Full Disclosure. There is nothing wrong with that, the defense also does the same thing. This is a good example of attorneys doing their jobs. But when a Prosecutor tries to limit evidence that can be exculpatory to the defendant; they start to breach a more sinister area resulting in a denial of justice to the defendant. As any good attorney knows this at the very least may border on what is known as a “Brady Violation”.
One of the key points that the prosecution tries to make when arguing against the defense looking at the hard drive from the Law Enforcement Agency that conducted the forensic examination on a defendant’s hard drive is that the hard drive from the Law Enforcement Agency’s computer will contain sensitive case information from other cases. If you read what Merilee Crockett has to say in this article, she proposes the same argument:
The hard drive contains chats from ongoing investigations. It has names of potential suspects never charged with crimes. It has the photos and names of underage personas used by undercover investigators, which a disgruntled defendant could easily post online. Defense attorneys can’t prevent that from happening. They have an ethical obligation to give the client everything they can
That sounds like a good argument; doesn’t it? I’d say that if I did not know what I know about Digital Forensics, encryption, and how to safely store data I’d agree with that as a good reason NOT to have to hand over the hard drive from the Law Enforcement Agency’s computer. But the problem with this argument is that the whole issue of exposing such sensitive case information to Defense Investigators is that there are a number of remedies that can be applied here. A digital image can be transferred to a hard drive and check-summed to show that it is a true bit image of the original hard drive from the defendant and all of the notes and other such pertinent information that is gathered in the course of the investigation of the specific case in question can also be transferred to that same hard drive; thereby consolidating the case information generated from the Law Enforcement investigation onto one hard drive for the Defense Investigator and keeping all of the other non-pertinent sensitive case information protected. Encryption could also be used on the hard drive belonging to the Law Enforcement Agency to limit what is viewed to only the pertinent data that applies to the case at hand. Under the Adam Walsh Child Protection Safety Act the Defense Investigator has to view the evidence at the Law Enforcement Agency’s facility, so a Law Enforcement Officer can easily sit down and decrypt the section or sections of the hard drive that needs to be examined by the Defense Investigator, thereby protecting all of the non-pertinent sensitive case information on the hard drive in question. The court can also impose orders that limit what the Defense Investigator can discuss with the Defense Attorney and their client to only case related material. There should also be multiple computers that are being used by the Law Enforcement Agency tasked with these types of investigations that have specific purposes; for example the computer that is being used to image and analyze the defendant’s hard drive should be a stand alone computer, not attached to the Internet in any way, that has all wireless adapters turned off this way there is a minimal chance of any evidence corruption issues. The computer that is used to chat with potential offenders should also have that one specific purpose; this way with the use of encryption all chat logs for a specific case can be freely examined by the defense in these types of cases. Are some of these methods labor intensive? Sure, but we are discussing a criminal case in which there is a possibility that a person can be wrongly accused, sent to prison, put on a sex offender registry for the rest of their life, and have their entire life negatively impacted as a result; isn’t doing everything we can to eliminate that possibility worth a little more work? There are ways around this issue; IF the concern here is a level playing field for the defense?
There are always questions in these cases when it comes to best practices in the forensic analysis of the defendant’s computer, evidence preservation and storage, and evidence spoliation issues. Often times these issues are insignificant enough that the chance of them presenting a problem in a case are so unlikely that they don’t warrant any consideration. I am not saying that I don’t trust that Law Enforcement is dong the best they can to make sure that their evidence is correct, but I am saying that it is real easy to make a mistake in cases that involve digital evidence. However when these questions rise to a level of concern to cause a realistic possibility that they could impede a defendant’s right to a fair trial; if the Defense’s expert can clearly articulate the reason for that concern the court should weigh the defendant’s right to a fair trial against the possibility that the investigating agency may have to expose some of it’s sensitive data to the Defense team. In my personal opinion; if you are looking at sending a man to prison for ten (10) years, then his right to a fair trial trumps a risk of exposure of sensitive data from the investigating agency’s computer.
There are a number of questions that the Defense Investigator should be trying to answer when looking over the discovery material from the prosecution.
(1) Was the computer that was used to conduct the Digital Forensic Examination attached to the Internet?
(2) What digital forensic software was used to conduct the examination with?
(3) Was there a virus scanner used by the investigating agency to see if the defendant’s hard drive may have a virus, Trojan, or some other type of malware that could have caused any content to be downloaded to the defendant’s computer without the defendant’s knowledge? If so, what virus scanner was used, what version, was it updated, and are there any known vulnerabilities associated with the virus scanner?
(4) Are there any anti-forensic tools on the investigating agency’s computer? If there are; why are they there?
These are only a small sampling of the questions that the Defense Investigator should be asking and trying to answer by reading the discovery material. If enough of these questions are answered in such a way that they give the Defense Investigator clear concerns that may need to be further examined, then it may be necessary to ask for the hard drive from the investigating agency’s computer. The Defense Investigator should be able clearly articulate these concerns to the court and explain the impact that they may have on the evidence. If the court finds that the Defense Investigator gave a reasonable accounting to the court of his or her concerns, and the court is convinced that these concerns are realistic; then perhaps it is not such a bad thing that the Defense Investigator is given what he or she needs to further explore these concerns instead of having to be forced to trust a detective that may not even know if he or she made a mistake in how they gathered and handled the case evidence?
I have noted that Merilee Crockett has compared handing over the hard drive from the investigating agency’s computer in cases that involve digital evidence to handing over a breathalyzer machine. One difference to note in these two examples is that with regard to digital evidence, usually the defense gets a copy of a detailed report from the investigating agency that outlines their computer examination in fair detail. With breathalyzer tests, there is less detail, and less tools and procedures for the Law Enforcement Officer to detail in his or her report, thus short of a fishing expedition there usually is not enough information to articulate a need to examine the breathalyzer machine source code. In People v. Cialino, 831 N.Y.S.2nd 680, 681 (Crim. Ct. 2007) the court did not deny access to the breathalyzer source code because it was not significant to the case; the court denied access to the breathalyzer because the defense could not clearly articulate why access to the breathalyzer source code was significant to the case; this can be seen in the language the court used when the court first called the defendant’s request a “fishing expedition” but then went on to say “it is incumbent on the defendant to show that a software change has altered the reliability and accuracy of the machine” and the court said that the defendant had not provided a reasonable basis that changes in the software of the Intoxilyzer 5000 had caused it to become unreliable. So the court left the door open for the examination of the source code of the breathalyzer machine in question, but it required a clear articulation as to why it would be reasonable for the defense should be permitted to examine the source code. In cases involving digital evidence that is gathered from imaging a hard drive, the investigative agency’s digital forensic analysis report will usually allow the Defense Investigator more information on the software used, processes used, and evidence interpretations made by the Detective to form any questions that might be pertinent to the case and research these questions to see if there may be good cause and NOT just a “fishing expedition” to ask for the hard drive from the investigating agency’s computer.
In summary; I am not saying that in every case the defense should have access to the investigating agency’s computer hard drive. What I am saying is that the courts should try to be open to seriously considering any request by the defense to examine the investigating agency’s hard drive if the defense can clearly articulate a need to do so. In my mind the whole issue comes down to a balancing act; the court should balance the defendant’s right to a fair trial against the need for Law Enforcement to keep sensitive case information confidential; once a clear articulation is made by the defense that demonstrates that there are reasonable issues that need to be explored by the defense in order to defend the defendant against any evidence corruption issues that may negatively impact the defendant’s right to a fair trial.
Ricky B. Gurley
I’d call this a heck of a win for Jose Baez and a humiliating loss for the prosecution.
Consider that Jose Baez was the “underdog” with no “death penalty case” experience prior to this case. Further consider that Jeff Ashton is a renowned Prosecutor with several murder trials under his belt. If you watched the media during the trial, almost every one of the commentators that are attorneys and investigators were putting Jose Baez under the microscope for what they all perceived as mistakes and praising Jeff Ashton for every little thing he did, with the exception of Sunny Hostin. Looking at these points you can only conclude that Jose Baez did a heck of a job on this case in the face of some overwhelming odds.
I have maintained from the beginning that Jose Baez was doing a really good job as the Defense Attorney on this case, and posted as much on another group before the verdict.
After having watched what I could of this case, I do not believe that Casey killed her daughter. I think that her daughter died as a result of an accident in the swimming pool and drowned. I think that Casey panicked and did not call the police. I think that Casey Anthony DID put the child’s body in the car. I think that Casey Anthony was trying to figure out how to dispose of the body without being caught. I think that the body did start to decompose while in the car. I think that Casey Anthony called her mother to help her figure out what to do with the body. I think her mother told her husband, George Anthony. I think George Anthony then stepped in and disposed of the body for his wife, who would have been grieving at that time and worried that she would lose a granddaughter and daughter if they contacted the Police. And I believe George Anthony disposed of the body in the same manner that he disposed of the bodies of the family pets when they died. Most of all, in my mind I think Jose Baez painted a real clear picture that this or something very similar occurred in this case. And none of this adds up to murder.
But that is just my opinion, it does not mean much.
Kudos to Jose Baez for a heck of a job and a heck of a win!
Well an associate of mine asked me to post this on his blog, and I did. This post has not made it to his blog yet, but I feel that it may; eventually. Now everyone that know me, knows how I am. I have to take my “shots”. Just gotta do it, so let me get those “shots” out of the way, and then we can move on to a more careful analysis of the Casey Anthony Trial.
Jeff Ashton will now be prosecuting bad checks and traffic tickets for the State of Florida; so I guess he figures it is time to retire. Linda Drane Burdick will be arranging plea bargains with defense attorneys for prostitutes and pot smokers; but with the help of some short skirts and low-cut blouses she may be able to “work” her way back up to prosecuting murder cases sometime in the next five years. And the other Prosecutor? Well he was smart enough to minimize his participation in this trial enough that I can’t even recall his name. He may have very well avoided the “career bullet” by minimizing his exposure (mind you that the only way Linda Drane Burdick is going to climb the corporate ladder so to speak, will be by “MAXIMIZING her exposure”). All of the “legal expert commentators” will be wiping egg off of their faces for the next month; and “Nasty Disgrace” will still have a few more runs at Casey Anthony and Jose Baez; despite the egg on her face. But we should all be thankful that “Nasty Disgrace” does have egg covering her face, if only for a little while. And all Mike Brooks has to do is slide the egg upwards to his bald head and it should slide right off; so he will be spewing more of his “judgmental non-sense” next week! But there is an upside; Jose Baez gets to go home with the “gold ring”, and he has earned it. And I hope “Nasty Disgrace” and Mike Brooks get a good, long look at him as he is tilting his champagne glass to the sky! The ONLY News Commentator that demonstrated some real experience, high intelligence, and was completely unbiased on this case was Sunny Hostin. She called it right all of the way down the line!
Now onto the more serious side of this case. Onto a more serious analysis of this case. When one considers the overwhelming odds that Jose Baez faced, the limited funds that he had to work with ($90,000.00 over 3 years), versus the unlimited funds and resources of the Florida State Attorney’s Office; all we can conclude is that Jose Baez is simply a brilliant and “top shelf” Defense Attorney! Jose Baez went into this case with no death penalty case experience, with the media putting his every move under the microscope and looking for errors while the media found every excuse in the world to praise Jeff Ashton and Linda Drane Burdick. And Jose Baez still overcame those overwhelming odds and produced what can only be defined as a WIN! Was he aggressive? HELL YEAH! Did he attack the Prosecution’s case with a vicious brutality? HELL YEAH! Did he thoroughly cross-examine and break down the Prosecution’s witnesses? HELL YEAH! All of which is to say that he vigorously defended his client as any good Defense Attorney should do. Jose Baez did his job and did it well. Jose Baez did what he is legally obligated to do, and nobody can fault him for that!
Anytime a Defense Attorney has a client facing the death penalty and walks out of the courtroom with his client only being convicted of four misdemeanors; that is a WIN! No Defense Attorney gets a verdict like this in a case like this one on sheer luck. No sir, the Defense Attorney has to be skilled to do what Jose Baez did in this case!
The Prosecution’s case was damned to any intelligent Jury to begin with. The Prosecution used what I jokingly refer to as “The Doo Doo Head Strategy”. They did not have any forensic evidence whatsoever, and the Florida State Attorney General admitted this after the trial was over when he stated that they had “no smoking gun” and “a Dried Bones Case”. The Prosecution knew that they had no forensic evidence, so they relied on character assassination of the defendant in hopes that they could get the Jury to be emotional due to the loss of little Caylee Anthony, and want to blindly convict Casey Anthony by making her out to be a terrible person. To an intelligent Jury the Prosecution would have had as much effect by standing up and saying “Casey Anthony is a Doo Doo Head”! The “forensic evidence” that the Prosecution presented was simply “babble”, disguised as smoke and mirrors that amounted to nothing once an intelligent person took a close look at it. And we had twelve intelligent people looking at it and one brilliant Defense Attorney exposing it for what it is to them!
Nobody, not even Jose Baez ever stated that Casey Anthony was “salt of the earth”. As a matter of fact Jose Baez let it be known right up front that Casey Anthony had told a lot of lies, and was a dysfunctional part of a dysfunctional family. Pretty much everyone, even the defense acknowledged that Casey could fairly be considered an unsavory person. But the Prosecution wanted to spend 30 days hammering this point home. The sad fact is that the prosecution could not do much else, because this is all they had! And the one fact that the Jury kept in focus was that a liar, even a promiscuous liar, even more a promiscuous liar that will suggestively pose for the camera for a little bit of recognition, no matter how much we may not like someone like this, is still not a “murderer make”!
In summary; one can never say what verdict a Jury will reach. The fact is that it is impossible to predict what verdict the Jury will come back with. But here, in this case; the jury got it right. The Jury did not allow the prosecution to “play on their emotions”. The Jury stuck with the facts and the evidence; or rather in this case the LACK of evidence. The Jury stayed the course; and we should all be thankful that they did.
I will leave you with this thought. Juries are called upon to perform an incredible task. The fate of another human being is held in their hands. Along with the Jury’s verdict comes a message. The message often times is that we as a society will not tolerate the victimization of our fellow man. But sometimes this message is sent to the prosecution or the state instead of the defendant; and in this case that is exactly what happened!
Thank you all for your readership.
Ricky B. Gurley
http://ping.fm/p/lDGgs – Tina of Tina Bozarth of Bail Bonds (573) 442-7766 and Tom Gardner and I at IHOP.
This is David Riley’s Bail Bondsman. I had a late dinner with her and her significant other, Tom Gardner. Both Tin and Tom are really good people that also feel terrible about what Happened to David Riley. Tina got a first hand look at David Riley only about five (5) hours after he was arrested and she said that he still needed immediate medical attention.
Tina Bozarth is an Excellent Professional Bail Bondsman; if you or your relatives are ever in need of bail bonding services.
She’d also be happy to tell you about David’s Riley’s condition when she bonded him out if you want to call and ask her about it.
Stay tuned for the audio enhancement of The David Riley Arrest next week. I am almost positive that we are going to be able to have this audio file enhanced so that we can all hear what was really said in the parking lot of the Ultra Mart the night of David Riley’s arrest.
In this segment I’d like to focus on the audio file that the Columbia Police Department is touting as proof positive that David Riley was actively resisting arrest. I was being interviewed by Mark Slavit of KRCG Channel 13 News on Tuesday August 17,2010. After the interview was over with, Mr. Slavit was kind enough to share some of the details of what he was told by Jill Wieneke one of the Public Information Officers for the CPD. Apparently Jill Wieneke had the audio transcript and was proudly holding it up like she was displaying the prized bass at a bass fishing tournament. Well Okay, lets take a look at what this audio file, and my transcript actually indicates. I had the audio file transcribed by a service that I use quite often named SpeakWrite. SpeakWrite is a really handy and convenient service for Attorneys, Private Investigators, and anyone else that has a need to transcribe audio files into readable documents. SpeakWrite even has a program for your smart phone that will allow you to record from your phone, send the file to SpeakWrite via email, and have the transcribed audio sent back to your email via phone. SpeakWrite is also available to transcribe audio files twenty four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week, and their turn around time is usually less than three (3) hours. So, a big plug for SpeakWrite!
Now if Jill Wieneke wants to hold up a transcript and hand out the audio file from The Officer’s Lapel Mike that recorded David Riley’s arrest, then she should not mind us scrutinizing her evidence.
First, let’s listen to the sound file. The sound file is listed below:
Now in order to keep from being accused of modifying this file in such a way that it is favorable to David Riley we take certain steps to explain and authenticate the process of transferring audio file and converting them. This is what I am going to do now.
The audio file above was originally taken from an article in the Columbia Daily Tribune titled: Investigator Stirs Up Closed Case. I opened up the internal Mic on one of my laptops (an Alienware M17) and I let the Mic record the audio from the sound file that was in the above listed news article. The file format for that file was WMA (Windows Media Audio). I then checksummed the file to authenticate it’s digital signature. Below are the checksums for the WMA audio file:
David Riley Arrest Audio File Computer Sounds Off WMA MD5 Checksum: E84DC7CAC0D095A6C65F00108A151C8D
David Riley Arrest Audio File Computer Sounds Off WMA SHA-1 Checksum: 28202E6BB832572E30F48A637DB1C0C2C3B562EB
David Riley Arrest Audio File Computer Sounds Off MP3 MD5 Checksum: 975B86EDAF98C15DAE9EE5E41ABDCA30
David Riley Arrest Audio File Computer Sounds Off MP3 SHA1 Checksum: DD7F12DAF312C9B22CB9BFF532B733D336D46329
This authenticates evidence that is on the Alienware M17 Laptop. And this will be important in the near future, because I am having the audio file enhanced, and hopefully we will all be able to hear exactly what David Riley said to the Officer the night he was arrested at the Ultra-Mart on Paris Rd. in Columbia, MO.
For now, let’s take a look at the actual audio file transcript that I had made. I’d like to discuss some key points of this transcript.
Now lets try to get an understanding here before we go any further. An audio file is just that, it is a sound file. There are no visual images that accompany it. So, what we are hearing and what we believe happened based on the audio file are actually two different things. Because the sound file does not display images our mind interprets the sound file into a “guesstimate” of what is occurring on the sound file. But there are some pieces of information that we can extrapolate that do tell us some things without our mind having to guess at what is happening.
Below is the transcript of the audio file that was made by SpeakWrite:
Okay, so when we open this file up we see alot of cussing and swearing and it is all coming from David Riley. What David Riley is saying though is not really all that telling, or it is at least not as telling as what the Officer is saying in this transcript:
If you ever wanted proof that David Riley was initially complying with the Officer during his arrest, before he was kicked while he was down on the ground, look for it in the highlighted areas of the David Riley Arrest Audio Transcription. Think about this; if David Riley was not on the ground and in compliance with the Officer, then why did the Officer say: “Get on the ground. Stay on the ground.” and then approximately two (2) seconds later: “If you get up I am. Stay on the ground.” and then approximately three (3) seconds later: “Stay on the ground.”?
Think about what this means for a minute. If David Riley was not on the ground and in compliance, then why did the Officer tell him to “STAY on the ground”?
What happened here is fairly obvious. Looking at the video, listening the audio, and looking at the witness statements; this Officer kicked David Riley while he was on the ground and in compliance, and this enraged David Riley and he began to become very agitated.
And this begs the next question; Why did the Officer choose to kick David Riley instead of handcuffing David Riley? Had the Officer handcuffed David Riley, everything else that followed from that point forward would probably not have happened; unless the Police would beat a man that is handcuffed, that is??
Think about this for a while as you await the Audio Enhancement that is being worked on. Ask yourself the hard questions about this case. Don’t just take my word for what is happening, look at the video, listen to the audio, look at the transcript from the audi and make sure that everything you can clearly hear in the audio is on the transcript. Look at the witness statements. Decide for yourself.
The Audio File Enhancement should be up very soon. I am going to put it on this segment of this article.
Until then; stay tuned.
I want to continue from the first segment on the David Riley case. I think it is important to get out as much information as possible on this case, and I think that the public needs to understand that this is not a “private witch hunt”; this is simply an opportunity that I am presenting to the public to be aware of what really happened on the David Riley case.
First I want to present some documents that were forwarded to me by the newspaper reporter that did this story: Private investigator champions an unusual case
The following documents are a press statement issued by the Columbia Police Officer’s Association in an attempt to defend the actions of the Officers involved in the aforementioned incident involving David Riley on my first blog post titled: The Interesting Case Of David Riley; The Arrest – Part (1)
Below are the documents for you to read:
Just Click The Following Link: CPOA Press Release On David Riley Arrest
Now I want to stop here for a second and talk a little about my experiences last night on August 16, 2010 at the Columbia City Hall Meeting. I spoke on this issue concerning David Riley tonight, and I made thumb drives for each of the Columbia City Council Members, with all of my evidence on them. I understand that these thumb drives were distributed to the City Council. There is one thing that I can say about the Columbia City Council, they do give their citizens a voice, and they do patiently listen to what their citizens have to say. And trust me, after some of the speakers I saw speaking last night; this is no small task. We have a very decent and fair City Council here in Columbia, MO.
After I spoke at the Columbia City Council Meeting, I was on my way to exiting the Columbia City Council Chamber, and Mr. Eric Dearmont asked if he could speak with me outside. Mr. Dearmont is the person that put together the press release that you should have just read above, titled “CPOA Press Release On David Riley Arrest”. Mr. Dearmont seemed to be a very pleasant and professional man. And he wanted to ask me if I would retract the Officer’s name from my first blog post. I agreed to do this, I don’t want to cause anyone any undue stress here. I want to make the public aware of what happened here. This Officer also deserves to have a private life, and my intent has never been to cause him stress. I also met the Officer that initially confronted David Riley the night that this incident occurred. The Officer was very calm, not upset, and seemed like a very decent person too. I apologized to this Officer for any stress that my mentioning of his name in my post may have caused him; and I assured him that I would take his name off of the blog as soon as I got home. He thanked me and shook my hand.
Before I go any further, and post more evidence here on this blog, please try to understand something here. This case is like most of these cases are. There really is no “bad people” here in this case; there is a “bad situation”. This Officer should also be recognized for the tough job he does. For risking his safety for us day in and day out, because despite what side of the fence you line up on in this issue, this Officer is still out there doing a job that puts him in service to us. I am here to address this “bad situation”, and hopefully see some good come from this. I am not here to maliciously damage anyone. I also invited Mr. Dearmont and the Officer to post on this blog anytime they want, and guaranteed them that they would not be moderated for posting their side of the story here. I hope that they do know that my invitation was sincere, and they are welcomed here to discuss this issue, if they want to come here and do that.
Now, I want to address Mr. Dearmont’s press release.
First, we start out with this quote: “[e]veryone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” from Mr. Dearmont. Well, facts are a funny thing, because while we all want to believe that they are just exactly what happened, we must realize that one man’s fact may well be another man’s fallacy. We all interpret information differently. The methods in which we use to extrapolate information varies from person to person. And somewhere in the way we interpret information and extrapolate information, there comes variances in what we call “the facts”. Mr. Dearmont’s quote may well apply to him as much as it does me.
Second Mr. Dearmont says: “Unfortunately, in a number of recent communications related to the arrest and subsequent prosecution of David Riley a number of individuals have choosen to present to the public a large amount of false and misleading information”. Did anyone expect to see this press release prefaced with anything different? That is how you start defending your case, isn’t it? By trying to cast some doubt on the other guy’s claims. Well, I have a few simple questions for Mr. Dearmont. (1) Mr. Dearmont, what happened to the audio file from the juvenile’s audio recording device that was given to the Officer the night of the incident with David Riley? (2) You do understand don’t you that this audio file could have very well cleared up the issue as to what David Riley actually said to the Officer that night, don’t you? (3) Naturally you also understand that this casts the Police that were involved in the arrest of David Riley that night in a suspicious light, don’t you?
Third, Mr. Dearmont states: “Both of these minors had clean criminal histories and had never been arrested. Both individuals agreed to assist the Columbia Police Department in its effort to limit the unlawful distribution of alcohol to minors.” I don’t know why this is important, it certainly does not change the substance of the situation that occurred with David Riley on September 29, 2009.
Fourth, Mr. Dearmont states: “Mr. Riley apparently noticed the Officer observing him and initiated a communication in which he demanded that the Officer “give [Riley] his fucking wallet” and stated that the Officer did not “want to fuck with [him].” Riley then began to approach the Officer in an aggressive manner.” I would implore you to all watch the video below. Watch it as many times as you need to. Watch it carefully. Pay attention to what is happening outside of the store when David Riley exits the store.:
Look, the one good thing about this site that Mr. Dearmont has not done is this; I am presenting you the evidence here. Don’t take my word for what happened, don’t take Mr. Dearmont’s word for what happened, be your own Judge. Look at the video yourself. You don’t have to be told what is happening, just look carefully, as many times as you need to look. And then make your own assessment as to what happened. The difference in what Mr. Dearmont wants and what I want here is this; I am not asking you to believe me; Mr. Dearmont is however asking you to believe him. All I am asking you to do is look at and listen to the evidence in this case, and then draw your own conclusion.
You will see that there is no way the Officer could have displayed his badge, but if the video is not enough for you; then listen to the statement of Kendrick Hardrick, the young man in the blue jacket that was seen in the video walking out of the store when this occurred, listen to his audio recorded statement below:
You will see and hear evidence that David Riley did not say “Give me your wallet” to the Officer, instead he said “What in the fuck are you looking at” and “Keep right on walking”. David Riley has maintained that this is what he said, but there is also an independent witness that corroborates this named Desiree Kemp; the lady that was in the Driver’s Seat of the car the night we saw this incident occur with David Riley on the video above.
Listen to Desiree Kemp’s statement below, she clearly says that David said “What the fuck are you looking at”. She clearly states that her and David thought they were being robbed this night, thereby indicating that the Officer did not display his badge that night.
Desiree Kemp Audio Recorded Statement: Desiree Kemp Audio Recorded Interview 10 07 2009
There is clear and compelling evidence that David did not attempt to rob this Officer, as the Officer has stated and maintained since this incident occurred. There is clear and compelling evidence that the Officer did not display his badge or even say he was a Police Officer in the form of two (2) independent witness statements.
Do you believe for a minute that there is some vast criminal conspiracy to cast this Officer in a bad light, perpetrated by David Riley, Desiree Kemp, and Kendrick Hardrick? There is a more simpler, logical, and reasonable explanation; isn’t there?
Fifth, Mr. Dearmont states: “At this time the Officer produced his gun and badge, immediately identifying himself as a police officer and ordering Mr. Riley to the ground. Riley did not immediately comply and only dropped to his knees after being order multiple times to lie completely down. While on his hands and knees, Riley continued acting aggressively and attempted to stand. The Officer, using the bottom of his foot, pushed him back to the ground and told him to remain there.” Again, look at the video, listen to the statements from the witnesses here, look at the totality of the evidence in this case. The totality of the evidence directly contradicts Mr. Dearmont’s account of what happened the night David Riley was arrested. Desiree Kemp states that the Officer never displayed his badge. Kendrick Hardrick states that he never saw the Officer display his badge or identify himself. Are both of these people lying to cover for David Riley? The only one honest here is the Police Officer, and everyone else is lying? Do you really believe that? Does Mr. Dearmont honestly expect you to believe this?
Everything after this last statement I quoted is really not even relevant. There is one thing that did not happen that could have prevented all of this. Instead of kicking David Riley, the Officer could have simply handcuffed David Riley, and then there would have been no need for David Riley to take the beating he took that night. The question begs to be asked, why did the Officer feel it was unsafe to handcuff David Riley, but it was completely safe to provoke David Riley by kicking him? Readers, does that even make sense to you?
And yes, David Riley was mad as hell that night! He had just been beaten, arrested, and taken to the hospital and taunted by the Police (the taunts that David Riley had to listen to will come out in the next segment of this blog). I’d be mad too. I’d be cussing too. I’d be absolutely furious! Who wouldn’t have been after having the Police give them a concussion, a black eye, and a fractured arm, then arresting them on a bogus charge, then having to go to the hospital and be taunted, and then having to go to jail, and then having to spend $5,000.00 of your money on a Bail Bondsman for something that you should have never had to pay for. Of course you’d be mad, and probably cussing too.
Let’s recap real quick.
You have the video above, watch it. Watch it as many times as you need to. Just simply watch it and draw your own conclusion.
You have the audio recorded statement from Desiree Kemp: Desiree Kemp Audio Recorded Interview 10 07 2009 Listen to it as much as you need to!
You have the audio recorded statement from Kendrick Hardrick: Kendrick Hardrick Interview 20091006_194407_192.168.0.14,10058 Listen to it as much as you need to!
All of these pieces of evidence add up to something vastly different than what you are being told. Think for yourself. You don’t have to be told how to look at this. Just carefully examine these first pieces of evidence, and carefully consider what they mean. Then we will move onto even more evidence that supports our position about what happened to David Riley on September 29, 2009.
Until then, stay tuned.
Often times I am asked if it bothers me that “I help to put criminals back on the street”? I get asked this questions in various forms, sometimes “harshly”, sometimes in intelligent debate and/or conversation. I understand that this question is usually a “non-malicious question”; yet I can’t seem to get over the implications that this question makes about the person asking it….
First; let us consider this question: “does it bother you that you help put criminals back on the street”? When you consider this question carefully you can only assume that the person asking this question believes that the defendant in a criminal case is guilty before he or she has ever had their day in court. The logic of this question is that if I work a case as a Criminal Defense Investigator; for a Defendant that is accused of a crime, I am assisting a guilty person in trying to get away with this crime. So; when you think about the person asking the question, you begin to see a person that does not seem to believe in the presumption of innocence, the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”, and the practice of giving a person accused of a crime due process. Of course that person’s views would change considerably if that person was charged with a crime. The correct philosophy in our current Judicial system is that a person accused and charged with a crime is completely innocent of said crime until they are convicted in a court of law; or at least that is supposed to be the way criminals cases are viewed by our current Judicial System…….. Yes; the questions we ask can often tell much about us….
Second; I think it is important to get into the process of Justice. Our Justice System is designed to be adversarial; the Prosecution and the Defense are adversaries in criminal cases. Both sides are supposed to work hard to prove their opposing theories in a criminal case. Both sides will use various tools that are at their disposal; Investigators, Expert Witnesses, Technology, etc., etc. in trying to prove their case. The hopes are that through this adversarial process, and the hard work that both sides have to do in this adversarial process, the truth will come out; and justice can be served.
Third; I think it is important to define the role of the Criminal Defense Investigator. In a criminal case the Criminal Defense Investigator first and foremost must remain dispassionate, and emotionally detached from the case; no good can come from a biased Investigator in a criminal case. It is important to remember that the quest is for truth and justice, not for a “win”. The Criminal Defense Investigator will assist the Defense Attorney in building his or her case by gathering evidence that will allow the Defense Attorney to accurately assess and evaluate their case. The Criminal Defense Investigator knows that he or she is simply a “tool” that the Defense Attorney has chosen to use in a very delicate process, with very serious consequences. So, it is imperative for the Criminal Defense Investigator to be dispassionate, emotionally detached, and yet also able take his or her job VERY seriously.
Having made these three points, I want to answer the question we are confronting here very bluntly. “Does it bother you that you help put criminals back on the street”? My answer is a resounding NO! Because in a criminal case without a fair process, where the rules and protocols are not strictly adhered to; there is no justice. Even if one guilty man goes free due to poor, inadequate, or dishonest work on behalf of the Prosecution it is the lesser of two evils when you consider that the alternative threatens the very fabric of a fair and impartial Justice System (the term “Prosecution” in this article includes the Investigators, Expert Witnesses, and anyone else working on the side of the Prosecution). The long term effect of the adversarial system used in our current Judicial System is that everybody gets better at their jobs; good Defense Attorneys challenge Prosecutors to be better and vise versa; good Criminal Defense Investigators challenge Law Enforcement Investigators to be better Investigators and vise versa. I should also mention that I believe it is better to let one hundred guilty people go free than it is to imprison just one innocent man. We can always bring a person to court, but we can never get the years back that an innocent person spends in prison.
A few days ago I read a very interesting and thought provoking article by a well respected and extremely knowledgeable and competent Criminal Defense Investigator, and I think it is an EXCELLENT reply to all of those people in Law Enforcement that say that the Criminal Defense Investigator is working for the “darkside”, or the prosecutors that seem to believe the same.
Below is an article by Brandon Perron, and nobody could have said this better….
The Criminal Defense Investigation Training Council
The CDITC Board Certified Criminal Defense Investigator maintains a philosophy as an “impartial and objective advocate of the truth”. Many do not understand how this can be so. After all, are we not working on behalf of the defense and therefore committed to defending the guilty as well as the innocent? Indeed. The Constitution of the United States calls for the defense of the accused and ensures that all be afforded a fair trial. Our critics fail to accept that idea than one is innocent until proven guilty. Thus, we assist and defend the “accused”. It is in this spirit and in accordance with the letter of the law that we do what we do. In essence, we are defending not any one individual but in fact an idea defined by truth, liberty, and justice. As a group we work on behalf of all when we ensure one is granted their constitutional right to a fair trial. We do this by pursuing the truth and ensuring that all of the facts are brought to light. This is done while working as an agent of counsel with all the privileges afforded such a role. We uncover and report the truth to defense counsel so that they may properly advise and defend the accused. If all parties were to act in such an impartial and objective manner, the truth would be revealed and justice would be served without prejudice. A lofty idea but an objective nonetheless. Too many in our system, on both sides, have lost sight of what it is that we do and why we do it. Fundamentally, it is about fairness to all. A victim of crime is always a tragic event that demands justice by a fair and just system. Yet, we must also acknowledge and remind our criminal justice colleagues that a victim of the system is also a tragic and appalling crime and in many ways a much larger injustice. In fact, it is an insult to every American who has lost their life defending this great nation.
What of the claims often promoted by narrow minded individuals? I have yet to meet a professional criminal defense investigator who wishes to free the guilty. Such an objective would be outrageous by any standard. Would it not? Of course! However, it is a fact. No, it is a truth that our entire system of juris prudence is based upon the Blackstonian view that it is “better to let ten guilty escape than allow one innocent to suffer”. It is the innocent that our system is designed to protect. The innocent! Consider the meaning of this word. Such a designation comes in many forms. Again, many in the criminal justice system never fail to declare that laws are created to protect the innocent from crime. However, those same fair minded people tend to forget that laws are also created to protect the innocent from the very laws designed to punish the guilty. In other words, laws are created to defend us from ourselves. The greatest threat to freedom and truth comes not from a foreign power but from within. We are our own worst enemy. This is where the criminal defense professional comes into play. We NEVER forget and function as a constant reminder to the fair minded but often forgetful. The reminder is aggressively delivered in the form of facts, evidence, and truth and it is delivered without apology.
The CDITC Board Certified Criminal Defense Investigator represents the virtual Knighthood of the faithful. We recognize the need, accept the responsibility, and stand watch as defenders of the constitution and the right of the accused to a fair trial. If you are not a CDITC Board Certified Criminal Defense Investigator, I encourage you to apply and join the ranks of the ever faithful and courageous elite. Our ranks are growing. The monumental task of promoting and defending truth demands no less.
Thank you Brandon. Thank you for articulately expressing the real truth behind the role of the Criminal Defense Investigator.