Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Write Away: F is for Felon and Forensics

I could have chosen “full search” mentioned in an earlier post. A full search occurs during a street arrest and is a top to bottom, pockets and all, search of someone taken into custody. But I didn’t want to cover that today.

I also considered writing about “fingerprints”, the unique pattern of swirls and whorls that make you, you. Even your identical twin with whom you share DNA has fingerprints different from yours. If I had covered fingerprints, I would likely have gotten into biometric identification systems as an alternative. I also would probably have gotten into the history of fingerprints by law enforcement. Such as by the mid-1800s some officers were able to recall fingerprints of crooks they had encountered. By the late 19th century, categorization of fingerprint patterns was on the way. But I’m not going into that today.

Today is for felon and forensics.

Felons are those convicted of felonies. Felonies are crimes that are more serious than misdemeanors. Felonies are crimes like: murder, grievous injury, arson, rape, and robbery. Felonies typically involve violence, and usually conviction results in imprisonment of more than one year or death. So a suspect is not necessarily a felon, at least for the current crime you are writing. But since many felons repeat criminal behavior, your villain may well be a felon.

Forensics has a fascinating history of development, but way too much for this post. Remind me sometime to post more on forensics. TV has greatly increased public awareness of this field of criminal analysis. The term “CSI Effect” is often used by public safety officials when lamenting what juries expect for evidence presented to them. Or how victims expect evidence to be collected and analyzed quickly.

The word forensic is an adjective relating to or indicating application of the scientific method and techniques when investigating a crime, as in forensic evidence, meaning evidence identified and verified through the method.

Forensics (with an s) is the noun form meaning the scientific tests and techniques used in examining evidence of a crime. Forensics can also be the term used to identify the laboratory or department overseeing the administration of the scientific tests and techniques.

Part 6 of the short story is next! Aunt Fran has answered the letter sent and has a reaction and an invitation.

Frieda Frances Fluvenhoffer Maranski, better known as “Aunt Fran” to two generations of newspaper readers said, “Oh, vomit!” as she read over her answer. She jerked the sheet from the typewriter and tossed it into the “done” pile. She reached again into the folder her staff compiled of likely column questions. She read over a new question and picked up the Magic 8 Ball again.
            She ignored the brilliant deep blue of the ocean in front of her, the late afternoon sun bouncing off the tips of the waves making their inexorable way to the shore. The light sparkled and danced, winking its way from one wave to the next, making it impossible to guess which wave would twinkle next. She saw none of that, though Mort, relaxed and lounging in a chair on the deck, kept calling to her to unplug her machine and come enjoy the sight.
            “C’mon, Frieda. Come sit with me. We only have this paradise for a little while. Give it a break. You can work again tonight when there’s no view.”

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