Investigating Family Violence

 

October is traditionally National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), however, family violence occurs every day of every month, all year. While we recognize the emphasis on more awareness to the issue during October, we also recognize the need for available tools all year-long.

Management Resources is often contracted to work with clients who are ending relationships. We strive to objectively gather the facts, without emotion, and without bias,  then compile and analyze the information for our clients to prepare for court, if necessary .

Relationships end for a variety of reasons, and each party must have the ability to safeguard not only their assets, but their personal reputation and safety.  Many times relationships end because of an abusive partner, and the victim of the violence must be represented fairly, as well as any children.Document the Abuse, Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit, Management Resources

We are able to assist putting into place an exit plan including legal support recommendation, child custody, and other personal issues.

Safety Planning: Document The Abuse

We find that often victims aren’t well versed in what to do to best keep themselves and children safe. As we investigate the facts in the case we also advise victims to create a safety plan, including an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit (EAA). This is similar to a living will which legally documents and video tapes your testimony about the abuse in case it should be needed in a court of law. Details can be found at DocumentTheAbuse.Com

Our partnership with Intimate Partner Violence Strategy Specialist, the late Susan Murphy Milano, brought this essential safety planning tool to our agency. We continue to assist victims to generate their personal EAA containing any and all information or evidence we may uncover to improve the risks associated with safety.

If you find yourself in a violent relationship and don’t know what to do, remember never “hint” at leaving, keep it to yourself until a safety plan is in place. Before you announce you are ending the relationship, call Management Resources or a domestic violence resource for sound advice. Don’t assume that you can handle the situation without an expert.

If you need immediate assistance, call 9-1-1, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

celebratingManagement Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey. .  Management Resources is a member of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.  Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com 

 

Questions From the Class: Part 4

Management Resources principles Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin were honored to be included in Penn State’s online course, Presumed Innocent? The Social Science of Wrongful Conviction. Interviewed extensively about the wrongful conviction and exoneration of Jonathan Fleming, many questions arose from the class. Kim Anklin has been answering questions from students in the forum, “Ask Kim Anything.” Although the class is complete we are reprinting some of the general entries with the hope that readers will learn more about these types of investigations.

Bob Rahn, Marvin Schecter, Kim Anklin
Bob Rahn, Marvin Schecter, Kim Anklin

Obviously the main idea is to ensure that people are not wrongly convicted to begin with rather than to deal with appeals and so on after the fact. What advice would you have for young defense counsel and young prosecutors?

To better answer this question, I reached out to Attorney Marvin E. Schecter. Marvin is a very well-known criminal defense attorney here in New York who has served as the Section Chair of the NYSBA (New York State Bar Association) Criminal Justice Committee. For many years, Marvin has worked tirelessly to bring reform for prosecutorial misconduct. Recently he and the NYSACDL (New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) proposed a bill calling for the establishment of a new state commission that would bring public accountability to violators of ethics rules and criminal procedure laws.

A few words of advice for new defense and prosecution attorneys – Marvin E. Schecter:

For young defense attorneys, they must prepare their cases completely if wrongful convictions are to be prevented.  Part of that preparation involves the aggressive litigation pre-trial of Brady issues.  Only when prosecutors are pushed, and pushed hard, do we get a more searching inquiry on the prosecution side of potential Brady material in their possession.

Defense attorneys should be asking the courts pre-trial sign orders requiring the release of Brady material even if statutes already require such turn over.  The advantage of an order is that if it is violated then the court can use its contempt powers to punish – yes punish – the prosecutor for failing to insure that the defendant received a fair trial or is getting due process as required by the Constitution.  When a court signs an order it has the effect sometimes of causing the prosecutor to focus with greater intensity on searching for, or re-evaluating, evidence which can properly be classified as Brady material.

For prosecutors the task at hand is simple: if in doubt turn over the material. Prosecutors need to understand that they must view a piece of evidence which is favorable to the defendant, or for that matter can be utilized by the defense as a lead for further investigation which may reveal further evidence exonerating the defendant in a way which comports with the law instead of the current nationwide system in which many prosecutors seek a variety of ways to MINIMIZE the evidence as not being favorable and therefore not within the Brady compulsion.

First, the law is clear that it is not up to the prosecutor to determine if evidence is admissible or if the evidence is not really a prior inconsistent statement of a prosecution witness.  Repeatedly thousands of cases have been decided in the federal and state courts that REQUIRE the prosecutor to turn over such evidence REGARDLESS OF WHETHER IT IS ADMISSIBLE in evidence because the simple standard is the sought after Brady evidence need only be favorable  to require it being turned over. For example, a prior inconsistent statement – whether there strong or even weak inconsistencies – is in fact Brady material.

Furthermore, it is not for a prosecutor to determine the strength or elasticity of a statement that the defense can utilize to impeach the credibility of a prosecution witness whose testimony is being utilized by the prosecution to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  It is for the jury to determine credibility and whether the burden of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt has been met and a jury cannot do that if the prosecutor is hiding Brady material.  What young prosecutors need to do is confront a cognitive bias that impels them to discount favorable evidence, and instead wrap their cognitive brain power around the concept that justice must be done first.

celebratingManagement Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey. .  Management Resources is a member of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.  Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com 

Vernon Kent Jones: Missing Without a Trace

 

Vernon Jones, missing person
Vernon Jones

Vernon Kent Jones was 24 years old when he went missing without a trace on January 2, 1993 from a NYC apartment. Born and raised in North Carolina and a graduate of UNC, Vernon came to New York with the hopes of becoming an actor. He lived on the Upper West Side and on the night he went missing was at a party in an apartment building on East 7th St and Ave D in what is known as Alphabet City. Vernon was partying there with three friends, two of whom he had just met.  According to their statements Vernon became ill in the apartment. Two of the individuals left and went across the street to an all night store to purchase “cleaning products. When they returned to the apartment Vernon was gone. The third individual stated he was in the bedroom, heard the door slam an assumed Vernon went outside to get some air. None of the three attempted to look for Vernon and simply continued to party. Vernon did not have his wallet or any identification in his possession at the time he disappeared. His wallet and ID were found in his apartment by his family.

Vernon’s younger brother Michael was 14 went Vernon went missing. Now 31 years old Michael contacted us and asked if we could help him find out what happened to his brother. We spoke to Michael and his mother and decided we would look into the case. After reviewing the facts, we felt compelled to take the case and told the family we would be willing to accept the case pro-bono and attempt to help them.

We have worked on this case for about a year and half. During that time we have tracked3768786245_f6e6124781_m down, located and re-interviewed the three people who were with Vernon that night. They continue to maintain they have no idea what happened to him. We were successful in creating a DNA profile of Vernon from a baby tooth that his mother had. That profile is now in the national DNA database known as CODIS. Click on this link to see a CBS News Exclusive report. http://bit.ly/cU2k0U

We have also utilized the services of a Forensic Artist to draw an age progression sketch of what Vernon would look like today. We have spoken to Psychics to see if they could assist us in any way. To date we have not been successful in locating Vernon.

We are currently researching the records at New York City’s Hart Island, (Potters Field) of all unidentified males fitting Vernon’s description buried there.

It is our hope that one day we will find out what happened to Vernon so that we may be able to bring some closure to the family.

If you or someone you know has any information regarding the whereabouts of Vernon please call us at: 800-490-2267. All information will be kept confidential.

celebratingManagement Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey. .  Management Resources is a member of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.  Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com 

58th Anniversary Dinner of the Society of Professional Investigators

On September 18, 2014 Management Resources principals, Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin attended the 58th Anniversary Dinner of the Society of Professional Investigators held at Giondo On The Water in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The association honored Michael Mukasey, Former Attorney General of the United States with the SPI Distinguished Career Award and awarded Kenneth Thompson, District Attorney, Kings County, New York with the SPI Person of the Year Award.

Also a special honor was given to Wounded Warriors who served in Iraq or Afghanistan

The Society of Professional Investigators was created as an organization dedicated to fostering networking between law enforcement professionals from all disciplines related to investigations and criminal justice.

Please enjoy some of the photos taken with esteemed guests and honorees:

 

Dr. Michael Baden, Kim Ankliln
Dr. Michael Baden, Kim Ankliln
Bob Rahn, Marvin Schecter, Kim Anklin
Bob Rahn, Marvin Schecter, Kim Anklin
Kim Anklin, District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, Bob Rahn
Kim Anklin, District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, Bob Rahn
Rosemarie and Jimmy Mesis
Rosemarie and Jimmy Mesis
Theresa Balfe, Bob Rahn, Kim Anklin, Gil Alba, Steve Rambam
Theresa Balfe, Bob Rahn, Kim Anklin, Gil Alba, Steve Rambam

celebratingManagement Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey. .  Management Resources is a member of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.  Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com 

Questions From the Class: Part #3

Management Resources principles Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin were honored to be included in Penn State’s online course, Presumed Innocent? The Social Science of Wrongful Conviction. Interviewed extensively about the wrongful conviction and exoneration of Jonathan Fleming, many questions arose from the class. Kim Anklin has been answering questions from students in the forum, “Ask Kim Anything.” Although the class is complete we are reprinting some of the general entries with the hope that readers will learn more about these types of investigations.

 

Jonathan Fleming, Kim Anklin, Bob Rahn
Jonathan Fleming, Kim Anklin, Bob Rahn

 

How many system variables influenced the wrongful conviction? How could someone be convicted without physical evidence? You mentioned that the prosecution violated the “Brady.” Clearly there was exculpatory evidence available pointing to the defendant’s exoneration. Why did the defense lawyer not ask for this evidence, witness testimony? This guy had a terrible lawyer; one who was not willing to go the extra mile to prove his client’s innocence. This was a horrible case and illustrates how one develops a distrust for the judicial process.

In this case there were multiple variables that resulted in Mr. Fleming being convicted. Mr. Fleming was convicted on the testimony of one eye witness who was intimidated into making a deal with the police and prosecutor, two additional witness that were also intimidated and provided deals, and of course the misconduct of the prosecutor. The entire criminal justice system failed him. Yes, is it a horrible case and unfortunately there are many others with similar circumstances.

As to all of the system variables that could be pointed out in this case, I’ll just briefly comment on the few below:

  1. Flawed police work and tunnel vision – The detectives conducting the investigation failed to properly follow up on the information provided to them by the witness who provided them with the names and physical description of three men who should have been considered logical suspects.
  2. Witness intimidation by the police – according to several people we spoke to, shortly after the homicide the police were literally picking up people off the street and taking them back to the precinct to try and coerce them into being witnesses, even though the majority of them did not see what had happened. Multiple people told us they had come to the scene after the police arrived to see what was going on only to get taken away as witnesses.
  3. Prosecutorial Misconduct – this variable came in the form of making deals with witnesses in exchange for their testimony, failing to disclose those deals to defense counsel, hiding the phone receipt and letter from the Orlando PD which would have corroborated Mr. Fleming’s alibi. The District Attorney’s Office also intimidated witnesses by threatening them with perjury if they tried to recant. In our opinion, we feel even the Judge that presided over the post-conviction hearing was duped by the prosecutor. The eye witness was trying to recant stating she had lied about the identification. The judge found her recantation unbelievable, because the DA’s office never disclosed to him that the witness had made a deal with them in exchange for her testimony. Any one of these acts if committed by a defense attorney would have resulted in severe consequences up to and including possible disbarment.
  4. Ineffective Counsel – Mr. Fleming’s defense attorney at the time was a young, new attorney who had never handled a homicide case before. He would eventually tell us that he thought this was a “slam dunk” because of the Florida alibi, and therefore over confident that the jury would never convict Mr. Fleming.

celebratingManagement Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey. .  Management Resources is a member of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.  Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com