JULY 2016 - IAPE Monthly Newsletter
Ask Joe...
Each month, IAPE's primary instructor, Joe Latta, answers one of your questions. Consider writing us if you have a question that needs an answer. We would love to hear from you.
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Dear Joe,
I have a question regarding storing firearms that have been seized/turned over to Law Enforcement, in regards to a Temporary Protective Order or similar... I remember talking in class about charging fees for this service. I'm trying to convince the Sheriff we should be charging a fee for this service (have 34 firearms on hold right now). Can't find anything in stuff I brought back from classes. Can you help?

Dear Doug,
Since you don't live in California or Massachusetts my comments are based on a concept and not statutory approval in your state. Most departments across the country are permitted to charge citizen for the purchase a copy of a incident or traffic accident. Since there is a precedent for charging for this type of service, the concept was expanded by law in California and similarly in Massachusetts.
The law in California allows the citizen, when served with a TRO Temporary Restraining Order, the ability to hand over the guns to the local agency for storage as long as the TRO is in effect.
When the TRO expires, the owner returns to the department and the owner's prohibited status is checked. When cleared, the owner pays a fee to the department for the provided storage service. The charges are around $75 for the submission of the gun(s) and $5.00 a month per gun till the TRO expires. 

California Family Code Section 6389
A local law enforcement agency may charge the respondent a fee for the storage of any firearm pursuant to this section.  This fee shall not exceed the actual cost incurred by the local law enforcement agency for the storage of the firearm.  For purposes of this subdivision, "actual cost" means expenses directly related to taking possession of a firearm, storing the firearm, and surrendering possession of the firearm to a licensed dealer as defined in Section 26700 of the Penal Code or to the respondent.  For More Information Click here: 

In Massachusetts the law allow the gun to be taken to a state licensed dealer for storage during the TRO.

Massachusetts General Laws  Section D129
"The owner shall be liable to such dealer for reasonable storage charges and may dispose of any such weapon as provided under this section by transfer to a person lawfully permitted to purchase or take possession of such weapon."

If the practice is not codified in your state, maybe this is the time the chief or sheriff approach the legislature via the state's Sheriffs Association for discussion.


Headline of the Month
Arrest Made In 1987 Cold Case Murder Of Roxbury Woman
BOSTON (CBS) - A New Hampshire man was arrested in the murder of a Roxbury woman nearly 30 years ago, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office announced at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Date: June 28, 2016

James Paige, 50, of Manchester, New Hampshire was arrested Monday and charged with first-degree murder in the 1987 killing of Roxbury resident Dora Jean Brimage.

Police said Brimage was last seen leaving a party near Prentiss Street in Roxbury. Police believe she accepted a ride from Paige, and that Paige took her to a vacant building under renovation on Warren Street. Her body was found there the next day, September 7, 1987, by workers. She had been beaten, sexually assaulted, and strangled to death.

Officials including Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley and Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans announce an arrest made in a 1987 Roxbury cold case murder. (Matt Colson/WBZ-TV)

The Suffolk County DA's office said in a release Tuesday afternoon that the case was solved by testing biological evidence secured from Brimage's body by detectives at the scene where she was found in 1987. Conley said the technology used to identify Paige was not available in the 1980s.

"The first generation of investigators could not identify her killer at the time, but their careful, methodical work was a major contribution to the case," Conley said at the press conference Tuesday. "They retraced Dora's steps, interviewed witnesses at the party, and perhaps most importantly, secured biological evidence from her body."

Under a federal grant, that DNA evidence was submitted for testing by the Boston Police Cold Case Homicide Squad. Once it was uploaded to the FBI's Combined DNA Index System in 2014, Conley said, it matched DNA evidence that had been taken from Paige as a result of a proir felony conviction.

Conley praised the work of the Cold Case Squad in re-interviewing witnesses, which he said was instrumental in his office's being able to take their case to court, since DNA evidence alone cannot prove murder.

"Conducting a meaningful interview with a witness decades after the fact is no easy task, and that's assuming they're still alive and you can find them," Conley said. "Memories can fade, corroborating evidence can deteriorate, and the passage of so much time rarely benefits the prosecution team."

Conley mentioned the recent charges brought in the 1992 murder of Tufts University grad Lena Bruce  as another case that DNA evidence helped solve, and said that, in the past seven years, suspects in 17 cold cases had been identified. He said that every one of those suspects to stand trial has been found guilty.
"That's a phenomenal success rate, and it speaks to the world-class professional partnership between Suffolk prosecutors and Boston police," said Conley. "When the evidence exists, we follow it wherever it leads-no matter how many years it might take or how many miles we must travel."

Paige is currently in custody at the Hillsborough County House of Corrections in New Hampshire, having been arrested for a parole violation. He is expected to be brought to Massachusetts to face the murder charge sometime in the next few weeks.

Have You Looked Lately?
The magic of DNA! IAPE is continuously looking for relevant news stories that have some nexus with property rooms and the long term storage of evidence. 

I have a task for all of you who actually work in the property room!  Spend some time and see if you have any 30, 40, or 50 year old cases that have been forgotten about. I'm guessing  the new chief or sheriff would like to know.
When I read about Cold Case Homicides that are 20, 30 and 40 years old I am continuously reminded how easy it can be for some of this cases to slip between the cracks and forgotten about. Think about it, the average size of all police and sheriff's department across the  US is about 12 officers / deputies amongst our 18,000 agencies. Every year we have 1,000's of employee who leave our ranks with retirements, promotions, internal promotions, terminations, transfers to other assignments and to other departments and some time death.
All too often with all of these personnel changes, there is great deal of history forgotten about criminal incidents of the past and is trumped by yesterdays murder, rape or assault.  As the new case are investigated the other cases become less of a priority and in some cases forgotten about with personnel changes.
After reading this recent 30 year old case I searched the internet drying to identify the oldest case that we have solved with DNA.  Within seconds of searching Google News, it appears that the oldest reported DNA murder hit is a 1957 Sycamore, Illinois Case

In every police department, you'll find a very special file cabinet. This cabinet holds the cold cases - crimes that were never solved, left on hold until new evidence presents itself. Police officers have a tough relationship with these cases, because they remind them every day that some bad guys get away. Even the coldest case can warm up eventually and in this article we'll spotlight some amazing unsolved crimes that broke open after years or even decades. These are some of the longest cold cases in history that eventually got solved.

Pretty Maria, 1957
Holdi ng the current record for the longest cold case that was solved is the murder of seven-year-old Maria Ridulph in 1957. The young girl  vanished from her Sycamore, Illinois home one winter without a trace, and her decomposing body was found the next year. A suspect was identified - a young man named John Tessier - but he had an ironclad alibi: he was on a train at the time, and he had witnesses to back him up. The cops let him go and the gruesome murder was never solved.

However, science has a way of punishing the guilty, and when Ridulph's corpse was exhumed in 2011 for additional DNA testing, it pointed the finger at Tessier again. His train alibi was also disproved when a girlfriend found his ticket unpunched. Now going by the name Jack McCullough, he was arrested in Seattle and charged with the crime in September of 2012. After 55 years, Maria Ridulph's family will know justice

Can you open your lockers by slipping the lock with a credit card?
Can you remove evidence from your locker by slipping your hand in?

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