American Federal Justice: The FBI’s Top 5 Moments

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Photo courtesy of mayatoday.com.

The Birth of the FBI

With no official name and only 34 agents, the Bureau was born on July 26, 1908. Teddy Roosevelt was the president at the time, and it was his Attorney General, Charles Bonaparte, that was the catalyst behind the creation of the Bureau. Up until that juncture, in order to conduct a federal criminal investigation, the Attorney General had to “borrow” agents from other agencies.

Growing frustrated with this inefficient and ineffective practice, Bonaparte, along with Congress, began the bold new experiment of a unified, federal law enforcement agency. Within a relatively short period of time, the Bureau became a formidable foe to the nation’s criminal underbelly.

Hoover Takes Charge

By 1924, the FBI had become plagued with scandals. So, on May 24 of that year, J. Edgar Hoover was appointed as Acting Director of the FBI with the mandate to clean up and modernize the Bureau. Within the next decade, Hoover instituted reforms which transformed the FBI into a highly professional law enforcement agency.

Some of Hoover’s accomplishments include the institution of a forensics laboratory, as well as a central repository for criminal history and identification records. Hoover also began to meticulously gather and report national crime statistics, while also establishing a rigorous training program that was adopted by both domestic and international law enforcement departments.

The Killing of John Dillinger

The Great Depression spurred the age of ruthless and highly dangerous bank robbers. None was more notorious than John Dillinger. As the gun slinging leader of a band of treacherous criminals, Dillinger successfully eluded law enforcement for many years, most notably by appealing to the American public as a harmless, modern day Robin Hood.

By the time the FBI became involved with the investigation in the winter of 1933-34, Dillinger had already been credited with escaping from jail (twice) and robbing 24 banks and four police stations. And, yes, you read that correctly – police stations! Although there were a few roadblocks to overcome, the Bureau managed to track down Dillinger within six months of joining the manhunt.

On July 22, 1934, Dillinger was confronted by FBI on the streets of Chicago. As he reached for his gun, Dillinger was shot dead on the spot.

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Photo courtesy of clarionledger.com.

Mississippi Burning

With the dawn of the 1960s, the American civil rights movement had gained significant momentum. But, with any progress, there is always backlash from hateful groups such as the KKK. On June 21, 1964, three young men, who had volunteered to help register African-American voters in Mississippi, suddenly disappeared.

President Lyndon B. Johnson called upon the FBI to spearhead the investigation. Within a relatively short period of time, the missing men’s burnt out vehicle was found, as well as their bodies and other vital evidence. Indictments were filed against the accused.

Although the case languished for decades in the court system, justice was eventually served. In the interim, the case garnered significant national attention and helped lead to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Between this new legislation and the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, the FBI became armed with the legal mechanisms necessary to defend the freedoms and rights of the entire American populace, and not just a select few.

RICO

Many consider the October 15, 1970 Congressional passage of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (‘RICO”) as a seminal moment in the Bureau’s ability to tackle the epidemic of American organized crime.

The ramifications of RICO were monumental. The FBI finally had the legal tools necessary to bring down criminal enterprises like the Mafia. Prior to the passage of RICO, the Bureau was limited to investigating only specific individuals who committed particular crimes. But now, with RICO, the FBI had the ability to investigate entire organizations, from the “godfather” all the way down to the foot soldier. The FBI used RICO to not only dismantle Mafia families, but the Feds also used this legislation to fight drug rings, terrorist organizations and political corruption.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long been considered a top-notch law enforcement agency. Is there any moment in the history of the FBI that, for you, stands out?

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 If you liked this post, you might also like:

6 Fascinating Advances in Forensic Science
10 Common Traits of Career Criminals
Serial Killers: Not Just an American Problem

 

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Modern DNA Profiling: Two Infamous Cold Cases Solved

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Photo courtesy of kotatv.com.

Once the horrific act of murder has been committed, there is generally a relatively short window of time for law enforcement to solve the mystery. As time passes, the chance of a solving a murder case dwindles significantly.

And, the reason is simple—witnesses’ memories fade, valuable evidence begins to vanish or disintegrate, and police resources are reallocated. These seemingly forgotten murder files become known as cold cases.

Every once and while, however, a renewed energy is given to case, and there becomes a resurrected interest in solving the murder due to technological advances in forensic science.

Here are two examples of cold cases in which the true murderer was finally revealed due to advances in DNA profiling. And with the solving of these murders, a sliver of justice was found for the innocent, deceased victims.

The Mary Klinsky Murder

Occurred: 1965, Solved: 2016

Over a half-century passed before the true identity was revealed of the psychopath who took the life of Mary Agnes Klinsky, a sweet 18-year-old New Jersey high school senior. After being brutally sexually assaulted, the young woman was murdered by blunt force trauma to the head. The New Jersey State Police discovered Mary’s naked body lying face down under a highway guardrail.

Although significant evidence was gathered at the crime scene and during the autopsy, the technology in 1965 did not lend itself to putting together a DNA profile. The police, however, never gave up on this case.

And, although, they had to reallocate resources over time, detectives would often come back to this case with renewed energy, a fresh perspective and modern forensic technologies. In 2016, a major case breakthrough occurred when newly tested DNA, found at the crime scene, matched the DNA of an already convicted murderer and suspected serial killer, Robert Zarinsky.

Despite this evidence, Zarinsky was never charged for the murder of Mary. And that’s because, in 2008, he died in prison while both serving a life sentence for the 1969 murder of another woman, and awaiting a trial for a different 1968 killing.

Even though Zarinsky was never truly convicted for Mary’s murder, modern forensics has left a positive and indelible mark on this resolved cold case.

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Photo courtesy of streetgangs.com

The Killing of Sherri Rasmussen

Occurred: 1986, Solved: 2009

It was 1986, and in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angles, the deceased body of 29-year-old, newlywed Sherri Rasmussen was found in the living room of her condo. Sherri had been beaten and shot three times.

The police investigation on this case ran cold in a relatively short period of time. Not a single person was tried for Sherri’s murder, with the prevailing police theory being  that the murder was committed by two men during a botched robbery. These two suspects were never identified, and the theory is traced back to a robbery and assault in Sherri’s neighborhood, which occurred around the time of her murder.

Despite the police file going cold for years, Sherri’s family—particularly her father—never gave up on the case.  Sherri’s dad constantly reminded the police department that his daughter had been harassed and threatened on numerous occasions during the months prior to her death. According to her dad, the culprit who had been threatening Sherri was another young woman, Stephanie Lazarus.

Lazarus had been romantically involved with Sherri’s husband years before Sherri’s marriage, and supposedly Lazarus was insanely jealous of Sherri. The most shocking fact, however, is that Lazarus was also a police officer with the LAPD, and would threaten Sherri while in full uniform.

During the initial investigation of the murder, Lazarus was never a suspect and that can be attributed to her knowledge of what not to leave behind at a crime scene. Or possibly something more sinister.

The case was eventually re-opened, and in 2009, undercover police officers obtained a sample of Lazarus’ DNA and compared it to a sample obtained in 1986 from a bite mark found on Sherri’s arm. Lazarus was tried, convicted and is now serving a “27-years to life” prison sentence.

Would love to hear your thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.

Do you know of any fascinating cold cases that have been recently solved using modern forensics as a catalyst?

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DARK PURSUIT: Crime Category Winner and 2016 BookViral Millennium Book Award Finalist

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I’m extremely excited to be one of the six finalists and representing the CRIME category for the 2017 BookViral Millennium Book Award. Thank you to all my readers and fans of the Emily Stone Series. Without you, it would not have been possible. 

You can VOTE for DARK PURSUIT and show your support. If you’ve already voted during the semi-final phase, thank you. You don’t need to vote again.

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BookViral’s Review:

Immediately addictive, the nail biting opening chapter from DARK PURSUIT sets the tone for this uncompromising and compelling thriller from international award winning author Jennifer Chase. A high stakes read, it’s clever, fast paced and inventive, the action evolving in tightly focused scenes, played out against a gamut of decidedly harrowing settings. The plot is enthralling and always plausible with Chase only delving into the  detail when her narrative demands it, but what really makes this thriller so notable are her characters and Emily Stone makes for a powerful and highly memorable female lead. She lives in a world rendered in shades of grey, she’s flawed and heroic with moments of vulnerability and great resolve and this creates a real sense of place and purpose without falling back on trite genre tropes. With her dominant personality cleverly contrasted against Ricks they make a sublime pairing whilst Emily wrestles with her inner conflicts. In the vein of all great crime thrillers it’s both cleverly connived and thought provoking.

Undeniably harrowing at times, certainly entertaining, DARK PURSUIT isn’t for the faint hearted, but fans of the Emily Stone series will lap it up. Sure to win a host of new followers for Jennifer Chase. It is highly recommended!

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Upcoming Radio Appearances

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Here’s an update on where you can find me on the radio. Listen in, call in with questions, or listen to an archive of the shows.

COMING UP:

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OFF THE CHAIN with Yvonne Mason, Blog Talk Radio Host

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28th @ 8-9 PM EST

Author Jennifer Chase on OFF THE CHAIN

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ANYTHING GOES with Bennet Pomerantz, Blog Talk Radio Host

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9th @ 8-9 PM EST

Author Jennifer Chase on ANYTHING GOES

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MY LATEST INTERVIEW:

MEET THE THRILLER AUTHOR with Alan Petersen

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6 Fascinating Advances in Forensic Science

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Forensic science is a captivating topic, as evidenced by the droves of television shows and movies that dabble in the theme. The problem is – these programs, albeit entertaining, are full of misinformation.

One common entertainment trope involves a crime scene investigator gathering forensic evidence, and then within a day or so, the mystery has been solved!

In reality, forensic analysis is relatively time consuming, and complex. Notwithstanding the complex nature of forensics, it is unquestionable that modern forensic science is advancing at a rapid pace. So, hopefully one day in the near future, real life with align with the movies.

Here are some cool advances that are paving the way for quick, efficient and accurate forensic analysis.

Hair Protein Markers

Scientists have identified unique protein markers in our hair that may possibly be used in conjunction with DNA profiling for identifying people.  DNA profiling is a commonly used technique because each human being has a unique DNA makeup. The problem, however, is that chemical and environmental issues can degrade DNA, rendering it somewhat useless in certain instances.

Hair protein is unique just like our DNA, but more importantly, it is much more stable than DNA. Thus, it can withstand harsh conditions. This new identification method is another tool for crime scene investigations to utilize in their quest for determining the identities of those involved in a particular crime.

3D Forensic Facial Reconstruction

This developing technology still has many bugs to work through, but the technology is an exciting game-changer. The process is pretty straightforward – facial reconstruction software uses real human remains, and then builds a 3D reconstruction of that person. The reconstruction, of course, is speculative but for the most part, the accuracy has been improving as the software’s glitches have been fixed.

Legal Highs Analysis

Legal “highs” are substances that are used like illegal drugs, but they are acquired legally. These legal highs are capable of producing a psychoactive effect on people, and because of that, these substances are just as (if not more) dangerous than the substances currently floating around in the illicit drug market.

Scientists have been developing a method that will enable investigators to quickly identify the substances contained in a voluminous amount of legal highs, and then compare these findings to the growing database of dangerous and potentially lethal substances that people are abusing.

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Photo courtesy of http://scitechconnect.elsevier.com.

Forensic Virology

Recent forensic science has demonstrated that viruses can reveal, not just a person’s travel history, but can document one’s national origin. It has been discovered that the virus that causes the common lip sore can reveal a person’s entire life history at a molecular level.

Forensic virologists have determined that the virus has unique strains in Asia, Africa and Europe / North America. What does this mean? Well, for one thing, if a person carries the virus, it can be automatically determined the exact origin of that person. Additionally, if two people have the same strain of the virus, there is a significant chance they are related.

This development has broad implications, including helping law enforcement track down the relatives of unidentified bodies.

Video Spectral Comparator

Crime scene investigators find the video spectral comparator to be an invaluable forensic technology. Essentially, when a forensic scientist uses this machine, they are able to take a piece paper and do the following: view hidden or obscured writing, determine the quality of the paper, and lift indented writing. This machine can also perform the above tasks even if the paper has been basically destroyed by fire or water.

Lipstick Analysis

A recent discovery eliminates the current difficult, costly and tedious lipstick examination processes, such as Raman spectroscopy or X-ray diffraction. Scientists have devised a way to lift lipstick samples from surfaces using gas chromatography.

Since the current methods require highly specialized equipment and training, this new quicker and more efficient method is garnering attention. The lipstick is extracted in the established method, and the remainder of the process is straightforward, and does not require the current expensive machinery and advanced training.

Forensic science is cutting-edge, but there are of course many more advances on the horizon. Is there an existing technology, not currently used in forensic science that you believe forensic scientists should be utilizing?

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RUN: A Collection of 10 Dark Tales by 10 Authors COMING HALLOWEEN

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When I was asked to participate in the RUN anthology, I jumped at the chance. Not only are there some amazing authors that I respect and enjoy their work, but I love scary, horror, and paranormal stories. I strongly suggest checking out each of the authors on Amazon.

RUN is an anthology of 10 twisted tales by 10 authors. It will be available Halloween 10/31/2016, but you can pre-order for only 99cents.

Check out the RUN trailer:

Here’s the rundown:

Nightmares come to life in this thrilling collection of dark tales.

Resurrection Morning by Caleb Pirtle III: Ambrose Lincoln is a man without a memory. The government has erased his mind with drugs and electric shots. He is a more effective operative, the powers say, if he has no fear. A man without fear can accomplish assignments that others would be afraid to try. Besides, a man cannot reveal any secrets if the secrets have been taken from him. Lincoln is sent to Paris with a British Intelligence officer to help a famous jazz singer escape. She has been smuggling German information out of the country, and someone has betrayed her. If the Gestapo finds the jazz singer first, she will be executed as a spy. Who can Lincoln trust, who wants him dead, and who can help them in their frantic, desperate flight from Paris to the English Channel? If the don’t make it out of France by morning, they won’t make it at all.

Black Out by Sue Coletta: When the power goes out on Bear Cat Mountain evil stalks the terrain. With a fallen tree blocking their only escape—live electrical wires dancing across the road and cell tower down—the body count quickly rises. Blu and Jake Carpaccio must track down the killer before they fall victim to his trap. But who can they trust? And how do you fight someone, or something, you cannot see?

Sweeton’s Shangri-La y Rachel Aukes: When a young couple discover a mythical paradise, they learn that a fantasy can all too quickly become a nightmare.

The Sideshow by Kimberly McGath: Katie Cartwright is struggling with her memory and is haunted by flashbacks. Regressing to an evening at the circus, things are not as they first appear. Strange events, suspicious deaths, and eerie music set the stage for an unforgettable trip to the big top.

Three Days by Jennifer Chase: Samantha Carr receives a special email invitation for three days to stay at a new luxury beach hotel. Nothing is as it appears including where the hotel is located. The view from her room changes, leading her into the middle of a gangland war. Will she be driven to madness or give in to the sinister force that relentlessly stalks her?

Smile For Me by Kristine Mason: Make me young, make me pretty, make me happy, make me smile… Lisa Duplain refuses to grow old gracefully. Fearing the aging process and desiring youth, she books a weekend at Melody’s Grace—a quaint bed and breakfast also known as the fountain of youth. But something wicked dwells within the walls of the B&B and not everyone who stays at Melody’s Grace leaves happy…even if they have a smile on their face.

Bleeder by Paul Dale Anderson: Lucy makes the mistake of answering her doorbell early one morning to find a handgun shoved in her face. The armed man, bleeding from gunshot wounds, forces Lucy to patch him up and hide him inside her house. But the bleeder picked the wrong house, and Lucy is far from innocent victim she pretends to be. A taut tale of blood and fury with no bounds.

A Love Story by Kathy Love: When a group of teens use social media to create a fictional love interest for a fellow classmate, they have no idea the horrible chain of events they will set in motion. Now they are the ones receiving messages from the boy they created. But the question is, who is sending them the messages? Someone who knows what they’ve done? One of their very own group? Or could it be something far more sinister? One thing is for certain, this isn’t a story about revenge. It’s a love story.

A Promise is a Promise by Joe Broadmeadow: When an innocent summer day turns into a lifetime nightmare, two friends make a promise to visit vengeance on those responsible. The naivete sets in motion a deadly conclusion.

The Game by Elle J Rossi: You win, you live. You lose, you die. The game is as simple and as complex as that.

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Here’s where you can purchase RUN:

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

KOBO

iBOOKS

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DARK PURSUIT was Chosen for the 2016 Shortlist at BookViral: Cast Your Vote

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Vigilante detective Emily Stone respectfully requests readers and followers support. Please cast your vote for DARK PURSUIT before October 17th at 2016 BookViral Book Award Shorlisted Authors.
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BookViral is pleased to announce the shortlisted authors for the 2016 BookViral Book Award and the standard as always has been extremely high. Shortlisting titles is always extremely hard and as in previous years, we now open the shortlisted titles to readers votes.

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This is your opportunity to influence the six finalists. Your votes won’t decide the winner but they will influence and inform our thinking.

Where you see our BookViral logo beneath a title you can click on that titles cover to read our full spotlight review. To vote for your favourite title simply click on the voting button to be taken to our voting page. It’s a simple as that, but your vote will help  your favourite title receive the recognition it deserves.

Voting closes at midnight on October 17th 2016.

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CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR DARK PURSUIT

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Latest Book Release: Now an Amazon Best Seller: Body of the Crime

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