Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Most Everything I Know About Trying High-Profile Cases I've Learned From My Ex-Husband, John Henry Browne
Sunday, March 25, 2012
|My sons, David and Jeremy|
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Photos courtesy of David Shankbone and bMethe.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
“So that’s what a murderer looks like,” I always thought to myself, leaning in to the grainy black and white photos. I would peer deep into the eyes of the fugitive bank robber or kidnapper to try to find a clue as to what made these men turn so bad. (Back then, the list was all men) I admit it – I was a strange child.
“Some criminals may be hiding overseas,” he says. “But fleeing the country is not a get out of jail free card. We have a global reach. We regularly work with domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies to bring these fugitives to justice in the U.S.” Here’s what Roy didn’t say and what I glean from studying this Most Wanted web site: A vast majority of suspects facing fraud charges hail from foreign countries. Many of them are now suspected of fleeing to India, Russia, Nigeria, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Columbia. They have names like Gautam Gupta and Anupal Gayen. Others have Hispanic surnames like Gonzales, Velazquez and Lopez. One of the women on the Most Wanted List is Ekaterina Shlykova.
No. This isn’t about condemning the actions of all non-citizens but facts are facts. One of the highest rates of health care fraud in the country is in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, New York where a majority of residents are immigrants from Russia. In a recent story about a $250 million dollar fraud scheme in Brighton Beach the New York Times reported, “The city’s Russian-speaking immigrant population, many of whom grew up under a Communist system that bred disdain for the rules (has) … a willingness to cheat to get around them.”
Sunday, March 18, 2012
He starts of f the interview by saying “I didn’t kill my wife”. There is a shoulder shrug at the end of this statement.
Then he says “We were getting along splendidly.” As he said this he shakes his head “No “as opposed to shaking it “Yes”. When someone’s body language and nonverbal actions contradict their words, they are usually lying. Then we see another shoulder shrug of deception at the end of the statement. Also the word “splendidly” is very unusual. It is not a word commonly used. Oftentimes when someone I trying to manufacture the truth they will throw in these flowery words which can be a red flag .
He says “The next morning she wasn’t back. I was really nervous. As he says this there is another shoulder shrug complete without any vocal emotion.
“She sort of disappeared” is also said with a shoulder shrug. How does one “sort of disappear”? That is a very telling comment in my view.
“I collapsed (shoulder shrug indicating possible deception) and went numb. Actually he shold gave said he went nub and then collapsed, not the other way around.
As he describes his wife for the cameras as being funny and warm, he shakes his head no. Still shaking his head No he says “ She was as lovely a person on the inside as she was on the outside.” There was an accompanying shoulder shrug as he said this. He concludes with “She was amazing.” As he shakes his head “No.” He also shakes his head “No” as he says “She had this accent like listening to honey through gauze.” “He goes on to say “It was beautiful. It was mellifluous,” as he shrugs his shoulder once again.
“There weren’t issues going on at the time,” was also followed by a shoulder shrug.
Her cell phone was so damaged and shattered that you had to shout to make yourself heard, so she didn’t take it with her.” This statement was also followed by a shoulder shrug.
When one looks at the body language of his sister in law, it says it all. Her eyes are opened very wide as she speaks and you can see the white around her eyes indicating fear and anger as she speaks of her sister. She never wanted to believe that Bruce had anything to do with her sister's death as she stated, but now every part of her body says the opposite.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
by Donna Pendergast
The concept of justice is sprinkled throughout the scriptures and is an ideal that is sought in many arenas of daily life. People seek justice to create a proper ordering of random things and persons within a society, in the enforcement of laws, to solve disagreements between persons and in response to criminal behavior.
But what is true justice in the case of an almost unimaginable act of criminal depravity? What is justice for a purposeful act of harm and violence where one persons gratification comes from stealing the life of another human being? In the case of a purposeful serial murderer like Coral Watts, who may have murdered as many as a hundred beautiful and talented women, can there ever really be justice for the family and friends who were the peripheral victims of such a diabolical and depraved predator?
I struggle with these concepts on a daily basis while prosecuting homicide cases and when dealing with the survivors, the family and the friends of a person whose life was callously snuffed out by by an act of senseless violence. In the depths of pain and misery survivors look to the prosecutor to guide them through the nuances of an unfamiliar criminal justice system and to obtain justice for them for an incomprehensible loss. Often the families look to the prosecutor as a sort of lifeboat who will save them from disaster and fix the circumstances that put them in touch with the justice system. Unfortunately, as prosecutors we can't fix anything we can only try to do justice, whatever that is, by seeking a conviction.
In seeking justice for the survivors, there are things that you learn, some of them the hard way. After having prosecuting over 100 murder trials I have learned NOT to say "I understand how you feel." As one survivor pointed out very early on, I don't understand how they feel and never could. Instead I've learned to say "I understand that I can't understand what you are going through but I have dealt with other families in this situation many times before and here is the benefit of my experience.
I have also learned to expect what often happens after a verdict even if it's a favorable verdict. Many survivors describe a hollow feeling after a jury verdict in a homicide trial because even a guilty verdict will never bring back a loved one. Accordingly, I've learned to caution families that there will likely be a letdown after the verdict as they adjust to the new reality that the fight is over but the pain goes on. The mother of a man beat to death by a pack of savage brothers and their friends several levels below "Deliverance" grade caliber once said to me after the verdict "I thought I would feel better but I don't," not a surprisingly revelation considering the testimony that she had to sit through including the fact that her son and his friend had been chopped up and fed to pigs. It was closure after eighteen long years of wondering what had happened to her son who had disappeared while on a hunting trip up north, but closure at a terrible cost.
But the question remains "Is a jury verdict that one is guilty of homicide and subsequent resultant incarceration in prison true justice?" The dictionary defines justice in a number of ways. One definition defines justice as the ideal morally correct state of things and persons. Another entry defines justice a what is fair.
The question remains whether or not anything can be morally correct or fair when dealing with the senseless obliteration of a human life. Without delving into the complex and gut wrenching arena and dodging the land mines associated with the debate over the death penalty (maybe a subject for another day) I've come to the conclusion that there is no true justice for survivors rather justice as we can best do it under a horrendous set of circumstances and with an imperfect system.
Unfortunately true justice and true closure for the survivors remains an impossible dream.
Statements made in this post are my own and are not intended to reflect the views, opinion or position of the Michigan Attorney General or the Michigan Department of Attorney General.
Monday, March 12, 2012
If only the world of television was closer to reality or even on the horizon of probability, examinations for evidence and especially the cause of death would be so much easier. Take for example, the autopsy. This is a grueling, back-breaking process calling for much determination, the correct tools, and years of knowledge. Breaking skin with cutting tools, using saws to split through cartilage and bone is a difficult, highly specialized and tedious task. If it could only be done in a high-tech manner such as what we see on television shows such as Bones and CSI—with detailed scans and video images of what lay inside—so, can it?
Virtopsy Up for Opinion
According to an article for Newswise from Johns Hopkins Hospital, high-tech “Virtopsies” are not total reality and the more traditional physical examination of autopsy is ‘still the gold standard for determining cause of death’ experts claim. “The latest virtual imaging technologies–including full-body computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, X-ray and angiography are helpful, they say, but cannot yet replace a direct physical inspection of the body’s main organs.”
"Medical problems most commonly missed or not seen by autopsy included air pockets in collapsed lungs (which could have impeded breathing) and bone fractures, and the most common diagnoses missed by imaging were heart attack, pulmonary emboli and cancer,” says Burton. She believes that imaging results can also create question because most tissue examples need to be physically examined for analysis. Costs may also be prohibitive as imaging equipment costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and full-body CT scans for example can run about $1,500 each, which, when added to device purchasing and maintenance fees, make vitropsy an awfully expensive option.
For some interesting real life cases on autopsy and the subsequent evidence, visit: