Thursday, January 03, 2008

Who Should Pay For Investigation Into False Claims?

A California woman pleaded no contest to filing a false police report and in addition to jail time, she may be required to pay for the cost of investigation.

If she is assigned that cost then all criminals in California need to be charged for the cost of investigating their crime. Rapists, embezzlers, all those who file a non-sex crime police report which results in charges against the reporter. The cost for all false alarms from security systems should be paid for by the property owner.

The same goes for silent or hang-up 911 calls which turn out to be an accidental pressing of speed dial. Many times these calls cause responders to dismiss calls made by real crime victims who are unable to speak or which are disconnected by a criminal. This assumption can lead to the cops too easily dismissing the possibility that there is a real emergency. This is what happened in the murder of 6 family members in Carnation, Washington.

Although the bodies were not discovered until Wednesday, sheriff deputies responded to the property on Monday [Christmas eve] around 5:45 p.m. to investigate a 911 hang-up call, which investigators now believe was placed by Erica Anderson, who was already wounded by gunfire at that point.

But the deputies stopped at a locked gate and did not enter the property to investigate the call, a decision that has raised questions about their actions that day.

The sheriff stated that according to the autopsy the victims died so quickly that a Christmas eve discovery of the crime scene would have saved no lives. The problem with this assumption is it is based on the belief that all 6 victims had been shot before the deputies reached that locked gate. That is unknown. So while it might have been too late for the person who placed the 911 call, it might not have been too late for all of these murder victims.

Careless or negligent 911 hang ups clearly hurt real crime victims, but there is very little interest in holding those who help clog the 911 systems and who help mask real emergencies accountable.

To only assign this cost against those who report rape indicates bigotry and it amounts to systematic and targeted intimidation against those considering reporting rape.

If one group of people who waste taxpayers money for emergency services are to be punished, then all groups must be punished. The impact of this type of action must be felt by all or there will be a high tolerance for abuse of the system.

Too many in law enforcement are quick to assume a false report of rape when there is insufficient evidence to prove the case in court or when there is contradictory evidence or when the alleged rapist is someone who doesn't seem like an obvious rapist.

Sometimes investigators will assume the report is false even when there is sufficient evidence to get a conviction. Their assumptions can lead to aggressive and hostile treatment of real rape victims and the reaction to that aggression and hostility can then be seen as proof that the investigator's hunch was correct.

Charging people for the cost of an investigation needs to be across the board or it needs to dropped completely.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:43 AM   1 comments links to this post


At January 03, 2008 11:26 AM, Blogger isabella mori said...

charging people for the cost of an investigation is ridiculous, and for the cost of only ONE type of investigation is ridiculous AND absurd. what do we pay taxes for?

i wouldn't have any problems with people getting charged for calling 911 for things like asking the time of day or how to find their car keys (which supposedly happens with some frequency). but in general, people need to be encouraged to report problems, not discouraged.

last year, my husband and i stayed in a park later than we were supposed to (we didn't know). 6 police officers and 1 ranger made sure that we, these criminal elements, hiked up the 10 minutes to the car.

three weeks later a friend of mine was brutally assaulted and almost died. his wife called the police and it took them 45 minutes to arrive.

so citizens aren't exactly the only ones who screw up.


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