Wednesday, December 9, 2020

How I Spent My Summer

There are two sides to every story. The truth and an interpretation. This past summer I got to see the dynamics of how a criminal investigation and trial preparation are performed. Interning for the Hardcore Gang Unit for the LADA’s Office, I received my first real case. A homicide arising from a botched narcotics sale. I diligently reviewed the physical evidence, reports, and witness testimony. It became clear that an ambiguity existed. What was the truth? The evidence pointed to one conclusion, but the witness testimony pointed to another. In between? A million possibilities for reasonable doubt. I pondered questions: Motive? Self-defense? Gang influenced? The questions piled on. The DA was in pursuit of the truth but the truth seemed ever elusive. 

Concurrently while interning with the DA, I was serving on an ambulance in San Bernardino as an EMT. In deliberating the case and the facts, I recalled emergencies I had responded to involving assaultive crimes. While not the job of EMS to investigate the crime scene as de facto members of CSI, we have to find out how an injury happened to guide treatment. This analysis usually involves filling in the blanks of an incident.

A call stuck out to me; a mother, attacked by her son. From our investigation, we failed to find any weapons but we inferred that she was attacked with a knife. How did we know? Her face was sliced in two and she had numerous puncture wounds on her neck. In our mind the scene was clear, the son had attacked his mother over material possessions, yet how would that play out in court? The defense would surely bring alternative narratives. There were a million unknowns but experiencing the scene while it was active brought a unique perspective which cannot be explained.

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