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View Full Version : Police procedure - possible running thread - 12/09 - stab wounds?



The_Ink_Goddess
09-12-2013, 03:41 PM
Hey guys! So I'm writing a book which is pretty entrenched in police work, even though it's YA, because her dad is a police officer. I'm in the UK so getting help from specific police in my area wouldn't really help and a lot of my questions are too specific and more "is this plausible" than "what would happen if..." so Google's not really helping me, either.

Girl gets stabbed. Dude who stabbed her ends up impulsively saving her life by calling an ambulance. He gets the fuck out of there and, in the chaos of the emergency room, manages to get away without giving his name or leaving a clear picture on their cameras. One problem: she can't turn him in because he knows something really bad about her, so they're now stuck trying to protect each other.

Girl's dad is a cop. I think I'm right in assuming that he would have to stay out of investigation completely? Could her dad's usual partner lead the investigation or is that also too much of a conflict of interest? Would they take her cell phone away from her? How long would this take - could she plausibly hide it?

She's seventeen, but she basically stonewalls them because she can't have them finding the guy. What would happen if she told them she doesn't want to press charges (I've never understood how this dropping/not pressing charges thing works - how serious does the crime have to be before you have no choice)?

How long does it take before GHB no longer shows up in blood tests?

She pretends to have pretty much forgotten her attack out of trauma and being drugged, but the police suspect she's lying to them or pretending not to remember everything. What would this mean for the investigation, if they hit a wall? They can't conclusively prove that she's "obstructing justice" or lying to them, it just seems very convenient. Is it likely they'd dial the investigation back or the exact opposite? Also, how much trouble (and what trouble) would her dad be in if the police found out that he was getting involved in the investigation?

PHEW. Sorry for all the questions. Reps all around for any help, as always. :)

asroc
09-12-2013, 11:11 PM
Why wouldn't your local cops be able to help? Is this set in the US?

How does the stabber end up in the ER with the girl? Do the cops know he and the girl know each other?

I'm not sure if investigating the assault of your partner's daughter is legally a conflict of interest, but I'd consider it unethical and it'd be a field day for the defense attorney, so my guess is they're not going to do that even if it's legal.

In the US whether or not the perpetrator is charged with a crime is up to the District Attorney. Depending on the offense the DA may go ahead and charge the suspect even if the victim doesn't want this to go any further (like domestic violence situations, for example). For a stabbing I'd imagine the DA is going to press charges whether the girl wants to or not.

GHB is only possible to detect for a very short time, about four to eight hours, with 24 hours as the absolute maximum. It's only tested for if there is a good reason to suspect it's present, it's not part of a standard tox screen.

JournoWriter
09-17-2013, 06:12 AM
Girl's dad is a cop. I think I'm right in assuming that he would have to stay out of investigation completely? Could her dad's usual partner lead the investigation or is that also too much of a conflict of interest?

In the States: Yes, dad would have to stay away, and yes, it would probably be a conflict for the partner, too. Prosecutors would not want a case tainted by anything a defense lawyer could latch on to.


Would they take her cell phone away from her? How long would this take - could she plausibly hide it?

If she's stabbed badly enough to be taken to the ER, chances are her personal effects (clothes, purse, shoes, phone) would be taken at least kept by the ER staff while she's in surgery. She would probably not have access to it.

kaitie
09-18-2013, 06:09 AM
I was under the impression they only let family members travel to the ER in the ambulance. My best friend/roommate went when I was in college and I wasn't allowed to go with her.

jclarkdawe
09-18-2013, 04:35 PM
Hey guys! So I'm writing a book which is pretty entrenched in police work, even though it's YA, because her dad is a police officer. I'm in the UK so getting help from specific police in my area wouldn't really help and a lot of my questions are too specific and more "is this plausible" than "what would happen if..." so Google's not really helping me, either.

Girl gets stabbed. Dude who stabbed her ends up impulsively saving her life by calling an ambulance. He gets the fuck out of there and, in the chaos of the emergency room, manages to get away without giving his name or leaving a clear picture on their cameras. One problem: she can't turn him in because he knows something really bad about her, so they're now stuck trying to protect each other. Why would he go to the hospital if he wants to disappear? Knife wounds tend to bring a police response as well as medical. Ambulance crew will probably ask for police. I'd have him call the ambulance and disappear at that point. If police arrive on scene of a knife incident, they're going to want to talk to him as a witness, and be fairly insistent about it.

Girl's dad is a cop. I think I'm right in assuming that he would have to stay out of investigation completely? He probably wouldn't even be hearing the results of the investigation, except for some whispers from his friends. Could her dad's usual partner lead the investigation or is that also too much of a conflict of interest? It provides an opportunity for the defense counsel to attack. Most departments would not want to be put into this position. Would they take her cell phone away from her? Depends upon where her wound is, how likely there's a possibility of other wounds, and how much blood. Ideally in this situation, you want the patient as minimally dressed as possible. If the ambulance crew removes her clothes, the phone would go with it. However, if the patient demands the phone, I'd give it to her. Separating a lot of young people from their phone can be a traumatic experience. How long would this take - could she plausibly hide it? In a hospital room? Sure.

She's seventeen, but she basically stonewalls them because she can't have them finding the guy. What would happen if she told them she doesn't want to press charges (I've never understood how this dropping/not pressing charges thing works - how serious does the crime have to be before you have no choice)? Not filing the charges depends very much upon the state and the local police. This can be done plausibly however you want it to go.

How long does it take before GHB no longer shows up in blood tests? GHB has a half-life of 60 minutes. (Conservative number, as it is usually faster.) So a dose of 500 mg/L (acute intoxication, potentially fatal) will come down to 250 mg/L after one hour, 125 mg/L after two hours, 62.5 mg/L after three hours. Depending upon the test's ability to determine (the smaller and smaller the amount of something in the blood/urine, the harder it is to find), a dose at 11 PM will be gone by the next morning in many instances.

She pretends to have pretty much forgotten her attack out of trauma and being drugged, but the police suspect she's lying to them or pretending not to remember everything. What would this mean for the investigation, if they hit a wall? Pretty much kills it. She'll never be able to testify without being tainted with "creating" her testimony. They can't conclusively prove that she's "obstructing justice" or lying to them, it just seems very convenient. Obstructing justice would be a hard charge to prove in this situation. Is it likely they'd dial the investigation back or the exact opposite? Probably dial it down to nothing, but you can make it go whatever way you want and make it plausible. Also, how much trouble (and what trouble) would her dad be in if the police found out that he was getting involved in the investigation? Suspension. Firing.

PHEW. Sorry for all the questions. Reps all around for any help, as always. :)

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

MarkEsq
09-18-2013, 05:21 PM
Just to point out that Jim's given you the same answers I would have. Clever chap, that Jim.