Another Wrongfully Convicted Person, Now Free
Most of the American Public believes that we have a fair and impartial judicial system.
There is a small percentage that really sees or experiences how unfair this system can be.
We employ individuals as police officers that we pay to protect us, our families and our property.
We elect officials, such as prosecutors, that we also have in place to assist the police officers in maintaining an orderly society and bringing those that cannot live by the rules to justice.
Unfortunately, at times, the systems bring those that are innocent into this system falsely, just like the following case.
In 2015 a 21-year-old female was attending the Idaho State University in Pocatello Idaho. To help pay for college, she took a job at a home for troubled teens. Most of these teenage kids were there via a court order.
This female had only been employed with this home for a few weeks.
One of the female residents filed charges of sexual misconduct against this female employee, after the juvenile had her privileges taken away due to misconduct.
The female resident stated that she had witnessed the employee touch and kiss one of the male juvenile residents while on a bus trip. The female resident also accused this employee of making sexual advances at her.
When I first started to review this case, I could tell that the Law Enforcement Officers assigned to this investigation did not believe the female residents story and we hoped that they would conduct a complete and thorough investigation.
The Law Enforcement Officer interviewed the other employee that was present during the bus ride. He was driving the bus and therefore was limited to what he could have observed.
The officers interviewed the manager of the home, which could only give a background as to the limited time accused was employed.
Of course, they interviewed the female employee, she denied the allegations, the accuser and the male subject she was accused of touching.
The officer conducted very short and limited interviews of the other juvenile residents that were on the bus.
As an experienced investigator, the fact that the female resident made these allegations just after being punished, should have made the investigative officers suspicious.
One would have hoped that they would have actually conducted an investigation.
After the interviews were conducted by Law Enforcement they were forwarded to the State Prosecutor who filed charges.
This is where I want to express to you how unfair the judicial system can be.
First, as the investigator, I want to interview all the individual that were on the bus.
All of these juveniles have extensive past criminal records. They do not like authority and have experience when it comes to lying to Law Enforcement.
When conducting an interview, the interviewer should make every attempt to corroborate the information that is provided. This was not done in this case.
Because they are juveniles, I was not provided any contact information. This is where I have to use all the investigative skills and resources that I have to find these other juveniles.
Law Enforcement was provided full names, parents names, addresses and phone numbers. The juveniles that were housed at this location had come from all over the states of Idaho and Utah.
Due to my past as a Law Enforcement Officer, I know where to find specific records of juveniles beyond the court system and then when I was able to locate and contact a few of them through my interviewing skills I was able to get enough information to find the others.
Another problem that had to be overcome was obtaining juvenile records.
Law Enforcement failed to obtain any outside information that would corroborate the female juveniles story as to what happened.
She claimed that there were text messages sent between the two. Cell phone providers only retain these records for a short period of time. By Law Enforcement not seizing them when he complaint was filed, they were gone by the time we tried to obtain them.
The only source of evidence was the story given by the accuser and a couple of the other juveniles that stated they witnessed what happened.
During my interviews with the others on the bus, no one gave the same account of what actually happened.
The only real evidence is the testimony of the female accuser and the male juvenile, and that comes down to how truthful their statements are.
Since they are juveniles, their records are not as easy to obtain as an adult and during my investigation I found that some of the records were going to be impossible to obtain.
We received a court order to obtain copies of all the records of all the juveniles that were on the bus.
It is very important as an investigator to know where your going find the most relevant records.
Most investigators will only obtain past criminal court records. This is a good start but you will be missing a lot of important information. You also want to obtain any records from the detention centers that they were housed.
During the search of one of the detention centers I found where this same juvenile female and another juvenile male had planned on purposely causing an injury so they could sue the center. This attempt by the female juvenile came about again as she was punished for her behavior and failure to follow the rules.
The detention centers will have more records of conduct than any court record.
While I was serving the court orders, I also found several of the courts would not honor the order and would not release the records.
I found it interesting that one of the judges actually stated that he wasn’t going to allow me the investigator to find “dirt” on one of the juveniles we were trying to obtain records on.
As an investigator, my duty is to find facts, not dirt. If a person has a past of lying, then the court and/or a jury should be aware it.
After a complete and thorough investigation was conducted and brought to the attention of the prosecutor, the charges against the adult female were dropped.
Another wrongfully charged person is freed.