MISSING PERSON CASE
The end of October 2012, we were contacted by a client searching for a lost loved one. The loved one, a veteran, broke contact with his family 30 years ago. He was also homeless and possibly located in a near by town. Periodically over the past 30 years, the family attempted to locate their missing loved one. Each time they would get close, but could not find him.
Unfortunately, the family had very little identifying information for the loved one, for obvious reasons. Starting with his name and social, we were able to identify a few old addresses associated with this person. The difficult and time consuming work began. Pressing the streets, we visited those addresses and spoke with several witnesses. Fortunately, we were able to uncover a recent photograph of the person. With the photograph, we constructed a missing person flyer and returned to the streets. Targeting all of the homeless shelters, food banks, and convenience stores in the area, we believed this was our best shot at identifying someone who had seen him. We also contacted Veteran's Affairs, hoping they could get the message to the person to contact his family. It seemed each time we went out, we were so close to locating him, but he was still out of reach.
Our hard work paid off. The very next day, we received a call from a friend, of the missing loved one, who also had lost contact with him. The friend reported that the loved one was possibly in a government run facility in the Bay Area. Now, if anyone has ever dealt with government run systems, then you know there are many layers of bureaucracy to pass through. The tedious phone work began; starting with the Bay Area facility we were led to another in Southern California, and even another in the Central Valley. Each time we expressed that we didn't want information, we wanted to provide information. The client wanted her loved one, if located, to call her. Sadly, a close family member had passed away, which had prompted their renewed search.
Success! Weeks before Christmas, the lost loved one contacted his family. Oftentimes very hard work goes unrewarded. Lost people are simply 'Lost' never to be found. To find someone who has been separated for so long and reunite them with family fills a person with great pride. That feeling of pride and gratification, knowing we have reunited families, is exactly why we take on these cases.
A long term criminal defense client, who was accused of inappropriately touching a pre-teen girl, has had the criminal case against him dropped. The case has spanned three years, and was clearly a case of a false accusation. The young woman had a history of making false accusations, varying statements, and admissions to witnesses that she lied. Through a thorough investigation and follow up, I was able to locate and interview crucial witnesses disproving the criminal case. On the eve of the jury trial, the prosecution dismissed the case. They stated on the record that the case was being dismissed due to a lack of evidence based largely, in part, to the defense investigation.
A long standing ideal in this country and in our legal system is "a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty." Unfortunately, there are times when an innocent person is wrongly accused. As a defense investigator, I believe everyone should have the ability to properly defend themselves in criminal matters. The prosecutors have law enforcement and DA investigators, and the defendant has criminal defense investigators.
The attorney and the client sincerely appreciated J Greg Lewis Investigative Services' hard work, determination, and genuine desire to uncover the truth. Justice was served in this case.
The Client, a law abiding citizen who worked for many years in the convoluted public assistance system for the elderly, was accused of forging their client’s names on official documents. The case investigation began in December of 2011 and subsequent criminal charges, alleging multiple felony counts, were filed against our client. He retained an attorney and began the court process. Initially, the charges were dropped with a promise that if refiled, they would contact the client’s attorney.
An unfortunate error in mailing caused a warrant to be issued for the client’s arrest. Our client, with no criminal history, was now arrested and plunged into the criminal justice system. After almost six months, with no resolution to the case, the client requested our services. Initially, we evaluated the case looking for specific elements of the crimes alleged. We realized even if the client had forged the person’s signature they did not have the requisite intent to deprive the person of property. After conducting interviews with various witnesses, we were able to show that the client had completed their various tasks and correctly reported their hours worked. We were able to show there was no criminal intent by the client. The standard defense for forgery is the intent to deprive someone of property, etc. This case is much like the situation where a wife signs her husband’s signature on a check and then deposits the check into their account. Technically, she forged her husband’s signature, but did not intend to deprive him of the funds.
Ultimately, our client received a favorable resolution in this case. In essence the case and charges were dismissed. Although our client was happy about the outcome, their life was still turned upside down. It is a proud moment when you are able to clear someone of alleged wrongdoing, and we are empathetic to the client who now has to try to put their life back together.
LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT – MISDEMEANOR
My Client and his family were driving along a remote Northern California highway, at or below the posted speed limit. While traveling in the “fast lane,” some distance behind another driver, the driver slammed on his brakes for no apparent reason. His actions caused my client to apply his brakes and swerve. My client became angry with the other driver for almost causing an accident. A mile or so up the road, the other driver pulled off the freeway. My client came upon his vehicle and took the same off-ramp, hoping to have a discussion with the other driver regarding his driving habits. My client could see the other driver was considerably larger than he was, and he was making furtive movements, reaching under the seat.
As my client’s vehicle approached, the other driver darted back into the lane, slammed on his brakes again, and then preceded to the stop sign. My client followed; and admittedly was angered by the other driver’s actions. He followed the other driver and attempted to pass on the over crossing. The other driver crossed over the center line, in front of my client, slammed on his brakes, and my client collided with the other driver’s vehicle. Due to the dangerous circumstances, my client decided to leave the scene instead of possibly getting into a physical altercation with other driver. He drove some distance away, and stopped on the shoulder of the roadway. Ultimately, my client was charged with misdemeanor – leaving the scene of an accident.
The Client hired J Greg Lewis Investigative Services to aid in his defense. Upon conducting detailed research of the other driver, I discovered he had a recent prior criminal charge for reckless driving and brandishing a weapon at another driver. I reported this information to the client and his attorney, who promptly notified the District Attorney’s Office. Ultimately, the prosecutor dismissed the charges.
My client wanted to share his story, so others may understand. There are dangerous people on the roadways; and admittedly, he made several errors in his own judgment that endangered his family. Please take your time, drive carefully, and be courteous. You never know who may be in the other vehicles around you.
In Mid-November, a person contacted me hoping to locate and possibly speak with their biological parents, who had placed my client up for adoption 50 years ago. The client was able to provide some identifying information, and potential leads to their location. I was able to locate recent information for the biological father, but was having some trouble locating the mother. Women’s information can be a little more difficult due to name changes. Finally, I was able to locate recent information for the mother. I attempted to phone and instant message the parents through social media, but I had not received a response. Most of the telephone numbers did not pan out, so I drafted a short letter to both parents requesting contact.
On Christmas Eve-day, I received a telephone call from my client’s father. He was very nice, and excited about the prospect of speaking with his long-lost daughter. He consented to providing his information to my client, and requested my client contact him. I promptly contacted the client, and they were ecstatic. My client exclaimed, “This is the best Christmas present ever. Thank you so much.” I was able to enjoy Christmas and it was truly an honor to be a part of bringing these two people back together. This is why I love what I do.