Thursday, August 25, 2016

Censorship is alive and well in California!

Los Angeles--For those blog visitors that are unaware I'm both a senior citizen and a member of SAG-AFTRA Union. The gracious president of our union has asked us to contact Governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown.  Our union president Is the elegant and talented Gabrielle Carteris who wants to see a bill passed by dopey members of the California Assembly signed into law!  

I certainly understand the motivation for the legislation that would outlaw publishing the ages or dates of birth of actors.  They simply want to combat age discrimination.  Currently the Internet Movie Database or the IMDB lists the ages of every known actor in the world.  Understandably decisions are made by casting directors to include or exclude actors in film parts based on the published information.

Publishing the age information is constitutionally protected activity! What these politicians and screen actors representatives seem to have forgotten is that in many nations no film can be produced without advanced script approval by government.  Productions are shut down or in the alternative theaters are barred from showing their films.  This is censorship is pure and simple!  Let's not build a slippery slope so the censorship can return the filmmaking.  

Nearly a half century ago the city of Chicago had a small group of little old church ladies that would watch every film. No film could be exhibited within the city limits without their approval! It may seem hilarious by today's standards but only 25% of the movies that are available today would ever see daylight if they had their way! 

American politician/lawmakers don't give a rat's ass about the Constitution or our freedoms.  They just make laws they think will keep them popular with voters and employed as overpaid, career lawmakers. 

This is terrible legislation and should be defeated. It certainly will wind up in the courts and tax players can pay the litigation bill for decades of appeals. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Cooking With Crimefile!

Los Angeles, CA—While Im here visiting the Left Coast I have to make myself a meal or two.  I like making simple Stir-Frys and this is how I do it.  It’s simple, quick, easy and very tasty!  I thought Id show my visitors just how I do it!  

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Film Review; The People Vs. Fritz Bauer

Los Angeles, CA—I heard the buzz about this German entry in the various film festivals.  It sounded very intriguing and something I should see. 

When the Second World War ended Germany went about the business of cleansing the nation of the Nazi stains and war criminals. There were two competing German interests, one was the somewhat closeted but still committed Nazis within the government and the other was the mindset that this ugly chapter of history needed final burial.
Exacting justice for war criminals by the new Germany was really a half-hearted effort at best so soon after the war.  It was more about letting other nations do what they must to track and put the old Nazis on trial. 

The three most hunted war fugitive Nazi criminals were Martin BormannJosef Mengele and Adolf Eichmann.  This amazing story about Adolf Eichmann’s capture was hidden by the German government for more that a decade.

The protagonist  here was a closeted Gay, German Jewish lawyer, Fritz Bauer. Bauer was a political activist before the war opposing the Nazis rise to power. When the Nazi’s gained control Bauer was arrested but somehow escaped the grim fate of so many other Jews. In 1935 Bauer emigrated to Denmark and later Sweden.  Bauer teamed up with Willie Brandt who would later emerge as Germany’s Chancellor. 

Amazingly Bauer re-entered Germany as a prosecutor and judge in the Frankfurt/Hessen courts. He took up chasing the old nazis and became a pariah of the Nazi sympathizers. Bauer also fought long and hard for compensation for the victims of the Nazi regime while receiving constant death threats.  

Bauer risked being arrested for treason by handing over information about Adolf Eichmann’s living a quiet and modest life in Argentina to Israeli Mossad agents.  Bauer knew that if he shared the information with German authorities that Eichmann would be tipped off and flee avoiding capture. 

Bauer’s superiors tried to unsuccessfully manipulate and control Bauer by exposing his gay activities in Denmark.  Homosexual activity was a criminal offense at the time. 

Enough about the history and now let’s talk about this terrific film. 
Bauer was masterfully portrayed by actor Burghart Klausner.  Bauer’s trusted prosecution associate, a fictional character, Karl Angermann was really well played by Ronald Zehrfeld.  Angermann helps Bauer but he’s caught up in a romance with a transgender cabaret singer, Victoria, convincingly played by Lilith Strangenberg

Angerman’s career becomes threatened when German intelligence agents produced compromising pictures of him and Victoria getting it on at her club.  That came after Bauer warned him to stay away from Victor/Victoria. 

The film’s script came from Lars Kraume and Oliver Guez. The words on the page were brought to the screen in an excellent way under the direction of Lars Kraume.

This chapter in History deserved to see the light. Overall it’s a great film and a serious contender for the Oscars.  This is a film that definitely should not be missed

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the incredibly talented star of this film, Burgart Klausner last year after he appeared in Bridge of Spies with Tom Hanks.

Visiting with Burghart Klausner at The Villa Aurora Pre-Oscar Reception  
See the trailer here!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

My Film Review of a Great Thriller! This Last Lonely Place

Los Angeles, CA—I see a lot of films most of which are really forgettable.  I have a policy of only reviewing films that I totally enjoy.  This one certainly meets my criteria!  It’s called, This Last Lonely Place staring Rhys Coiro, Xander Berkeley and Carly Pope. 
The Humphrey Bogart Estate through Santana Films, produced this film, both written and directed by Steve Anderson.  It’s a Noir style film of the kind I always enjoy when the story is terrific as this one.

Military veteran Sam Taylor (Rhys Coiro) is an L.A. taxi cab driver on his last scheduled shift before leaving for Hawaii to hopefully reunite with his ex and two young daughters. He picks up a fare, Frank Devore (Xander Berkeley) and the tale begins.  Devore is a troubled investment banker with a lot of questionable cash.  Soon they are joined by Devore’s hot mistress, Faye Gardner (Carly Popeand this surprising plot thickens. You will be taken for an unforgettable and wild night ride through Iconic L.A. neighborhoods.  Telling you anymore would spoil everything! 

The cast and crew delivered this fast paced story to the screen in top form.

Let me also say that this low budget film was an outstanding example of blowing away any big money projects.  The late Alfred Hitchcock had a gift for doing great things without building huge sets or creating over-blown special effects.  This films moves on very well with an amazing script.  

I see many quality films that don’t get the publicity-hype and distribution they deserve.  Accordingly too often, the film audiences will miss some real gems.  This film was made in 2014 and is only now getting released.  

May I suggest finding where this film is playing and seeing it very soon.  You wont be sorry!  I will purchase the DVD when it is released for my personal film library. Please share this with your friends.

View the trailer:

Monday, August 15, 2016

I Call This The Safe Traveler!

Chicago, Il--It's small but deadly. A well placed slash or two and an attacker can bleed out in less than a minute.  Folded it's the size of your driver's license and has a profile that will evade frisks and even X-ray equipment if placed properly in a briefcase or purse. 

This is for use in places where politicians have outlawed self defense like the UK and Gun Free Zones.  It was made by Spyderco of Golden, Colorado. The bad news is that they discontinued making this model. Like my American Express card, I don't leave home without it!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The horrible Cold Case of a Murdered/Missing child in Phoenix, AZ.

Phoenix, AZ--A sad story I worked on two decades ago.  My investigation was funded by the Disney owned TV show called,  The Crusaders, Two tender aged twin boys with sadistic monsters for parents were victims of epic abuse and torture. One child vanishes after a severe beating and the other is cruelly beaten until a court takes him away for his own safety in Boise, ID where the parents relocated.

The mother was finally arrested and convicted for felony child abuse against the surviving brother of that lad became my client.  The man who prosecuted Charleen showed me the heartbreaking photos of the surviving twins injuries as tears flowed down his cheeks. Today Walter hose is deceased and Charleen Hose is institutionalized for dementia. The boys's remains have never been located.

Reporter Donna Rossi from KPHO in Phoenix revisited this nightmare with Montana private investigator Michael Toth.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Combating Wrongful Convictions, Redefining Criminal Defense Investigators and powers.

Phoenix, AZ—Most of my blog visitors know I’m a longtime criminal defense investigator and have worked on many high profile cases helping the wrongfully accused.  

The defense and prosecution is supposed to have parity and equal treatment in the courts but it’s all just pretend.  There is a huge laundry list of issues that work against the accused before their trial even begins.  
One thing that troubles me is seeing the same prosecutors in large jurisdictions working every day before the same judges.  They literally sometimes even sleep together. When a criminal defense attorney comes to their court he or she is an outsider and often treated that way. 

The police have enormous powers to gather evidence such as the Grand Jury subpoena.  They can arrest those who obstruct investigations, tamper with witnesses and can most importantly obtain search warrants.

Defense investigators should just like cops be able to surreptitiously record conversations with suspects, cops and witnesses. 

Defense investigators need similar powers.  Search warrants enable nearly, always instant cooperation for records, documents and physical evidence.  For defense investigators important evidence they learn about is often destroyed or concealed before it can be seized denying fair trials for those accused of crimes. 

Defense investigators are often at odds with police and cannot rely on their assistance. In some cases police attempt to meddle in the defense investigation and that corrupts witnesses and the evidence itself.  Unfortunately sometimes police officers engage in criminal activity in order to convict the innocent. That goes double when it’s a police officer wrongfully accused of a crime! 

Let me suggest that defense investigators trained and licensed should be given limited police powers to arrest criminal suspects and seize evidence. The courts should provide evidence lockers and laboratory testing away from police crime labs to avoid conflict of interest.

Just my opinion and thoughts.  The benefit is that this simple reform another step to fairness in our deeply flawed criminal justice system. In the end it will save millions in cash and a few lives.  

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Disgraced Former Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca Alzheimer's and Prison may never meet!

Los Angeles, CA--When the FBI began investigating abuse of prisoners at LA County Jail, Sheriff Baca and his minions covered up, obstructed and lied to investigators.  Running a large jail is a lot of things but easy is never one of them.  Inmates misbehave and assault jailers and jailers sometimes understandably overreact.  It's bound to happen. 

Most of the time it is never the crime that is all that bad but covering up and getting caught is what's always  reprehensible and unforgivable.

In any event a plea deal was worked out with prosecutors that would give the 74 year-old  Baca only six months behind bars. That truly would've been a slap on the wrist.  When the judge got wind of the sweetheart deal he rejected it outright. 

Baca had two choices, gamble on the judge's uncertain punishment or stand trial before the jury of his peers.  Going to trial would give Baca in effect a life sentence if he was convicted.  Reportedly Baca suffers from Alzheimer's disease.  

By Baca electing to go to trial he can remain free on bail for as long as three years as the case works its way through the system.  Frankly under the circumstances that's the best choice because by the time the trial begins Baca may know longer be competent to stand trial! 

I am no fan of Lee Baca.  The reason is simple in that he has denied all but a few connected politicians the ability to protect themselves with concealed a weapons permits.  He flatly denied permits in the most populous and crime ridden county in the state. Frankly I would let him go to the gallows for that violation of constitutional rights.

I doubt that Baca will ever see the inside of a jail cell and will have escaped Justice all together.