Sunday, February 17, 2013

Back to Work in 2011? Well.....

With my NCIS special agent's career solidly behind me, it became time for me to start looking for additional income to supplement my government pension.  I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I made some inroads with a networking group and joined.  The purpose of the group was to connect others interested in networking with the goal of enhancing and improving their businesses.  It was during one of these meetings that I met a retired New York City police detective who now owns and operates a licensed private investigation agency.  As a result of this contact and based on my eligibility from 30 years in professional law enforcement, I applied for, tested, and became a licensed private investigator in the State of Florida.

After becoming licensed, I landed a contract position with an agency located in Stuart, FL in Martin County.  This agency was looking to expand its presence into Broward and Dade Counties.  The agency was involved in work that was strictly in the area of criminal defense work.  Initially, I was hesitant to undertake such a drastic change of perspectives from what my previous 30 years experience was, and I related this to the agency's owner, himself a retired New York City police detective.  I related my concerns to him however he assured me that criminal justice in the south, including Florida, was not like criminal justice elsewhere.  His inference being that due process is "sometimes" overlooked and it's "our job" to see that the police and prosecutors become better at their job because "we" are good at ours.  Well, I needed the work and so I signed the required forms, which included a "No Compete" form.  I was handed a caseload and started by introducing myself to the defendant's attorneys to get their spin on the cases.  

Things were not really as bad as I had imagined they'd be, that is, until I was assigned a double murder case. The defendant was in the county jail awaiting trial charged with the murder of his girlfriend and the eight month fetus she carried in her womb.  I poured countless hours into the case, which included four cardboard boxes of files, statements, photographs, affidavits, warrants, evidence custody documents, recorded interviews etc. before I went to the county jail to conduct my own interview of the accused.  It was immediately after the conclusion of my interview with the suspect that I realized there was no possible way I could reconcile my conscience if I participated in any way in helping the system to free this man.  So four months into my PI career, I did the only thing I could do and returned everything back to the agency and informed the owner that I was not cut out for doing defense work.  Unfortunately, the owner was not willing to release me from the No Compete agreement I signed and so I was civilly prohibited from working as a private investigator for a period of two years from that date.  I am currently just two months away from the termination of that agreement.  Lesson learned.  Don't be so quick to sign something that locks you into anything.

  ........... My curiosity getting the better of me, I continued checking into the status of the double murder case and was pleased to learn that the accused was convicted on both counts of pre-meditated murder.  This made me so relieved to know that my investigative results played no part in gaining an acquittal for this confessed murderer.  

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