Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What's all this I hear about Elaine Viets?


Elaine Viets

As many of you know, Elaine Viets suffered a stroke just before the release of the newest entry in her "Dead End Job Series" -- Murder With Reservations. Happily, she is on the road to recovery, but she won't be able to tour for the new book. So her friends are "touring" for her— we're asking you to buy her book, either by ordering it from your favorite bookseller, or attending one of the many events her "stand-ins" are hosting for her.

You can find a list of those events here. (Part of the Web site of PJ Nunn, her publicist.)
Check back frequently, as more are being added.

If you wonder why we're troubling to do this, it's because Elaine has given thousands of hours of her time and effort to other writers, both individually and through Sisters in Crime and MWA. She's been generous and kind, and we'd like to return a little of that kindness. And we also think you'll enjoy the book -- it has had great reviews -- and Elaine manages to balance both humor and social consciousness in her books. This time, Helen Hawthorne takes a job as hotel housekeeper -- you'll never feel the same way about staying in a hotel! You can also read a sample chapter on Elaine's Web site.

2 comments:

Stu Shiffman said...

Jan -- thought you might want to see this:

State Patrol forensic scientist, accused of errors, resigns


SEATTLE (AP) -- A Washington State Patrol forensic scientist who specialized in shooting cases over the past decade has resigned after being accused of more than a dozen errors.

Letters on the investigation have been sent to prosecution and public defender offices, the U.S. attorney's office and each defendant awaiting trial in cases in which Evan J. Thompson analyzed evidence, said Barry Logan, director of the patrol's Forensic Laboratory Services Bureau.

Thompson, 56, who has testified in more than 1,000 shooting cases over the past decade, resigned from his nearly $60,000-a-year job April 6 before an internal investigation could be completed. He didn't return phone messages Thursday, The Seattle Times reported.

Investigators have yet to determine whether any convictions are in jeopardy, Logan said.

"When we found a couple of errors, we expanded our review into his cases," Logan said. "We haven't uncovered any cases that have had changed conclusions. ... There are enough indicators with concerns of quality."

Thompson joined the patrol's crime laboratory as a firearms and toolmark examiner in 1995 and has worked on 1,253 cases since 1999, often drawing praise from prosecutors.

Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Stern said Thompson was the most skilled forensic scientist he has worked with, adding, "He provided knowledge and insight that made us better prosecutors."

In April 2006, however, Thompson was given a "work improvement plan" after peers and supervisors found minor errors in his handling and documentation of evidence, but there was no disciplinary action, Logan said.

Then, last September, a King County prosecutor and defense lawyer notified the patrol that something appeared to be amiss with an analysis of gunfire trajectory in a fatal shooting involving a special weapons and tactics team in Federal Way, Logan said.

That case involved the death of Pondexter Bryant, 44, on Nov. 17, 2005, in a standoff that developed in a hostage situation at an apartment.

Another firearms specialist found Thompson was incorrect before the case went to an inquest jury, which decided on Sept. 28 that the officers were justified in the shooting.

Thompson was reassigned in October from trajectory analysis to less difficult work, the next month he was removed from all casework and the patrol's Office of Professional Standards began an investigation in January, Logan said.

Patrol officials said internal investigators have found three errors in cases he handled, and an outside auditor, Matthew Noedel of Noedel Scientific in Puyallup, reported errors in 13 other cases he handled in 2006 and is now looking into all of his analyses since 2005.

"A consistent lack of detailed documentation is apparent throughout the files reviewed," Noedel wrote. "While most of the information in the case files is poorly organized and-or poorly documented - it does not appear wrong."

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Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com

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Jan said...

Thanks! I put it up over on the CLP Forum.