Consultant for writers on crime, police, & court procedures.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


We have to share the kind words of one of our clients. Suzanne Johnson has started a new suspense series featuring Louisiana game wardens.  If you want a change from suspense novels starring big city cops or FBI agents, this may be the book for you.  Here's what she has to say after WriteCrimeRight analyzed her manuscript:

"I can't think of any area as difficult for novelists to 'get right' as the complexities of law enforcement. Thanks to WriteCrimeRight and Wesley Harris's consulting work on my upcoming series, I feel confident that everything from the weapons used to the investigative procedures and officers' reactions feel authentic. I can't recommend his work highly enough."
                      --Suzanne Johnson/Susannah Sandlin, award-winning author for Tor Books and Montlake Romance and author of the upcoming Wildlife Agents series from Montlake.

We will post the name and availability of the book once it is released.  Thanks, Suzanne, and good luck with the new series.

Monday, March 9, 2015


Here's a brief exchange with a writer via social media that illustrates how we can help with a crime story.  This writer's dilemma dealt with understanding how procedure would work in an unusual scenario:

Q:  I have a scenario I want to run by someone knowledgeable in criminal law or law enforcement. It has to do with what is done legally when someone is convicted of a murder and serving time but someone else steps forward and confesses to doing the deed. Is there a hearing? Is the new party immediately arrested? Is he or she arrested only if there's enough evidence to arrest? (False confessions do take place.) What if the crime is so old that it lacks sufficient evidence? On TV, of course, you typically see the new party being led away in handcuffs as if it's a done deal. 

WriteCrimeRight:  The first step would be for the police to question this person to determine if the confession is legitimate. A new police investigation would occur, perhaps a very lengthy one.  A confession alone is not enough to convict someone of murder so the police would look for corroborating evidence. In consultation with the prosecutor's office that handled the original case, they would determine if there's enough to charge the person.

The guy in prison is a different matter entirely. The prosecutor would either ask a judge to overturn the conviction if it was believed to be in error, or they may conclude both were involved. If the guy is completely innocent, it would be a rather lengthy process to release him.  But being completely without guilt is a rather long shot as the standard of proof for a murder conviction and hurtling the subsequent appeals is very high.

Q:  What would the evidence need to be to completely overturn a murder conviction? And what wouldn't be good enough?

WriteCrimeRight: That’s hard to say. You could find DNA from the second guy at the scene and that doesn't mean the convicted one wasn't there and wasn't guilty. The only legitimate reversals I've seen were in faulty eyewitness identifications.  The police will not be content with one piece of evidence but  collect as much as possible so a case doesn't hinge on only one thing. You don't want your case relying solely on DNA, solely on one witness, solely on a confession, etc. You want everything you can get. 

This was a brief and public conversation through social media. When you ask us to help with your work in progress, you get detailed personal and confidential attention. Contact us at