March 10th, 2010

acc [you'll come back when it's over]

accessory to murder and tampering with evidence - sentencing

Setting: California, seven years from now
Terms searched: things like "accessory", "obstruction of justice", "perverting the court of justice" on Wikipedia; terms like "tampering with evidence california", "tampering with evidence sentencing", "accessory to murder california", "accessory to murder sentencing" etc on Google, and I've searched the usa: california, usa: law, law (misc) tags here at Little Details.

This question is for a Phoenix Wright fanfic, if you're familiar with the series. I'd just like to figure out how this situation would play out in "real life", and maybe tweak it from there.

Okay, here is the canon situation - Lana believes her sister has just accidentally killed someone. What she doesn't realize is that Corrupt Police Chief is the actual killer. Lana panics and, trying to cover up her sister's "crime", rearranges the crime scene and plants false evidence. CPC uses this as blackmail to make Lana do some of his dirty work. Lana is also the Chief Prosecutor at this point. Canon doesn't tell us exactly how many times she does something illegal or what exactly she does, but it seems to mostly be falsifying evidence in various cases. Two years later, CPC murders someone else, and has Lana remove the knife from the victim's chest (since that knife would lead the police back to CPC) and stab the already-dead man with a different knife.

So. CPC's misdeeds are eventually uncovered and everyone goes home happy. But what happens to Lana afterwards? What's the sentence for the crimes she's committed?

I'm guessing that she'd be found guilty of being an accessory to the second murder (replacing the murder weapon to avoid suspicion of the real killer), and that she'd also be found guilty of multiple counts of tampering with evidence. One source I found said that accessory to murder is punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony in the state of California, but I'm unclear on what would make it one or the other.

As for tampering with evidence, I couldn't find much specifically about California, but I at least gathered that the maximum sentence for tampering with evidence is ten years in prison, and I was getting lots of news articles that seemed to suggest to me that the average sentence is something like 2-5 years in prison...But I could be way off on that.

Also, Lana did all this while acting as Chief Prosecutor - so that would make her tampering with evidence an obstruction of justice, right? (From the knowledge I gleaned from Wiki...) Would that lengthen her sentence? On the other hand, she was being blackmailed into doing all this - would a judge take that into account when deciding on a punishment?

Thanks in advance for any help!

Mental handicap in 15th century England


Search terms used: "mental handicap"/"down syndrome" + "sixteenth century"/"middle ages"/"medieval"

EDIT TO ADD: i accidentally had this titled 16th century, so have amended that and plan to re-do my googoling and searching with an amended query thread but any comments would still be gratefully read!

Timeframe: 15th century England (the first reign of Edward IV: so Wars of the Roses).

Details: I'm trying to write a murder mystery. My main character has a younger sister who has Down Syndrome.

Obviously, it wasn't called this back then, or even Mongolism but does anyone know any information as to

a) how such mental handicaps were regarded at this time? I've read some information that implies that such people were regarded as demon-possessed but I've also read that there have been skeletons found, buried with respect, of older children whose DNA shows Down Syndrome. I've found lots of references to attitudes to Down Syndrome being "postively medieval" but no actual hard evidence of what such attitudes were.

b) whether there is any evidence that Down Syndrome was in any way recognised in the sense of "oh she has those features, so she won't be very bright"? I know the commons would be unlikely to know anything, but would anyone else? The priesthood for example.

Margaret Fraser, in "A Play of Isaac" (the first in her Joliffe series, set a little before my timeframe) has a Downs character who is referred to as an "Eden Child" by the main character, who recognised his features and reflects this man is lucky to be well-looked after, as most of 'his kind' not only die in childhood but are often abandoned. But I can't find any references to this term and am suspecting she made it up.

Final questions:

So far, the backstory is that her mother was very ill in late pregnancy, and was also a sometime prostitute and that most people who know this assume that one or the other 'caused' the child's Down Syndrome. Given both the attitude to afflication in those times and the level of medical knowledge, this sounds feasbile, yes?

Finally, I know that puberty in the Middle Ages was, very roughly speaking, about 12 for girls (hence this was the age at which a girl could consent to sex and marriage) but I've also read that people with Down Syndrome tend to come into puberty quite late. Does anyone with experience of people with Down Syndrome (or, if it's not too personal a question, anyone WITH Down Syndrome) know roughly when a girl might start puberty?

Thank you
ixchel-spiral goddess

Prehistoric Mesopotamia?

I'm looking for information about what the land itself would be like in and around Mesopotamia in prehistoric times. The period isn't that important, just as long as it's pre-man - say Triassic period or before.

I know about the continent shifts and the area doesn't have to be exact, just 'the Middle East' would be helpful.

I've tried all combinations of Middle East, Near East, Asia, Iraq, Iran, paleontology, prehistoric as well as specific era names - Jurassic, Cenozoic, etc.

The information doesn't have to be super-detailed, just a general idea of what the topography and climatology would be like for any given era. Unfortunately whenever I try to look anything up, I just find information about oil deposits. Not what I'm looking for.

Any budding paleontologists who can point me in the right direction? I'd be really grateful.

80s music in Kansas

Terms Googled: Kansas, 80s, 1980s, popular music, radio, prom, nostalgia... mostly getting hits about the band Kansas *face of woe*

Question: What music (genre is fine) would a white, rural, middle-class high schooler from 1983-1987 have listened to in Kansas? My experience in CT in the same time period would be radio pop (Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen) and heavy metal (Metallica, Man O War), but Wikipedia suggests that country is more popular in Kansas. Any ideas? Thank you!

Being a music agent in 1965?

Setting: New York, 1965

Searched: "1960s+music+agent" and variations on such terms. I discovered this helpful article here on How Stuff Works, which gave me a good general outline of what a music agent (aka booking agent or talent agent) does, but I need more specific info.

One of my main characters in my novel is a 29 year old English music agent named Alec, who represents a number of high profile musicians and singers, including a new British Invasion pop-rock group called the Moderns (they're pretty much like the Hollies, but based in London). Their first album is being released in America by an independent NYC-based record label, so he's in New York to promote the album, and to arrange an upcoming nationwide tour.

However, I'm having a hard time imagining what Alec's day to day activities would be. So far the album has been out for a week, and the Moderns have appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. What sort of things would he be doing?

For example, I know he'd be going to parties, but what kind of parties? Wouldn't he be scheduling more appearances on radio and TV? How would he do this? How much longer would he stay in New York, and would he accompany the band on tour? How would he accommodate his other clients while he's promoting this new album? I love the rock of the mid '60s, but I don't know much about the nuts and bolts of it. Most 1960s movies I've watched that feature rock groups focus mainly on the musicians and the managers, not the agents.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Music Theory terms: Classical Music

I have completely forgotten all of the music theory I learned in college. So the definition of the term i'm looking for is:
The chords are moving from say predominant to dominant, while the bass line goes to the next chord, the soprano holds the note for a beat longer before moving to the next note.
This is a common in all western classical music and I feel really stupid for forgetting it.
ETA: found, it's "suspension".