Tuesday, May 20, 2008

People v. Wardell (Cal. Ct. App. - May 20, 2008)

I always like reading opinions that help me be a more successful criminal. Like this one.

Granted, I'm not likely to go out and rob a bank anytime soon. But I do appreciate learning just how exactly those tracking devices they put into some of the money they give you work.

I did not know, for example, that these devices are apparently very tiny, neatly sandwiched between two $20 bills. Very cool. I also did not know that only some, and far from all, police cars have the ability to track these devices. Good to know. Or that these devices aren't always very precise; for example, here, the police get a strong tracking signal emanating from a Saturn, which they stop and search, but this car didn't have any connection with the robbery, and was a couple of blocks away from the guy with the cash. Oops.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it's good to learn that the way around these devices is apparently to chuck them (and the cash) in the toilet. Not surprisingly, dousing electronics with water is a pretty effective way to disable them. Which tells me that next time I rob a bank, the first thing I'm going to do is to hose down the money. Wet money is still legal tender; plus, it will dry out pretty well. So that's my plan in a parallel universe.

None of which, I might add, worked especially well for Chris Wardell, who deposits the money in a toilet far too late, only after they (eventually) get a decent pin on his location. Oh well. At least you can sleep well, Chris, knowing that you've made the job easier for future would-be bank robbers who read the California Appellate Report.

Anyway, thanks for the tips, Justice Mihara.

P.S. - How about a little slam on Judge Bocanegra for upping the restitution order from $200 to $10,000 as a result of Wardell's previous successful appeal?! Even the AG's Office admits that's impermissibly vindictive. Not to mention uncool.