Chris, Chapter 3 – The Line Between Criminal and Civil

//Chris, Chapter 3 – The Line Between Criminal and Civil

Chris, Chapter 3 – The Line Between Criminal and Civil

This serialized, fictional account about Chris and Angie is created to break down and study the terrible event of a wrongful death. Each chapter details some of the real-life situations often encountered by our clients, and we encourage you to follow the entire story to better understand the complexities of this fictional case.

“Even after the doctor told me what a subdural hematoma was, I still had to look it up,” Chris said, holding up his smart phone. “I’ve gotten a little obsessed with researching it.”

“What did you find out?” Rosa asked, scooting into the booth across from her brother.

“It’s just one of those things where there is no surefire treatment or way to hurry the healing along,” said Chris, shaking some sugar to the end of the packet and pouring it into his coffee. “It’s just wait and see. Wait and see if the swelling goes down. Wait and see if she’ll regain consciousness. Wait and see if she has brain damage. Wait and see if you’ll ever get your wife back.”

“Calm down,” Rosa said. She cupped his hand in hers, stopping his ceaseless stirring. “She’s going to be okay. She’s a fighter. She’s strong.”

“Rosa,” Chris sighed. “Thank you. I know you mean well, but strength doesn’t matter in something like this.”

Rosa slowly withdrew and looked into her coffee. “You still gotta be hopeful.”

Chris always did appreciate her optimism, the eleven-year advantage he had over her made him suspect it was merely naivete. “You’re going to have to have enough hope for the both of us, little sister.”

“Mr. Mendez?”

Chris looked to his right and saw the badge clipped onto his belt first. His eyes made their way up the striped tie of the man standing next to the table. “My name is Detective Nance. I’m with the narcotics division. I’m sorry to interrupt, but the nurses said I might catch you down here. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”


Rosa scooted to the far edge of the bench and patted the seat next to her. “Please. Sit down.”

“I’m fine,” said Nance. “It will only take a few minutes. I just spoke with the medical team, and I wanted you to know how sorry I am about this situation.”

“Are you going to catch the guys that did this?” Rosa asked.

“We’re going to try. We have apprehended a suspect. Did you spend much time at your wife’s place of work?”

“I stopped by every now and then to take Angie to lunch,” Chris explained, “but I wasn’t there often.” Nance handed Chris a mugshot. “Does he look familiar to you?”

Chris examined the photo and shook his head. “Is this the guy you arrested?”

Nance nodded. “We found him this morning passed out in Centennial Park, not far from where your wife works. We found a vial of pet tranquilizer on his person, one of the vials that was stolen from the clinic.”

“These were just common drug addicts looking for a fix?” Chris asked.

“We’re not ruling that out,” Nance said. “In the footage from the security cameras, the suspects are wearing masks, and since we haven’t found any matching fingerprints, we’re assuming they may have been wearing gloves as well.”

“There was a security camera?” Chris asked, “Can you even see anything in it with no light?”

“It’s an infrared camera,” Nance explained. “The property owner says he had installed it about a year ago.”

Chris shook his head and passed the mugshot back to Detective Nance. “The guy can install a state of the art security camera, but can’t change a lightbulb. Did you ask him about that?”

“I did,” said Nance, “but it’s not really pertinent to the criminal investigation.”

“Well, it should be,” Rosa piped in. “It’s negligence. The place would have been less likely to be robbed if it was well lit, right?”

“That is a possibility,” Nance said, nodding slowly, “but, like I said, the property owner isn’t under criminal investigation. That would be a civil matter.”

“So, there’s really not a whole lot you can do,” Chris surmised.

“I can suggest you contact an attorney,” Nance said.

This article is part of an ongoing blog series featuring fictional characters as they navigate real-life legal situations. While we cannot always release details of actual cases, Wittmer | Linehan have successfully counseled many clients through cases just like this one. Our highest goal is to educate you about the complexities of the legal areas in which our practice specializes. Should you have questions about anything we discuss in our blog, please don’t hesitate to reach out by phone or our web contact form.
| 2017-06-15T12:35:59+00:00 June 15th, 2017|Tags: |