All Things Crime: An Interview with Patrick H. Moore

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Patrick H. Moore’s All Things Crime blog is what you would expect from someone who is a Private Investigator, Sentencing Mitigation Specialist, and crime writer. It’s a compendium of true crime stories, serial killer profiles and insightful reviews of fiction and true crime literature.

Patrick is based in Los Angeles. He has been investigating drug trafficking cases, sex crimes, crimes of violence, and white collar fraud since 2003.

Patrick is a brilliant, riveting writer and it was his love of language and our common interest in the dark side of humanity that attracted me to his blog. Patrick graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s degree in English Literature from San Francisco State University, in 1990.  He has also worked as a Community College English teacher. Patrick’s debut crime novel, Cicero’s Dead, will be published this Spring.

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Patrick H. Moore
Image courtesy of All Things Crime
Patrick H. Moore had the pleasure of speaking with Patrick about his work, the art of crime writing and our criminal justice system.

You are able to bring a unique insight to the topics you cover as a Private Investigator, Sentencing Mitigation Specialist and author. That sounds like an exciting life, although people who aren’t familiar with private investigators don’t realize that it isn’t a life of glamor. What led you to these career choices?

Patrick: Oddly enough, until I was in my early 50s, I had never considered working in the legal field. Then, around that time, I wrote a novel with a crime tie-in and sent in down to my current boss in L.A. He read it and realized that I could write. It just so happened that at that time, he had lost his right-hand-man who had taken a soft job in labor relations at UCLA. Since he desperately needed a replacement, I was elected. I moved the family to L.A. and the rest is history. I will have been at my present position for 11 years in October of this year.

Can you tell us what a Sentencing Mitigation Specialist does?

Patrick: The task of a Sentencing Mitigation Specialist is simple in theory; the Mitigator does whatever is necessary to get his clients a shorter sentence, or when possible, Probation. The process I follow is as follows. I spend a great deal of time interviewing my clients getting their life stories. I also interview friends and family members. We also collect character reference letters written on behalf of our clients which is an extremely important part of the process.

Ultimately, I write complex legal documents under the attorney’s cover which are called Federal Sentencing Memoranda. They are hybrid documents — part compelling life stories, part legal analyses of the cases. In a typical case, my goal is to get my client’s sentence reduced by half or more. Although we are not always successful, we are much of the time and sometimes our results are seemingly miraculous. On the other hand, once in a while we face a more or less impossible case in which our efforts are largely in vain.

Best of the Best Crime Fiction – Twelve Remarkable Crime Novels is a great defense for a genre that often gets dismissed by people who say they only read “literary fiction”. Many of the authors authors BJW Nashe mentioned here are my favorites. I see you get dozens of requests to write book reviews, which isn’t surprising since you used to teach English and you are such an accomplished writer. Do you have a favorite crime writer? What true crime or fictional crime have you read lately that you would like to recommend?

Patrick: My favorite crime writers are Robert Stone and Dennis Lehane, although I’m itching to find the time to read Jo Nesbo seriously. Because of my current major blog demands, I haven’t had much time to read crime fiction lately though I would heartily recommend Charles Salzberg’s innovative crime novel, ‘Devil in the Hole”, which, utilizing a multiple narrative point-of-view, follows the anguished exploits of a Connecticut Mr. Everyman who murders his wife, mother and children for no particular reason other than that he is bored with his meaningless suburban existence and foolishly thinks he can escape his fate.

I read the article you wrote on Mary Jones. It’s a heartbreaking story, but one that is all too common in the justice system. Thank you for bringing awareness to social justice issues. I also read your article on people serving life sentences for crimes they committed as children.  The Internet and social media has increased awareness of these issues, and it motivates people to take action.  As someone who has worked in the criminal justice system, do you think it is possible to affect change in our justice system overall? If someone knows of a case where a person was wrongfully convicted or sentenced unfairly, what resources are available?

Patrick: It’s very difficult to say if our work will have any substantial effect on the system as a whole, a system which as you may know, I often refer to as the Injustice System. On the other hand, there is no doubt that we regularly get people a more fair break. Truthfully, I don’t spend much time worrying about the big picture but rather simply chip away on my individual cases striving for good individual results.

It does appear, however, that the tide may be slowly shifting away from the “hang ’em high” mentality to a more balanced approach in which even some law-and-order types are beginning to realize that it’s both appalling and humiliating to face the grim fact that the U.S. locks people up at a far greater rate than any country on earth. It’s not a pleasant thing to realize that you live in what has apparently become the world’s harshest police state.

It goes without saying that people are wrongfully convicted or sentenced too harshly all the time. Convicted individuals, of course, have appeal rights, and much progress has been made by groups like the Innocence Project in obtaining justice for individuals wrongly convicted of capital crimes. Not much can be done, however, for individuals who receive unduly harsh Federal sentences which still happens too much of the time for the simple reason that it is incredibly difficult in today’s climate to have a sentence reduced on appeal, though it does happen on rare occasions.

We can’t get enough of serial killer movies and TV shows. I was a huge fan of Dexter and I hate to say this about a serial killer, but I kind of miss him. Women are also the largest audience for books about serial killers. Why do you think the public is so fascinated with people who commit such horrible crimes?

Patrick: Great question! I too am fascinated with serial killers. I’m currently beginning to explore the life of that bizarre chameleon Ted Bundy. Everyone, of course, faces daily frustrations while fighting our way through life, but the serial killer for somewhat inexplicable reasons takes that extra fatal step into a realm of no return that closes irrevocably around them once they’ve slaughtered their first victim.

One thing people ask me all the time as a former P.I. is when I am going to write a book about private investigation. Do you have any plans for a novel or true crime book in your future?

Patrick: I’ve written two crime fiction novels, the first of which is being edited even as we speak and is slated to be published by Max Myers’ new indie publishing outfit, US Indie Books, by the end of the spring. I’d been writing crime fiction for a few years when I started All things Crime Blog. I might also be interested in writing a true crime book at some point although that would require substantial time for research which is not presently on the horizon.


Thank you, Patrick, it’s been such a pleasure learning about your work and  All Things Crime.