Posts Tagged ‘expectation of privacy’
Posted by Writing PIs on March 15, 2011
Posted in Expectation of Privacy | Tagged: articles, blog, Colleen Collins, detective fiction, expectation of privacy, fiction writing, How Do Private Eyes Do That?, PI genre, private investigator, writing PIs | 1 Comment »
Posted by Writing PIs on October 4, 2010
Last night’s episode of Bored to Death (HBO, Sundays, 10 p.m. EDT) had us laughing so hard, we were crying. Jonathan, the wannabe private eye who’s launched his illegal investigative career (he’s not licensed) by advertising in Craiglist ads, ends up in his client’s bedroom closet, on surveillance to catch a cheating spouse. To Jonathan’s surprise, he catches…no, we won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet.
Let’s chat about that bedroom-sleuthing scene.
Was it legal for Jonathan the PI to hide in the bedroom closet? Yes. The unsuspecting wife had no expectation of privacy, unfortunately, because her husband had given Jonathan permission to hide in the bedroom.
Was it smart for Jonathan to respond to his client’s text messages while on surveillance? No. Sorry, Jonathan, but it’s a good rule of thumb to not be real-time interactive with clients while on surveillance. You need to be watching the locale/person, not distracted by text messages, phone calls, reading a book…you get the picture. It can take only a few seconds to miss what you’re hired to be surveilling.
Was it smart for Jonathan to text back to his client that nothing was happening? The issue of texting aside, YES! Especially when you’re working a surveillance case where emotions run high–which they usually do in a suspected cheating spouse case. The last thing a PI needs is an upset, hysterical client barging onto the scene. Remember the woman in Texas who ran over her cheating husband THREE TIMES in a parking lot? Guess how she knew her husband was there–the PI she’d hired called her from the hotel and told her. Which is why we make it a rule that we do not converse or otherwise communicate with clients during the course of a surveillance. Instead, they receive surveillance reports afterward.
No PI in New York would get by working as an unlicensed PI this long, so we’re hoping Jonathan gets caught soon, which could be a very entertaining premise. But Bored to Death isn’t about gritty realism and rules. It’s a funky, funny, sometimes surreal show that is getting better and better. We can’t wait for next Sunday’s episode.
Posted by Writing PIs on May 16, 2010
Today we’re answering some writers’ questions about finding heirs and expectation of privacy when searching for an adopted child.
Writer’s Question: Maybe this is a question you can answer. Let’s say a couple are married and the husband makes out a will. If the wife is aware of how the estate is to be distributed and does not like that an estranged child from the husband’s first marriage is to receive money, could she pretend there is no will? (Let’s say the child would not know the father died, so doesn’t know he/she inherited anything.) Or when someone dies, how would it be made known if that person had a will or not? Attorneys would not automatically be notified if a client died, so therefore would not intervene in the distribution of assets. Could you be hired to find out if there actually WAS a will?
Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’s Answer: Could the wife pretend there’s no will? Yes, the wife is welcome to pretend there is no will, however, should one of the heirs find that out, they can enforce the will. When someone dies, how would it be made known that they had a will? Generally, they have already informed an attorney or an executor of their estate or their will that they have this will. Could we, as PIs, be hired to find out if there actually is a will? Yes. We’d first check with the county clerk of court where the decedent lived. Frequently, a will is lodged with the clerk of court. But, if the will isn’t found there, we’d interview whoever might know who the attorney was that drew that will up, and then we’d contact that attorney. If that even failed, we’d look for records of trusts in the county clerk and recorder’s office where the decedent last lived. Frequently trusts are established by the same people who draft wills, and we would then have a good chance of locating that attorney through the trust documents on file with the county clerk and recorder.
Writer’s Question: This is a question about a client hiring you to find a child given up for adoption–if you found the child, would you tell the child that someone asked to have them tracked down? Does it depend on the child’s age (very young as opposed to a teenager)? Or would you have to advise the child’s guardian that someone hired you? Would the situation be different if it wasn’t a child given up for adoption, but a child who belonged to a family member? For example, a sister’s child who remains with the husband’s family after the sister dies and perhaps the husband moves away and loses contact with the sister’s (his wife’s) family.
Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’s Answer: We cannot talk to children under the age of 18 about adoption issues. We would speak to the adoptive parent/guardian and they would make the decision whether or not the child would be informed, and if yes, they would do the informing. The situation wouldn’t be different if it was a family member because the law considers a child who is residing with a relative on a long-term basis the same as a child in foster care or in an adoptive relationship.
- Do Expectations of Privacy End at the Office Door? (globalcompliance.com)
Posted in Writing About PIs | Tagged: Adoption, best-selling nonfiction books, expectation of privacy, finding heirs, How Do Private Dyes Do That?, nonfiction books for writers, private detective, recommended nonfiction books on Kindle and Nook | 2 Comments »