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Private Investigator

Switch Blayde

I'm stumped. I'm writing a story where a Private Investigator is taking pictures of a cheating wife having sex with her lover in his house (hired by the husband). I just Googled what a PI can't do and one was trespass and another was film someone through an open window of a private property. My PI was doing both.

It said the PI was allowed to film interactions that take place in public. Would a motel room be public and therefore legal? Any other ideas?

REP

Your PI would not have to be highly concerned about trespass, but he would still be breaking the law by taking photos of the interior of the motel room. He would not only be invading their privacy, but he would be violating the "Peeping Tom" laws.

The only way I can think of him getting around the legal implications would be his taking time stamped picture of her going into her lovers house and more when she leaves. You could have her appearance superb going in, hair and makeup just so, and then in disarray when she leaves.

Replies:   Switch Blayde  Capt Zapp
ustourist

@Switch Blayde

Since it seems to be fashionable nowadays to film yourself having sex, could he have obtained it while outside the premises, but through (accidentally of course) having received it through their Wi-Fi when their phone was uploading to the cloud?
Not my field of expertise, but it seems that people are extremely careless in protecting that aspect.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

If the cheating wife were at home there wouldn't be a problem because the PI would have the husband's permission. (Not my idea, seen it in a story.)

AJ

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


what a PI can't do and one was trespass and another was film someone through an open window of a private property. My PI was doing both.


That appears okay to me.

The PI should ask for written consent from the husband to be on his property (so not trepass), and take films while there (so not an invasion of privacy).

EDIT TO AMEND
I misread your post. Big legal problem for your story if the wife goes to the lover's house. Perhaps easily solved if they go to her house.

Replies:   sejintenej
Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

If the cheating wife were at home there wouldn't be a problem because the PI would have the husband's permission. (Not my idea, seen it in a story.)


Actually, video taping would be covered by wiretapping laws and (in most states) to be legal without a warrant you would need the permission of at least one of the people being filmed rather than the permission of the owner of the premises.

In some states you would need the permission of all the people being filmed.

There are exceptions for incidentally filming people when filming a separate subject in a public location.

It is not terribly unrealistic for a PI to be less than 100% scrupulous in following the law.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

Strictly speaking, there's nothing stopping him trespassing and taking any pictures he want. It's just that in doing so he stands a risk of be caught and charged, nor can any of the pictures obtained like that be used in a court of law. They could be used to confront the spouse, but aren't legal evidence.

In most jurisdictions the inside of hotel / motel rooms are private property and not a public place, so any filming done what happens inside comes under the same as the above.

If they meet at the family home it's possible for the PI to get legal approval from the husband to be on the property, and also possible to get legal approval to film what goes on inside the house - although there are laws about filming in some areas without the prior approval of those involved.

Also, the point raised in intercepting a self is unlawful hacking of the system and a felony in most states in the USA.

In short, about the only way he can legally film them having sex is to either set it up in the family home within the state laws on filming in private places, or to catch them screwing in the open in a public place, like behind the bushes in a park.

Replies:   Argon
Switch Blayde

@REP

He would not only be invading their privacy, but he would be violating the "Peeping Tom" laws.


The Peeping Tom law is part of the plot. He's going to get caught by a Vice policewoman because someone reported him as a Peeping Tom. It introduces her and their relationship to the reader.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


If the cheating wife were at home there wouldn't be a problem because the PI would have the husband's permission. (Not my idea, seen it in a story.)


That's it. I'll have it happen in a house the husband owns but not their primary home.

@Dominions Son

Actually, video taping would be covered by wiretapping laws


It's still shots, not video, but I believe the same law applies. I'll have to live with that. PIs do all kinds of things not totally legal.

Thanks, everyone.

Replies:   REP  Dominions Son
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

Any other ideas?

Could the setting for your story be a some decades ago?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Argon

@Ernest Bywater

You know, that shoots down about 50% of the cheating wife stories on SOL, where hubby gets to reduce his cheating wife to a sobbing mess in front of the judge by showing a video of her boinking her new lover in a cheap (always!) motel room. Of course, the other 50% rely on information gleaned from wifey's mail account on her computer/smartphone, also an illegal source. There's a reason why most divorces these days are due to "irreconcilable differences".
Unless of course, hubby goes a non-legal route to screw over the cheating spouse. Then the source of information does not figure.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

Could the setting for your story be a some decades ago?


I want it to be current time. You get into trouble when you do that (although my published novel takes place in 1999 because of the changes to the Internet). For example, the Leica S2-P digital camera wasn't available a few decades ago. True, I could pick another $30,000 camera, but I chose the Leica.

Switch Blayde

@Argon

You know, that shoots down about 50% of the cheating wife stories on SOL,


And Hollywood movies.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

It said the PI was allowed to film interactions that take place in public. Would a motel room be public and therefore legal? Any other ideas?

No, a motel room is private, however, PI's typically take photos of the two people each entering the hotel, and leaving together, and then let the spouse (and the divorce court) assume the rest.

@REP

You could have her appearance superb going in, hair and makeup just so, and then in disarray when she leaves.

I'm sorry, but I don't know many women who wouldn't redo their makeup after having had sex with a someone in their house or at a hotel. Few are quite that blatant, especially with the rampant 'slut shamming' common today.

@Awnless Jawkling

If the cheating wife were at home there wouldn't be a problem because the PI would have the husband's permission. (Not my idea, seen it in a story.)

Sorry, but the laws (at least in most states, require the permission of both parties, thus recording your daughter's private phone conversations are against the law, as is recording a phone call with your wife if she isn't informed she's being recorded (and that consent is part of the recording, thus requiring you to ask them twice).

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Sorry, but the laws (at least in most states, require the permission of both parties,


How is the FBI taking photos during a surveillance legal?

REP

@Switch Blayde

That's it. I'll have it happen in a house the husband owns but not their primary home.


Won't work if the lover is renting the property. Renters have the same rights as an owner in the context of your story. It is illegal for an owner to go into the house rented to another without permission.

If you just have them meet at an empty home the husband owns, it could work but it would have to be furnished otherwise there would no comfortable place to have sex. The main difficulty is how does the PI know the husband owns the property if he has just followed them their? Husband could have said he suspected they met there and given permission. I'm not familiar with all aspects of the law, but there may still be legal issues.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Argon

@Switch Blayde

They get a federal judge to sign off on a warrant. Of course, that must be prior to the surveillance action.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

who wouldn't redo their makeup


So she is in a rush and does a poor job of it.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

How is the FBI taking photos during a surveillance legal?

A court order vacates many ordinary laws, as it's intended to give law enforcement permission to violate basic laws protecting innocent civilians during 'extenuating circumstances'. Besides, in most cases, surveillance typically takes place in a public venue, rather than in private hotel rooms (though not always).

Crumbly Writer

@REP

I'm not familiar with all aspects of the law, but there may still be legal issues.

That's because the applicable laws vary with each state. You'd have to examine the laws in whichever state the story takes place in, and then work around those restrictions. Some states offer few protections, while the more popular states (say California or New York) have many more.

Not sure how those laws vary internationally though.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

So she is in a rush and does a poor job of it.

Again, knowing most women, that's not terribly realistic. If used for the basis of a climatic story ending, it'll stretch the imagination of most readers (the women, at least, though the men will never noticed the discrepancy since they never even notice women primping, other than to complain how long they take).

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

they never even notice women primping


Men notice the results. That's why women primp. In the context of the story, the woman is immaculate when she goes in and noticeably less when she leaves, but acceptable for being seen in public.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

PIs do all kinds of things not totally legal.


And they tend to get away with it, because most of them are ex-cops.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

In the context of the story, the woman is immaculate when she goes in and noticeably less when she leaves, but acceptable for being seen in public.

That's my point, given the public shaming most women face, few women consider anything less than immaculate as acceptable in public. Just look at all the primping they go through just to jog around the park and sweat!

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

And they tend to get away with it, because most of them are ex-cops.

Other cops might put up with it, but the courts wouldn't. And it's the courts who determine what evidence gets accepted in divorce proceedings.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Other cops might put up with it, but the courts wouldn't.


The courts might not allow it as evidence, but that's not that much of a deterrent for the PIs. As long as other cops look the other way, the PI won't face any personal consequences.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

few women consider anything less than immaculate as acceptable in public.


The last few times I was at the grocery store and mall, it looked to me like over half the women I saw had just rolled out of bed.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

The last few times I was at the grocery store and mall, it looked to me like over half the women I saw had just rolled out of bed.

Ha-ha. Those are all the married women Not on the prowl, or those who've already given up on men altogether. There's a reason why motherhood drains women of their desire for sex.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

Those are all the married women Not on the prowl


And in the story, she is a married woman. She has her lover, so she is not on the prowl.

Switch Blayde

@REP

And in the story, she is a married woman. She has her lover, so she is not on the prowl.


On the contrary. The first we see of her, she's wrapped in a towel and her hair is damp from a shower. When the P.I. zooms in on her face he sees she took the time to put her heavy make-up back on. She's twice the age of her lover/gigolo so is very conscious of her looks.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

And they tend to get away with it, because most of them are ex-cops.


Not him. He's more the Jack Reacher type, although a former Army Ranger not MP.

But he will have a relationship with the woman Vice cop (is the female version of "cop" "cap"? LOL). She'll let him get away with it so maybe I can leave it at the tennis pro's (young lover's) house.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

(is the female version of "cop" "cap"? LOL


No, because supposedly the word cop started out as an acronym/initialism for Constable On Patrol.

docholladay

@Switch Blayde

I'm stumped. I'm writing a story where a Private Investigator is taking pictures of a cheating wife having sex with her lover in his house (hired by the husband). I just Googled what a PI can't do and one was trespass and another was film someone through an open window of a private property. My PI was doing both.


Misdirection time: Reword the contract for investigation to security coverage of the room/house including video recordings of the premises. Video can be used for different purposes as well probably. Just put it under a security or whatever umbrella.

Replies:   paliden
Crumbly Writer

@REP

She has her lover, so she is not on the prowl.

A woman has a lover because she's on the prowl. They don't stop just because they find someone, that's part of the whole dance between the sexes. They only quit after they marry each other. :)

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

A better solution might be for the inventive PI to install (for the husband) a nani-cam which just 'happens' to catch the lovers, but which could then be introduced in court as an 'accidental discovery' by the husband.

That would keep everyone in the clear, while still preserving the evidence while allowing the PI to take a proactive role in the story.

Just an idea, feel free to take it or leave it.

docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

Misdirection definitely which would probably work easily.

paliden

@docholladay

docholladay
11/30/2016, 3:59:57 PM

@Switch Blayde

I'm stumped. I'm writing a story where a Private Investigator is taking pictures of a cheating wife having sex with her lover in his house (hired by the husband). I just Googled what a PI can't do and one was trespass and another was film someone through an open window of a private property. My PI was doing both.

Misdirection time: Reword the contract for investigation to security coverage of the room/house including video recordings of the premises. Video can be used for different purposes as well probably. Just put it under a security or whatever umbrella.


Yes, very good idea, the wife wanted the surveillance to catch the maid going through her things looking for something to steal and the video recorder malfunctioned and kept recording. Of course the wife didn't know it malfunctioned. The husband found it when he reviewed the recording.

ustourist

@Switch Blayde

Not just the FBI taking photos, but how many police departments get court approval before using body and car cams?
While usually on all the time, I am aware that some departments have a policy to turn on the body cam when getting out of the vehicle, which makes it a specific recording of the person and incident.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

is the female version of "cop" "cap"?

In the UK that's "bobby" and "booby".

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@Ross at Play


The PI should ask for written consent from the husband to be on his property (so not trepass), and take films while there (so not an invasion of privacy).

Not in the UK. A case has just finished where a man arranged a hidden camera to catch his wife in flagrante dilicto. His own house, he put the camera in but got a prison sentence. In any case such film / photos could not be used in a divorce case.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Capt Zapp

@REP

... taking time stamped picture of her going into her lovers house and more when she leaves.


Have a picture of her handing him her panties as a memento of the occasion.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@REP

She could leave the motel with the ladder in her right stocking after it was in her left stocking when she entered ;)

(Again not my idea - read it in a story)

AJ

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

In the UK that's "bobby" and "booby".

Maybe for women it's "booty", though men can have pleasant booties as well.

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

Not in the UK. A case has just finished where a man arranged a hidden camera to catch his wife in flagrante dilicto. His own house, he put the camera in but got a prison sentence. In any case such film / photos could not be used in a divorce case.

The UK doesn't have the same expectations of privacy that the U.S. does, though, strangely, they expect more privacy from Corporate observations.

Crumbly Writer

@Capt Zapp

Have a picture of her handing him her panties as a memento of the occasion.

It's unlikely they'd be that stupid. If anything, that would occur in private, though in general, such a transfer would only occur once, and even then, only in high school.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

A better solution might be for the inventive PI to install (for the husband) a nani-cam which just 'happens' to catch the lovers


That's a good idea, but the cheating wife really has nothing to do with the story. It's the first scene in the novel for no other reason than to introduce the P.I. and the Vice cop and their relationship. And I guess to let the reader know right up front it's erotica.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

That's a good idea, but the cheating wife really has nothing to do with the story.


Then don't worry about the legalities.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

Then don't worry about the legalities.


I was just worried about a reader calling me on it. I outlined a dead body in "Matilda and the Assassin" and was told by many readers that cops don't do that (even though it's done in Hollywood movies all the time).

But it might work out in my favor. I'm going to have the lady cop tell him of all the laws he broke and let it go from there.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

They only quit after they marry each other. :)


Yeah and this woman didn't quit then. :)

REP

@awnlee jawking

Seems like we ran this topic into the ground. What's next?

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

How is the FBI taking photos during a surveillance legal?


They get a court order to let them side-step the law.

StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

Sorry, but the laws (at least in most states, require the permission of both parties, thus recording your daughter's private phone conversations are against the law, as is recording a phone call with your wife if she isn't informed she's being recorded (and that consent is part of the recording, thus requiring you to ask them twice).


It's called one party consent, and is acceptable in 38 states. 11 states have two party consent, and 1 state bans recording completely. Note that under FEDERAL law, one party consent is perfectly legal.

That's why when you call in to a business, if you hear the recording, "This call may be recorded for quality assurance", that means they ARE recording your call.

Replies:   sejintenej
awnlee jawking

@REP

There's always the mismatched button fastening from dressing in a hurry. Or perhaps the used condoms left behind in the motel trash. ;)

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Seems like we ran this topic into the ground. What's next?

I guess it's time for someone to call someone else a Nazi. Either that, or the dreaded punitentiary.

Replies:   REP
awnlee jawking

At the end of the day, Switch could always follow the age-old maxim of 'write what's entertaining rather than accurate'.

An advance reader of the courtroom scene in one of my works-in-progress gave it an unconditional thumbs up, despite everything in the scene being as unauthentic as Barack Obama's birth certificate. ;)

AJ

sejintenej

@StarFleet Carl


That's why when you call in to a business, if you hear the recording, "This call may be recorded for quality assurance", that means they ARE recording your call.

In the UK it is legal to record a call provided always that both parties are aware of the recording. The Act specifies various methods - an announcement such as you illustrate is one (and the most common) but there are others which people generally don't know about such as a beep or other noise on the line at specified intervals.

Switch Blayde

@REP

Seems like we ran this topic into the ground. What's next?


Actually, we stayed on topic on this one. I appreciate that and got a lot of ideas.

Replies:   REP  richardshagrin
REP

@Crumbly Writer

:) Now I'm upset. You use a word I don't know, so I had to get up out of my chair and haul out my two light-weight dictionaries to find out what it means. It isn't listed. That means I had go get my big gun: my 50-pound, unabridged dictionary. The one that gives me a hernia almost every time I try to lift it. The word wasn't there either.

What all of that means is - we need Richardshagin to give us the definition of this obscure word that has obviously never come to the attention of the etymologists who are employed by Merriam-Webster and other companies that publish dictionaries. :)

Replies:   Ross at Play
REP

@Switch Blayde

Yeah, I know. I've picked up numerous ideas for story content from our discussions here in the forum.

Ross at Play

@REP

Now I'm upset. You use a word I don't know

Do you mean what I assumed was a misspelt attempt at the word 'penitentiary'?
Perhaps 'punitentiary' was an attempted 'pun', suggesting a house of punishment by the evil Nazis? :-)

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Considering his comment on threads petering out into political lamentation and weak puns, I'm pretty sure 'punitentiary' was exactly what CW intended to write.

AJ

red61544

@Switch Blayde

Switch, I know you want your story to be as factual and realistic as possible, but remember that this is SOL. We have do-overs that take people back to prehistoric time; we have fourteen year olds that are having sex with six different adult women; I just read a story in which a woman swallowed her tongue - a medical impossibility. No one really cares if the PI is acting according to the law. Just BTB!

Dominions Son

@red61544

I just read a story in which a woman swallowed her tongue - a medical impossibility.


Well, clearly it would have to be severed somehow first, but I don't see why swallowing it after that would be impossible.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Switch Blayde

@red61544

I just read a story in which a woman swallowed her tongue - a medical impossibility


I believe "swallow your tongue" is an idiom and doesn't mean literally. The tongue is connected by the frenulum so unless that is severed you can't literally swallow your tongue. But...

In unconscious patients, (patients with Central Nervous System Depression) the soft tissue becomes flaccid. When patients are lying flat on their back (known as a supine position) it is possible for those flaccid tissues to cause an obstruction of the airway.


As to making the story believable, I always strive for that. I do expect some suspension of disbelief, but only sometimes.

awnlee jawking

@Dominions Son

I remember reading about monks who, after taking a vow of silence, severed and swallowed their own tongues so they couldn't break the vow. It may have been fiction - I hope so!

AJ

richardshagrin

@Switch Blayde

Actually, we stayed on topic on this one. I appreciate that and got a lot of ideas.


Maybe its time to make a pun about P in I.

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

Maybe its time to make a pun about P in I.


It stings.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Maybe its time to make a pun about P in I.


You mean like the investigator whose business card read:

I.P. Tumut P.I.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Maybe its time to make a pun about P in I.

Well, if you swallow your tongue, then there's plenty of room available and it could serve as an abbreviation for "penile insertion", in keeping with the priestly theme.

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