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ironpony
05-04-2016, 11:25 PM
For my story, the police need to catch a gang of crooks, but I am not sure how they would investigate them and come up with a plan to flush them out, when they only know two of the members who are just suspects with no real evidence, and they want to flush the group out as a whole.

Do the FBI have psychology specialists, in capturing such criminals in real life?

In my story, there is a group of people who are have poor social skills because of their conditions while growing up. Conditions that would prohibit them from developing relationships with people and also romantic relationships of the opposite sex, and being rejected a lot. Because of this, they form a group of... I guess you could say serial rapist killers and going around getting revenge on people on society because of they are looked upon and treated as inferior, or at least inferior from their points of view.

But if a group were to form like this, and the police did not know who any of them are, accept for two suspects, with no real hard evidence, to get warrants or wire taps, how would they flush the whole group out as a whole? They could use a sting operation to lure them into a trap, but how would they go about this?

Are their any police or FBI criminal psychology specialists, who would know how to set such traps, for this type of criminal, for my story? Thanks, for your input everyone. I really appreciate it.

jclarkdawe
05-05-2016, 03:54 AM
I would assume in this scenario that the police would have a task force set up. On that task force would probably be a profiler. But definitely coming up with a sting operation is a command function, and would be set up with some support from the profiler, but not much.

Quite honestly, if the police have two suspects, they're going to work the suspects. Who do they know, who do they come in contact with, who did they meet in prison. Reality of law enforcement is look at the evidence, develop the evidence, work the evidence, use the resources of the government to see what can be developed. Criminals are not born, but made, and the making of these criminals would provide lots of leads.

Jim Clark-Dawe

blacbird
05-05-2016, 05:17 AM
You have asked a lot of police/criminal/justice system questions in his forum in recent days, most of which have answers like "It depends." Methinks you need to dip into research further than simply asking questions in an on-line forum.

caw

ironpony
05-05-2016, 12:41 PM
Okay thanks for the input. All the research I have done is very relative too though, and I haven't found any specifics that would pertain to such a case quite like this. Sorry if I have asked a lot of questions, I am just on a role, and keep getting stuck at numerous points, since the cops I ask in real life, all have something different to say.


I would assume in this scenario that the police would have a task force set up. On that task force would probably be a profiler. But definitely coming up with a sting operation is a command function, and would be set up with some support from the profiler, but not much.

Quite honestly, if the police have two suspects, they're going to work the suspects. Who do they know, who do they come in contact with, who did they meet in prison. Reality of law enforcement is look at the evidence, develop the evidence, work the evidence, use the resources of the government to see what can be developed. Criminals are not born, but made, and the making of these criminals would provide lots of leads.


The police already arrest and interrogate the two suspects, but they do not talk. They have never been to prison before. I haven't been able to find any usable evidence in their crimes though. Basically all of their crimes are committed behind closed doors, on private property all the time, so the police do not have authorization to go in, cause of how the laws, are so I am trying to find evidence that would be legally obtainable.

I have posted some ideas for scenarios before, but I was told that the police would not have any grounds to tap phones, or enter and search property, so with those legal restrictions, it seems to me that maybe the only solution left is to play mind games with the gang, flush them out, and manipulate them into incriminating themselves, publicly, and outside of private property, if that's the way to go.

jclarkdawe
05-05-2016, 04:05 PM
You're skipping the major step for investigating a crime. They have dead bodies. The dead frequently scream out information. Not as dramatically as seen on TV, but there's a lot of information that the dead give the police. You have the scenes where the bodies are found. The fact that this isn't where they were murdered is significant.

Look at your serial killers like Ted Bundy or the Green River Killer. These cases are developed a fact at a time, and wait on the luck to fall to the police.

As near as I can understand, the police have developed this case enough to find suspects. They've managed to arrest two but don't have enough evidence to hold them. You've got lots of people who don't want to talk, which is a bit unusual, especially since probably one of the murders occurred in a capital murder state. The threat of a little jab by a needle can be frequently effective. But in this case, you work the suspects. Who do they know, who do they hang around with. You talk to your sources.

Police have patience. They want to solve this case, but they know it won't be solved until it is ready to. They might be drinking lots of Pepto, but you work the case, piece by piece, until it comes together. There's lots of books on finding serial killers and rapists. They'll tell you how and why the police did what they did to solve the cases.

Jim Clark-Dawe

cornflake
05-05-2016, 08:18 PM
Neither psychologists nor cops ever plan to flush people out so they can catch lots of unknown criminals *all at once*. This is a thing for you because you want this to be your grand ending but law enforcement does not work like that.

They want to catch a bunch of people, cops use evidence and work the case. No cop, in the history of cops, has ever gone to a psychologist and said, "I want to flush a whole bunch of people - I dunno how many or anything - all out so I can catch them all at once." Never happened. Never will happen, because it makes no sense.

ironmikezero
05-05-2016, 09:13 PM
Profiling can be as much an art as a skill/science. A profile is essentially an opinion, albeit an educated opinion based upon what evidence is available; but there is usually a strong subjective/speculative component. The best profiler I ever worked with was a forensic pathologist/medical examiner; he had a real knack for it. OTOH, I worked with others who were, unfortunately, more often mistaken than not.

A profiler can be helpful in the course of an investigation as his/her opinion may lead to subsequent identification of a perpetrator. Most folks misunderstand why comprehension of a subject's motivation is often important. It's not necessarily to grok how the subject feels and why he/she acts the way they do; it's to help investigators recognize the behavioral patterns manifested and anticipate (or hopefully predict) future actions that may facilitate the subject's capture.

As a writer, you can craft your tale any way you like. Your gang of miscreants (psychopaths, sociopaths, mentally challenged, deranged, etc.) may be a collection of classic case studies of deviant and illegal behavior, but whatever their respective motivations, they are harming people--the victims. That's what's going to be important to law enforcement. Remember, you have to catch them before you can cure them.

In what jurisdiction do you set your tale?

ironpony
05-05-2016, 10:03 PM
I haven't decided what jurisdiction yet, but probably some large American city. And yes, I do want them caught all at once for my grand ending. If one is caught, then another, then another, the story becomes too long and can be a bit anticlimatic and underwhelming. But lots of other fictional stories go for the grand ending where the majority of a gang, is all caught at the same time.

But as far as procedure goes I asked a real cop about my case, and showed him the evidence the police have, and he said it would not be enough for the police to get warrants or wire tap orders. So if the police need to spy on suspects, but are not allowed to see or hear anything they do, behind closed doors, what is the next option for the police with that limitation, if that is the case?

ironmikezero
05-06-2016, 01:07 AM
If the evidence on hand is insufficient to constitute probable cause as would be articulated in duly sworn affidavits for warrants (search, wire interception, arrests, etc.) there are no procedural options left (unless of course there is an ongoing grand jury to which potential witnesses may be subpoenaed to testify. However, should witnesses exercise their 5th Amendment rights, even that option may effectively be moot. You shouldn't play the grand jury card as a writer unless you really know what you're doing). Otherwise, the investigators must continue their work, trying to build a prosecutable case within the framework of applicable statutes, regulations, and current case law. There are no other options--not legal ones.

The cops have to play by the rules--after all, they're the good guys.

cornflake
05-06-2016, 05:55 AM
I haven't decided what jurisdiction yet, but probably some large American city. And yes, I do want them caught all at once for my grand ending. If one is caught, then another, then another, the story becomes too long and can be a bit anticlimatic and underwhelming. But lots of other fictional stories go for the grand ending where the majority of a gang, is all caught at the same time.

But as far as procedure goes I asked a real cop about my case, and showed him the evidence the police have, and he said it would not be enough for the police to get warrants or wire tap orders. So if the police need to spy on suspects, but are not allowed to see or hear anything they do, behind closed doors, what is the next option for the police with that limitation, if that is the case?

Police work.

James D. Macdonald
05-06-2016, 08:39 AM
May I suggest that you read the Complete Works of Ann Rule, then come back if you have further questions?

ironpony
05-06-2016, 12:51 PM
Okay thanks. Well so far the police have two suspects near the start of my story, it's just they cannot get warrants or wire tap orders cause the evidence isn't strong enough to get them, I was told. All of the crimes are committed in doors and out of public view, so whenever the two suspects meet up with the others and go indoors, to do illegal activity, the police cannot legally see or hear anything they do, since they do have the warrants to do so.

This is the part I am stuck on and trying to find something in the law, that would allow the police to go further.

One of the suspects had a lawyer, who defended him in court, but someone else payed for the lawyer, and not the suspect. Can the police get a warrant to find out who paid the lawyer, since whoever payed the lawyer is likely in collusion with the suspect? I have heard mixed opinion on this from a cop, but could they get a warrant to search a lawyer's bank record, to find out who a suspect is, that payed him to defend a client, even if the lawyer is not suspected of any crime himself?

Lillith1991
05-06-2016, 02:41 PM
I feel lik I'm on a very unpleasant merry-go-round, so I've got to ask. Have you actually been listening to all the help people have given you on what is essentiall the same question, both here and in the Sandbox? I know that I stopped answering you because I don't want to continue to help someone not willing to take the advice they've been given. I work hard to research my story, basing them on my research instead of trying to force the research to line up with something impossible because I can't let go of the idea that the story has to go exactly as I planned. Outlines are not set in stone, they're malleable or they would be useless as a writing tool.

I don't want to derail the thread too much more, but ask me what the greatest fear for gay man was during the American Revolution? Or about naming conventions? How the colonists felt about various acts passed by parliment during this period and the lead up to the Revolution? I can gaurentee that I'd be able to tell you how it effect my characters and their lives, which would then effect the plot of my Rev War Vampire spy story.

ironpony
05-06-2016, 03:05 PM
Well I have been told that a lot of my ideas would not work police procedure wise, so I wanted to ask experts some questions as to what would or would not fly. As far as trying to line it up with something impossible, what part of the story is impossible exactly, just so I know how it's impossible? Catching the villains in a sting operation is impossible, is that it?

Lillith1991
05-06-2016, 03:16 PM
Well I have been told that a lot of my ideas would not work police procedure wise, so I wanted to ask experts some questions as to what would or would not fly. As far as trying to line it up with something impossible, what part of the story is impossible exactly, just so I know how it's impossible? Catching the villains in a sting operation is impossible, is that it?

Questions are fine, but only if you plan to listen to people. So far, from what I can tell at least, you don't. Notice how you ignored the second half of my post, and never answered whether you were going to actually listen to people this time etc. That is not ok. People end up feeling like they're wasting their time helping someone who does that, especially if it is part of a pattern.

As for the sting: look to your research for that answer.

ironpony
05-06-2016, 03:49 PM
Sorry you're right I should not do that. Sometimes a lot of the advice, I find that people will get hung up on all these little things that is not the big picture, and the little things do not have a lot to do with solving the problem over all, but can in fact, make the story worse in some ways, or at least I find. I guess I just feel that little things are being hung up on too much, and that the main point or main theme gets lost along the way.

But I have listened to a lot of the advice actually, changed a lot of the first half of my story, and it's a lot better because of it. The second half I need to figure out, but the first half is much much better, and I thank everyone for their advice. I followed a good amount of it, but a lot of it I find to be kind of contradictory or missing the theme, even though I know it's not intended. But I try to apply as much as I can with the story being able to work, and I have applied a lot that makes the first half better, at least I think it does now. So thank you everyone.


Lillith1991, I didn't understand what you meant in the second half of the post, with the examples, of the American revolution, and naming conventions, and all those examples. What did you mean?

Helix
05-06-2016, 04:04 PM
One thing that might help you is critiquing other people's work. That will assist you in spotting the flaws and inconsistencies in your own writing.

Lillith1991
05-06-2016, 04:55 PM
Lillith1991, I didn't understand what you meant in the second half of the post, with the examples, of the American revolution, and naming conventions, and all those examples. What did you mean?

It was more an example of how proper research effects the characters, which in turn effects the story itself than anything.

I have a gay loyalist lawyer in my story, and he's on of three POV characters but not the main one in the story I talked about in that post. I wanted him to be able to have a lover without being sentenced to hang, as was par for the course in sodomy cases during those days, while making it less likely he would be found out or betrayed. So what I did was have his lover be a redcoat who is being billeted in Samuel, the lawyers and his partiot spy sister, Elizabeth's home. Then I had to figure out reasons besides familial ties, which were strong at the time, that Elizabeth would not turn him in when she found out he was sleeping with said redcoat. This lead to me discovering that she herself is a lesbian in addition to being a vampire. Eliza loves her brother, she knows the danger they both face. That tension sets them at conflict with each other, a conflict only amplified by their patriot and loyalist leanings. I may not know what plot points will highlight this conflict, but an understanding of just this simple fact about their world spawned so much other stuff for me to use. Extremely viable stuff.

That is what makes a good story, the plot that comes out of treating our characters like people instead of chess pieces.

jclarkdawe
05-06-2016, 05:00 PM
One of the suspects had a lawyer, who defended him in court, but someone else payed for the lawyer, and not the suspect. Can the police get a warrant to find out who paid the lawyer, since whoever payed the lawyer is likely in collusion with the suspect? I have heard mixed opinion on this from a cop, but could they get a warrant to search a lawyer's bank record, to find out who a suspect is, that payed him to defend a client, even if the lawyer is not suspected of any crime himself?

Short answer is NO.

Longer answer is maybe, but there are so many issues, including Constitutional concerns. I represented criminals. I'd be spending hours down in the law library looking this one up to figure out how to make it work.

A lot of the answers you're getting are maybes. Short answers would be no, but if you're smart enough, and know what you're talking about, you might make it work. That's why you're getting maybes. A lot of us could take your bones and make a story out of it that was credible, but it's because we know how to bend things to make them work. But it takes either experience or research. Solid research.

For a bad guy who got picked up through dumb luck, look at Ted Bundy. He got picked up on a stolen vehicle warrant. (Actually, Ted Bundy, although a lot of luck, was solid police work. When the time was right, they had the information that they needed to act.) Dennis Rader, on the other hand, got picked up through being told by police that computer disks were safe to send information to them on.

There's lots of information out there. For instance, I know that police wanting to know who lawyers got paid by has been litigated in several states. I know the result is a somewhat mixed bag, but I don't know why. Your friendly cop probably knows that much as well. Hence both of us saying "maybe."

Jim Clark-Dawe

ironpony
05-06-2016, 10:37 PM
It was more an example of how proper research effects the characters, which in turn effects the story itself than anything.

I have a gay loyalist lawyer in my story, and he's on of three POV characters but not the main one in the story I talked about in that post. I wanted him to be able to have a lover without being sentenced to hang, as was par for the course in sodomy cases during those days, while making it less likely he would be found out or betrayed. So what I did was have his lover be a redcoat who is being billeted in Samuel, the lawyers and his partiot spy sister, Elizabeth's home. Then I had to figure out reasons besides familial ties, which were strong at the time, that Elizabeth would not turn him in when she found out he was sleeping with said redcoat. This lead to me discovering that she herself is a lesbian in addition to being a vampire. Eliza loves her brother, she knows the danger they both face. That tension sets them at conflict with each other, a conflict only amplified by their patriot and loyalist leanings. I may not know what plot points will highlight this conflict, but an understanding of just this simple fact about their world spawned so much other stuff for me to use. Extremely viable stuff.

That is what makes a good story, the plot that comes out of treating our characters like people instead of chess pieces.

Okay thanks. I feel that the people are not the issue with the story though. I feel it's the legal system constantly getting in the way of telling the story well. It's the system that keeps turning the people into chess pieces, as I find I am constantly having to change the people just to fit the system. But if I were to take the system out of it and just concentrate on the characters, I know exactly how I want them to be developed, and where I want them to go in the story.

But the system is preventing it, and I feel I am constantly trying to change the characters to make it work within the system. But if the system is preventing the characters from being consistent well thought out characters who I know what they want, is their anything I should approach about it?

ironmikezero
05-06-2016, 10:55 PM
If the existing "system" in this reality precludes your story from working the way you envision, you can always set your tale in an alternate or parallel universe wherein you can craft the rules as you see fit. There the only thing that will limit you is the breadth and depth of your imagination. Best of Luck!

cornflake
05-06-2016, 11:02 PM
Okay thanks. I feel that the people are not the issue with the story though. I feel it's the legal system constantly getting in the way of telling the story well. It's the system that keeps turning the people into chess pieces, as I find I am constantly having to change the people just to fit the system. But if I were to take the system out of it and just concentrate on the characters, I know exactly how I want them to be developed, and where I want them to go in the story.

But the system is preventing it, and I feel I am constantly trying to change the characters to make it work within the system. But if the system is preventing the characters from being consistent well thought out characters who I know what they want, is their anything I should approach about it?

You story is about the system. The characters are cops and criminals. If you remove 'the system' there's no story at all.

ironpony
05-06-2016, 11:14 PM
Well I am writing a screenplay, to be shot for a very low budget, since I am an aspiring filmmaker. But since it's very low budget, I would have to shoot it in the real world, and so the real world setting is kind of necessary, budget wise, as a fiction universe, would cost more money.

There is one thing when it comes to structuring the story. Some writers have suggested to me that in these types of stories, that the criminal makes a mistake near the beginning, and the mistake is often overlooked till the end by the police, when it finally comes out to bite the villain in the butt.

When it comes to structuring the story and planting the mistake in the beginning, how do you write those types of stories where the mistake is overlooked? For example, how do you give the police a reason to overlook the mistake, that they would naturally overlook? Cause every mistake I can think, would get the villains caught too soon, which is why I wanted them to make a mistake in the last half or last third around, that way the story can build towards a climax without ending too soon. But if having the police overlook the mistake is the way to go, how does one write it, so the police have an actual reason to overlook it, and it's not just a plot requirement, that makes them have to step out of character to do so?

James D. Macdonald
05-07-2016, 12:36 AM
You want a mistake? How's this:

Your villain compulsively saves every receipt he ever got. He has boxes and boxes of cash register receipts.

Going through every one of them is a huge task. It takes the cops a while to get around to it, and they don't have a lot of hope, because who cares whether he likes Big Macs or Chicken Nuggets? But one of those receipts shows that he bought a Frappuccino at a Starbucks at a time and place that explodes his alibi. First will be cataloging everything. Then will be figuring out what it all means.

Meanwhile, how are you coming on reading Rule's books?

You personally will need to become an expert.

If you're suddenly, magically on Jeopardy! and the Final Jeopardy category is "Police Procedure," you have to be ready to write down "I bet everything" before the answer is revealed because you are just that confident.

There is no substitute for doing the research yourself. That means hitting the library, not hitting the Internet message boards.

Skimp on your research? Your readers will know!

If reality gets in the way your story, change your story.

James D. Macdonald
05-07-2016, 12:39 AM
Also: a couple of retired FBI profilers have written books. Find those books. Read them. Take notes.

ironpony
05-07-2016, 12:57 AM
Okay thanks. I haven't read any books by Rule but I can check them out.

I have done a lot of legal research by asking cops and lawyers, but haven't found a way to get my villains that I think would make the for the best drama. I am still looking. As for the villain saving receipts that would ruin his alibi. That could work, but it would not get him convicted, of course. It could still be a stepping stone though. Thanks for the idea.

When it comes to all the research, basically the fourth and fifth amendments get in the way. All of the villains crimes are committed indoors on private property, and the villain has no logical reason to commit a crime on public grounds. Because of this the police cannot legally see or hear anything he does, especially since they are not allowed to record conversations without having a lot of evidence beforehand. But the villain has no reason to have any other evidence lying around beforehand. So the police cannot record anything he does, out of mere probable cause or suspicion, and I am left with a legal paradox.

Latina Bunny
05-07-2016, 01:33 AM
I think, at this point, you need to do more research and/or change parts of your story. If you want to resolve your problem, you need to get creative and become flexible with your story.

You keep insisting on having the villain doing everything indoors and on private property. Ok, then. Find out how police in real life find criminals who do things like that.

From what I've read from replies on your posted threads, it also seems there is not enough evidence for the police in your story to do anything legal.

You also insist on having this grand TV/movie ending of "flushing out" all of these criminals--even though you put the police in a sticky spot of not having any way to legally do this.

I think you may have written your story and characters "into a corner", as the expression goes. Unless you make changes to the story and do additional research, the story and characters are pretty much stuck.

I would suggest on doing more research, and then using the research to restructure the plot and characters in ways that make sense and are more believable.

That's part of what being a writer is about: To use one's creativity and knowledge of the world in order figure out how to tell an interesting story that will engage readers.

The ball's in your court. It's your story, after all. You either write it, or you don't. (The world will continue spinning, and life goes on, regardless.)

After all of this advice people have kindly have given you, the best course of action is to listen, absorb, think about he advice and then do more research. You would then use that research to give the story a more solid foundation and more believability.

Who knows? Maybe the research can give you more inspiration and come up with a better way to tell the story, or inspire more interesting conflict or more plot ideas to add to the current story, etc. :)

James D. Macdonald
05-07-2016, 01:37 AM
All of the villains crimes are committed indoors on private property, and the villain has no logical reason to commit a crime on public grounds.

People get convicted every day for crimes that were committed indoors on private property.

I'm still not seeing the theme that you're trying to convey. What is the big picture?

Lillith1991
05-07-2016, 02:20 AM
Okay thanks. I feel that the people are not the issue with the story though. I feel it's the legal system constantly getting in the way of telling the story well. It's the system that keeps turning the people into chess pieces, as I find I am constantly having to change the people just to fit the system. But if I were to take the system out of it and just concentrate on the characters, I know exactly how I want them to be developed, and where I want them to go in the story.

But the system is preventing it, and I feel I am constantly trying to change the characters to make it work within the system. But if the system is preventing the characters from being consistent well thought out characters who I know what they want, is their anything I should approach about it?

The system is not at fault, a lack of flexibility is. Plenty of people write awesome novels and screenplays while playing within the confines of the system as it is, and they do this by using the system to their advantage as writers. Frankly? I find blaming the system to be immature. My Rev War story is going to be difficult, require even more research than a story set in a contemporary setting like the one presented in this thread, and I've never thought to blame my research for making the story hard to write. That's not what an adult does and I am an adult. If the story is hard to write when it comes time for me to do so, that's because I either wasn't as ready as I thought I was or I'm forcing something when I should be going with the flow provided by my research and the revelations it provides about my characters.

ironpony
05-07-2016, 02:46 AM
Sorry I don't mean to imply I blame the system. I am just trying to find a way to work within it.

I was thinking over the idea of the villain keeping a receipt that ruins his alibi. The cops would need a warrant to search his house. If the cops go to a judge saying that they want to search his house in order to find anything that could ruin his alibi, a judge will not give a warrant based on that reason. So I have to figure out a way for them to get into the house to find such a receipt.

I will do more research and see what I can find.


I'm still not seeing the theme that you're trying to convey. What is the big picture?

Well what I mean is, is that different characters go through thematic changes but the legal system is preventing them from going through the changes I want. For example, in my story, their is a situation where the MC takes the villains hostage, and the police call in the MC's girlfriend to come in and try to talk him down. Kind of like how in the movie The Negotiator (1998), the police bring in the wife of the hostage taker to try to talk him down.

But my legal research tells me that the police would not bring in the wife or girlfriend of the hostage taker to try to talk him down in the real world. But for my story in order for the gf to go through the change that she does, she needs to be able to witness the situation first hand. Cause the witnessing of the event first hand, causes the change. But there is no legal reason for her to be there, so she can therefore not go through the change, caused by the event.

This is just one example of what I mean. Legal situations preventing events from changing characters. So the system is not at fault, but it is still preventing the changes. In order for the characters to undergo their themes, the themes have to be caused by particular events, and the legal says that such events cannot happen. Does this make sense?

cbenoi1
05-07-2016, 03:10 AM
Kind of like how in the movie The Negotiator (1998), the police bring in the wife of the hostage taker to try to talk him down.

But my legal research tells me that the police would not bring in the wife or girlfriend of the hostage taker to try to talk him down in the real world.
Who are you writing the script for? A general audience or a bunch of criminal lawyers?

-cb

Latina Bunny
05-07-2016, 03:26 AM
If course, for fictional drama's sake or for the story's sake, you can probably take some risks and fudge some details.

It's not like CSI shows were that accurate about forensics, nor House (or some other medical drama) an accurate depiction of the medical field, nor The Good Wife was accurate about lawyer stuff, etc. :P

James D. Macdonald
05-07-2016, 03:32 AM
If the cops go to a judge saying that they want to search his house in order to find anything that could ruin his alibi, a judge will not give a warrant based on that reason.

Let me see if I have this right: the cops have no probable cause to believe that this guy has even committed a crime at all. So, why are they investigating him to start with?

And, in the action/adventure climax, the cops spring a trap that causes a conspiracy that they had no idea even existed to reveal all its members.

I'm probably misunderstanding something here.

If the cops actually have probable cause to search the guy's house at all, they can probably write the warrant so that they can carry off a box of receipts to go through at their leisure. They don't know that the receipts will ruin his alibi -- that's a happy surprise later on.

Since we're talking movies, three movies that did pretty well with procedure are The French Connection, Fargo, and The Frozen Ground.

Yes, all of them contain inaccuracies. But at least they didn't throw the audiences out of the story through howling stupidities.

Nothing, however, is going to replace your own research. Finding out how things really work will strengthen your story.

Lillith1991
05-07-2016, 03:42 AM
Sorry I don't mean to imply I blame the system. I am just trying to find a way to work within it.


Yeah. I'm still seeing nothing but excuses in your response. I like crime shows and crime movies myself, though I have no desire to write a crime novel unless it is in a SFF setting or historical setting right now and no desire whatsoever to write a script dealing with the subject. As a viewer and reader I simply expect a basic level of compentency with the full knowledge that it won't be 100% accurate, and that's ok.

To be blunt: what you're proposing has been done plenty of times before, more than plenty of times in fact. It isn't that hard to analyze why such stories works. Hint? The characters. And the writer not making ridiculously stupid mistakes, but mostly the characters. Don't make ridiculously stupid mistakes that thrust the viewer out of the story, give them characters they want to follow, and you will be fine. Read some screenplay writing books while you're at it. Because I get the impression you don't have any clue of how a screenwriter uses character to propel their story through to the end instead of moving them like chess pieces in a game.

Latina Bunny
05-07-2016, 04:11 AM
I think the part that's being a big obstacle to the progression of the plot point is the cops not having a good reason (probable cause?) to get a warrant, like James and a few other posters have mentioned.

If you wanted a character who charges into situations without good cause, then I would think a non-cop character would be more suited for that? Like, perhaps, a vigilante, a snoop, or an anti-heroic character, for example.

If you want to write about a competent, good cop character, then that character would most likely try to follow the system (or figure out some smart, technical loopholes, if any).

For the cop to do anything, they must have a good reason to get that warrant, or to investigate a suspect further.

You mentioned something about the cops already having two suspects. I would think researching how real-life cops interrogate or "work" their suspects in certain types of crimes could help a lot with that. How did real-life cops find out about suspects? How did they get info from suspects? How do they follow up on that info? And so on.

ironpony
05-07-2016, 04:55 AM
Basically yes the cops already have two suspects and brought them in and questioned them. The suspects didn't reveal anything about their crimes and the cops had to let them go. I was told by police while researching that their is not enough cause to get evidence for search warrants or wire taps, just because the cops had circumstantial evidence and suspicion. I was told that they need something more concrete to get warrants and wire taps.

I could have the main character figure out his way through loopholes, if I can find some loopholes, but so far in my research the law is very airtight when it comes to these things.

As for moving my characters around like chess pieces, I cannot have the characters do things that would be out of character to make the plot easier though, right? For example, if I have the villains supply the cops with too much evidence to get their warrants and wire taps, then the villains have no reason to give up that much evidence, and it would be out of character for them. So I would like the characters to stay in characters as much as possible of that's best.

It's good advice for the characters to not my ridiculously stupid mistakes to thrust the viewer out of the story, but if the villains give the police too much evidence, in order to get the warrants, then the villains are more stupid as a result, and it can come off as forced, just to spoon feed the law into being able to get warrants.

I could make the cop a vigilante or willing to bend the rules. But I haven't been able to figure out a way he could get away with it, cause so far, every situation I have come up with, has holes in it. I suggested before that he could plant evidence, and then arrange for it to be found, but I was told it would not hold up in court, cause the villains prints have to be on it. But even if he tricked the villain into putting his prints on it, the villain could just say in court, that the cops put his prints on it, and I was told the judge would rule in favor of the villain.

So if a villain is able to say the police framed him as a defense, and it's raises reasonable doubt, then not even framing him would work within the law, would it?

Latina Bunny
05-07-2016, 05:07 AM
Well...

I assume that some criminals do get caught in the real world, right? And some stings are actually somewhat successful in real life as well, right?

So, do the research on how those criminals get caught, and how cops get evidence (and what types of evidence), and how cops execute a sting, etc.

I think this is simply a matter of doing more research--and becoming flexible with the story and characters.

Find out how real life criminals get caught by the cops, and then go from there.

If a character needs to do something illegal, then either the main character has to become a non-cop, or you have to accept that your cop is just a terrible, corrupt, or illegal cop. :P

You're the writer. It's your story. You're in control. If a character doesn't work, then that means that character is not the right one for the story, or maybe shouldn't even be the main character of the story.

It's up to you. You're a writer. It's part of the creativity aspect of being a writer.

Like Tim Gunn from Project Runway always said, "Make it work." :)

ironpony
05-07-2016, 05:34 AM
Okay thanks. In the research I do for my story, so far everyone has said, no the law cannot do what is required for the story to catch these criminals. But I could look at real life cases if that's better, rather than asking.

I guess the reason why I am afraid to be flexible with the characters is because the reader may see it as the characters being chess pieces, if something about them has to be forced to make it work within the legal system. So I wonder which is better... bending the rules of the law to make a story work, or bending the characters motivations.

Helix
05-07-2016, 05:40 AM
So I wonder which is better... bending the rules of the law to make a story work, or bending the characters motivations.

That's your decision, of course, but I'd be focussing on the element over which I had most control.

Latina Bunny
05-07-2016, 05:45 AM
I guess the reason why I am afraid to be flexible with the characters is because the reader may see it as the characters being chess pieces, if something about them has to be forced to make it work within the legal system. So I wonder which is better... bending the rules of the law to make a story work, or bending the characters motivations.

You're already trying to force the cop to do something out of character (and illegal) for a cop.

Maybe the issue is, you simply don't understand your characters and their motivations, and you're forcing them to fit the rigid plot points you have already planned for them?

If the cop is that impulsive, to the point of doing something illegal or stupid, then maybe it could be a story about an impulsive cop who gets in trouble a lot, lol. (Just kidding. Though that is a possibility.) If the cop is that impulsive and not well trained, then maybe that character shouldn't have been a cop in the first place? In a way, that is one way you are making that character into a "chess piece" as you say: You are purposely making this cop guy do something a cop doesn't normally do.

Same with the villain. You are forcing the villain to be sooo good, that he throws the story off-track.

Find out what motivates the cop and the villain. Research how their respective, er, "jobs" actually work, and how they both can get into trouble or make mistakes. (That could provide some conflict as well.)

I think there is already some inflexible forcing of some characters going on here. Be flexible. Do research. Get creative or try to think about a new angle of getting the cop to capture the criminals.

Good luck. :)

Helix
05-07-2016, 06:05 AM
^What the Bunny said.

Read everything. Make notes. Get a whiteboard and start mind mapping/brainstorming/whatevs.

ironpony
05-07-2016, 06:11 AM
Okay thanks. Well originally in my story I wanted the cop to be a vigilante but I kept being told he couldn't get away with it, so I should have the cop remain within in the law and bust the villains legally. However, the cop was raped by one of the gang members, which is why he wants to bring that member down, with the whole gang in the process. However, if he is to remain within the law, would that create too much of a conflict of interest legal wise, because of his victimization by one of the suspects? The suspect got away with it before, cause the cop could not get enough proof, but would that create a conflict of interest?

But even if someone accuses another of rape, I was told that it is also not grounds for a wire tap order, if it's just a case of one person's word against another's.

He would probably be taken off the case I am guessing, and then he would have to go out and get the villains on his own time, and bring in proof of their crimes, but would the proof hold up, if he was off the case, as long as he 'appeared' to be within the rules of the law when gathering evidence?

I am brainstorming several ideas of the last few weeks right now. When it comes to the MC making decisions, what should I come up with first that will determine the story... should I decide on the decision the MC makes, or should I decide on what resources are available to him first, for him to make the decision within? What should be decided on first, the decision, or the resources?

Helix
05-07-2016, 06:15 AM
Yes, there'd be a massive problem with a victim investigating the crime.

jclarkdawe
05-07-2016, 06:16 AM
But my legal research tells me that the police would not bring in the wife or girlfriend of the hostage taker to try to talk him down in the real world.

And herein is the drama that you want. Absolutely, positively the police would never do this in the real world.

Except when? Why would the police ignore the procedure manual and do something like this? For example, what happens if the bad guy calls his wife? What happens if the bad guy will only talk with his wife? What happens if the wife is the sister of the police chief?

This is what people are talking about here. These restrictions are what forces your characters to do what they do. Who is desperate for the wife to talk with the bad guy? How far will this person go to make this happen? You're talking about what happens -- we're talking about why does it happen.

Jim Clark-Dawe

ironpony
05-07-2016, 06:20 AM
Okay thanks. But it would be out of character I feel for the MC to want to talk to his wife. He does not want to get her involved or put her in any possible danger. So I don't think it would be in character for him to that.

I was also told by a cop when doing research that even if a hostage taker did not want to talk to his wife, they wouldn't let it happen. What if I wrote it so that the wife hears what is going on, on a police radio scanner, and goes down to see what the MC is up to, and since she is already there, the cops want her to talk to him or she talks the cops into letting her, even though it's not normal procedure. Would that work better?

Is their anyway that a victim of a crime can legally expose his victimizers to the court, in a legal way, that would hold up without it being a problem though? What if he busted the gang on other crimes, rather than his own victimization? Does that make any difference?

Helix
05-07-2016, 06:32 AM
Is their anyway that a victim of a crime can legally expose his victimizers to the court, in a legal way, that would hold up without it being a problem though? What if he busted the gang on other crimes, rather than his own victimization? Does that make any difference?

Idk. Maybe he could make a complaint?

Lillith1991
05-07-2016, 06:48 AM
I'm a bit disturbed with your preoccupation with the hero of the story being a victim of rape,ironpony. It doesn't seem like you have the skills to pull it off or even a basic understanding about the psychology of someone who has been through such a horrific crime. The rape angle is coming off as nothing more than a contrived bit of backstory because he obviously has to have a reason to go after the bad guys. And if you really do want to go down this road, there's a whole lot you're missing about the mentality of cops who have been victims of such a crime.

Was his rapist male or female? What were the circumstances surrounding the rape? How did the person who attacked him get the drop on him? If his fellow officers know, how did they react to the knowledge this happened to one of their own etc.

Latina Bunny
05-07-2016, 06:57 AM
Is their anyway that a victim of a crime can legally expose his victimizers to the court, in a legal way, that would hold up without it being a problem though? What if he busted the gang on other crimes, rather than his own victimization? Does that make any difference?

This is where additional research is going to be needed. Rape cases are really tricky. Research those kinds of cases and see how they really work. Research the psychology of rape victims (and rapists?) as well.

This topic you just added to the mix (ie rape) will require sensitivity and some extra research, because it's a very complex topic with all sorts of aspects to it.

Th MC being a victim of these criminals will also complicate things, and perhaps create a conflict of interest situation. (I don't think victims or people too close to the cases are allowed to work on said cases, can they?)

ironpony
05-07-2016, 07:00 AM
Basically the rapist is female, who talked him into meeting up off duty, drugs him, knocks him out, gets his gun and ties him up. She rapes him under circumstances somewhat like that. I have talked to a couple of rape victims out of research but it's not something I can go and ask everyone about to research for a story.

The fellow officers reacted by thinking he could very well be telling the truth, and has no reason to lie likely, but it's his word against hers, and nothing else can be done, since it's not enough to get warrants or wire taps to find out more about her, behind closed doors.

As for the rape being contrived backstory, the act itself, and the planning that the villain does around it, takes up about a quarter of the story, so is it contrived backstory, if it takes up as much of a quarter of time? Plus I came up with the cop wanting justice for his rape first, and that was the initial idea, and I have that created already, where as the rest of the story that follows needs work, so I thought it wasn't backstory, since it was the first part of the story I worked on. It's more like foreground story at this point, unless I am wrong.

But since the rapist is part of a gang though, what if the MC brings the gang down for different crimes altogether, but is satisfied they are behind bars in the end? Can bringing them down for different crimes matter? Or what if the MC, does not tell any of the other officers about his rape because he knows that it will create a conflict of interest and prohibit him? He knows he cannot prove it and it will turn into a he said, she said case, so he doesn't tell anyone, and decides to bust them on other crimes, and not have it be a conflict of interest?

As for the conflict of interest thing, I remember a real life case, where a man hired a private investigator to find out who murdered his son, cause the police couldn't find the killer and he wasn't satisfied with the investigation, since it wasn't solved. So he hired his own P.I. who caught the killer and brought in the evidence to the court. If a person can do that in real life, and bring in the evidence to catch a son's killer, could a cop solve his own rape legally?

There was also a real life case where a cop's house was robbed, and other officers solved the crime, but they used police resources, they wouldn't normally use in a house burglary case. Since the cop was helped out by resources from his friend's within the same department, does that count as a conflict of interest? Could the same rule apply if the cop's friends helped him out?

Latina Bunny
05-07-2016, 07:10 AM
Have you checked out any non-fiction book resources or scientific/psychological studies as well?

Seriously, there are a lot of things to consider here...

ironpony
05-07-2016, 07:13 AM
Well I have looked up real life rape cases, but haven't found much on where the victim solves the case themselves. As for psychological studies, I haven't done much so far. I asked someone with a degree in psychology if a person who is raped would see out justice or seek to expose the crook and put her behind bars. The person said that psychologically it's possible.

I have watched a few movies where rapists want justice for what happened to them and that is where I got my inspiration. But if characters are allowed to behave in such a way in other works of fiction, can I use the same inspiration?

What about the real case where a cop was legally allowed to solve his own house burglary? If a cop can do that can it be argued in court that the same rule to apply to one solving his own rape?

Latina Bunny
05-07-2016, 10:09 PM
Well I have looked up real life rape cases, but haven't found much on where the victim solves the case themselves.

Ummmm.... Maybe because rape cases are...extremely difficult or tricky, and can be really hard to prove in some cases?

Er, I don't know if victims are allowed to solve their own crimes. Isn't that the police or detective's job? I thought the story was about a cop?

Find out what cops are allowed and not allowed to do when dealing with crimes that have been committed against themselves.



As for psychological studies, I haven't done much so far. I asked someone with a degree in psychology if a person who is raped would see out justice or seek to expose the crook and put her behind bars. The person said that psychologically it's possible.

You seem to "ask" people a lot. Have you asked multiple professionals, not just one? Try asking a counselor or people who have experience with dealing with rape victims or rape crimes, etc.

Have you also done your own reading research, like in reading actual studies, articles, and non-fiction books? Watching some crime documentaries and/or reading non-fiction crime books could help, too.

Also, just saying, while it may be possible to feel that way (because, duh, what human wouldn't want justice for a crime?), the question is, in what ways is it legal to go do the whole "seeking justice" thing?



I have watched a few movies where rapists want justice for what happened to them and that is where I got my inspiration. But if characters are allowed to behave in such a way in other works of fiction, can I use the same inspiration?

You mean, rape victims, not rapists.

Are those fictional rape victims you saw in those few movies cops, or just non-cop citizens?

Because being a cop is a whole different ball game...



What about the real case where a cop was legally allowed to solve his own house burglary? If a cop can do that can it be argued in court that the same rule to apply to one solving his own rape?

Ummm... I think you need to do more basic non-fiction research. You can't keep asking other people to do all of the research for you.

What does a real life cop say about solving a crime committed against yourself? Have you read any books and studies, etc, on how police work works?

I think some of your answers can be answered if you did some more non-fiction research.

cornflake
05-07-2016, 10:37 PM
Seconding the above, in the research sense. You've said you did a lot of research, but now it sounds as if by research you mean you asked some random person on the Internet. That's not research.

Asking someone with a psych degree, or who claims to have a psych degree, isn't research.

As well, you're still, imo, going about this so oddly I don't know where to begin. Every step is so labored because you've got this sortof impossible ending and just keep wanting to solve little legal pieces, instead of look at the characters or thing as a whole.

People not being caught in a giant gang doesn't mean you have to show everyone being caught one by one.

NateSean
05-07-2016, 10:43 PM
I asked someone with a degree in psychology


Was this person an actual psychologist? Because having a degree in psychology doesn't make someone an expert on rape. A degree doesn't even mean that the person who holds it went on to pursue any kind of career in psychology.

The person you consulted could have a degree in psychology, which you found out about as they were bagging your groceries.

I was impressed once that you said you had actually interviewed a police officer, once. It was in a thread where you were getting uptight over the fact that people didn't give you the exact answers you wanted.

What might help some of us to want to help you further is to post evidence that you have actually written something down. Maybe post a couple of pages in the Show Your Work section and be prepared for feedback. Otherwise, for all we know, you've just been asking us to do your homework for you for the past year.

Twick
05-07-2016, 11:20 PM
I think you have two different stories going on. One is a case of male rape - controversial, but worth exploring if done with taste and intelligence. The other is a gang story. You may be creating more problems for yourself by trying to write them as one story. "A high-ranking female member of a gang decides to drug and rape a cop, who goes after her for revenge and brings her gang down" sounds overly complicated. Bringing down a gang legally is going to take a lot of finesse on the plot mechanics. Exploring the effects of female on male rape (psychological and legal) is going to dive deep into psychology and sociology. I'm not sure that you need to have both of these to create a good story.

jclarkdawe
05-08-2016, 12:19 AM
All police officers, as far as I know, have to go through psychological screening prior to hiring. I double checked this one, but the chances of a person being hired as a police officer who had been raped is somewhere beyond slim. And the chances of someone surviving this type of trauma without having any effect psychologically is also slim. It's very unlikely that the person doesn't have some PTSD, and even if they have their PTSD under control, the person would still be very questionable. (And next to useless investigating rape cases. Once a defense attorney finds out that the officer was raped, every time after that the officer will be question about whether he has an agenda.)

If the officer was raped after they started work, they might be able to continue work. However, they would be subject to extensive counseling and restrictions. You don't want the officer to shoot the shit out of some rape suspect, and quite honestly, I wouldn't trust a police officer in this type situation not to shoot the shit out of a rapist. I'd probably do the same thing in their situation. I doubt an officer could keep this type of trauma secret from his or her fellow officers. Depending upon the department, a female raping a male would provide lots of material for the resident wits(less). Even if the officer kept this secret, it's very unlikely it would not effect his or her job performance.

Now let's say that somehow this officer did stay in police work, and did find his rapists. We're now going to trial. As defense counsel I've got a vigiliante cop saying how he found the guys who raped him. Only way I'm going to lose this case is if I drop dead in the courtroom. I could sleep through the thing. There's no way this cop is going to be a credible witness, because what a defense attorney is going to do to him makes rape seem like a nice thing.

You can have a character winning PowerBall once in a book and make it work. But a character can't win PowerBall every month in your book and have people believing it.

Jim Clark-Dawe

bombergirl69
05-08-2016, 04:26 PM
I'm confused (nothing new!!) so don't answer if this is really clear and I'm just missing it!!! :)

My overall take (putting aside the rape for a moment) is...policework! Why are these folks suspects? If not enough evidence, police work to go get some - are there girl/boy friends in the mix? Go talk to them! they can reveal all sorts of stuff. Mom? Go talk to her! Grandma? Friends? Go find them! Any other crimes that look like this one? Go find out! What does that tattoo signify? Does it lead to more info about suspect's background? What kinds of vics are being targeted? Random? Why are these suspects interested in random victims? Go find out (incident in their past a former teacher remembers?) And so forth.

And a skilled interviewer can do wonders in an interview, even if suspects aren't held. People can reveal all sorts of shit, even when they're trying not to - reveal information the interviewer has not mentioned, mention someone else's name the interviewer hadn't previously known, a past drug/alcohol problem (I'd never do something lke that now that I'm sober!) . These interviews are NOt just "did you do it? No? Aw shucks, we have to let you go!"

And what's up with the crime scene? What did they find? What does the absence of good evidence tell them (experienced?) Is there anything there? Where could the victims have met these people? What, if anything, do the vics have in common? If nothing, how are they being targeted?

Yes, officers do get screened (MMPI at least--some profiles are riskier than others)

But here's where I am confused. A guy was going to meet Sally. He's drugged, then awakens tied up, missing his gun and she's trying to rape him. Then she lets him go? Why? What is her agenda? And he's not going to say, "HEY, Sally raped me?" I think people might go talk to Sally. If she denies/has an alibi, that's where police work comes in, I would think. I can't imagine they'd think, "well, Sally denies it, so that's it."

There's a movie, Riccochet, that touches on this with Denzel Washington, who gets kidnapped and raped, then released. When they go to investigate, however, it is staged to make it look like it never happened. John Lithgow is such a great bad guy - has a definite agenda (revenge on Denzel) But you bet the police investigate!

I found running a few scenarios by a policeman was extremely helpful. It was great for how many would show up, what would they do, is this plausible, and so on. He was also a great interviewer with me - would have been hard to not give stuff up!

Anyway, good luck!!

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2016, 06:06 PM
Rape-and-revenge is such a common plot that it's a cliche.

If I were a police chief, and one of my officers was the victim of a burglary, I'd assign another officer to investigate it.

Seriously, library work.