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skelly
02-27-2007, 04:00 PM
Somebody breaks into my 16-year-old character's house and off's the cat while she (my character) is home alone. During the investigation the cops find a small amount of pot that the bad guy planted in her room. The cops suspect the 16-year-old of killing the cat. Basically, she's being stalked by her ex-boyfriend's "other woman" and whenever she tries to alert somebody, it always comes off looking like she's the one doing the stuff, like her bf breaking up with her made her unstable and she's trying to get back at him, or the new girl. Do the cops HAVE to take her to jail and file charges, or, since it is a first offense and she has always been a pillar of the community, could they just tell her parents to put her in some form of counseling (which they are going to do anyway)? If anybody has any ideas on this, I would sure appreciate it. :)

Vanatru
02-27-2007, 06:48 PM
Why are the cops searching her house/room? Not for a simple cat killing. Animal killings with proven intent can be a third degree felony (depending on where your at), or a first degree misdomeanor (again, depending on where your at). Many city/county attornies don't waste their time on these things because it's not cost effective or career building. The few times I've seen anything go forward was when the state attorney took the case and ran with it. Even then, no real jail time was served. Usually probation. This is all in FLA though, your mileage will vary from state to state.

In many cases, it'll be turned over to animal control. Did the girl find the cat body? If so, where was the body at? Again, there has to be a compelling reason for them to search the girls room. If the cat body was in there, possibly.

Just some thoughts.

skelly
02-27-2007, 07:29 PM
Much appreciated. I'm trying to nail down an outline and keep hitting these freakin roadblocks. I may be heading down the wrong path with this cat deal anyway. Little too cliche. Thanks for the info :)

Vanatru
02-27-2007, 07:47 PM
Do things like have the other woman (here after noted at OW) do things like:

Watch ex at party. OW sneaks in after party is over, takes beer bottle ex was drinking from. Later throws bottle through or into window of local official. Where gloves of course so OWs prints aren't on it, but ex's are.

If OW and ex are of similar shape/appearance, have OW dress like ex, then go to a stop and rob where there's a camera, and do something crazy like knocking stuff off shelf and run out. Grainy video tape makes it look like ex was there.

OW gets into ex's house somehow, makes call to 911 and make bomb threat at OW's school/work/whatever. If it's like our 911, the phone # is recorded electronically.

And other little "d-moves" like that.

skelly
02-27-2007, 08:20 PM
That suggestion about the security camera works as does the 911 call ... I like that. Thanks. Party thing wouldn't work cuz the OW in this case is their algebra teacher. Thanks for those other suggestions tho, that helps.

The_Grand_Duchess
02-27-2007, 09:17 PM
Well depending where you are the killing of a cat can be serious business if it was done maliciously. Like NYC or apprently Philly. If the body was found in the room they might go in there to check it out but I don't think they would look very hard.

Now if this cat business was in a string of other things then I would think it would raise some red flags for the cops. I would use the idea more that way, you know have that be the final straw.

skelly
02-27-2007, 09:35 PM
That's kind of what I was thinking too, TGD. Thank you for your suggestions! :)

alleycat
02-27-2007, 09:43 PM
I'm not an attorney, but I believe for the police to make an arrest of the girl, the pot would have to be out in plain sight. They can't use evidence they find in a search when it doesn't relate to the case they're working on. Again, I'm not a lawyer so you'd have to double-check this.

I'm with Vanatru however; I doubt the police are going to make much of an investigation at all unless they're called in my one of the humane associations. I had a $2000 mower stolen once; the police response was to give me a crime report number over the phone to use to file with my insurance. That was it. There's only so much they can do.

Vanatru
02-27-2007, 09:58 PM
To people like you and me, someone savagely killing a cat is a major crime. To the legal system, it's nothing.

Calls I've worked on:

12 year old girl kicks and beats a puppy with a stick, breaking it's leg. Blood oozing from it's nose. Local city units take her into custody. She's get counseling. Her parents don't understand what the fuss is.

Two boys around 13 and 15 drown a chihuahua and a mini-pin. FF's onscene revive both dogs. States attorney drops case after being in limbo for two years. NOTHING happens to the kids. Animal control had to legally give the dogs back.

56 year old lady arrested by county units on 16 felony counts of animal abuse. States attorney fumbles the case. She gets twelve misdeamoner charges and a years probation from owning any new animals.

Upset dog owner throws dog from third floor balcony. Dog bounces off a privacy wall breaking it's rib. No charges filed. Multiple witnesses. Owner claimed it was an accident. Dog jumped from his hands.

Guy and gal go to movies because he just got fired. Leaves his dog in their car. Dog literally cooks to death in the summer heat. City units file no charges 'cause it couldn't be decided if he did it intentionally.

I was on all those calls, and worse within the last 7 years. Nothing gets done. The legal definition of animals here are that they're "chattel". Worth 50cents on the pound. Not worth the time and effort to bust the owners according to the powers that be. Sad, but true. I have yet to see a case taken by the states attorney go to the point where the animal abuser had any jail time over 2 days.

Heck, even that guy who threw those 5 kittens into the fire two weeks ago is out of jail already.

As for the Animal Planet type of "busting".........that's hollywood, like COPs. I wouldn't base anything to realistic off of it. The local Human Society investigators in FLA don't have a lot of juice IMO.

I'd make the cat issue maybe a filler piece somewhere near the final conflict. It'd be a nice emotional part that gets the audience on the heroines side and build they're revulsion to the OW.

skelly
02-27-2007, 11:06 PM
She calls the cops when she see's her cat's head ripped off and a message on her mirror (not written in the cat's blood, btw). I had originally thought the bad person would drop a little bit of happy weed while she was at it, but that sucked from every direction so I nixed it. I wound up dropping the mangled cat after Van's kick-ass 911 bomb-threat idea. That pretty much solved everything. Thanks for the thoughts on this you guys. Much helpfulness :)

Vanatru
02-28-2007, 12:34 AM
;) I'm there for ya.

I never understood that saying "truth is stranger than fiction" till I went into the Army, then went Reserve and into law enforcement. There are more bizzare "real" things between earth and heaven than most people know or believe.

By the by....those example were based off real examples from some of the nut jobs we've had.........so it's entirely logicial and realistic to use 'em. :)

I'm sure Kristie911 can give you some other real life kooky examples that might help out.

jclarkdawe
02-28-2007, 01:49 AM
There's too much missing information to give you an accurate answer. First problem is what state? Depending upon the state, it depends on whether she's a juvenile or adult. That makes a difference in how the case is handled. Next question is whether this is a big city or small town. Again, this makes a big difference in how the case is handled. Publicity plays a big part in animal killings -- no publicity = minimal prosecution in many jurisdictions.

Was the pot in plain view or hidden. If hidden, what was the justification in searching the room? If in plain view, you still have a problem of why would the police go into her room. Police officers usually go no further into a house than they absoulutely have to.

What's the departments protocol on pot? Some places will prosecute for residue and other places will often give a free ride for up to an ounce.

I would suggest talking to the local police department. They'll probably be happy to talk to you. I will tell you that you probably have a lot of leeway here to make the story go whichever way you need it to.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Rabe
02-28-2007, 02:34 PM
Somebody breaks into my 16-year-old character's house and off's the cat while she (my character) is home alone. During the investigation the cops find a small amount of pot that the bad guy planted in her room.

Without valid permission to search the room from the girl and/or parents (someone with a vested interest in the property and the ability to grant permission) or a search warrant AND failing the 'plain view' providence - the 'found' drugs would become 'poisoned fruit' and as evidence would be thrown out. Without, I doubt there'd be a case. In short, the DAs office most likely wouldn't even take this one.

An example: There was a Supreme Court decision (don't ask which one right now, if you want it I can get it later) wherein the facts are thus:

Cops go into a guys house and while there, one officer sees some speakers that match the description of some that had been stolen. He moves the speakers just enough to see the serial numbers on the back. The case wound to the SC wherein the decision was that the moving of the speakers to find the serial numbers constituted an unconstitutional search and thereby the evidence was thrown out.

Even so much as seeing a piece of plastic sticking out from under the mattress wouldn't justify a search. In the scenario you propose, there isn't even enough to justify a 'search incident to arrest' or 'immediate control' of the room.

If this were an issue, you would have to have the pot be in plain view (easily spotted - but that's lame) or there would have be some grant given for a search.

BTW...it seems that the most obvious part of the incident has been overlooked...the cat is killed and left IN THE HOUSE? Maybe animal cruelty charges may not be of much concern - but burglary should definitely be a concern.

Rabe...

ideagirl
03-01-2007, 07:30 AM
I'm not an attorney, but I believe for the police to make an arrest of the girl, the pot would have to be out in plain sight. They can't use evidence they find in a search when it doesn't relate to the case they're working on. Again, I'm not a lawyer so you'd have to double-check this.

It's incorrect. If the search is legal in the first place, then as a general rule, they can use anything they find. Like, if the cops have a warrant to search a house because they think the person living there is a burglar and has stolen goods in the house, and then when they search it they find drugs or a dead body, they can certainly charge him with drug possession, murder, etc. The same goes if they're invited into the house by the owner (that's how Boy George recently got sentenced to community service for drug possession: he called the cops to report that things had been stolen from his apartment in New York and let them in to investigate, but they found drugs while they were there.

But if the search is illegal, (e.g. no warrant, no crime in progress [if a crime is actually in progress they can go in], the owner doesn't voluntarily let them in, etc.), then they can't use anything they find for the case they were investigating or any other case.


I'm with Vanatru however; I doubt the police are going to make much of an investigation at all unless they're called in my one of the humane associations. I had a $2000 mower stolen once; the police response was to give me a crime report number over the phone to use to file with my insurance. That was it. There's only so much they can do.

Yes, I agree completely. For small things like that, the police generally won't investigate much or at all. And in the example of the girl with the cat killed, even if they DID investigate, I can't imagine why the cops would ever set foot in her bedroom, since it has nothing to do with the crime. (I'm assuming that's not where the cat's body was found--I'm picturing the 16 year old at home in her room, and the cat being killed elsewhere in the house or outside.)