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Old 09-14-2016, 01:44 AM View Post #1 (Link) Question about writing this courtroom plot.
ironpony (Offline)
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In my script, a gang is recruiting a new member and they give him a 'blood in'. It's a police term for when a new potential recruit, has to spill the blood of another person to prove their worth to the gang. However, the gang is cautious and they want to make sure that they are not recruiting a new member who will turn out to be an undercover cop, or someone who cannot be trusted, or something like that.

So what they do with the new member, is that they have him shoot a tied up hostage, who has a hood over her head so she cannot identify anyone's faces. They are also all wearing gloves the entire time careful not to get any prints on the scene. However, the hostage is working with the gang and is just posing as a hostage. The gun that that the new recruit will be given is a fake prop gun, so no real weapon is used.

However, a cop who is on patrol in an unmarked car, spotted something suspicious about the gang members, while they were on the way to the blood in, and discretely followed them. He sees that a kidnap victim may be killed so he busts in and rescues her. He manages to arrest one of them in the process and the rest get away with the gun, as he is busy saving the victim, and handcuffing the one.

Now basically the woman has to tell tell a lie or an excuse to the police to get the suspect off. Perhaps she could say that there was no kidnapping and that the cop was mistaken. But she also cannot name other members who ran away in masks. The other members are guilty of past crimes, and even though there is no victim to say they committed a crime here, they still dot not want to be on the police's radar. So the gang orders her to not name them but to also tell the police something to get the one suspect off.

However, I was told that this case would never make it court by some people, where as others said it would. But if it would not make it to court, is there some way, I can write it so it would, since I kind of wanted the courtroom atmosphere and all for the story?
 
Old 09-14-2016, 03:00 AM View Post #2 (Link)
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It's moments like these, Ironpony, where I have to wonder if any of this is actually real or not, or if you're just massively trolling us at this point.

You were told last time you posted a thread that threads like these would be locked because you're just going around the internet asking the same questions, and getting the same answers. It'd be different if you actually posted any of your writing, or contributed to the site in any way at all.

I'll make an effort to actually answer your question. I'm assuming the reason people say this wouldn't go to court is because it's generally a victimless crime (if it can even be called a crime) that only gets this far because a cop follows "suspicious activity" and makes assumptions about what he sees. It's only by coincidence he happens to be right. All the woman has to say is "this is my fetish and I go to craigslist to invite random people to play it out, so I don't actually know any of their names" or "this was an avant garde film project I agreed, but I don't know anyone's names." She is, as far as any of them know, an innocent victim here. If she says "no, this guy is also innocent, this is a big misunderstanding," there's no logical reason the police as a whole wouldn't just let it go.

You say in the other thread I linked, that:
the defendant and the woman going free, is the pay off. The cops are disappointed cause they are embarrassed about them laughing in their faces as they got off free, and that's the pay off. It's not the end to the whole story, it's just the midpoint
This doesn't sound to me even like the midpoint. This shouldn't go to court for any reason, because there is no reason. Trying to force it to go to court because that's what you want the plot to do will just feel forced and unnatural, and ultimately lead to more plot holes that you'll post about here (although I really don't think you're writing this book... or, it's a script now? Was it always a script and I just missed that?) This is, at best, an inciting incident that makes Coppy McCop suspicious of the gang member and the woman, and start investigating them on his own, against the wishes of his department.

But, again, all of this is all I can infer from the tiny bit of information you give here, most of which isn't really new to me because you've posted nearly this exact same question before. Post your work here, ironpony. Get some actual in-depth answers. Or, because it sounds like you really have no idea what you're doing with this plot because you still don't have the opening down after at least seven months of working on it, drop this project and start on something fresh.
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Old 09-14-2016, 03:22 AM View Post #3 (Link)
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Okay thanks. Sorry I don't mean to troll, just wanting to make the story better. Well I did have the opening down at first. When I first asked lawyers in my research, they said it would go to court, cause a prosecutor would just use the cop's testimony and not use the witness's. So when I first wrote it, the opening sequence, all the way to it going to court lasted half a screenplay. And yes it was always a script, but I didn't specify before I guess.

But now I am trying to make it work differently, if it will not go to court. But the lawyer I interviewed said it would before and that the prosecutor would just not use her. So I am not sure if it would since I got differing opinions. Even on the other sites I asked, I got differing opinions.

The lawyer said it would go to court, cause the gang members who resisted arrest and escaped, committed other crimes in their escape, so they will want to take it court in order to get the defendant to cut a deal on the others.

Plus you say that the police would not let this go. But at the same time there is no reason for it to go court. So if the police do not have evidence of a crime, why would they keep pursuing it then?
  
						Last edited by ironpony; 09-14-2016 at 03:25 AM.
Old 09-14-2016, 04:35 AM View Post #4 (Link)
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So my next question would be, how do they know this is gang activity? This is the kind of thing that would make more sense reading the actual text, and having context, so I don't know--but is there anything that the cop who stumbles upon this can use to actually prove it's gang related and not, like I said, anything else the woman could explain it away as? Although, yes, resisting arrest would be the kind of thing that the person they have could be charged for (but would that go to court?)

Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
Plus you say that the police would not let this go. But at the same time there is no reason for it to go court. So if the police do not have evidence of a crime, why would they keep pursuing it then?
No, I said Coppy McCop wouldn't let this go, while the police would. There's a big difference. It's not dissimilar to this other idea you've brought up a couple times that relies on a cop going against department wishes in order to stay close to a female character. It's also a way plot can happen with an added layer of conflict and characterization. If this doesn't sound right to you, I'm left wondering what happens after the midpoint of this story, when the woman and the gang member get away in the court system. I'm assuming these characters don't drop out of the book once they're declared innocent, but the police wouldn't be allowed to keep investigating them for a crime they've been cleared for, so I'm wondering how you originally have this go down.
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Old 09-14-2016, 05:31 AM View Post #5 (Link)
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No, the cop does not know for certain that it's gang activity. The reader knows, but not the character. The cop can only go by what he sees which is a woman appearing to be in danger. The gang members also have a getaway car, which they destroy after escaping arrest, so the cop suspects criminal activity as a result.

Basically the cop does not want to let it go after and keeps pursuing for personal conflict reasons, once the case is thrown out of court, at least that is what I intended before.
 
Old 09-14-2016, 06:08 AM View Post #6 (Link)
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Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
Basically the cop does not want to let it go after and keeps pursuing for personal conflict reasons, once the case is thrown out of court, at least that is what I intended before.
Right, and that's what I was recommending. But you can have that plot whether it goes to court or not, so you have to consider what the benefits are if you choose to write the court scenes, and what the benefits are if you choose not to write the court scenes.
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:20 AM View Post #7 (Link)
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Well it's a high profile media case, because the public believes the kidnappers to be the same gang who have kidnapped and ransomed other victims earlier in the story. They do not know that the woman is not a victim at this point.

So it's a high profile media case, and I thought that the courtroom setting would be better cause it's open to the public, and it would make for a good dramatic spectacle scene, when the suspected kidnapper is let go, the public is outraged, and the police are humiliated in the process. It also gives the chance for other characters to testify, and develop the characters through their testimony and cross examination. So I thought the courtroom would set a much better tone for the story, but at the same time, I am having trouble keeping it in the courtroom, plot wise, since some people are saying it wouldn't go to court.
 
Old 09-14-2016, 01:19 PM View Post #8 (Link)
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Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
Well it's a high profile media case, because the public believes the kidnappers to be the same gang who have kidnapped and ransomed other victims earlier in the story. They do not know that the woman is not a victim at this point.

So it's a high profile media case, and I thought that the courtroom setting would be better cause it's open to the public, and it would make for a good dramatic spectacle scene, when the suspected kidnapper is let go, the public is outraged, and the police are humiliated in the process. It also gives the chance for other characters to testify, and develop the characters through their testimony and cross examination. So I thought the courtroom would set a much better tone for the story, but at the same time, I am having trouble keeping it in the courtroom, plot wise, since some people are saying it wouldn't go to court.
You're losing me again, and I'm starting to see why people are telling you this wouldn't go to court. I mean, you got an opinion from a lawyer that said this would go to court, and if it's a honest-to-heck lawyer I have to assume they're a good authority on this topic and you should go with their opinion over most other people's (especially mine, because what do I know?) But a lot of this isn't holding up to a lot of simple logic... I don't necessarily doubt the lawyer, but I know from threads of experience that you aren't always upfront and transparent about a lot of information... so I don't doubt the lawyer gave you a good opinion based on the information you gave them, but instead I doubt maybe the quality of the information you gave them and the fact that, assuming they are not a writer themselves, they don't look at this as a plot as it needs to be looked at.

So a few more questions:

Would this really be a "high profile" case? I mean, serial kidnappings and gang related activity are always high profile to the police, sure. But to the public? Why do they care? Gang related activity almost always gets swept under the rug because gangs tend to be a faceless amalgamation without any of the "romance" behind it that, say, serial killers do--high profile cases almost always revolve around one villain, for example. This specific crime is a) only assumed to be gang related based on one cop's word and b) really, should have been dismissed before it got to this point because the woman who is the victim in this situation was part of it all along and could easily dismantle this by saying it wasn't a kidnapping.

If the case is really this high profile, do you think it could go this far without anyone knowing that the woman isn't actually a victim at this point? High profile means mega media coverage. The first thing a journalist would try to do is track down the victim of this crime and get her story. They would be EXTREMELY suspicious that the police don't want to involve the victim of this crime.

Can they even bring a kidnapping case to court if they don't technically have someone who has been kidnapped? Yeah, sure, he could be being charged for other suspect gang activity--but you explicitly said it's high profile for being a kidnapping case, and I can't imagine "resisting arrest" would end in a high profile court case.

Any good defense lawyer is going to also find that victim to get testimony, or to try and learn more about her to discredit her... in that process, they'll learn that this wasn't a kidnapping, and then they've basically won the case. The police know this. I have to assume that her giving testimony that this wasn't a kidnapping is part of what gets the suspected kidnapper off because... well, of course it would.

I can't go much further because I have to go, so I'll wrap up: it doesn't sound like this would go to court because the police know the supposed victim won't actually testify to being a victim, and so the police should know they'd be humiliated in court. The police will do anything they can not to humiliated to the public (seeing as public opinion of the police is already generally pretty low right now) and even moreso, they wouldn't bring a case to court that they have good reason to believe they'll lose (and as long as there's no victim to actually testify it was a kidnapping, and there's instead a "victim" saying it explicitly wasn't a kidnapping, then they're going to lose).

My opinion also hinges, admittedly, on the idea that the woman will testify to the man's innocence in court... but why wouldn't she? You've not given me ample reason to believe she wouldn't.

It just sounds like a lot of your plot, right now, relies on an unbelievable premise, and you really need to rework everything about it... just based on what you've told me.
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						Last edited by Infinity_Man; 09-14-2016 at 08:12 PM.
Old 09-14-2016, 11:29 PM View Post #9 (Link)
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Okay thanks you make some really good points. The case is high profile, cause some of the kidnappings caught media attention, prior in the story. The police do not divulge details surrounding the arrest though, and they do not divulge who the victim witness, is, to the public. So she is kept secret from the public.

Basically the lawyer told me two things, which is what made me write it this way. Basically the woman is not going to tell the police right away, that it was a game her and the guys were playng, cause the police is going to ask her for their names, and she has to wait till the chase is over, and wait for them to get past any police road blocks to get away. She has to wait to see who is arrested, because otherwise she will not know what lie to tell. She also doesn't know what the police know, so she has to wait for all the facts to get in first.

However, the lawyer, told me that since the character calls a lawyer and asks him what to do, the lawyer would advice her to not speak to the police at all. Cause she would have to cover up the fact that she does not know the other gang members' names. And if the police spot any dishonesty in any statements she makes, it can be used against her as evidence.

This is why lawyers always tell their clients to not open their mouths to the police. So I wrote it that she doesn't speak at all to the police and avoids the questions, cause that's what a lawyer said he would advise his client to do.

I also asked a couple of lawyers if the prosecution needs the testimony of the victim to go to court, if the victim is not talking.

They both said that if the victim doesn't talk, that legally a court does not need the victim testimony, to go to a preliminary hearing, if they have eyewitness testimony from officers, as in this case.

I am open to writing it, so that the suspect gets off the charges in the first act. I can move it from the midpoint till the first act. But in order to write things correctly, I need to figure out why the lawyers see things differently than the readers, who are not law experts. I need to figure out what I have gotten wrong, or what I am miscommunication, since I put some stock in the lawyer's opinions.

I won't know how to rewrite it to fit naturally, to I hear more legal information on the situation first. But you make some good points. I can move it to the first act, so they got off before court if necessary. However, a good portion of the story, is the gang, worried that the woman told the police something, and they want to stalk her to find out what she knows and silence her if they get too worried.

So I would still like to have this for my plot, since this is where I wanted it to go. Could they still want to silence her, and think that she told them too much, even if the suspect has already gotten off in the beginning, for any reason?

As far as this being a flawed premise, I wouldn't say that the blood in being busted is the premise. The premise is the gang creating this past kidnapping crimes which the public and the media, are in an uproar about. The blood in, is really just the inciting incident, to carry the premise through to a conclusion, if that makes sense.

I can have a different inciting incident, if that's better. The new recruit who is doing the blood in, is also being blackmailed by the gang. He ends up wanting out of the gang, and betraying them later in the story. The gang secretly videotaped the blood in though, and is going to use it as collateral to keep him from talking, cause of he smears the gang, they will smear him.

Technically he didn't commit any crimes, since the woman agreed to the blood in, but on the video, his face is there with the rest of the gang, who the public knows is responsible for the past kidnappings. So the traitor will not talk, if it means his reputation being publicly tarnished, by being part of a gang.

So this is part of my ending that I wanted as well. So the reason why I went with that inciting incident was to build towards two conclusions I wanted.

1. A reason for the new recruit to be blackmailed.

2. The gang thinking that the woman member might be a liability cause she is legally subpoenaed and cornered, so they go after her.

But I could write a different inciting incident to build to these two pay offs, or maybe I need two. One for the one, and one for the other, to have both pay offs for my story.

But in order to write an inciting incident that works for both, I first need to find out why the lawyers are saying one thing, and the readers another first.

The readers are also not law experts, so why do they question the material with such certainty, when they do not even know what the law is, that accurately, compared to the lawyers. Should I just to write so that is the law? Like what if I wrote it so that other characters in the story, cannot believe it, so if the characters are just as surprised as the reader, as to what the law really is, would that help?
  
						Last edited by ironpony; 09-15-2016 at 12:07 AM.
Old 09-15-2016, 12:06 AM View Post #10 (Link)
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Okay thanks you make some really good points. The case is high profile, cause some of the kidnappings caught media attention, prior in the story. The police do not divulge details surrounding the arrest though, and they do not divulge who the victim witness, is, to the public. So she is kept secret from the public.

Basically the lawyer told me two things, which is what made me write it this way. Basically the woman is not going to tell the police right away, that it was a game her and the guys were playng, cause the police is going to ask her for their names, and she has to wait till the chase is over, and wait for them to get past any police road blocks to get away. She has to wait to see who is arrested, because otherwise she will not know what lie to tell. She also doesn't know what the police know, so she has to wait for all the facts to get in first.

However, the lawyer, told me that since the character calls a lawyer and asks him what to do, the lawyer would advice her to not speak to the police at all. Cause she would have to cover up the fact that she does not know the other gang members' names. And if the police spot any dishonesty in any statements she makes, it can be used against her as evidence.

This is why lawyers always tell their clients to not open their mouths to the police. So I wrote it that she doesn't speak at all to the police and avoids the questions, cause that's what a lawyer said he would advise his client to do.

I also asked a couple of lawyers if the prosecution needs the testimony of the victim to go to court, if the victim is not talking.

They both said that if the victim doesn't talk, that legally a court does not need the victim testimony, to go to a preliminary hearing, if they have eyewitness testimony from officers, as in this case.

I am open to writing it, so that the suspect gets off the charges in the first act. I can move it from the midpoint till the first act. But in order to write things correctly, I need to figure out why the lawyers see things differently than the readers, who are not law experts. I need to figure out what I have gotten wrong, or what I am miscommunication, since I put some stock in the lawyer's opinions.

I won't know how to rewrite it to fit naturally, to I hear more legal information on the situation first. But you make some good points. I can move it to the first act, so they got off before court if necessary. However, a good portion of the story, is the gang, worried that the woman told the police something, and they want to stalk her to find out what she knows and silence her if they get too worried.

So I would still like to have this for my plot, since this is where I wanted it to go. Could they still want to silence her, and think that she told them too much, even if the suspect has already gotten off in the beginning, for any reason?

As far as this being a flawed premise, I wouldn't say that the blood in being busted is the premise. The premise is the gang creating this past kidnapping crimes which the public and the media, are in an uproar about. The blood in, is really just the inciting incident, to carry the premise through to a conclusion, if that makes sense.

I can have a different inciting incident, if that's better. The new recruit who is doing the blood in, is also being blackmailed by the gang. He ends up wanting out of the gang, and betraying them later in the story. The gang secretly videotaped the blood in though, and is going to use it as collateral to keep him from talking, cause of he smears the gang, they will smear him.

Technically he didn't commit any crimes, since the woman agreed to the blood in, but on the video, his face is there with the rest of the gang, who the public knows is responsible for the past kidnappings. So the traitor will not talk, if it means his reputation being publicly tarnished, by being part of a gang.

So this is part of my ending that I wanted as well. So the reason why I went with that inciting incident was to build towards two conclusions I wanted.

1. A reason for the new recruit to be blackmailed.

2. The gang thinking that the woman member might be a liability cause she is legally subpoenaed and cornered, so they go after her.

But I could write a different inciting incident to build to these two pay offs, or maybe I need two. One for the one, and one for the other, to have both pay offs for my story.

But in order to write an inciting incident that works for both, I first need to find out why the lawyers are saying one thing, and the readers another first.
 
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