Private Investigators: Naming Sources, Credibility in the Courtroom
At my writing site Colleen Collins Books, I’ve posted writers’ questions about private investigators naming sources and a PI’s believability when giving testimony. Below is an excerpt:
Writer’s Question: You know how reporters don’t need to name their sources – what about P.I.s? Do they need to name theirs?
Answer: PIs working for attorneys cannot reveal sources to third parties without the attorney’s permission. If a P.I. isn’t working for an attorney, and there is no state statute protecting the P.I. (some state statutes create a legal privilege ensuring confidentiality for P.I.s and their sources), then the P.I. can be ordered by the court to reveal her source. Under these circumstances, if a PI is on the witness stand, and she refuses to identify her source for information, she could be held in contempt of court and jailed or fined.
Writer’s Question: Who is more likely to be believed in a courtroom, a policeman or a P.I.? Here’s my take — the police are trustworthy, unimpeachable, and are therefore more likely to get the benefit of the doubt over a P.I., who’s …how can I say this…not as respected?
Answer: Police usually win the credibility battle and the best way for a PI to contradict them is to have objective, physical evidence. A P.I investigating a case, which may involve re-visiting a crime scene days or weeks later, works to gather compelling, objective evidence that can be used to counter or even refute what the P.I. has read in the police reports, and discredit police testimony.
To read the rest of this Q&A, click here.
Big City Noir: The Maltese Cat
Birgit Schössow, a young German artist, landed her third cover on The New Yorker, a noir sketch for their fiction issue. To see it, and her noir comic The Maltese Cat, click here.
Curious how a PI might attach a real-time GPS device underneath a vehicle? The opening scene in my mystery-romance novel The Next Right Thing shows a female private eye doing just that. To read the scene, click here.
How to Say No to a Vehicle Search
Hopefully, you’ll never be in this situation, but if you are, here’s a handy article by Colorado criminal defense attorney Shaun Kaufman — to read about how to say no to a vehicle search, click here.
And for fun…The Cocktail Chart of Film and Literature
From The Dude’s White Russian in The Big Lebowski to Philip Marlowe’s favorite drink, the Gin Gimlet, here’s the Cocktail Chart of Film & Literature:
Have a great week!