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Trouble with Legal Research

Chanticleer

Member
When writing, one often has to do all kinds of research to find this fact or that, but some facts are not always easy to find.

For example, I've been trying to find the police procedures for dealing with discovered minors of undetermined origin and I keep running straight into metaphorical brick walls. This is hardly an isolated incident. In fact, researching laws and police procedures has baffled while working on several stories. Even when I can find documents the language barrier can stop me cold.

Problems like this can be absolutely crippling if you're writing things like mysteries.

So does anyone have any tips for researching law and law enforcement?

I would be very grateful for any help I could get...
 

ciaron

Wolf of the Crimson Moon
what i usually do is find something dealing with a similar nature
like (IE: if you're trying to find procedures for dealing with discovered minors of undetermined origin, try searching for procedures when dealing with finding a lost child in a mall or fair, and change it around until it sound legit)
I know most of the times it's not the same thing, but until you find the actual procedure, you may have to substitute procedures with what you find, think of it like the alchemy of literature...
here's a link on the procedures officers at some fair would take when finding a lost child, get some ideas from it and good luck
http://209.85.215.104/search?q=cach...ild&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&client=firefox-a

EDIT: the link is what i could find on short notice, it's might not work to replace what you need, but may give you an idea.
 
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Poetigress

Panthera tigris libris
One other thing I would suggest is to not be limited by how things are done in the real world.

Sure the police where you live might have their way of doing it, and there may be laws involving that sort of thing. But how many countries have the same laws for the same types of situations?

So long as what you say happens makes sense logically people will not care. Even if you set it in contemporary times and do things differently from the way the police normally handle a situation you can just shrug it off with a statement about how that is how things work where your story takes place.

Not to mention that animals, with different physical abilities from humans, could very well have very different laws to take these differences into account.
 

Chanticleer

Member
One other thing I would suggest is to not be limited by how things are done in the real world.

Sure the police where you live might have their way of doing it, and there may be laws involving that sort of thing. But how many countries have the same laws for the same types of situations?

So long as what you say happens makes sense logically people will not care. Even if you set it in contemporary times and do things differently from the way the police normally handle a situation you can just shrug it off with a statement about how that is how things work where your story takes place.

Not to mention that animals, with different physical abilities from humans, could very well have very different laws to take these differences into account.

Generally I would agree with you.
However, due to the specific nature of the story I’m writing, I really want to keep things as realistic as possible.

http://www.furaffinity.net/view/1447291/
 

Blue Snowangel

Something Old, Something Blue
*raises hand*
I have three years in paralegal studies.

When you are researching cases, it's basically a synopsis of the case details and findings presented at trail. And you'll mostly only find those that set precedence. A lot of the grunt leg work and method of discovery you will not see in those case logs. You would have to go the clerk of courts (some have wonderful websites where you don't have to actually go to the building) to get a complete accounting of everything done and said at a trial in order to find what you need from cases in that aspect. As for flat out policy and procedure, you would have to consult a law enforcement field guide, which you can purchase at college book stores. Or, occasionally, you can find at a library.

And if you really want an insider's observation, you can contact your local police station and set up for an interview for your research. I would advance them a copy of your questions before hand. Most of the time, I've found that most law enforcement personel, right up the law directors, are happy to sit down for a few minutes and give you a quick interview. (It gives them a break from everything else as well.)
 
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