1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Does this count as a plot hole in my story?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, Aug 1, 2016.

    My story is a thriller, set in modern day America, and in it, the leader of a gang, recruits members by giving them blood ins. A blood in, is a term for when a new recruit has to spill the blood of another person to join the gang.

    The leader of the gang video recorded all of the blood ins over the years, in order to have insurance on his members in case any of them turn on him. He arranged for the recordings on any of them to go to the police should that happen, and he cannot find where the member is, if so.

    I wrote it so that in the ending, the police discover all the blood in videos and use that as evidence to prosecute each member. But I was told by a couple of readers that this is a plot hole, because the police are not allowed to use videos of murders as evidence, because technically the videos can be 'hearsay', since there is no way to prove that the victims in the videos are the actual victims, and they could have been actors in make up and the whole video could have been forged. Therefore it's hearsay and would be admissible as evidence.

    However, the villain doesn't any logical reasons to keep any other evidence of his gang's crimes around. But if the blood in videos would not be admissible, he doesn't have a reason to have videos as leverage now either.

    So is there anything I can do about this plot hole, or does it count as one?
     
  2. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    Tagging @Wreybies , since he's the legal expert.
     
  3. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Oh okay, thanks for tagging him. Or maybe video evidence is the wrong thing for a gang leader to use as leverage against his members. Maybe a different type of physical evidence can be used, that will not tantamount to hearsay. But is there anything better than video for that?
     
  4. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    My layman guess? A good lawyer could have them dismissed as fiction. After all, Hollywood regularly distributes videos of murders. And, technically, they could be amateur films. The fact that there actually are dead bodies is coincidence.
    Perhaps the gang leader keeps the weapon they used, complete with fingerprint and DNA evidence, all under the guise of ritual preservation.
     
  5. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Photos of murders have commonly been used as evidence. Why wouldn't film? They're used as evidence in rape, assault and burglary cases if the perpetrator was stupid enough to film it. I see no problem, but I'm not a lawyer.
     
  6. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I don't know why, I was just told by a couple of lawyers I asked that video is hearsay, because in this case, the gang leader has arranged to have it delivered to the police anonymously, without testifying about it, and thereby incriminating himself in the process.

    Where as in other real cases, the maker of the video or photograph is willing to authenticate it, and it's therefore, not hearsay. Or I suppose if it's found on the suspect, than it's not hearsay either as oppose to a suspect who is stupid enough to film himself. But for a video sent in anonymously as leverage, it's hearsay or at least that is what I was told.
     
  7. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    IMo its not too bad a plothole - the police would need more than just the video to prosecute, but knowing who had killed each of the victims would give them a major edge in the investigation.

    Your bigger problem is joint enterprise - by making the killings a condition of joining his gang and videoing them taking place the leader would be making himself culpable for the killings , so it wouldn't be a logical thing for him to keep as leverage over his crew
     
  8. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. The gang leader having leverage over his people has been done before in fiction though. Like for example, in the The Departed, the gang leader kept audio recordings of incriminating conversations on his men, thereby making himself culpable in his own conversations.

    So what the gang leader's reasons in other works of fictions, since it's been done before though?
     
  9. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    IN The Departed they're used to take down the person that takes him down. If you rat on me, I'll rat on you. if I remember correctly (I may not) that was also to keep the corrupt police in line.

    So if your gang leader was already being prosecuted for murder based on the information from a gang member, he could use them to take down the gang members that informed on him. Using that example.
     
  10. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Also just because something has been done before doesnt necessarily make it right, end of the day if you think about it logically if you want leverage over someone you want something that incriminates them , but doesnt incriminate you ... so as MOAM suggests a murder weapon complete with dna is one example.

    The other thing is that the proof needs to be kept somewhere failsafe , so that a gang member can't just solve his problem by shooting the leader in the head - but if its somewhere failsafe how does your MC find it ?

    One option is that your MC doesnt find it but after he kills the gang leader the leades death triggers the fail safe ..
     
  11. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Well basically in my story, the MC's plan is to trick the gang leader into going to get one of the blood in videos, cause he needs it, but then leaving the others where they are, cause he doesn't need those ones. So then the MC would know where they are then. No after that it's just a matter of figuring out how to make them legal evidence.

    As for having murder weapons as oppose to videos, with DNA on them, I was told by a lawyer that a murder weapon anonymously sent into the police would not work either, because the court could argue that the DNA was planted and it's a set up, since the weapon was anonymously sent in under questionable circumstances.
     
  12. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    On the whole i think you are over thinking it - as i said earlier knowing who has definitely committed a crime is a big step forward in solving it (not least because a suspect shown a video of himself killing someone might well confess) , so just getting the videos to the police would be enough - theres probably no need to worry about admisability

    However your gang leader is awfully gullible , if it were me I have the videos either with a lawyer in a to be sent in the event of my death type way, or for more high tech on an anonymous server in belorus (or wherever) which automatically releases them if i dont log into it ever x days. You've got to figure that someone clever and ruthless enough to run a criminal gang and keep a load of other violent psychos under his thumb isnt going to be easily decieved
     
  13. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Having the gang leader make the videos as leverage is perfectly fine. The gang leader isn't a lawyer & he's welcome to believe his leverage will have the intended effect on his members. Likewise, the gang members can believe the videos will screw them over.
    Using them in court is a probably going to have issues but as others have said, they could be as a piece of evidence for the police to dig deeper in a murder investigation. It's kinda hard to think the video was a fake if the victim is actually dead.
     

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