1. theseamoose
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    theseamoose New Member

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    Research help?

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by theseamoose, Jul 23, 2012.

    Hi there everybody!

    I've been writing magazine and website articles for about a year now, but it's just a way of paying the bills and not what I'm really wanting to do. My real passion is to write for film and tv, and I've got a new income stream going that will allow me the time to spend writing scripts. I've done loads of different things in my life including being a professional rock musician, scuba diving instructor, supermarket manager, webmaster, factory worker, sales manager, general manager and much more besides. Therefore, I've got a lot of experience to draw upon when I'm writing. I've never been a big reader of books, but I watch thousands of hours of tv and film and that's why I would love to see my writing turned into live action.

    Now, the problem I'm facing is something you would think I'd have covered from writing magazine articles, which is research. I'm starting a script but I need help on the legal aspects of the story, and I wondered if anyone here knows of any resources that could help? I need to know if actions carried out under the influence of hypnotism can be defended under US law. Basically, how responsible is someone for their actions if they have been hypnotised into doing them? I can't afford $200 an hour to speak to a lawyer, so is there somewhere writers can go to get help with something like this?

    I should point out that I am a UK writer, but my story is set in the US and I therefore need help with US law. If anyone can point me in the right direction I would be eternally grateful.
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    As far as I know there is nothing codified with respect to a defense of hypnosis. I assume you are referring to a criminal prosecution (as opposed to a civil action.) You'd have to look at the specific law of the state where your story is set, if you name a particular location.

    Generally, a defense of hypnosis would probably not be allowed, as far as I know. A defendant could argue essentially an insanity defense -- that he was not in control of his mental facilities and therefore not able to form the requisite intent, due to the effects of hypnosis. You would need expert testimony (probably by a psychiatrist or psychologist or some sort of mental health professional) to back up this claim. If you had enough scientific evidence that this could impact someone's mental capacity, AND the facts in your case fit in with this theory, it could possibly work. So you'd need to do research on a scientific basis to see if this is in fact, possible. If it is, then you'd have a shot at making a legal case. If not, then you would not.

    A good source might be a criminal law treatise, which would probably be available at amazon.
     
  3. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Welcome to Writing Forums, theseamoose!

    I hope you find what you're looking for here, whatever your interests in writing.

    This forum aims to provide the best workshopping resources on the internet, and to that end we have a few rules which you should familiarise yourself with before you get stuck in. The main section of the site is the Writing Workshop, where members can post their writing in order to receive critique of their work.

    However, before we allow members to post their work, they must have met some basic requirments. Firstly, you must have been a member for fourteen days, and have made twenty posts on the forum overall (please note, posts in Word Games do not count towards this). This is so that members, when they post their work, have familiarised themselves with the forums and contributed to them (as well as hopefully learned something for themselves). Secondly, members must provide two constructive reviews of other people's work for each piece of their own that they wish to post. This is because we believe that the focus of workshopping should be equally upon giving reviews as receiving them, as they allow a writer to practice and improve their editing skills, which they can then apply to their own writing.

    Beyond the Writing Workshop, you will find that we have extensive forums for discussion of aspects of writing, as well as a community area for general discussion. We also run periodic short story and poetry contests, which are good for challenging yourself and expanding your skills.

    If you have any questions or problems, then the moderators (myself, Cogito, Lemex and Dante Dases) should be your first port of call. Any technical problems with the site itself should be directed to Daniel, the site administrator and owner. I would recommend you have a look over the rules so that you know what to expect, and what is expected. But aside from that, I hope you enjoy your time here.


    Banzai
     
  5. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Another option is to go to a library (they should have access) and utilize the Lexus Nexus database database for court cases in the state you're thinking about as a setting. You may even be able to do a search on the internet for court cases. If you can get a hold of the case, then you may even be able to get the case files to look through, and that would give you all types of information.
     
  6. theseamoose
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    theseamoose New Member

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    Thanks for that help. I think finding a relevant case file could be the way to go. I could then set my story in that state rather than looking for a case in a particular state.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not so sure this should be the dispositive factor in your setting. If you find a case on point, and there is no such case in the state you would have otherwise chosen, you are free to use the case as a guide, but that state might interpret things differently. There will be a big difference between setting your story in a rural and/or agrarian centered state versus an industrialized, urban one. There are quite a few differences between Mississippi, Montana, and Massachusetts.
     
  8. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    I think that could be a very good general idea, but keep in mind what theseamoose wrote. The personalities of your characters, the way they interact, and the way the jury would or wouldn't believe them are all related to your setting.
     

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