Questions tagged [law-in-fiction]

For questions about the law or legal process as depicted in works of fiction. Avoid using this tag unless the fiction is a key component of the question.

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What would be the legal repercussions of a UK government employee coming out as homosexual in the 1970s?

This question is inspired by an incident in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (the Hollywood film version starring Gary Oldman, not the novel or the BBC miniseries with Alec Guinness). One of the British ...
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13 votes
1 answer
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Can a parent insist that her child (teen) stop assisting police?

This is based on a situation early in the novel The Witness by Norah Roberts. Suppose that a sixteen-year-old girl (E) witnessed a serious crime, in fact a double murder, apparently by an organized ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Limits on sources of fact or law for a court (incl. appeal)

There are specific rules for introducing sources of fact in a normal (first-instance) trial, either through evidence or through witnesses, with constraints around hearsay, etcetera. A fact (or an ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Is "No More Mutants" Genocide?

It's September 28th 2005. A heartbroken mother who recently lost her twins and their father has a mental breakdown and utters three words. Too bad that she is a quite powerful reality bender and that ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Questions about a complicated criminal case in my novel

I'm writing a novel and have a complicated criminal case to bring to a close in a court scene. I have a bunch of questions about how the case (or cases) would work based on the specific events of the ...
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34 votes
4 answers
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Is it true that it's not illegal for a parent to sell their 13-year-old child to a drug dealer?

My question is prompted by an episode of the TV show Law & Order, specifically the 6th-season episode titled "Slave". In the episode, a couple of the lawyers state as fact that it is not ...
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17 votes
2 answers
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Is it allowed to non-consensually submit someone's diary as evidence?

In episode 12, season 4 of The Office, called "The Deposition", the diary of a witness (Michael Scott) is used as evidence, without the witness's consent. The diary was taken by the suer, ...
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5 votes
2 answers
221 views

Is a will provision naming "my wife" as a beneficiary before marriage valid?

In the novel A Colorful Death by Carola Dunn, a man, Dr Fenwick, becomes engaged to a woman, Stella Warren.He makes a new will leaving all his property (except for a few small specified bequests) to &...
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24 votes
4 answers
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Were USA states really this disconnected in 1964, and was bigamy really punished by death?

I've just watched the The Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode Three Wives Too Many from 1964. In it, a man has a wife in four different USA states, traveling between them constantly and keeping them secret ...
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39 votes
3 answers
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Is "My Cousin Vinny" dismissal actually possible?

In one of my favorite films of all time, 1992's My Cousin Vinny, at the end of the trial when it's abundantly clear the prosecution will lose, at least that's the conclusion the filmmakers want the ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Can a family ask the government to hide the details of a relative's death?

I know of a fictional story plot where the cause of someone's death is unknown. The death may be due to natural causes, or it could be murder. The government investigates, but the findings are hidden ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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If a person is tried for fraud for practicing law without a degree, and the verdict is not guilty, would double jeopardy prevent future fraud charges?

[SPOILERS for Suits] In season five of the TV series Suits, Mike Ross, who has practised law for a few years without a degree and passing the Bar himself, is tried for fraud. The jury's verdict is ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Can the defense claim that the defendant isn't the defendant? And if so, how is the case handled?

"I object, Your Honor. What precedent are we setting here? That the defendant isn't actually the defendant?" — An American Pickle (2020) Suppose that a man that society identifies as ...
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18 votes
2 answers
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Would Georgie’s “Teddy Bear Casino” from Young Sheldon actually be legal?

On the TV series Young Sheldon, Connie secretly runs an illegal casino (slot machines and card games where you can earn cash), which is shut down by the police. Connie’s grandson Georgie thinks she ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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Were the district attorney and his legal advisor legally correct in Dirty Harry about the total inadmissability of evidence?

In the first Dirty Harry movie, the titular detective Harry Callahan is in pursuit of a serial killer who already murdered several victims and is holding another victim as a hostage. He figures out ...
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1 vote
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Can taking photos from a hallway be a trade secret violation

I was rereading Killer Market by Margaret Maron. In this book furniture buyers and reporters and others are admitted to a complex of buildings housing offices and showrooms for a set of sales-related ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Can a court compel a particular doctor to treat a particular patient?

In episode 15 of the first season of House, Dr. House is served with a federal court order which specifically orders him to treat a particular patient who is needed as a witness in some kind of ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Using DnD monsters in fiction writing - what’s the laws for/against?

If I wanted to use a Gelatinous Cube/Jubilex in a (hopefully one day published) fictional story, could I do that, or is there some copyright against it? I wouldn’t be using media or actual ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Is the portrayal of the police at the end of the movie 'Stillwater' accurate in regards to their powers and authority?

This question has what may be considered spoilers for the movie 'Stillwater'. In 'Stillwater', near the end of the movie when the main character comes home, he quickly becomes surrounded by police, ...
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25 votes
8 answers
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If someone stops a potential murder by subduing a gunman, what would be the possible consequences?

I'm writing a story and I wanted some accuracy on this matter, specifically for the consequences on the person to whom this would happen. Imagine an off-duty security guard, while walking home, finds ...
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2 votes
2 answers
434 views

What war crime (if any) is being committed in this fictional story?

There are quite a few people claiming that, according to the Geneva Convention, the Humans in this story are committing a war crime using the alien POWs the way they are. https://www.reddit.com/r/HFY/...
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21 votes
5 answers
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Is it legal to put a death row inmate in harm's way if their execution is near?

In Death Note, a serial killer named Kira is killing the world's criminals. All he needs is a name and a face. It's not too long before countries realize someone is targeting criminals and hire a ...
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2 votes
5 answers
239 views

If a person would confess a speeding event many years after it happened, what would be the consequences?

I'm writing a story and I wanted some accuracy on this matter, specifically for the consequences on the person to whom this would happen. Imagine a situation a public person (this will be important ...
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3 votes
3 answers
285 views

A Lawyer recieves an unintended letter from a client. Is it privileged?

This is based on a situation in a mystery novel. In the novel a lawyer receives an envelope addressed to him by a client, in the client's handwriting, which the lawyer knows well. But the letter ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Stuffed in the Fridge

Los Angeles, August 1994. Kyle Rayner returns home to his flat to find a note about a surprise in the fridge, signed A. The door to the same is left ajar. Inside he discovers the remains of his ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Accident at Ace Chemical Processing - New Jersey

It is 1988, New Jersey. In the area commonly known as Gotham, a poor engineer, let's name him John Doe, is forced - under the threat of death and bodily harm on denial - to take part in a small crime ...
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4 votes
1 answer
268 views

Would it be legal to forbid Superman from participating in college sports?

Suppose Kal-El, son of Jor-El, living under the assume identity Clark Kent, decides to spend some time as a professional athlete. Suppose he reveals his true identity. Obviously most professional ...
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2 votes
1 answer
234 views

In Breaking Bad, how strong would Hank Schrader's case be if he had lived and Walter White had gone to jail?

Yes, Hank has definitely put together that Walt had been manufacturing methamphetamine and committed several other crimes to protect himself, and he'd fight tooth and nail for a conviction. However, ...
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1 vote
1 answer
137 views

Homicide off Brooklyn Bridge

Let's go on a retrospective to June 1973, New York. Upon a pillar of Brooklyn Bridge Peter Parker is facing Norman Osborn who kidnapped his friend Gwen Stacy. After a short standoff, Mr. Osborn's very ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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What would the Blues Brothers have been charged with?

In the 1980 comedy film The Blues Brothers, brothers Jake and Elwood Blues commit a seemingly endless series of crimes over the course of about eleven days. They: evade arrest for Elwood’s invalid ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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Reference request: A lawyer's take on the novel _Starman Jones_?

A lawyer named James Stone has a Youtube channel on which he posts his analyses of movies that involve legal matters – usually civil or criminal lawsuits. I've wondered about a lawyer's take on a ...
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4 votes
3 answers
414 views

What kind of legal action could be brought against Hogwarts staff?

Our stepson, Harry Potter, only received love and respect from both my family and myself during his time at home. Nevertheless, we felt it was prudent to sent him to the best boarding school in the ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Guilt of a character in a convoluted murder from a whodunnit movie

In a movie I recently watched, a rather convoluted murder took place. As a matter of fact, it was so convoluted that I have no idea if the character was guilty or not. I'll try my best to keep the ...
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2 votes
3 answers
339 views

Knives out - inheritance

In the movie Knives Out (2019) there is a specific type of inheritance. Could he really do it like this ? Could he omit all of his descendants and bequest his property to a non-family member ? (...
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0 votes
1 answer
109 views

Hypothetical: "War as Text" lawsuit in Cryptonomicon

In Neil Stephenson's book "Cryptonomicon" there is an account of legal battles over a poster that was designed for an academic conference on "War as Text": [The artist] started with a black and ...
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0 votes
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Under what conditions could a police force enlist the help of a minor?

Would it be illegal for a fourteen year old to assist the police in solving a murder in New York City? What kind of red tape would the department need to navigate in order to enlist their help?
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79 votes
6 answers
10k views

How would the actions of Hänsel and Gretel in the Grimm tale be interpreted in modern law?

This came up as a layman’s law question. I thought of this when reading the classic Grimm tale Hänsel and Gretel to my children. The situation is as follows: The witch imprisons Hänsel with the ...
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6 votes
5 answers
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Can children be placed, and required to testify, under oath in American courts?

In one scene of the film i am sam the character Lucy, seven years old, is questioned in some kind of court under oath. When her story is "shaky", she is reminded that she is under oath and not allowed ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Why couldn't this character in 'Better Call Saul' be a paralegal or take a similar role?

In Season 3 of Better Call Saul, Could this character have helped that person with the legal paperwork in the same capacity as a paralegal -- filing documents, proofreading, etc. could? Or would the ...
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