I have two distinct lives. One in the trenches of low-budget film and television, the other in professional gambling. Because of the feast-or-famine nature of show business I need a reliable income... gambling. So here you will read about both worlds. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Good Wife

For my money The Good Wife is the best 1 hour show on Network TV.  Sunday was the first episode of the new season, and had particular resonance for advantage players. The main character is Alicia Florrick, played by Julianna Marguilies. She is a lawyer in a high-power firm in Chicago. This episode begins with her asleep in the back seat of a jeep she has just purchased for her son. Her son is driving, and her daughter in the front seat. They are driving south to Chicago on a highway that has been targeted as a "drug corridor." She wakes up when the kids realize they are being stopped by the police.

The show gets so much of this exactly right. First, the bullshit reason for being pulled over. The cop says that when the son passed him he noticed the kid hit his brakes , and slowed down (who doesn't when they see a cop) and the cop is just pulling them over to make sure they were all right. He pulls the son aside to question him, and then tells Alicia that the son seemed "nervous" when he was questioning him, and since they are on this major drug corridor he would like to run his dog around the vehicle, "just to be on the safe side."  He runs the dog around the car, and cues the dog to show a reaction. (Later in the show they get a dog trainer to show how this is done.) He now tells them that because the dog has reacted it gives him probable cause to search the vehicle. He searches the vehicle, and comes back, and says he found "shake" under the seat. Shake means some left over crumbs and stems of marijuana. (Later in the show when Alicia tells this to a former DA he says, "Yeah, that's what they say when they don't find anything.") Now the really interesting part. The cop now says he is giving them a ticket and a warning, and let them go. He looks down, and sees the son holding his iphone. He asks if the iphone is recording him. The kid says yes. The cop tells him that is a felony, and he must delete the recording right now. It escalates a bit, and the kid hits send, and emails the recording to himself. The cop then arrests him for, I think the charge is eavesdropping, but later they try to escalate it to obstruction of justice.

Bravo to this show for exposing this stuff to a national audience. They point out that cops do this across the country, and confiscate people's cash and cars as a way of boosting their revenue. I know many advantage players that have had exactly this kind of thing happen to them, complete with the prompted dog reaction. They left out two things in this show that are important for advantage players to know.

1. Are you carrying cash or drugs? This is the question the cop invariably asks.
2. You don't mind if I search your car do you? Notice how ambiguous the question is?

BIG DISCLAIMER - I am not a lawyer, but I once played one in a movie. That means, don't take legal advice from a guy writing a blog. But here is how I handle this.

1. My first answer to this question is, "What does that have to do with speeding?" (or whatever BS reason they pulled me over.) My second answer is, "Officer, if you will just write me a ticket I'll be on my way." My third would be, "Am I free to go?" My fourth would be, "This is starting to sound like a fishing expedition which I believe are illegal. I have nothing further to say."

2. My response to this question is, "I do not give you permission to search my car." When the cop says, "Why, what do you have to hide?" I would go back to the responses in number 1.

This does not mean they won't end up searching the car, but this is how I would deal with it.

3. I am a big believer in recording the whole thing. In some states it is legal to record a conversation as long as one party knows it is being recorded. In some states both parties have to know. In some states a conversation with a cop is considered "public" so it is legal to record it. Cops have been fighting hard to make it illegal to video them, but the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal has ruled that it is legal to video tape police.
Legal to video police is a link to an article on the ruling. In the show it is a key point because the old laws pertained to audio, and the kids iphone captured video but not audio. It would be a good idea to find out what the law is in your state, or in states you are going to be travelling through. A couple questions I would like answered is - what if you inform the cop you are recording him, and he says "turn it off." Is it illegal for you to refuse? Is it better to inform a cop you are recording him?

Here is a link to Good Wife. This is just their video page. The specific episode is called I Fought The Law.

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