I sometimes wonder if the reason people have such misinformed views of lawyers and how the law works because of how inaccurately it is portrayed in movies and in TV shows.
Of course, this probably isn't the whole picture because there is a deliberate misinformation campaign out there about the law put in place by the right-wing, but that aside, I do still wonder about the influence of "Hollywood", to use a shorthand for the entertainment industry.
During the elections, there were web pages, such as factcheck.org, that you could check to see if the latest campaign ad was full of shit. That has now given me the idea about fact-checking other things, such as, say, the law as portrayed in a movie or on TV.
I'm sure this could go beyond the law, but I want to focus on the law in particular, because that is something that is probably easier to research than other, more esoteric things that might come up in a show.
I often see things on Law and Order, for instance, that I think deserve immediate disbarrment. But then they are also done by prosecutors, so maybe it is realistic that they do this and get away with it. So perhaps the research needs to include not just the law, but how it actually is implemented in practice. For example, you often see the most damning evidence in a case kept out by some "liberal" judge, forcing the prosecutors to get creative to prove the case (and also giving a wink to the audience that hey, these people are "really guilty" so don't feel so bad about the unethical things you will see the prosecutors do next. It also probably makes for better drama that way). But realistically, I wonder these days how much damning evidence is really kept out. It is probably much more common that damning evidence that is illegally seized will be allowed in anyway, and then the conviction will be upheld on appeal as the mistakenly-admitted evidence is found to be "harmless."
Maybe a show-by show analysis would be more trouble than just going back and looking at a show statistically - see how many episodes has such and such happened compared to how often it happens in real life.
I'd have an easier time with doing it on the fly if I knew New York law, which I really don't, living in Michigan and all. Still, I suppose I could look it up. Not that I'm volunteering to create such a site. I'd much rather someone else do it so I could read it. Maybe someone already has and I just don't know about it. Anyone know?
In any case, it would be nice to have something to dispell the false notions about the law generated by Hollywood (and the right wing for that matter). Something for the lay public. Information is power. Maybe I'll work on this further.
4 years ago