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October 11, 1999 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


No, I'm not endorsing this new series -- which people watched for about as long as it took David E. Kelley to write it -- about two terribly conspicuous uncover investigators. But now that I've gotten your attention with that photo, I will tell you that were you to rifle through the files over here at the Studio Apartment of Justice, you would indeed find a dossier on all advice-seekers who are also:


Ground rule on snooping: don't.

Not only because it's Not Right, but also because it Doesn't Help.

Consider the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution: first of all, you're granted a warrant only on a court's affirmation that a crime was probably committed and that the evidence is sitting pretty much where they think it is. So now you're thinking, "Yeah, but what if this people's court knows s/he's been conducting a relationship with SkankyHo17?! Doesn't that warrant an all-out search of "Mail S/he's Sent?" Motion denied. Real detectives need evidence to do their jobs, to make and prove their case. But why do you? If you're that sure that something's amiss, isn't the "evidence" (inattention, shadiness, sparklessness, whatever) that led you -- legally -- to that conclusion sufficient? Isn't something wrong enough already? What's the point of getting "proof" -- or even? Why would you want to get "even" -- as in "on the same level of" -- a scoundrel?

OR: Let's say you're not so sure that something's off ... you're just driving your Mystery Mobile on suspicion fumes. Well, I'd pull you over right there with probable cause for insecurity, failure to communicate -- you name it, I'm throwing the book. Because again, then, isn't something wrong enough already? The proof is in the pouting. (Yours.)

So if the urge to snoop rears its not-as-attractive-as- Gina-Gershon-and-Paula-Marshall head, stay above the law, above it all. Ask questions; demand explanations if you like; even a stonewall or complete denial might be evidence of something. But accept that The Truth, while not completely irrelevant, actually lies somewhere just outside the chalk outline of The Point. What's missing? What feels forged? What -- not "who" -- is wrong? Dust for fingerprints there.

And here:



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