Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sleuthing out trouble

Washington Post - Amateur Sleuthing Lands Grisham in Real-Life Court
The Virginia Supreme Court ruled yesterday that John Grisham must face a jury for his actions in a real-life whodunit.
From what I can gather from the article, John Grisham, best-selling author and lawyer, decided to try to find out who was sending anonymous letters to his friend's wife. In so doing, he used his position on the board of trustees of his son's school to obtain confidential information from school records. He then used that information against a person who later proved to be innocent.
Both sides agree that Grisham and Alan Swanson then obtained enrollment and medical release forms from the school filled out by Almy and stamped "strictly confidential." They provided the forms to the handwriting expert, who issued a report saying the letters "possibly" were written by Almy, the lawsuit states.
. . .
The lawsuit says that Almy provided handwriting samples to another examiner, who cleared her, and that she passed a polygraph test.

I personally think that he should be called out for that type of behavior. First, he's a lawyer so he should know the law. If it was illegal, he should have known it. Second, just because you write novels doesn't give you the the appropriate expertise to carry out a proper investigation. I don't know what the possible consequences are, I'm sure they are relatively minor, but I think he deserves to feel some repercussions from his actions.

Just for the record, I've read some of his novels, and I wasn't overly impressed.

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