Private Investigators In Virginia

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Posts Tagged ‘surveillance’

Adultery in Virginia–Proving It

Posted by Bill on October 11, 2009

A popular topic in Virginia law is adultery. (NOTE: NO LEGAL OPINION HERE)  Usually, adultery is considered in light of grounds for divorce.  In Virginia there are two kinds of divorces: 1. bed and board divorce and 2. absolute divorce.  I am not going to bother using the latin terms that the Commonwealth favors, but suffice to say that the bed and board divorce amounts to a perpetual separation protecting persons and property. If you get a b&b divorce, you cannot remarry during the life of your ex spouse.  An absolute divorce, permanent and you can remarry, may be granted on one of three fault grounds or on a no-fault separation ground.

Adultery is one of the three grounds for an absolute divorce.  So, what is adultery? A person who, being married, voluntarily has sexual intercourse with another person who is not his/her spouse commits adultery.  If a spouse finds out about the adulterous act, he/she could file for an immediate divorce, but to get the divorce based on adultery, you must prove adultery by clear and convincing evidence based upon proven facts and reasonable inferences drawn from the facts. The Virginia courts have said that “strongly suspicious circumstances are insufficient.”

So, adultery can be proven based on circumstantial as well as direct evidence. It all depends on the facts in a case. A lot depends whether the trier of fact finds the witnesses credible. In addition, adultery grounds must be corroborated by a third party other than the husband/wife. Many people use private investigators to gather evidence of adultery, and the investigators may testify about their investigation.  The Virginis courts have noted in the past that a private investigator’s testimony will be subjected to the strictest scrutiny by the courts and acted upon with caution. 

In next post I will give examples from various Virginia cases dealing with adultery.

Bill Lowrance

NOTE: I am not giving legal opinion and I am not your lawyer if you read this page.

If you want my legal opinion contact me at 703 506 1600, www.lowrancelaw.com

Posted in attorneys, Investigations, lawyers, PIAVA, private investigator, surveillance, Virginia | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

GPS–New Surveillance Technique For Police

Posted by Bill on August 13, 2008

In a recent post we pointed out the Arlington County, VA, judge who ruled that the police using a GPS unit to track a person did not need to apply for a search warrant.  The police can just attach a GPS unit on a car and sit back to track a person’s movements in the automobile.

Today’s Washington Post has an excellent article on law enforcement’s use of GPS to track suspects.  Interestingly, the jurisdictions in the DC metro area use GPS units often.  Hey, it beats having to plan and carry out a physical, moving surveillance.  Think about it, though, do we want law enforcement to put a GPS unit on our automobile and track our movements?  Is there any protocol for police to follow before using the GPS?  Will the use of GPS devices be abused by law enforcement? 

Read this Post article: Click Here

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

www.piava.org

Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, surveillance | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Surveillance Cameras-DC 5000 NYC 3000 Chicago 6000

Posted by Bill on May 1, 2008

 Smile because soon everywhere you travel, even through airports, you will be under surveillance.  Washington, DC, announced today implementation, Read Surveillance Camera Story, of an around the clock monitered camera surveillance system (up to 5000 cameras).  The camera feed will go to the central office of the DC Homeland Security to be monitored by people.  Of course, no one knows who will be monitoring, when, how or what.  Will some errant monitor peek into your apartment window?  There are serious concerns by some DC Council members about lack of planning, security and privacy.

The story points out that NYC and Chicago have 3000 and 6000 cameras, respectively, out there monitoring activity.  Right now most security cameras are pointed to public areas in various parts of the cities.  Will cameras soon be placed in residential neighborhoods?  Personally, I do not want one on my street.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

 

Posted in crime, Investigations, law enforcement, PI Chatter, PIAVA, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, surveillance | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Surveillance Photos & Privacy-What Is The Law

Posted by Bill on April 27, 2008

  Most private investigators conduct surveillance (see wikipedia surveillance) in various types of cases.  Probably the two most common types of cases needing surveillance are divorces and workers compensation cases.  Surveillance may play a role in many types of cases from crimes to background investigations.  

In a normal case, a private investigator will plan and organize a surveillance before actually going on site to begin.  To conduct a professional surveillance, the investigator must identify the subject, gather background information (names, addresses, car registration, friends names & addresses, hobbies etc), visit and map out the surveillance site, determine the best time and place for the job, check out equipment making sure it works, provide backup equipment and batteries and gather the essentials to carry while on the job.

In most cases, the investigator records the surveillance with digital photography, either still or video.  In every surveillance, the professional investigator will know and observe federal and state laws relating to a person’s privacy.  For example, in Virginia there is a law against stalking.  VA Code 18.2-60.3.

The stalking statue prohibits engaging a person and placing the person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault or bodily injury.  The law provides an exception for law enforcement officers and private investigators licensed in Virginia.  The knowledgeable Virginia private investigator knows that his or her surveillance will not violate the stalking statute. 

In addition, Virginia has a statute prohibiting the unlawful filming, videotaping or photographing of another person (VA Code 18.2-386.1).  One of the principles of the statute is to protect ones reasonable expectation of privacy.  Under this statute, it is unlawful to photograph someone, without their consent, if the person is in a dressing room, bathroom, bedroom, or some other location where one expects privacy. 

So, it appears that surveillance photos are within legal parameters as long as such photos or video do not violate a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

Thanks to Legal Andrew.com we have some references to more reading on a photographers right to take photos, see Bert Krages Article, an article by Bert Krages, Portland attorney, and his book Legal Handbook for Photographers.

In the meantime, keep taking snaps legally.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc., McLean, VA

Posted in attorneys, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, PIAVA, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, surveillance | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Surveillance Symposium–Univ. of Chicago Law Review

Posted by Bill on April 8, 2008

 

Surveillance Symposium: University of Chicago Law Review, published Winter 2008

Read legal, scholarly articles on privacy, surveillance, data mining and the law. 

Click Here: Univ. of Chicago Surveillance Symposium Articles

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc., McLean, VA

Posted in attorneys, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, surveillance | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Surreptitious Sampling–Your DNA

Posted by Bill on April 4, 2008

dna.jpg  Ever had the feeling someone is following you?  It could be law enforcement agents or private investigators wanting to collect your DNA.  The police are “surreptitiously sampling” DNA from targeted suspects.  They will place the individual under surveillance waiting until the person throws away a DNA sample.  The sample could come from a discarded coffee cup, soda can, cigarette or Kleenex.  The police will collect the sample and extract the DNA comparing it to an unsolved case in which the individual may be a suspect.

“Police can take a DNA sample from anyone, anytime, for any reason without raising oversight by any court,” said Elizabeth E. Joh, a law professor at University of California, Davis, who studies the intersection of genetics and privacy law. “I don’t think a lot of people understand that.”

Read the entire NY Times Story here.

Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, PIAVA, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, surveillance | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Colorado Private Investigator Arrested Using Tracking Device

Posted by Bill on March 7, 2008

gps_tracking_diagram.jpg  According to a news article in the Summit Daily News, a private investigator from Glenwood Springs, CO, was arrested Thursday after placing a tracking device on a car.  The tracking device was for a divorce case the investigator was working.  A witness saw the investigator crawl under an SUV and then drive away.  The witness called the police who found the device attached under the SUV. The police treated the unknown device as a bomb, evacuating the area and calling in the bomb squad.   Read the whole story Click Here See also Denver TV News

Some people use GPS tracking devices.  The devices are place in a concealed area of a vehicle.  The location of the vehicle is available via computer from a remote location–say in your office.  The use of these GPS tracking devices is questionable from a legal point of view.  PIAVA does not recommend using such devices; nor authorizes such use.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc. McLean, VA

Posted in crime, Investigations, law enforcement, PIAVA, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, surveillance | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Bugged? Again?

Posted by Bill on January 26, 2008

bugs.jpg  How many times have you stumbled across hidden cameras and other video spy stuff in your place?  Well, thanks to PI Gear, you can find’em first courtesy PI Magazine

“Detects all types of cameras, wireless and hardwired! This new generation of detector combines two types of the most popular detector we sell an RF detector and an IR laser light detector creating the most advance countermeasure device available in a handheld. Lightweight and easy to use this detector is sure to find any bug out there.”  See Here PI Gear

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc.

Posted in Investigations, PI Chatter, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, surveillance | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ultimate Future II Surveillance Tech

Posted by Bill on January 13, 2008

 Professional investigators often have cases calling for sophisticated non-detectable surveillance.  The surveillance is conducted in a legal manner and is used as evidence in court.  I stumbled upon a robotic surveillance system that is brand and new recently announced by WowWee, a Hong Kong based company, WowWee Wikipedia, at a recent tech show.  The device will be in the market place in Summer or Fall 2008.

Called Rovio, this device has WiFi control, GPS type system, three omnidirectional wheels, video camera and audio transmission.  You can control Rovio with your computer, view video and listen to audio from Rovio.  Rovio will, for example, roam around your house to any location, and transmit video to your computer.  You can see, real time, whatever Rovio sees.  While this may not be surveillance equipment right now, it is indicative what the future holds for professional investigator surveillance tools.  Below are two videos for your viewing.  The first is a explanation and demonstration of Rovio by the CEO of WowWee.  The next video is another robot product WowWee produces–a remote controlled flying dragonfly.  The dragonfly is not a surveillance device.  But, I thought that if WowWee combines the Rovio capabilities with the dragonfly, surveillance in the private investigation or security industry, in the future, will be very interesting. 

I read a recent article that the US military has developed similar dragonfly surveillance technology that will have high resolution cameras and fly around via remote control allowing secret surveillance.  One problem the military faced was a power supply for the flying robot.  The robot needs enough power to maintain long flights.  The military is solving this by directing the device to “dock” or land on power lines.  The wings will drop and the device will look like some trash is on the powerline.  The device will recharge using the electrical fields transmitted by the powerline. 

Check this out.  Any thoughts?

CEO explains Rovio

See Dragonfly in action

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

president at piava dot org

Posted in Investigations, PI Chatter, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, surveillance | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Surveillance Worked Here

Posted by Bill on January 11, 2008

doh.jpg  A Massachusetts appeals court affirmed dismissal of a legal secretary’s disability lawsuit against Peabody & Arnold, a law firm, based on evidence turned up by a private detective. The secretary, Teresa Brooks, claimed she had a disabling spinal condition, but the detective videotaped her “working in her yard, repeatedly bending over, carrying heavy bundles, walking up and down stairs without difficulty, and walking without a limp or a cane,” the Massachusetts Appeals Court wrote. 

See full story ABA Journal News

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

president at piava.org

Posted in Investigations, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, surveillance | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Real & Now Ultimate Surveillance

Posted by Bill on January 2, 2008

surveillance_big.gif  WOw!  Read this in Popular Mechanics—high tech surveillance Popular Mechanics Surveillance Topic

Thanks to Confidential Resource for the tip.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

president@piava.org

Posted in crime, Investigations, law enforcement, PI Chatter, PIAVA, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, surveillance | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ultimate Surveillance Techniques

Posted by Bill on December 17, 2007

Surveillance  If you want to know about the ultimate in surveillance, visit the future, Ultimate Surveillance.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

president@piava.com

Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, PI Chatter, PIAVA, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, surveillance, Virginia | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hip (meaning “cool,” “contemporary”) New Additions to Blog

Posted by Bill on November 14, 2007

If you look to the left side, you will see our “blog roll” and our “links.”  I’ve separated blog links from regular links, and I added several new links.  New links are for the Washington Post, Washington Post, the Federal Court Pacer System, Pacer, Maryland Land Records, MD Land, Richmond Sunlight, Richmond Sunlight, everything you want to know about the VA General Assembly, Society of Former FBI Agents, SOCXFBI, Pagebull Search Engine, Page Bull, and the US Department of Justice’s FOIA guide, US DOJ FOIA, offering everthing you want to know about the FOIA from DOJ’s perspective.  Also, check the FOIA Blog at The FOIA Blog.

A new page has been added—PI Jobs.  Here we have posted two listings of companies seeking registered Private Investigators for surveillance and other work in DC, MD & VA.  Check it out.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

president@piava.org

Posted in PI Chatter, PI Jobs, private investigators, Research | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »