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-   -   Prisoner's rights (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/taking-care-business/28497-prisoners-rights.html)

Rich Rosen July 5th, 2004 04:41 PM

Prisoner's rights
I was allowed to film in a cell block. Before I went in the warden told a guard to announce that filming was about to start and if anyone didn't want to be photographed they should turn around.
I have footage of the warden saying that to the CO. By not turning around did the inmates consent to being photographed?

Also, I shot in a courtroom with the permission of the judge. Are releases required from everyone present? Thanks.

Peter Moore July 7th, 2004 10:49 AM

Interesting question about prisoners. Prisoners do lose many rights, but do they lose a right of privacy from being photographed? I wonder if that's ever been litigated.

Mike Rehmus July 16th, 2004 08:57 PM

Of course filming is one thing, using the images and sound is quite another.

Mike Cavanaugh July 19th, 2004 08:01 AM

A couple of red flags here:

1) Laws vary by state - be sure to check with a lawyer. In many states, prisoners are protected by very strong confidentially laws. My wife works in a maximum security prison and has to deal with this all the time.

2) Prisoners are, for the most part, the most lawsuit happy bunch of people in the world. They have plenty of time, access to legal advice, local "jailhouse lawyers" and books. They love to file suits over the most trivial things in the hopes that they can use the suit as a bargaining chip for what they really want. A hypothetical example:

A prisoner who appears in your movie (even if he is "turned around") can claim that he is now in danger because gang members would recognize him and know what prison he is in. He will sue you and the prison system (much deeper pockets than you!) for millions. What he really wants is transfer to another prison, but in the meantime, you have spent big bucks defending yourself.

If I were you, I would either use extras or at the very least get signed and witnessed releases from all who are in the shot - regardless if whether they are recognizable.

Rich Rosen July 19th, 2004 08:25 AM

great advice. i know they love to bring lawsuits. it's like a sport.

Peter Moore July 20th, 2004 02:04 PM

Most of their lawsuits are habeas corpus actions to try to get released, or 8th amendment suits too complain about the food. It's kind of funny if it didn't clog the system so much.

Dennis Vogel July 21st, 2004 03:57 PM

Hey, they're just playing the game like everyone else. Don't you think big businesses are doing exactly the same thing and "clogging" up the works? It just doesn't get the play because, well, because that's what we think businesses should do. Prisoners, well, they get the press because it's just not done!

Dennis Vogel

Peter Moore July 22nd, 2004 07:53 AM

" Don't you think big businesses are doing exactly the same thing and "clogging" up the works?"

No, that's definitely a new one. Businesses rarely file frivolous lawsuits. The consequences for them are far worse than for individuals. The consequences for prisoners to do so are virtually none.

Dennis Vogel July 22nd, 2004 03:01 PM

I guess it's a matter of perspective. I hear all the time of businesses filing lawsuits over the goofiest things. Fox challenging Al Franken about using "fair and balanced". Didn't SCO sue just about everyone about some Unix code in their products? Disney goes after anyone who even remotely uses an image that *they* claim is one of theirs. You may not call these frivolous but it's no more laudable than prisoners suing over food.

Just my opinion.

Dennis Vogel

Patrick King July 22nd, 2004 04:37 PM

Dennis, now the Al Frankens have challenged Fox in court saying they should have to quit using the "Fair and Balanced" slogan. They were swatted down like common housefly, but it still cost the taxpayers money.

Peter Moore July 23rd, 2004 01:28 PM

Ok, Dennis I see what you mean now. It's definitely true there are some silly lawsuits out there.

When I think of frivolous suits though, what usually comes to mind are when individuals file claim after claim over little slips and falls, or prisoners file, like I said. Sometimes you get quacks who get worthless patents and sue dozens of companies hoping one will settle.

There's definitely some stupid lawsuits in the IP world, even by corporations. I see SBC, for example, suing over a patent that to me, as a former computer student, seems utterly ridiculous. Copyright suits are less likely to be frivolous, unless you're the RIAA. ;) Yes, that's a joke and I do recognize that copyright infringement is occurring. I just think RIAA's lawsuits are worthless.

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