November 22nd, 2009

Who can take responsibility for the newly departed if no family is found?

Setting: Modern day, United States. New England, say New Hampshire or Maine maybe?

If a person dies and has no family, none at all that can be found to come forward to claim the dead body; and there was a autopsy performed on the person with the results being 'no foul play' so let's say they simply died of old age, or heart attack; not something contagious. Can a close friend or former fiance accept fiscal liability for the body and make funeral arrangements; have the body picked up from the medical examiners, etc and hold a memorial service for the departed?

Have asked the local Medical Examiner this, and their response was that the friend would need written permission from the family. Which makes no sense, because for the purpose of this story there is none.

It's rather confusing to me.

Second question; what if no family member comes comes forward to take the body, is it cremated and put into a local grave, some sort of a pauper's grave? Who would have the record of where this body was laid to rest? How would someone go about getting that information, and from who?

I have asked hospital employees, made phone calls, googled funeral rites, family laws, etc. What am I not googling correctly here?
  • Current Mood: confused
  • Current Music: Cat Stevens: Lady D'Arbanville

UK: Police procedure for a suspect of assault and battery?

Googled: police procedure assualt defendant uk, PACE code C, as well as checking the Ask the Police and the Thames Valley Police websites and back entries of this comm

Setting: Oxford and Cheltenham, UK, present day

OK, I've been hunting around the above, but what I've found is to do with either the victim or assuming the defendant has already been arrested. Which is not as far as I've got. I seem to be at the stage where I just have to ask someone, and I'm hoping you all can help.

The situation: the suspect is, well, suspected of committing assualt and battery upon a young woman. Due to her being attacked in the dark area of the street, she's not certain about a visual identification, but the probability is it's this particular man. However, she fought back and as well as giving him a good kicking, she gashed him across the face with her car/house keys, so there's likely to be DNA evidence involved.

The assualt took place in Cheltenham, but the defendant lives in Oxford. Also, the victim's older brother is with the Oxfordshire/Thames Valley CID and was present at the interview of the victim, although not taking an active role in the questioning.

The defendant has agreed to be interviewed at the station on suspicion, although it's not a case of "I dunnit, guv, I'll come quietly." The expected line he'll take is to say "You can't prove I was thare and I took a punch in a rugby game.

The interview will be conducted by the senior of the pair, the Detective Inspector: the victim's brother will be standing in the background and Being Tall. There is, incidentally, precedent within canon for a relative of a victim of crime to deal with a defendant; in the last season, the pair interviewed a conman who turned out to have killed the Detective Inspector's wife in a hit-and-run, although the majority of the case and the interview was handled by the Detective Sergeant.

So, what I need to know is:

1) Would the interview of the suspect be handled by the Thames Valley *cough* Oxfordshire Police or the Gloucestershire Police? For what it's worth, the DI with the Gloucestershire Police was a uniformed officer with Thames Valley and worked under our DI when he was DS, and because of his respect for the officer and his personality isn't likely to get into a territorial dispute. Unless it really is against procedure and his Superintendent starts breathing down his neck.

2) After the interview, given that the defendant is holding to the line of I-wasn't-there-and-you-can't-prove-I-was and the DNA results won't be back for a few days, would he be charged, held on suspicion, or released with a caution not to leave Oxford? There is at least one other likely suspect, or it could be a random stranger -- as I said, the victim is aware that her visual identification isn't likely to hold up in court.

Thanks in advance for any help, suggestions, etc.

Calligraphy pens?

Setting: Modern-day, USA.
Google terms: calligraphy pen, calligraphy tools, what pen to use for calligraphy, calligraphy
Results: a lot of websites discussing the importance of certain types of pens, but not using brand names. and other sales websites. tutorials about how to actually use a pen or start calligraphy.

My character does calligraphy (western, not Japanese/Chinese/Islamic/Persian/Tibetan characters).

What is a reasonably versatile set for him to own? A modern-style pen - I don't want my character making his own out of feathers, thanks - and one of the type with replacable ink cartridges, as opposed to a "dip" pen. Interchangeable nibs, also. These features won't play a big part in the story, but I want to know what brand/kit it would be likely for a serious hobbyist to use, so I can describe the pen itself in detail and be realistic.

As far as I can tell, Brause is "The Best Brand Evar" but it also seems to be rather expensive? But on the other hand, not the $20 sets you can buy at any crafts store.

Thanks for the help.

Abuse and adoption laws in 1920s America

Setting: 1920s Mississippi
Googled: Abuse laws in 1920s America, adoption in 1920s Mississippi, adoption in 1920s America, and looked up "sexual abuse" and "abuse" on Wikipedia.

My questions:

1) I got a little information about this. Would an abusive father be jailed in 1920s Mississippi?
2) Upon the mother remarrying, how easily would the stepfather be adopt to his stepson?
3) Can the little boy's last name be changed fast to match his stepfather's?

Blowing up a quantum physicist

place: U. of Illinois, time: 3 years ago, google: quantum physics research

Our Hero is a professor of quantum physics, at U of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign (because they apparently have a good quantum physics department). I need to blow him up, or at least blow up something in his lab in a way that could reasonably kill him. But I need someone else in the same lab to survive, because he knocked her out of the way or whatever... (Think Heroic Rescue. It doesn't have to have been normally survivable for *him*, he's got a god looking out for him).

But I can't seem to figure out what a quantum physicist actually does, day to day. Lots of information on what topics/concepts they research, or on famous past experiments, but no mention that I saw of buying a new graviton floculator or whatever [g]

What, in a quantum physicist's lab, could reasonably blow up or otherwise try to kill people, in a way that one person could save another from it?... it doesn't have to be probable that it'd blow up (or otherwise catastrophically fail), it can be due to sabotage/manufacturing glitch/lightning strike/etc. I just need to mortally wound my character saving his grad student from the 'splodey.

If there wouldn't be anything in his lab, is there anything in another physics lab he might be visiting that'd do the trick?

I don't need to actually show/write the incident, I just need at least a vague idea of what it actually was.

Thank you. Sorry I've been posting so many questions lately.