Single and fabulous? Well then this is the column for you!
Ever wish you had your own personal Carrie Bradshaw to answer your questions — not just about what to do if your boyfriend dumps you via text message — but serious issues that confront us? This special daily edition of “Lis on Law” will address topics that single women are faced with and that everybody wonders about — but no one has time to figure out.
Between work, working out, dating and maintaining a social life, it’s tough to find time to do much else. So, read up and prepare to be fully armed for brunch this weekend with your friends with some super conversation topics! Your pals will be amazed!
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I have to admit there are times, though rare, when I find humor in someone else's mishaps. Exhibit A: the floral fool from Texas who sent his mistress flowers and was caught with his “pants down” when the flower shop sent a thank you card to his home, tipping off his wife to the affair. And now, Exhibit B: toll records are waking up womanizers around the country. Adulterers beware: let this column serve as a warning — you may not be as smart and savvy as you think. Technology, not your spouse, might be the one to bust your bad habits.
Gone are the days where your wife or girlfriend (and yes, of course, boyfriend as well) could find proof of unfaithfulness by producing a stray dry cleaning ticket or lipstick applicator. Today, E-ZPass and other electronic collection systems are emerging as the latest weapon in fighting infidelity. If your partner doesn't know where you've been, E-ZPass does.
"E-ZPass is an 'E-ZPass' to go directly to divorce court, because it's an easy way to show you took the off-ramp to adultery," said Jacalyn Barnett, a New York divorce lawyer who has used E-ZPass records a few times. Lynn Gold-Bikin, a Pennsylvania divorce lawyer, said E-Z Pass axed her client's husband's alibi, solidifying her case. “He claimed he was in a business meeting in Pennsylvania. And I had the records to show he went to New Jersey that night.”
The Pass, generally mounted on a car's windshield, communicates with antennas at toll plazas, automatically deducting money from the motorist's pre-paid account — and acting as a certifiable time stamp.
The legal question behind catching these lady-killers (I know, women also cheat, but this is a column for single girls!) is whether giving up these E-ZPass records to a divorce lawyer is an invasion of privacy. The right of privacy was not explicitly set forth in the Constitution; however, our Supreme Court determined that the “design of the law must be to protect those persons whose affairs in the community has no legitimate concern, from being dragged into an undesired publicity … from having matter which they may properly prefer to keep private, made public against their will.” Thus, the right of privacy is now firmly established in our jurisprudence.
I personally believe that exposing our private records just because we pass on a public street is an invasion of privacy. However, in order to prevail under this argument, you must have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Unlike talking on a payphone, where you expect to keep your business to yourself, a visible transaction from a public highway is unlikely to be considered a reasonable expectation of privacy, as a reasonable person holds no expectation of confidentiality in records of an activity that is inherently non-confidential.
Of the 12 states in the Northwest and Midwest that are part of the E-ZPass system, agencies in seven states respond to court orders in both criminal and civil cases (including divorce). In four of the states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, authorities release records only in criminal matters. For folks in West Virginia, you need to be even more careful as the parkway authority has no policy and hands over the papers. As Nicole Ozer, of the American Civil Liberties Union of North California, said. “When you're marked for convenience, you may not realize these types of costs.”
So, if this is potentially troubling news for all you motorists out there traversing down the turnpike to see your girl at midnight, you might want to think about a sign indicating bumpy roads ahead … as you may be committing the worst crime in a relationship: cheating.
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Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. She is currently a professor of law at the New York Law School. Wiehl received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1983 and received her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland in 1985. In addition, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1987. Lis is also the author of The 51% Minority — How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It. (Watch the Video) To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.