Please replies to each paper separately. Read carefully. Each reply must be at least 150 word count.
1. Crimes against people have been on the rise starting in the late 1990’s. Of those crimes stalking has developed new laws, definitions, and statutes. “Stalking is an ancient practice but it’s modern crime that involves intentionally scaring another person by following, tormenting, or harassing him or her” (Samaha p. 415). The intent to scare or harass someone is not considered a crime in some states, but all states require the act, stalking actus reus. Because the result of stalking is subjective, and results are varied within its’ victims, it has become difficult to pinpoint the exact verbiage used when trying to convict these people. Of all the stalking that takes place, cyberstalking is now the most prevalent within our society.
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“Cyberstalking is the use of the internet, email, or other electronic communication devices to stalk another person through threatening behavior” (Samaha p. 417). Technology has taken over our world and laws are having a difficult time keeping up. In our text, State v. Hoying, Hoying should not have been convicted of stalking but should have been linked to cyberstalking. Because Ohio had not yet developed cyberstalking statutes, Hoying did not fit into any other category. The wide use of internet, cell phones, GPS, and live feed cameras have given everyone a chance to cyberstalk or be cyberstalked. There is no fear of getting caught or a sense of wrong doing, when you can hurt and track your victim from inside your home on your couch. The right of privacy and moral aptitude has escaped our daily lives and given us no boundaries of hurting, scaring, and harassing someone through words on a screen.
Cyberstalking can happen to anyone, anytime. You may not even have any relationship with the perpetrator. In August 2016, Kassandra Cruz was sentenced to 22 months in prison after having been found guilty of cyberstalking. In Miami, a women fell victim to another through social media accounts. “By the end of the summer, Cruz’s fake profiles were blocked, which angered her. She resorted to harassment and often violent threats, which were aimed not only at the victim but also her friends and family. Included in Cruz’s messages were a plot to expose the victim’s hidden past making adult films as well as demands to be paid $100,000 in return for leaving the victim alone” (FBI.gov). Cruz is just one scenario. We have all been or know a victim of cyberstalking or cyberbullying.
Crimes against persons, especially cyberstalking, can easily torment and destroy peoples’ lives. Every minute a victim can receive a text, photo, email, or notification about how they are being followed, and threatened. Our justice system can only fine tune its’ laws when it comes to the new technology and peoples’ privacy rights.
Samaha, Joel. Criminal Law, Twelfth Edition, Cengage Learning, Boston, MA. 2017.
https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/woman-sentenced-for-cyberstalking. Woman Sentenced for Harassing Victim on Social Media. January 3, 2017.
2. What is felony murder? When a person or persons are in the commission of a dangerous crime and someone is unintentionally killed, those committing the felony can also be charged with felony murder. An inherently dangerous crime, in most states, can be considered as burglary, robbery, rape, arson, and kidnapping (Justia, 2019). If any of these crimes are committed as an underlying factor to a murder, then the merger doctrine takes effect. The merger doctrine simply states that if a criminal commits a single act that fulfills the commission of two offenses, the lesser offense is dropped and the criminal suspect will be charged with the greater of the two offenses. How can murder be charged in an unintentional death? Samaha states the original intent to conduct the dangerous crime substitutes for the intent of murder (Samaha, 2011).
The criminal, when planning the commission of a dangerous crime, knows that there is a risk or possibility of someone getting hurt, if not killed. It may not be his/her intention for anyone to get harmed, but there is always that risk. For example, two individuals decide they are going to rob a bank, they walk into the bank holding firearms and demand that everyone lay on the floor. One of the suspects waves a gun around to intimidate everyone and it accidentally goes off. A bystander is killed. Both suspects are charged with felony murder. In this case, the felony murder was caused by negligence and recklessness. This is common with most felony murders.
Felony murder rules may seem somewhat harsh but there is a rationale for felony murder. When a criminal is considering breaking the law in a serious fashion such as burglary, robbery, arson, rape, or kidnapping, the added threat of a murder conviction could possibly deter or prevent a felon or would-be felon from performing such an act. Another rationale is the threat of a possible murder conviction is intended to reduce violence and any risk of harm or death to a victim. The felon might think twice about what they are about to do. The last rationale is those criminals who are willing to perform the inherently dangerous felony, knowing the risks involved and possible harm or death to an individual, should be punished with the most severe of all punishments (Samaha, 2011).
Most of the states in the United States recognize and have felony murder rules in place. There are four states that once had them, but have since abolished the rules. They are Ohio, Hawaii, Michigan, and Kentucky. The Federal courts also recognize the felony murder rule. As it is with states that accept the felony murder rule and those that don’t, there is also a difference in the punishment for felony murder, it differs from state to state (Justia, 2019). Half of the states consider felony murder a capital offense with death as a possible punishment. The other half consider a long-term prison sentence to life imprisonment without any possibility of release.
The felony murder rule and punishment for convictions will play out case by case. There is no clear empirical data that shows that these extreme rules have deterred offenders from committing felonies that could possibly lead to death. It has not shown that it has reduced violence, and the question of whether the punishment fits the crime is still unanswered.
Justia, (2019). Felony murder, inherently dangerous crimes, punishment. Retrieved
Samaha, J. (2011). Criminal law. 10th Edition. Wadsworth, Cengage. Belmont, CA.