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View Diary: It keeps happening: Faceless Bank's Repo Contractor hauls all of W Va. Woman's possessions to dump (279 comments)

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  •  No crime? How about burglary and theft. (0+ / 0-)
    •  To be a crime requires intent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pi Li

      Generally, you can't commit a crime by accident.  If you have a basis to believe you have a right to take property and take it, and it turns out you are wrong, that's probably a civil liability (a lawsuit) but probably not a criminal liability.  

      Seems to me the more likely outcome here is a huge lawsuit.  

      •  So if I'm driving drunk and I accidentally hit (2+ / 0-)

        a person and kill them, I won't be charged for killing them? Awesome.

        Also, next time I accidentally discharge a firearm and kill someone, it'll be good to know I don't have to worry about being charged with involuntary manslaughter, or something.

        It's the George Zimmerman world:  all about the state of mind of the one doing the harm.

        The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:26:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sigh. Ok, here's a longer explanation. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pi Li

          There are areas where you have what we call "strict liability" in a criminal sense. That's for a few areas where you are dealing with something inherently dangerous to the lives of others.  As I said elsewhere, if you are dealing with highly explosive material, then, yes, negligence can be made criminal.  In some states, they've (through the law) put guns in that category.  But you have to specifically name that inherently dangerous thing in the law.

          Drunk driving accidents are criminal because it's the drinking and getting behind the wheel part that satisfies the "intent."  The severity of the accident increases the level of the crime, but drunk driving is a crime even without the accident.  

          Here's another example.  Let's say you are driving -- no drinking, no lack of sleep, no drugs.  You go to make a turn, and you don't see a car coming.  That car hits you and severely injures your passenger.  That's probably a big, big lawsuit, but you won't be charged with a crime, because you had no intent to hurt your passenger.  

          That's a simplistic explanation. It's discussed more here.

          •  But suppose I hit someone because I didn't see (0+ / 0-)

            them. With my own car. No intent. No reason to believe there was any intent.

            Will I be charged with involuntary manslaughter or not?

            The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:01:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are you drunk, speeding, texting, or doing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              coffeetalk

              something else that's illegal while driving?

              If the answer to all of those is no, and it truly was an accident, you likely would not be charged with any crimes.

              Civil suits are another matter though.

              "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

              by yg17 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:14:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Depends on the state and how they define (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SouthernLiberalinMD, Pi Li

              involuntary manslaughter.  Some states because it involves a death, will make certain kinds of negligent conduct criminal if it involves a death.  

              Some states, for example, will say that if you have an accident when driving a car and that it's due to your gross negligence, or due to something like talking on a phone, then it's involuntary manslaughter.  

              Some states say that if you are doing an unlawful act, and that a death results, that's involuntary manslaughter even if you did not in any way intend the death.

              Some states make negligence in a highly risky situation, when it results in death, involuntary manslaughter even if you did not intend the death.  But they often require knowledge of the risk and disregard of the risk.

              In all cases, states have to define those things ahead of time, before you do them, and enact them into law.  And it's generally for the most extreme form of harm, like death.  

          •  Sigh nothing (0+ / 0-)

            if you find out you took something - even if you didn't intend to - you still have to give it back.  If you don't give it back when you know it is not yours - then it is stealing.

            •  Sigh again. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pi Li

              This is EXACTLY the point:  

              If you don't give it back when you know it is not yours
              If you find out it's not yours WHILE YOU STILL HAVE IT, and then you refuse to give it back, THAT'S when it becomes criminal.  The point at which you KNOW IT IS NOT YOURS is the point at which you have the criminal intent.  

              Let's say there are two brown paper bags next to each other on a table. Mine has a bunch of trash, the one next to mine, belonging to a stranger, has $5000 in cash.  I accidentally pick up stranger's bag, thinking it's mine.   No crime.  But then I see stranger walk up, pick up the bag that's left, look into it, then start looking around with a frantic face.  I look into the bag I have, and see the $5000 and realize what happened.  I shut the bag and walk away.  THAT'S when I've committed a crime that I can go to jail for.

              Let's say that stranger doesn't come out right away looking for his bag.  I take the bag with (unknown to me) his $5000, and throw it in the garbage.  I've been negligent.  Stranger can sue me for the $5000.  But I don't go to jail for that --it's generally not going to be criminal.  

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