Saturday, July 28, 2007

Victimless crimes?

I was searching "angry drivers" last night on youtube and came across this short clip:

Probation for throwing cup of ice into car
Judge decides against prison; woman was mad at driver she said cut her off

Updated: 3:26 p.m. ET Feb. 22, 2007

STAFFORD, Va. - A woman convicted of a felony for throwing a cup of ice into a car that cut her off in traffic was sentenced to probation instead of prison, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Jessica Hall faced between two and five years in prison after she was convicted last month of maliciously throwing a missile — the cup of ice — into an occupied vehicle. No one was injured in the incident last summer.

Read rest of article here: MSNBC

I was wondering what people think about prosecuting victimless crimes. I'm not sure what the legal definition of the term is (if there is one), but is it absolutely necessary to bring charges against someone who might have intended to harm but in the end nobody is physically hurt?

Or, is it a waste of taxpayer's money to prosecute someone when their actions--however stupid, mean or technically illegal--has no immediate negative consequences to anyone?

For instance, you take a can of coke and you want to throw it at someone's face but you miss. Nobody is hurt and no property is damaged. Or, you catch your wife cheating on you and in a moment of rage, take a plate and throw it at her. You miss and it hits the wall and breaks. Nobody is hurt. The wall is not damaged--it was your own plate you broke.

Ultimately, what should ever be put on trial? The outcome of a person's actions or the motivation and intentions of that person's actions? (not counting what the prosecution needs to prove in order to charge someone with murder vs. manslaughter, eg. motive OR/AND intent)

Im not suggesting that I think unsuccessful crimes should be dismissed. But, it's a thought-provoking issue.

A person cannot be arrested or prosecuted for thinking about doing something illegal--but they can be for attempting and failing to complete the doing of something illegal.

Ironically, very few people are rewarded for wanting to do something good and trying to do something good but failing at doing something good. Eg. teachers who wont give students brownie points for effort.

I wonder why that is. No good deed goes unpunished. No points for trying (unless youre trying to do something wrong and mean and evil).

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