Erik L. Smith
A homosexual is murdered and, for some reason, calling it murder isn't serious enough. Itís now a "hate" crime. As if murder is somehow worse if the murderer "hated" his victim. And womenís groups are trying to establish "date rape" crimes. Is the day coming when weíll hear defense lawyers, attempting to get lighter sentences for their clients, argue "No, your honor, my client didn't date rape her, he just stalked her on the street and forcibly raped her. You can't sentence him to more than twenty years."
But what I really love are the police sting operations, where an officer pretends to be a 14 yr old girl on the internet asking an adult male for sex. How can one be a sexual predator when there is no real person to predate? If, for example, an 18 yr old woman comes up and says, "Screw me, I'm seventeen," is it statutory rape for the man to say "yes"? Doesnít the female actually have to BE under eighteen? If not, then what precludes any female, even a sixty-year-old woman, from casting a man into the category of "sexual predator" by saying simply, "Iím fifteen"? If the police spent half of they time they spend on these stupid operations on finding stolen cars and solving burglaries, the world would already be a much better place.
Then there are the ridiculous questions the police ask when they appear to be arresting you. Like after stating that you have the right to an attorney and to remain silent, they ask, "Do you understand these rights?" I have just finished reading a forty-page law review article on the subject. I now wonder how anyone but an experienced criminal law attorney can answer "Yes." For once I want to see an arrestee on Court TV reply: "Uh-does that apply even if you ask me questions about a crime totally separate from the one you are supposedly arresting me for now?" Or, "If you let me go, then stop me later on the street and ask me questions about the alleged crime again, do the rights still apply or do you have to read them to me again?" Or, "what if I'm so ill, tired, or drunk, I don't fully know what I'm responding to?" Or, "what if I'm sitting in the police cruiser getting written up for a traffic ticket and, without reading my rights, you ask me if I robbed the bank? Can my response be used in court against me?"
Then thereís the all-time dumb question: The traffic cop who asks, "Do you know why I pulled you over?" Next time Iíll reply: "No, do you? Letís call the station and see if they have any leads."
Erik L. Smith is a certified paralegal in Columbus, Ohio and an independent legal researcher for family law and personal injury attorneys. He has appeared on NPR, CNN, and PBS regarding adoption law and has published several of his articles on the internet and in hard copy publications such as Ohio Lawyer, Air Force Law Review, Probate Law Journal of Ohio, Adoption Today, and Midwifery Today.