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Join the conversation! There are now 6 comments on this chapter's page 47. Thought Crime?. What are your thoughts?
  1. Gregory Bogosian says

    I was under the impression that a crime is always an offense against the state and never an offense against an individual. If it were an offense against an individual than it would be a violation of civil law rather than criminal law, wouldn’t it?

    • Civil cases are those in which the courts resolve a dispute between citizens, yes. However, if one person goes outside the law to achieve their means (assault, theft, rape, murder), then it is criminal law. Both perp and victim may have been civilians, but the police are paid to prevent those crimes.

  2. Podman says

    If crime is not something you thought, what is a hate crime?

    • It’s an extra level of mens rea. It increases potential punishment for a crime. Being a bigot itself isn’t a hate crime.

      Take murder, for example. If you intend to kill someone, and kill them, then that’s murder. If you intend to kill someone because they happen to be Asian, and you kill them, then that’s a hate crime murder. Society thinks that a hateful reason for committing a crime makes the crime even worse, and so the punishment is more severe.

      See more here and here.

  3. Norman J. Harman Jr. says

    What about “conspiracy to commit …”? Sure the thing you “did” is talk about crime with someone else? [Or can conspiracy charged just from like written plans/notes] “Thought” must be taken as very literal. As in kept only in your mind. Which is somewhat pointless cause how can anyone now or prove what was in your mind alone.

    • I’ve got a whole chapter on Conspiracy that ought to clear this up.

      Attempt, Conspiracy, Solicitation, Facilitation, Aiding & Abetting… these are all “inchoate” crimes where you didn’t (or didn’t yet) commit the actual offense. Conspiracy is a separate crime in and of itself, so can be charged with the offense that was carried out. The other ones are only charged if you didn’t carry out the actual crime.

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