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Join the conversation! There are now 7 comments on this chapter's page 52. A Continuum. What are your thoughts?
  1. wp says

    Between the idea
    And the reality
    Between the motion
    And the act
    Falls the Shadow

    Between the conception
    And the creation
    Between the emotion
    And the response
    Falls the Shadow

    Between the desire
    And the spasm
    Between the potency
    And the existence
    Between the essence
    And the descent
    Falls the Shadow

    — T. S. Eliot

  2. Jeremy P. Harford says

    I came back to this page due to one thought that is hard to explain without also explaining the progression of thoughts that led to it.

    Suppose that you wanted to choose the safest possible jurisdiction to live in based upon the attempt spectrum here. Toward the preparation end, jurisdictions may have a heavy hand due to crime problems and it’s more likely that innocent acts may be misconstrued as criminal. Toward the completion end, there’s little chance that anything but actual criminal intent would get you in trouble, but others can scare you by appearing to get awfully close to the completion end of the spectrum; perhaps without actually committing a crime, even if the unspoken intent is to intimidate you.

    Granted, in that second case where the incomplete act would be a violent one, the actions meant to intimidate still counts as assault (right?), but the point is that there’s so much legal “wiggle room” that people might use that room.

    It seems that the place you want to live is right in the middle of the spectrum. So, where is that middle? How might it be defined? I’d be willing to bet that every place thinks they’re in the middle because they define that threshold as the point where actus reus can be proven. So, simply asking wouldn’t help.

    I wonder if attorneys choose their homes based on things like this.

  3. Sean says

    I have an entirely hypothetical situation. For the record, I’ve never been married, don’t own a gun, and don’t have much of a temper.

    Let’s say I live in Detroit, Michigan and my ex-wife lives in Ohio. I get into an argument with her one night and after slamming down the phone I shout “I’m going to kill the bitch” loud enough for my roommate to hear. He watches me grab a gun and a box of bullets and then drive away. He calls the police and they put out an APB. The Michigan State Police stop me on I-75 thirty miles south of Detroit heading toward Ohio, but before I’ve crossed the state line. Which state’s laws concerning attempt would apply?

    • What acts of yours took place in Ohio? It looks to me like everything you did was in Michigan, and you were arrested by Michigan police, who’ll take you to a Michigan court.

      But let’s say you did do something in Ohio. Suppose while you were still on the phone with your ex, you shouted “I’m coming there to kill you.” Everything else is the same, but now you made a threat across the state line into Ohio. Both states could now prosecute you separately for the same events. In addition, the feds could prosecute you for threatening to harm someone via interstate communication. You could conceivably be prosecuted in three different courts, and receive three separate sentences, for the same course of conduct.

      The reason is because Michigan and Ohio are each their own sovereign state, and the federal government is yet another separate sovereign. Yes, the states are united under one nation, but they never gave up their sovereignty. Double jeopardy wouldn’t protect you, because that only protects you from any of the specific sovereigns trying you twice for the same thing. It doesn’t say prosecution in state A precludes state B from exercising its authority. (Individual states may decide on their own to forego prosecution in such cases, but there’s no higher law requiring them to do so. I’m presuming that neither Michigan nor Ohio have done that, but I don’t know off the top of my head.)

      • This question was inspired in part by the debate over Georgia’s abortion ban, HB 481. In several places I saw people say it would criminalize even leaving the state to get an abortion in a state where it’s legal. A lot of people questioned whether that would be constitutional since it seems to violate the sovereignty of states where abortion is legal. I read the bill and it didn’t explicitly say anything about leaving the state. But based on the answer to you gave here, I’m guessing that if a Georgian woman travels toward the place she wants to get an abortion it may be enough of a step toward the abortion to count as attempt under Georgia law.

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