1. ILLZ
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    ILLZ Member

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    A criminal legal question

    Discussion in 'Research' started by ILLZ, Jul 25, 2009.

    In relation to something I'm working on...

    If someone is caught disposing of a dead body, and it's proven that they had nothing to do with the death of the person, is that just tampering with evidence? Nothing comes to mind as to what else it could be. Any police or attorneys here? Anybody married to a policeman or attorney that they can yell to in the other room? :D
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It might help if you said what country (and state?) this takes place in.
     
  3. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I think that might fall under the category of Obstruction of Justice...possible a tampering with evidence...and an accessory to murder. I would try googling terms like -- criminal murder charges, accessory to murder, and obstruction of justice.

    I have a feeling your going to have to do some research on this on the internet, or maybe your local library. You could also try calling your local Legal Aid office and ask them what a person might be charged with if caught doing such an act. (You will want to inform them that you are a writer, so they don't think you are asking because you've done such a thing!)
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if there's been no crime commited in re the death, it wouldn't be a criminal offense, have no relevance to 'justice' or 'evidence' matters and would be just a misdemeanor... most places have statutes on the books dealing with the improper disposal of human [and other] remains... so, absent any crime, that's what it would come under...

    you can check the laws of a couple of states/provinces/counties regarding disposal of the dead to get the actual wording and misdemeanor consequence...
     
  5. ILLZ
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    ILLZ Member

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    Interesting... really? If a person is caught dumping the body of someone who was brutally murdered by someone else into the river, that's a misdemeanor in the U.S.?
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If it's a murdered body, it will be charged as obstruction of justice. The body is then evidence of a felony, and you are tampering with the evidence.
     
  7. ILLZ
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    ILLZ Member

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    Yeah, that's pretty much what I was initially assuming. However, I did find this as a definition of obstruction of justice:

    The crime of obstruction of justice includes crimes committed by judges, prosecutors, attorneys general, and elected officials in general. It is misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance in the conduct of the office.


    That doesn't sound to me like this would fall into that definition. More likely, I would think it's tampering with evidence. But even that seems "light". I'm still digging around the internet. There are numerous law forums I've found, but for the most part it's just people looking for personal legal advice, and therefore the help is scarce.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The word includes indicates that malfeasance crimes fall under this category, but obstruction of justice is not limited to malfeasance.

    There is also accessory after the fact, in which actions to remove or destroy evidence of a felony can be viewed as aiding or abetting the culprit.

    I believe that illegal disposal of a corpse in a body of water may be a crime in itself, because of its widespread use to conceal evidence of murder. I ran across some references to that some time ago.

    Make friends with someone in the prosecurtor's office if you really want to get the skinny on how crimes are categorized and charged.
     
  9. ILLZ
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    ILLZ Member

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    Thanks for the info/tips. I have some people I'm thinking about emailing this week, but I feel bad asking them to take 5 minutes out of their day to answer such a strange hypothetical question that I only need the answer to to include in a story I'm writing primarily as a leisure activity.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    People who like their work often don't mind talking about it to someone who is curious enough to ask.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no!... read what i said... i specifically said 'if there's been no crime commited in re the death' and ' absent any crime, that's what it would come under'

    besides, dumping a corpse into some bodies of water could be a crime in itself, since it can pollute the water...
     
  12. ILLZ
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    ILLZ Member

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    Okay... why don't you read what I said in my initial post then. It's obvious I was insinuating that there was a crime committed. If there wasn't, there wouldn't be any evidence of anything. Therefore it's impossible to be guilty of tampering with evidence, as I suggested was possible.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Watch your tone, ILLZ.
    In fact, your inirtial post did NOT specify that the death was due to foul play, only that the person disosing of the body had nothing to do with causing the death.
     
  14. ILLZ
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    ILLZ Member

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    I did not specify that, you are correct. However, if there was no foul play, then there wouldn't be evidence of anything, therefore one could not be guilty of tampering with evidence. I apologize for the attitude.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Unless dumping the body is itself a crime, which it generally is (a misdemeanor, at minimum).
     
  16. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    In many parts of the world, unless you're a license mortician, doing anything with a human body is a crime, not just a misdemeanour. How big a crime depends on the jurisdiction.

    The question is how big an issue do you want to make this in your story?
     
  17. ILLZ
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    I'd like it to be a sizeable crime. Preferably one that carries unavoidable jail time, even for someone with no record.
     
  18. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    Possible crimes:

    Body-snatching: sell it to medical schools, sell it for organs, sell it as souvenirs.

    Kidnapping: demand a ransom for its safe return from the family or the public in general.

    These crimes work best if the person was a celebrity.
     
  19. Operaghost
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    The dumping of the body itself is a crime, and as well as being classed as obstructing justice, you could be held up for improper disposal of human remains, and even in extreme cases be linked as an accessory to murder, even if you have nothing to do it as the disposal of the bodie itself is part and parcel of the whole thing.
     

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