Monday, June 06, 2005

 

Prosecuting Runways?

My boyfriend and I argued about whether they should have brought charges against the runaway bride.

him: yes - she committed a crime by making a false report and wasted government resources.

me: no - why waste more time and money prosecuting an obviously disturbed woman who committed a victimless crime just because the investigators have egg on their faces.

Now, investigators are complaining about the time and money expended searching for this runaway who recently surfaced after being missing for seven years.

According to one investigator: "The responsible thing to do would have been to let someone know you're OK . . . . There are going to be people expending man-hours and effort, trying to find a missing person."

Apparently, the investigators are bummed out that, in this case, the runaway committed no crime, so unlike the runaway bride, she can't be forced to repay the money they spent searching for her.

I think this is becoming ridiculous. A runaway is not going to notify the authorities of her whereabouts to save them time and money. Otherwise, what is the point of running away?

If someone is emotionally disturbed enough to run away - and even to make up stories to cover their tracks - I don't think it is helpful or sensible to prosecute them for a crime. Yes, technically, the runaway bride violated the law by filing a false report. Big deal. Let's save those prosecutions for people who actually harm other citizens by wrongfully accusing them of rape or battery or theft or murder or child abuse - and ruining their lives. Let's not prosecute people simply because they made the investigators feel like a bunch of idiots for running around looking for someone who isn't really missing.
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