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Thursday, June 2, 2005

Phony Criminal Charges UPDATED

Three black men kidnapped a 17-year-old Oklahoma girl, taking her in a dark colored SUV to a warehouse, where she was gang-raped--whoops, no she wasn't, she made up the whole story as a prank!  The false report aspect of the runaway bride scenario is not unique; with 911 and the increased resources devoted to police and prisons, it seems inevitable that the unstable and the dishonest will seek attention, vengeance or excuse with the help of the free services offered by the government. In recent weeks there have been news reports of false kidnapping accusations in Wisconsin, false kidnapping/rape claims in Kansas and Pennsylvania, along with false rape claims in Florida, IdahoMichigan and South Dakota. There were false robbery charges in New York, a fabricated street assault in Virginia.  Presumably as misguided pranks, jackasses made phony 911 calls of school shootings or equivalent emergencies in Illinois and Texas.  Some false reports are evidently aimed at covering up the reporter's own crime, such as this phony car theft report in Arkansas, this man who took his own wife's jewelry and tried to make it look like a burglary, or this Illinois grandparent who falsely claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint--to cover up her own light fingers.   I can't decide whether my favorite false report is: A) This Florida man claimed to be the victim of a drive-by shooting when in fact he had shot himself in the foot!  Ironic, huh? He'll get a lot of laughs on the cellblock with that story; or B) this dude in Oregon falsely reported seeing a woman being attacked by a cougar--why not a T-Rex? Of course, it is difficult to get hard numbers on the percentage of reports that are false, but intuition suggests that most false reporters are smarter than this group of Einsteins, and thus more likely to be successful.  LSU CrimProf Stuart Green has a piece just out called Uncovering the Cover-Up Crimes on various types of cover-up crimes and how they should be treated by the criminal law.  [Jack Chin]

UPDATE:  San Jose authorities report a regular flow of phony crime reports (note that the sexual assault director quoted in the story reports the debunked figure on the rate of false reporting in sex crimes).  In England a minister was convicted of filing a false report that he had been raped.  Shades of the runaway bride, in New Zealand police are seeking restitution for a false rape complaint.  Here's a different kind of phony crime: Police in Scotland faked a murder scene to persuade a criminal that an ordered hit had been carried out. [Jack Chin]

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Phony Criminal Charges UPDATED:

» Crying Wolf from Crime
Professor Jack Chin has compiled an impressive collection of made-up stories, and worse, false criminal accusations. [Read More]

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» False criminal complaints from Overlawyered
Jack Chin at CrimProfBlog has a roundup.... [Read More]

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» CRIMES OF THE PHANTOMS from Michelle Malkin
Jack Chin at CrimProfBlog is keeping track of fake crime claims. (Hat tip: Walter Olson at Overlawyered) La Shawn Barber's tracking fake hate crimes. (More here.) Crikey. Don't we have enough low-lifes and thugs in the world without having to... [Read More]

Tracked on May 6, 2005 9:44:21 AM