I had intended to write about this a month ago, but I didn’t get it done. A couple of personal issues threw me off track, and I simply forgot about the topic. Well last night something reminded me of it. So, it’s a tad over a month late, but here it is.
Last January 15, YAHOO published a news story about a 20-year-old who, according to the FBI, had completed plans to launch a terror attack against the nation’s Capital. They claimed he was ready to carry it out.
I’m no fan of Yahoo. Its email function is fine, but beyond this, I think the site is grossly overrated, and, quite often, seems to be in the grips of factual anemia.
After reading the news account, itself, I made the mistake of clicking on the comment section. BIG! MISTAKE!
But, on the plus side, if you’ve always considered yourself around “average” in terms of brain power, a quick perusal through the comments section has to leave you feeling infinitely better about your mental agility.
So, this post isn’t about what this 20-year-old is alleged to have done, what he actually did, or what he was prepared to do as much as it is about the myriad inane comments posted by countless (well 90% of them . . . at least) clueless idiots.
All of the blustering hullabaloo being splattered throughout these comments aside, People should be mindful that sporting a silly looking beard is not a crime. Neither are looking “creepy,” “stupid,” “ugly,” or any of the other descriptives posted in the comments section.
Nor, given the gut-kick way in which he found out about everything, as well as his seeming crazed disbelief, is it a crime for a father to defend his son, at least in the initial stages of an investigation.
However, there were legitimate comments from some folks who, in all sincerity, wondered how this individual could be charged with committing a crime before the fact of committing it.
Those comments made me go back and reread the account. And after doing so, I agreed with them. But to be sure of my point, I first checked with two of the best criminal attorneys in Delaware.
The FBI arrested this man on three charges: attempted murder of government employees and officials, solicitation to commit a crime of violence, and some firearms-related charges, the latter of which are relatively minor.
Given the arrest affidavit that I’ve read—NOT the news reports—BOTH the solicitation and the fire arms charges are slam-dunks. As for the fire arms charges, he was underage when he purchased the guns and ammunition; end of conversation!
And to be guilty of solicitation to commit a crime, it’s only necessary to prove an attempt to get another party involved to some degree. Perpetrators do not actually have to have carried out a crime, or to have attempted to carry one out.
So even if the FBI informant went wild with entrapment schemes, as long as those schemes were not carried out under FBI direction, the charges will stick. The informant was not a police officer or a government official.
As for the attempted murder charge, that one’s a bit iffy as far as proving it goes. It lacks a fundamental legal element for conviction: Actus Reus (Latin for guilty act). And this is no small matter.
Perhaps the FBI has additional evidence, but if they don’t, I think they’ve made a big mistake charging him with attempted murder; I would have charged him with conspiracy to commit murder. Along with the informant’s participation, it, too, would have been a legal slam-dunk.