SLO County criminology 101

March 12, 2015

indexIn a court of law, what constitutes robbery or conspiracy or a hate crime?

To help reporters accurately cover criminal court, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office has sent media a criminal justice system glossary. It defines everything from “stop and frisk” to capital punishment, and CalCoastNews has selected various entries to share with readers.

The glossary does not convey legal opinions or advice, according to a district attorney’s office news release. A former deputy district attorney, Kirk Wilson, prepared the glossary, and prosecutors have since updated and revised it.

The list of legal terms defines robbery as:

“The unlawful taking of property from a person’s immediate possession by force or threat.”

A conspiracy is:

“An agreement between two or more individuals to commit a crime, along with an act done to begin the crime.”

A crime constitutes a hate crime when:

It is “committed against a person (or his or her property) because of his or her perceived race, ethnicity, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation.”

“Stop and frisk,” a procedure that has gained notoriety in New York City, is defined by the San Luis Obispo County DA’s office as:

“To pat down or search someone whom the police believe is acting suspiciously and who may be carrying a weapon.”

The glossary defines capital punishment simply as “the death penalty.”

Many entries in the glossary pertain to the treatment of children. One such term is “child snatching:”

“The act of a divorced or separated parent who takes his or her child away from the other parent who has custody of the child.”

Another glossary entry pertaining to children is “compulsory education:”

“The basic right and legal obligation on the part of children to attend school. All states have compulsory education laws and, at a minimum, they usually require that persons between the ages of 6 and 16 to attend school.”

A more simple entry defines kidnapping as:

“Taking a person against his or her will.”

Likewise, a victim is defined as:

“Someone who has suffered as the result of another person’s actions.”

One of the final entries is “W&I 5150:”

“Welfare and Institutions code section 5150 allowing for a forced 72-hour observation period in a county mental health facility of a person suffering from mental problems.”

The glossary includes a total of 309 entries. Readers may record request a copy of the entire glossary or quiz one another on criminology in the comment stream below.


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11 Comments

  1. r0y says:

    “The basic right and legal obligation on the part of children to attend school.”
    Children have legal obligations? Interesting…

    I suppose health care is now also a “legal obligation” – maybe we need to revisit “legal obligation” in this once liberty-inspired country.

    (8) 14 Total Votes - 11 up - 3 down
  2. Slowerfaster says:

    “Stop and frisk” as described here is an unconstitutional violation of the 4th amendment to the Constitution; that precludes unreasonable and/or warrantless ‘search and seizure’ against citizens.
    The ‘suspicion’ that someone is, or is acting ‘suspiciously’ does not meet the criteria. This is why New York City has recently abandoned this illegal practice, along with many unwarranted uses of this murky procedure and attendant lawsuits wherein the city has had to pay millions to illegally detained, searched and completely innocent civilians.

    The SLOCO DA’s office needs to get an updated codebook.

    (3) 17 Total Votes - 10 up - 7 down
    • RUserious says:

      Since 1967 pat down searches have been deemed by the U.S. Supreme Court as lawful. Not sure what community college you dropped out of but why don’t you research so fact before making comment. I’m not sure your justification for finding it UNREASONABLE to conduct them. Turns out there are several justifications for conducting a warrantless search. Here is a little case law for you. https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/392/1

      (4) 12 Total Votes - 8 up - 4 down
  3. JB Bronson says:

    These clarifications do not address what is wrong with the legal system.

    Dude commits 1-2-3 felonies in a given crime.

    Pleads to a misdemeanor.

    Gets Probation and a short, if any sentence.

    (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
    • markslo70 says:

      Perhaps whats wrong with the legal system is that it addresses symptoms of problems rather than underlying causes. We’ve already had the highest incarceration rate in the world for quite some time now.

      (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
      • tictac1 says:

        Incarceration has never worked, this has been known for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Under Roman law, there were two penalties for crimes committed by a citizen- a fine or death. Any other system with a failure rate of 75% would be seen for what it is- a complete disaster.

        Until someone comes up with a better idea, I’m afraid we’re stuck with it. One of the problems is that for an ex-con, there are very few options other than crime. Another major issue is the creation of criminals by creating new laws. You can thank our lobbyists from the prison industries for much of this, along with mandatory sentencing taking power away from judges to make decisions based on the case and individual.

        Did you know, slavery is not illegal? Only PRIVATE slavery was outlawed by the 13th amendment,”…except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted…”.

        Crime is big business.

        (6) 16 Total Votes - 11 up - 5 down
  4. Theo P. Neustic says:

    “Robbery” as a wrong substitute for “burglary”. One of the most frequent errors, even on here.

    (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
    • r0y says:

      Heck yeah! One of my pet peeves.

      That and “10 Items or Less” at supermarkets…

      Fewer markets have it correct… or should I say, “Less markets have it correct.” (then they might understand? Nah, probably not).

      (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
    • tictac1 says:

      Incorrect. This is a brief but essentially correct definition of robbery. Burglary involves entry into a structure with the intent to commit a theft or felony. You can be charged with burglary if you enter someone’s home to commit rape or assault.

      See PC 459 and 459.5 For robbery, see PC 211, “Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”

      (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
      • Theo P. Neustic says:

        Uh, that’s the point was making. Guess I didn’t make it understandable . Believe me, I had those definitions hammered into my head over thirty years ago while being screamed at. LOL

        (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down

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