The Law: What is it?
At its core, it’s a system that controls behavior. Stimulus-response,
if you will. It defines boundaries by which behavior is controlled.
If you behave, you have no worries. If you break the law, it’s a crime.
So then we have to define “crime”. A crime is committed when you break a law. There are consequences for breaking the law. You pay a fine, serve time in jail. Some consequence (aka “punishment”) is bestowed onto the criminal, which supposedly deters bad behavior. Since everyone knows the law, or at least the basics of it (i.e. don’t steal, cheat, murder, etc.) everyone is good. Right?
There are a few problems with this line of thinking:
- The “punishment” isn’t consistent. Since the DA has prosecutorial discretion, person “A” might be required to serve one year in jail, and pay restitution for stealing someone’s money. However, person “B” might not even be arrested for the same crime. Person “B” is in a different county, with a different DA. The second DA might not want to waste his time trying the case. Maybe the DA doesn’t have the resources to conduct an investigation, heinous crimes are taking his attention. Theft of property is not as newsworthy as the seizure of a cache of drugs. It’s an election year, and the DA is an elected official.
- The act is a crime, but law enforcement doesn’t know it. How is that possible, you say? The US is a nation of laws. The problem is, we have too many of them. As a matter of fact, the United States has more laws than any other country on the planet. Who can keep track? Congress is the best example. Every year the news reports the upcoming budget and legislation for the year. When a reporter asks the senator or assemblymen his thoughts about the bill he is preparing to vote on, the reporter finds out the congressman hasn’t even read the bill. It’s too big, he didn’t have time, but he glanced through it and it looks good.
- If the new law is passed by Congress, or an existing law is amended, when does local law enforcement find out about the change? Who knows? We already have so many laws that no one knows the current criminal code as it is, or that a current law has been amended….even revoked.
- Ignorance is no excuse, you say. But what if the ignorant happened to be law enforcement? Or the district attorney? If this sounds crazy to you, let me refer you to a great article by Yvonne Abraham in the Boston Globe: “It Matters Who The DA Is”, Feb, 2018.
- Why do I care? Well, you feel empathy when you watch the news, but the situation didn’t affect you directly. Look what’s happening in Washington, with students protesting, advocating for gun laws. We knew loopholes were in the system but never gave it much thought. Until innocent children died.
My intention is to address cybercrime. I never gave it much thought, until my identity was stolen. And I found out that New York State does not treat cyber/identity theft as a crime. Governor Cuomo included identity theft in his 2018 legislation – as a civil matter. Along with 28 other states.
My purpose for this blog is to gather stories from other identity theft victims. Let’s get together and change this little “glitch.” Cyber/identity theft is a crime. Welcome to New York.