Aug 13 2008

When Spiderman ties up a criminal, what do the police charge him with?

One of the tropes of superhero stories is that the superhero ties up the bad guys and leaves them for the police. This helps readers feel that Spiderman isn’t a vigilante trying to replace the police, he’s just helping them. But when the police find a criminal tied up somewhere, what do they charge him with? Unless they have enough evidence to make a case, the police have to release him.  Here are a few ways you can use this to create dramatic situations…

1) The superhero comes across several criminals he tied up the day before. If this happened repeatedly, it may make him cynical about his work as a superhero.

2) Your hero blathers about how much he loves police officers (“they do all the things I do but without superpowers!”), but cops hate him because he never gives them anything they can use to secure a conviction. He never shows up to testify or deliver depositions. If the hero ever comes looking for leads, expect the police to give him the cold shoulder.

3) The police department gets sued because they’re complicit in the superhero’s abuse of the civil liberties of alleged criminals. Look at this from the perspective of a defense attorney or the ACLU. The police department gets easy arrests because Batman savagely beats confessions out of suspects. Batman regularly assaults criminals. Not only has the police department failed to arrest Batman or freeze his assets, but he sometimes meets with police officers in the station. If a defense attorney can’t convince a judge that’s police-sponsored brutality, he should be disbarred.

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “When Spiderman ties up a criminal, what do the police charge him with?”

  1. Jacobon 13 Aug 2008 at 3:36 am

    Also, I notice that superheroes– especially those wanted by the police, like Spiderman– always manage to avoid testifying or delivering depositions. Not that I think the superhero’s testimony would be legally usable… any competent defense attorney would have a field-day if a witness tried testifying without revealing his actual identity or face. Allowing secret witnesses to testify would make a mockery of the Constitution.

  2. Cadet Davison 13 Aug 2008 at 5:43 am

    I think that the courts do sometimes allow people to testify secretly. I think I saw that in a mob documentary. Either way, the author has flexibility here. It feels plausible that the courts might allow for a superhero to testify without revealing his face.

  3. daveon 13 Aug 2008 at 8:14 am

    Interesting post. Can I suggest that you guys implement comment tracking?

  4. B. Macon 13 Aug 2008 at 8:36 am

    Hmm, comment tracking. I’ll look into it, thanks.

  5. Jacobon 15 Aug 2008 at 10:36 am

    I’m not sure what comment tracking is. You mean like a karma system for ranking regular commentators?

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