Sep 18 2011

Which Crimes Do Most Superheroes Commit?

Assuming that the hero is a vigilante and the district attorney is furious, which felony charges might apply under U.S. law?

 

1. Assault and battery, probably aggravated if superpowers are involved.  The superhero will claim that he was acting in self-defense or the defense of others.  That’s fine if he was just responding to a crime in progress.  However, if he initiated the action (like attacking a gang stronghold or hunting down a supervillain), self-defense is probably off the table because the only imminent danger was created by the hero’s actions.  In particular, a self-defense claim is awfully tenuous if the hero was breaking-and-entering.

 

2. Felony murder, if anybody dies (criminal or bystander).  Assault is a violent felony, and any deaths caused even indirectly by a violent felony are deemed murders even if the superhero didn’t intend to kill anybody.  If a superhero breaks into a hostage situation and a criminal kills a bystander in the crossfire, the superhero can be charged with murder unless he was authorized to be there. As far as the law is concerned here, it doesn’t matter that the superhero was fighting against the shooter and that the superhero did not intend for a civilian to get hurt. Also, if a vigilante causes a criminal to die (either intentionally or not), that would also be felony murder.

 

3. Reckless endangerment, if any bystanders get hurt.  In severe cases, this could be a felony. (E.g. vehicular manslaughter if Batman happens to hit anyone while driving several hundred miles per hour through Gotham traffic).

 

4. Obstruction of justice.  For example, breaking into a hostage situation while the police are still trying to negotiate with the hostage-taker would be a felony in some states.  (Note: if nobody gets hurt, the DA might knock this down to a slap on the wrist, particularly if the superhero is extremely popular).

 

5. Tampering with evidence.  This felony would apply any time a superhero conceals, alters or destroys evidence (or coerces witnesses) that would be used in an eventual case or other official proceeding. One relatively common example is destroying video evidence proving the hero’s secret identity—the DA can charge him with felony evidence tampering (“he’s destroying evidence to avoid being charged with felonies”).

 

6. Possession and/or plotting to make weapons of mass destruction.  The United States classifies basically everything interesting as a “weapon of mass destruction,” including landmines, “bombs of all sorts,” sawed-off shotguns and assault rifles. Batman’s missile-armed vehicles and everything in the Punisher’s arsenal would count.  Space stations with death-rays, rocket-propelled ninja stars and New York taxis are not specifically listed, but all available evidence points towards “too interesting.”

 

7. False imprisonment/kidnapping.  If Batman abducts a criminal to interrogate him, that’s a felony.  However, Spiderman is legally entitled to web up a criminal that was committing a crime.  (Private citizens are allowed to detain criminals until the police arrive).

 

8. Some white-collar crimes may apply.   

  • For example, WayneCorp is a publicly-traded company that secretly uses resources to help Batman, so Bruce Wayne is probably falsifying financial information, defrauding shareholders and/or possibly embezzling from the company. (Would-be superheroes: if you own 100% of the company, there’s less oversight and you’re clear on embezzlement).
  • Computer hacking and/or electronic interference.
  • Some scientists might also be guilty of crimes particular to their field. I’m not exactly sure what sort of authorizations you would have to get to open up a laboratory with incredibly volatile chemicals and/or Earth-endangering experiments in lower Manhattan, but I’m guessing the Fantastic Four didn’t mention that to the zoning board.  (Hell, if you want to open up a hot dog stand in Manhattan, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has 35 pages summarizing the permit process and relevant regulations).  I can only shudder to imagine what they would come up with for a lab that threatens to blow up the city four times a month.
  • Clark Kent might be committing fraud by not telling the Daily Planet he’s Superman.  That omission caused him to receive a job he wouldn’t have received otherwise (because it’s a huge conflict of interest for Superman to write crime stories in Metropolis without disclosing that he’s Superman).
  • Xavier might be committing fraud when he tells parents that his school is a safe environment for their kids.  He never mentions the physical danger he routinely places students in. (Uhh, their training room is literally called the Danger Room).

 

9. Maybe crimes related to child sidekicks or students.  These might include contributing to the delinquency of a minor (thanks, Dani!), neglect and maybe even abuse.  For example, Batman tries to force Robin to eat rats in All-Star Batman & Robin #4 and it somehow goes downhill from there. Professor Xavier could face child endangerment charges related to the “Danger Room,” deploying minors on paramilitary missions, and hiring homicidal instructors. 

 

 

10. Breaking and entering.  On the plus side, this might be a misdemeanor depending on the particulars of the incident and the criminal history of the superhero.  If the superhero is trying to find evidence about a potential villain that looks like an upstanding member of the community, that’d probably go over pretty poorly.  B&E might also anger police by making their work harder in a few ways.  First, B&E could easily make the villain more cautious in the future.  Second, it could make the police’s case fall apart if key evidence gets thrown out in court.  Third, if the heroes take anything while breaking and entering, they’re interfering with the police’s ability to do their job (evidence tampering).

 

11. Torture, under some circumstances.  By definition, torture entails severe abuse with the involvement (or acquiescence) of a public official or someone working in an official capacity.  Commissioner Gordon has passed on opportunities to arrest Batman, so Batman (and maybe even Gordon) might get charged with torture if Batman throws a subdued criminal 10-15 feet on the pavement to make the criminal cooperate.

 

12. Property damage, sometimes.  For example, in New York, intentionally damaging somebody’s property with explosives constitutes first degree criminal mischief and can carry a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.  In Missouri, knowingly inflicting more than $750 worth of property damage is first degree property damage and can carry a sentence of up to seven years.

 

13. Possibly laws related to police misconduct, if the superheroes are government-sanctioned.

  • Selective enforcement of laws (e.g. turning a blind eye to a friend who commits a crime).
  • Violating major procedures (e.g. allowing evidence to get compromised or getting too rough during an interrogation or arrest).
  • False arrest: SHIELD might arrest a villain for a crime even though it knows he/she is innocent to buy time for charges which will actually stick.
  • Planting false evidence.
  • Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on duty.

 

14. Perjury. For example, a hero might attempt to cover his secret identity, protect a friend or family member from prosecutors or villains, or keep operational details out of the public eye. An adversarial attorney might provoke the hero into lying by asking potentially dangerous questions (e.g. probing into personal details which are only tangentially relevant to the case).

 

As always, I am not a lawyer, so please consult a lawyer if you have any charges related to weapons of mass destruction or torture coming up. If you’re looking for more ideas about how to incorporate legal issues into superhero stories, I’d definitely recommend Law and the Multiverse.  James Daily and Ryan Davidson actually are lawyers and they’ve written the book (or a book worth of blog posts) on this subject.

36 responses so far

36 Responses to “Which Crimes Do Most Superheroes Commit?”

  1. B. McKenzieon 18 Sep 2011 at 11:14 am

    Thanks to the anonymous Google user that searched for what would superheroes be charged with in real life?

  2. Chihuahua0on 18 Sep 2011 at 1:06 pm

    And that’s why “willing suspension of disbelief” exists. :p

  3. Contra Gloveon 18 Sep 2011 at 3:00 pm

    That’s also why my stories generally don’t involve the modern American legal system. 🙂

  4. Mynaon 18 Sep 2011 at 5:22 pm

    This sounds so fun to play around with…

  5. Danion 18 Sep 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Breaking and entering for sure would be up there. In the case of Batman and Robin, contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Wonder Woman would get possibly slapped with indecent exposure. Failure to show ID (cannot remember exact law) to maintain secret identity. Probably some tax fraud. How would someone have a huge hideout on a reporter’s salary eh Clark Kent if that is your real name.

  6. B. McKenzieon 18 Sep 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Definitely breaking and entering, which is usually a felony (particularly if the perpetrator is armed with a dangerous weapon, which I think would probably include most superpowers). Corporate espionage charges might also be possible if a superhero is trying to uncover a company’s secrets, particularly if the hero is associated with another company (e.g. WayneCorp).



    I really like contributing to the delinquency of a minor. If you have an organization that hires children sidekicks into dangerous positions, I’d imagine they’d be liable for child labor violations. (Also, the media attention if a kid got killed or crippled would probably be intense–why put them in that position?)

    Tax fraud is a possibility. In Batman’s case, where he’s using his company’s revenues to fund secret research on the side, he could probably be charged with defrauding shareholders and/or embezzlement.

  7. Grenacon 18 Sep 2011 at 10:19 pm

    This article me vino como anillo al dedo 🙂 I could srsly use it.

  8. B. McKenzieon 18 Sep 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Grenac: “This article [fits me very well!]” I’m glad to hear that.



    Chihuahua: “And that’s why ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ exists. 😉 ” Yeah, it’s definitely not for everybody. However, if you’d like to work in a conflict between the superheroes and the police, or between the superheroes and the government as a whole, this should give you some ideas of what charges the police might use in a somewhat realistic United States.

    If you didn’t want to deal with criminal charges for superheroes, you have a lot of alternatives. For example…

    1) The story just completely omits any talk of legal problems. Like you said, most people can buy that superheroes wouldn’t have legal problems because they are usually more protagonistic than not. If you don’t want to go down the path of legal obstacles, I don’t think there’s any need to force it.

    2) The DAs and police might not want to charge people that are generally doing more good than harm, even if what they’re doing is technically illegal. The police only have so many officers for so many cases, and it’d make sense if the police thought that they were better off spending their time going after drug lords and armed robbers and the like. “…under American law, government prosecuting attorneys have nearly absolute and unreviewable power to choose whether or not to bring criminal charges, and what charges to bring, in cases where the evidence would justify charges.”

    3) The superheroes and the police sort of work together or at least talk once in a while (like Batman and Commissioner Gordon). So it’s less likely that the superheroes will do something that really infuriates the police (like blowing a dangerous situation that the police already have under control).

    4) The superheroes are popular enough that prosecuting them is not really an option, unless the district attorney is looking for a new line of work. (DAs are elected officials).

    5) Maybe there’s a good Samaritan law for superheroes acting in good faith, so responsible superheroes wouldn’t get sued or prosecuted for responsible acts of superheroics.

    6) Although the DA or police want to move against the superheroes, there’s substantial resistance from the other side. An aggressive DA might find that the police have a disturbing tendency to lose evidence against a superhero that has repeatedly risked his life to help officers in trouble. Alternately, the police might want to investigate the heroes but find that elected officials (DAs or mayors) or appointed police chiefs are not eager to antagonize superheroes that may have a really good standing within the community and/or have a really important role keeping villains at bay.

    7) The superheroes are deputized, bounty hunters, government employees or otherwise acting with some degree of official approval. Most of the superhero activities that might be illegal above would not be illegal if committed by government employees. (For example, an officer executing an arrest warrant is fully entitled to self-defense, whereas a vigilante that breaks-and-enters into a villain’s place to subdue him is not).

  9. Wingson 20 Sep 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Eh, most of my superheroes are government-sanctioned and effectively a more specialized police force. The few rogue heroes who haven’t been recruited, however, are a different story – especially the mercenaries like Darken.

    – Wings

  10. Phoenixon 20 Sep 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I think that Mr. Wayne does most of his…financial reappropriations through the Wayne Foundation rather than WayneCorp, so it’s not embezzlement, just more vague than the usual charitable works.

    Even though a lot of jurisdictions have created laws that say citizens have to show ID when asked, such laws violate our right to privacy that the Fourth Amendment exists to protect, so they could argue that one.

    Weapons of mass destruction? I have a right to keep and bear arms, which means my basement full of doomsday weapons is off-limits. That sort of overreaching governmental thinking is what got Gazoo busted. I’m more prone to siding with Prof. Farnsworth: the fact that I have doomsday weapons should be reason enough to leave me alone. What was it Bethany Cabe said? If a psycho-killer mutant with claws, steel bones and superpowers wants to put on an eyepatch and run around Madripoor pretending no one knows him, you go along with it. Likewise, if an alien with off-the-chart powers (who frequently saves the planet, btw) wants to put on a suit and glasses to play writer and believe no one knows who he is, I say go with it and don’t tug on the cape. He seems like the last guy you should want to piss off.

    And what’s all this aggravated assault talk? A weapon is a thing. Powers are a part of the hero. Are you going to try to make Jean Grey get a permit for her brain? Or Superman a permit for his muscles? Don’t hate the player. Jealousy isn’t pretty. Legislating Forge’s toys is different from legislating Forge and both fall under premature governmental actions. It’s an individual’s actions whether with powers (or not) or weapons that should be the only thing up for consideration. Don’t bust the character for carrying that ancient magical sword she’s been using to defend the people until she starts hurting the innocent. Some people gave the Lone Ranger a hard time just for wearing a mask.

  11. B. McKenzieon 20 Sep 2011 at 11:47 pm

    “And what’s all this aggravated assault talk? A weapon is a thing. Powers are a part of the hero.” Hmm… granted, I’m not a lawyer, so I could easily be mistaken, but I don’t think the distinction would matter.

    Suspects can be charged with “assault with a deadly weapon” (also known as “aggravated assault”) if the assault has been committed “with any type of deadly weapon or by means of force that is likely to cause great bodily injury.” I suspect most superpowers would meet this threshold, unless perhaps the hero could show that he had taken particular care to ensure that his actions would not cause great bodily injury.

    I don’t think that it would matter in court whether the powers are internal rather than a wielded weapon. In New York, one AIDS-positive prisoner got assault with a deadly weapon for trying (unsuccessfully) to use his mouth to give someone AIDS.



    “Are you going to try to make Jean Grey get a permit for her brain?” Don’t give New York City any ideas; I think they would. I suspect that New York would not only force her to register, but also go force her to go door to door explaining the situation to the neighbors (like sex offenders are required to). Honestly, if that’s all she got after Dark Phoenix, her lawyer deserves a medal.

    I don’t think they’d preemptively force mutants to register that hadn’t killed or injured someone, but honestly I wouldn’t put it past New York City. Outside of sex/reproduction, it’s not exactly into libertarianism.



    “I think that Mr. Wayne does most of his…financial reappropriations through the Wayne Foundation rather than WayneCorp, so it’s not embezzlement, just more vague than the usual charitable works.” Well, okay, but I think that The Dark Knight suggested that Wayne’s company had used resources improperly. That’s how Coleman Reese (a WayneCorp employee or maybe consultant) discovered he was Batman, right?

  12. Phoenixon 22 Sep 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Legislatively, Wonder Woman and Doctor Doom, of course, have an edge over many publicly operating super-types: diplomatic immunity. That’ll usually protect from a wide array of rampaging politicians.

  13. Phoenixon 22 Sep 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Oh, Coleman who? He proved nothing! The man had nothing but circumstantial evidence. And I heard that something nasty happened to him and he lost everything in a house fire and couldn’t remember what you’re talking about. 😉

  14. Danion 22 Sep 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Phoenix, that is a brilliant point to bring up. Most superheroes are from other countries, planets, even dimensions so they would have the option of declaring diplomatic immunity. Even so, it still leaves a few people (Batman particularly) in the mix. Then again, rules are meant to be broken. Very good catch.

  15. B. McKenzieon 24 Sep 2011 at 4:15 am

    “Legislatively, Wonder Woman and Doctor Doom, of course, have an edge over many publicly operating super-types: diplomatic immunity. That’ll usually protect from a wide array of rampaging politicians.” It might, depending on politics, but countries have been known to disregard that depending on the crimes in question. For example, the U.S. captured Manuel Noriega (then the military dictator of Nicaragua) as a prisoner of war, flew him to the U.S. and tried him for various felonies. After 17 years of incarceration, he was extradited to France, which sentenced him to 7 years, and he was ALSO sentenced to 20 years in Panama.

    Nations do usually tolerate some espionage from “diplomats,” though. Every major country has some of its own spies under diplomatic cover, so there’s a good reason to keep that going. On the other hand, I’m not sure what the incentive would be for nations to let Dr. Doom keep an embassy going even though his government is neck-deep in criminal activity. If the situation ever got so bad that a nation threatened to cut off diplomatic relations–and I can’t imagine why any major democracy would maintain diplomatic relations with Latveria–I would not count on any sovereign immunity or diplomatic immunity for Dr. Doom. (One possibly mitigating factor: depending on what Dr. Doom or the supervillain’s nation had to offer, some nations might play ball if they felt like it was the best way to accomplish some tangible goal). At the VERY least, most countries would probably declare Doom a “persona non grata” after he committed the first felony (stripping him of diplomatic immunity for subsequent crimes in that country).



    PS: If the writers really wanted to be hardasses to the Fantastic Four, the treaty establishing the United Nations does technically oblige the United States to grant heads of state access to New York City for UN functions. For example, the U.S. allowed Gadhafi into New York City a few times even though he normally wasn’t allowed into the country. However, I suspect Dr. Doom would probably not be covered by sovereign immunity if he committed crimes in the United States not pursuant to his UN trip.



    “Oh, Coleman who? He proved nothing! The man had nothing but circumstantial evidence.” That’s fair, but I think the Gotham police would probably be able to get a warrant, based on the fact that at least one of Wayne’s employees has (allegedly) uncovered illegal activity at WayneCorp and (allegedly) can identify Batman, a serial felon. Again, I’m not a lawyer, but I think that would satisfy probable cause (the threshold for getting a warrant). If one random WayneCorp employee/consultant discovered something was amiss, I would figure that a team of 20+ police officers could probably do the same. (Then again, WayneCorp might be able to cover everything up, but it’d only be able to do so by getting more people involved in the conspiracy–that increases the risk that someone will turn state’s witness).

  16. WritingNinjaon 29 Sep 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I say take the rules of society and play with them, but don’t ignore them completely. I think of Hojo from Final Fantasy VII. He’s the best villain of all time. Cloud, the MC and hero was disgusted with Hojo’s science experiments that mutated people. Everyone thought Hojo was a freak! But the developers played Hojo out to be crazy because of his love of science. It sounds pretty cheesy as I type this up. But it worked out so well in the game because the story line was pretty complex and Hojo’s conversations were classics.

  17. hpdoodleon 16 Feb 2012 at 11:25 pm

    and destruction of public property like the hulk he destroys tons of buildings

  18. Sylaron 25 Apr 2012 at 7:03 pm

    If the hero has a sidekick, they could get in trouble for endangering the safety of a minor. 🙁 Ooops!!

  19. Tesson 26 May 2012 at 7:13 pm

    The Hulk could probably get off on an insanity defense as he seems to basically be the worst split personality you could end up with when you’re a victim of Disassociative Identity Disorder.

  20. Richard S.on 26 May 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Could heroes technically be bio-weapons, therefore becoming bioterrorists? Biological warfare is banned in most countries, and I doubt the government would be happy with a sentient biological weapon flying around in spandex.

  21. B. McKenzieon 27 May 2012 at 2:25 am

    “Biological warfare is banned in most countries, and I doubt the government would be happy with a sentient biological weapon flying around in spandex.” I agree that the second statement could be plausible, particularly if the heroes’ ideology does not line up with the government’s (e.g. relations between the U.S. and mutants are usually more chilly than not). Alternately, a government could be excited about this development depending on how cooperative it thought the hero was–e.g. “God exists and he’s American.” Alternately, there could be a bit of both going on. For example, in The Avengers, Nick Fury is happy to have extraplanar beings like Thor on the team, but the sudden discovery of highly advanced extraplanar beings is a bit worrisome.

    As for the first statement, treaties might play a role, but I could see a few reasons why they might not. First, governments tend to bend or break treaties that are unduly inconvenient.

    Second, under standard practices of international law, treaty obligations can be annulled if circumstances have changed far beyond what the signatories could have anticipated (clausula rebus sic stantibus). If bioweapon research can lead to superpowers, I think a few major powers might decide to reevaluate current treaties and renegotiate accordingly.

    Speaking of which, the United States and Russia already do quite a lot of bioweapon research (presumably mainly to facilitate better treatment and minimize casualties–bioweapons are slower and much less reliable than nuclear weapons, so they’re not a very practical weapon for a nuclear power).

    Third, if a country does decide to actually outlaw something like research into superpowers, it’d probably be mainly a domestic matter (e.g. driven by local or national opinion rather than the opinions of people in other countries).

  22. Epic Battleon 04 Jun 2012 at 8:21 am

    Phonix about your dimplomatic imunity its… BEEN REVOKED…
    also about diplomatic immunitty unless the character is an ambassador i dont really see how it applies to them, but maybe the us would be afraid to punish thor out of fesar of hurting realtionships with the asguardians

    maybe the superhero just runs away like in thegreen hornet, he runs away before charges can be brought against them, plus thats why a secret identity exists, so that anything in their superhero life dosent spill over into their personal life.

  23. B. McKenzieon 04 Jun 2012 at 10:56 am

    “About diplomatic immunity, unless the character is an ambassador, I don’t really see how it applies to them.” Diplomatic immunity would apply to diplomats in general (e.g. envoys and spies under diplomatic cover) and state immunity would cover government officials performing legitimate state functions. This isn’t unlimited, though. Several countries decided that Noriega did not enjoy state immunity for his actions as Nicaragua’s dictator because drug-running operations are not a legitimate state function.

    “Maybe the U.S. would be afraid to punish Thor out of fear of hurting relationships with the Asgardians.” That strikes me as plausible, assuming 1) the group (Asgard in this case) is powerful enough that a country might be nervous about upsetting relations, 2) the group cares enough about the superhero that punishing the hero would seriously upset the group, 3) the group has access to things the country would care about (e.g. can threaten an invasion), and 4) the relations between the country (the U.S. here) and the group (Asgard) are not already horrible. If the two are at war, obviously there’d be less concern about hurting the other’s feelings (although there would probably still be some concern of reciprocity when it came to things like the treatment of POWs).

  24. Anonymouson 29 Oct 2012 at 7:06 pm

    hey i have a qustion about a crime my hero might commit, in the final battle the villian finds out the hero lives and attacks his family, and in the end the hero knocks the villian down and learns that he’s immune to his mind wipe{dont worry i read your articale about the whole memory eraseing thing he onlly does it about 3 times twice to the same person so i think im good} fearing for his family’s life he activates the villians gernade belt and throws him off a 21 story building, soooo would that counts as a murder also he’s sixteen and the millitary and him have a pretty good relationship, but not enough that they would tamper with evidence, also the publice reall adores him, i dont know if its self defence because he knocked him down and as a result was not in any immeadiate danger also the villian is 100% dead he did not survive in any way shape or form. can you help….thanks B. Mac… and congrats on your book

  25. Anonymouson 29 Oct 2012 at 7:07 pm

    sorry b mac i forgot to add that annonomous { the one with the murder question is actualy me epic battle}

  26. B. McKenzieon 29 Oct 2012 at 7:31 pm

    The hero executes a villain who’s down and does not currently pose a threat? Technically speaking, this is probably manslaughter (or perhaps second-degree murder), because he used force that wasn’t immediately necessary (killing a downed opponent is not self-defense). However, as a practical matter, I think a DA would probably have to have some sort of axe to grind to risk career suicide by protecting a supervillain over the popular superhero that had been threatened by the supervillain. In real life, I think the likeliest possibility would be that the police conduct an investigation and the prosecutor declines to press charges.

    That said, while there probably wouldn’t be any legal consequences, I think it would be best if there were some consequences to the character’s decision to execute the villain (rather than, say, having the villain die in the middle of the battle, which would almost certainly be covered by self-defense, whereas an execution would probably not). Some possibilities:
    –The character avoids legal consequences by doing something which helps advance the plot and/or develop his character, like falsely claiming that the villain fell over the roof during the fight.
    –Some other character figures out (or guesses) what really happened and parts ways with the main character (see Lucius vs. Batman).
    –Maybe the act of killing the villain turns out to be more emotionally difficult than he had expected. (Or maybe he had expected that killing the villain would mess him up, but the hero was willing to sacrifice himself for his family in that way).
    –Perhaps someone in his family is upset that he sacrificed himself in that way for them. Vaguely plausible analogy: in most cases, I think most family members would VISCERALLY oppose a family member’s scheme to intentionally die so that the family can cash in his life insurance. Just because someone benefits from someone’s sacrifice doesn’t mean that they will approve of the sacrifice.

  27. Dreameron 05 Feb 2013 at 6:59 am

    Do you think the DA would give a superhero immunity for whatever crimes they had committed in exchange for evidence and testimony against a mob boss?

  28. B. McKenzieon 05 Feb 2013 at 8:11 am

    Dreamer, yes. It gives the DA what he/she wants (the best chance at convicting the mob boss) while avoiding what he/she doesn’t want (getting into a legal battle with a superhero that would very possibly make the voting public surly). If you were interested in adding a complication, a judge might not be keen on allowing all of the evidence a vigilante provided–see “chain of custody”, etc.

  29. epic battleon 17 Mar 2013 at 6:50 pm

    thanks b mac also another question would it be illigeal for a army ranger to train a green beret in army ranger trianing in exange for green beret trianing, the two are not trying to get into the rangers\ green berets they just want the knowledge both are still active duty, so would it be illigeal or punishable, or what if the ranger was retired. Thanks

  30. NJHeroFanon 17 Mar 2013 at 8:03 pm

    @epic battle: I’m a Marine veteran but to my understanding of US Army Special Operations Forces a Green Beret wouldn’t need a Ranger’s training as he more likely than not started his career in Army Special Forces with a Ranger unit prior to joining a Green Beret unit. Their training is very similiar and they both rely on unconventional warfare tactics, but Green Berets are more experienced Special Forces soldiers. An 18-19 year old with amazing physical potential could successfully make it into a Ranger unit and begin training, but he’ll need several more years of experience, discipline, and training to even be considered for transfer into a Green Beret unit.

    We aren’t even talking about Delta Force, which is activated for counterterrorism and the classic “top secret” operations the government wants to be able to officially deny they were involved in. DF recruits their men from the best of the best of the Rangers and Green Berets. I’m sure they even pick up a few former Navy SEALS and Marine Force Recon who transfer in.

    I don’t think its a question of legality, but one of whether or not the Ranger in your story has proven himself capable enough and essentially worthy enough to joing a Green Beret unit. If he was, his chain of command would gladly submit his name for selection and he’d have to undergo the rigorous trials just to qualify for membership. It ain’t easy to join special forces, nor should it be. The Green Beret in your story (at least one in real life) isn’t going have the time to teach a Ranger anyway due to his current orders and assignments if he’s on active duty, and unless that Ranger proved himself capable anyway the best the Green Beret could probably do is just vouch for him when selection comes up.

    If your Ranger is retired and he never got selected for a Green Beret or Delta Force unit at all during his 20-years of Army service then it was probably determined that he just couldn’t hack it. He was good enough for the Rangers, just not good enough to develop beyond that. Plus, retired military are going to be age 38+, so unless he’s super human the likelihood of his having the physique to handle rigorous SF training plummets dramatically that age (not impossible, but very rare).

    If there are any Army vets on this board feel free to correct and clarify. I’d also suggest that you read some Tom Clancy or W.E.B. Griffin novels if you’d like to use some paramilitary and Special Forces elements in your stories (I’m finding them both helpful for the story I’m writing). At the very least you’ll get an idea of what these soldiers actually do and how they operate using small unit tactics.

  31. B. McKenzieon 18 Mar 2013 at 6:16 am

    I’ll defer 100% to NJHF here.

  32. […] Where do I begin, first vigilantism is illegal, then child endangerment (sidekicks) would be an issue, oh and how about reckless endangerment (using superpowers in a way that unintentionally injured bystanders–it’s implausible that most superheroes would be close to 100% accurate with superpowers, particularly if they’ve only recently developed them), honestly if you want to see all crimes superheroes comic on a daily basis check out the website here. […]

  33. Tyleenia Tayloron 06 Mar 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Hi b Mac. Me again (heh). ‘Bout the ‘hacking against law’ bit? One of my characters is a girl (16 and homeless) who hacks for a living. During one of these jobs, a program she’s asked to create sorta ‘attaches’ to her, causing her to be able to go INSIDE cyberspace and manipulate computers from within, and jump from computer to computer. If she focuses hard enough then she can bring someone with her. In cyberspace, she can manipulate things, thus she can make herself stronger and such, effectively dealing with the criminal. She also uses it to stop viruses and such. So . . . because of her ‘power’ would she always end up unintentionaly being against the police?

  34. B. McKenzieon 06 Mar 2016 at 2:03 pm

    “One of my characters is a girl (16 and homeless) who hacks for a living.” If you wanted to go down a road where the police/DA are very confrontational with the character, I think a DA would probably be able to make a case here. If you wanted to avoid adversarial police/DA involvement, that wouldn’t be a problem either. E.g. in the U.S., prosecutorial discretion to decline charges in a case, even a case where a crime has been committed, is nearly unlimited and unreviewable.

  35. Tyleenia Tayloron 06 Mar 2016 at 2:15 pm

    BMac, my main concern is that I’m kinda worried that her power might make the police distrust or hate her. Also, Mr. Cyber (a nickname of the guy who sends her the start of the program) actually sent it to others. The others were adults. The girl pretends to be an adult, so . . . anyway, when Micheal (the guys real name) finds out her age, he and his wife adopt her. Also, the program will eventually cause her eyes to go black and 0s and 1s will ‘float’ in them. So . . . how might the police react?

  36. Tyleenia Tayloron 06 Mar 2016 at 2:24 pm

    (Shell still be able to see – her eyes’ll just look weird)

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