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What does kidnapping really mean?

What does kidnapping really mean? Is there a difference in the law’s treatment of a kidnapping and a kidnapping done as part of another crime? In this case, a New York Robbery Lawyer discusses how the law treats the two differently.

William G was charged with robbery in the first degree, robbery in the second degree, grand larceny in the third degree, and kidnapping in the second degree. He was found innocent of all except the kidnapping charge. He appealed that the verdict was unfair and so the case was brought to a higher court. The Court of Appeals agreed and reversed the judgment. On what basis? Let’s review the facts.

On May 29, 1973, G and his accomplice approached a woman on her way to work. They threatened her with a knife and took her to a vacant building nearby. They took some change from her purse and took her to a room in another building where they raped her. All these took place in 25 minutes.

Our informant explains that the law differentiates between what we call kidnapping and kidnapping done as part of another crime. In the old Penal Law, kidnapping was the act of confining a person and keeping him there against his will. The maximum punishment was death but this was changed in 1963 to life imprisonment.

There are a lot of other cases in which a person is kidnapped to make it easier for the criminals to perform the crime. For example, a guard is confined so that the place can be robbed more easily. The Court of Appeals however ruled that acts like these should not be considered as kidnapping. This is to guard against instances where a court may rule that a kidnapping had taken place just so that a heavier sentence could be placed on an offender. According to reports, there are already a lot of cases in which such abuses have been done.

There are stories of situations in which the main crime is rape or robbery, but the offender is found guilty of kidnapping. In most cases, this is so that he can be sentenced to the death penalty or to life imprisonment. This is especially true in states where the punishment for kidnapping is heavier than the punishment for the other crime committed.

Therefore, in situations where a kidnapping happened as part of another crime, but did not increase the risk of harm to the victims other than the risk already involved in the other crime, the offender cannot be charged with 1st degree kidnapping.

Given this, the prosecution asked that the charge be changed to 2nd degree kidnapping instead. They claimed that this should meet the requirements of the Court of Appeals because it would have a lesser penalty.

The Court of Appeals however notes for a kidnapping to be considered 2nd degree, the victim should have been confined against his will not less than 12 hours. If it is less than 12 hours, then the incident is more of the other crime than kidnapping.

Also, according to the Court of Appeals, the victim was taken to a building very near the place where she was taken by G and his companion, and so, the kidnapping did not play a very large part in the crime that happened. In the end, it decided that G should not be charged with 2nd degree kidnapping.

Sometimes, the judgment of a lower court can be different from the judgment of a higher court. The right lawyer can provide you with the just the advice you need to save time and money on what could end up as a long and drawn-out case.

Stephen Bilkis & Associates, together with its New York Robbery Lawyers can recommend you excellent lawyers who are experts in the field. They can also provide you with the guidance and support that you need, at your convenience. Visit them in their office in Corona, New York, or in any other of their offices located around New York.

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