August 24, 2006
What if He Had [Barked] [Crowed] [Moo'ed] Instead?
The AP ran a crazy, crazy story of prosecutorial discretion gone amok. Neighbor 1's cat uses neighbor 2's garden as a littlerbox. Neighbor 2 complains to police. Neighbor 1 gets rid of the cat, which upsets the 14 year old son. Son then meows at neighbor 2 every time he sees her (he says he only meowed twice). Son is then criminally prosecuted for misdemeanor harassment....
Now, admittedly, there could be some meows that cross the line. Meowing at the top of one's lungs 24/7 might very well be criminal (see this analogous example). A meow directed to cause some other harm (like meowing in a way that causes a dog to charge neighbor 2) might be criminal. But meowing during chance encounters between neighbors, even if the meow is communicated with maximum snarkiness, is not a crime. And even if somehow it is, I would think the prosecutors would be way too busy with real crimes to notice.
Assuming that meowing could be a crime in this circumstance, I can't help but wonder: with its lyrics, could singing "Old McDonald" become a felony?
To this, all I can say is: WOOF! (Oops, please don't arrest me!)
Posted by Eric at August 24, 2006 08:50 AM | Legal Industry
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