If you are planning to do something that our society says is a felony, or even thinking about it, please don’t.
Please change your plans. You won’t like the result.
If you are still pondering something that our society says is a felony, you might want to avoid using electronic devices that record your planning. Definitely don’t use your phone in commission of the actual crime.
Here are a few examples of what not to do, for amusement of people who are inclined to read my blog. People likely to go ahead with felonious plans probably are not in my audience.
Don’t take along your location recording fitness device while conducting reconnaissance to plan an assassination and definitely don’t take it along for the ‘hit’: Runners World -1/17/19 – This Runner is a Hitman. His GPS Watch Tied Him to a Mob Boss Murder.
A competitive distance runner who moon lighted as a contract hit man took along his fitbit watch as he conducted recon and planning runs for two different assassinations. Also wore it for one of the actual hits. Police looked at the recorded location information on the watch which showed him making recon runs and placed him at the scene of the hit.
Result: Life in prison.
Don’t conduct an Internet search with questions of whether your plans are illegal: Cleveland.com – 10/19/18 – Brooklyn Woman falsely accused Parma Heights police chief of rape, investigators say.
Woman accused the newly appointed chief of police of raping her in his patrol car. In addition to multiple inconsistencies in her story, the investigating state police found the following searches on her phone:
can you go to jail for lying about a cop raping you
can you go to jail for lying to police on a police report
Result: As of the day of the report, the woman had been indicted for 11 felonies. Probably did not turn out well for her.
If you are running from the police after beating someone unconscious, turn off your phone so you at least have a chance to reach your hide-out: Bismarck Tribune – 8/13/14 – Man beaten in front of Williston strip club dies; and Williston Herald – 1/19/18 – Strip club beating case resolved.
A man beat another man outside one of the strip clubs in Williston, North Dakota. I don’t recall reading a cause of the fight in the several articles on the case. The guy realized he was probably in trouble so he packed up his belongings, jumped in his girlfriend’s car, and they headed south.
They both left their phones on.
Police located them on the south-bound US 85 based on cell tower contacts with their phones. Police in Williston then called ahead to police in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, who in turn picked up the couple as they approached the city.
Result: Guy was arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced to 10 years in prison, and ordered to pay $400,000 to the family of the man he killed.
Don’t commit insider trading. The feds have astounding tools to identify peculiar trades. If you are still stupid enough to try, don’t use Google to figure out how to get away with it; you should at least make the feds have to break a sweat busting you: Engadget – 7/14/17 – Inside trader caught because he googled how to commit fraud; and Department of Justice – 7/12/17 – Manhattan U.S. Attorney And FBI Assistant Director Announce Insider Trading Charges Against Spouse Of Lawyer At International Law Firm.
Guy learned from his attorney wife that her client was working on an acquisition. In the process of buying up 500 shares and netting a profit around $110K, he did a few on-line searches, including:
how sec detect unusual trade
insider trading with international account
insider trading options
insider trading cases
Result: Arrested on 7/12/17 and charged with two counts securities fraud and one count wire fraud. Subsequently convicted and sentenced. Bureau of Prisons web site reports he is scheduled for release from custody on 4/30/19. I will guess that is somewhat less than a 2 year sentence. In a federal prison. With a lifetime felony conviction. And surrender of the proceeds.
If you kill someone, don’t ask Siri for help hiding the body: Independent – 8/13/14 – Florida man accused of killing his roommate asked Siri where to hide the body, court hears ; and ABC News – 8-20-14 – Girlfriend at Center of Gainesville Love Triangle Never Thought Killer Ex Was Capable of Murder.
On the day a man’s roommate disappeared, he asked Siri for ideas on where to hide the body. His phone also recorded his using the built-in flashlight nine times between 11:31 p.m. and midnight on the same day.
Result: as of the day of the newspaper report, the guy was on trial for murder. He was convicted at trial and sentenced to life in prison.
Oh, the Siri inquiry may not have been such a large part of evidence in the case in light of a detailed journal he kept which fantasized about killing the roommate.
So I guess Tip #5a would be that if you are planning to kill someone, don’t write down your plans in your journal.
If you kill your lover, don’t do an Internet search on how to get rid of the body. Oh, and don’t leave behind evidence: Desert Sun – 8/21/14 – Erin Corwin death: Christopher Lee waives extradition process; and Desert Trail – 8/22/18 – Convicted murderer Christopher Lee’s appeal is denied.
While serving as a marine at Twenty-nine Palms in the California desert, a married guy allegedly had an affair with his next door neighbor. When the affair was discovered, she disappeared. At the time of her disappearance, he had searched the Internet on ways to dispose of a body. Didn’t help his case that .22 shell casings and steel rebar found at the well where he dumped the body matched items in his jeep.
An even better tip: Keep your pants on.
Result: At the time of the first article above, the guy had been discharged, was living in Alaska, been arrested, and had waived a hearing on extradition back to California. The second article above said his appeal after conviction for first degree murder was denied. Oh, article also says he confessed on the witness stand, so I suppose that didn’t help his case. He is serving a life sentence.
Update: I guess Tip #6a is don’t confess to murder under cross-examination. To reduce risk that something in your car matches something at the disposal site, Tip #6b would be double check your vehicle and the place you dumped the body. Perhaps you could use the flashlight on your phone to make sure. Maybe take a picture of the dump site so you can compare to contents of your car again when you get home. Oh, wait…scratch that idea.
If you get worker’s comp payments because you claim your foot is so injured you can’t even stand, don’t compete in a beauty pageant wearing high heels – CBS Sacramento – 8/12/14 – Beauty Queen Accused Of Workers Comp Fraud When Video Shows Her On Runway After Injury.; and Press-Enterprise – 9-5-15 – RIVERSIDE: Beauty queen pleads guilty to workers comp fraud
A woman was collecting worker’s compensation payments because her foot was so badly hurt that she could not even stand at her job in a grocery store. A month after starting to get payments, she competed in two beauty contests. State investigators saw her high-heeled participation on the ‘net.
Result: Busted and at the time of the first article was awaiting trial with potential of one year in jail and up to $25,000 of fines. She was unemployed at the time of the article because the grocery store fired her. She subsequently pled guilty to one misdemeanor for workers comp fraud. She earned a sentence of 36 months probation, 50 hours community service, $5,000 restitution, and a $1,000 fine.
Don’t brag on Facebook about nearly killing someone and taunting the police to find you: Barone Defense Firm – 9/16/16 – Facebook Posting Admissible as Evidence in Michigan Criminal Case.
After being convicted of assault with intent to commit murder, a felony weapons charge, and a few other offenses, a guy appealed his conviction on the basis that his Facebook postings should not have been admitted into evidence.
One post in particular showed a picture of the guy attacked, the phrase “RIP” (which looks like a death threat since the victim was alive at the time), and a comment which hints that he did the crime, guesses the police might kill him in an arrest, and essentially says come and get me. Prosecutors also introduced Facebook postings which indicated the guy was involved with gangs.
Result: Appeals court denied the appeal. Guy stays in prison.
Whatever bad thing you are thinking about, don’t do it.