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Five stupid American crime names

Editorial Staff

The USA seems to have some serious problems with naming crimes. We're not talking about the nonsensical "identity theft" or, even, "conspiracy" with no hint of what the defendant conspired to do. No, these are just ridiculous names for simple offences.

1. aggravated vehicular homicide

How much more aggravated does a homicide have to be than when it involves using a car as a weapon?

What's even more odd is that this charge was in addition to charges of second degree murder (which is a bit like manslaughter) and attempted murder (of people other than the one who died) when Richard Rojas, 26, a former member of the US Navy who by all accounts displays all the signs of serious PTSD but has never received proper treatment or care.

2. Burglarizing

It's burgling and the offence is burglary.. What's wrong with these people?

3. Wire Fraud

This one has sensible origins : when messages were transmitted by wires, in the days of telegraph and predating telephones, fraud committed by means of wires across state lines were federal offences. Today, any form of telecommunications almost certainly crosses state borders and for this reason the FBI is able to claim jurisdiction over cases and pass them to the Department of Justice for federal prosecution. It's used as a device to transfer a case to Federal jurisdiction, even when the communication itself played no part in a fraud and that's why it's a stupid name.

4. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO")

The desire to have a catchy name for laws reached a new high with this one (there have been even worse since).

Why not simply "The Organised Crime Act" ??

5. Public intoxication

It's not the name, per se, that's the problem it's that it doesn't fit the crime.

The offence, according to Findlaw.com
"1. You appear or seem to be;
2. Drunk or intoxicated; and
3. You are in public."

So no need to actually be intoxicated, then. Just being a bit of a loud mouth in the street is enough.

Stop giggling. We didn't say what you are thinking.... !