Criminal laws are written pretty tight for a reason. Usually, for the protection of law abiding citizens. That said, sometimes there are loop holes. In this case, alleged Overland park stalker Eric Kaplan may be the benefactor of one big enough to drive a BMW through.
The definition of stalking, according to the State of Kansas:
Recklessly engaging in a course of conduct targeted at a specific person which would cause a reasonable person in the circumstances of the targeted person to fear for such person’s safety.
GUILTY – Following a woman in a car for 15 minutes while wearing a ski mask could cause someone to fear for their safety.
GUILTYish – Did Kaplan know if that the woman knew she was being followed? He may or may not have had “knowledge” that he was placing her in fear.
Now here comes the loop hole: notice the statute keeps referring to a “course of conduct.”
What’s that really mean?
“Course of conduct” means two or more acts over a period of time, however short, which evidence a continuity of purpose.
“HOUSTON, we have a problem.”
If this case has a leg to stand on, it’s going to come from this part of the law alone, because as we can see there is clearly no “course of conduct”.
Any act of communication:
“Communication” means to impart a message by any method of transmission, including, but not limited to, telephoning, personally delivering, sending or having delivered, any information or material by written or printed note or letter, package, mail, courier service or electronic transmission, including electronic transmissions generated or communicated via a computer.
GULITY – My argument would be wearing the mask while driving, as she noted in the u-turn when she called police, would be an act of communication. That clearly sends one of two messages; poor fashion judgement or ill intent.
Defense attorney Carl Cornwell was quoted earlier today as saying jurors in stalking cases have to decide whether there were at least two specific acts that include threatening someone’s safety, following them or communicating with them.
That’s a close call.
I think they have what they need, but two questions remain.
Will prosecutors go to the expense of a trial and gamble on the jury seeing it their way, or drop the charges and bust Kaplan for the weed?
Stalking charges get dropped; weed and paraphernalia charges go straight to Diversion with mandatory “treatment” – do not pass GO – do not collect $200.
If Kaplan blows Diversion, it gets fresh look by the Court.
Go out and have a great weekend!