I watch a lot of Law and Order. It’s where I pick up any cop lingo and legal-speak that I know.
(That’s right. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not currently between stints in the big house. I didn’t do a ‘hard five‘ at Leavenworth, and I’m not confined to my house with one of those beepy ankle bracelets. Which probably have a far more ‘street’ name than that, but it’s never come up on Law and Order, so I don’t know what the hell it is. Maybe I should start renting Oz DVDs, too.)
Anyway, one of my favorite terms that gets used a lot on Law and Order is ‘felony murder’. I like it because it’s one of those compound crimes, but they lead with the lesser charge. Maybe it’s to lull you into a sense of security, or they want to end with a ‘big finish’. ‘Ta-daaaaa! Murder!‘
Personally, I think it was named that way to keep the cops on their toes. I can imagine the chief of some unit assigning police to various crimes one morning:
Chief: Okay, McCarthy, you’re taking the arson north of the city. O’Connor and Casey, the jewelry store robbery downtown. Sullivan and O’Neal, you’re looking for a perp on the South Side who committed a felony —
Sullivan: Bah. We get felons all the time around here. Nothin’ exciting today.
Chief: …a felony murder!
Sullivan: Begorrah! That’s a hot ticket! Bring that bag o’ doughnuts, O’Neal — we’re on a real mission, by God!
(Yes, all of the cops in my story are Irish. Why? Because:
A) This is Boston. We have rabbis named O’Reilly, for crissakes.
2) All I’ve ever known about policework and didn’t get from Law & Order, I learned from The Untouchables. Deal.)
I also wonder what other ‘combo crimes’ there are out there, and how big the gap between the seriousness gets. Are there ‘littering homocides’, for instance. Maybe you’re cruising down the highway and find a knife you don’t need anymore, or some spare bullets you’re not going to use anytime soon. What if you chucked those out the window and killed somebody? That might do the trick.
Or how about a ‘jaywalking sexual assault’? Would that be if you dry-humped an on-duty crossing guard? And would the charges be lessened if she’d waved you into the crosswalk first?
Hey, this is fun — how about a few more? Let’s try:
Okay, that’s enough from me. I’ll take my mayhem and boobery elsewhere now. Case closed.Permalink | 1 Comment