Chain of Fools


Fun with Google:

Federal criminal conduct usually falls under one of seven categories.

Never mind the outrageous grammar; I’d like to know who is stealing from whom. These are websites by Scorpion Design, by Net Media Markets, and by this guy, who seems to have rolled (stolen?) his own:

(Yes, Mr. Newcomb did in fact manage to misspell his firm’s name in the masthead.)

When you look at that guy’s page source, you see this:

The Garza Law Firm, PLLC is also in Knoxville. When you Google them, you learn that:

And well they shoulds ….

Okay, never mind the theft of somewhat-less-than-intellectual property. Does federal criminal conduct usually fall into one of the enumerated seven categories?

  1. Fraud and Theft
  2. Property Crimes
  3. Sex Offenses
  4. Child Pornography
  5. Firearms Offenses
  6. Crimes against the Person
  7. Drug Offenses

(We can’t tell who first came up with this list, but we are told that they are “similar to those found in State Courts.”)

Does it make sense? No: fraud and theft are property crimes; child pornography is a sex offense; many sex offenses are crimes against the person. It does not make any sense. Somebody spewed out a stream-of-consciousness list of categories, put it up on the web as a list of the seven categories “under” which federal criminal conduct usually falls, and a bunch of other intellectual giants copied the list without a second thought. May they receive what they deserve.

If you really wanted to categorize all federal criminal conduct, you could easily break it down into eighteen basic categories:

  1. Offenses against the person;
  2. Basic economic offenses;
  3. Offenses involving public officials and violations of federal election campaign laws;
  4. Offenses involving drugs and narcoterrorism;
  5. Offenses involving criminal enterprises and racketeering;
  6. Offenses involving commercial sex acts, sexual exploitation of minors, and obscenity;
  7. Offenses involving individual rights;
  8. Offenses involving the administration of justice;
  9. Offenses involving public safety;
  10. Offenses involving immigration, naturalization, and passports;
  11. Offenses involving national defense and weapons of mass destruction;
  12. Offenses involving food drugs, agricultural products, consumer products, and odometer laws;
  13. Offenses involving prisons and correctional facilities;
  14. Offenses involving the environment;
  15. Antitrust offenses;
  16. Money laundering and monetary transaction reporting;
  17. Offenses involving taxation; and
  18. Other offenses.

Among these categories, you could break things down further, without much effort. Offenses against the person, for example, include:

  • Homicide;
  • Assault;
  • Criminal sexual abuse and offenses related to registration as a sex offender;
  • Kidnapping, abduction, or unlawful restraint;
  • Air piracy and offenses against mass transportation systems; and
  • Threatening or harassing communications, hoaxes, stalking and domestic violence.

What my fellow federal criminal defense lawyers will have snapped to before they got to (4) is that I didn’t have to do any thinking to come up with this taxonomy; the work was done for me by the Guidelines Commission; the first eighteen are the parts of Chapter Two of the US Sentencing Guidelines Manual; the six are the subparts of Part A (Offenses Against the Person) of Chapter Two (Offense Conduct).

The beauty of using the Government’s scutwork of categorizing federal crimes is that a) the Government is not going to leave any crimes uncategorized (and “Other offenses” is a small category); and b) I can use it as a framework for a discussion of the various types of offenses that actually tells the reader something about the subject matter, and is not just garbage intended to fill the page and attract keyword searches.

But not tonight.


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