Using An Online Map As Part Of Your Criminal Activity Gets You A Longer Sentence In Louisiana

from the please-explain... dept

Here's a bizarre one. Reader withersteen alerts us to a strange new law that has been passed in Louisiana, which will add from one to ten years to your prison sentence if you use an online map in the process of committing a crime:
A bill headed to Gov. Bobby Jindal's desk would increase penalties for crimes committed with the use of an Internet-generated "virtual street-level map."

Senate Bill 151 by Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, provides for an additional year in prison for crimes committed using the maps, including acts of terrorism or other criminal offenses like burglary or stalking.

An act of terrorism using the maps could mean an additional 10 years behind bars.
Apparently the bill passed by a vote of 89-0. I'm trying to figure out what the rationale for this law is, and the best I can figure out is that this is a bizarre kneejerk reaction to services like Google's Street View, and the claims from some that such services could be used to "scout out" crime locations. Of course, the same is true of driving by a location. Will Senator Adley add a new bill that increases your prison sentence if you first drive by the location before committing the crime?


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    Pickle Monger (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 9:51am

    Elementary, Watson...

    "Of course, the same is true of driving by a location."

    Well, that's where the CCTV surveilance cameras come in. Come on! Get with the program here, comrade.

     

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      Duke (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 10:39am

      Re: Elementary, Watson...

      Don't worry; they'll be doing that sort of thing for online visits as well. In the EU there is already the data retention directive and there is a plan in the works (see under the "Early warning system") to increase this to cover all search engine activity. Of course this is being done to protect us from paedophiles and sex offenders, but if the data is going straight to the police, I'm sure they can use it to stop anything else they might find objectionable.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2010 @ 10:38am

    They forgot to add using a GPS device to their bill!

    WE ARE ALL NOW IN IMMINENT DANGER!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2010 @ 10:39am

    Next they will increase the sentences if you used a watch to keep timing during your crime. Because clearly, whatever justification for increasing a sentence for using a map also applies to using a watch.

     

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    SomeWhiteGuy, May 28th, 2010 @ 10:43am

    Huh?

    I live in Louisiana and really don't know why they're wasting our money with this. I don't remember anything that has happened in the last few years that a "virtual street-level map" would have made worst...
    One way or the other, they'll have to prove that the person used the map for their particular burglary. Along with the fact that most people (well, I hope most) know that the images are old and most-likely a lot has changed in the area they are looking at.
    I wish they'd stop wasting tax dollars on passing junk like this and get to passing real legislation that will actually help the average person.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2010 @ 11:33am

      Re: Huh?

      I disagree with you SomeWhiteGuy. I wish they'd just stop wasting tax dollars on passing most all legislation and leave us alone. Maybe, we should go back to part time legislators and make them have real jobs, then meet once a year for a few weeks to take care of any pressing matters that may actually be important 50 years from now. That way, we reduce the tendency to have these kneejerk, nothing better to do, laws on the books.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2010 @ 6:35am

      Re: Huh?

      Like they have to PROVE anything. right....

       

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    Vic, May 28th, 2010 @ 10:47am

    Not enough!

    They should add 2 to 20 year extra if those online maps have been printed on a mono laser printer (3 to 30 years for a full color ink-jet copy) in a process of preparation to a crime...

     

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      Danny, May 28th, 2010 @ 10:58am

      Re: Not enough!

      And then allow Google, the maker of paper the map was printed on, and manufacter of the printer sue them for copyright and trademark infringement. But of course when the car companies hear about this they will buy...erm....lobby....for the right to sue as well. And from there the Department of Transportation (or whatever its called in that state) will be able to sue as we..

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2010 @ 10:52am

    How about this being a "clever" idea so that prosecutors may argue that any defendant used the internet to scout locations using an anonymous service and being impossible to prove/trace just to push higher sentences and "get tougher on crime".

     

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      btr1701 (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 9:09pm

      Re: Law

      > prosecutors may argue that any defendant used the internet to
      > scout locations using an anonymous service and being impossible
      > to prove

      Well, if a prosecutor starts his argument with "it's impossible for me to prove it", he pretty much just torpedoed his own case. The law requires him to prove it-- something the defense will be more than happy to repeatedly point out to the jury for him.

       

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    Mapper99, May 28th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Privacy Invasions...

    I wonder if we could be arrested for looking at Google Streat view privacy invasions like these.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2010 @ 11:10am

    Well, of course, when you use an online map the people who make paper maps lose business so you should get a longer sentences. After all, the government only exists to serve big businesses, not the public interest. If you haven't realized that by now, then you're just lost.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2010 @ 11:11am

    Yeah, because it's just as easy to drive through a neighborhood spending your gas, possibly being spotted by alert citizens as you scout out potential burglary sites as it is to sit at your computer browsing on Google maps. How bizarre! What a weird law!

     

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    a-dub (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 11:11am

    Welcome to Louisiana politics...and yeah, this is about par for the course. This is the same legislature that brought in Hurricane Chris to perform in front of the Louisiana house of representatives...check out the video, the lady in the green dress is his aunt from what I understand. It was a new low for Louisiana.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8swG-s8y0XE

     

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    Grey Ferret, May 28th, 2010 @ 11:24am

    Step in the right direction

    While this law doesn't make much sense, at least it is targeting the actual criminal. We usually read about laws trying to blame the map maker, not the map user. So, there's that at least.

     

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    OldGeek, May 28th, 2010 @ 11:31am

    Hey

    After all we're talking about the state that elected the head of the KKK as governor, ya know.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    Legislstors = illiterate

    I would like to run a bill through that begins... "in the interest of preserving our ....blah, blah..... patriotic duty.... etc, etc... (several hundred pages later) ...and in conclusion, I, by voting to pass this bill, agree to forfeit my seat in this legislative body because I obviously never read it."

     

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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 12:24pm

    But, but, but.....it's for the children!

    Why else would they pass a law like this? Yeah, that's the ticket - it's for the children. And it fights terrorism. And it makes us all more secure. It turns a sandwich into a banquet. It removes embarrassing stains from contour sheets. It'll get you a job. It is a job. And, lest we all forget, it's from Louisiana. That's really all you need to know. So how can this law not pass?

     

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    Jim L, May 28th, 2010 @ 12:39pm

    Attention robbers and burglars in LA

    Don't use the Internet, get paper maps.
    That will definitely reduce crime.

     

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    a-dub (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 1:18pm

    "After all we're talking about the state that elected the head of the KKK as governor, ya know."

    Who are you talking about? David Duke? He ran but didnt win...thank God.

     

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    Andrew F (profile), May 28th, 2010 @ 1:34pm

    Proof?

    I'm more concerned about how they're going to prove someone looked at Street View. Now prosecutors have an incentive to supoena Google everytime a burglary occurs.

     

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    Jake, May 28th, 2010 @ 3:14pm

    I could just see some logic in stricter penalties if there's evidence of premeditation, though I'd be extremely dubious about the reasoning. (I don't know if there's any statistical evidence to back this up, but it's not unreasonable to suppose that the more forward planning that goes into a robbery, the less likely it is that someone will get injured or killed.)
    Specifically targeting things like Street View, however? I can only assume that someone was filibustering and everyone voted aye just so they could get home on time.

     

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    Bloodline, May 30th, 2010 @ 4:02am

    Louisiana = Idiocracy

    Louisiana is the septic tank of Amerika in every way (behind Detroit of course) and this idiotic law advertises that fact louder than ever. Their legislative answer to everything is either outlaw it or tax it out of existence and then shuck and jive and act like everybody owes them a living because they're so cool. New Orleans is the next Detroit and after the next storm it really will be a Chocolate city. The whole state reeks of shit, stupidly and corruption and this has reached epidemic levels.

     

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    kevin (profile), Apr 6th, 2011 @ 2:46am

    I would love to track your future pellet mill posts pertaining to the said topic we are able to read.

     

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