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

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Duke (profile) says:

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.

SomeWhiteGuy (profile) says:


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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Danny says:

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..

btr1701 (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.”

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

But, but,'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?

Jake (user link) says:

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.

Bloodline says:

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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