“Cannibal cop” and thought crime

Cannibal cop targeted Catholic high school softball player: prosecutors

One of the most deeply troubling moves in law enforcement is that thoughts are increasingly crimes. 

The general rule in criminal law is that thoughts can’t be crimes.  Discussions of possible crimes aren’t per se crimes. 

Even preparations for crimes generally fall short of the legal threshold necessary for there to be an actual “attempt”, and the danger of somebody being nabbed prior to even an attempts is that we don’t know if they had any real intention to follow through, and all of their actual actions may be legal. 

The so-called cannibal cop is more appropriate for psychiatric observation because there is a real concern that he may hurt others, but he hasn’t done anything that traditionally is considered an offence.  

Can a series of otherwise lawful acts become illegal because of what is allegedly going on in somebody’s head?

Maybe with terrorism we don’t want to wait until somebody acts, but that approach seems to be corrupting the criminal law.  

So we charge people with thinking about offenses now?  Who hasn’t thought about say punching somebody out?   So now everybody is by definition a criminal and the authorities decide who to prosecute? 

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