I’m no lawyer but I’ve watched countless TV shows featuring lawyers.
One crime referenced in TV and movies I’ve always been confused by?
Aiding and abetting a known felon.
This crime TERRIFIES me for the simple reason that I have no idea whether or not I’ve ever committed it.
Aiding a felon? That I can confidently say I’ve never done. There’s no chance you’ve seen Mike Eltringham administering any type of aid to a felon. No band aid, no first aid. I wouldn’t even tell a felon directions if he asked me for them.
The reason why I have no idea whether or not I’ve abetted a known felon is that I have no idea what the hell abetting even means.
I’m not going to look it up because that would ruin this post. I am going to take a stab at it though.
I think “abetting” was a term constructed by the authorities to make “aiding and abetting a known felon” sound even worse than it was.
Think about it. It’s longer. It keeps the judge talking longer when he’s saying exactly what the felon aid-er did.
And you could sympathize with someone who just AIDED a known felon. Maybe they’re just a nice guy. “Oh man. He gave the known felon a granola bar. Can’t fault him for that.”
But aiding AND abetting?
THAT sounds way more heinous.
“Your honor, the court asks we sentence the defendant to 8 years. After all, he did aid AND abet.”
“No kidding? Well I was all set to cut him loose but as soon as you said, “..and abet” I knew my worst suspicions were confirmed. Let’s give him the chair.”
Here’s how I really know the term is bullshit. And you can tell I’m talking myself into this as I write, because again, I could easily just look this up. But what would be the fun in that? Here’s how you really know the term is bullshit: no one’s ever been charged with just abetting a known felon. Aiding’s always thrown in there.
It’s a package deal. No one’s ever aided without abetting. No one’s ever abetted without aiding. You’ve never heard a jury say, “Well your honor, we’re with you on the aiding, guilty there…but abetting? We couldn’t see it. So, I guess he’s half guilty.”
I’m setting a Google alert to figure out the first time someone’s convicted of just abetting a known felon. I won’t hold my breath figuring it out.
And before you email me, yes, I know I could easily Google it and find out if it’s happened. Bu see my earlier point above. I’d rather ride this one out. Just abet in my continued ignorance on this one.