This blog usually seeks to educate you on the law, how it works, and how it might affect you on a daily basis. Sometimes, though, the posts are on current events – important legal developments in the news or interesting stories that provide an opportunity to educate you about the legal system. This week’s post is one of those on current events. It starts with Bernie Sanders.
The Boston Globe reported earlier this month that the shooter at the Republican baseball practice was a volunteer for Bernie Sanders’ campaign. The senator was clear to denounce the incident, but it helped to highlight the shooter’s anti-Republican stance. To further demonstrate his personal feelings, the Globe went on to report that the attacker had signed a petition that seeks to impeach the president for treason and the vice-president for “misprision of treason”.
What Is Misprision?
Misprision is not a misspelled word for someone who did not go to prison. Clearly, however, many people have been wondering since this news broke exactly what “misprision” is. A Google search for the word is filled with basic definitions and then “misprision of treason” references.
The word itself is defined as the “concealment of treason or felony by one who is not a participant in the treason or felony”. It means that one is aware of felonious activity without reporting it or seeking to halt it. This is why, according to the now-infamous petition, our vice-president, in theory, can be held accountable for the president’s actions. According to the petition, he did not commit treason; he was just aware of it and allowed it to happen. This, in the minds of some, makes him guilty of “misprision of treason".
Misprision in Virginia:
There is one reference to misprision in Virginia’s legal code. It is simple and concise and fits in perfectly with what has already been said on the subject. The code says “(i)f any person knowing of such treason shall not, as soon as may be, give information thereof to the Governor, or some conservator of the peace, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony”.
Misprision of treason in Virginia is the lowest form of felony, but it is still a felony nonetheless. The maximum punishment for a Class 6 felony is 1-5 years in prison and/or a fine of $2,500.
A few weeks ago, this blog discussed racketeering conspiracy, or RICO. RICO is a crime by someone who does not himself or herself commit any crimes but oversees them to make sure they are carried out. Usually, RICO is applied to some kind of crime boss or gang leader.
Misprision is another law that is applied to someone who does not himself or herself commit any crime. As stated above, it may apply to someone who is aware of a crime being committed and conceals it or does nothing about it. The laws are broad and vast; it creates a great need for knowledgeable and aggressive defense attorneys who know how to help you navigate the legal system.
If you are someone in need of a defense attorney, call or e-mail today for a free consultation!
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