Tagged: Kidnapping

The Law Is A Ass

Bob Ingersoll: The Law Is A Ass #359: MIDNIGHT AT THE GAOL PLACES

What is it about super heroes and prisons? First Ben (The Thing) Grimm went breaking bad by breaking out of jail. Then the good guys warehoused super villains in less-than-legal lock-ups on the TV shows Arrow and The Flash. The Thing, Green Arrow, and the Flash. These are long-time, venerable, white-hat heroes, not your new-fangled heroes of questionable pedigree and even more questionable morality. These were the types of heroes who stood for something. Something noble.

Another in that long line of long-lived, white hat heroes was Captain Midnight. Captain Midnight started on the radio in the fall of 1938. So he’s older and more venerable than any the comic-book super heroes except Superman and, maybe, the Crimson Avenger. And he was just as white-hat as any of them.

Sure his cowl was a dark blue. But let’s face it, neither Green Arrow nor the Flash sport headgear that’s regulation ivory, either. When you’re talking about white-hat heroes, it isn’t the actual color, it’s the attitude. And in attitude, Jim Albright, genius inventor and secretly the costumed hero Captain Midnight, was as white-hat as they come.

Then, after he was transported through time from 1944 to the present, Captain Midnight went to a twenty-first century prison. And like the other heroes before him, he lost his way.


In Dark Horse’s current Captain Midnight series, the good Captain is fighting the secret super villain the Archon, “the most sinister threat [Captain Midnight has] ever faced.” In Captain Midnight #20, Captain Midnight realized that in order to get information necessary for his fight, he had to steal it from the shadowy government organization Black Sky. (Of course it’s a shadowy government organization. In comic books, all government organizations are shadowy. Except for the ones that are just flat-out evil.)

Steal information from the government? We’re not even to the prison yet and already Midnight’s white hat has become a shade of grey. (Only 49 more to go).

In order to steal the information, Captain Midnight enlisted the aid of Helios, an assassin who used teleportation technology pirated from Albright Industries to port to and from his mercenary pursuits with a minimum of danger. Because Midnight created the teleportation technology that Helios uses, Midnight could hijack it by remote control. Midnight used his remote control to override Helios’s suit and jump him from a hit in Moscow to the secret Midnight base. Then Midnight used his remote control and teleported the two of them into Block 13, a Black Sky prison in New Mexico. Both acts done to Helios and against his will.

Did I say “enlisted?” Let me rephrase that. capheliostension

Captain Midnight grabbed Helios against Helios’s will in order to accomplish his theft plan. That’s kidnap. And broke into a secret government prison. Would you call that criminal trespass? I wouldn’t. Neither would New Mexico. In New Mexico, it’s aggravated burglary. That’s shades of grey two and three.

Because Black Sky was is a comic-book shadowy government organization, it was something real government organizations aren’t; efficient. Armed Black Sky agents were waiting for Captain Midnight and Helios. Which meant that Captain Midnight and Helios had to fight their way through the Black Sky agents.

There were seven agents, so that would be seven counts of assault upon a peace officer. At first. Lots more Black Sky agents showed up while Midnight was downloading the information he needed from the Black Sky computers. Agents Helios shot said agents with deadly force. How do I know it was deadly force? Because Helios told Captain Midnight he was going to have to use deadly force and Midnight said “Fine.” That gives us a dozen or so counts of aggravated assault upon a peace officer or murder, depending on whether Helios actually killed any of the Black Sky operatives. (And considering the bullets to the heads and chest that several of them took, I’m guessing he did.)

After Captain Midnight finished downloading the information, he activated his escape plan. It was literally an escape plan. Midnight hadn’t just downloaded information from the computers, he had also uploaded a virus into the computers. He used that virus to open up all the cell doors on Block 13. Suddenly, like the dinosaurs on Jurassic Park, all the inmates were running wild. Then, while the Black Sky agents were capturing the escaping prisoners, Midnight and Helios teleported to the base’s hanger and commandeered one of the Black Sky jets to make good their own escape. (Because of a plot contrivance, Helios could teleport a short distance inside the base, couldn’t teleport out of the base. Hence the whole stealing a jet plane gambit.) Meanwhile, an explosion that Captain Midnight triggered created an additional distraction to cover their escape.

And that brings us up to god knows how many counts of aiding and abetting escape from a penitentiary by unlocking all those Block 13 cell doors. Several counts of conspiracy. One count of computer abuse. One count of unlawful assault on a jail. One count of larceny. One count of unlawful taking of a vehicle. One count of criminal damage to property. And, if any of the Black Sky agents were hurt in the explosion – I’m guessing yes – even more counts of aggravated assault upon a peace officer. That’s quite the laundry list of felonies. Even Al Capone was telling Captain Midnight to take it easy.

And that’s just from a quick perusal of New Mexico’s criminal statutes. I’ll bet I could find a lot more offenses, if I really delved into New Mexico’s criminal statutes. But why bother? Captain Midnight has so many more than fifty shades of grey on his white hat, it’s not funny.

Seriously, it’s not funny. We used to call our favored reading material funny books. Not any more. Turning super heroes – especially the super heroes of old who were classic white-hat heroes – into people who are every bit as bad – if not worse – than the villains they fight is many things. But it’s not funny.

The Law Is A Ass

Bob Ingersoll: The Law Is A Ass #357: NEWS, FLASH: YOU CAN’T DO THAT WITH THE BAD GUYS

Okay you’ve got them, now what are you going to do with them?

By “them” I mean super villains. So it shouldn’t be much of a leap to conclude that “you” means super heroes. Certainly a lot less than a tall building.

Doesn’t matter where you are – comic books, movies, television, or even cosplay – if you have super heroes, you’re going to have super villains. And if you have super villains, you’re going to have the problem of what to do with them after they’ve been caught. I realize that in today’s comics, catching the bad guys isn’t always a foregone conclusion, but for the sake of argument let’s assume that the super heroes actually do catch the super villains So, then what to do with them?

In comic books, it’s not a problem. Comic-book universes all seem to have some sort of power dampening technology. Turn it on and the super villains powers go away. That way they can’t use their super powers to break out of the prison.

Movies don’t seem to have much of a problem, either. Mostly because super villains in movies die at an alarming rate. Joker, Penguin, Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones and Aaron Eckhart), Bane, Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Venom, Electro, Iron Monger, Whiplash, The Mandarin, Red Skull, Malekith, General Zod (Michael Shannon version definitely and possibly Terence Stamp version) all appeared to die at the end of their movies. And I probably forgot one or two along the way. What to do with super villains after they die isn’t much of a problem. You just wait for them to turn up, not dead after all, in the sequel.

Television is where the heroes have the most problems with what to do with the bad guys. It started as far back as 1952 and the first season of Adventures of Superman. You remember “The Stolen Costume?” Two crooks learned Clark Kent was Superman and Superman left them on the top of a mountain so that they couldn’t tell anyone what they knew. When they tried to climb down, because they didn’t believe Superman would come back with food for them, they fell to their deaths. And Superman’s reaction was to say they fell off a cliff about as casually as he might say, “Lois? Oh she fell out the window.”

The problem got worse with the 60s Batman TV series. Oh, Batman knew what to do with the super villains he caught. It was Gotham City that didn’t know what to do with the super villains; other than let them escape. 1109514I swear Gotham Pen was built with unreinforced cardboard and doors locked on the honor system.

But in the new millennium, things have gotten really out of hand vis-a-vis captured super villains and what do with them. Especially in the shared TV universe of Arrow and The Flash.

In The Flash, the Flash and his team from S.T.A.R. Labs capture a super villain every few weeks. When they do they put said villain in The Pipeline,Particle-Accelerator-The-Flash their private a prison inside the tube of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator, quicker than you can say, “Jail, jail, the gang’s all here.” What the heck do we care? I don’t know about the you part of “we,” but the me part cares quite a bit. Putting the super villains in the Pipeline is problematic.

Yes, I know the S.T.A.R. labs group think that Central City and it’s ordinary prison for ordinary prisoners, Iron Heights, can’t handle the metahumans. Guess the all-S.T.A.R.s thought Iron Heights had incorporated all those prison reforms that Warden Crichton used in Gotham City . And, yes, S.T.A.R. Labs may think the metahumans are their responsibility, what with their particle accelerator having created the metas and all, but they can’t just round up all the metacriminals and put them in S.T.A.R.’s own private Ida-hole.

See Missouri – and according to the Flash episode “The Man in the Yellow Suit,” Central City is in Missouri – has a law. Missouri has lots of laws actually, but we’re only concerned with one; MO Rev Stat § 565.130.This laws says a person commits the crime of false imprisonment if he “restrains another unlawfully and without consent so as to interfere substantially with his liberty.”

The S.T.A.R. Lab Rats have definitely interfered with the liberty of the evil metahumans in a substantial way. They’ve locked them up in a private prison. Was it unlawful? Do pigeons poop in the park?

These villains haven’t been found guilty of anything. Hell, they haven’t even been put on trial. S.T.A.R. Labs just decided they were too dangerous to run around loose, so locked them up. And while S.T.A.R. Labs may be correct in its assessment, it’s wrong in its solution. You can’t go around locking up the people you think are dangerous. The government can’t do it without first affording due process of law. And private citizens can’t do it at all.

Don’t go crying PATRIOT Act to me, the metahumans aren’t foreign national enemy combatants. They’re just American criminals. Criminals with those annoying little things called constitutional rights.

As to S.T.A.R. Lab’s claim ordinary prisons can’t handle the metahumans, sez who? The Pipeline handles them all right. S.T.A.R. Labs developed some sort of power dampening technology that it uses to keep the metahumans under control in their private prison. In the episode “Rogue Air,” the dampeners even kept the metahumans under control outside of the Pipeline, when S.T.A.R. Labs and the Flash were trying to transport the metahumans to a different prison. If S.T.A.R. Labs has technology that it uses to keep the metahumans under control, why couldn’t it share the technology so that Iron Heights could use it to keep the metahumans under control?

If your answer was, “I don’t know,” don’t worry; so was mine. But I do know this, “I don’t know,” isn’t a good enough answer to justify not sharing it. Or for locking up metahumans in a private prison without any legal authority.

Now over in Arrow, there aren’t as many metahuman villains. Most Arrow baddies are held in the handy hoosegow. But there are a couple– Slade (Deathstroke) Wilson Slade_Wilson_imprisoned_under_Lian_Yuand Digger (Captain Boomerang) Harkness – who weren’t sent to the standard stockade. These two were locked up in a secret black box prison on the island of Lian Yu. Lian_YuThe only difference is that it wasn’t Arrow who locked up the bad guys there, it’s A.R.G.U.S.

A.R.G.U.S. (or the Advance Research Group United Support) is a secret organization. In the DC comics, A.R.G.U.S. is a federal agency. Arrow has been a little sketchy with it’s background for A.R.G.U.S. but on the show the organization has enough governmental ties for it to be either an actual agency or a quasi-agency of the US government. It’s certainly enough of a governmental agency that the Fourteenth Amendment – the one that guarantees the government cannot deprive citizens of their liberty without due process of law – would apply to it. So because A.R.G.U.S. has both Deathstroke and Boomerang locked up in its secret island prison without either of them having had the benefit of due process or a trial, it’s violating their constitutional rights. It may not be against the law of any state – Lian Yu is somewhere in the South China Sea and not in any state – but it’s still illegal. What with it violating the Constitution and all.

So, to repeat the question with which we opened: You’ve got them, now what are you going to do with them? I don’t know. You don’t know. Maybe even the super heroes don’t know. But whatever’s done them, it shouldn’t be what’s being done with them now.

The Law Is A Ass


2650907-nelson_2Some people just never learn.

Only we’re not talking about some people today, we’re talking about just one person. Namely Matt Murdock, blind attorney-at-law and secret identity of the super hero Daredevil. Matt’s had some run-ins with the legal process of late, run-ins that didn’t end well for him. “Didn’t end well,” here being a euphemism for New York had disbarred him after years of Matt playing fast and loose with the code of legal ethics. So Matt moved to San Francisco, because he was still a member of the California bar.

Well, he didn’t have to move, he did so out of practicality and a desire to eat. He couldn’t practice law in New York and super heroing didn’t earn Matt enough to keep him in subway tokens. So he moved to San Francisco, and not because the exchange rate on BART tokens was better.

Now you’d think after these professional setbacks, that Matt would want to comport himself strictly legit. That his path would be narrower than Twiggy and straighter than a porn star on Viagra. But if you thought that then, like the Cat in the Hat, you’d have Thing One and Thing Two.

See, while Matt was about to move his heart to San Francisco, there were still a few things he had to take care of back in New York. Chief among them was protecting his law partner, Franklin “Foggy” Nelson. Foggy had Ewing’s sarcoma, a tangerine-sized cancer tumor on his hip. He was undergoing chemo, as well as specialized treatments in which Hank Pym, bio-chemist and the former Ant-Man, shrank down then went wandering around Foggy’s blood stream shooting stray tumor cells to help keep the cancer from spreading. The treatments took their toll on Foggy. Indeed, they were more taxing than April 15th and they left Foggy as weak as Johnny Manziel’s grasp of a play book.

At the same time, Matt had been forced to out himself. He’d had to reveal he was secretly Daredevil. He figured his old foes would try to strike back at Daredevil by attacking Foggy. Because of his reduced resistance, Foggy was vulnerable. And Matt wanted Foggy to concentrate on beating the cancer without his treatment being interrupted by the monthly obligatory fight scenes with vengeance-seeking costumed baddies. So Matt had to figure out a way to protect Foggy. In a flashback that took up most of Daredevil v4 #5, we learned what that way was.

Matt decided that Foggy Nelson should die.

Okay, not die, die. But comic-book die, as in die and come back later. Matt wanted the world at large to believe Foggy had succumbed to his cancer then move out to San Francisco with Matt under a new identity. Later, after Foggy had licked the cancer, they’d see what they could do about bringing him back from the “dead.”

Foggy wasn’t sold on the plan. It would bring unnecessary heartache to his family and friends. And reviving him would be a bit of a hassle. (Really, a hassle? With the way people die and come back to life in Marvel comic books, the Clerk of Courts probably has a standard “Back From the Dead” form on file. But mostly, Foggy wasn’t sold on the plan, because to the world it would just look like he had succumbed to an illness, while he was secretly living in retirement somewhere. Super heroes get to “go out with a bang.” Foggy would just be shuffleboarding off this mortal coil.

That’s when fate stepped in. Or perhaps I should say leapt in as the villain in Daredevil v 4 # 5, was that Daredevil mainstay Leap-Frog. Only it wasn’t the mainstay. This wasn’t your fathers Leap-Frog, or if you happen to be a Daredevil reader as old as me, your Leap-Frog. This was the new and improved Leap-Frog (Armour). Hey, can I help it if that – complete with the Olde English spelling – is what Marvel calls him?

The old Leap-Frog, you may remember, looked like Kermit after some bad acid. A man in a goofy frog costume that was equipped with powerful electronic springs in the scuba diver fins he wore as boots that allowed him to leap up to six stories in a single bound. The springs may have helped Leap-Frog be coily to bed and coily to rise, but they brought him less respect as a super villain than Rodney Dangerfield with bad biorhythms.

I don’t want to leap to conclusions, but Leap-Frog classic was one of the worst super villains ever. And this from a man who can actually see the merits of the Living Eraser. But, as I said, fortunately for us, this was new and improved Leap-Frog (Armour). Gone was the goofy-looking frog costume and the powerful springs. Leap-Frog (Armour) was armed with a robotic battlesuit that looked like a Transformer that had just changed from a Fiat 500 into a robotic version of Kermit after some bad acid.

Leap-Frog (Armour) wanted to establish his rep by defeating Daredevil. So he grabbed Foggy to force Daredevil to fight him. He and Daredevil fought East Side, West Side and all around the sidewalks of New York until, long story short, Daredevil defeated Leap-Frog (Armour). In only five pages. (So much for “new and improved. I think the new Leap-Frog’s fight with Daredevil lasted fewer rounds than Leap-Frog classic’s did.)

The fight, however, ended with a bang. Literally. Leap-Frog (Armour)’s armour was a time bomb which was about to explode on 5th Avenue. Daredevil couldn’t have a time bomb exploding on 5th Avenue and not because it would shower the city with crunchy peanut-butter and chocolate. Because Daredevil couldn’t see the controls to the battlesuit, he couldn’t do anything to stop the explosion. Foggy was the only person who was close enough to prevent untold deaths. So Daredevil told Foggy to get into the armour and leap into the air as high and as far away from people as he could go.

Foggy did. He sent the battlesuit into a powerful leap that took it well above the nearest sky scrapers. Then it exploded harmlessly in the air. Killing Foggy. So Foggy got to die big, after all.



he didn’t really die. See, Hank Pym in his Ant-Man suit was inside Foggy treating his cancer at the time Leap-Frog (Armour) grabbed Foggy. So Daredevil had Ant-Man shrink Foggy down in size just before the explosion, and the two of them rode away from the explosion on wind currents.

Now Foggy appeared to be dead, in a big, heroic, self-sacrificing death and Matt could go forward with his plan of relocating Foggy to San Francisco in secret, where Foggy could continue his cancer treatments without interruption of super villains.

Happy ending for all. Except, of course, for Leap-Frog (Armour). Because think about how things look for him. He kidnaped Foggy, then activated a time bomb on Fifth Avenue, Then Foggy “sacrificed his life” to keep the bomb from killing anyone else. According to New York Penal Code § 135.25, when you kidnap someone and the victim dies before being returned to safety, that is kidnapping in the first degree. And according to NYPL § 125.27, causing someone’s death while committing kidnapping in the first degree is murder in the first degree.

Because of Matt’s little scheme to protect Foggy by faking his death in a glorious, going-out-big manner, Leap Frog (Armour) will be prosecuted for, and should be convicted of, murder in the first degree. There’s just one little problem with this; Leap Frog (Armour) isn’t guilty of the crime. He didn’t kill anybody, least of all Foggy. Sure Leap-Frog (Armour) is guilty of kidnapping and attempted murder and attempted arson, so he would be going to prison for a good long time. But he wouldn’t be guilty of murder.

Matt, I know you’ve been a little, shall we say, expansive in your interpretation of laws and ethics of late; but the next time you decide to fake your friend’s death, can’t you do it without framing a guy for murder?