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StiffUpperLip

Attempted... what, exactly?

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The following question is hypothetical - not in the sense that it didn't happen, because it did, but in the sense that I don't actually want to press charges, rather only to find out if charges could theoretically be pressed.

 

I know the circumstances sound bizarre. But believe me, I'm leaving out some details that make it even more bizarre.

 

Approximately eight years ago, Mr. Smith somehow became convinced based on circumstantial evidence that I have disease X. At the time, I had never even heard of disease X, nor had I experienced any symptoms of it, nor had any doctor examined me for anything even remotely related to it. But Smith would not be dissuaded from his virtual certainty that I was ill.

 

Now, in addition to that belief, Mr. Smith holds the pseudoscientific belief (not supported by modern medicine) that a person can contract disease X by being in situation Y. Compare it, I suppose, to the folk belief that pointing at the moon gives you warts.

 

In any case, Mr. Smith then spent the next eight years repeatedly and deliberately engineering that I would end up in situation Y, over and over and over again. His belief, of course, is that since I already have disease X, situation Y won't affect me at all, so what's the problem? Well, from my point of view, there's nothing to suggest that I have disease X, so putting me in situation Y would actually be pretty injurious to my health if the folk belief were actually true.

 

Since I don't believe that the folk belief is true, I never bothered to take the rather drastic step of severing all contact with Mr. Smith, but I have grown increasingly angry with him at his insistence on repeatedly putting me in situation Y, knowing that he believes it might actually be dangerous to me if he is even the slightest bit wrong in his belief that I already have it.

 

And now comes the kicker. After eight years of this, I went to a doctor for an unrelated matter, and discovered in the process that I actually do have disease X. There is no way I can tell how long I've had it, because the symptoms can go unnoticed for a very long time. I may have developed it as recently as last year, or maybe Mr. Smith was right in asserting that I have always had it.

 

I should also note that Disease X is not curable, though its effects can be wholly negated with proper care. Unfortunately, that care a: involves some minor expenses; b: will significantly reduce my quality of life, and c: must be maintained continuously until the day I die. So long as I have that care, though, I will never even notice the existence of the disease (much like I hadn't noticed it thus far).

 

So to sum up. I am not under the belief that Mr. Smith actually caused me to develop disease X; the folk belief is still, as far as I am concerned, a folk belief. But my question is this: Has Mr. Smith committed any crimes of the "Attempted disease-causing" nature? Regardless of whether or not the charges would stick (I'm pretty sure they wouldn't, even were I inclined to press them), could he theoretically be arrested for his deliberate attempts to put me into what he mistakenly believed was a dangerous situation? Could he be charged on the basis of the fact that there was no way he could know for sure that I had disease X, and that his placing me in situation Y repeatedly may have been potentially dangerous? Or does his first belief (that the situation wouldn't be dangerous for me) negate his second belief (that the situation is dangerous for people in general), leaving him not liable at all?

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Without knowing exactly what "situation Y" is, what steps he took to place you in that situation and how it may be harmful, and not knowing in what state this taking place, it is not possible to say whether any attempted criminal act took place. 

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Without knowing exactly what "situation Y" is, what steps he took to place you in that situation and how it may be harmful, and not knowing in what state this taking place, it is not possible to say whether any attempted criminal act took place. 

This took place in the state of New Jersey (I knew I was forgetting something).

 

As for situation Y - I'm afraid I can't divulge what it is due to my desire to remain anonymous. However, I can say this, which works to both explain some of Mr. Smith's motivations and perhaps point to how deliberate his attempts were:

 

Mr. Smith thought that by repeatedly putting me in situation Y, he was doing me a favor. After all, he believed that disease X was raging within me unchecked, which can be very dangerous in the long term if it is not addressed (on this, at least, he is correct from a medical standpoint). So his reasoning was this: if he were to find himself in situation Y, he'd immediately go to a doctor and get checked for disease X. So clearly he needs to put me in situation Y as often as possible, until I get suspicious enough to go and get checked for it!

 

Of course, no matter how often I told him that I don't believe Y can possibly cause X, he didn't stop trying. He's stubborn that way. The fact that I might potentially blame him for giving me X were he to succeed in convincing me that it's even possible doesn't seem to have occurred to him.

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"Remain anonymous"? This board isn't anonymous enough?

 

Anyway, I gather you're speaking of HIV infection. While intentional infection a person is a crime in some jurisdictions, it would be almost impossible to discern whether a crime occured based on the details you provide.

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Well, as I saidhe didn't give me disease X, because it's not actually possible to do so. Disease X isn't communicable in any way; think Lou Gehrig's Disease, or narcolepsy. My question was based on the fact that Mr. Smith believes that the disease is causable, and he then took an action that he believed would cause it if not for his belief that I already had it.

 

So, as LegalwriterOne asked, Y isn't in and of itself illegal, because it cannot cause harm to anybody beyond being an annoyance after eight years of dealing with it; I wanted to know if causing Y under the mistaken belief that it might be dangerous is illegal.

 

After all, if you deliberately send somebody into a building that's about to be demolished, that's often attempted murder even if you got the address of the building wrong and he was in no danger. But what if the reason was because you suspected that person of secretly being Superman and thus immune to falling bricks? And what if it turns out he really was Superman? Does that negate the attempted murder charge?

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As for situation Y - I'm afraid I can't divulge what it is due to my desire to remain anonymous. 

 

Then I can’t provide any information as to whether what he did might be a crime. In the law, details are incredibly important. 

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Im thinking... feeding you a bunch of cake and Ice cream until you get diabetes:?

A boss that makes you work out in the sun so you get skin cancer?
 

 

Sending you to Transylvania in hopes that you will be bitten by a vampire?   

Am I getting colder? Warmer?

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*laughs* I came here to get legal advice, not play Guess My Medical History. But I will say that if it were either of the first two, Mr. Smith's belief wouldn't be medical quackery.

 

The third one, now... sure, why not. Let's go with that. Mr. Smith has repeatedly and under false pretenses lured me onto airplanes headed for Transylvania when I thought they were going somewhere else :P

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I think you should discuss the issue with police if you won't provide relevant factual (or "factual") details for meaningful analysis.  If this is an employment situation -- though even in such a situation you could cut ties with Mr. Smith as you please -- consult with labor department or employment law attorney.  You don't say that you've told Mr. Smith to let you alone and whether he's refused to comply, but you may talk with NJ police about anti-harassment laws.

While it's true that for instance (for a flip side) someone under oath willfully telling what they believe to be a lie (though it is in fact not a lie) can be prosecuted for perjury, I'm not sure what you expect folks to do with the info provided without any underlying details.

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