Stalking comes in all forms. When we think about it in the legal context, one of the pictures that may come to mind is a jilted lover, intent on seeking revenge, retaliation, reconciliation, or maybe just acknowledgement of his or her place in the victim’s life. Notes, phone calls, surreptitiously following the other person; all these are possible tools in the arsenal of party doing the harassing, or stalking.
We were intrigued by a recent report of what can only be described as a monumental example of this behavior. The incidents took place, according to police, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The people involved, not surprisingly, were a man and his former girlfriend. The activity alleged is simply amazing, and was reported as including the following activities during a one-week period:
- Phone calls – 77,639
- Text messages – 41,229
- Emails – 1,937
- Letters – 647
- Sung messages – 217
We don’t know if you’ve been counting, but we have done the math, and when you total up all the activities, it comes to more than 121,000 calls, messages, and the like over a period of just 7 days. The report we read said the women took amphetamines to stay awake, and used three cell phones at once, but still . . . If you add it all up, it comes to a message, call, etc. every 5 seconds, 24 hours a day, for a week. Considering the fact that it can take several seconds for each call even to connect, the numbers may be a bit exaggerated. Having said that, even if you knock off 90% of it, it’s still going to be considered a fairly extreme example of stalking in most jurisdictions.
Speaking of which, had it occurred in Arizona, it may not have been charged as stalking, since, under A.R.S. 13-2923, stalking requires behavior that would cause a reasonable person to be in fear of his safety, or that of his immediate family. On the other hand, if proven, the conduct would clearly be harassment under A.R.S. 13-2921. The difference is a significant one, since harassment is generally a misdemeanor, while stalking is always a felony.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004