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  1. #1

    Default Claiming to Have Commited a Fabricated Crime Online

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Wisconsin, but anywhere in general.

    When reading most online forums, you tend to come across trolling comments of various extremes. This isn't a question regarding anything I have done, but rather that I have observed. If someone posts online a claim to have committed some serious crime, is there any repercussions to it? For purposes of this question, I am only referring to completely fabricated crimes, and not claiming credit for a true crime.

    For example, if someone posts on a message board that they committed 10 murders, and somehow they are reported and able to be identified and questioned, would anything happen to them when they state they were just trying to get an angry reaction out of readers?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Claiming to Have Commited a Fabricated Crime Online

    No.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Claiming to Have Commited a Fabricated Crime Online

    That's purely a matter for the site admins to decide how to deal with trolls. Usually banning the user (and their IP address) is the response.

    Claiming to have committed crimes isn't particularly a crime, but it can attract the attention of law enforcement who may decide to investigate to see if there is any veracity to it.

    But that's not to say you can't get into trouble for what you post. Threats to cause bodily harm is ASSAULT and ones directed at people like the President get even more special attention.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Claiming to Have Commited a Fabricated Crime Online

    Quote Quoting Aquarius9217
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    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Wisconsin, but anywhere in general.

    When reading most online forums, you tend to come across trolling comments of various extremes. This isn't a question regarding anything I have done, but rather that I have observed. If someone posts online a claim to have committed some serious crime, is there any repercussions to it? For purposes of this question, I am only referring to completely fabricated crimes, and not claiming credit for a true crime.

    For example, if someone posts on a message board that they committed 10 murders, and somehow they are reported and able to be identified and questioned, would anything happen to them when they state they were just trying to get an angry reaction out of readers?
    Reported to whom? If you are referring to a forum administrator, then likely not except they may get banned from the forum.

    But claiming to commit 10 murders may get the attention of the police or have been reported to the police. In that case and if public resources are used to investigate (even if not true), the poster may well be charged with a disorderly persons offence in some states.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Claiming to Have Commited a Fabricated Crime Online

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    Reported to whom? If you are referring to a forum administrator, then likely not except they may get banned from the forum.

    But claiming to commit 10 murders may get the attention of the police or have been reported to the police. In that case and if public resources are used to investigate (even if not true), the poster may well be charged with a disorderly persons offence in some states.
    It would depend on what the person said to the police. If they said “I was just joking” I cannot see any charges attaching. If they intentionally mislead the police, then there are charges possible. We do have a freedom of speech and are free to lie under most circumstances (if not, trump would be out of office long ago). It would require obstruction of justice, perjury, false informing, or some other similar act to take it to a unlawful situation.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Claiming to Have Commited a Fabricated Crime Online

    The administrator or moderators could contact law enforcement where the IP is located. It would be up to law enforcement how they handled it at that point.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Claiming to Have Commited a Fabricated Crime Online

    If it turns out these were not false claims, but an actual statement of fact, there is considerable moral and possible legal results for not notifying the police. I do not see a good reason to not notify the police. The less one knows about the person making the statements, the less valid one's opinion about the "falseness" of the statement is. If this is indeed BS, and it likely is, let the police make that call.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Claiming to Have Commited a Fabricated Crime Online

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    Reported to whom? If you are referring to a forum administrator, then likely not except they may get banned from the forum.

    But claiming to commit 10 murders may get the attention of the police or have been reported to the police. In that case and if public resources are used to investigate (even if not true), the poster may well be charged with a disorderly persons offence in some states.
    Yes, I was referring to the poster getting referred to law enforcement in some fashion. In sticking with the original example, if there was a YouTube video about missing persons, and then some commenter on the video said something like they used to pick up hitchhikers and murder them. Let's say it gets reported to the site admin, who is somehow able to identify the poster, and refers it to the attention of law enforcement. That was what I was trying to ask.

    How about an example where there were actually similar crimes being committed in the area. So let's say that a message board poster brags that burglarizing houses is easy and they do it regularly, and it just happens that there are a string of unsolved burglaries in the area. Law enforcement is somehow notified, and when questioned the troll breaks down and says he was just trying to sound tough. The troll is quickly ruled out as a suspect. Would they get charged with anything or fined for wasting police resources?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Claiming to Have Commited a Fabricated Crime Online

    Quote Quoting Aquarius9217
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    Yes, I was referring to the poster getting referred to law enforcement in some fashion. In sticking with the original example, if there was a YouTube video about missing persons, and then some commenter on the video said something like they used to pick up hitchhikers and murder them. Let's say it gets reported to the site admin, who is somehow able to identify the poster, and refers it to the attention of law enforcement. That was what I was trying to ask.

    How about an example where there were actually similar crimes being committed in the area. So let's say that a message board poster brags that burglarizing houses is easy and they do it regularly, and it just happens that there are a string of unsolved burglaries in the area. Law enforcement is somehow notified, and when questioned the troll breaks down and says he was just trying to sound tough. The troll is quickly ruled out as a suspect. Would they get charged with anything or fined for wasting police resources?
    http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2917.32

    See A (1) and (3)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Claiming to Have Commited a Fabricated Crime Online

    Quote Quoting Aquarius9217
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    If someone posts online a claim to have committed some serious crime, is there any repercussions to it?
    Maybe. Details matter, and your hypothetical is woefully incomplete.


    Quote Quoting Aquarius9217
    View Post
    For example, if someone posts on a message board that they committed 10 murders, and somehow they are reported and able to be identified and questioned, would anything happen to them when they state they were just trying to get an angry reaction out of readers?
    I'm not sure who "they" and "them" are, but "anything" is obviously far more broad than criminal prosecution.

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