He’s a Felon and a Stalker

One convict tried to tell a court he wasn’t the latter.

Last week, the Division I Court of Appeals ruled on the stalking case of a King County man who repeatedly visited and later followed a gas-station clerk, telling her "I want to fuck you, bitch," and later, "I'm gonna kill you." He said he was giving her three days to live and was doing all this "because [she's] an immigrant." The whole series of threats, documented in the court's opinion, is longer and more unsettling than just the above. For these acts, David Alfred Haines was convicted of felony harassment, misdemeanor harassment, and misdemeanor stalking. Haines appealed the stalking conviction. The gist of the ruling he's appealing is that you only need to harass someone a couple times—and not, as Haines argues, six—to be convicted of stalking. Specifically, Haines contended that the language of the stalking statute requires six separate acts of harassment. The rationale is that the statute defines stalking as consisting of repeated instances of a course of conduct. Repeated means more than one, course is defined as a series of events, and Webster's defines series as three or more. Thus, argued Haines, 2 x 3 = 6. He also argued that each act must meet the definition of harassment. The court rejected Haines' arguments, finding that any instance of harassment equaled a course of conduct (thus two acts were required, not six), and adding that the acts of which the stalking consists needn't be harassment on their own. Thus, Haines' conviction was upheld, and future stalking convictions won't require six incidents.

 
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