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Kidnapping - Origins Of The Offense In English Law, Impact Of The Lindbergh Kidnapping, Elements Of Kidnapping And Related Offenses

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law

Kidnapping is a widely known felony that may be described as the seizing and carrying away of another person against his or her will. The precise statutory definitions are much more elaborate than the foregoing, and occur in a variety of different forms. Most statutes also prohibit the unlawful restraint of anther person. Kidnapping is primarily regulated by state law, though certain federal laws may apply depending on the nature of the offense. In practice, a kidnapping may occur either by the use of force or by deception or enticement. Despite the connotation of the word "kidnapping," these statutes criminalize the taking of adults as well as children. Thus, a hostage-style holding or taking captive of an adult is prosecutable under kidnapping laws. Many kidnap attempts include requests for ransom money, though this is not necessarily an element of the offense. There are related laws for hostage-taking and ransom demands, and the elements of kidnapping may often overlap with these and other crimes.

CHARLES H. WHITEBREAD

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