Tag: Criminal Procedure
Many of the laws of our society are drafted with our mortality in mind, some are even written because we’re mortal. The interplay between death and the law has been studied by scholars and philosophers for centuries, gaining increasing attention with advances in medical science. The certainty of death is one constant not present in the lives of many superheroes. Was Dostoyevsky right, can there be no virtue without immortality, or do these invincible beings create an unnecessary complication in our lives and laws?
Batman plants a tracker on your car as you make your getaway; Superman uses his x-ray vision to find stolen goods in your house; and Professor Xavier telepathically extracts your confession; if you’re a criminal Superheros are constantly invading your privacy in the name of “justice.” What’s worse is that some of the citizens who have their privacy invaded aren’t criminals they’re just caught in the crossfire. Assuming you could serve a subpoena on the Hall of Justice or the Xavier School (and actually enforce a summons) what would your remedy be for these intrusions? If you weren’t able to go after the heroes themselves would there be any legal redress in your impending court case or could you even have a case against the government?
Your course of action in these matters depends on the nature of the crime-fighter as either a government actor or a vigilante. If your captor was a government actor the invasion of your privacy may lead to the exclusion of evidence from your criminal case; if a vigilante was involved your next step is a private tort action against the hero.
Superman stands for truth, justice and the American way, but does that include the protections of the Constitution? Some superheros are treated better by the cities they protect than those hunted as criminals themselves. At what point does acceptance by the government amount to a sanction to engage in quasi-legal behavior? Any discussion of “superhero law” begins with the classification of crime-fighters as vigilantes or government actors. This classification will determine the extent of protection their actions receive under the law as well as the standard by which those actions are judged.