(I'll get back to discussing money laundering presently)

Underpass with Cars, Oil on Panel, 36" x 48", Richard J Van Wagoner, Circa 1988, Courtesy of Helen Bero-Van Wagoner and Richard A. Van Wagoner

I am not (necessarily) advocating the Salt Lake County District Attorney or Utah Attorney General charge the officer with aggravated kidnapping, although that offense or some lesser version of it may be appropriate. Conviction of aggravated kidnapping, a first degree felony, carries a minimum mandatory prison term of at least six years. Below I have stripped Utah's aggravated kidnapping statute to its fundamental elements based on the part of the story revealed in the foregoing video. The officer, if charged, is presumed innocent (a truism at best). Does probable cause—black and white or even within the penumbra of various shades of gray—warrant bringing such a charge? That seems to have been an applied standard in the past. Maybe the better question is whether there's a reasonable likelihood of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Given leaderships' promise of transparency, the rule of law and suggested policy that no one is above it, and the pressure the police union has been known to bring to bear on prosecuting agencies who scrutinize police conduct, how this resolves is of considerable public interest—and import.

Utah Code Ann. 76-5-302. Aggravated kidnapping.

"(1) An actor commits aggravated kidnapping if the actor, in the course of committing unlawful detention . . . :

(a) possesses . . . a dangerous weapon as defined in Section 76-1-601 ['any item capable of causing death or serious bodily injury'--I'm guessing a police issue 9 mm qualifies; maybe a taser too]. . . .

(2) As used in this section, 'in the course of committing unlawful detention . . .' means in the course of committing, attempting to commit, or in the immediate flight after the attempt or commission of a violation of: . . .

(b) Section 76-5-304, unlawful detention ['An actor commits unlawful detention if the actor intentionally or knowingly, without authority of law, and against the will of the victim, detains or restrains the victim . . . .'].

(3) Aggravated kidnapping is a first degree felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of:

(a) . . . not less than 15 years and which may be for life; . . .

(4) If, when imposing a sentence under Subsection (3)(a) . . . a court finds that a lesser term than the term described in Subsection (3)(a) . . . is in the interests of justice and states the reasons for this finding on the record, the court may impose a term of imprisonment of not less than: . . .

(b) for purposes of Subsection (3)(a) . . . :

(i) 10 years and which may be for life; or

(ii) six years and which may be for life. . . .

(7) Imprisonment under this section is mandatory . . . ."

*My brother the fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to

**My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed nearly 500 pieces of my father's work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father's art reproduced in are hers.


Natural US Citizen. Caucasian. Shamed into blogging by DSM-V Cluster B 9/9-led regime, Utah's most embarrassing congressperson, and Newton's Third Law of Motion. The views expressed are mine.

USA, Utah, Salt Lake City


Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox.

or subscribe via RSS with Feedly!