Posted by Lewis on March 23, 2007
In Reply to: Mopery with intent to gawk posted by Victoria S Dennis on March 23, 2007
: : : It seems to be an imaginative petty criminal charge with some basis in historic reality. Maybe. I think. Ever heard of it?
: : This was/is often used by the authorities (Mussolini Republican guys in black suits with no id ) against anti-war demonstrators here in the US of A.
: : It's a perfect way to pick up and bring in a troublemaker who isn't actually committing any crimes, harass him, and let him go.
: : During the Republican Convention in 04 they even charged me with contributing to the delinquency of a minor--my daughters were with me.
: : More at the link below.
: I'm still not convinced that the "vague and obscure legal term used in some jurisdictions" actually exists. Call me suspicious, but there seems to be a strong flavour of urban legend hanging about it. Is there anyone here who can testify from their own knowledge that the legal offence of "mopery" really exists or used to exist, and specify *where*, i.e. in which legislature? (VSD)
I believe I have a reasonable command of legal terms, both past and present (even if somebody disagrees with my views on 'house-breaking') and I have never encountered the term in question. furthemore, both words 'mopery' and 'gawk' are far from the latinate basis of many statutory terms and whilst offences coming out of the common-law have non-latinate origins (e.g. murder & theft) I very seriously doubt that 'moping' and 'gawking' would have made their way into common-law.
I suggest that the term was a comic invention, perhaps being comparable with "The Ways and Means Act" (a fictional statute quoted by the police to justify their actions).
Perhaps a degree from the University of Life having graduated from the School of Hard Knocks might have included familiarity with such terms.