Is it criminal to surveille women as per the Lindberg?

  • Attach GPS tracking to subject's car?
  • Stalking?
  • 1
    I don't see why this was downvoted. It asks a specific and non-trivial question about the law in response to a current news story. – Paul Johnson Oct 4 '19 at 7:52


The anti-stalking law in North Carolina is § 14-277.3A. Stalking.. The provision making certain conduct illegal is subsection (c) (subsection (a) is a preamble giving reasons for tha law, and (b is a definitions section). Subsection (c) reads:

(c) Offense. - A defendant is guilty of stalking if the defendant willfully on more than one occasion harasses another person without legal purpose or willfully engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person without legal purpose and the defendant knows or should know that the harassment or the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to do any of the following:

(c)(1) Fear for the person's safety or the safety of the person's immediate family or close personal associates.

(c)(2) Suffer substantial emotional distress by placing that person in fear of death, bodily injury, or continued harassment.

However, if I have understood the news story linked in the question correctly, strong efforts were made in this case to be sure that the women involved did not know of the surveillance. If the evidence supports that, then I fail to see how the women were put in fear for their safety, or suffered substantial emotional distress. Therefore, it seems to me that § 14-277.3A at least was no0t violated. It may be that some other law was violated, and similar conduct in another state (which it seems did occur) might violate the law of a different state -- not all anti-stalker laws are written in the same way. Ans I am not a lawyer, and may have overlooked something.

The described conduct seems to me reprehensible, and perhaps should be made illegal. But I don't see how the specific anti-stalker law in North Carolina (§ 14-277.3A) was violated, assuming the accuracy of the linked news story.

The relevant US federal law would be 18 USC § 2261A. Stalking which provides:


(1) travels in interstate or foreign commerce or is present within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or enters or leaves Indian country, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, and in the course of, or as a result of, such travel or presence engages in conduct that—

(A) places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to—

(i) that person;

(ii) an immediate family member (as defined in section 115) of that person;

(iii) a spouse or intimate partner of that person; or

(iv) the pet, service animal, emotional support animal, or horse of that person; or

(B) causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of subparagraph (A); [commits an offense]

None of this applies unless there is an intent to "kill, injure, harass, [or] intimidate" and if the intent was in fact to keep the surveillance sectet, there was no such intent to "kill, injure, harass, [or] intimidate" nor to cause emotional distress. So again I don't see a basis to charge violation of 18 USC § 2261A unless there is evidence of actions beyond those discussed in the news story, or the circumstances were such that a reasonable target would have been placed in fear or felt harassed or intimidated.

This is much the same conclusion, for similar reasons, as I reached about the NC law.

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