Prank or crime? Impersonating Joba

A New York Post story which came to my attention via @emoltzen on Twitter is particularly disturbing on more than one level.

It is less than honest to claim to be someone or something you’re not. While I am no real fan of laws which rely heavily on intent (the reasoning behind this I will save for another entry), this is one rare case where the concept may do some good. I don’t think the accused in this story really set out to convince the entire town he was in fact Joba Chaimberlain and exploiting it.

If the bagel shop chose to give this man a free bagel based on resemblance alone, that’s really on them. I think it’s a gross miscarriage of justice to prosecute someone for theft for what is in all honesty, the shop’s error. This is, after all, about a bagel.

I am also disturbed about “disorderly conduct” being tacked on to the list of charges. I don’t see exactly how that comes into play unless the accused really was being disorderly, something not really indicated in the article. This is a disturbing trend, the dartboard approach to criminal justice: throw a bunch of charges at the accused, and hope some of them stick.

I hope for a “not guilty” verdict, and maybe the bagel shop employees finding a way to fine-tune their B.S. detectors. And, if necessary, I’ll write a list of signs that someone who claims to be me isn’t the genuine article. For now, I’ll just say that I rarely eat bagels.