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Man Convicted of 5 Years Probation for Stalking Sandra Bullock
Famous movie actress, Sandra Bullock, woke up one night to the sound of one walking on the third floor of her Hollywood Hills mansion, right above her room. With the noise coming of surprise, Ms. Bullock decided to investigate. She got up and peered down the hall and saw a man in all black shuffling down the way. When Ms. Bullock saw the man, she ran back into her room and locked herself in her closet. When she was in the closet she called the police, and stayed on the line for 15 minutes, and lead the police through her house via phone until they found the man. Once the man was arrested he was yelling apologies at Ms. Bullock and asked for her not to press charges.
When the man was detained the officers searched him and found a journal which showed signs that he had an obsessive stalking behavior. In addition, he had written a love letter to Sandra Bullock. The love letter said, “you are my wife by law, by the law of God you now belong to me.” Joshua Corbett is the man who was in Ms. Bullocks home. Corbett stated that he had only broken in to the home to show Ms. Bullock that her security system was lacking and that she was not safe in her own home. The investigation had shown that Corbett had been watching the home for days. Corbett did not have any weapons in him when he was detained. The trial is now over and Corbett received 5 years of probation and a 10-year restraining order from Ms. Bullock.
Stalking is a term that we hear about pretty regularly on the news and everyday life. It may be used for a verity of different things, but we will look at what stalking means legally. Stalking is outlined for as, “Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family is guilty of the crime of stalking.” California Penal Code 646.9. It is also common for us to hear about someone stalking a celebrity. With the technology, we have available to us today it is a lot simpler to find out information about people, Especially celebrities like Ms. Bullock.
We will look at all the elements of stalking and what it all entails. To do this we will break down the elements and apply the facts given to us from the Bullock and Corbett situation. For stalking the first element that one willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed or willfully and maliciously harassed another person. The second element is that one made a credible threat against that person. The last element is that one did so with the specific intent to place that individual in reasonable fear for their safety or for the safety of their immediate family. California Penal Code 646.9.
The first element is that one willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed or willfully and maliciously harassed another person. Willfully means with a purpose or willingness to commit the act. It is not necessary that one intends to break the law. CALJIC 1.20. Maliciously means that you intend to commit a wrongful act or to intentionally anger, disturb, annoy, or injure another person in an unlawful manner. CALJIC 1.22. Harassing means to engage in a knowing and willful “course of conduct” directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes the person. Here, because Corbett broke into Ms. Bullock’s home it can be seen he was willful. There are facts showing us that he blacked out and did not know where he was or that he was taken there against his will. In addition, Corbett had the love note for Ms. Bullock which would show that he would have a reason for entering her home. Moreover, Corbett acted maliciously because breaking into one’s home is a wrongful act and would anger, disturb, annoy, and possibly injure another in an unlawful manner. Lastly, Mr. Corbett’s overall conduct did seriously alarm Ms. Bullock, therefore, fulfilling the last part of the element. Thus, the first element of stalking is meant.
The second element we will look at is that one made a credible threat against that person. This can fall within a gray are because what is considered a credible threat. A credible threat is one that causes the threatened person reasonably to fear for his/her safety or for the safety of his/her immediate family.” In order to be “credible”, the person making the threat must have the apparent ability to carry out the threat even if they do not actually intend to do so. California Penal Code 646.9. Here, because Mr. Corbett did not have a weapon it may seem as if he did not pose a credible threat against Bullock. However, Corbett would not need an actual weapon to be a threat to MS. Bullock, presence alone could do it in a private place like her home. Because Corbett was in Ms. Bullock’s home, and a night which adds a little more of a fear factor to the satiation there would a credible threat. It is possible that Corbett could have harmed Ms. Bullock even though he did not have the intention to do so. Therefore, the second element of stalking is meant.
The last element that the prosecution will have to prove is that one did so with the specific intent to place that individual in reasonable fear for their safety or for the safety of their immediate family. The person charged must have wanted to place another in fear, it is basically their goal to do so. Reasonable means the threat must place a normal person in fear. The victim must not be abnormally sensitive. This is a pretty broad requirement, and a lot of different things can fulfill this part of the rule. The usual qualifications would be anything involving bodily injury. However, there have been cases of one sending dead flowers to another daily that constituted as stalking. Here, it is not too difficult to see that Ms. Bullock would be placed under a reasonable fear from Corbett being in her home and watching her and her house. In addition, there was Mr. Corbett’s love letter stating that she is his by law and by God. This kind of behavior from another, epically one you have never meant would place them in a reasonable amount of fear. As stated above this is broad and able to fit into multiple situations, including this one. Thus, all the element of stalking would have been meant by Mr. Corbett’s behavior and actions.
The penalties for stalking can vary greatly. There is no set punishment for a stalking charge. It is very open to the discretion of the state. This means that stalking can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. This is referred to as a “wobbler” because it can be charged as either felony or misdemeanor. The prosecution will look at the specifics of the case and the person who is charged criminal history when deciding whether to pursue felony or misdemeanor punishments. Here, Corbett did not receive any prison time which means the stalking was charged as a misdemeanor. There are some possible mitigating factors that lessened the charge to the misdemeanor. It is not stated, but this more likely Corbett’s first offense and he probably has no prior history of stalking. In addition, he did not have a weapon or threaten to really hurt Ms. Bullock, this would help him since he did not act with violence. There was also a possible stipulation in reducing time in return for the 10-year restraining order that demands him to stay away from Ms. Bullock. Therefore, the charge Corbett received was a misdemeanor.
In conclusion, stalking is defined as “Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family is guilty of the crime of stalking.” California Penal Code 646.9. With all the facts and circumstances taken into consideration, it does seem as if Mr. Corbett was stalking Ms. Bullock.
If you have questions about the criminal procedure process in San Diego, feel free to contact San Diego Criminal Lawyer Vik Monder at 619-405-0063 or visit San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer