The crime of
kidnapping of any type for any reason is a very serious offense and is punishable
on different levels, by varying degrees in different states. Most of us
are now familiar with the case of
Ariel Castro who kidnapped 3 young women in Cleveland, Ohio and held them captive under
torturous conditions for over 10 years. The judge recently sentenced him
to life in prison plus 1,000 years without the possibility of parole for
The crime of kidnapping in California basically has two main parts:
- Taking or holding someone by force or threat.
- Moving that person somewhere else by transporting them against their will.
There is some difference, however, if victims are under the age of 14 wherein
a perpetrator may not use force or threat but is guilty of luring a child
by making false promises or representations to get the child to go somewhere
else. Examples of this would be luring them to a vehicle by promise of
showing them a puppy, or taking them to their mother, etc. A non-custodial
parent may also be guilty of this by telling their child the other parent
said it is o.k. to go with them on a trip or some such adventure.
Custody cases involving kidnapping of one or more children by a parent
(child abduction) are a criminal offense. In 1980 Congress enacted The
Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act in conjunction with the Uniform Child
Custody Jurisdiction Act. It's designed to promote the best interests
of the child in a custody decision and to prevent parental abduction into
other jurisdictions. If a parent fears their child will be kidnapped,
they should make their fears known either to the judge presiding in their
custody case, or to their attorney. The judge will take into consideration
the following factors when reviewing the actions and record of the other parent:
- Prior violation of custody or visitation rights by taking or hiding the
child, or has threatened to do so.
- Ties to another state or country, such as family, cultural, religious, etc.
- No ties to the State of California, such as family, friends, real estate,
- Lack of financial reasons to remain in the state, by being unemployed,
financially independent, or having employment out of state.
- Participating in activities that would aid him/her to take the child out
of state, such as closing bank accounts, selling their home, applying
for or renewing a passport, getting birth certificates and other pertinent
records of the child, etc.
- A history of child and/or domestic abuse.
- In contempt of child support.
- Has a criminal record.
If a judge believes there is a risk of child abduction, some of the measures
the judge may declare to try to prevent it are as follows:
- Supervised visitation between parent and child with a qualified third party
appointed to be present.
- Require surrender of passports and other travel documents of a parent together
with those of the child he/she may have obtained, and prohibit application
for new or replacement passports, etc.
- Require a parent to post bond as a financial deterrent to abduction.
parental kidnapping in California varies by degree, depending on age of victim and the degree to which the
kidnapping may have harmed or either put the victim in harm's way.
A sentence may be up to 4 years of incarceration if found guilty. Consideration
is given in cases, however, whereby it is proven that a child was enticed
away, taken, or concealed to protect the child from danger of imminent harm.
If you are involved in a child custody or other domestic situation and
this accusation has been placed against you, choose an experienced attorney
who fully understands California Law and the Penal Code with regard to
this crime. The Law Office of Nic Cocis & Associates provides excellent
legal services in the cities of Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Menifee,
Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Perris, Banning, Corona or Riverside.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation!