Since my last blog was about the romanticism of Hollywood and criminals living a life on the run, I’ve decided to continue my romantic mood and write about two notorious criminals that sparked a nationwide manhunt, even having their story reach the silver screen with Hollywood legends Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.
Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow were a couple that was notorious for their nationwide crime spree of robbing banks. There was a mixed perception publicly about them as hardened and dangerous criminals, but also as Robin Hood like folk heroes. Remember Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor/charities?
Bonnie was an unlikely criminal. She was a petite, pretty, blue-eyed blonde without a criminal history. But upon meeting Clyde, they embarked on a nationwide crime spree together committing hundreds of felonies. Now, interesting enough, even if Bonnie was not present during the crime spree with Clyde, she could in legal theory still have faced criminal charges for aiding & abetting as defined by the Attorney’s Manual of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which means that the law treats her the same as the principal. Now, let’s suppose Bonnie found out later about Clyde’s past and decides to continue having a relationship with him. Then what? Well, she could had been charged potentially as an accessory after the fact and harboring a fugitive. As a matter of fact, if anyone has knowledge of the whereabouts of a fugitive, they could also be charged.
What’s even worse is let’s say Clyde started a company and he has several investors and partners, and the monies obtained from his crimes are funneled through the company. Then, that could be considered embezzlement and money laundering under RICO violations (Racketeer Influenced & Corruption Organizations Act) and Clyde’s partners and investors now face potential criminal charges. It should be noted at the time of Bonnie’s crime spree, RICO did not exist.
So no matter what, hypothetically speaking, it seems that Bonnie Parker would have gotten into legal trouble for just having a relationship with Clyde. This includes those associated with Clyde’s company. Of course, Clyde created the company to give the appearance of legitimacy, but then comes the issues of whether his partners knew or should have known that crimes were being committed. Just ask my former law professor Scott Rothstein, who ran the largest Ponzi Scheme in Florida’s history and the ultimate price his law partners paid. American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes said it best: “ignorance of the law is no defense.”
History has concluded that because of Bonnie’s love for Clyde, she was loyal to him. But, as we see, loyalty has a price to be paid. The only question that remains when faced with this situation is can you afford the price?
Now, if there was only a real life Bonnie and Clyde. Hmm…
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