22 February 2011

Are We All Guilty of Compounding?

A while back, I was looking thru statutes and ran across this one:
§ 18.2-462. Concealing or compounding offenses; penalties.

A. Except as provided in subsection B, if any person knowing of the commission of an offense takes any money or reward, or an engagement therefor, upon an agreement or understanding, expressed or implied, to compound or conceal such offense, or not to prosecute therefor, or not to give evidence thereof, he shall, if such offense is a felony, be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor; and if such offense is not a felony, unless it is punishable merely by forfeiture to him, he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.
The "or not to prosecute therefore" is the interesting part. Who among those of us that work in criminal law hasn't said to a victim (particularly a merchant), "If Client pays you restitution for the items broken/stolen/eaten, would you be satisfied?" And, if we are asking the victim not to prosecute, are we not principals in the second degree?

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