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The crime of kidnapping in Massachusetts is defined under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 26. There are three theories under which the district attorney can proceed when prosecuting a kidnapping case.Theory #1
Anyone who illegally and forcibly or secretly confines or imprisons someone within the state against his will is guilty of kidnapping and will be punished. There are three elements the district attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict someone under this theory of kidnapping:
- He must establish that the defendant lacked authority;
- He must establish that the defendant forcibly or secretly confined or imprisoned someone within this state. The force can be actual or constructive. There does not actually have to be physical force.
- That the offense was committed against the victim's will. In other words, the victim cannot have consented to being seized or confined.
Anyone who forcibly carries or sends someone out of the state without having the authority to do so in guilty of kidnapping. To prove someone guilty under the section the prosecutor must prove that:
- The defendant lacked authority, and;
- The defendant forcibly carried or sent someone out of this state. In the context of this crime the word "forcibly" means that the act was carried out through force. It is sufficient that the alleged victim is subdued by a display of potential force.
Anyone who forcibly seizes and confines someone with the intent that he be confined or imprisoned in this state against his will or by causing someone to be sent out of this state against his will is guilty of kidnapping. There are three elements to this crime that all must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
- That the defendant lacked the authority to commit this act;
- That the defendant forcible seized and confined another person;
- That the act was done to cause the person to be confined in this state or to cause him to be sent out of this state against his will or to be held to service against his will.
If convicted of the crime of kidnapping in Massachusetts you face a possible 10 year state prison sentence or, if the case is prosecuted in the District Courts you can be sentence for up to 2 years in jail. If the victim is under the age of 16 the punishment increases to a maximum 15 year state prison sentence.Kidnapping with the Intent to Extort Money
This is another form of kidnapping in Massachusetts made criminal by the same statute. The added element involves the intent to get money from someone or hold someone for ransom. This form of kidnapping is punishable by up to life in prison and is prosecuted only in the Superior Courts.Aggravated Kidnapping
The same Massachusetts statute, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 26, provides that anyone who commits the crime of kidnapping while being armed with a firearm must serve a 10 year sentence if prosecuted in the Superior Courts. If the case is prosecuted in the District Courts there is a mandatory 2½ year sentence that must be imposed. If a firearm is used during a kidnapping with the intent to extort money there is a mandatory 20 year sentence that must be imposed. If the kidnapping is committed by someone armed with a dangerous weapon and serious bodily injury is inflicted or if the victim is sexually assaulted there is a mandatory 25 year state prison sentence that will be imposed.