What happens when a stalker isn’t successfully prosecuted?

On February 23, 2016, I was contacted by a reporter for Fox News who was writing an Internet article on Gwyneth Paltrow’s recent stalking trial involving an individual who had stalked her for multiple years. They wanted me to consult on for said article.

Unfortunately, Gwyneth’s stalker, (note: I purposely do not mention stalkers names because I do not want them to receive any credit) was found not guilty for the jury. Now as to why these jurors voted the way they did, I can only speculate, but before I discuss my thoughts on that I must advise that oftentimes due to the fact that stalking is a course of conduct crime the meaning of course of conduct must be spelled out at time of trial. For the reader we should give you a definition. Course of Conduct is oftentimes defined as—meaning two or more acts transpiring over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose.  This course of conduct does not have to have a direct threat—such as I am going to break your back—it does have to contain a credible threat—(and this is rather a long definition from the California Penal Code section 646.9 of for what needs to take place for there to be a viable credible threat) “is a written or verbal threat, including that performed through the use of an electronic communication device, or a threat implied by a pattern of conduct or combination of verbal, written, or electronically communicated statements and conduct, made with the intent to place the person that is the target of the threat in reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family, and made with the apparent ability to carry out the threat so as to cause the person who is the target of the threat to reasonably fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family. It is not necessary to prove that defendant had the intent to actually carrying out the threat.” (So in other words, if some idiot conducts a series of acts (which to the normal person would seem odd and threatening) towards his target, and these acts cause him or her to express fear and/emotional distress then the suspect has satisfied the legal definition needed for it to be a credible threat. Now that is done let me move on to what I suspect might have happened in Paltrow’s trial.

  • The prosecutor was not able to convince the jury that a credible threat was uttered or expressed by the stalker. (Even though from what little I know about the actual facts of this case, there was plenty of strange and threatening behavior exhibited by Paltrow’s stalker.) Also keep in mind, no matter how well-prepared the prosecution’s case is there are times when juries go south on you.
  • Because the jury was advised about the stalker’s previous and probably current “mental” issues they felt that he did not have control over what he was doing and therefore should not face a prison sentence. That is an incorrect assumption because many stalkers exhibit some type of mental disorder; however the mere fact that they stalk shows PLANNING in their behavior—thus they knew exactly what they were doing when they were involved in the crime of stalking.

The bottom line is that whether or not Paltrow’s stalker went to prison or not, he is a winner. Why? Because he was able to lean back in his seat in the courtroom, mere feet from his pray, and leer at her all the while she was squirming and shuddering on the stand. At that time he had exactly what he wanted, dominion and control, and it completely fed his ego.  The fact that he was absolved of any criminal wrong-doing in this particular trial also dramatically caused him to be embolden; therefore he will continue to do what he has been for the past several years.

I am sure that Ms Paltrow expressed the extreme anguish she and her family members as well had been exposed to by this assailant. In my opinion, they should easily come to a guilty verdict and placed this individual where he belongs behind bars.