There lies a close parallel between law and the criminal in a democratic society. The power of the people to impact laws and have a voice in what the government determines as illegal behavior, often comes from what criminals are doing. In essence the law is a result of criminal behavior that often times has not yet been defined as criminal.
The computer age brought about a whole new generation of hi-tech criminals. So much so that the legal system is still attempting to catch up making laws that are applicable. Theft of identity crimes, for example, were virtually unheard of until the information revolution of computers made stealing someone’s account information possible from across town or across the globe. Jurisdictional issues still surround many crimes where computers are involved – either directly or indirectly.
Criminals may not be labeled as such until a law exists prohibiting their behavior but their behavior does impact and have a direct correlation to the laws that are developed in response to their actions. Those whose lives are impacted have the opportunity to take issues before the government to rectify the problems unfortunately often in hind sight. Case in point Megan’s Law allow those victimized to change the law in direct response to a criminal’s action.
Criminals try and find ways to circumvent the law. Criminals who develop new drugs, such as when Rohypnol (date rape drug) first hit the streets, may slip through the system because the drug was initially unknown, there were no tests for the drug, no court precedent set on the drug and no specific laws for how the drug was being used. Not only did the legal system have to catch up, but so did the medical industry.
Not only can criminals help create new laws, they can also impact existing laws. Supreme Court rulings every year either can wipe out a law that had been in use for some time or it can change how the laws can be enforced. Miranda rights changed the whole face of law enforcement with one single court decision.
The beauty of a democratic system is that the law can be changed in direct response to those who would try and circumvent it or abuse the people it was designed to protect. Our founding fathers wanted to protect all people from government tyranny but they also created a document that protects innocent citizens from criminal tyranny.