When it is Halloween and Christmas decorations already up in stores, I cannot help but think of A Nightmare Before Christmas. And when I think of Jack Skellington, I think of false impersonation. And of course this song:
Have I Positively Gone Daffy?
A Nightmare Before Christmas is the classic story of Jack Skellington and other characters from Halloween Town kidnapping Santa Claus, so Jack could assume Santa’s identity for Christmas. There are several huge legal problems that are tough to ignore: 1) Conspiracy. 2) Kidnapping. 3) False Impersonation. 4) Torture at the “hands” of Mr. Oogie Boogie. 5) Breaking and Entering. 6) Assault and battery on an unknown number of families.
Let’s examine false impersonation. California Penal Code section 528.5 states:
528.5. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person who knowingly and without consent credibly impersonates another actual person through or on an Internet Web site or by other electronic means for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person is guilty of a public offense punishable
pursuant to subdivision (d).
(b) For purposes of this section, an impersonation is credible if another person would reasonably believe, or did reasonably believe, that the defendant was or is the person who was impersonated.
(c) For purposes of this section, “electronic means” shall include opening an e-mail account or an account or profile on a social networking Internet Web site in another person’s name.
(d) A violation of subdivision (a) is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(e) In addition to any other civil remedy available, a person who suffers damage or loss by reason of a violation of subdivision (a) may bring a civil action against the violator for compensatory damages and injunctive relief or other equitable relief pursuant to paragraphs (1), (2), (4), and (5) of subdivision (e) and subdivision
(g) of Section 502.
(f) This section shall not preclude prosecution under any other law.
What’s This? There’s Lawyers Everywhere?!
It would be extremely difficult to not convict Jack of false impersonation, meaning a fine of $1,000, possible jail time for one year, plus civil liability for the different physical assaults on Santa committed in the furtherance of the conspiracy for Jack to become Santa.
Given the conspiracy and other crimes, Jack would be looking at significant prison time.
Unless there is a Christmas Miracle, the only possible statutory defense for Jack is that his impersonation was not creditable under subsection (b), because the world quickly figured out from the ghoulish toys that Jack was not the true Santa Claus.
With that said, there would still be multiple counts of breaking and entering to leave the inherently dangerous toys that harmed families. Not to mention violating US airspace with said “toys,” arguably an act of war or terrorism by Halloween Town, dependent on whether Halloween-town is a nation-state or not. Regardless, there would be a drone strike on Oogie Boogie and SEALs sent in for Jack.
It is unknown whether there could be any civil or criminal liability for making people break into song throughout the day.