Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
kidnapping,in law, the taking away of a person by force, threat, or deceit, with intent to cause him to be detained against his will. Kidnapping may be done for ransomransom,
price of redemption demanded by the captor of a person, vessel, or city. In ancient times cities frequently paid ransom to prevent their plundering by captors. The custom of ransoming was formerly sanctioned by law.
..... Click the link for more information. or for political or other purposes. A parent whose legal rights to custody of a child have been revoked can be guilty of the crime for taking the child. Consent of a kidnapped person is a defense, unless given by one legally incompetent at the time (e.g., a minor or a mentally ill person). The crime differs from abduction, in that the intent of sexual intercourse is not required, and from false imprisonment, in which there is no attempt to abduct.
Under common law kidnapping was only a misdemeanormisdemeanor,
in law, a minor crime, in contrast to a felony. At common law a misdemeanor was a crime other than treason or a felony. Although it might be a grave offense, it did not affect the feudal bond or take away the offender's property. By the 19th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , but in most states of the United States it is now punishable by death or life imprisonment if there are no extenuating circumstances. The kidnapping and murder of the son of Charles A. LindberghLindbergh, Charles Augustus,
1902–74, American aviator who made the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight, b. Detroit; son of Charles A. Lindbergh (1859–1924). He left the Univ. of Wisconsin (1922) to study flying.
..... Click the link for more information. in 1932 led to a federal statute prescribing severe penalties for transporting the victims of kidnapping across state or national boundaries. The practice of kidnapping, in the wider and not strictly legal sense, has been known since the beginnings of history. It was common as a method for procuring slaves, and it has also been employed by brigands and revolutionaries to obtain money through ransom or to hold hostages whose safe release was dependent on the freeing of political prisoners.