Veel staten hadden al wetten die achtervolging en bedreiging strafbaar maken, maar pas in 1990 was California de eerste staat die een speciale Anti-Stalking wet aannam.
Deze wet werd aangenomen naar aanleiding van verschillende opvallende Stalking- zaken in welke de dader uiteindelijk het slachtoffer doodde. In elk van die zaken had het slachtoffer de hulp ingeroepen van de politie. Elke keer was de reactie van de politie dat tenzij de dader zijn dreigementen zou uitvoeren, zij wettelijk niet kon ingrijpen. De Californische wet die voor het eerst Stalking gedrag tot een strafbaar feit maakte was bedoeld de politie een wettelijk middel te geven om te kunnen interveniëren vóór een dader zijn dreigementen ten uitvoer brengt.
Sinds de aanname van de eerste Anti-Stalking wet, hebben alle vijftig staten dit voorbeeld gevolgd. Terwijl elke 'State Stalking Statute' verschilt in definitie en aanpak, beschrijft elke Statute Stalking-gedrag als een patroon van achtervolgen, lastigvallen en bedreigen van iemands veiligheid.
Sommige van deze vroege Statutes stonden aan kritiek bloot vanwege de vage bewoordingen waarmee Stalking beschreven werd. Enkele rechtbanken maakten om deze reden zelfs geen gebruik van deze wetten, waardoor justitie in deze staten gedwongen werd deze wet opnieuw op te stellen.
Deze onenigheid had ten gevolg dat het Amerikaanse Congres een committee instelde dat de opdracht kreeg een model te ontwikkelen voor een Stalking Code dat elke toetsteen van kritiek zou kunnen doorstaan. Dit model werd ontwikkeld door de National Criminal Justice Association, in samenwerking met het National Institute of Justice, het National Victim Center, en talloze andere justitiële organisaties en organisaties voor slachtoffers, en andere deskundigen.
Onderstaande tekst is in zijn geheel overgenomen, en niet vertaald omdat specifieke amerikaanse juridische termen niet exact te vertalen zijn naar de nederlandse situatie:
In 1990 California passed the first Anti-Stalking law. Penal Code section 649.9 defines a stalker as an individual who 'willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury.'
The law defines harassment as a 'knowing and willful course of conduct (over time) directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys or harasses that person, and which serves no legitimate purpose.'
A 'credible threat' is a threat made 'with the intent and the apparent ability to carry out that threat so as to cause the person who is the target of the threat to reasonably fear for his or hersafety'.
A. A person commits stalking if the person intentionally or knowingly engages in a course of conduct that is directed toward another person if that conduct either:
* Would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person's safety or the safety of that person's immediate family and that person in fact fears for their safety or the safety of that person's immediate family.
* Would cause a reasonable person to fear imminent physical injury or death to that person or that person's immediate family and that person in fact fears imminent physical injury or death to that person or that person's immediate family.
B. Stalking under subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section is a class 5 felony. Stalking under subsection A, paragraph 2 is a class 4 felony.
C. For the purposes of this section:
* "Course of conduct" means maintaining visual or physical proximity to a specific person or directing verbal or written threats, whether express or implied, to a specific person on two or more occasions over a period of time, however short, but does not include constitutionally protected activity.
* "Immediate family" means a spouse, parent, child or sibling or any other person who regularly resides in a person's household or resided in a person's household within the past six months.
New York State: Several laws that address stalking:
It is a crime to repeatedly follow someone, to display a weapon, or to behave in any menacing way that causes a person to fear injury or death.
It is a crime to follow someone or to engage in any course of conduct that causes a person to fear injury. It is a crime to phone, fax, or write in order to harass, annoy, threaten, or alarm someone. It is also unlawful to strike, shove,kick, or in any way physically attack or threaten to attack someone, or otherwise alarm or seriously annoy a person with a course of conduct that serves no legitimate purpose.
It is a crime to disobey an order of protection and it is a felony to physically injure someone in violation of an order of protection. Repeat convictions for menacing, harassment, or criminal contempt lead to more serious charges and stiffer sentences.
Violation of the antiðstalking law is punishable by between five and 20 years in jail, with longer jail sentences intended for perpetrators who permanently disfigure their victims or inflict lifeðthreatening injuries, and life imprisonment if the victim dies.
State of West Virginia. The definition of stalking as defined in the West Virginia Code 1993:
A person is guilty of stalking if he/she knowingly, willfully, and repeatedly follows and harasses another person and makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury.
Upon conviction, the court may issue a restraining order preventing the defendant from any contact with the victim for a period as long as 10 years. The length of a restraining order is based upon:
* The seriousness of the violation before the court.
* The probability of future violations.
* The safety of the victim or his or her immediate family.
The duration of the restraining order may be longer than 5 years only when a longer duration is necessary to protect the safety of the victim or his or her immediate family.
Any person who violates the above provisions shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be:
* Imprisoned in the county jail no more than 6 months; or
* Fined no more than $1,000; or
* Imprisoned in the county jail no more than 6 months and fined no more than $1,000.
A second conviction for violation of the above provisions occurring within 5 years of the previous conviction is punishable by:
* Imprisonment in the county jail between 90 days and 1 year; or
* A fine between $2,000 and $5,000; or
* Imprisonment in the county jail between 90 days and 1 year andand 1 year and a fine between $2,000 and $5,000.
A third or subsequent conviction for violation of the above provisions occurring within 5 years of the previous conviction is a felony punishable by:
* Imprisonment in the penitentiary between 1 and 5 years; or
* A fine between $3,000 and $10,000; or
* Imprisonment in the penitentiary between 1 and 5 years and a fine between $3,000 and $10,000.
Anyone against whom a restraining order has been issued who is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of the above provisions shall be:
* Imprisoned in the county jail between 6 months and 1 year; or
* Fined between $2,000 and $5,000; or
* Imprisoned in the county jail between 6 months and 1 year and fined between $2,000 and $5,000.
Credible threat: a threat made with the apparent ability to carry out the threat so as to cause the person who is the subject of the threat to be placed in reasonable apprehension of serious bodily injury. The credible threat must be against the life of or a threat to cause serious bodily injury to the subject of the threat.
Harassment: knowing and willful conduct directed at a specific person which is done with the intent to cause mental injury or emotional distress.
Serious bodily injury: bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, which causes serious or prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health, or prolonged impairment or loss of the function of any body organ.