The Guilty Girl’s Handbook: Because the Pretty Little Liars Need to Learn MORE About Guilt (PLL Episode 4×08 recap + broken laws)

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** In addition to recapping episode 4×08, this entry also contains comments about Episodes 4×05 (“Gamma Zeta Die!”) 4×06 (“Under The Gun”) & 4×07 (“Crash And Burn, Girl.”)  This entry will discuss legal notes and broken laws from these prior episodes that are relevant to 4×08.  This took a tremendous amount of work and research, so thank you so much for being patient!

“The Guilty Girl’s Handbook” (episode 4×08) begins at the motel where Emily and Pam are temporarily living because “A”/ Red Coat/ Black Veil/ Creepy Mask, whatever we’re calling the current villain, turned the Fields’ living room into a crash garage in “Crash and Burn, Girl” (episode 4×07).  Pam is on the phone demanding action and answers; apparently it took a car barreling into her house to realize that her daughter might be in danger. But, even if Emily is getting harassed, Pam still wants her to go to her meeting with Ezra to discuss college applications.  She still has a chance at making it to college alive… Right?

Meanwhile, the other girls are at Hanna’s house, where Aria briefly wonders if the car wound up in Emily’s house by accident.  That would make perfect sense; perhaps all of these incidents have just been a giant coincidence.  Maybe “A” never existed.  Or maybe a crazy person just destroyed Emily’s house and has successfully framed Hanna’s mother for murder.


 In episode 4×06, Ashley Marin was arrested for murdering detective Wilden.  Before her arrest, she had finally admitted that she stole Hanna’s father’s gun, believing that she needed it for protection against Wilden.  That shoots us to :

Broken Law # 1 Alert! (Episode 4×05 and (4×06)

Grading of theft offenses – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3903 (in relevant part) 
“(a)  Felony of the second degree.–Theft constitutes a felony of the second degree if: … (2)  The property stolen is a firearm.”

Note that Ashley and Hanna are both guilty of this; Ashley initially stole the gun from Tom, then Hanna stole the gun from Ashley’s bag in episode 4×05, when she stole the gun from her mother’s bag, brought it to a sorority party, and tried to bury it.

Broken Law # 2 Alert! (Episode 4×05)

As we discussed in my entry on episode 4×01 (“A is for Alive”), it is against the law to tamper with evidence.  I would say that Hanna’s burying of a gun believed to be used in a murder definitely counts!

18 Pa.C.S. § 4910.  Tampering with or fabricating physical evidence (in relevant part).
“A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if, believing that an official proceeding or investigation is  pending or about to be instituted, he: (1)  alters, destroys, conceals or removes any record, document or thing with intent to impair its verity or availability in such proceeding or investigation”

Instead of successfully burying the gun (which is a TERRIBLE IDEA), Hanna buried herself deeper into this mess of broken laws.


 Back here in 4×08, Aria, Hanna, and Spencer are waiting for Spencer’s mother to come update them on the arraignment; she is representing Hanna’s mother in this nightmare of a trial. Unfortunately, when Veronica Hastings arrives, she doesn’t have the good news that the girls were expecting.  Instead, she informs them that while they entered a plea of not guilty (Ashley is being charged with first degree murder of a police officer), she has been refused bail, and she is being transferred to a different prison.  Hanna storms off, screaming at Mrs. Hastings for not being a magician and making this disappear.

Legal Note # 1: 

While Ashley is still in prison and has not yet had her trial, we do know the crime she has been accused of committing and the defense methods that Spencer’s mother wanted to use as of episode 4×07.  Ashley is being accused of First Degree Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer.  First, we’ll explore the requirements for first degree murder, then we’ll discuss the increase in severity of the potential sentence because of Wilden’s status as a law enforcement officer. 

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2507.  Criminal homicide of law enforcement officer.(a)  Murder of a law enforcement officer of the first degree.–A person commits murder of a law enforcement officer of the first degree who intentionally kills a law enforcement officer while in the performance of duty knowing the victim is a law enforcement officer.

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2502(d) “Definitions.–As used in this section the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:… ‘Intentional killing.’ Killing by means of poison, or by lying in wait, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing.”

Since Spencer’s mother confirmed that Ashley is being charged with first degree murder, and we know that Wilden was shot twice, the relevant grounds for the “intentional killing” requirement are likely “any other kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing.”  

Sentencing for First Degree Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer:  
“…A person who has been convicted of a murder of the first degree or of murder of a law enforcement officer of the first degree shall be sentenced to death or to a term of life imprisonment in accordance with 42 Pa.C.S. § 9711 (relating to sentencing procedure for murder of the first degree).” 

Legal Note # 2: The Self Defense Issue

Spencer mentions to Hanna that if they can prove self defense, the charge could be lowered to manslaughter.  The issue with that is that it is incredibly difficult to successfully prove self defense against a police officer.  There are limitations to the justification of the use of force to protect oneself, and Ashley would have a difficult time proving some of them. 

If Ashley wanted to prove self defense to justify murdering Wilden (if she were to choose to plead guilty and then raise self defense), one of the stipulations is that she could NOT have been engaged in criminal activity and she could not be in illegal possession of a firearm.  Ashley stole Tom’s gun, which would rule out that option.   


Legal Note # 3: The Manslaughter Issue 

The fact that Ashley took the gun in advance could also present a problem with lowering the charge to manslaughter, if that is what she wanted to do.

First of all, while Spencer sued the term “voluntary manslaughter,” when it comes to the killing of a law enforcement officer in Pennsylvania, the more applicable manslaughter statutes to this situation are: Manslaughter of a law enforcement officer in the first degree or second degree. 

(c)  Manslaughter of a law enforcement officer in the first degree. – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2507 
“A person commits a felony in the first degree who does any of the following:

(1)  Without lawful justification kills a law enforcement officer while in the performance of duty and with knowledge that the victim was a law enforcement officer, if at the time of the killing:
(i)  the person is acting under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation by the victim killed; or
(ii)  the person is acting under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation by another individual whom the actor endeavors to kill, but the person negligently or accidentally causes the death of the victim.
(2)  Intentionally or knowingly kills a law enforcement officer while in the performance of duty and with knowledge that the victim was a law enforcement officer, if at the time of the killing the person believes the circumstances to be such that, if they existed, would justify the killing under Chapter 5 (relating to general principles of justification), but his belief is unreasonable.”

It’s very unlikely that Ashley would be able to prove the sudden and intense passion required by subsection (1), because she got the gun from Tom’s house in advance, which suggests that she had time to think about what could happen that night.  Ashley was expecting some sort of provocation from Wilden, which would mean that if he provoked her, it would be difficult to prove that it was a “sudden” provocation.

However, it IS POSSIBLE that she could prove that she unreasonably believed that she was justified to use such force against Wilden, as required in section (2), but that’s a decision for a jury to make, and her sentencing would still not be ideal, nor would the sentencing for manslaughter of a law enforcement officer in the second degree.  Additionally, she would have to prove that Wilden was threatening her, and she’d have to disclose a lot of damning information about herself in order to do that. 
(d) Manslaughter of a law enforcement officer in the second degree 

“A person commits a felony of the second degree who, as a direct result of the doing of an unlawful or lawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, causes the death of a law enforcement officer while in the performance of duty and the person knew or should have known the victim was a law enforcement officer.”

Spencer accurately explained to Hanna that if Ashley were to get charged with manslaughter, that would still have a 20 year minimum sentence.  

Hanna better hope that Ashley is being honest that she did NOT kill Wilden, and that somehow she can prove it!  Ashley needs a miracle; maybe her suddenly-missing-in-action Pastor boyfriend can call in a favor!


Ok, back to the show!  Spencer leaves to go to school; Hanna is shockingly ditching again.  She believes that she should be the one in jail instead of her mother.  Hanna is also ignoring Caleb’s phone calls, which is unfortunate, since he is probably the most intelligent person on this show.  She is still freaking out about what Lieutenant Tanner told her in the previous episode, that she could possibly get arrested for possession of a concealed weapon and spend 7 years in prison.

Legal Note # 4: Possession of a Concealed Weapon

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6106: Firearms not to be carried without a license.
“(a)  Offense defined.–
(1)  Except as provided in paragraph (2), any person who carries a firearm in any vehicle or any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person, except in his place of abode or fixed place of business, without a valid and lawfully issued license under this chapter commits a felony of the third degree.”

In Pennsylvania, felonies of the third degree are punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a fine for up to $15,000.  Lieutenant Tanner’s information was accurate, except for one detail: Hanna is a minor.


In Pennsylvania, one cannot obtain the license mentioned in the above law until they have reached age 21.  It is more likely that Hanna would be charged with:

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6110.1: Possession of Firearm by Minor (in relevant part)

“(a) Firearm…. a person under 18 years of age shall not possess or transport a firearm anywhere in this Commonwealth.” 
“(d) Forfeiture.–Any firearm in the possession of a person under 18 years of age in violation of this section shall be promptly seized by the arresting law enforcement officer and upon conviction or adjudication of delinquency shall be forfeited or, if stolen, returned to the lawful owner.”

Back in 4×08, outside of the school, Mike approaches Aria and has an awkward conversation with her about his plans for later that night with his lacrosse teammates.  He’s acting incredibly strange as if his lacrosse club has formed their own version of “Fight Club,” and Aria is suspicious. Aria learns that Mike is taking a martial arts class with Jake.  In school, Emily has a meeting with Ezra about college applications.  Ezra suspects that something “A” related might be going on again and he asks Emily.  She denies it and insists that somebody just accidentally drove straight into her house, because things like that just happen all of the time.

Meanwhile, Spencer sees Caleb in the hallway, and he brings her up to speed on the status of his Hardy Boys adventure with Toby (from episode 4×07).


 In 4×07,  Caleb and Toby investigated a guy named Nigel who they believe was the pilot who flew RedCoat to Rosewood so that she could set all of them on fire.  They approached him to find out information about RecCoat’s flight, and Caleb offered Nigel money in exchange for it.  Caleb and Toby are really working hard to find the person who is tormenting the girls.  Their chart is more organized than the one that the police officers created.  Unfortunately, not everything they’ve been doing is legal.

Broken Law # 3 Alert! (Episode 4×07)

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4108.  Commercial bribery and breach of duty to act disinterestedly (in relevant part).
“(a)  Corrupt employee, agent or fiduciary.–An employee, agent or fiduciary  commits a misdemeanor of the second degre when, without the consent of his  employer or principal, he solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit from another person upon agreement or understanding that such benefit will influence his conduct in relation to the affairs of his employer or principal….
 (c)  Solicitation.–A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if he     confers, or offers or agrees to confer, any benefit the acceptance of which would  be criminal under subsection[s] (a)…” 

Nigel would be guilty of subsection (a) and Caleb and Toby would be guilty of subsection (C) for solicitation, since the paid him to give them confidential information.
Also in 4×07, when Caleb and Toby discovered that Nigel had lied to them, they confronted Nigel in a rather aggressive manner. 

Legal Note On Assault:

 Some might argue that the behavior could amount to assault, but the force each one of them used was relatively equal, so if any of them got arrested for assault, the other person would get off for self defense with the justification of reasonable force. 

However, during the altercation, Caleb wound up in possession of Nigel’s cell phone, which he and Toby took to use it for their investigation.  The Pretty Little Liars & Co absolutely LOVE stealing, so we’re all probably getting familiar with this one, but it is not legal for Caleb to steal Nigel’s cell phone.  

Broken Law # 4 Alert! (Episode 4×07)

Grading of theft offenses – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3903 (in relevant part)

“(b)  Other grades.–Theft not within subsection (a) or (a.1) of this section, constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree, except that if the property was not taken from the person or by
threat, or in breach of fiduciary obligation, and:
 (1)  the amount involved was $50 or more but less than $200 the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the second  degree; or
  (2)  the amount involved was less than $50 the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the third degree.”

Since Caleb got the cell phone as a result of the physical altercation with Nigel, and the phone was on him, I’d usually say that this would qualify as the property 
being “taken from his person,” but theft offenses require intent, and at the time  of the physical altercation, it could be argued that Caleb didn’t have the intent to steal anything.  

However, when Caleb realized he had the phone, his conduct and Toby’s conduct still amounted to enough to amount to the “threat” requirement.  In my opinion, that would be enough for them to get the misdemeanor in the first degree charge, but I  included the 2nd and 3rd degree charges just in case.  I highly doubt the phone cost less than $50, but I figured I’d provide the information. 

BOTH Toby and Caleb would be guilty of both, the bribery and the theft.

Liability for conduct of another; complicity – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 306 (in relevant part)
“(b)  Conduct of another.–A person is legally accountable for  the conduct of another person when: 
(3)  he is an accomplice of such other person in the commission of the offense.
(c)  Accomplice defined.–A person is an accomplice of another person in the commission of an offense if:
 (1)  with the intent of promoting or facilitating the commission of the offense, he:
 (i)  solicits such other person to commit it; or
 (ii)  aids or agrees or attempts to aid such other
 person in planning or committing it.”
Caleb and Toby come off as such bad boys, yet their criminal behavior is tame at best when compared to that of their girlfriends!


Back here in good old episode 4×08, Caleb explains to Spencer that he traced the number that they have presumed is RedCoat’s number (Nigel called it on the night of the fire) and it led to 3 different people, all in New York.  He tells her that Toby is currently in New York trying to find out more information and perhaps even verify that the person Nigel called is CeCe Drake, which Nigel claimed in the previous episode.  Since Nigel said it was CeCe Drake, usually in Rosewood, that would mean “it is not CeCe Drake,” but we’ll see what Toby finds out!

Next, Ashley calls Hanna from jail.  They discuss the fact that Ashley was denied bail and that she’s being moved to the state prison facility.  This is not exactly like the “eat pray love moments” that they used to have back in the day. 

 When Hanna gets off of the phone, we learn that she’s not alone at her house; her old BFF Mona is there with her.  Mona is there helping Hanna plan her confession to a murder that she didn’t commit; Hanna wants to take the blame so that her mother can get out of jail.  Sounds intelligent to me!  Hanna theorizes that if she takes the blame, her sentence will be less harsh than the one her mother would get.  While this is accurate, what Hanna is planning to do is ALSO a felony (to be discussed later in this entry) and Hanna’s sentence if she were convicted of Wilden’s murder would still be terrible. 

Legal Note # 5: Sentencing of a Minor for First Degree Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer:

“18 Pa. Cons. Stat.§ 1102.1.  Sentence of persons under the age of 18 for murder… of a law Enforcement Officer”
“(a)  First degree murder.–A person who has been convicted after June 24, 2012, of… murder of a law enforcement officer of the first degree (1)  A person who at the time of the commission of the offense was 15 years of age or older shall be sentenced to a term of life imprisonment without parole, or a term of imprisonment, the minimum of which shall be at least 35 years to life.”

Unless Hanna can prove the requirements to lower the charge to manslaughter of a law enforcement officer, that’s at the very least 35 to life, and Hanna really does not seem like the type of girl who would enjoy it in prison!  She hated that orange jumpsuit she had to wear when her biggest worry was being accused of tampering with evidence of a different murder.

In order to pull off this ridiculous mistake that Hanna is calling a “plan,” Hanna knows that she needs help from the one person in her life who lies the most, and she explains that Mona lives in a lie.  Hanna and Mona go over a game plan for Hanna’s “confession,” and Mona is frustrated because Hanna isn’t making her story convincing enough.  She wants every last detail about how Hanna “killed Wilden.”  An exasperated Mona screams “You can’t just keep repeating ‘I did it, I did it!'”

Mona demands that Hanna come up with a motive immediately.  Hanna decides that her motive in this fake murder was that Detective Wilden was threatening Hanna because she had spread a rumor that he got Alison pregnant and she thinks he may have killed her.  Mona’s slowly starting to approve of Hanna’s lying skills, but Hanna will never be up to par with the omnipresent, all knowing, Mona Vanderwaal. 

Legal Note # 6: The Second Manslaughter Issue

See legal note # 3 for the discussion of manslaughter of a law enforcement officer.  
This is the only part of Hanna’s plan that indicates that she may have used an inkling of “logic” when deciding to take the blame to exonerate her mother.  While as stated above, it is highly unlikely that ASHLEY would be able to prove the SUDDEN intense passion requirement due to her intent, the same might not be true for Hanna.  This also depends on how Hanna explains her decision to carry a gun around town. 

Additionally, it’s more likely that Hanna would be able to prove that she unreasonably believed that she could use deadly force against Wilden under the circumstances.  Her fake motive for killing Wilden and fake basis for Wilden threatening her is less incriminating than anything her mother would be able to use to defend herself.  Hanna might just get lucky enough to stand a chance at “only” having to spend 20 years in prison.

Hanna’s plan will be discussed further later in this entry

Spencer heads home to check on Hanna, since she is unaware that Hanna is planning to move out of Rosewood and into prison.  At home, Spencer is surprised to find a random man going through boxes of legal documents.  With all of the dangerous activity that occurs in this town, one would think that Spencer’s mother would have told her that she hired an intern (his name is Beckett) and his office is apparently in the Hastings’ house.  It turns out, the boxes are filled with files on Ashley Marin’s case, and some of them include information about Wilden.  Of course, Spencer immediately steals one of the files about Wilden from a box, which brings us to:

Broken Law # 5 Alert!

18 Pa.C.S. § 4911.  Tampering with public records or information. (in relevant part)
“(a)  Offense defined.–A person commits an offense if he:   (1)  knowingly makes a false entry in, or false alteration of, any record, document or thing belonging to, or received or kept by, the government for information or record, or required by law to be kept by others for information of the government; … or (3)  intentionally and unlawfully destroys, conceals, removes or otherwise impairs the verity or availability of any such record, document or thing.”  
 (b)  Grading.–An offense under this section is a misdemeanor of the second degree unless the intent of the actor is to defraud or injure anyone, in which case the offense is a felony of the third degree.”

Spencer’s behavior qualifies under section (3) for impairing the availability of the record.  She is supposed to be the smart one!

Aria asks Jake about Mike taking classes with him.  Jake reveals that he thinks that Mike is afraid of some of his teammates; he says that they might see him as an easy target.

Meanwhile, we learn that the file that Spencer stole was from the night Toby’s mother died; it’s a transcript of an interview between Wilden and Eddie Lamb from Radley.  Spencer confronts Eddie with the file, because it indicates that Toby’s mom jumped off a roof, but the official records of the case say that she jumped out of the window.  Eddie implies that Wilden paid somebody off to lie about how Mrs. Cavanaugh died so that he could get a promotion at work.  More bad behavior in Rosewood.  How not-at-all surprising!  Spencer wants to know who else wants Wilden dead in order to exonerate Ashley.  At least her plan is better than what Hanna is currently trying to do.

Hanna and Mona are still working on their plan and talking about how barbaric it is to wear flat shoes instead of heels.  Mona interrogates Hanna about what happened to Ashley’s incriminating high heels that could have linked Ashley to the scene of Wilden’s death; Mona is frighteningly talented at this.  She reminds Hanna that Ashley is no longer the person who got rid of the shoes; Hanna got rid of the shoes.  She does more than remind Hanna of this, she beats it into her brain until Hanna practically believes that she did get rid of the shoes.  The next order of business for them to discuss is the gun.

Legal Note # 6:

See Broken Law # 2 above for a reminder that if the police were to believe Hanna’s fable about getting rid of her mother’s shoes, Hanna could also be arrested (AGAIN) for tampering with evidence.

While Hanna is planning her future in jail, Emily is attempting to salvage her future of going to college.  She has taken Ezra’s advice and is now meeting with Zoe, her supervisor from Habitat for Humanity in Haiti last summer. Zoe wants Emily to come with the group on another trip this summer; apparently Emily was MVP on the Habitat for Humanity team.

Next, Caleb visits Ashley in jail.  Ashley and Caleb discuss the Marin family resemblance in terms of character traits.  According to Caleb, Hanna is brave, stubborn and loyal thanks to her mother. Perhaps Hanna also got her tendency from criminal behavior from Ashley as well.  Ashley explains to Caleb that she’s worried about what Hanna might do if things don’t work out, because she knows that Hanna would do anything for her.

Mona continues her interrogation of Hanna about the gun, where she got it, why Ashley’s fingerprints are on the bullets; this girl wants to know everything about this fantasy murder.  Mona demands to know what it felt like to kill Wilden.  Mona is clearly the author of “The Guilty Girl’s Handbook.”  We see a glimpse of Hanna’s creepy, imaginary version of “killing Wilden,” and Mona is dissatisfied.  She doesn’t believe that Hanna would just pull out a gun on Wilden; that’s not enough.

 Mona screams at Hanna that Wilden must have said or done something to make her shoot him.  This is getting eerily realistic as the story continues; it’s beginning to look like Hanna actually DID murder detective Wilden.  If Mona wanted some entertainment on a boring day, she probably could pick anybody in Rosewood and trick them into thinking that they killed Alison DiLaurentis.  Mona bellows at Hanna that she needs to establish self defense properly; so Hanna invents a situation where Wilden asked her to sleep her way out of stealing his car, just like Ashley slept with him to get Hanna out of being arrested for shoplifting.  Now Hanna has proper grounds for raising self defense for the murder that she didn’t commit.  But Mona is not finished yet.

Caleb bangs on the door to interrupt this outrageously terrible behavior.  He is clearly pissed off to see that Mona is anywhere near Hanna.  Hanna is rude and demands that her loving boyfriend leave her alone so that she can hang out with the girl who hit her with a car and tormented and stalked her for all of last year.

Spencer goes home and finds her mother working her new intern in their house-turned-law office.  The intern tells Spencer that he knows she stole the file and offers to put it back before Veronica notices.  It’s good to see that this guy is going to be an incredibly ethical lawyer one day!  Aria calls her brother and some idiot answers and tells her that he’s unconscious.

Mona forces Hanna to repeat the vivid chronicle of the pretend murder AGAIN.  We see Hanna’s imagination again, and this time, Wilden is angrier, his tone is more menacing, and he’s kicking his car.  Mona provokes Hanna with comments that she knows will disgust her so that Hanna will believe all of her lies.  She is furious when Hanna forgets that she “shot Wilden twice,” not just once.  “DAMN IT, HANNA, YOU SHOT HIM TWICE, NOT ONCE, IN THIS FAKE VERSION OF LIFE WE’RE CREATING TO GET YOUR MOTHER OUT OF JAIL!”  Madhouse Mona is making sure this murder confession is perfect.  Lastly, Mona asks Hanna if she is remorseful, to which Hanna assures her “Of course I am.”  Mona finally seems satisfied; she tells Hanna that all she has to do now is tell the truth and everything will be alright.  So THIS is Mona’s idea of telling the truth.  What exactly counts as a lie in her “Guilty Girl’s Handbook”?

Hanna gets all dressed up and puts on her makeup; you need to look HOT to confess to murdering someone who you didn’t kill. Caleb stops her; even though Hanna asked him to leave, he secretly stuck around because for some crazy reason, he does not trust Mona.  He talks some sense into Hanna and makes her realize that this is an incredibly awful idea.  What on earth are these girls going to do when Caleb leaves the show?  They are SCREWED when he moves to Ravenswood and takes his common sense, logic and brain with him.

Hanna assures Caleb that this was her own idea, not Mona’s.  She insists that Mona is just helping her.  She’s aware that this sort of argument wouldn’t work on a judge, right?  Because it certainly isn’t working on Caleb; he thinks this whole concept is insane.  Hanna asks Caleb if he thinks that her mother killed Wilden, and he says that he did, but he doesn’t anymore after visiting her.

So Emily is being responsible and trying to make sure she gets an education, Hanna is turning herself into a murderer, and Spencer is interfering with a murder investigation.  That leaves Aria.  Aria is worried about Mike after the weird phone call, so she calls Jake.  He comes over to her house, and it turns out Mike is just at an arcade.  At least someone is out socializing like a real person.  Almost everybody else is acting like they just stepped out of an alternate universe.

At Motel Fields, Emily talks to her mother about her meeting with Zoe and the fact that she wants to go on their trip to Nicaragua next summer.  Pam replies with something along the lines of, “at least someone in this town likes you and doesn’t want to drown you, drug you, kill you and all of that other fun stuff.”  Then Pam starts bawling her eyes out.  Even though Emily thinks that Pam will get rehired at the precinct, Pam does not agree.


 Broken Law # 6 Alert! (Episode 4×07) 

In the previous episode, Pam lost her job after Emily stole a key to Wilden’s apartment from the precinct, and then proceeded to break into the apartment with her friends to look for evidence to tamper with or steal.

Burglary – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3502

“(a)  Offense defined.–A person is guilty of burglary if he enters a building or occupied structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof, with intent to commit a crime  therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter.
   (b)  Defense.–It is a defense to prosecution for burglary that the building or structure was abandoned.
   (c)  Grading. : 
(1)  Except as provided in paragraph (2), burglary is a felony of the first degree.
(2)  If the building, structure or portion entered is not adapted for overnight accommodation and if no individual is present at the time of entry, burglary is a felony of the second degree.
 (d)  Multiple convictions.–A person may not be convicted both for burglary and for the offense which it was his intent to commit after the burglarious entry or for an attempt to commit that offense, unless the additional offense constitutes a felony of the first or second degree.”

One might argue that Wilden’s apartment has been abandoned, but the fact that he died does not automatically deem his apartment abandoned property, especially when its occupant was just murdered.  Pennsylvania law lacks a clear definition for “abandoned real property,” and under common law, real property cannot be abandoned.  

This means that the girls would be guilty of burglary of Wilden’s apartment, because they entered unlawfully with intent to commit a crime (tampering or stealing evidence).  As discussed above, tampering with physical evidence is a misdemeanor, therefore if the girls were arrested in this instance, it would only be for the burglary and not tampering with evidence, per subsection (d) of Pennsylvania’s burglary law. 


Moving back to episode 4×08, the next thing we see is Mona, strutting around a police station in snazzy, fashionable clothing, asking to speak to a detective about a murder.  What is she doing?!  While this is happening, Aria and Jake are sitting on the couch discussing movies, and Spencer is talking to her mother about Ashley’s trial.  Spencer confronts her with the document that she stole, and Mrs. Hastings is irritated and she doesn’t care that Spencer thinks that Wilden has always been “crooked,” nor does she care that the document could help Toby figure out what happened to his mother.  Mrs. Hastings says the document is irrelevant, and she wants it back now, end of story.

Spencer’s argument is interrupted when Mrs. Hastings gets a phone call and learns that Mona confessed to killing Wilden.  If that was her agenda the entire time, she must have been practicing her interrogation skills on Hanna all day so that when she inevitably avoids jail and goes to Radley, then winds up back in school (and we know she will), she can attempt to kick Spencer’s ass on the debate team.  The girls all go to the police station in time for Mona to give them a creepy smirk as if getting arrested for murder was on her bucket list.  Before she gets too happy, she should know that by lying to the police in this way, she is breaking another law (last one!) :

Broken Law # 7 Alert! 

Hindering apprehension or prosecution – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5105 (in relevant part)
“(a) Offense defined.–A person commits an offense if, with intent to hinder the apprehension, prosecution, conviction or punishment of another for crime or violation of the terms of probation, parole, intermediate punishment or Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, he:…
 (5)  provides false information to a law enforcement officer.

(b)  Grading.–The offense is a felony of the third degree if the conduct which the actor knows has been charged or is liable to be charged against the person aided would constitute a felony of the first of the second degree. Otherwise it is a misdemeanor of the second degree.”

As we discussed above, Ashley is being charged with murder in the first degree, which is a felony in the first degree.  Therefore, Mona would be guilty of a felony in the first degree for this lie.  

The girl loves to live in a lie, but it can’t be as fun when you’re confined to a mental institution or prison.  Get it together, Mona! Kisses- A

3 thoughts on “The Guilty Girl’s Handbook: Because the Pretty Little Liars Need to Learn MORE About Guilt (PLL Episode 4×08 recap + broken laws)

  1. Thing is, that Police Car video the girls are so afraid of, also shows Wilden explicitly threatening Hanna to Ashley. In Which case I would consider ti Self Defense/Justifiable Homicide and wouldn't convict Ashley of a single thing if I was on the Jury.

    1. I agree… Although I don't remember if Wilden actually appeared at THAT moment that he was doing to take out a gun and shoot Ashley or something like that, and sometimes an immediate threat is required for self defense. I still want to know more about what really happened when Wilden was killed!

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