To Kill a Mocking Girl Who Mocks The Law (Pretty Little Liars Episode 3 Recap + Laws)

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From the first second of this episode, I KNEW to expect 45 glorious minutes of brilliant decision making by our favorite four girls.  How did I know that? These girls have suffered constant harassment by a mystery person who knows all of their secrets, and their first idea is to meet up… in the WOODS!  It’s totally understandable; I galavant the woods when I’m terrified, too.

They’re headings towards this nostalgic shed where they plan on making a memorial for Ali.  They’d probably be there already if the gnats would stop bombarding Hanna and her cloud of hair product and perfume. The girls are exactly 136 steps from their destination (Spencer is 100% sure of it; she remembers that tree) when the gnats finally stop their mission to invade Hanna’s mouth.  Now that she can finally speak, she announces that she does not believe that Ali is dead.  She has to be alive; she sent them all a text after her funeral!

While the other girls disagree, they do suddenly decide that having an anonymous stalker is creepy and perhaps the woods was not the best choice of venue.  Besides, try as she might, Spencer is not fooling anyone when she says that the scary noise they hear is a rabbit and NOT their stalker.  “A” seems to resent being called a rabbit, so the girls get a vengeful text: “Heads up BFFs, it’s open season on liars and I’m hunting.”  Time to leave the woods, girls!

The next morning, Wilden greets Hanna in the Marin’s kitchen.  He does not want to wear clothing and Hanna does not want to eat waffles. When Hanna’s mother tells Wilden to get dressed, it’s time for Hanna to lay down the law.  She demands for Ashley to stop “squeezing Wilden’s grapefruit.”  Hanna takes a firm stance; she does NOT want to have to shoplift a fathers’ day card for this detective.  Unfortunately, Ashley plans on squeezing all of the cop grapefruit she has to until Hanna’s shoplifting charges are dropped, and even more unfortunately, Wilden is eavesdropping on their entire conversation.

Meanwhile, Aria is having breakfast with her parents.  Byron asks her if she likes her English teacher, which briefly terrifies Aria until she realizes that he actually wants to know if she has a good English teacher.  She mumbles that he’s “ok,” and starts talking about “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  That conversation lasts all of three seconds before their very own real-life, less sympathetic Hester Prynne interrupts.  Aria gets to formally meet Meredith (Amanda Schull), the woman who nearly destroyed her family.

Legal Comment: While Byron insists he is not seeing Meredith that way anymore, if that’s a lie, NOW it wouldn’t be illegal.  While Meredith is still at Hollis, she’s no longer a student; she’s a teaching assistant.  Because she’s now a teaching assistant, Pennsylvania’s pesky institutional sexual assault law that we discussed in the pilot entry no longer would affect a sexual relationship between Byron and Meredith, unless Hollis has a policy against dating co-workers.  However, it seems like Meredith gets around, and now that she’s a teaching assistant, that law forbids her from sleeping with any Hollis students.  

While Aria’s breakfast definitely sucked because of Meredith, I’m not sure it compares to the Hastings horribleness that ensues when Spencer attempts to eat breakfast.  Veronica Hastings warns the girls that she cannot arbitrate on only one cup of coffee, but Melissa hates Spencer so much that she could not care less if her mother’s coffee was decaf.  Melissa laments about her abrupt changed Facebook relationship status and throws a ridiculously large pile of wedding magazines in the garbage.  Nobody reads that many wedding magazines; not even people preparing for a royal wedding. Spencer FEELS for Melissa, she truly does, but it’s “not her fault” that Wren kissed her and she kissed back.  Oh, and Melissa is not the only one who can abuse the garbage can; Spencer violently throws her muffin in there before making her dramatic exit.

I know that it seems like everyone has been abnormally well-behaved, but fear not.  The worst is yet to come… in a good way of course.

When the girls FINALLY arrive at school (does anybody else notice that their mornings seem to last an eternity?), Hanna and Mona are greeted by Sean and Noel Kahn (Brant Daughtery).  Noel’s party is on Friday and everyone’s excited, even Sean.  Nobody said that virgins who are waiting until marriage can’t party!  Mona thinks that Hanna NEEDS to have sex with Sean at the party though, otherwise they might not even really be a couple!

Hanna isn’t the only one not getting action from her boyfriend though; Emily actively avoids Ben’s attempts at kissing her.  Even without her current sexual orientation struggle, I wouldn’t blame her.  Every time he goes to kiss her, he looks like a terrifying monster.

In the hallway, Aria and Spencer come dangerously close to being victims of the avalanche of books flying out of Spencer’s locker.  Then we hear our favorite tapping noise, the two second warning that Jenna is approaching.  This time, her step brother Toby Cavanaugh (Keegan Allen) is escorting her to her classes.

We see a brief flashback of Toby rushing Jenna out of the burning garage.  Back in real time, everyone is staring at Toby like he’s Jeffery Dahmer, and Maya notices.  When she asks Emily who he is, Emily explains that Toby is Jenna’s step brother who was sent away to juvie for setting fire to his garage while his step sister was in it.  Now I’ve been watching this show very carefully, and I’m pretty sure Alison and her friends are the ones who did that, so Emily’s response is intriguing.

Apparently Wilden can’t get enough of Hanna at her house, so he comes to school and gets her excused from class so he can ask her more questions.  Her friends freak out because he’s asking her questions alone, then, tap tap tap, here comes Jenna with a creepy comment.  “Whisper, whisper whisper.  It almost feels like Alison is still here.”  Then she taps away without another word.

In the principal’s office, Wilden asks Hanna for dieting tips; she has lost SO much weight and it’s bizarre that he’s talking about it!  Hanna has a flashback from when she was still hefty, and Alison was pressuring her to ask Sean to Noel’s party.  Sean and Hanna’s were having a cringeworthy, awkward conversation, so Alison came to the rescue.  She knew that if she told Sean that SHE was going to the party then he’d obviously go.  Alison should win an award for giving the most sarcastic “sympathetic” glances in the world; that’s the best way I can describe the look that she gave Hanna.

In real time, skinny Hanna doesn’t really have much weight loss advice for Wilden, but Alison helped her make those changes, so if it turns out that she isn’t dead, perhaps she can help him.  In the meantime, his keg stand habit probably won’t help.  Wilden asks her about her “yearbook picture,” but it turns out the picture he’s talking about was never in the yearbook; he saw it in her living room.  Awkward much?  Good thing he’s seeking clues for his murder investigation during all this grapefruit squeezing.

Aria had such a great time seeing a movie with Ezra and her mother that she invites him to come to Ella’s art gallery.  Spencer pays a visit to Wren to beg him to tell her parents “the truth” about what happened.  Spencer, I hate to break it to you, but you were involved in that kiss, too!  When she leaves, Wren makes a smug comment about “the wretched place” she calls home.  Maybe it wouldn’t have been so wretched if you and Melissa didn’t steal Spencer’s loft, Wren.  Enjoy squatting on your friends couch.

Here come the crimes!  Back at Rosewood, Ben is in the girls’ locker room giving off a serial killer/rapist vibe while pinning Emily against the wall and ignoring her protests.  First of all, who invited him into the girls’ locker room? While the legality of his presence in there comes down to Rosewood’s school policy, it’s still time for:
Crime # 1 Alert! : Disorderly Conduct: 18 Pa.C.S. § 5503“(a) Offense defined.–A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he: 
(1) engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior; (2) makes unreasonable noise; (3) uses obscene language, or makes an obscene gesture; or (4) creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor.
(b) Grading.–An offense under this section is a misdemeanor of the third degree if the intent of the actor is to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience, or if he persists in disorderly conduct after reasonable warning or request to desist. Otherwise disorderly conduct is a summary offense.”

Note: I’m going to go with the misdemeanor; no way that behavior is only a summary offense.
Also note: language in this statute clarifies that the use of the word “public” includes school.

Additionally, Ben’s attempt to force himself on Emily even when she screamed for him to stop leads us straight to:

Crime # 2 Alert! : Indecent Assault (in relevant part): 18 Pa.C.S. § 3126: 
“(a)  Offense defined.–A person is guilty of indecent assault if the person has indecent contact with the complainant, causes the complainant to have indecent contact with the person… and:
(1)  the person does so without the complainant’s consent;
(2)  the person does so by forcible compulsion;
(3)  the person does so by threat of forcible compulsion that would prevent resistance by a person of reasonable resolution; …”
In terms of grading/ranking the crime, subsection (a)(1) would constitute a misdemeanor in the second degree, but (a)(2) and (a)(3) constitute a misdemeanor in the 1st degree.  You cannot be charged with both, and Ben would probably be charged with the 1st degree misdemeanor. 

Emily’s inability to escape from Ben does not last long; in swoops TOBY to save the day and bring us to:

Potential Crime # 3 Alert!: Aggravated Assault :  18 Pa.C.S. § 2702: 
“a)  Offense defined.–A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he:  (1)  attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another,  or causes such injury intentionally, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the  value of human life;
(b)  Grading.–Aggravated assault under subsection (a)(1) and(2) is a felony of the first degree.”

Take note that I labeled this as a potential crime.  Certainly if Toby had done this without Emily in the equation, he’d be guilty.  However, in certain circumstances, Pennsylvania law allows for justification on the grounds of protection of another person.

Use of force for the protection of other persons (in relevant part) – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 506: 
” (a) General rule.–The use of force upon or toward the person of another is justifiable to protect a third person when: 
(1) the actor would be justified under section 505 of this title (relating to use of force in self-protection) in using such force to protect himself against the injury he believes to be threatened to the person whom he seeks to protect; 
(2) under the circumstances as the actor believes them to be, the person whom he seeks to protect would be justified in using such protective force; and 
(3) the actor believes that his intervention is necessary for the protection of such other person…”The justifications in section 505 (in relevant part) : “the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion…”

I believe that Toby would be successful with this justification. 

Aria brings desperately needed cups to Ella’s gallery and finds Meredith pretending to be Ella’s BFF. Ella has invited her to the gallery tonight and Aria angrily tells Meredith that she had better not come.

Hanna is leaving for Noel’s party and Wilden makes a stupid joke about driving her to the party in a squad car. “I won’t use the cuffs.” Because he’s saving them to use on Ashley in the bedroom later. This whole “relationship” is appalling already, so it’s a good thing Wilden screws it up.

As soon as Hanna is out of the house, Wilden invites himself into Hanna’s purse, removes her friendship bracelet from the bag and starts asking Ashley about it. When he reveals that he saw it earlier “during his day job” of harassing Hanna with ridiculous questions while she should be in class, Ashley gets pissed off very quickly. She demands to know why Hanna is the only one who got questioned for a second time. Wilden gives a BS excuse, leading Ashley to tell him that he will need a search warrant to go through Hanna’s purse.

Potential Crime # 4 Alert! Even though some might argue that Ashley allowed Wilden into the house and he believed that he had consent to search (although he probably did not even believe he had consent), the 4th amendment of the United States Constitution (U.S. Const. amend. IV) begs to differ. The 4th amendment guarantees privacy against unreasonable searches and seizures by government officials.  

The Supreme Court came up with a broad test for reasonableness in a case, Katz v. United States (389 U.S. 347). In that case, the Supreme Court expanded the 4th amendment protection to include any place where a person has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Although Ashley DID allow Wilden to enter her home, a reasonable person would still have a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding the contents of a pocketbook inside the house.  paraphrased

Additionally, Hanna certainly had a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding the contents of her bag which was at her house. The fact that her mother had this unfortunate and disturbing relationship with a police officer does not mean that Hanna should no longer have a reasonable expectation of privacy for her property in her home. A reasonable person would not expect a police officer to overstep his boundaries that way.  

Note: I labeled this as a potential crime because he did stop when he realized that he clearly did not have consent, and he stopped before anything (ie someone getting arrested) happened as a result of the search. Although his search did violate the 4th amendment, it’s doubtful that any legal action would happen under these circumstances.  BUT, he still broke a Pennsylvania law during his inappropriate investigation. 

Crime # 5 Alert! : Abuse of Power- Official Oppression (in relevant part): Pa. Stat. Ann. Title 18 § 5301:  
“A person acting or purporting to act in an official capacity or taking advantage of such actual or purported capacity commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if, knowing that his conduct is illegal, he:
 (1)  subjects another to arrest, detention, search… or other infringement of personal or property rights…” 

What a terrible excuse for a police officer!  

While all of that is taking place at Hanna’s house, she’s partying! Actually, she’s bored out of her mind watching Sean play his 8 millionth fuse-ball game. I don’t even think she had one drink at the party, which is surprising considering that she brings her flask everywhere.

Emily arrives at the party with Maya and immediately insults Ben, adding salt to the ridiculous wound Toby left on his face. He definitely knows how to fight.

Spencer has not arrived at the party yet because she’s busy writing her history paper that’s due on Monday. Let me try that again. She’s busy plagiarizing her sister’s paper from six years ago. Before I comment on Spencer’s behavior, I just want to point out that Melissa’s paper was written in 2004, before Macbooks even existed. It was all about the iBook G4 in 2004. I’m not saying that Melissa didn’t just simply get a new computer, but isn’t she in graduate school at this point? Why would she feel the need to keep her high school homework on her desktop? Weird.

Moving on:

Crime # 6 Alert! : As strange as it is that Melissa had that paper on her desktop, Spencer was definitely not allowed to steal it. Congratulations Spencer, on violating federal law! : Infringement on Copyright: 17 USC § 501: This federal statute forbids anyone from distributing another person’s copyrighted work without getting the author’s permission to do so or properly citing the author’s work. Plagiarism is included in the federal law against copyright infringement.

Note that a work does not have to go through a formal process to become copyrighted material and it does not have to be published either. Any author’s original work is protected by copyright, and state schools are required to comply with federal law in terms of academic integrity.  


Melissa and Veronica come home from the club and almost catch Spencer in the act. They talk about eating pasta as if it’s the equivalent of eating 8 tons of crisco oil in one sitting.

After Spencer’s daunting copy and paste session, she makes her way to Noel’s party so that she can gossip with the girls about Toby being a terrible person. When Spencer brings up the time when “they” caught Toby spying on them, Emily is quick to remind her that Ali was the only person to see that happen. Spencer has a flashback of the night of “The Jenna Thing.” In the flashback, Spencer stood across the street while Ali screamed “I’ll make sure everybody knows!” in Toby’s ear. She was pretty loud for somebody who didn’t want any of her friends to hear her; perhaps she wanted to make Jenna go blind and Toby go deaf all in the same night.

Also in the flashback, Ali persuaded the girls to flea the crime scene. She dismissed Hanna’s suggestion to tell the police what had happened in the rudest way possible. She reminds her that this show is not called “Pretty Little Honest Girls” and that if Hanna wanted to tell the police, she could also go back to being a fat loser who eats chips and plays Dance Dance Revolution.
Of course, ignoring Hanna’s idea to behave like decent human beings, Ali and her posse bring us to:

Potential Crime # 8 Alert! : Flight to Avoid Apprehension, Trial or Punishment (in relevant part) Pa. Stat. Ann. Title 18 § 5126.: 

“(a)  Offense defined.–A person who willfully conceals himself or moves or travels within or outside this Commonwealth with the intent to avoid apprehension, trial or punishment commits a felony of the third degree when the crime which he has been charged with or has been convicted of is a felony and commits a misdemeanor of the second degree when the crime which he has been charged with or has been convicted of is a misdemeanor..”
Note that I put potential because the girls were neither charged with nor convicted of a crime, but they easily could have been if they stayed there for another second.

Back at the party, Hanna tries again and fails again at seducing her boyfriend who does not want to have sex with her. Emily and Maya take pictures of themselves kissing in a photo booth and somebody steals the pictures before they even have time to get out of the booth. It’s almost as if Emily has a stalker or something!

Aria makes an appearance at Ella’s gallery which Meredith attends despite Aria’s demand. Meredith wants Aria to know that she can have her father and there is absolutely nothing Aria can do about it. The next stunt Meredith pulls also symbolizes Aria’s powerlessness; she snatches Aria’s cup — the cup that SHE BOUGHT FOR HER MOTHER– silently telling Aria “I’m taking your dad and your drink. You can go now.”

Hanna receives a text from “A” that reads, “Heads up, hon. Hefty Hanna never gets the guy.” Hanna’s had enough for one night, so she does what any girl in that situation would do. She takes her boyfriend’s car without asking his permission. To make matters worse, she winds up crashing it, and crashing us right into:

Crime # 9 Alert! : Unauthorized use of automobiles and other vehicles (in relevant part): Pa. Stat. Ann. Title 18 § 3928 : 

(a)  Offense defined.–A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree if he operates the automobile… without consent of the owner.” 

Again, I did not see Hanna have anything to drink at the party, so I’m not going to jump to any drinking and driving conclusions. She’s done enough damage as it is; I don’t need to make it worse.

Emily goes to Toby’s front porch to thank him for beating the crap out of Ben. When Emily leaves, Jenna demands to know why Emily was thanking him, as if Toby’s her bitch.

Needless to say, the girls all have had a pretty horrible day, so the following day they make another smart decision. They meet up in the woods… AGAIN! Spencer finally discloses that Toby took the blame for “The Jenna Thing” because Ali “had something huge on him” and she blackmailed with it. Of course that means :

Crime # 10 Alert! (Don’t worry, this is finally the last one… for now at least). : Intimidation of Witnesses or Victims (in relevant part): Pa. Stat. Ann. Title 18 § 4952: 

“(a)  Offense defined.–A person commits an offense if, with the intent to or with the knowledge that his conduct will obstruct, impede, impair, prevent or interfere with the administration of criminal justice, he intimidates or attempts to intimidate any witness or victim to:
 (1)  Refrain from informing or reporting to any law enforcement officer, prosecuting official or judge concerning any information, document or thing relating to the commission of a crime. 
(2)  Give any false or misleading information or testimony relating to the commission of any crime to any law enforcement officer, prosecuting official or judge. 
(3)  Withhold any testimony, information, document or thing relating to the commission of a crime from any law enforcement officer, prosecuting official or judge…
(b)  Grading.–
(1)  The offense is a felony of the degree indicated in [the above] paragraphs if: The actor employs force, violence or deception…upon the witness… 
(2)  The offense is a felony of the second degree if a felony of the second degree is the most serious offense charged in the case in which the actor sought to influence or intimidate a witness… 
(3)  The offense is a felony of the third degree in any other case in which the actor sought to influence or intimidate a witness or victim as specified in this subsection. (
4) Otherwise the offense is a misdemeanor of the second degree.”

All in all, great job abiding by the law, everyone! I’ll give you an A+; you already have an A.

At least there’s a happy ending; after hearing a creepy noise and finding Ali’s bracelet on the ground, the girls LEAVE THE WOODS!

Thank you everyone for reading. I apologize for the delay in posting this; researching and writing this took me two full days, no exaggeration.

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