a word for "make (someone) a criminal"

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shuiyue

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi everyone, I'm looking for a word that can be used "to make someone a criminal". I've thought about using the word "criminalize", but I think this word refers to an activity/act rather than a person. "Delegitimize" might be a word to use, but I don't think it's strong enough. Is there a verb that is used to make a person, perhaps wrongly or unfairly, guilty of a crime or wrongdoing?
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think 'criminalise/criminalize' is probably the correct word. The WR Dictionary has:

    vb (transitive)
    1. to make (an action or activity) criminal
    2. to treat (a person) as a criminal
     

    shuiyue

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Context:

    3. The Deep State has been sabotaging Donald Trump not just to delegitimize him but to have him convicted of a crime.


    The bolded part is what I want to replace with a more appropriate word. I want to emphasize that the act (of having Trump convicted) may be an unjust one, kinda like "smear".
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    have him convicted of a crime.
    This does not mean 'smear'.

    It is more serious than that. It means 'cause him to be arrested, tried in court, found guilty and then punished, by process of law'.

    There is no one word to say all that. Your sentence already has the briefest form of expression for that meaning.

    If you want to add the idea of 'unjustly', then you can say 'have him falsely convicted of a crime'. However, to add that would radically change the meaning. The sentence means his enemies want to have him rightly convicted of a crime.

    They believe he has already committed a crime or crimes and they want to see him punished.
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    They believe he has already committed a crime or crimes and they want to see him punished.
    That may apply in some cases, but not to current US politics: specifically, the left's unending attacks on Trump. Their desire to get him removed from office is not due to any belief that he "has committed crimes". The desire is based on two years of the press portraying Trump as an awful person. The left want to "find" a crime to support the desire to hurt Trump.

    "A crime" is simply "violating some law". The left wants to find a law that they can claim Trump has violated; make that claim succeed in court; use that as the basis for removing him from office.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I find it difficult to imagine that a political conspiracy exists, which is all the time public knowledge, which aims to convict Trump (or anyone) of a crime he did not commit, or a crime that never happened.

    Some people have alleged that he has behaved criminally. If he has, and if he is duly tried and convicted, then he will be subject to the punishment of the law quite apart from any political consequences.

    Whether such a trial would be possible politically is a real question, of course. The cases of Nixon and Clinton suggest it would not.
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I find it difficult to imagine that a political conspiracy exists,
    Looking up "Deep State", I see it's a conspiracy theory term for "secret people in power". I agree: opposition to Trump is not hidden.

    which aims to convict Trump (or anyone) of a crime he did not commit, or a crime that never happened.
    I agree. They are looking for a real, actual violation of law: and something important, not something trivial.

    Some people have alleged that he has behaved criminally.
    There have been new "allegations" against Trump every week since he became a presidential candidate in June 2015. Almost all of these "allegations" have already proven to be false. But even Trump supporters agree that, if any of these numerous allegations prove to be true, they deserve to be prosecuted.

    It is normal for a political enemy to "allege" things. Most of these allegations were invented by the US public media, which has been actively fighting against Trump since June 2015. Others were made by Democratic politicians.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    By the way, let me just mention that both my 'which' clauses in post 7, separated by commas, are defining relative clauses, as required by the sense.

    I had to think about the punctuation and I believe it is correct.
     
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    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    So, in general, the use of "to make someone a criminal" by making illegal a thing they are already doing would be "criminalize" - to make them a criminal by finding something they did that actually was a criminal act would be "investigate" or "expose" perhaps or, if the idea is to get the person punished for it, "indict" or "prosecute"- to make them a criminal by enticing them into criminal actions would be to "corrupt" or perhaps "entrap" them - and to make them a criminal by creating a situation where they would be convicted of a crime when they didn't actually commit a crime would be to "frame" them.

    So I think in post #3 if you think Trump did commit a crime and the "Deep State" is trying to uncover it and get him convicted you'd use "expose" and possibly "prosecute" - if this putative conspiracy is trying to entice him into committing a crime "corrupt" and if they're trying to fool him into committing one "entrap" - and if they're trying to fake evidence then "frame." So a lot depends on the hidden presumptions.

    Examples:

    The prohibition of alcohol in the early 20th century in the USA criminalized whiskey distillers and winemakers.
    The FBI investigated the protesters and exposed their illegal actions. The Justice Department planned to prosecute the ringleaders, and has indicted one already.
    By making specific conditions for their campaign contributions, the wealthy donors corrupted the candidate, who is claiming he was entrapped by FBI agents posing as members of a PAC.
    The real murderer, who lived next door to the victim, framed her estranged husband by claiming to have heard his raised voice from her apartment on the night of the killing.
     
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    shuiyue

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thanks everyone for your input. I was searching for a word that would convey something like "falsely accuse of a crime". You guys have given me something to think about, and I really appreciate it.
     
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