Patricia Hearst and the Symboinese Liberation Army Essay

Patricia Hearst and the Symboinese Liberation Army Essay

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Social status can affect a person greatly, even in criminal cases. An event pertaining an impact of social status is the case of Patricia Hearst and the Symboinese Liberation Army. Patricia Hearst (Patty) is an American socialite and best know to be the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, who founded the Hearst media empire. While attending the University of Berkeley, in California, she was abducted by a terrorist group called the Symboinese Liberation Army (SLA) on February 24th, 1974. The group first attempted to claim a large sum of ransom from the Hearst family. The Marxist group of terrorists was formed at the University of Berkeley and believed in the union of all the races and classes. Donald Defreeze an escaped convict who referred to himself as Cinque led the SLA. Although kidnapped, in a strange turn of events, Patty joined the SLA and was later tried, very publically, for her actions and stated that it was brainwashing that caused her to join the rebels. How did Patricia Hearst's social status affect her cooperation with the SLA? The fact that Patricia Hearst had a wealthy and well-known family background gave credibility to her claim that brainwashing caused her to cooperate with the SLA.
Patricia Hearst made it clear to the world that she had transitioned from victim to accomplice in the SLA through audio recordings and aided in a crime. Soon after Hearst was kidnapped, a series of audiotapes were released to the press, stating that she had now become a member of the group. In these tapes, she was denouncing her family and their choice of lifestyle and announced that she had joined “self-styled urban guerillas”. Shortly after the tapes were released, Hearst started to also participate in illegal activ...

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...Hearst would not have been commuted nor pardoned if she was not well known. Her social status allowed her to escape her punishments for the crimes that she had committed. Although Hearst was convicted for her crime, she was excused of it because of her social status and wealthy background.
Patricia Hearst was initially convicted for her cooperation with the SLA but was later commuted and pardoned for her illegal activity because of her social status and wealth. Hearst pleaded that she was brainwashed and was only able to say this because of her social status. Her notoriety gave credibility to her claim because someone who possessed such intelligence was unable to, in their right mind, join such a group. Brainwashing and Stockholm syndrome were the basis of her defense. Many still believe that Hearst got away with the crime she committed because of her wealth.

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