FRIHOST FORUMS SEARCH FAQ TOS BLOGS COMPETITIONS
You are invited to Log in or Register a free Frihost Account!


Dear US Citizen: You're Probably a Criminal





quex
Just came from here: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2009/07/21/heritage-house-law/

Now, while this is a Fox News article, it does a fine job explaining why you can easily be arrested and jailed these days by the Feds for nothing in particular. There is apparently a bipartisan spotlight on the issue right now. Good, but not good enough for innocent men (and women) who have already spent several years in jail for committing crimes that any rational person would not even have suspected of being illegal. For example, failing to put a safety sticker on a fed-ex package, or selling exotic orchids.

FTFA:

Quote:
...under these new laws, the government can often secure a conviction without having to prove that the person accused even intended to commit a bad act, historically a protection against wrongful conviction.


...and equally shocking:

Quote:
The Lacey Act is an example of the dangerous overbreadth of federal criminal law. Incredibly, Congress has made it a federal crime to violate any fish or wildlife law or regulation of any nation on earth.


Incredibly, indeed.

Ever been to a foreign country? Did you go fishing while you were there? Birdwatching? Did you pick any fruit? I might very well now be considered a federal criminal in the USA for my activities in Japan, which included fishing without a license and trespassing on protected lands set aside for endangered species. Nevermind that the fishing was with a cotton string tied around a fried noodle, used to catch little crabs along with my class of 12 kindergartners on their day at the beach, nor that the trespassing activity was to join a small troupe of local grandmothers picking up plastic tarps that had blown into a nature reserve for Japanese bears. I could, in all honesty, be arrested and extradited.

How about you?
Vrythramax
Unfortunatly in the US ignorance of a law is not a valid defence. Lik we are all supposed to know all the laws all the time. Even lawyers have trouble keeping up with new laws and amendments to existing ones. Every year there are numerous horror stories of people who otherwise would never have knowingly commited a crime being arrested for something hardly anyone knew was illegal in the first place.

That in itself should be a crime.
handfleisch
thanks for posting this. I touched on the same subject on another thread. Of course the examples in the article are horrific, but much more common are the arrests and convictions for things like disturbing the police. Or when the gov't wanted to stop people exercising their Constitutional right to protest, in the 1980's they made laws against "blocking a sidewalk". Don't forget "public intoxication", another very abused law.

Also, it's a defect in the entire culture, not just the laws. In the cases in the article you link to, we all know that judges or prosecutors could refuse to prosecute or sentence these things. There is such a thing as the spirit of a law vs. the letter of the law.

My hero Johnny Cash, on getting arrested for picking flowers: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZ2sWO9SLVI

And a jury could refuse to convict, no matter instructions they receive. But in general they are overly-obedient and even sheeplike in following orders; jury selection is designed to eliminate critical thinkers.

The USA is in general over-policed and people do not have a mentality of freedom. They have gotten used to the police, the courts, the prosecutors and the judges being able to get away with pretty much anything they want, when railroading a common citizen who is not rich.

There is Constitutional right to a public attorney for people who cannot afford their own, but these attorneys are infamously overworked and underpaid, so your representation is often a joke. A country truly interested in democracy and maintaining Constitutional Rights would make sure this job was well-paid, and that the case loads were manageable.

The incredible amount of cop worship TV shows pretty much brainwash people. Years of this, mixed with an exaggerated fear of crime, have created a very timid public, a fearful, slave mentality among many people. People are always asking themselves whether they are allowed to do something, whether it's legal. It's no surprise when security guards and cops come and stop people from doing all sorts of innocuous activities. And since they are so afraid of crime, they are at the same time grateful for all glut of laws and the overpolicing.
deanhills
handfleisch wrote:
The incredible amount of cop worship TV shows pretty much brainwash people. Years of this, mixed with an exaggerated fear of crime, have created a very timid public, a fearful, slave mentality among many people. People are always asking themselves whether they are allowed to do something, whether it's legal. It's no surprise when security guards and cops come and stop people from doing all sorts of innocuous activities. And since they are so afraid of crime, they are at the same time grateful for all glut of laws and the overpolicing.
Excellent points thanks Handfleisch. Totally agreed especially on the brainwashing part of things. The part that is more horrific is that even when people ask themselves whether what they are doing is legal, they still get caught when they are totally innocent, just because an equally brainwashed policeman (coming from the same society with the same brainwashing) thought the person looked the part, and I'm not only talking "race" here. It could be someone who is very wealthy for example such as a wife who does not look suitably heartbroken after the death of her husband in suspicious circumstances, to the extent that the police just stop focussing on looking in other directions for investigating the crime. The movie with Reese Weatherspoon in it about an Islamic Egyptian American who got kidnapped in South Africa while he was doing a sales presentation there by CIA people and then shipped to a third country for torture is another example. The only reason for his kidnap is that there could have been a phone call to his cell phone from a suspected terrorist. As little evidence as that. The name of the movie is Rendition. I thought it was really a good movie:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0804522/plotsummary
quex
Is Rendition based on a real story, Dean? o.o
handfleisch
Johnny Cash had a song, "Starkville City Jail", about the time he got arrested for picking flowers. In its humble way, it's a protest song about the over-policing of the USA, about how easy it is to get arrested for doing next to nothing.

Two arrests are in the news this week that might have made Johnny Cash write a new song. One case is the taking of Harvard professor at his home for disturbing the peace, and the other is the arrest of the Lackawanna Six in 2002.

The former became a sensation when President Obama said the police acted "stupidly".

The Lackawanna Six case is in the news due to revelations that former vice president Cheney wanted to send the military into Buffalo, New York, to have the men arrested. He wanted it done not by the police, but by the military. That would have violated the Posse Comitatus Act, the rather central democratic mainstay that keeps the military out of law enforcement, but Bush advisors were claiming the executive branch had this new authority due to the War on Terror. What is not new about the case is that the Bush administration held daily briefings with the FBI on the supposed terrorist cell and ordered the arrest with convenient timing for publicity purposes, the anniversary of 9/11.

So in the current arrest mini-scandal, we have a president sticking up for the rights of a citizen in a case of the police abusing their power.

In the Bush case, it's the president and his cabinet themselves who are abusing their power, micro-managing the arrest of people who possibly never would have been charged otherwise (the men, who attended training camps at a young age in the Middle East when they were visiting relatives, all had faked sick in order to leave the camps when they learned how anti-America the training was.) With Bush, the debate was how far would they go in violating our rights. In their planning of arrests on US soil for War on Terror propaganda, would they call out the military to arrest people for the first time since the civil war, or would they just use regular law enforcement?

Whereas in the Obama White House, the president is taking a politically risky stand, one I would call brave and principled, speaking out against the railroading and overzealous police action that all too many of us are familiar with.

Johnny Cash sang that police are "bound to get you." Now we have a president who shows he might know a little about what Cash was singing about.
deanhills
quex wrote:
Is Rendition based on a real story, Dean? o.o
No, as far as I know it is fictitious. Gavin Hood, the producer, wanted to create something that would show all sides to this story objectively, without taking any sides in it. One could probably say the story was put together out of elements of different true happenings. It was a good production though, and had an element of a Kafka thriller, with the helplessness in it of the individual against the State. The nice part for me however was that there was an individual of the CIA who was prepared to take a stand against the torture. We often get a sense through the media that all individuals of the CIA are the same, obeying all the orders that come their way. This was a good story to show that those individuals are American citizens too, and can be compassionate and take a stand. I'm not sure whether this has happened in real life, as I would imagine that the CIA would never consent to any of their field officers being portrayed by the media as having taken a stand against the CIA in a torture exercise. I would however like to believe that that part of the movie had been taken from a true story as well.
atul2242
In all countries there are laws which are bordering on the side of stupid.
In India it is illegal to be smoking while driving.
In all my years no policeman has ever pointed it out to me, till recently, when I got onto the bad side of a traffic cop cause I raised a big stink about him allowing illegal parking by buses.
In different countries law enforcing agencies and the public have different attitudes.
In places where the law is weakly applied, communities have their own rules. in many cases people tolerate a lot of laws being broken. This is not good in the long run as corrupt people with evil intentions usually use these loopholes to their own favor. However it is very nice to drive a bike in the villages without wearing a helmet......
deanhills
atul2242 wrote:
In India it is illegal to be smoking while driving.
I don't understand why this would be stupid? I would imagine it would be for safety, not only of other drivers, but the driver himself. Imagine the cigarette falling by accident, and the potential to both distract the driver while he is looking for it, and a fire hazard.
quex
atul2242 wrote:
In all countries there are laws which are bordering on the side of stupid.
In India it is illegal to be smoking while driving.
In all my years no policeman has ever pointed it out to me, till recently, when I got onto the bad side of a traffic cop cause I raised a big stink about him allowing illegal parking by buses.
In different countries law enforcing agencies and the public have different attitudes.
In places where the law is weakly applied, communities have their own rules. in many cases people tolerate a lot of laws being broken. This is not good in the long run as corrupt people with evil intentions usually use these loopholes to their own favor. However it is very nice to drive a bike in the villages without wearing a helmet......


This is very true, but these laws are, as you say, usually very weakly applied... and rarely prosecuted as felonies. What would the punishment be for being caught smoking while driving? I'm assuming a monetary fine, or some temporary restrictions on your license. These laws are minor punishments for minor infractions, and they are given about as much gravity. Now, when a combo of unlikely and/or obscure laws are used to send someone to prison or into destitution for the same degree of offense, then you have a problem.

We have a ton of strange laws in the US, too.
atul2242
deanhills wrote:
[quote="I don't understand why this would be stupid? I would imagine it would be for safety, not only of other drivers, but the driver himself. Imagine the cigarette falling by accident, and the potential to both distract the driver while he is looking for it, and a fire hazard.

Point taken, a clarification - the law defines smoking as the consumption of an intoxicant. That why it is illegal.
deanhills
atul2242 wrote:
Point taken, a clarification - the law defines smoking as the consumption of an intoxicant. That why it is illegal.
OK. I get it. Although there is a common sense reason, they went for one that is very bizarre. One could then possibly also prohibit people from eating or drinking soft drinks or tea and coffee while they are driving. Sugar can also be an intoxicant. Twisted Evil
Auctus
Vrythramax wrote:
Unfortunatly in the US ignorance of a law is not a valid defence. Lik we are all supposed to know all the laws all the time. Even lawyers have trouble keeping up with new laws and amendments to existing ones. Every year there are numerous horror stories of people who otherwise would never have knowingly commited a crime being arrested for something hardly anyone knew was illegal in the first place.

That in itself should be a crime.


The reason ignorance of the law is not a defense is so that you can't say "but Your Honor, I didn't know murder was illegal!"

And "selling orchids" wasn't his crime, it was illegally smuggling endangered orchids out of South America for sale here (if I recall correctly; I read this and its related information a while ago)
Bannik
Auctus wrote:
Vrythramax wrote:
Unfortunatly in the US ignorance of a law is not a valid defence. Lik we are all supposed to know all the laws all the time. Even lawyers have trouble keeping up with new laws and amendments to existing ones. Every year there are numerous horror stories of people who otherwise would never have knowingly commited a crime being arrested for something hardly anyone knew was illegal in the first place.

That in itself should be a crime.


The reason ignorance of the law is not a defense is so that you can't say "but Your Honor, I didn't know murder was illegal!"

And "selling orchids" wasn't his crime, it was illegally smuggling endangered orchids out of South America for sale here (if I recall correctly; I read this and its related information a while ago)


yea but those are pretty obvious and most airliners will tell you "you cant bring in plants from other countries or animals etc" so is murder but what about if I go too lets say a certain state where kissing for longer then 2 seconds is a crime and get stopped by a police officer or if i am in one of the Muslim nations and kiss my girlfriend on a public beach is it justifiable for a tourist to be arrested and put on trial? in Spain the nudist beaches force you too go nude so even if you dont want too go nude you have too.....those are just stupid.

http://www.skrause.org/humor/stupidlaws.shtml just take a look at the stupidity

some laws are obviously wrong, some are just stupid but the laws are nothing but the people who enforce them its all down to the copper who took you in.

a long time ago a friend of mine was stopped by a copper because he was smoking something he should not have, the copper was local and knew practically everyone all he said to my mate was "keep it at home, i give you a verbal warning next time though..." that's what we call a good cop....the only reason he didn't do anything was that he knew the kid was not a trouble maker, just a hippie.....
deanhills
Bannik wrote:
a long time ago a friend of mine was stopped by a copper because he was smoking something he should not have, the copper was local and knew practically everyone all he said to my mate was "keep it at home, i give you a verbal warning next time though..." that's what we call a good cop....the only reason he didn't do anything was that he knew the kid was not a trouble maker, just a hippie.....
This was my experience in Vancouver, BC as well. Cops would mingle with people, instead of trying to catch them, so that they can get a good feel for the area they are covering. By getting to know the people they can easily tell when there is a real problem, instead of chasing after harmless offenders.

Regarding rules in other countries with different cultures, I believe in the motto: When in Rome do as the Romans do. Guess one has to be at your best behaviour and act as a guest when you visit other countries, and act as a Diplomat of your own country. Also, if you do not want to be nude in public, then obviously a nudist colony is the wrong place to go to. I would feel very uncomfortable, so have never been to one. I've always thought people in general look much better with clothes on, than without ... Smile
ocalhoun
*off topic*
deanhills wrote:
I've always thought people in general look much better with clothes on, than without ... Smile

Quite so. Humans should keep their ugliness covered at all times.
*/off topic*
Related topics
WW III?!?!?
America is you, no matter who you are
Want to know your terror score? Too Bad.
President Bush talks w/ Matt Lauer on Torture
Visa Procedure
Easy way to buy stocks online?
goodwill alone gets one only so far in the real world.
Honest, hardworking AZ man asked for his "papers",
National Institute for Civil Discourse - what ever for?
Former NHS director dies after operation is cancelled
Obama's birth certificate
"Dear Canadian Citizen, you owe US taxes."
The End of Men?
Brain behind the Silk Road got arrested by the FBI
Reply to topic    Frihost Forum Index -> Lifestyle and News -> Politics

FRIHOST HOME | FAQ | TOS | ABOUT US | CONTACT US | SITE MAP
© 2005-2011 Frihost, forums powered by phpBB.