Search Me!

Think about it...

Monday, August 31, 2009

This is directly from Instapundit

And raises an issue that I think is important. The creeping increase of federal felonies is a threat to everyone.



IN THE MAIL: From Harvey Silverglate, Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent. Some years ago I started on a project entitled Due Process When Everything Is A Crime. The gist was that since criminal law has expanded to the point where everyone is some sort of a felon, the real action is in the area of prosecutorial discretion — in choosing whom to prosecute from among this population-wide mass of the guilty — where, in fact, due process basically doesn’t apply. That suggests that maybe there should be some due-process limits on decisions to prosecute. I never got to it (my scholarly rangetop has so many back burners it must be a half-mile deep) but the issue continues to deserve attention

Along these lines, you might also see Gene Healy’s Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything, and Angela Davis’s (no, not that Angela Davis) Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor. It’s an issue that’s worthy of a lot of attention.

(Me) (Blacktail Books)


Jean&Vic said...

I became aware of this fact when I was living in California and still int the marines. For some reason when you go to court there, you are "processed" in groups of 25-50 people for similar, or same level crimes. the emphasis by the clerk who processes you is to convince as many as possible to pay the fines that the offense is worth before having a hearing from the judges to oversea the case. In the instance I am speaking of, I was one of 150 other folks due in at a court hearing on a tuesday morning at about 9:30 in the morning. We were the third set of hearings for the day (the implication being there were 450 more folks before us, and who knows how many more after). Most of the folks there were looking at a fine of anywhere from 150-500 dollars, until they went through the process and got it reduced (yes, it was reduced after the fact of sitting through and admitting guilt if you were in fact guilty of the crime you were ticketed for). I was looking at a 150 $ fine for an M.I.P. as I was caught drinking on a public beach (yes, it is against the law there to drink from a glass bottle on the beach). After siting through 20 minutes of the farce they called a court, I was given a fine of 75 dollars and released to go back to work (actually sleep as I was working graveyard at the time). Similarly all the others who stayed and went through the process also had their fines similarly reduced by about half. Doing the math, that is a lot of money from a lot of folks. they were there mostly for minor traffic infractions (yet another reason not to drive in Caly), and other interesting things which are not relevant. The interesting thing to note, is that the things almost all these folks were there for were not harmful to anyone other than them self (if that even), and more that looking back all the laws for those broken (or ordinances as was the case for mine) are new, within the last 30 years or so. It is a game of revenue generation for the state, that targets the populous. Of course I was 20 years younger when I realized what I am sharing here, so go figure it is out of date, but still, makes one wonder how much of what is being seen here is due to become nationwide, and then filter down to the localities like city town and smaller communities, and more how it is going to affect them. Thanks for sharing this with the rest of us.