Monday, April 7, 2008

How to go to jail for what the Judge and Jury said you didn't do . . .

From Vice Squad (via Drug War Rant):

Fortunately, this sort of thing could not happen in a country where juries provide the ultimate check on the power of the state to punish. The case just described, for instance, derives from some remote, tyrannous locale called "Wisconsin". The defendant was found guilty of possessing powdered cocaine -- a conviction that might have netted him three years in prison. He simultaneously was acquitted of a charge of possessing crack cocaine. The farsighted magistrate, the Solon of the Seventh Circuit, Judge John Shabazz, nevertheless sentenced the possessor of the unapproved substance(s) to 18 years in prison, relying on precedent that allows judges to alter sentences based on charges for which defendants are acquitted. The Supremes let the injustice stand.


So let's see if I've got this right. I'm accused of tax evasion and first-degree murder. I'm acquitted of the murder charge, but can still get the chair because I was charged with murder about the time I accelerated that depreciation on my business computer?

Oh, and in Australia the Race Discrimination Commissioner (h/t Thoughts on Freedom) want to move the burden of proof for racial discrimination charges to the accused. Ever try to prove a negative? I know Al Mascitti doesn't believe in slippery slopes, but that's the ultimate destination of the current it's the seriousness of the charge, not the nature of the evidence BS that crops up here in similar cases. . . .

2 comments:

Brian said...

Steve,

I do not think there should be laws on racism except in cases of physical harm. I think it is something we should address socially through intermarriage and through force of the state only in extreme cases like the civil rights movement of MLK. But I do not like the civil rights act it is only a temporary law that must be renewed every ten years. The bill of rights should be the civil rights act of every single one of us. But until we socially break the back of racism I am not sure if that will be possible. I think the problem is xenophobia about the races, and it comes from the past but if we want to build a better future we have to fight with all kinds of issues about person laying their problems on the gorup rather than as an individual and the group laying their problems on each other and holding each other down, and we should value each citizen as a citizen not as a member of a race. Latino people often have many races in one family and this is a good model for the Americas, they still have race issues but typically not nearly as severe or serious as say dragging a noose behind a pick up truck or shooting a white kid for his 65 dollar shoes. In outstanding cases this only beomces a problem when we forget we are part fo one family and do not treat each other the same.

Brian said...

What I meant by that rambling post this morning, before coffee, is that Civil rights are human rights and should be protected by the Bill of rights for each and every one of us...