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News Link • Criminal Justice System

As Federal Crime List Grows, Threshold of Guilt Declines

• online.wsj.com

For centuries, a bedrock principle of criminal law has held that people must know they are doing something wrong before they can be found guilty. The concept is known as mens rea, Latin for a "guilty mind."

This legal protection is now being eroded as the U.S. federal criminal code dramatically swells. In recent decades, Congress has repeatedly crafted laws that weaken or disregard the notion of criminal intent. Today not only are there thousands more criminal laws than before, but it is easier to fall afoul of them.

 

4 Comments in Response to

Comment by Mark Edward
Entered on:

American's are so mentally enslaved, that the masses view "law" as simply ANY idea that "government" puts to paper. The prevailing thought process in America is this: "If the government passed a law, it is law, and we are all obligated to obey it." So, when the government labels peeling a banana in public to be a "criminal act", you can bet your bottom dollar that if you faced a jury on such a rediculous charge, the jury would find you guilty and sentence you to jail.

I spent a week in jail on the claim that my "drivers license" was suspended. 1) There is no provision for suspension of a license in the RCW (washington) for suspension because of failure to pay a ticket. 2) They sent me a notice that I was late in paying an that they "may" refuse to renew my license when it expired. 3) They never gave me notice it got suspended. 4) The judge allowed the prosecutor to give the jury "instructions" that blatantly altered the actual words and intent of the statutes. 5) The prosecutor refused to provide discovery, and admitted they had ZERO evidence beyond "the cop said so". 6) I proved in court without dispute or rebuttal from the city that I was not "driving" a "motor vehicle" at the time of the stop, strictly according to the words of the statutes. Guess what? The jury found me "guilty" anyway.

The legislators can write anything they want, and label any stupid thing to be a "crime" and the American people instantly label YOU a "criminal" if you violate the master's rules. Statute violations are 100 times more serious and dangerous to the people than an investigation and prosecution for actually injuring people - i.e. administratively labeled crimes will put you in jail and force a guilty plea 95+ % of the time. Murdering someone or burglarizing someone's home will result in a lengthy investigation and require the police to actually present solid evidence (if they can find it) before they can even arrest you. Bail is often lower for actual criminal suspects that it is for those evil statutory violators who commit "victimless crimes" against our ruling class who are supposed to be our "public servants".

The quickest and easiest way to convert America into an outright slave nation it to simply create more "laws" and label more things "criminal". Then they can move the "felony" bar lower and lower. Soon, we have a silently enacted "gun control" program that strips 90% of Americans of their right to have a gun. And don't forget the bogus "domestic violence" agenda. Make women unhappy through various propaganda and conditioning through media and TV shows, then offer them a "big stick" called "DV Protection Order", then you have most women in America calling 911 for every argument where their man won't bend to their nefarious control-freak will, and you instantly have half the population banned from gun ownership with just a phone call.

 

Comment by David Jackson
Entered on:

    This is all that can be expected from  gang of self-annointed fools, who have never had a legitimate original thought in their lives. This is what all of the sheeple (cowards) get for trading in their sovereign status as citizens of a free nation for a little bit of PHONY SECURITY, at the middle finger of the political system. This is what so-called "criminal justice professionals" do, when they can't do what they are supposed (claim) to do.

    The whole issue is much more serious than than the article lets on! Apparemtly, by trashing the "mens rea" element of guilt, they have effectively negated the other two components of "guilty act" and "concurrence". This is what I've complained for two decades about, when I've been on about "creative law enforcement". Nobody would (has) ever listened to me, except to denegrade my hypothesis and brand me as an alarmist. (I'd like to say that I am somewhat satified with having been vindicated, but I am really only sickened.)

    If you believe that this is an isolated, anomalous event, you are beyond help. Such law, and its utilization, (usually hiding behind "precedent", because its easy for the lazy, indolent, and dull-witted to affect) eventually affect all of us. This sort of perversion never takes place in a vacuum.

    Read it and weep!   

Comment by Anonymous
Entered on:

Not quite … not this sweeping statement … not this fast break …

When a CRIME is COMMITTED, there is always malice aforethought. The only exception is criminal negligence.

I don’t know which police academy you claimed you went to, but when you say WITHOUT MALICE-AFORETHOUGHT, NO CRIME HAD BEEN COMMITTED, it means that certainly you are not a lawyer or one who had not gone to school and studied criminal law. Criminal negligence is a crime without malice aforethought – just culpable negligence or punishable recklessness resulting in someone getting injured or causing death to others.

A lot of "Oddballs" breaks the law and when arrested, claim in defense that they have no malice-aforethought when they committed the crime. It is the police officer who arrests them that has malice aforethought when they are handcuffed and hauled to jail!

And after that how they make this an excuse to cannibalize the reputation of this nation’s police officers all over the land, and how they dishonor our men and women in uniform [they call them government "slaves" that kill when ordered to kill] who did the ultimate sacrifice and died in the battlefield so that they may live in freedom, is totally insane!

The hateful black angels of death you frequently read in FP.com and oftentimes encounter in other freedom websites who preach violence, i.e., shoot all cops dead because "the only good cop is a dead cop", attempt to make the public believe that they have no malice-aforethought when people listening to them die in a police-shoot-out because those victims of police bullets they threw under the bus are supposed to be shooting and killing those ugly "jackboots" of the United States fascist Government …and of all the retarded, mentally-twisted and mean-spirited people, they have to resist arrest in the NAME of Liberty and Freedom!

Call a Nuthouse ambulance or dial 911 and get them out of the streets. No doubt they are a dangerous bunch of misfits in today’s troubled society!!!

 

Comment by MICHAEL OWENS
Entered on:

 

BACK IN THE 1970s, I ATTENDED A POLICE ACADEMY IN WHICH I WAS INSTRUCTED THAT "MALICE-AFORETHOUGHT" WAS THE DETERMINING FACTOR IN INVESTIGATING A POSSIBLE CRIME. WITHOUT MALICE-AFORETHOUGHT, NO CRIME HAD BEEN COMMITTED. THESE DAYS, OUR CORRUPT GOVERNMENT CALLS MANY THINGS CRIMES ( HEMP FARMING & OTHER SUCH ), ACTIONS WHICH ARE NOT MALICIOUS. PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON SAID THAT WE SHOULD: "MAKE THE MOST OF THE INDIAN HEMP SEED & SOW IT EVERYWHERE" IF WE WISHED TO BE GOOD AMERICANS. PERSECUTING SAME VIOLATES THE U.S. CONSTITUTION AND IS AN EXAMPLE OF MALICE-AFORETHOUGHT ON THE PART OF OUR GOVERNMENT.

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