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News Link • Legalities/Legal Rights

Have You Committed Your Three Felonies Today?

• http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org

Several years ago the Commonwealth of Virginia enacted a law restricting firearms purchases to one per month. This was intended to discourage smuggling of weapons to urban areas outside Virginia with tight gun control laws and (unsurprisingly) high homicide rates. The law didn't seem to do much good and in a rare outbreak of common sense was later repealed, though there's recent misguided talk from Attorney General Mark Herring of reviving it.

During its short period in force, the prohibition spawned a popular saying in the Old Dominion: "Buy one gun a month – it's the law!"

A similar attitude may be appropriate in light of an estimate that due to vague statutes and the proliferation of federal regulations – which have the force of law – we wake up in the morning, go to work, come home, eat dinner, and go to sleep  unaware we may have committed several federal crimes in the course of the day. The number varies but the average number of crimes per American seems to be about three.

The more important point is that every one of us is probably guilty of something. "There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime," retired Louisiana State University law professor John Baker told the Wall Street Journal in July 2011. "That is not an exaggeration."

- This means that if they want you, they can get you.

 - That in turn means that who gets charged, prosecuted, and jailed is a matter of the relevant officials' discretion.

 - And that in turn means that discretion can and will be politicized.

Like the boychiks used to say in the good ol' NKVD (People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs; ???????? ??????????? ?????????? ???): "Give Us the Man, and We Will Make the Case." (I guess nowadays, we should say "person.")

Let's stipulate that the true Rechtsstaat, where justice is administered in a politically neutral manner is few and far between in human history. The norm is politicized justice where holders of power – in an elective system, the winners – use the justice system to harass and terrorize the losers.

But America today must be the only country that's ever been so goofy that the losers are able to terrorize the winners. Whatever your feelings about the current administration, consider: the feds come in like gangbusters, breaking down doors, rousting targets from their beds, seizing their personal documents and devices, and subjecting them to piled-on charges and questioning designed to result in perjury, obstruction, and conspiracy charges – especially the phony crime of "lying to the FBI" – adding  up to decades in jail. Those accused are forced to plead guilty to a lesser charge or bankrupt themselves hoping they will be vindicated by a jury of sheep their peers, where the feds have a 90 percent-plus conviction rate. That's treatment meted out to Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Michael Cohen, and others.
 

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