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Invisiblez@z.com
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 2,876
Loc: ATL
War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights
    #3710564 - 01/31/05 11:59 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that if you're pulled over by the police for speeding or, say, not wearing your seatbelt, they may bring out drug-sniffing dogs to investigate your car without violating the Fourth Amendment.

On the Volokh Conspiracy website, Orin Kerr observes that Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, indicated that the Fourth Amendment protects not against violations of privacy or invasiveness, but against violation of property rights. Since one can't have property rights for illicit drugs, a search can't violate the Fourth Amendment.

It was a troubling precedent. It's hard to see how any police search would violate any rights under Justice Stevens' ruling, so long as the search turned up something illegal, which undermines what the Fourth Amendment is all about.

That case was the latest in a number of court rulings and pieces of legislation that have been chipping away at the criminal justice rights of substance-abuse suspects. Ours is quickly becoming a two-tiered criminal justice system -- one in which there are one set of criminal protections for drug and alcohol defendants, and a broader set of protections for everyone else.

Last month in Virginia, pain physician Dr. William Hurwitz was convicted on dozens of counts of drug distribution. Prosecutors and the foreman of the jury that convicted him conceded that Hurwitz didn't knowingly participate in a drug trade, but because the some of the pain medication he prescribed was sold on the black market, he was nevertheless found guilty. He faces life in prison. Proving intent -- as is required to secure a conviction in nearly every other crime -- apparently wasn't necessary.

The drug war has been eating at the Bill of Rights since its inception. Asset forfeiture laws, for example, allow law enforcement to seize the assets of suspected drug dealers before they're ever convicted of a crime. Even if the defendant is acquitted or the charges are dropped, the mere presence of an illicit substance in a car or home can mean the loss of the property, on the bizarre, legal principle that property can be guilty of a crime.

Thanks to mandatory minimum sentencing laws, a judge in Utah recently had no choice but to sentence a first-time marijuana dealer to 55 years in prison (he had a pistol strapped to his ankle during the one-time deal, though he never brandished it). Frustrated but hamstrung by drug laws, the judge in the case noted that just hours earlier, he had sentenced a convicted murderer to just 22 years for beating an elderly woman to death with a log. Courts have carved out a "drug war exemption" in the Bill of Rights for multiple search and seizure scenarios, privacy, wiretapping, opening your mail, highway profiling, and posse comitatus ? the forbidden use of the U.S. military for domestic policing.

The other area where criminal protections are withering in the face of substance-abuse hysteria is in Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated cases.

The most notable example is the 1990 case of Michigan vs. Sitz, where the Supreme Court ruled that the problem of drunk driving was so pervasive, the Court could allow "random sobriety checkpoints" in which cops stop motorists without probable cause and give them breath tests, a practice that would otherwise again violate the Fourth Amendment.

The Court has since ruled that the urgency of the drunken driving problem gives states the option to legislate away a motorist's Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial and his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In 2002, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin ruled that police officers could forcibly extract blood from anyone suspected of drunk driving. Other courts have ruled that prosecutors aren't obligated to provide defendants with blood or breath test samples for independent testing, even though both could be done relatively easily.

State legislatures have pounced on these rulings. The state of Washington just passed two laws remarkable in their disdain for everything our criminal justice system is supposed to represent. The first instructs juries in drunk driving cases to consider the evidence "in a light most favorable to the prosecution," an evidentiary standard that's unheard of anywhere else in criminal law. The second mandates that breath test evidence be admissible, no matter what -- even if the defense can prove that the breath test machine was broken, or jiggered toward higher readings.

Last year, Pennsylvanian Keith Emerich had his license revoked by state authorities after he revealed to his doctor during an emergency room visit that he sometimes drinks a six-pack of beer per day. His doctor reported him. Emerich wasn't accused or charged with drunk driving. In a bizarre twist on the principle of "presumption of innocence," Emerich must now prove to the state that he doesn't drive after drinking before he can get his license back.

More and more states are taking advantage of the Supreme Court's granted exemption to a right to a jury trial for DUI-DWI suspects, particularly in states where judges are elected, not appointed. That, of course, is because elected judges deemed insufficiently harsh on such defendants can have their "leniency" used against them in a re-election campaign.

Though no such bill has yet been signed into law, several state legislatures have considered legislation that would mandate ignition interlock devices in every car sold in the state. New Mexico's version of the law would require all drivers to blow into a tube before starting their car, then again every 10 minutes while driving. Drivers over the legal limit would not be able to start their cars or, if already on the road, given a window of time to pull over. Onboard computer systems would keep data on each test, which service centers would download once a month or so and send to law enforcement officials for evaluation.

The problem, as Thomas Jefferson famously said, is that the natural process of things is for liberty to yield and for government to gain ground. It would take a rare and brave politician to stand up and say that we need to roll back or reconsider our drug laws, or that it's unfair to give accused murderers or rapists more rights than we give DWI defendants. But that's exactly what needs to happen.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3659


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"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson


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InvisibleLe_Canard
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: z@z.com]
    #3710752 - 02/01/05 12:35 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

I find the erosion of our civil liberties very troubling as well. But as long as the sheeple of the US feel "safe", it's okay to the general public. Thomas Jefferson must be spinning in his grave at about 1,000 RPM's nowadays.... :frown:


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Invisiblez@z.com
Libertarian
Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 2,876
Loc: ATL
Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: Le_Canard]
    #3710990 - 02/01/05 01:28 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

ToiletDuk said:
Thomas Jefferson must be spinning in his grave at about 1,000 RPM's nowadays.... :frown:



I wonder if we could find a way to harness all that energy.


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"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson


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InvisibleAnnapurna1
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: z@z.com]
    #3711214 - 02/01/05 02:09 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

theres also a third tier to the legal system too ..the power of the POTUS as commander-in-chief to arbitrarly declare you an "enemy combatant" with no legal protections whatsoever...along with the power of the courts to rule on the applicability of the US constitution..the constitution contains at least those two disclaimers which render it null and void right from the beginning.. only the 2nd amendment is beyond their reach...


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"anchor blocks counteract the process of pontiprobation..while omalean globes regulize the pressure"...


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Invisiblez@z.com
Libertarian
Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 2,876
Loc: ATL
Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: Annapurna1]
    #3714457 - 02/01/05 07:01 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

Annapurna1 said:
the constitution contains at least those two disclaimers which render it null and void right from the beginning.. only the 2nd amendment is beyond their reach...



I'm not sure I understand what you are saying here. Could you be a bit more specific?


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"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson


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InvisibleAnnapurna1
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: z@z.com]
    #3714593 - 02/01/05 07:25 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

simply that the constitution itself says (in so many words) that your constitutional rights are only valid if the SCOTUS..and possibly also the white house..says so...


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"anchor blocks counteract the process of pontiprobation..while omalean globes regulize the pressure"...


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Invisiblez@z.com
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 2,876
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: Annapurna1]
    #3715009 - 02/01/05 08:28 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

Annapurna1 said:
simply that the constitution itself says (in so many words) that your constitutional rights are only valid if the SCOTUS..and possibly also the white house..says so...



Where exactly does it say that?


--------------------
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson


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Invisiblejux
I'm better thanan STD!

Registered: 04/06/04
Posts: 924
Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: Annapurna1]
    #3715101 - 02/01/05 08:40 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

Annapurna1 said:
simply that the constitution itself says (in so many words) that your constitutional rights are only valid if the SCOTUS..and possibly also the white house..says so...




bull shit.


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InvisibleAnnapurna1
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: jux]
    #3715274 - 02/01/05 09:06 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

are you saying that the SCOTUS doesnt have the power to rule on the applicability of the constitution??...if thats so..then the original post has already proven you wrong..and there are many other examples throughout US history...


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"anchor blocks counteract the process of pontiprobation..while omalean globes regulize the pressure"...


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Invisiblejux
I'm better thanan STD!

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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: Annapurna1]
    #3716444 - 02/02/05 12:23 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

Annapurna1 said:
simply that the constitution itself says (in so many words) that your constitutional rights are only valid if the SCOTUS..and possibly also the white house..says so...




What you wrote is that the constitutions states that one's rights are "only valid if the SCOTUS ... says so."

That would be false. The Constitution merely defines the breadth of their reach (basically, the SCOTUS may invovle itself in any matter of law within the US (including treaties with foreign nations) ). However your rights are applicable not when they say so, but until they say otherwise.


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InvisibleAnnapurna1
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: jux]
    #3716560 - 02/02/05 12:48 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

in that case..you will find that they will generally say otherwise..which IMAO is a minor technical difference from what i said...


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"anchor blocks counteract the process of pontiprobation..while omalean globes regulize the pressure"...


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Invisiblemabus
anguish this!

Registered: 02/11/04
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: jux]
    #3716700 - 02/02/05 01:11 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

not when they say so, but until they say otherwise.




Oh christ, are you sure you understand the broader scope of your statement. Anna is right.
You imply something like: When a person has a gun to your head they won't kill you, not until they pull the trigger.

Thats crazy. There is no logic to it at all, its twisted. Facts are the gun has been placed to your head for a reason, to start debating the trigger pulling part is too late once the gun has been positioned. One needs to debate the placing of the gun first, and reject it.


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http://www.sacredshrooms.org


Edited by mabus (02/02/05 01:20 AM)


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OfflineProsgeopax
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: mabus]
    #3716784 - 02/02/05 01:24 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Relying on people with power in the government to protect you from people in the government getting too much power strikes me as a little... ah... naive.


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Money doesn't grow on trees, but deficits do grow under Bushes.

You can accept, reject, or examine and test any new idea that comes to you. The wise man chooses the third way.
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Disclaimer: I reserve the right to change my opinions should I become aware of additional facts, the falsification of information or different perspectives. Articles written by others which I post may not necessarily reflect my opinions in part or in whole, my opinions may be in direct opposition, the topic may be one on which I have yet to formulate an opinion or have doubts about, an article may be posted solely with the intent to stimulate discussion or contemplation.


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Invisiblepsilomonkey
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: z@z.com]
    #3717137 - 02/02/05 03:00 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Rights are for criminals to hide behind, good people don't need rights.  :tongue:


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: psilomonkey]
    #3717145 - 02/02/05 03:02 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

psilomonkey said:
Rights are for criminals to hide behind, good people don't need rights.  :tongue:



What's sad is that some people actually seem to believe that.


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Invisiblemabus
anguish this!

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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: Silversoul]
    #3717166 - 02/02/05 03:08 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

What he's trying to say is the founding fathers created rights... for the crooks. lol psilomonkey's interpertation of the constitution. Like its not for you and I.


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http://www.sacredshrooms.org


Edited by mabus (02/02/05 03:09 AM)


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OfflineCyber
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: mabus]
    #3718035 - 02/02/05 08:51 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Ok people here are the reverent sections.

You will note that the bill of rights does not give you any rights! It only outlines what the government can not do!

You will note that amendment #10 states that if the constitution does not give the government the privilege to do something then that privilege is reserved to the states or to the people respectively.

The government has no rights! It only has the privileges outlined in the Constitution. It is way outside those bounds and should be rained in!

ARTICLE THREE

Section 2. The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State;--between Citizens of different States; --between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects. In all cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make. The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.


The Bill Of Rights

Amendment I.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Amendment II.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


Amendment III.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


Amendment IV.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


Amendment V.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.


Amendment VI.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.


Amendment VII.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.


Amendment VIII.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Amendment IX.
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


Amendment X.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


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Offlinecb9fl
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: Cyber]
    #3718100 - 02/02/05 09:21 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

But isn't the point that the SCOTUS determines exactly what the Constitution defines as what the government can not do!

So perhaps they couldn't directly tell you to do something, however they could "determine" that the Constitution allows the government the right to force a certain law on you. In other words the highest law of the land is basically up for interpretation by the SCOTUS. And I would say they've been doing a piss-poor job of it.


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It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


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OfflineCyber
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: cb9fl]
    #3718172 - 02/02/05 10:10 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

cb9fl said:
But isn't the point that the SCOTUS determines exactly what the Constitution defines as what the government can not do!

So perhaps they couldn't directly tell you to do something, however they could "determine" that the Constitution allows the government the right to force a certain law on you. In other words the highest law of the land is basically up for interpretation by the SCOTUS. And I would say they've been doing a piss-poor job of it.




Well, Yes and No. In most cases they are strictly an appellate court hearing appeals to lower court rulings. In those instances they decide to uphold the lower court ruling, kick the case back down to be retried, or find the law unconstitutional. If it is kicked back down it then is the prosecutions decision as to whether or not to retry the case.

In other cases they will make rulings but the rulings can not be pulled from there AS*es there has to be a basses for the ruling.

For example UNITED STATES v. MILLER, 307 U.S. 174 (1939) (The first gun control case) http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=307&invol=174

This was an appellate case, The ruling was in favor of the government because the defendant (Miller) did not show up for trial. You will note that they cite lots of court findings, and history. You may also note the primary reason for not overturning this case is that

"In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument."

Which is known to be wrong because the short barreled shotgun was used extensively in WWI (Called a trench gun) Had the defendant shown up and brought this to the attention of the court the case could have gone the other way.

Most cases are not clear cut. It is almost never a case of "I said the government sucks and they put me in jail for it!" Those would be easy to decide.

Now if you look, all cases they here that are not appellate are jury trails. Thus they do not make the decision the jury does. If they overturn a ruling or rule that a law is un/constitutional It is not the end of the matter. If a law is ruled unconstitutional then congress can rewrite the law to make it more constitutional. If the law is ruled constitutional then the jury verdict stands. Almost everything hinges on the jury. This is the final say on what is and is not law. If juries refuse to convict based on the fact that a law is not just, It no longer is a prosecutable law. It is called Jury Nullification.

From UMCK.EDU

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/zenger/nullification.html

Jury nullification occurs when a jury returns a verdict of "Not Guilty" despite its belief that the defendant is guilty of the violation charged. The jury in effect nullifies a law that it believes is either immoral or wrongly applied to the defendant whose fate that are charged with deciding.

So when you get called for jury duty, you get to decided if the law is just! Next time you get a summons remember this and if it is a drug case you have a chance to change the law!


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OfflineSWEDEN
Miracle of Science

Registered: 10/25/04
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Re: War on Drugs -- and the Bill of Rights [Re: Cyber]
    #3719914 - 02/02/05 05:57 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

I - infringed upon

II - infringed

III - relic of the past

IV - battered and broken

V - infringed

VI - What is deffined as a crime according to our law is not necessarily right or wrong. Smoking a doobie on my front porch, for example. They can try to ban nature but so far all its done is fill their prisons.

VII - Props to the small claims courts for metting out fair justice. Any justice I don't find out about doesn't concern me.

VIII - Torn into tiny little shreds

IX - This depends on how good your lawyer is.

X -Power to the people! The constitution is where this principle comes from. Why have the people allowed themselves to be deprived of their basic rights for so long? They are no longer people, they are sheople.


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