Skip to comments.On Law: A government of laws
Posted on 01/07/2005 2:19:03 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
Congress passed the PROTECT Act in 2003, "which among other things reformed the federal criminal laws concerning child abduction and child pornography," Sensenbrenner said. "Among the provisions of the bill were reforms of the federal sentencing guidelines; particularly, reforms correcting abuse by federal judges of downward departure authority."
Judges use "downward departure" when they hand down lighter sentences than called for under sentencing guidelines. The act requires that data be kept on individual judges showing how often they use "downward departure."
Sensenbrenner also attacked what he called the Supreme "Court's increased reliance on foreign laws or judicial proceedings in the interpretation of American constitutional and statutory law," and warned, "Article VI of the Constitution unambiguously states that the Constitution and federal statutes are the supreme law of the land. America's sovereignty may be imperiled by a jurisprudence predicated upon laws and judicial decisions unfound in our Constitution and unincorporated by the Congress. Inappropriate judicial adherence to foreign laws or legal tribunals threatens American sovereignty, unsettles the separation of powers carefully crafted by our founders and threatens to undermine the legitimacy of the American judicial process. I anticipate congressional examination of this issue in the coming months."
The judiciary responds by saying at least 40 percent of "downward departures" are the result of prosecution plea bargain deals with defendants. As for "increased reliance on foreign law," the Supreme Court will hear argument on whether about 50 Mexican nationals on U.S. death rows should have their sentences revoked because they were not informed of the right to contact their country's consul...
Consular contact is guaranteed under the international Vienna Convention, not U.S. law, and if the Supreme Court rules for the Mexican inmates it will stir up a hornets' nest in Congress, with calls for new curbs on the judiciary.
(Excerpt) Read more at washtimes.com ...
Gag those arrogant black-robed despots as a New Year's Resolution.
Question: If the President signs a treaty, and the Senate ratifies it, should judges treat it as legally binding? Was that the intent of the Constitution, or not?
"I do not conceive that power is given to the President and the Senate to dismember the empire, or alienate any great, essential right. I do not think the whole legislative authority have this power. The exercise of the power must be consistent with the object of the delegation." - James Madison
"On natural principles, a treaty, which should manifestly betray or sacrifice primary interests of the state, would be null." - Alexander Hamilton
Does the securing the foreigners "right to contact their country's consul" equal "dismembering the empire"/the country or does it "alienate any great, essential right"?!
Does the reciprocal right for Americans abroad "dismember" USA or "alienate" any rights?
This is CRAZY my friends!!!
No way should foreigners coming here be exempt from our laws and punishment. Espcecially those that came without any permission in the first place.
Of course. But what is wrong with their right to contact their consulates and with getting legal advice from them?
I believe they have always had the right to contact their consulate. But quite commonly these folks are unaware that they have such a right, it doesn't often occur to their legal aid lawyers to assert the right (which amounts to a simple phone call) and until now had they called their consulate, the consul would have done nothing anyway. Until recently, Mexico had no interest in its abroad citizens.
By making this an issue, the word is getting out that they have the right to call their consulate. Big deal, its a phone call, and its doubtful that the consul can or will do anything to help them if its a normal case of normal crime. Mexico doesn't have a budget for paying criminal attorneys, so little is going to change in the run of the mill cases, its just a matter of dotting i's and crossing t's. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Similarly, if an American gets into trouble overseas, you have the right to call the consul. But the consul isn't going to get you out of jail. He might give you the name of an attorney, but if you don't have the money to pay for it, you are on your own.
Government assigned lawyers are often incompetent. It is the duty of the judge to make sure that such basic rights are observed.
You are right. But he can give you a simple advice about the local legal process and culture.
For example in Poland admission of guilt can go a long way toward more lenient treatment or even being forgiven/let go. Stubborn denial or unreasonable appeal can increase the penalty.
In USA the reverse is true and the prosecution is not interested in truth but in winning, while judges see themselves as a referees in a pure game. There are innocent Poles who rot in US jail, because they trusted police, prosecutors and judge by voluteering the information which was used to railroad them.