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As Criminal Laws Proliferate, More Are Ensnared
Wall Street Journal ^ | July 23, 2011 | GARY FIELDS and JOHN R. EMSHWILLER

Posted on 07/23/2011 9:13:16 AM PDT by DManA

As federal criminal statutes have ballooned, it has become increasingly easy for Americans to end up on the wrong side of the law. Many of the new federal laws also set a lower bar for conviction than in the past: Prosecutors don't necessarily need to show that the defendant had criminal intent.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
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I am thrilled to see this issue getting attention. The proliferating parallel Federal criminal code is a direct threat to American freedom.
1 posted on 07/23/2011 9:13:21 AM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA

Let’s face it folks — we’re all criminals now. It’s only a matter of whether the Feds decide to prosecute, and on what “charge.”


2 posted on 07/23/2011 9:29:22 AM PDT by patriot preacher
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To: DManA
Atlas Shrugged.
3 posted on 07/23/2011 9:33:39 AM PDT by Navy Patriot (Holy flippin' crap, Sarah rocks the world!)
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To: DManA

Isn’t there a Chinese proverb to the effect that the proliferation of laws is indicative of a States decline? Anybody know the proverb?


4 posted on 07/23/2011 10:09:11 AM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: patriot preacher
Let’s face it folks — we’re all criminals now. It’s only a matter of whether the Feds decide to prosecute, and on what “charge.”

Which is exactly the government's intent. We become afraid and will submit to anything in order to stay below the radar.

Buffalo Springfield had no idea they'd be talking about their liberal idols when they wrote "For What It's Worth".

Welcome to the new East Germany.

5 posted on 07/23/2011 10:09:30 AM PDT by ChildOfThe60s ( If you can remember the 60s....you weren't really there)
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To: Navy Patriot

“Atlas Shrugged. “

Yes, there’s that great quote (made to Hank Rearden) from the book that a fellow Freeper puts up from time to time.

I hope he sees this thread and posts it again. I wanted to add it to my archives of great quotes, but missed it the last time.


6 posted on 07/23/2011 10:45:10 AM PDT by Grumplestiltskin (I may look new, but it's only deja vu!)
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To: Grumplestiltskin
Dr. Floyd Ferris to Hank Rearden:

“We want them broken. We’re after power and we mean it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws...now, that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game...”

7 posted on 07/23/2011 10:48:14 AM PDT by Publius
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To: DManA

I can’t remember the quote.......... “all that is not mandatory is banned” ...... or something to that effect.


8 posted on 07/23/2011 10:53:46 AM PDT by shooter223 (the government should fear the citizens......not the other way around)
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To: Grumplestiltskin; Publius
I just finished rereading Atlas Shrugged last month, I was down with food poisoning and Atlas was the right size to last through it.

I got so much more from it at this age and experience in these times.

A corollary to the "everyone is a criminal" meme is Animal Farm where the Pigs are "more equal" and therefore above the law.

The Marxist dope smoking hippies don't even realize that their rage against cops as "pigs" is sourced from there, and it is SOCIALIST cops that become pigs, whereas Peace Officers temper law with Justice so the spirit of the law prevails for everyone equally, not zero tolerance letter of law tyranny.

Thanks for being there, guys.

9 posted on 07/23/2011 11:24:52 AM PDT by Navy Patriot (Holy flippin' crap, Sarah rocks the world!)
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To: DManA
At one time most of our criminal laws were for acts that were "malum in se", that is they were wrong in and of themselves such as stealing or assault. Now, most of our new criminal laws are "malum prohibitum", that is there is nothing inherently wrong with the act but it is criminal merely because it is prohibited by the government. This trend closely tracts the loss of individual freedom and the strengthening of the power of the state.

We are not now, and I believe never will be again, the Country of free, independent people our Founders envisioned.

10 posted on 07/23/2011 12:36:58 PM PDT by Prokopton
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To: shooter223

I read it in “The Once and Future King” by IIRC T.E.White.

“Whatever is not prohibited is mandatory”.

In the ant kingdom King Arthur as a boy, saw the sign, when Merlin was teaching him by having him become various creatures.


11 posted on 07/23/2011 2:08:07 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: little jeremiah

Thanks, I knew I had the general idea, but couldn’t remember the quote or source.


12 posted on 07/23/2011 3:28:29 PM PDT by shooter223 (the government should fear the citizens......not the other way around)
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To: shooter223

That phrase has always stuck with me.


13 posted on 07/23/2011 4:38:59 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: DManA

bump for later


14 posted on 07/23/2011 6:26:15 PM PDT by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus ("Armed forces abroad are of little value unless there is prudent counsel at home." - Cicero)
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To: DManA

I understand how these laws can be made with good intentions in *some* cases. But the punishments do not fit the crimes if they can even be called that.

Punishments should only be handed out for intentional or reckless acts with EXTREMELY RARE exception.

Then we have the problem that not only can you be charged in State or federal court, but you can actually be charged in both for the same crime. So much for “double jeopardy”.

But the worst slap in the face above all is that all things being equal, they ain’t equal.

Imagine being white and intimidating blacks in a voting area. Think that the justice department would prosecute you for it? Or is it now a legal defense that your people have suffered enough already?


15 posted on 07/23/2011 8:45:29 PM PDT by Munz (All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.)
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To: bamahead; DoughtyOne; stephenjohnbanker; BufordP; roamer_1; calcowgirl; TigersEye; cripplecreek; ...
The U.S. Constitution mentions three federal crimes by citizens: treason, piracy and counterfeiting. By the turn of the 20th century, the number of criminal statutes numbered in the dozens. Today, there are an estimated 4,500 crimes in federal statutes, according to a 2008 study by retired Louisiana State University law professor John Baker.

There are also thousands of regulations that carry criminal penalties.

. . .

The American Bar Association. . .in the late 1990s. . .said "the amount of individual citizen behavior now potentially subject to federal criminal control has increased in astonishing proportions in the last few decades."

. . .

Some of these new federal statutes don't require prosecutors to prove criminal intent, eroding a bedrock principle in English and American law.

. . .

Occasionally, Americans are going to prison in the U.S. for violating the laws and rules of other countries.


16 posted on 07/24/2011 5:44:53 PM PDT by rabscuttle385 (Live Free or Die)
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To: Navy Patriot
"dope smoking"

Patriots who indulge are no less equal than patriots who don't.


17 posted on 07/24/2011 6:35:02 PM PDT by I see my hands (Embrace misanthropy)
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To: patriot preacher

Many of you have disparaged John Stossel for his views, but he was telling you this years ago. You just dismissed him as a libertarian idiot. I love you guys here at FR, but as JS would say...give me a break!


18 posted on 07/24/2011 6:38:37 PM PDT by gun_supporter
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To: I see my hands
Still can't get out of the box, I see.
19 posted on 07/24/2011 6:40:40 PM PDT by Navy Patriot (Holy flippin' crap, Sarah rocks the world!)
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To: DManA
The power of Congress to criminalize 'assault weapons' and incandescent bulbs depends on the New Deal Commerce Clause.

What percentage of the numerous federal crimes discussed in this article depend on the Commerce Clause for their existence?

I suspect it's a high percentage.

20 posted on 07/24/2011 6:53:22 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: DManA

From my profile page:

“Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against... We’re after power and we mean it... There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

- Ayn Rand, ‘Atlas Shrugged’ 1957


21 posted on 07/24/2011 7:23:03 PM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: Publius; Grumplestiltskin

Ah, you beat me to it.

It’s on my FR profile page for easy reference.


22 posted on 07/24/2011 7:27:34 PM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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Boop A Cat! Don't Wake the Dragon!

If they wake him up trying to steal that fish
There is sure to be trouble


Please donate, monthly if possible

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Donate monthly and end FReepathons!

23 posted on 07/24/2011 7:49:24 PM PDT by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list.)
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To: patriot preacher

There’s some sort of factoid about that. The average person commits one felony per week or something to that effect.


24 posted on 07/24/2011 7:56:44 PM PDT by yup2394871293
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To: shooter223

T. H. White, “The Once and Future King.”

“Everything not forbidden is compulsory.” It was a sign above the entrance to an ant colony.


25 posted on 07/24/2011 8:11:52 PM PDT by Lady Lucky
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To: rabscuttle385

LOL!!!!

Perfect ;-)


26 posted on 07/24/2011 8:13:33 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (God, family, country, mom, apple pie, the girl next door and a Ford F250 to pull my boat.)
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To: Navy Patriot

;-)


27 posted on 07/24/2011 8:14:24 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (God, family, country, mom, apple pie, the girl next door and a Ford F250 to pull my boat.)
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To: gun_supporter

Many of you have disparaged John Stossel for his views, but he was telling you this years ago. You just dismissed him as a libertarian idiot. I love you guys here at FR, but as JS would say...give me a break!


I don’t believe you can go back and site an instance when I disparaged John Stossel in the years I have been here on FR. I never thought of him as a “Libertarian idiot.”

Well, there was that time he claimed wrestling was a fake — then he got in the ring with a wrestler — and got his behind kicked...and sued. But that was before FR’s time, and that made him more a Libertarian weinie than an Libertarian idiot....


28 posted on 07/24/2011 8:33:43 PM PDT by patriot preacher
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To: rabscuttle385
The U.S. Constitution mentions three federal crimes by citizens: treason ..

Correct me if I'm wrong but .. They no longer prosecute for that (treason) do they?
(At least, I've seen no evidence of it)

I have SEEN treason being committed, damn near everday .. with my own 'lyin eyes'!

"federal crimes by citizens"

(By citizens .. Does that ALSO include the elites, you know .. politicians, overpaid athletes and actors or does it just mean us unemployed smucks?)

29 posted on 07/25/2011 1:07:30 AM PDT by freejohn ("Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference." --- Mark Twain)
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To: DManA
Not Guilty!
(I think?!?)

/s

30 posted on 07/25/2011 4:16:10 AM PDT by Condor51 (The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits [A.Einstein])
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To: yup2394871293

“The average person commits one felony per week or something to that effect.”

I LOL’d. Sadly, you are off by a factor of 20x. The average person commits 3(!) (Federal alone, IIRC) felonies per DAY. There’s a book about it, if you are interested:

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Felonies-Day-Target-Innocent/dp/1594032556

And here’s a link the the WSJ about an article discussing the book when it came out 2 years or so, ago:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471504574438900830760842.html

It’s sad that we’ve gotten to a point where no one is safe. God only required Ten Commandments to govern man, TWO (really), when it comes down to it. Unfortunately what we have now is not only not from God, but at opposition with Him. Hence, the “legal” chains. An excellent starting point would be restoring the Second Amendment....to EVERYONE.


31 posted on 07/25/2011 4:27:15 AM PDT by JDW11235 (I think I got it now!)
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To: ChildOfThe60s

Hell, why do you think Jews refuse to go to jail ever since the Holocaust... it’s because they know it is not about offence but it becomes quickly all political and selective on a convenient basis. Jail time and prosecution has become BS time. IT’s all about pretending you or I did a wrong when in fact the government’s intent is to go further in its violations when you are locked up. THis is about permanent freeze and destruction and control of the individual, no matter how repentant he is. It is premeditated on a different intent.

The government never does its job right. It pretends or makes the person believe they go to jail for a wrong when all along it wanted the person to go to jail for whatever reason or profit resulted.

This is precisely why the FOunders knew government was evil, because just as the economy could be motivated by the selfish wishes of low lives, so could the government’s motivation end up being motivated by the same type of animal like appetite. Hence a balance of powers and appetites between economics and government had to be establish through the 3 branches system. INstead we today have a legislative that is not only penetrated but flanked by the Supreme court’s own opinion of the President that appoints it.


32 posted on 07/25/2011 4:40:07 AM PDT by JudgemAll (Democrats Fed. job-security Whorocracy & hate:hypocrites must be gay like us or be tested/crucified)
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To: JDW11235

P.S. Sliverglate (The author of “Three Felonies a day”) is a liberal, but, that aside, the book has been referred to by other FReepers who are also legal beagles. I just wanted to give the heads up, so handle with care, YMMV.


33 posted on 07/25/2011 5:07:06 AM PDT by JDW11235 (I think I got it now!)
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To: patriot preacher

“Let’s face it folks — we’re all criminals now.”
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Absolutely, it has been many, many years and I wouldn’t even guess as to how many years since it has been humanly possible to be a “law-abiding American citizen”. My father died in 1995 and a few years before his death he made a casual comment to me about how some group of criminals should be punished more severely. I asked my Dad if he realized that if all of us who broke a law were to be caught, convicted and punished that there would be no one left outside the jails to bring us food and water. He thought I was exaggerating but I was not. If it were possible for every lawbreaker to be caught, convicted and sentenced the last judge would need to sentence himself and lock his own prison cell on himself.


34 posted on 07/25/2011 5:12:15 AM PDT by RipSawyer (Trying to reason with a liberal is like teaching algebra to a tomcat.)
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To: DManA

There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of law-breakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.” Dr. Ferris, Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged


35 posted on 07/25/2011 5:40:04 AM PDT by EBH ( Whether you eat your bread or see it vanish into a looter's stomach, is an absolute.)
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To: DManA

As more of us get “upset” with a Federal apparatus that is increasingly a liability to the states...more will be imprisoned. More jobs for TSA/BATF/FBI/local SWAT etc...


36 posted on 07/25/2011 5:42:38 AM PDT by mo ("If you understand, no explanation is needed; if you do not, no explanation is possible")
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To: AEMILIUS PAULUS

Anybody know the proverb?

i am sorry. the expression of ancient chinese proverbs became a federal offense with the passage of SB2321. without written consent of the author.

have a good day. nothing to see here. move on.

t

but in an unjust society, one finds the just man, incarcerated.


37 posted on 07/25/2011 5:46:50 AM PDT by teeman8r (armageddon won't be pretty, but it's not like it's the end of the world.)
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To: RipSawyer

My late father had never been audited by the IRS. He wrote a respectful letter to Bill Clinton criticizing certain policies. He was audited the next two years.

Call me suspicious.


38 posted on 07/25/2011 6:07:06 AM PDT by ChildOfThe60s ( If you can remember the 60s....you weren't really there)
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To: AEMILIUS PAULUS
Isn’t there a Chinese proverb to the effect that the proliferation of laws is indicative of a States decline? Anybody know the proverb?

"Formerly we suffered from crime. Now we suffer from Laws".
- Cornelius Publius Tacitus
Rome
Circa 140 AD?

39 posted on 07/25/2011 6:08:35 AM PDT by DCBryan1 (Forget the Lawyers....first kill the journalists! - Die Ritter, die sagen, nee)
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To: Abathar; Abcdefg; Abram; Abundy; albertp; Alexander Rubin; Allosaurs_r_us; amchugh; ...
Sadly it should be no surprise to longtime members of this list, that we have reached this point.



Libertarian ping! Click here to get added or here to be removed or post a message here!

40 posted on 07/25/2011 6:20:58 AM PDT by bamahead (Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master. -- Sallust)
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To: DManA
increasingly easy for Americans to end up on the wrong side of the law.

Whoa. It appears the vast majority of the Freepers would be guilty of anti-cyber bullying laws for expressing their opinions.

he figures that "being emotionally distressed is just part of living in a free society.

It is called developing a thick skin to ignore those who are a-holes.

41 posted on 07/25/2011 6:28:00 AM PDT by John123 (US$ - I owe you nothing. Euro - Who owes you nothing.)
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To: bamahead

B U M P


42 posted on 07/25/2011 6:40:45 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (God, family, country, mom, apple pie, the girl next door and a Ford F250 to pull my boat.)
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To: DManA

This article points out why it is extremely important that as many people as possible become informed about jury nullification. No matter what a judge or prosecutor tells you you do not have to convict if you think the law is wrong or that a law is being applied in an unjust way.

Just one juror who knows his rights can hang a jury. After two or three hung juries prosecutors are going to back off because it screws up their convection rate, which they view like a baseball player views his batting average.

http://fija.org/


43 posted on 07/25/2011 6:42:30 AM PDT by SUSSA
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To: ChildOfThe60s

” step outa line, the man come

and take you away..”


44 posted on 07/25/2011 6:42:52 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (God, family, country, mom, apple pie, the girl next door and a Ford F250 to pull my boat.)
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To: bamahead

i saw this in the wsj the other day.

one almost needs to be a course in law to avoid the tens of thousands of trip wires in every day life.

selling part of the federal lands to pay of debts would reduce this a bit.


45 posted on 07/25/2011 6:43:05 AM PDT by ken21 (liberal + rino progressive media hate palin, bachman, cain...)
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To: DManA

“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers.”

Quote by: Ayn Rand
(1905-1982) Author
Source: “Atlas Shrugged”, Part II, Chapter 3


46 posted on 07/25/2011 6:43:43 AM PDT by CSM (Keeper of the "Dave Ramsey Fan" ping list. FReepmail me if you want your beeber stuned.)
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To: gun_supporter

I’ve always loved watching Stossel. He’s got his head on straight and cracks some good jokes.

In terms of this issue it does not surprise me. They want to keep everyone on their knees while the fed grows in power. I’m hoping that some people wake up, and not at the ballot box.


47 posted on 07/25/2011 9:23:56 AM PDT by digital-olive
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To: JudgemAll

“Hell, why do you think Jews refuse to go to jail ever since the Holocaust... “

There are no Jews in Jail/Prison?

Who knew. . . .


48 posted on 07/25/2011 10:58:04 AM PDT by Hulka
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To: bamahead

Great link; thank you.


49 posted on 07/25/2011 1:09:44 PM PDT by jjm2111
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To: Prokopton
At one time most of our criminal laws were for acts that were "malum in se", that is they were wrong in and of themselves such as stealing or assault. Now, most of our new criminal laws are "malum prohibitum", that is there is nothing inherently wrong with the act but it is criminal merely because it is prohibited by the government.

There was a time when someone could avoid breaking laws just by doing what was 'right'. Your concience could be your guide.

Now, what is legal and what is right are barely overlapping subsets.

50 posted on 07/25/2011 1:48:15 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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