Lawyers for both groups of Somalis urged the Supreme Court to consider whether the Fourth Circuit was correct in permitting judges to embrace a broad definition of piracy that exceeds Congresss 1819 definition of robbery at sea. Mere firing of a weapon at a ship does not constitute piracy for purposes of the Piracy Statute, lawyers for the Somalis argued in their brief to the court.
I do not approve of courts rewriting laws, but firing guns at a ship at sea is fundamentally a part of the act of robbery. I would vote to convict a rapist of rape, even if he was arrested after stripping himself and an unwilling victim but prior to completing the act. I would vote to convict an arsonist of arson even if his fire was extinguished by a vigilant homeowner before it could damage the building. I would certainly vote to convict someone who shoots at another ship at sea, without provocation, of piracy. When the ship they choose to attack is a warship, I would convict them of both piracy and stupidity (and very quietly reprimand the warship's captain for failing to shoot back with rapid and overwhelming firepower).
posted on 01/29/2013 6:11:32 PM PST
You say piracy, John Roberts calls it a transportation tax - so its all good.
posted on 01/29/2013 6:23:32 PM PST
(Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. -John Adams)
I get that shooting at a warship is both stupid and criminal but if the definition in the law is wrong then the legislative body has a responsibility to update the law. Letting the courts redefine things “to fit the times” is something that normally conservatives are aghast at.
Of course the whole idea that pirates captured off Somalia shooting at a U.S. warship are given full access to our courts with defense attorneys and appeals is a completely different subject.
posted on 01/29/2013 6:43:24 PM PST
I think this is one of those hazy areas of the law where a U.S. court can't really make a solid decision one way or another. The biggest question involves exactly what kind of jurisdiction a U.S. court has to prosecute cases for incidents that occur outside the U.S. Who actually arrested these pirates? Was this a military operation? Were they read their Miranda rights? Do they even have any rights under the U.S. Constitution if they are foreign nationals accused of crimes that are committed thousands of miles away?
It gets complicated pretty quickly in a case like this.
posted on 01/29/2013 6:46:37 PM PST
by Alberta's Child
("I am the master of my fate ... I am the captain of my soul.")
I would vote to convict a rapist of rape, even if he was arrested after stripping himself and an unwilling victim but prior to completing the act. I would vote to convict an arsonist of arson even if his fire was extinguished by a vigilant homeowner before it could damage the building. I would certainly vote to convict someone who shoots at another ship at sea, without provocation, of piracy.
Apparently you also would convict of murder the person who pointed a gun at someone, intending to kill them, then thinking better of it.
The law is not about what could have happened, but what DID happen.
posted on 01/30/2013 7:10:31 AM PST
(Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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