The Rape of Innocents

Once upon a time in America an innocent person was NEVER punished for the crimes of someone else but now unprovoked assaults against individuals KNOWN to be innocent are the Law of the Land, thanks to at least three Supreme Court decisions as well as the somnolence of members of Congress who have never offered a Constitutional Amendment to overturn this most disgraceful and un-American injustice.

The decline of prudent and fair jurisprudence began with an overly broad interpretation of the RICO Act (as opposed to strictly constructionist,) even to the exclusion of the statement of the actual Congressman who wrote it that it was never meant to be used to snare innocent Americans who merely crossed paths with criminal activity:

The woman whose car was confiscated after her husband used it to pick up a prostitute in a police sting operation most decidedly without her consent or knowledge; the retired couple, pillars of their community and proud owners of a large and expensive house, victims of visits, first from their no-good grandson who used their property to deal drugs, and then from a ruthless police state that used RICO to seize their property and sell it to finance further anti-drug blitzkriegs; the poor extended family of nine who are kicked out of Section 8 housing simply because a 16 year old family member gets caught smoking pot down on the corner with his buddies.

It is just plain wrong to harm innocent Americans this way.

If a journalist or politician were to ask a cross section group of people for a show of hands if they believed an innocent person should ever be punished for someone else's crime, hardly a hand would go up as most Americans are fair-minded and just. But when law enforcement goes before the Supreme Court and argues that such a thing is somehow necessary, five hands shoot up immediately. (Guess which five.)

We spent so much panicked effort during the Cold War beating back "creeping socialism" that we lost sight of our own traditional values and good judgment and allowed "slithering fascism" to gain this arbitrary power over We the People and truly threaten our Freedom.

Today, in this New Year 21, our black robed Supreme Ayatollahs snarl and smirk that "the Constitution is exactly what WE say it is," and no Democrat is willing to offer an Amendment of ten simple words to correct this injustice: "No innocent person shall be punished for someone else's crime."

Are the Democrats so lacking in courage and integrity that they will allow this Court to eviscerate the Bill of Rights with such arrogant impunity?

And it doesn't stop with this insidious affront to our good nature. We have seen the "Takings Clause" warped by the Court into a license for the State and politically connected, morally bankrupt private developers to steal a citizen's private property, his castle, to be converted, for the developer's profit, into private property for a wealthy someone else who desires its location, location, location, with the increase in local tax revenue providing a fig leaf.

We now have grandstanding district attorneys yearning for a political career and willing to use all sorts of criminal cases to build up their name recognition even if innocents go to jail for these ambitions. And when new evidence or DNA testing show his case was in error, the prosecutor will defend to the death his original case so as not to harm his own public image or the image of the office. We have had dozens of high ranking FBI officials who KNEW that an innocent Boston man was imprisoned for decades for murder in order to protect the real killer, an FBI informant. Are FBI agents no longer required to take and follow the oath to defend the Constitution?

We see the Court give law enforcement ever freer reign to abuse, frame and even kill innocent suspects simply because crime fighters are popular and the judges and wannabe judges get their original appointments and promotions based on the services they render to politicians, many of whom have far less integrity than is desperately needed in these Constitutionally confused times.

We all know the "broken window" theory of law enforcement that holds if we allow a single cop to get away with even a minor crime it will just encourage him and other cops to commit additional and ever more serious crimes. Now there is the "hubcap" theory that shows how officers are actually induced into committing crimes of varying degrees so as to give other cops something to hold over their heads should they ever be stricken with pangs of conscience and try to turn in their brother officers. The blue wall of silence is made possible by this hubcap blackmail that will impugn an officer's credibility and possibly ruin his career or send him to jail should he try to expose the corruption.

The knee-jerk conservatives just love all this and are not deterred by charges of hypocrisy. They claim that the Constitution must be followed explicitly, strictly construed, but they totally ignore the explanation in the Preamble that the purpose of the government (among other things) is to provide for the "general welfare." Of whom? Why, We the People of the United States, of course! There is NOTHING in the Constitution that says the role of government is to provide for the general welfare of blood drenched dictators in China or blood splattered kleptocrats in Mexico, but the police state conservatives trip all over the various money grubbing lobbyists with their eager quest to sell out the American Worker in exchange for money, power and prestige.

The conservative will NEVER inform us in the debate on tort reform that the whole explosion of litigation over the past 25 years is the direct result of a decision by the Burger Court, with Rehnquist concurring, that lawyers could start advertising for cases. Once lawyers got this power to solicit clients the flood gates of litigation really broke open and the Law quickly degenerated from being a Profession into being just another business.

And what conservative does not remain silent in the debate over "frivolous" lawsuits when the subject gets too close to their own hyper-frivolous pampered child, the SLAPP? For readers who have not yet come across this Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, a SLAPP is a legal abomination with which giant, wealthy corporations try to derail and defeat otherwise meritorious litigation brought by a (usually) liberal organization by piling on so much expensive and time consuming legal claptrap that trying to answer effectively bankrupts the original case and the plaintiff, his back to the financial wall, is forced to cry "uncle" and the corporation then huffs and puffs and sneers, "we knew you'd see reason."

It is a good bet that in the last 100 network and cable news stories about frivolous lawsuits and tort reform not a single mention was made of this use of SLAPPS to inhibit justice. We need to understand that these highly paid corporate state "journalists" just don't want to rock their own gravy boats.

We now suffer under a legal system that has been perverted all out of whack from what our Founders envisioned. How would Madison, Hamilton and Jay have reacted if a delegate had offered an Eleventh Amendment to protect innocents? My guess is they would have scoffed: "this isn't England, this is America! Even if our Nation endures another 218 years no Congress or Court would ever allow such an attack on common sense." Even old King George never went so far as to punish an innocent for someone else's crime. Had he done so it would surely have been listed in the Declaration of Independence as a ground for Revolution. Times have changed. Today's most "brilliant" legal minds must be able to see this power to harm innocents only in various emanations and penumbras that only they are tuned to and that remain invisible to the mass of reasonable Americans.

After World War 11 a saying came from Germany that sought to explain their slippery slope: "In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."

Erase the proper nouns and fill in the blanks for yourself and a portrait of the new "kinder, gentler" America emerges. But do not despair. The Bill of Rights may be going, going, gone but at least we will always have our Pledge of Allegiance "with liberty and justice for all," (unless, of course, the Supreme Court sez otherwise.)