WHY THIS WEB SITE IS NEEDED
This site is not here to denigrate federal prosecution, but to reform it, and communicate those reforms to the public.
China has a criminal system that convicts nearly all who are accused. People are saying our federal prosecutorial system has become like that. They say the federal justice system has become a very unfair one to citizens. In fact, over the past couple of years some ten books have been written detailing this growing concern.
One of these books, “Three Felonies a Day” by Harvey A. Silverglate, shows that the most innocent act can now be interpreted as a federal crime. That, without knowing it, every day every citizen commits three felonies. These may not be prosecuted or even noticed. However, if there is a focus for any reason, the feds will reach out to one of these acts and bring a prosecution. It would not matter if there is a connection or not. They do not ask if the person is a threat to society or if the person is criminal, they only consider if they are able to convince a jury to convict the person.
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert committed a terrible crime on a juvenile some 20 years ago. The statute of limitation had long expired. However, the DOJ decided to put him in jail anyway. The victim was blackmailing him and receiving large sums of money from him. Because, in giving the money, Hastert did not comply with the bank reporting requirements, he was convicted of a federal crime. This was for withdrawing his own money from the bank. And, actually, in this incident he was the victim of blackmail, not the perpetrator. No one is going to shed a tear for this child molester, but if this can be used on him, it could be used on any innocent person. To make it even easier for the DOJ to put in jail whomever they want to. There is now talk of supporting these cash withdraw statues by getting rid of the $100.00 bill and requiring drug dealers to use smaller bills that are bulkier.
Noted legal scholar Alan M. Dershowitz, in a foreword to “Three Felonies” says: “… federal prosecutors are abusing their power by using the criminal law to prosecute law-abiding citizens whose conduct is [only] arguably covered by extremely vague criminal statutes that are capable of reaching acts which are believed to be lawful by those who commit them.”
No person should go to jail for arbitrary reasons. No person should be afraid their government will criminalize their acts in hindsight. No person should be afraid to do ordinary things that everyone ought to be able to do.
In the federal system, unfairness does occur. When prosecutorial decisions are capricious, the careers and lives of law-abiding citizens are ruined!
We all know that federal prosecution does not operate in the normal way. The feds do it backwards. They pick out a target, launch an intensive investigation into that person’s private affairs, and try to find something he or she did wrong or illegal, or perhaps something that can be made to appear illegal, and then prosecute that person for what they find. With all the myriad federal laws that now carry criminal sanctions, they can always find something!
Shouldn’t such a powerful agency act with morality and fairness when deciding who goes to jail and who does not?
Shouldn’t they be guided by moral principles instead of the pragmatic approach they now use?
Morality should be understood in a religious sense, but also as expressed in secular codes of conduct. There has never been a serious moral code that rewards lying, falsification or deception.
The federal system continues to expand and criminalize normal every day acts not usually thought of as crimes.
Moreover, while violations are sometimes the results of mistakes, inattentiveness and error, crimes are committed nevertheless. This is because they have removed the requirement of showing specific intent from many crimes.
Silverglate shows how important the defense of “innocent intention” used to be and quotes U. S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson explaining “the historical role of intent in criminal cases and ‘the ancient requirement of a culpable state of mind’ that must accompany a culpable act. To convict one of a crime, there must be ‘an evil-meaning mind with an evil-doing hand’ ” (quoting Morissette v. United States, 342 US 246). Good protection for citizens and according to Senate Bill S 2298, the Supreme Court in Elonis v. United States 135 S.Ct. 2001 (2015) has
recognized that it is U.S. law and has always been U. S. law. Silverglate was prophetic. (See also the Mens Rea section of this site.)
We must above all eliminate the rigged conviction machine the federal government now runs. We must give citizens a chance.