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Federal Jury Service
Posted by: Dale Franks on Thursday, January 10, 2008

As I mentioned Tuesday, I've been serving this week on a criminal jury in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of California. You may remember that, a few months ago, I did jury duty for the California Superior Court for San Diego County. There were some interesting differences in the two experiences—not least of which was that I was actually on the jury—as Juror #1, no less.
 
First of all, Federal jury service is administered far differently than state Superior Court. Instead of being summoned to appear on a specific day, you are placed "on call" for one month. This means that, every evening at 6:00pm, you call the courthouse to learn whether you have to appear the next day. I called on Sunday evening, and was told not to show up. When I called on Tuesday, I was notified that my presence would be required.

This is remarkably inconvenient, since you never know when you will appear, which means that you'd better not make any hard and fast plans for either work or play for that month. You may have an important business meeting planned for the next day, only to learn—well after business hours—that you won't be attending the meeting.

Also inconvenient is the location of the Federal Courthouse. Because the District encompasses all of San Diego and Imperial Counties, some jurors may be well over 100 miles away. Fortunately, I live a bit less than 40 miles away, but it's a much longer trip there than to the local Superior Court. And you have to arrive, as I did on Tuesday, at 7:30 in the morning.

For all of Tuesday morning, we sat and dozed. Finally, at 11:00, the announcement came on, instructing me, and 34 other potential jurors to head across the street to the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Courthouse.

Schwartz Courthouse

Upon arrival, we were taken in to the Courtroom of District Judge Larry Burns, to begin voir dire to select a jury for a criminal matter.

Judge Larry Alan Burns

Judge Burns, by the way, is a George W. Bush appointee, and is also the judge that presided over the case of Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, and sent him up the river for eight years. He is also, by the way, a fairly impressive fellow, and very pleasant, and very good at explaining matters to the jury.

Much like Superior Court, we were seated, and introduced to all the lawyers, and the defendant, Mr. Steven Rhett. Mr. Rhett was accused of one count of importing marijuana into the United States, and one count of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute it.

Unlike Superior Court, voir dire was over in about one and a half hours. We all had a form with nine pre-printed questions on it. All 35 of us stood and answered the nine questions, as well as an one or two additional questions from the judge.

Interestingly, the very first guy told the judge that he hated drugs—hated them!—and felt that if this matter had reached trial, the defendant was probably guilty. The short version of Judge Burns' response was, "Thanks. Now get out."

When the initial questioning by Judge Burns was over, the judge gave both the defense and prosecution five minutes each to question the jury pool. When that was over, we sat quietly for a few minutes while the defense and prosecution drew up their peremptory challenges, then compiled them at sidebar with Judge Burns.

They then announced the names of the jurors, and I was Juror #1.

We then broke for a late lunch, after which we went back into court and started the trial. The trial actually went very fast. We broke at 4:30pm Tuesday, convened yesterday morning, and went into deliberations at about 2:00pm yesterday. We broke for the evening at about 5:00 yesterday. We delivered the verdict at about 10:00 this morning.

So, what were we there for?

According to the prosecution, Mr. Rhett was stopped at the San Ysidro Border crossing from Mexico at about 10:30 in the evening. He was driving a Ford F-250 pickup, and towing a 25-foot cargo trailer. Customs Agent Fontinilla asked Mr. Rhett to present some ID, at which time Mr. Rhett produced a California Identification Card, but not a driver's license. Agent Fontinilla then instructed Mr. Rhett to open the trailer, which appeared to be empty. Seeing that Agent Fontinilla was about to enter the trailer, the customs agent in the neighboring lane, Agent Aguilar, closed his lane and moved to the rear of the trailer to cover Agent Fontinilla.

Fontinilla entered the trailer, looked around a bit, then began inspecting the floor. He tapped it with his flashlight, and it made a booming, hollow sound. At this point, Mr. Rhett began moving around "nervously", to the point where Agent Aguilar had to instruct him to remain where he was.

Agent Fontinilla determined that the trailer should be moved to a secondary inspection point, and went back to his booth to write a referral for a 7-point inspection of the trailer. Meanwhile, Agent Aguilar placed one hand under the bottom of the trailer, and one hand on top of the floor, and determined that there was a space discrepancy of about 7 or 8 inches. Seeing that the floor was secured with wood screws, agent Aguilar whipped out his trusty screwdriver, and began unscrewing the screws securing the plywood floor.

It was about this time that Mr. Rhett befouled himself.

Agent Fontinilla came out of his booth with the referral in time to see what seemed to be a large amount of icky goo filling Mr. Rhett's shorts, running down his legs, and collecting in a small, steaming pile at his feet.

Anyway, Agent Aguilar removed enough screws to lift the plywood a bit, and see a plastic bag, sealed with blue tape, that appeared to contain a "green, leafy substance". It turns out that there was more than one bag of this substance. There were a lot of them. 1,117 pounds worth of them, in fact.

Mr. Rhett was invited to enjoy the hospitality for the Federal government for the rest of the evening.

Presumably, that hospitality included clean garments.

According to the Defense, Mr. Rhett had spent the day going about his lawful occasions, delivering building materials to La Mision Church in Tijuana as a good deed undertaken for charitable purposes.

Because the border crossing takes so long in San Ysidro, Mr. Rhett began to feel a gastric disturbance, no doubt caused by a bad taco he had purchased from a roadside vendor. By the time he reached the border, Mr. Rhett's gastric disturbance caused him to have an unavoidable "accident". The fact that this accident occurred at precisely the moment that Agent Aguilar began opening up the false floor of the trailer was completely coincidental.

Mr. Rhett was, of course, shocked—shocked!—to learn that he was transporting 508 kilograms of marijuana in the trailer. He had no idea he was smuggling marijuana into the country. He was an innocent patsy of unnamed others. Indeed, Mr. Rhett was not alone in that truck. There was a female passenger with him as well, who know doubt coordinated this conspiracy.

Neither the truck, nor the trailer, were registered to Mr. Rhett.

Armed with that information, we began deliberations.

We first picked a foreman, or, in our case, a forewoman. We then reviewed the judge's written instructions. After that, we went around the table to learn the issues that everyone had uppermost in their minds. Then we took an initial poll to see where we were. Since I was Juror #1, the forewoman asked me to vote first. I picked "Not Guilty", mainly because I wanted more discussion, and I wanted to ensure there was a not guilty vote so we didn't convict the guy on the first go-around. The final result was 7 guilty, 5 not guilty.

We reviewed all of the evidence, except for one piece. One of the pieces of evidence was a brick of Marijuana about the size of a bedroom pillow. Judge Burns regretfully informed us that we couldn't take that into the jury room with us, although we could examine it in the courtroom at our leisure.

Several members of the jury expressed the opinion that the particular examination they were interested in conducting wouldn't be allowed anyway, so why bother.

As we looked at the evidence more closely, one of the jurors noticed that Mr. Rhett's California ID card had been secured at the DMV on exactly the same day that the trailer had been registered at the DMV. The truck, as it turns out, was a salvage vehicle, and had been obtained less than a week before Mr. Rhett's border crossing.

We wanted to think about it overnight, so we broke for the evening. We took a final vote. 6 guilty, 5 not guilty, 1 undecided.

When we came back in this morning, all of us had come to the conclusion that there were simply too many coincidences in timing, vehicle registrations, obtaining ID, obtaining vehicles, "accidents", etc., to make it believable that Mr. Rhett was an innocent patsy. There were certainly others involved, but too many things were happening with and around Mr. Rhett in the first three weeks of September to beleive he was unaware of them.

So, on our first vote of the morning, We convicted on the importation charge. After that, the amount of marijuana made it obvious that the intent was to distribute it, so that guilty vote followed immediately. Finally, there were aggravating circumstances, in that he had more than 100 kilograms in his possession. We affirmed those aggravating circumstances.

So, essentially, we sent Mr. Rhett to a ten-year stretch on the federal pokey.

It was really an interesting process—from my point of view, if not Mr. Rhett's. Especially the deliberations. We really did go through the exhibits carefully, in some cases finding information that hadn't been mentioned in the trial. We had quite a bit of argument, and really questioned one another's assumptions and conclusions. And we did it all civilly.

It was a good experience. My only regret is that we really couldn't honestly find enough reasonable doubt to acquit Mr. Rhett. We really doubted he was the mastermind behind all this. He was just the driver. But, he was the one that got caught, and when you assume the risk, well, you assume the risk.
 
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It was about this time that Mr. Rhett befouled himself.

Agent Fontinilla came out of his booth with the referral in time to see what seemed to be a large amount of icky goo filling Mr. Rhett’s shorts, running down his legs, and collecting in a small, steaming pile at his feet.
Apparently, he drank the water...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
"The QandO Blog
Free Markets, Free People"


Hmmm...
 
Written By: D. R. Zinn
URL: http://
So, essentially, we sent Mr. Rhett to a ten-year stretch on the federal pokey.
That really sucks for him. I must say that this is the first case I’ve ever heard of where soiling one’s self was used as evidence of a guilty mind.
My only regret is that we really couldn’t honestly find enough reasonable doubt to acquit Mr. Rhett. We really doubted he was the mastermind behind all this. He was just the driver. But, he was the one that got caught, and when you assume the risk, well, you assume the risk.
I’m skeptical about him being "just the driver" primarily because he didn’t offer anyone else up. Unless he truly thought he was going to be acquitted (having gained some intestinal fortitude since the incident), I can’t figure out why he would risk 10 years?

Incidentally, I think it’s pretty amazing that this particular verdict was arrived at with such civility, and that "jury nullification" was not issue given this:
Several members of the jury expressed the opinion that the particular examination they were interested in conducting wouldn’t be allowed anyway, so why bother.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
"The QandO Blog
Free Markets, Free People"


Hmmm...
So, what’s your point?
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Incidentally, I think it’s pretty amazing that this particular verdict was arrived at with such civility, and that "jury nullification" was not issue...
Well, I’m not an opponent of jury nullification, per se. I think I am, however, against its use to operate against a policy with which I personally disagree. I would push for it in a case of injustice, but, since I live in a country where the public ultimately sets policy, policy disagreements aren’t in my view, good enough to justify it.

Congress explicitly has the power to deny the importation of anything they wish. One cannot, for example, import soft, fluffy teddy bears produced in North Korea. Even if I really desired access to such wonderfully cuddly toys, importing them might result in a prison sentence.

I might disagree with that law, but the appropriate venue for changing it is in the legislature, not in the jury room.

If the law was that black people were prohibited from importing teddy bears, that would be a different story.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
That really sucks for him. I must say that this is the first case I’ve ever heard of where soiling one’s self was used as evidence of a guilty mind.
It wasn’t just that he soiled himself. He was perfectly fine when he approached the border. He complied with all of Agent Fintinilla’s instructions, and answered his questions. He was fine when Fontinilla entered the trailer. In fact, he was fine right up to the point when Fontinilla, discovered the false floor. Then, when Aguilar produced the screwdriver, he beshat himself.

He never expressed any discomfort. Never asked for a bathoom. He was calm and compliant right up to the point when it became clear that his "empty" trailer wasn’t going to be waved through.

It was the totality of his behavior, not just the...ultimate expression of nervousness.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Dale, I think D.R. was pointing out the slight irony found within sending someone away for 10 years, and the part of the motto "Free People"...

Because, you know... Prison and all.

Though *I* get the whole "Free to make choices, even bad ones that get you sent to prison" thing, it did still get a chuckle out of me.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
"policy disagreements aren’t in my view, good enough to justify it..."

I think that is an excellent point.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
My only regret is that we really couldn’t honestly find enough reasonable doubt to acquit Mr. Rhett.
Did the government offer any evidence an amendment has been passed to authorize the prohibitive restriction of marijuana importation?
Well, I’m not an opponent of jury nullification, per se. I think I am, however, against its use to operate against a policy with which I personally disagree. I would push for it in a case of injustice, but, since I live in a country where the public ultimately sets policy, policy disagreements aren’t in my view, good enough to justify it.
What you have just written is an implicit acceptance on your part of majoritarianism. The public can only authorize new powers and tasks for the feds with an amendment, an authorization the war on drugs/us lacks.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com
The man was, after all, sent away for ten years for engaging (or attempting to engage) in a free-market transaction selling a product to willing buyers (AKA free people).
 
Written By: D. R. Zinn
URL: http://
Did the government offer any evidence an amendment has been passed to authorize the prohibitive restriction of marijuana importation?
Since that authorization has explicitly existed in the Constitution since 1787, they hardly needed to. I refer you to Article I Section 8, and the enumerated powers of congress, which include:

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

The regulation of international trade obviously includes the power to regulate or ban the importation into the United States of whatever items Congress chooses to proscibe. The Congress has had this power for over two centuries.
What you have just written is an implicit acceptance on your part of majoritarianism.
Well, as it happens, I live in a country with a majoritarian form of government under the Constitution. The appropriate venue for changing that form of government is via a constitutional change, not through jury nullification. The law against marijuana importation is universally applied, and was promulgated under an explicit constitutional power granted to the Congress. I happen to think the law is unwise as a policy matter, but it is not unjust, nor facially invalid in a Constitutional sense.

Nor, I would point out, is majoritarianism inherently illegitimate. It certainly can be, but the fact that a majority agrees to something does not in and of itself, delegitimize the agreement. It is the thing being agreed to that determines legitimacy. The thing itself is either legitimate or not.
The public can only authorize new powers and tasks for the feds with an amendment, an authorization the war on drugs/us lacks.
Well, since the power to ban imports has existed for over 200 years, it’s difficult to see exactly what your point is.
The man was, after all, sent away for ten years for engaging (or attempting to engage) in a free-market transaction selling a product to willing buyers (AKA free people).
Unfortunately, he tried to engage in a free market transaction in contraband. Perhaps you feel that no item should ever be declared contraband. Perhaps you should address this policy through the legislature.

Apparently, some of you think you live in a country that exists nowhere but in your mind, not in the actual United States of America.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Perhaps you feel that a product that hurts no-one but the user should be, at great financial and societal cost, made contraband. Perhaps you should reconsider your slogan.

Apparently, some of you think that a market where the state can arbitrarily prohibit entire classes of products is a free market.
 
Written By: D. R. Zinn
URL: http://
Wow. DR’s dense, isn’t he (she?)...

DR, I would suggest you read a bit more of this site, and you might then find that Dale and McQ at the least don’t agree with the law that drugs should be illegal.

But Dale is intelligent enough to know that just because he dislikes the law does not mean that, if it is evenly applied, his disagreement should invalidate the law.

And I ask this final question, mostly out of frustration...

DR, are you some kind of f*cking idiot? A Ron Paul supporter perhaps?

But then, I repeat myself...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
some of you think that a market where the state can arbitrarily prohibit entire classes of products is a free market
Out of curiosity, is there ANY product you would support as being illegal?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Yeah, I guess it’s pretty dense of me to insist that regardless of what my friends and neighbors think, I have a right to engage in any activity that doesn’t violate their rights in any way. And that they have that right as well.

How remarkably dense of me also to believe that outcomes matter, and that no matter how transparent and consistent the process, if the outcome is that a man loses ten years of his life for the crime of providing a product the people, in droves, want very dearly, then it is wrong.

"Dale…(doesn’t) agree with the law that drugs should be illegal."

That’s very nice, but he was willing to be complicit in their application. That looks like hypocrisy to me. Perhaps you can explain to little ol’ dense me how it isn’t?

"But Dale is intelligent enough to know that just because he dislikes the law does not mean that, if it is evenly applied, his disagreement should invalidate the law."

His disagreement is unnecessary; the law is invalid as it stands.

"DR, are you some kind of f*cking idiot? A Ron Paul supporter perhaps?

But then, I repeat myself..."How very adult of you.

"Out of curiosity, is there ANY product you would support as being illegal?"

I can’t think of any. Maybe if you can think of one whose very existence threatens to violate, in some way, the rights of anyone at all.
 
Written By: D. R. Zinn
URL: http://
To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;
As is clear to the honest from the usages of the time and and debates concerning the adoption of the document, the prohibition of the importation of a substance is not a part of this grant of power; it was solely done to make commerce regular, making a free trade zone within the United States and imposing uniform import/export fees for international commerce.
Well, as it happens, I live in a country with a majoritarian form of government under the Constitution.
Sadly, you do and don’t. The constitution is a largely counter-majoritarian document and one which scarcely binds the majority here from what they want. More’s the pity.
"Nor, I would point out, is majoritarianism inherently illegitimate."
It’s less legitimate than a super-majority, which is what is required to amend the constitution to permit the government to ban a category of international trade, as was sadly done as constitutionally required and better undone with respect to alcohol.
"Apparently, some of you think you live in a country that exists nowhere but in your mind, not in the actual United States of America."
And sadly, Dale, the United States as it exists bears little resemblance to what the constitution actually authorizes, as your all but definitely mendacious interpretation of the 18th century use of the word regulate illustrates.

Of course, Parker vs United States may bring the SCOTUS to endorse your view of the word regulate as it existed in the 18th century. I wonder if you’ll approve of it—and be, as here, almost proudly complicit with it—should they decide the 2nd amendment does nothing to protect your ownership of firearms from "regulation".

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com
Just to be clear, I can not believe you are making the argument that the use of the word regulate in that phrase of the constitution or anywhere in it is the same as it’s use to day, or that you think the intention of that phrase is to permit such a thing as the war on drugs. If that is really what you are doing, it shows a breathtaking lack of scholarship on your part.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com
As is clear to the honest from the usages of the time and and debates concerning the adoption of the document, the prohibition of the importation of a substance is not a part of this grant of power; it was solely done to make commerce regular, making a free trade zone within the United States and imposing uniform import/export fees for international commerce...

Just to be clear, I can not believe you are making the argument that the use of the word regulate in that phrase of the constitution or anywhere in it is the same as it’s use to day, or that you think the intention of that phrase is to permit such a thing as the war on drugs. If that is really what you are doing, it shows a breathtaking lack of scholarship on your part.
And yet, in 1790, during the 1st Congress, the Senate passed a non-intercourse act to include a ban on items imported into the United States from Rhode Island. The House took up the bill, which was mooted by Rhode Island’s ratification of the Constitution.

How terribly odd that the 1st Congress seems not to have heard of your interpretation of the word "regulate". Or the 2nd Congress, for that matter, when the House took up a non-intercourse act with Britain, in order to force the UK to implement all of the conditions of the 1783 peace treaty with the US.

Neither did Congress seem to understand the clarity of your scholarship when it actually passed the Non-Intercourse Act of 1798, the Embargo Act of 1807, or the Non-Intercourse Act of 1809. The latter act, by the way, being signed into law by James Madison.

James Madison.

I, too, am saddened by the lack of Constitutional scholarship in the Federal Period by both congress, and by "The father of the Constitution" himself.

Oh, wait, maybe you just don’t know what you’re talking about. Maybe it was clear, right from the beginning, that Congress did, in fact, have the power to ban imports. Maybe Congress had been given those powers due to problems that had arisen with the regulation of commerce under the Articles of Confederation.

Yes. Yes, that seems much more likely.

Given a choice, I think I’ll rely on James Madison’s interpretation of Congress’ Constitutional power to ban imports, rather than yours, despite the impressive magnitude of your scholarship.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
I never imagined it could be such risky business running drugs with "libertarians" in the house.

Oh, well; you have traffic. There’s that. From the looks, little of it libertarian. But I suspect you know they know, a long time ago.

Here’s to fancy "legal" arguments. Argue it up, Franks. A man is paying 10 years of his life for your the sake of technical arguing prowess (if not hard on). I’m impressed.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
"Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." — from The Law - Frédéric Bastiat
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
, "I can not believe you are making the argument that the use of the word regulate in that phrase of the constitution or anywhere in it is the same as it’s use to day"

Well, I’m curious now. Where can I find the 18th century definition of ’regulate’?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Unfortunately, he tried to engage in a free market transaction in contraband. Perhaps you feel that no item should ever be declared contraband. Perhaps you should address this policy through the legislature."
Social metaphysics: it’s what’s for dinner around here.

Datapoint.

I see you, Franks. You can’t fool me.

 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Franks:
"Well, I’m not an opponent of jury nullification, per se. I think I am, however, against its use to operate against a policy with which I personally disagree. I would push for it in a case of injustice, but, since I live in a country where the public ultimately sets policy, policy disagreements aren’t in my view, good enough to justify it."
First, nobody is or should imply that you had any obligation to put yourself at risk by scamming your way onto the jury so you could hang it. On the other hand, I would applaud such monkey-wrenching, considering that 10 years of an innocent man’s life is at stake — not to mention the disastrous long-term effect on any children he might have, wife, and other family. Did he employ people now out of a job? ..And other ["unimportant"] considerations, like that.

You did, however, have a moral obligation to make your "policy" view clear to the judge and prosecutors, letting them know, in no uncertain terms, that if they put you on the jury, then it’s an automatic non-guilty unless they can show that Mr. Rhett actually objectively harmed somebody.

What is clearly implied by the quote, however, is that policy set in some fashion by what you term "the public" can’t rise to the level of "injustice." So, presumably, it would have been "Unjust" had, for instance, the prosecutors misapplied one of the charges against him, or, say, demanded a lesser or greater penalty than "the book" called for.

So you’ve just redeemed Jim Crow laws, institutionalized slavery...hell even the Nuremberg Laws. All "public policy."

I guess the only way to achieve outrage, in your mind, is if the numbers on your slide rule don’t work out just right and that exalted "public policy" isn’t quite efficient enough for your tastes. Then again, there’s also the hard-on element, as noted above.

In a sane, rational, and just world, you wouldn’t be able to live down taking 10 years of a man’s life in your entire lifetime without just cause; and stepping into a voting booth to elect people to enact "legislation" to assuage "public" irrational fear of "them drugs" — exposing "public" foolishness in falling for any hysteria professional liars dream up next — doesn’t count. I hope the few true libertarians who still come around here never let you forget who is the innocent man, and who is the guilty man. Wanna guess which one is which, and why?

Utterly disgusting, and you should be ashamed of yourself for the rest of your miserable life.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
Well, I’m not an opponent of jury nullification, per se. I think I am, however, against its use to operate against a policy with which I personally disagree. I would push for it in a case of injustice, but, since I live in a country where the public ultimately sets policy, policy disagreements aren’t in my view, good enough to justify it.

You were just following orders, after all. Heaven forbid you disagree with the Public.

Just try to act surprised when the Public comes for more of your money and what’s left of your rights.
 
Written By: trevalyan
URL: http://
"You were just following orders, after all."
Now, now, trevalyan. We mustn’t make reference to things people don’t want to think about (and I already dropped that Nuremberg Laws reference). People might invoke Goodwin.

There are perfectly good euphemisms to employ, here. Franks:
"We then reviewed the judge’s written instructions."
See? All nice & tidy. Nothing at all like "just following orders."
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
Beg your pardon, Mr. Nikoley. The Nuremberg LAWS relegated Jews to become second-class residents of the German state. The Nuremberg TRIALS invoked that famous excuse above. Besides, given the man’s complete obliviousness to previous attempts to enforce Prohibition in the United States, I couldn’t quite risk the historical comparison going over Mr. Franks’ head.

I win, Mr. Nikoley. Or not, given the fact that a man is still condemned to rot in an American prison.
 
Written By: trevalyan
URL: http://
"I’m not an opponent of jury nullification, per se. I think I am, however, against its use to operate against a policy with which I personally disagree."

That’s *exactly* what jury nullification is for, to judge the law as well as the facts. There was no personal risk to you in doing so, or at least in stating during voir dire that you would consider doing so.

Once in a position to actually affect someone’s life based on your supposed principles, without cost or risk, and you chose to support public policy on the principle that it is public policy.

Then you come out bragging about how "civilly" you "just did your job" in robbing a man of a good chunk of his life.

You’re a piece of sh*t.
 
Written By: Kyle Bennett
URL: http://www.humanadvancement.net/blog
trevalyan:

Perhaps you want to read my post again, to better see if you detect the sarcasm?
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
Oh, I got it, Mr. Nikoley. :) Any more sarcasm and it would have burned through the screen. After you invoked the Nuremburg Laws in your list of state injustices, though, wasn’t quite sure if we were thinking about the same thing. I promise you, though, I support your perspective on this matter wholeheartedly.
 
Written By: trevalyan
URL: http://
"And other ["unimportant"] considerations, like that"

So the jury is responsible for all these considerations rather than the person who knowingly and intentionally put himself, his family, and all these other persons at risk?


"You did, however, have a moral obligation to make your "policy" view clear to the judge and prosecutors, letting them know, in no uncertain terms, that if they put you on the jury, then it’s an automatic non-guilty unless they can show that Mr. Rhett actually objectively harmed somebody."

I think he only had a moral obligation to follow his own beliefs, not yours.

So, what is the difference between anarchism and libertarianism? I seem to get the impression from some that everyone is obligatedd to obey only the laws they choose to obey, if any, and are morally obliged to disobey those they disagree with.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
So, what is the difference between anarchism and libertarianism? I seem to get the impression from some that everyone is obligatedd to obey only the laws they choose to obey, if any, and are morally obliged to disobey those they disagree with.
You’re OBLIGED to leave other people alone if their behavior doesn’t rob you of wealth or harm you physically. In exchange, they are obliged to do the same for you.

What other definition of liberty is there, exactly, that doesn’t depend on the rapidly shifting mood of the state?
 
Written By: trevalyan
URL: http://
Franks throughout the ages:


1840-
"I’m obliged to turn Frederick Douglass over to federal marshals, he’s contraband."

1944-
"I’m obliged to turn Anne Frank over to the Gestapo, she’s contraband."

 
Written By: Ernest Brown
URL: http://
"So, what is the difference between anarchism and libertarianism?"

Oh, you think I’m going to just accept your premise, eh?
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
"So the jury is responsible for all these considerations rather than the person who knowingly and intentionally put himself, his family, and all these other persons at risk?"

Absolutely. Just like the jury asked to do the state’s business for a captured runaway slave.

Just like a jury asked to do the state’s business for the pre-WWII Jew who married outside the bounds of the Nuremberg Laws.

Just like a jury asked to do the state’s business for an American Indian charged with defending his life & property (only it wasn’t called that).

Just like a jury asked to do the state’s business for a black man in the 1930s south charged with walking in the wrong public place.

And so on, and so forth. "I was doing my job." I was following orders." "I was doing my duty." "I was following the law and the judge’s instructions." None of these, or anything like them, absolve a person of the moral responsibility to do the right thing.

What Franks did, in practice, certainly doesn’t rise to the level of evil of a WWII German soldier loading Jews into boxcars under order, but the principle of morality and justice that indicts both is precisely the same.

"I think he only had a moral obligation to follow his own beliefs, not yours."

Moral relativism. Right and wrong is not a function of what you, Franks, or I believe. It is a function of the nature of man qua man.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
Franks: "I would push for it in a case of injustice, but, since I live in a country where the public ultimately sets policy, policy disagreements aren’t in my view, good enough to justify it.

"Be gone, before the someone drops a policy on you!" - Glinda, Good Witch Of The North

That would be poetic justice anyway.

"Congress explicitly has the power to deny the importation of anything they wish."

So if Congress outlawed the importation of books you’d convict bookrunners? I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.
 
Written By: John T. Kennedy
URL: http://www.no-treason.com
Oh, you think I’m going to just accept your premise, eh?
Why not? You certainly seem to expect everyone else to accept yours.

But, that’s the way it always works with you guys, huh?
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
"Oh, you think I’m going to just accept your premise, eh?"

What premise would that be?

" Right and wrong is not a function of what you, Franks, or I believe. It is a function of the nature of man qua man."

Horseapples. It is a function of what you BELIEVE the nature of man qua man is, whatever that may mean.

Are there any laws that a Libertarian is obliged to obey?


"You’re OBLIGED to leave other people alone if their behavior doesn’t rob you of wealth or harm you physically. In exchange, they are obliged to do the same for you."

Or else what? Who gets to determine this, and how is it enforced?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Or else what? Who gets to determine this, and how is it enforced?
You, personally, would have to come over to force me to do anything in such a world. And I would resist that force, so you’d have to bring a whole lot of guys to help.

At least you wouldn’t be able to have a roaming gang of armed men doing the dirty for you. Most such groups are organized gangsters: at least one, however, is made up of the police/FBI.

I am wholly unsurprised at having to state the obvious to a so-called libertarian.
Why not? You certainly seem to expect everyone else to accept yours.

But, that’s the way it always works with you guys, huh?
I just want them to accept ONE, Franks. I shouldn’t have to tell you which one. After that, they can believe whatever the hell they want. But apparently, giving me that much room is too much for them, or for you. So much for liberty.
 
Written By: trevalyan
URL: http://
"Are there any laws that a Libertarian is obliged to obey?"

Yep. Those around long before the looters who became the protection racket who became the state came along. Everyone knew exactly what they were.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
...I saw The Kite Runner last night, which I heartily recommend. A story of a boy’s eventual manly redemption set in the backdrop of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, flight to America, and an eventual return to Taliban controlled Afghanistan to effect a rescue.

At a point early in the film, the boy chides his well-off, gated compound, Bullit-car driving father who was enjoying an evening scotch, telling him what the Mullah’s at school had to say about alcohol consumption. His father tells him that the Mullah’s are full of sh*t, and goes on to explain how there is only one sin: theft; and all other sins are simply variations of it.

When you understand what that Afghani was saying, you’ll begin to understand something, a little.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
"You certainly seem to expect everyone else to accept yours."

I’m not quite that optimistic, Franks. I’m working and will be wholly satisfied with you guys just naming your premises, explicitly, and then honestly naming mine.

Can you, honestly?

I’m not so sure many of you can — not without prejudice. I’m more certain none of you would if you could.

Can you imagine why?
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
"Or else what? Who gets to determine this, and how is it enforced?"

Isn’t it obvious? Franks and eleven other people get to, in league with "authorities" mysteriously endowed with special sooper powrz of "objectivity."

In fact, they’re so careful and objective, and the process so "civil," "interesting," and "a good experience" that they’re no longer even "OBLIGED to leave other people alone if their behavior doesn’t rob you of wealth or harm you physically."

Now it’s so good and interesting that Franks can rob a man of 10 years of his life on "public" whim.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
Contrary to your premise, timactual, it usually isn’t very hard at all to determine if my actions have infringed on the rights of someone else. If they have, I’m guilty. If they haven’t, f*ck off.
 
Written By: D. R. Zinn
URL: http://
Re: the podcast

Comparisons with slave laws or the Nazi regime may be "over-the-top nonsense" to you, but as has been made abundantly clear by Richard Nikoley, while the scale is different the principle is the same. "But it’s the law" is, morally, exactly the same as "I vas chust followink orders."
 
Written By: D. R. Zinn
URL: http://
From the podcast:
"... all these horrible examples of failure to invoke jury nullification leading to Nazi death camps...
Work from principles and draw the lines, Mr. Franks. You’re willing to convict a man for importing something that harmed absolutely no one, save the people voluntarily buying it. What boundaries remain on a state that CAN imprison someone for that?
... "gee whiz, you know, he isn’t bringing in something that’s not going to hurt anybody, you know. But, you know, what if he wasn’t bringing in something that wasn’t going to hurt anybody?"
Mr. McQuaid, that’s like asking "what if his marijuana was VX nerve gas." As a legal argument, it’s disastrous. The man wasn’t shipping in a WMD, he was just running drugs. He knew the risks, granted, but I would have hoped a libertarian wouldn’t add his voice to the faceless condemnation.

Anyways. To produce and deliver weapons of mass destruction in a manner that could seriously harm many people at once remains the prerogative of the state. Even the sarin attacks in Tokyo exposed the limitations on what a regular group of individuals can do. Unless, of course, you’re suggesting that there should be a law against dangerous, lethal things that can kill an arbitrary "lots" of people.

Understood.
 
Written By: trevalyan
URL: http://
Just listened to the relevant portion of the podcast.

General. General. General.

Had a person come in a minute after the intro, they would not have had a clue that Franks — and now McQuain — are staunchly defending getting yourself on a jury and sending a marijuana importer to jail for 10 years of his life, with no regard to consequences. They would have no idea.

Why is that? Well, I know. Because you don’t want to have the impossible burden of defending (in a "libertarian" context) the general principle with reference to a specific flesh, bone, & life application. You’d rather speak in the general and forget (and have everyone else forget) there’s a specific application: a man’s life that has been irrevocably shredded.

The only point worth a damn that I heard is the double-edge sword of jury nullification. Well, guess what? Ever heard of reasonable doubt? It’s the same legal principle. You’re willing to let off 10 guilty rather than convict one innocent. It’s the price you pay to protect innocent people who haven’t fuc**ng hurt anyone.

Y’know, I’d be perfectly happy to go round and round with you guys on political ideology until I get wrinkly face, and I’d buy you beers every time I could have the chance.

This isn’t theory, anymore. This is a man’s life, he didn’t hurt anyone, and what Franks did is irrevocable.

You know it, both of you, and your podcast exposes it. You know you’re guilty, Franks. Maybe I guess I can understand McQuain standing up, but I can’t understand very much.

A man’s life. He didn’t harm anyone. Franks may not have been able to let him go, but he could have, at minimum, hung the jury and delayed the process, which allows chance and circumstance to have its hand. Instead, he was directly instrumental, and then he bragged about it.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
Quickly, the body of research concerning the use of the word in the 2nd amendment—where if it means what Dale wants it to mean here, potentially justifies vitiating the amendment as protecting an individual right—and then start with Johnsons’ Dictionary of the English language.

Bottom line, "regulate" did not mean the body of broad and deep unaccountable regulatory agencies and laws we have today, it meant, worked in a consistent fashion, ie., a double barreled rifle who’s two shots coincided at a desired distance.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com
Dale,
And yet, in 1790, during the 1st Congress, the Senate passed a non-intercourse act to include a ban on items imported into the United States from Rhode Island.
So something which didn’t happen is your evidence? The Hartford convention almost broke New England away from the country, but we don’t say they seceded, or that their actions were okay but the C.S.A.’s weren’t—not if we want to be logically consistent on the question of constitutionality.

A) There was no ban on the importation of goods from Rhode Island.

B) If there had been, it would not have been a ban on "demon rum" from Rhode Island undertaken for the purpose of perfecting society or protecting it from alcohol, it would have been a consistent (and wait for it, regular) ban on all goods coming from Rhode Island.

Banning recreational drugs for the purpose of preventing the recreation requires amendments to authorize such a ban, re the 18th amendment, which would not have been undertaken if such an amendment were not required.

There is no figleaf of constitutionality for the drug war, or for your endorsement of it.

Congress can set tariffs, and they must be regular tariffs, making commerce regular, they can not ban some commerce and not other commerce, that is left to the states.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com
"Interestingly, the very first guy told the judge that he hated drugs—hated them!—and felt that if this matter had reached trial, the defendant was probably guilty. The short version of Judge Burns’ response was, ’Thanks. Now get out.’"



Had Franks been as honest or as self-consistent as the pro-"drug war" guy, he would not only have been excused from the case but the prosecutor’s staff might have sought to get him out of the jury pool altogether, given the high percentage of drug cases tried by FedGov.

The fact that he did not tell the judge about his erstwhile political/moral views with the above example before him tells me all that I need to know about his character, or lack of same.
 
Written By: Ernest Brown
URL: http://
There are some comments now over here, in case anyone wants to take a look.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
"I seem to get the impression from some that everyone is obligated to obey only the laws they choose to obey, if any, and are morally obliged to disobey those they disagree with."
What do you think you have a mind for, Tim?
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"I am wholly unsurprised at having to state the obvious to a so-called libertarian."

And why do you assume I am a libertarian?

"I shouldn’t have to tell you which one."

How about telling me?


"Everyone knew exactly what they were."

How convenient. That certainly saves a lot of time having to actually explain things.

"and will be wholly satisfied with you guys just naming your premises, explicitly, and then honestly naming mine."

Me too.



" Can you imagine why?"
"Contrary to your premise, timactual,"

Evidently I don’t have to name my premises because everyone but me seems to know what they are.


"What do you think you have a mind for, Tim?"

I take it that my impression is correct. How far does this obligation go? Are there any limits on my right/obligation to disobey laws I dislike? Am I obliged to speed if I don’t agree with the posted speed limit? This sounds a lot like anarchy to me.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Am I obliged to speed if I don’t agree with the posted speed limit? This sounds a lot like anarchy to me.
There’s only one thing you’re obliged to do under anarchy, boyo, and I’ll get to that in a bit. If you’re not killing anyone, you can drive however you like. Just be prepared to deal with the consequences of imposing your unsafe driving on others.
And why do you assume I am a libertarian
I assumed a certain type of person would be attracted to a slogan marked "Free markets, free people."

Wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong.

How about telling me?
Pay attention while I borrow the crayon and write my animating premise out in big blocky letters.

I WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE.

Do that, and you can do whatever the hell you want. Appoint Fred Thompson to rule you from on high, if that’s what rubs you right. Just don’t interrupt me while I stand here not hurting anyone but myself.

Got that, Jack?

 
Written By: trevalyan
URL: http://
If you’re not killing anyone, you can drive however you like.
So you can drive as fast as you want through an elementary school zone every day until the day you run over someone?

Do you really dismiss the POTENTIAL to do harm in your philosophy? I realize that makes the analysis more complicated, but it is also more realistic.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
timactual:

You are doing everything you can to avoid the point. That’s why McQuain and Franks don’t engage, here, other than quibbles over a Constitutional interpretation.

That’s because they at least know what the point is, and they know they can’t deal with it directly. That’s why their podcast last night pretended to address it (where they were both safe from me and others), but was just general BS that was completely and wholly beside the point.

Can you state the point, tim? Don’t address it if you don’t want, but can you state it?
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
"So you can drive as fast as you want through an elementary school zone..."

Whose elementary school zone? I can certainly drive as fast as I want through mine, if I had one. I imagine doing so would severely cut into my business, though.

Is anyone here capable of any sort of thought beyond that as member of a collective hive?

This is again beside the point of 10 years of a man’s life being taken by Franks and gloated over.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
Is anyone here capable of any sort of thought beyond that as member of a collective hive?
The point, which you’ve proven time and again, is that you are so extreme in your thoughts that there is no point in actually engaging you. It makes you happy to be angry that we don’t live in your imaginary utopia. So we just slightly nod our heads as you go off on your rants, maybe ask a few questions to see if you are really as extreme as you seem, and then we move on to deal with the real world.

Enjoy your righteous anger. I’ll fly back to my hive and leave you alone.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
The point, which you’ve proven time and again, is that you are so extreme in your thoughts that there is no point in actually engaging you.
Sorry, not all of us will trade our pleasures in life because Helen Lovejoy tells us to think of the children. Address his point about school zones or pack it in: the potential for harm doesn’t really enter into it for us, except the HARM of killing someone else’s child. Rational people can evaluate these risks intelligently, and that is the society we would like to see.
 
Written By: trevalyan
URL: http://
"It makes you happy to be angry that we don’t live in your imaginary utopia."

Yea, it’s certainly is "utopian" to think that a "libertarian" wouldn’t brag about sending a simple peaceful trader to jail for 10 years because of the particular chemical composition of the recreational material — and the fact that it doesn’t enjoy the political, bought & paid status of the chemicals of choice for the older generations.

Utopian, indeed. Extreme to the max.

You’re just blowing smoke, because you can not face the point. Can you? So, yea, go back to your hive.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
The real point is we are living in a country based not just on individual rights, but also individual responsibilities. Responsibility to follow the laws of the government we have, and to oppose that government if it’s laws become too oppressive.
If you don’t like the laws of the current system, the founding fathers gave examples of several honorable options.
A) Work within the system (i.e. obeying all the laws) while trying to get laws changed (Franks’ choice)
B) Fight outside the system to change the laws or the government. Either publicly defy the law or declare revolution. (The system is free to fight back, but that doesn’t make it right)
C) Move somewhere with a different system.
There’s also the somhat less honorable D) whine about the system and try to weasel around it while enjoying its’ protections.

trevlyan, Richard; You’ve already stated that you feel choice A is dishonorable, a man shouldn’t follow laws he doesn’t personally agree with when there’s ten year’s of a man’s life at stake. So what shall it be for you? If you don’t act, you’re just as guilty as Franks-
B) Smoking weed on the steps of Congress until the law is changed? Open revolt?
C) The Amazon jungle and Sudan both offer little in the way of government interference.
D) Take a few hits in between posts?
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
"There’s only one thing you’re obliged to do under anarchy,"

Finally. I guess I can safely assume now that it is the anarchist, rather than the libertarian, philosophy that is being advocated here, and that I am immoral because I don’t believe in it.


"I assumed a certain type of person would be attracted to a slogan marked "Free markets, free people.""

Sloppy thinking, at best. I would expect nothing else from an anarchist.


"I WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE."

Then go live in the freakin’ woods. If you want to live with the rest of us, we have rules.
Got that, Jack?

"So you can drive as fast as you want through an elementary school zone every day until the day you run over someone?"

Sure, as long as you are prepared to accept the consequences. to h*** with the consequences to other people.

"You are doing everything you can to avoid the point."

Which is...?

" the potential for harm doesn’t really enter into it for us,"

Now that I know that anarchism is the guiding philosophy here, I am not at all surprised. Scr*w everybody else, I want to do what I want to do. Spoiled children who think they are entitled to make everybody else adjust their lives to suit them,

" Rational people can evaluate these risks intelligently, and that is the society we would like to see."

Rational people do not expect human beings to act rationally. Anarchism and pacifism, two narcissistic forms of intellectual and moral masturbation.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"A) Work within the system (i.e. obeying all the laws) while trying to get laws changed (Franks’ choice)"

Bzzt, WRONG, that was NOT Franks’ choice. By his actions, he willingly -reinforced- said laws, and did not personally act to deny their legitimacy, as he could have easily and -LEGALLY- done during the voir dire.
 
Written By: E. Brown
URL: http://
Would this be "too oppressive for you?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugitive_Slave_Law_of_1793

After all, it’s "Constitutional" and it definitely marks out "contraband."
 
Written By: E. Brown
URL: http://
Ted,

The founders provided an additional honorable means of opposing unjust laws, and that was for the jury to judge the law as well as the facts.

This isn’t about trying to change the law, this is about the concrete application of the law in one single case, a case that Franks accepted direct responsibility for judging. He dodges that responsibility every time he changes the context to how to get laws changed, to unintended consequences of removing the law in question altogether, or to the general right of the public to make certain laws.

This wasn’t about any of that, this was about one man facing twelve, and Franks as one of those twelve looking him in the eye (did you at least have the guts to look him in the eye, Dale?) and telling him that the next ten years of his life was gone, on Franks’ own authority.

You accepted that responsibility Dale, now live with it.
 
Written By: Kyle Bennett
URL: http://www.humanadvancement.net/blog
"...to oppose that government if it’s laws become too oppressive."

Would sending a man to jail for 10 years and shredding his one and only life for peacefully trading his own property with willing patrons count as oppressive?

Or, perhaps I should ask: on the subject of a man’s natural rights (natural moral claim) to his own life and property, what would Franks say?

Here, let me help.
"If all rights are negotiable, then there are no rights at all. Your only "rights" are whatever privileges you can wrestle from an otherwise omnipotent sovereign."
Or...
"What natural rights do, on the other hand, is provide an unchanging yardstick for legitimacy that is built on the fundamental characteristics of human nature. No government that arbitrarily kills its people, takes their property, and imprisons them, can possibly be legitimate under natural rights theory. And that remains true even if a majority of the population votes to take the lives, liberty, and property of the remaining citizens. Such a government might be perfectly democratic, and faithfully enacting the "social compact" desired by a majority of its citizens, but it would nonetheless be deeply illegitimate.

"By eliminating any transcendent moral restraint on government, Jon and Max’s argument serves as a de facto legitimization of the worst kind of tyranny and despotism. I therefore reject it utterly."
There’s plenty more where that came from, if that, its implications, and applications to the specific case of a peaceful man dealing in the trade of his own property with willing patrons isn’t clear enough for you.

"Work within the system (i.e. obeying all the laws) while trying to get laws changed (Franks’ choice)"

Bullsh*t. Why can’t you just deal with the facts? What Franks was doing before, with this blog, is a way to work within the system. He wasn’t working within the system, and he wasn’t trying to change anything. It would have cost him nothing to make his objections known, be dismissed, and not participate in doing the state’s business in a area of policy he claims to disagree with. And once on the jury, it would have cost him nothing to hang it, and it would have cost but a little extra effort and time had he tried to persuade the jury to acquit, with the potential of a really heroic story to tell on his blog.

Rather, he was directly instrumental, as a tool for the state, in a policy he disagreed with, where he had no moral or even legal obligation to participate, in sending a peaceful man away for 10 years, stealing his property, and wreaking havoc on his family.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
...And then he bragged about it and belittled the man for bowel problems.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
OK, I didn’t explain myself well. I was not arguing that Franks was trying to change any law with his jury service. He was ’working within the system’ by fulfulling his duty as a juror. He tries to get the laws changed by trying to get more voters to see his view, and supporting candidates that share them. I did not mean to infer that he felt the laws that applied here should be changed. (The charges here would have been the same if marijuana was a federally recognized mecicine.)
The founders provided an additional honorable means of opposing unjust laws, and that was for the jury to judge the law as well as the facts.
Juries are specifically instructed to make their judgements based on the law and the facts, without regard to whether thay agree with the law. If the jury announced they were finding him not guilty because the law is wrong, that is clearly an example of choice B) from my above post. If they keep the reason for their decision secret, that would be an honorable version of choice D
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
Would this be "too oppressive for you?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugitive_Slave_Law_of_1793
Yes. I seem to remember many people thought it was. Cuased quite a bit of friction in the 70 years ’til it was settled.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
arbitrarily
Apparently that word means nothing to you. What it means here is that there are situations where the government can regulate what is done with property.

 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
If the jury announced they were finding him not guilty because the law is wrong, that is clearly an example of choice B) from my above post.

No, that would be working within the system. The system, as originally constituted, provided for nullification on a case by case basis by juries. The first SCOTUS Chief Justice thought so, and common sense gets you there as well. If not for judging the law, what then is the purpose of a jury of one’s peers? A professional jury, or even the bench is perfectly capable of judging the facts of the case, juries of peers are not required for it.

What we have now, as Dale admitted to in his post, is juries who have no other function than to rubber-stamp a pre-determined verdict - pre-determined by the concrete, objective facts of the case. Those facts are not dependent on the values of one’s peers, nor on individual judgment, only the propriety of the law is so subject.

[Fugitive_Slave_Law_of_1793] Caused quite a bit of friction in the 70 years ’til it was settled.

And how many lives were destroyed in those seventy years? Would you have looked a fugitive slave in the eye and told him you were sending him back to be whipped, separated from his family, stripped of not only all possessions, but also of the capacity for having possessions, and then worked to an early death? Would you have looked a member of the underground railroad in the eye and sent them to jail for saving him? Because it was public policy and you had no moral choice but to uphold others’ judgment?

The state supposedly derives its authority from the people, and the purpose of having juries is to individualize that authority pursuant to authorizing the forcible action of the state against a specific individual. None can convict unilaterally, but the authority of each juror is that he has direct veto power over the immediate verdict. No-one who fails to use that veto when it is morally demanded can hide behind the authority of the state, because they individually are the means of checking that authority.

 
Written By: Kyle Bennett
URL: http://www.humanadvancement.net/blog
Jury nullification is entirely legal and thus not (b) but (a), Ted.

You’re wrong, again.
 
Written By: E. Brown
URL: http://
"I WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE."

Then go live in the freakin’ woods. If you want to live with the rest of us, we have rules.
Got that, Jack?
Don’t ever presume to speak for me, timactual. I am one of "the rest of us" and I have absolutely no problem with trevalyan, Nikokley, Bennet, Condor, Beck, Brown, et al. living right where they are—in the city, suburbs, or on a family farm—enjoying all of the benefits of technology, commerce, and social interaction which they can create or trade for, without you and all the others who presume authority over their lives, without ever doing anything to deserve it.

You didn’t invent the automobile or the microchip. You didn’t put any of your labor or talent into developing Nikokey’s business, or the Beck farm, so who the bloody f*** do you think you are to deprive them of their freedom, demanding that they hole up in isolation?

How dare you do so in my name, when I will have nothing of the sort from the likes of you? They can carry on their business, with me or with anyone else who chooses to do so, and I don’t expect a one of them to follow any rules, except to respect the rights of others.

As I sit here, thinking of how to respond to your inane arguments, I keep going back to Steven Rhett, reminding myself that this man will be living in misery for a decade of, as others have so eloquently put it, the one and only life he will ever have. I simply cannot, at this time, think of words strong enough to condemn each and every person involved in that outrage.
 
Written By: Carl Fontaine
URL: http://
use that veto when it is morally demanded
And since you demand it, it must be so. Got it.

Voting to convict a drug trafficker is the same as voting to return a slave to his master. Got it.

Following the legal instructions from a judge is the same as being a Nazi. Got it.

I’m learning sooooo much from you guys!
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
[Fugitive_Slave_Law_of_1793] Caused quite a bit of friction in the 70 years ’til it was settled.
You forgot to read the first part of my answer - "Yes", it was too oppressive.
I was not arguing that Franks was trying to change any law with his jury service.... I did not mean to infer that he felt the laws that applied here should be changed.
In any case, Dale already fully answered the question of jury nullication himself.

The A thru D choices weren’t listed as options for argument for what Dale should have done. They are listed wondering what those who object to what Dale did are planning on doing about. If this is the moral equivalent of slavery, you should be doing more than blogging, waving signs or simply ignoring the law.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
If this is the moral equivalent of slavery, you should be doing more than blogging, waving signs or simply ignoring the law.

I’m all ears. If you know of something that it’s reasonable to think will be effective at ending our current "peculiar institutions", or, more importantly, protecting *me* from them, I’ll do it.

Voting cannot be effective, political organizing cannot be effective, and armed assault cannot be effective. You have other alternatives that I haven’t thought of?
 
Written By: Kyle Bennett
URL: http://www.humanadvancement.net/blog
For pure effectiveness of getting away from government interference, there was choice C- move somewhere without a government. It’s essentially what the pilgrims and pretty much everyone considered a settler did.
A similar alternative is to save enough money to go to a country where freedom from interference can be paid for.

Any option is dangerous (even banana republics don’t stay paid off forever), and it’s an individual’s choice as to where that tipping point is. Drastic changes to the current government would require you to convince a lot of people it’s worth the risk.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
For pure effectiveness of getting away from government interference, there was choice C- move somewhere without a government. It’s essentially what the pilgrims and pretty much everyone considered a settler did.


I appreciate the reasoned reply, it wasn’t entirely expected, but I’m glad to be proven wrong.

You’re right on that, but it’s different now in that there is no such place (leaving aside extraterrestrial colonization, which, while a tantalizing possibility, won’t be feasible nearly soon enough for my taste). A new "place" would have to be created, and geography is no longer viable as it’s distinguishing feature. Still, in general terms, this is the most plausible of the alternatives I can come up with, as difficult as it is to imagine a way to accomplish it.

A similar alternative is to save enough money to go to a country where freedom from interference can be paid for. Any option is dangerous (even banana republics don’t stay paid off forever), and it’s an individual’s choice as to where that tipping point is. Drastic changes to the current government would require you to convince a lot of people it’s worth the risk.

Yes, anything that would be effective would also be risky, on a number of levels. And bribery is a temporary expedient at best (it is in effect, a reduced tax rate.) There is another way to theoretically bring about drastic changes in the current government, and that is to make the current government’s methods unsustainable. Again, that’s theoretical, but it does leave a tiny window of possibility that does not rely on the impossibility of convincing a majority. And in fact, I could see a scenario for that happening organically, without deliberate intent, given the technologies available to regular folks today and in the near future.

 
Written By: Kyle Bennett
URL: http://www.humanadvancement.net/blog
I appreciate the reasoned reply
Coming from the guy whose first comment in the thread ended with: "You’re a piece of sh*t."
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Responsibility to follow the laws of the government we have
When constitutionally enacted and not to tyrannous, yes.
Juries are specifically instructed to make their judgements based on the law and the facts, without regard to whether thay agree with the law.
That’s been the lie sold since 1895 or so, but it’s not the jury the Founder’s knew as part of due process.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com
not to tyrannous != not too tyrannous
TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com
"For pure effectiveness of getting away from government interference, there was choice C- move somewhere without a government."

Yeah, like the woods.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Coming from the guy whose first comment in the thread ended with: "You’re a piece of sh*t."

It was a completely reasoned reply. I’m sorry you don’t have the capacity to tell the difference.

Yeah, like the woods.

No, there you’d be telling me to "love it or leave it" when the forest service starts getting in my way.
 
Written By: Kyle Bennett
URL: http://www.humanadvancement.net/blog
"No, there you’d be telling me to ’love it or leave it’"

Yea, just like they always get around to doing. As if they own the place.

 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
That’s why McQuain and Franks don’t engage, here, other than quibbles over a Constitutional interpretation.
No. It isn’t.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
You’re right on that, but it’s different now in that there is no such place
On the contrary, there are large swaths of the Amazon jungle whre’d you’s be left alone.
Most of Sudan also has no real government right now.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
"On the contrary, there are large swaths of the Amazon jungle whre’d you’s be left alone.
Most of Sudan also has no real government right now."


Oh, I wasn’t aware that you’re the owner of the North American Continent.

I’m impressed.

Anyone else you’d like to command to "leave it." on your conditions?
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.honestylog.com
Re: the podcast

Comparisons with slave laws or the Nazi regime may be "over-the-top nonsense" to you, but as has been made abundantly clear by Richard Nikoley, while the scale is different the principle is the same. "But it’s the law" is, morally, exactly the same as "I vas chust followink orders."
 
Written By: D. R. Zinn
URL: http://
Oh, I wasn’t aware that you’re the owner of the North American Continent.
Did you even read the thread? Kyle asked about plausible options for avoiding government interference. If that’s his short-term (within a few decades) goal, then we don’t expect good odds of that happening in the U.S.
I wasn’t commanding, I was answering a question.

 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
On the contrary, there are large swaths of the Amazon jungle whre’d you’s be left alone.
Most of Sudan also has no real government right now.


I wonder if that is really true, about the Amazon? Never thought of that one before. Hmm, building civilization there has the added benefit of pissing off the green fundies.

And are you thinking of Somalia instead of Sudan? Somalia is doing surprisingly (to most people, not to me) well lately, at least compared to where they were. I have to doubt if their anarchism is stable, due to cultural issues and external influences. Still, the latter will apply anywhere.

And Rich, Ted’s right, that comment was part of on ongoing conversation, one of the few happening here.
 
Written By: Kyle Bennett
URL: http://www.humanadvancement.net/blog
Kyle,
Yes, I should have said Somalia.
Of course, the main reason you can be free from the government in parts of the Amazon isn’t government policy, it’s the lack of infrastructure and material goods. It just isn’t worth it for the government to scale waterfalls to tax natives with few material possessions. You’d have to balance building with attracting attention.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
Re: the podcast

Comparisons with slave laws or the Nazi regime may be "over-the-top nonsense" to you, but as has been made abundantly clear by Richard Nikoley, while the scale is different the principle is the same. "But it’s the law" is, morally, exactly the same as "I vas chust followink orders."
 
Written By: D. R. Zinn
URL: http://
Sorry, don’t know why it’s submittimg my comment every time I hit refresh.
 
Written By: D. R. Zinn
URL: http://
"You accepted that responsibility Dale, now live with it."

Man, I’ve seen a lot of people talking the talk online in my time.

It’s always an important moment in seeing who can walk it when the time comes.

You’re really a poser, Dale. I hate to say it but I hate even worse to see it.

You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

And that goes for everyone on his side of the thing. This is completely disgraceful.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Dale, there are reasons why confessionals are private. I haven’t read such an embarrassing tale in years. There was nothing obligating you to do what you did. It’s easy as heck to get off a jury, and if you weren’t willing to act as a juror, i.e., to examine the facts and the law, that’s what you should have done. Instead, you had to brag to us all about doing your "civic duty", which might have been praiseworthy if you’d actually done it, instead of sending a hero of American capitalism to the slammer for a decade.

Don’t tell me about the law, or the proper circumstances under which to employ jury nullification, or anything at all involving the state. Were YOU morally justified in imprisoning this guy? If you’d done it with your own guns, instead of the State’s, would it have been a moral act?
 
Written By: Jeffrey Quick
URL: http://
You came on this supposedly libertarian board and boasted about what you did?

You are absolutely beneath contempt, Franks.

 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: http://
"If you’d done it with your own guns, instead of the State’s, would it have been a moral act?"
Come on, Dale. Think about what Jeffrey’s asking you here. I’m begging you. How do you get around the thing that he just pointed out, and then stand on the whole pretext of this weblog, from which could be — and has been already — cited out chapter & verse?

Please don’t leave it more horrible than it already is, and please forget about the yelping crowd for a minute. Please tell me where the right comes from, to do this to this man.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Add me to the list of the outraged.

And where is Franks?

In the "Free Markets" of ideas, it looks like he’s put a cap on spending.

Taking away ten years of a man’s life was "an interesting process" but now Franks has nothing to say?
 
Written By: MikeSoja
URL: http://www.kayak2u.com/blog/
1) Did the accused engage in any act of aggression?

2) Did the accused in any way objectively damage you or another human as badly as you damaged him?

Yeah, I’m confused, Dale. Right and wrong isn’t a numbers game; there’s no magic number where if so many folks do something wrong, it’s now right. Besides, The Law isn’t the final arbiter of justice; at best it’s a guide. It’s not holy, it’s not divinely received wisdom; it’s just another rule book. It’s nothing more than a tool.
I would push for [nullification] in a case of injustice, but, since I live in a country where the public ultimately sets policy, policy disagreements aren’t in my view, good enough to justify it.
Does this mean that the term "injustice" more properly applies to accuracy of, or adherence to, the procedure itself rather than the result of the procedure? Like: As long as Roberts’ Rules of Order is adhered to, it’s all fair game?

I’ve been on a jury in a Canadian homicide trial, and I supported a guilty verdict. But I always saw my role as a guarantor of justice, as a protector of freedom, not as a referee of procedure (that’s the judge’s job in a jury trial). What other defense do people who should be free have when on trial, other than me sitting there?
 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northernsubverbia.blogspot.com
timactual: with respect:
I seem to get the impression from some that everyone is obligated to obey only the laws they choose to obey, if any, and are morally obliged to disobey those they disagree with.
It’s not that complicated, and not a matter of anarchism relative to libertarianism. Decisions are right or wrong regardless of the Law. So, if the ultimate idea is to "do the right thing":

You’re obligated to obey laws you think correct, and not obligated to obey laws you think wrong. That’s your obligation, and it’s primarily to yourself.
 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northernsubverbia.blogspot.com
Add me to the list of the outraged.

And where is Franks?

In the "Free Markets" of ideas, it looks like he’s put a cap on spending.

Taking away ten years of a man’s life was "an interesting process" but now Franks has nothing to say?
 
Written By: MikeSoja
URL: http://www.kayak2u.com/blog/
It’s pretty clear to me you made a mistake, Dale, nothing more and nothing less. Sure, it’s a bad mistake (and someone else is paying the worst consequences of it), but you weren’t being sneaky about it and you obviously honestly thought you were doing the right thing. You wouldn’t have posted about it, including the details of your thinking, if you hadn’t thought so, I’m sure. That’s an error of judgement, but not really a conscious, knowing, moral error.

My point is that, if you actually do understand what Billy, me, Richard and others are describing, you should know better now. If that’s the case and you do now understand, continuing to defend your actions is actually a worse mistake than what you did in the jury room.

 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northernsubverbia.blogspot.com
My point is that, if you actually do understand what Billy, me, Richard and others are describing, you should know better now.
I do understand it. I just think you’re wrong.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Billy

"Please tell me where the right comes from, to do this to this man."

Franks:

"I do understand it. I just think you’re wrong."


 
Written By: Ernest Brown
URL: http://
(crickets)
 
Written By: Ernest Brown
URL: http://
Dale, I wrote:
What other defense do people who should be free have when on trial, other than me sitting there?
I meant: when it comes to you sitting on a jury and the accused sitting in the prisoner’s dock, the right and wrong of *your* actions as an individual is primarily relative to *him* as an individual. It’s just between the two of you.

Dale, is the purpose of your participation in a trial, ultimately, to protect The Law As It Presently Stands or to protect, as purely as you understand it, right and wrong?



 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northernsubverbia.blogspot.com
Explain it, Dale. Where did the right come from?
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
In the Enlightenment period, a number of philosophers raised the idea again, among whom was John Locke, whose ideas underpinned the essentials of the American struggle for self-government. Locke posited that the only legitimate government was one that exercised its powers with the explicit consent of the populace. With these ideas in mind, the Founders wrote up an explicit social contract for the United States, which we call the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The thing is, though, the electorate is not voting to take away your rights. They are voting on whether or not they wish to cede a portion of their rights. They are not selecting a certain class of people and denying them a right that they reserve for themselves. Instead, they are deciding whether or not to change the social contract the voluntarily forego a specific right in order accomplish a desired societal goal.
The tribe has spoken.
 
Written By: trevalyan
URL: http://
Trevalyan,

Nice catch. There is no such thing as a "social contract." It is a false analogy.
 
Written By: Ernest Brown
URL: http://
"The thing is, though, the electorate is not voting to take away your rights. They are voting on whether or not they wish to cede a portion of their rights. They are not selecting a certain class of people and denying them a right that they reserve for themselves. Instead, they are deciding whether or not to change the social contract the voluntarily forego a specific right in order accomplish a desired societal goal."

Such reasoning ends in Toohey, always:

"The basic trouble with the modern world … is the intellectual fallacy that freedom and compulsion are opposites. To solve the gigantic problems crushing the world today, we must clarify our mental confusion. We must acquire a philosophical perspective. In essence, freedom and compulsion are one. Let me give you a simple illustration. Traffic lights restrain your freedom to cross a street whenever you wish. But this restraint gives you the freedom from being run over by a truck. If you were assigned to a job and prohibited from leaving it, it would restrain the freedom of your career. But it would give you freedom from the fear of unemployment. Whenever a new compulsion is forced upon us, we automatically gain a new freedom. The two are inseparable. Only by accepting total compulsion can we achieve total freedom."
The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand

(hat tip to Laura, from the "Canada" thread)
 
Written By: Ernest Brown
URL: http://
"It’s pretty clear to me you made a mistake, Dale, nothing more and nothing less..... If that’s the case and you do now understand, continuing to defend your actions is actually a worse mistake than what you did in the jury room."

Just so, Ron. The act itself was bad. But Dale may have gone into the thing with the best intentions in the world, and chickened out if the face of the State. I’m the guy who fills out his income tax religiously, so I’m certainly not equipped to judge that. But I don’t go around flashing it as a badge of pride either. I was wrong; this is no confessional, as there’s no contrition here, or even knowledge of sin. And that’s the problem, and it makes it hard to credit him with good intentions.

Look at that "befouling" thing, how vividly Dale painted that, almost as if he were there. Well, he was there, in spirit. He read the judge’s instructions, and s**t himself. He thinks that because he’s wearing a brown suit, we won’t notice. But it stinks. And the only thing to do is to come clean and go forward.

Dale, how does it feel to be the Jim Zumbo of the freedom blogosphere?

 
Written By: Jeffrey Quick
URL: http://

 
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