THE JUDGE IN FULL COSTUME
Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of Daniel Millis, convicted of littering because he left sealed bottles of drinking water in a desert wildlife refuge. He explained that he left them "along frequently traveled routes for unlawful entrants to the United States." He belongs to a group called "No More Deaths," and the opinion quotes his testimony: "humanitarian aide [sic] is never a crime."
The majority overturned his conviction because a reasonable person might not understand that leaving drinking water for people dying of thirst is littering. The United States countered that the water bottles constitute "garbage" in the sense of the statute. After foraging through some dictionary definitions of "garbage" and "discarded," the majority concludes that the regulation is too ambiguous to enforce in this case.
Judge Jay Bybee - he of the torture memo - dissents. Littering is littering, and Bybee finds that the regulation is as clear as a sunny day in the desert. This is the same Jay Bybee who thinks that terms like "torture" and "severe suffering" are so vague that it would be unfair to apply statutes prohibiting them to interrogators who waterboard people and keep them awake for a week at a time, naked and hanging in chains.
I found this link fascinating.
The writer has real insight into hypocrisy and at the same type he has a grasp upon how our legal system works.
The first thing that came to mind is that littering should be de minimis in most people’s minds.
When someone was arrested on a de minimis charge, criminal attorneys would lump the charge into the category of: Lurking with intent to loiter.
In the old westerns, you might hear the phrase: Spitting on the sidewalk.
Don’t get me wrong. I do not appreciate it when people spit on the sidewalk. I do not appreciate it when people discard garbage on the sidewalk or the street for that matter.
And I would be the first to applaud the work of a district attorney—state or federal—charging a large manufacturing firm for violating ERA regs on the state or federal level.
What this case means to me is that the forces of evil and good are always at work in our courts; every hour of every day.
I wish I had the entire opinion but the reader has to understand that some DA decided to charge a person with fine and civilized intent with a crime; a felony.
The defendant was facing fines and jail time along with a record that could remove certain rights of citizenship.
Some Federal Judge went along with all this. The judge allowed the charge to stand.
The defendant was attempting to help humanity. The defendant was attempting to provide a life sustaining package to those lost in the desert.
Somewhere along the line, some officer of the law ‘had it out’ for this fellow. Some officer of the law entrapped this fellow. Some officer of the law was going to prove something.
And this officer of the law—whether it was a park ranger or some enforcer of state or federal regulations—was attempting to prove a point.
The D.A. put tons of taxpayer resources to this ‘project’.
This D.A. could have used those resources to investigate bribery and extortion on the political level.
This D.A. could have used those resources to investigate tax cheats.
This D.A. could have used those resources to investigate corporate fraud of management in the furtherance of shareholder rights.
This D.A. could have used those resources to investigate deaths or illnesses related to corporate polluters.
And here was Bybee, on an appellate panel, with a staff scanning meaningless pleadings.
And here was Bybee, on an appellate panel, ready to discover fine distinctions in statutory and regulatory language.
And here was Bybee, on an appellate panel, ready to kick the little guy right in the balls.
And the author of this blurb saw through it right away.
One of the authors of pure bullshit dedicated to the most criminal actions of the most criminal Presidential Administrations in the history of this great nation, was caught.
And how many people will ever even hear about this fraud, this felon who sits upon a great panel of justice looking down at the masses with contempt.