Category Archives: Crime & Punishment

Calling Good “Evil” and Evil “Good”

Today Chief Justice Roy Moore of the State of Alabama issued a directive instructing his State’s probate judges to obey their State Constitution which forbids same sex marriages instead of a federal court decision that says that their constitutional amendment is “unconstitutional.” Unfortunately America’s Supreme Court has acted so unconstitutionally over the past sixty years that they have now destroyed the foundations upon which American civilization existed. Today neither legislators nor the people themselves can implement a righteous law. They can pass new laws and constitutional amends which uphold moral principles, but America’s federal judges and Supreme Court declare them “unconstitutional” every time. We cannot even protect an unborn baby from barbaric “partial-birth abortion” these days. We live in a sick time when sick men and women rule the world.

It’s good to see a judge stand up for principles of righteousness in this sad day of debauchery and lawlessness. I applaud Chief Justice Roy Moore of the State of Alabama!

Here’s a news report on what Judge Moore is trying to do.

Read what Justice Thomas said about today’s Supreme Court action.

 

Grand Jury – Should the Prosecutor Seek Indictments or Justice?

Grand Jury – Should the Prosecutor Seek Indictments or Justice?

by Jaired Hall, Esquire

I want to look more into the Missouri Statutes that apply specifically and exclusively to law enforcement officers and their use of force, but in the meantime, here are some more thoughts about the grand jury process and what happened in Ferguson.

I find the whole grand jury process interesting.

In my experience, prosecutor’s use them to pretty much get whatever charges they want straight to the trial phase of the court system.

99% (or thereabouts) of criminal defendants can’t afford to fight a case to trial, and therefore, it’s easy for a prosecutor to pay little attention to how good or bad the case is. Once he shoves through an indictment, the next most likely thing he’ll get is a plea deal.

And by the way, I’m sitting here in Texas County where the 99% of people I’m talking about who end up pleading out because they can’t afford a trial are white people.

I was pleasantly surprised one day a year or so ago when a prosecutor from a nearby county called me and said, “I understand you’re representing the accused. We’re doing a grand jury over here. If you have any evidence that you believe the jury should be aware of, I’d be happy to present it to them along with the other evidence. I gave him some stuff, and the indictment that came down was for a misdemeanor (which ended up getting thrown out shortly thereafter). The prosecutor was fair, and when he could have gotten multiple felonies, he came out with a misdemeanor.

I think there is no question that the prosecutor in the Michael Brown case could have presented the evidence in a way that would easily have resulted in an indictment for first degree murder.

I think it’s also pretty likely that a trial would have resulted in a not guilty verdict.

A prosecutor’s job isn’t to make a victim’s family happy by prosecuting a legally unwinable case. A prosecutor’s job is to win cases against those who have committed a crime. An affirmative defense isn’t *just* something the defendant brings forward — the defendant brings it forward to convince the jury that *no crime* was committed.

A prosecutor who has a really weak case will not even file. This prosecutor may have considered the case a clear loser, but for the sake of exhaustive fairness and justice, he presented very thorough evidence to a grand jury.

Here’s an interesting article: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/25/legal-scholars-praise-ferguson-grand-jury-fairness/

What should a prosecutor try to be accomplishing with a grand jury?

If a prosecutor has a really bad case, he should just decline to file charges at all, and not even seek an indictment.

But is that even an option in a high profile case? In a high profile case, the prosecutor is not, in my opinion, suddenly mandated to take a case all the way to the trial stage. For one thing, no one likes to lose a big trial. For another thing, I don’t think it’s ethical to make someone go through a murder trial (or any criminal trial for that matter) if the prosecutor truly believes the jury will find the person not guilty. But finally, when the stakes are high (such as in the Ferguson case, or any case where someone is killed) the prosecutor should not take the weight of the decision on his own shoulders. It is, in these instances, appropriate to make the citizens of the area in the form of a grand jury make that weighty decision.

(From Jaired B. Hall’s Blog)

We’re All Criminals and Outlaws in the Eyes of the American Police State

Commentary


We’re All Criminals and Outlaws in the Eyes of the American Police State

By John W. Whitehead 
August 04, 2014

“Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little.”—“Rough Justice in America,” The Economist

Why are we seeing such an uptick in Americans being arrested for such absurd “violations” as letting their kids play at a park unsupervised, collecting rainwater and snow runoff on their own property, growing vegetables in their yard, and holding Bible studies in their living room?

Mind you, we’re not talking tickets or fines or even warnings being issued to these so-called “lawbreakers.” We’re talking felony charges, handcuffs, police cars, mug shots, pat downs, jail cells and criminal records.

Consider what happened to Nicole Gainey, the Florida mom who was arrested and charged with child neglect for allowing her 7-year-old son to visit a neighborhood playground located a half mile from their house.

For the so-called “crime” of allowing her son to play at the park unsupervised, Gainey was interrogated, arrested and handcuffed in front of her son, and transported to the local jail where she was physically searched, fingerprinted, photographed and held for seven hours and then forced to pay almost $4000 in bond in order to return to her family. Gainey’s family and friends were subsequently questioned by the Dept. of Child Services. Gainey now faces a third-degree criminal felony charge that carries with it a fine of up to $5,000 and 5 years in jail.

For Denise Stewart, just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, whether or not she had done anything wrong, was sufficient to get her arrested.

The 48-year-old New York grandmother was dragged half-naked out of her apartment and handcuffed after police mistakenly raided her home when responding to a domestic disturbance call. Although it turns out the 911 call came from a different apartment on a different floor, Stewart is still facing charges of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

And then there are those equally unfortunate individuals who unknowingly break laws they never even knew existed. John Yates is such a person. A commercial fisherman, Yates was sentenced to 30 days in prison and three years of supervised release for throwing back into the water some small fish which did not meet the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s size restrictions. Incredibly, Yates was charged with violating a document shredding provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was intended to prevent another Enron scandal.

The list of individuals who have suffered similar injustices at the hands of a runaway legal system is growing, ranging from the orchid grower jailed for improper paperwork and the lobstermen charged with importing lobster tails in plastic bags rather than cardboard boxes to the former science teacher labeled a federal criminal for digging for arrowheads in his favorite campsite.

As awful as these incidents are, however, it’s not enough to simply write them off as part of the national trend towards overcriminalization—although it is certainly that. Thanks to an overabundance of 4500-plus federal crimes and 400,000 plus rules and regulations, it’s estimated that the average American actually commits three felonies a day without knowing it.

Nor can we just chalk them up as yet another symptom of an overzealous police state in which militarized police attack first and ask questions later—although it is that, too.

Nor is the problem that we’re a crime-ridden society. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The number of violent crimes in the country is down substantially, the lowest rate in 40 years, while the number of Americans being jailed for nonviolent crimes, such as driving with a suspended license, are skyrocketing.

So what’s really behind this drive to label Americans as criminals?

As with most things, if you want to know the real motives behind any government program, follow the money trail. When you dig down far enough, as I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, you quickly find that those who profit from Americans being arrested are none other than the police who arrest them, the courts which try them, the prisons which incarcerate them, and the corporations, which manufacture the weapons and equipment used by police, build and run the prisons, and profit from the cheap prison labor.

Talk about a financial incentive.

First, there’s the whole make-work scheme. In the absence of crime, in order to keep the police and their related agencies employed, occupied, and utilizing the many militarized “toys” passed along by the Department of Homeland Security, one must invent new crimes—overcriminalization—and new criminals to be spied on, targeted, tracked, raided, arrested, prosecuted and jailed. Enter the police state.

Second, there’s the profit-incentive for states to lock up large numbers of Americans in private prisons. Just as police departments have quotas for how many tickets are issued and arrests made per month—a number tied directly to revenue—states now have quotas to meet for how many Americans go to jail. Having outsourced their inmate population to private prisons run by corporations such as Corrections Corp of America and the GEO Group, ostensibly as a way to save money, increasing numbers of states have contracted to keep their prisons at 90% to 100% capacity. This profit-driven form of mass punishment has, in turn, given rise to a $70 billion private prison industry that relies on the complicity of state governments to keep the money flowing and their privately run prisons full. No wonder the United States has the largest prison population in the world.

But what do you do when you’ve contracted to keep your prisons full but crime rates are falling? Easy. You create new categories of crime and render otherwise law-abiding Americans criminals. Notice how we keep coming full circle back to the point where it’s average Americans like you and me being targeted and turned into enemies of the state?

That brings me to the third factor contributing to Americans being arrested, charged with outrageous “crimes,” and jailed: the Corporate State’s need for profit and cheap labor. Not content to just lock up millions of people, corporations have also turned prisoners into forced laborers.

According to professors Steve Fraser and Joshua B. Freeman, “All told, nearly a million prisoners are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles, shoes, and clothing, while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73 per day.” Tens of thousands of inmates in U.S. prisons are making all sorts of products, from processing agricultural products like milk and beef, to packaging Starbucks coffee, to shrink-wrapping software for companies like Microsoft, to sewing lingerie for Victoria’s Secret.

What some Americans may not have realized, however, is that America’s economy has come to depend in large part on prison labor. “Prison labor reportedly produces 100 percent of military helmets, shirts, pants, tents, bags, canteens, and a variety of other equipment. Prison labor makes circuit boards for IBM, Texas Instruments, and Dell. Many McDonald’s uniforms are sewn by inmates. Other corporations—Microsoft, Victoria’s Secret, Boeing, Motorola, Compaq, Revlon, and Kmart—also benefit from prison labor.” The resulting prison labor industries, which rely on cheap, almost free labor, are doing as much to put the average American out of work as the outsourcing of jobs to China and India.

No wonder America is criminalizing mundane activities, arresting Americans for minor violations, and locking them up for long stretches of time. There’s a significant amount of money being made by the police, the courts, the prisons, and the corporations.

What we’re witnessing is the expansion of corrupt government power in the form of corporate partnerships which both increase the reach of the state into our private lives while also adding a profit motive into the mix, with potentially deadly consequences.

This perverse mixture of government authoritarianism and corporate profits is now the prevailing form of organization in American society today. We are not a nation dominated by corporations, nor are we a nation dominated by government. We are a nation dominated by corporations and government together, in partnership, against the interests of individuals, society and ultimately our freedoms.

If it sounds at all conspiratorial, the idea that a government would jail its citizens so corporations can make a profit, then you don’t know your history very well. It has been well documented that Nazi Germany forced inmates into concentration camps such as Auschwitz to provide cheap labor to BASF, Bayer, Hoechst, and other major German chemical and pharmaceutical companies, much of it to produce products for European countries.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it, whether what we are experiencing right now is fascism, American style, or Auschwitz revisited?

Printed from The Rutherford Institute

Property Rights Bill Introduced After Va. Woman Threatened with Fines for Kids’ Birthday Party

“Local officials who abuse zoning authority powers to cower citizens into submission and deprive land owners of Constitutional rights in the enjoyment of their land must be subject to fines and actual damages they cause including attorney fees,” Delegate Bob Marshall noted in support of his HB 1219 recently introduced in the Virginia General Assembly.

Marshall introduced his bill in direct response to incidents precipitated by county officials who threatened Virginia citizen farmer Martha Boneta. Boneta gained national attention after she was cited and threatened with $5,000 per-day fines for hosting such ‘menacing activities’ as a birthday party for eight 10-year old girls without a permit and advertising pumpkin carvings. Virginians rallied at two “pitchfork protests” in support of Boneta.

Marshall said, “I am convinced this harassment will continue until local officials realize they can be held liable in the form of fines and other costs.” H.B. 1219 provides that local governments violating constitutional rights through zoning shall pay their victims (1) the amount of the fines they sought to impose, and (2) actual damages including attorney fees.  Local government officials who intentionally violate this law would also be liable.

Martha Boneta said, “I am confident that I would not have been bullied by my county government had this bill been in place earlier, and I ask all Virginians to contact their delegates and senators to support H.B. 1219, which protects all of us.”

There is long-time precedent for remedies against government officials who abuse their power to violate the rights of citizens. H.B. 1219’s remedies mean Virginians don’t need to go broke protecting their rights on their own property.

In addition to authorizing private citizens to files suits for damages, H.B. 1219 allows the Virginia Attorney General to intervene on behalf of victims. It also provides whistleblower protections for government employees who expose violations of this law.

– See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/mark-fitzgibbons/property-rights-bill-introduced-after-va-woman-threatened-fines-kids#sthash.Hho3bOVc.VLORLDnY.dpuf

This is a very common sense approach to stop infringement upon citizen’s property rights. I suggest you urge your local Missouri Representative or Senator to sponsor and vote for similar legislation.

Know Your Rights

Police confront American citizens every day in a variety of ways.  It is important that every American know, understand, and exercise their constitutional rights. Click here for a quick summary of your rights and how to put them to use.

If you believe your constitutional rights have been violated by law enforcement in the State of Missouri then call Glenn Hall at the Hall Law Firm LLC for competent, professional help.

No Longer a Christian Nation

For more than 50 years the Supreme Court and other federal courts have been dismantling and destroying the foundations of our once great nation.  For most of our history our laws were based upon the solid canon of Old Testament laws. Now courts routinely declare Biblical laws upholding morality to be unconstitutional. Virtually no state legislature, nor Congress, can, for example, pass laws these days to prohibit abortions or homosexual marriage. We now live in a society where good, such as Biblical laws upholding traditional marriage, are considered evil, and where evil, such as laws allowing abortion on demand, are declared to be good.

When our leaders and highest institutions of law and government call good evil and evil good the people become confused and can longer repent of their sins and the evil deeds they find themselves doing. After all, our highest courts now declare many of those deeds to be good. How long will it be, for example, until pedophilia and child pornography are considered to be rights protected by the United States Constitution? It is for this reason that we see such pervasive lawlessness throughout our society today. No one is really safe from theft, murder, or violent sexual assault.

Today I received word of yet another federal court decision driving still another stake into the almost dead heart of America. Now a Christian cross cannot be erected at a veteran’s memorial. Read about it by clicking here.

Is Participating in Evil the “Price of Citizenship” in the US Now?

A justice on the New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that a wedding photographer should have snapped photos of a homosexual ceremony, calling that obligation the “price of citizenship.” Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Elane Photography, released a press release late Thursday that included the words of Justice Richard C. Bosson.

In the ruling, Justice Bosson wrote that at times people “must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others” in what he called a “multicultural, pluralistic society.”

“Government-coerced expression is a feature of dictatorships that has no place in a free country,” ADF attorney Jordan Lorence says. “This decision is a blow to our client and every American’s right to live free.The court stated in its ruling that the couple has “to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different.” Lorence interprets that to mean anti-discrimination laws in New Mexico can be used to discriminate against Christians.

“The discrimination laws simply cannot be applied in this manner to force people to present messages that they don’t agree with,” he tells OneNewsNow.

Lorence, Jordan (ADF)

“Decisions like this undermine the constitutionally protected freedoms of expression and conscience that we have all taken for granted,” the attorney continues. “America was founded on the fundamental freedom of every citizen to live and work according to their beliefs and not to be compelled by the government to express ideas and messages they decline to support.”

Elaine Huguenin and her husband refused a lesbian couple’s request to photograph their wedding in 2006. One of the women, Vanessa Willock, filed a complaint with the state’s Human Rights Commission, which ordered the photographer to pay approximately $6,600 for sexual orientation discrimination.

Lorence said ADF is considering appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to “right this wrong.”

ADF had already lost the case in a lower court before it was appealed to the New Mexico Supreme Court last August.

– See more at: http://onenewsnow.com//legal-courts/2013/08/22/religious-liberty-vs-a-little-compromise-nm-court-rules-for-compromise#.UheqPNJ4w_c

For another commentary on this type of decision by a judge see the article linked here.

Bond Reduction

When a court first issues a warrant for arrest for someone charged with crime they usually set a “cash only” bond of $7,000 or more. This means that when someone is arrested they will have to pay that specific amount in cash to the court before they can be released from jail. Most people do not have $7,000 in cash, must less more than that. This means that the charged defendant must sit in jail until he raises $7,000 or more or hires a good attorney to file court pleadings to reduce his or her bond.

The prudent thing to do therefore, when one is arrested, is to immediately hire an attorney. As your attorney I will file an entrance of appearance in your case and a motion to reduce your bond at the same time. I am usually able to get your bond reduced within 24 to 48 hours after you retain this firm.

I work with several bondsmen in this area including some who are willing to write your bond for as little as $100 down. For example, if the judge sustains my motion to reduce your bond of $7,000 cash to $5,000 cash or surety bond, then the bondsman will charge you a total of $500 for your bond, but you will be able to get your bond issued for as little as $100 and then make payments. This means that you will  usually be able to get out of jail very quickly after contacting and retaining this law firm.

Call The Hall Law Firm LLC today at 573-729-2229 and ask to speak to Glenn Hall.

Criminal Law

During my 24 years of practicing law I have handled a wide variety of criminal law cases. My cases have included everything from minor traffic tickets to rape cases. In fact my last two jury trials were rape cases wherein both of my clients were found “Not Guilty.” I tried one of those cases in Dent County Missouri and the other in Washington County Missouri.

I do not recommend going to trial on every case. If a client has actually committed the crime he or she was charged with, then I usually recommend accepting the prosecuting attorney’s plea bargain if one is offered.

I look at every case individually and then give my best advice to my client. If you need a good criminal law attorney, then call me, Glenn Hall, today at 573-729-2229.

Lifetime Ban for Drunk Driving?

Lifetime Ban for Drunk Driving

Well, it doesn’t say the driver was drunk, and I’m guessing that there was an original charge of drunk driving that the prosecutor ended up dropping, but this kid sure smashed up his car, badly.

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/national_world&id=8566930&rss=rss-kabc-article-8566930

And so the Rhode Island judge banned him from getting a driver’s license FOR LIFE.

The first articles I read about the story bothered me—it sounded way too harsh. Then I read that one of his passengers ended up in a coma for weeks. No one died, but a week long coma?

What troubles me about the judge’s sentence is that he said he was doing it to “send a message” to others that Rhode Island doesn’t tolerate reckless driving.

That’s great, this teenager isn’t all those other drivers. He did what he did, and the punishment needs to fit his crime.

Banning people from driving can seem like a good idea because, theoretically, it keeps them off the road. After all, that’s what we want to accomplish.

In my limited experience, banning people from driving rarely keeps people off the road—it merely makes them repeat “criminals.” The people that suspensions and bans do keep off the road tend to be the people who learned their lesson and are not going to do anything stupid with their cars or while driving again anyway.

If this guy drives again while his license is still banned, he could end up in prison. If this guy doesn’t drive again, this act could possibly cause a detrimental impact on him for the rest of his life. If the injuries he caused to his passengers have long term detrimental impact, then maybe it is just and fitting to cause him problems for the rest of his life.

Also, I believe the Rhode Island law does permit a judge in the future to lift the ban and allow him to get his driver’s license again. Thus, if this guy rises above his past and proves he’s a responsible, hard working, diligent adult, then he may be able to see a little grace to soften the harsh justice his careless deeds ran him into.

I’m a bit torn about whether the punishment fit the crime in this case. I disagree that it’s appropriate to slam someone with a harsh punishment because the judge wants to send other people a message. Justice is about what the defendant in question did, not about scaring other people.

Further reading:

http://articles.boston.com/2012-03-02/news/31117742_1_ri-judge-lifetime-ban

http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20220305harsh_judgment_ri_jurists_lifetime_drive_ban_for_teen_went_too_far_say_bay_state_pols

http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2012/03/ri-judge-imposes-lifetime-driving-ban-on-teenager-for-serious-reckless-crash.html