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Court: Silence Can Be Used Against Suspects
AP ^ | Aug 15, 2014 | PAUL ELIAS

Posted on 08/15/2014 3:47:36 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar

The California Supreme Court has ruled that the silence of suspects can be used against them.

Wading into a legally tangled vehicular manslaughter case, a sharply divided high court on Thursday effectively reinstated the felony conviction of a man accused in a 2007 San Francisco Bay Area crash that left an 8-year-old girl dead and her sister and mother injured.

Richard Tom was sentenced to seven years in prison for manslaughter after authorities said he was speeding and slammed into another vehicle at a Redwood City intersection.

Prosecutors repeatedly told jurors during the trial that Tom's failure to ask about the victims immediately after the crash but before police read him his so-called Miranda rights showed his guilt.

(Excerpt) Read more at hosted.ap.org ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Front Page News
KEYWORDS: california; richardtom
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1 posted on 08/15/2014 3:47:36 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
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To: Jet Jaguar

silence will be held against you?

then just babble about the weather or whatever comes to mind that has no bearing on the case


2 posted on 08/15/2014 3:51:03 PM PDT by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: sten

5th Amendment?


3 posted on 08/15/2014 3:51:45 PM PDT by research99
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To: Jet Jaguar

I may not like the guy, but the court seems to have lost it’s collective mind on this one.

“You have the right to remain silent!”

Didn’t these fools ever watch Dragnet?


4 posted on 08/15/2014 3:53:40 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (We'll know when he's really hit bottom. They'll start referring to him as White.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

meanwhile, as any attorney would tell you... never speak to the cops without an attorney present

which, of course, they would say implies guilt and not prudent judgement

guess they don’t need evidence to prove your guilt... just a feeling that you’re probably guilty


5 posted on 08/15/2014 3:53:51 PM PDT by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: research99

Amendments? Blasphemy!

you must be some rabid extremist tea party guy!


6 posted on 08/15/2014 3:55:39 PM PDT by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: Jet Jaguar

From the Excerpt: “Prosecutors repeatedly told jurors during the trial that Tom’s failure to ask about the victims immediately after the crash but before police read him his so-called Miranda rights showed his guilt.”

WOW! I’ve been told since I could drive....well even before I could drive I’d heard if involved in an accident one should always keep one’s mouth shut, present the driver’s license upon request, and only answer the questions asked of oneself, immediately notify the insurance company. THAT is all.

So the silence one is supposed to maintain to keep from admitting guilt is now guilt!?


7 posted on 08/15/2014 3:57:07 PM PDT by rockinqsranch ((Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will. They ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.))
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To: research99
Once the police read you your Miranda warnings, you can remain silent and it can't be used against you. The issue in this case was the defendant's silence before the police read him the Miranda warnings. (The prosecutor argued to the jury that the defendant was guilty of manslaughter, not just reckless driving, because he smashed into another car and never asked if the passengers in it were OK-- thus, according to the prosecutor, demonstrating his "indifference to human life".)

This is a very unsettled area of the law; the California Supreme Court split 4-3 on the issue, and it might well wind up at SCOTUS.

8 posted on 08/15/2014 3:57:19 PM PDT by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: Lurking Libertarian

“This is a very unsettled area of the law; the California Supreme Court split 4-3 on the issue, and it might well wind up at SCOTUS.”

WOW! is all I can say. It had better end up at SCOTUS, because this isn’t right. Goes against all the traditional shut your mouth advice from way back.


9 posted on 08/15/2014 4:03:15 PM PDT by rockinqsranch ((Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will. They ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.))
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To: Jet Jaguar

This WILL be overturned.


10 posted on 08/15/2014 4:05:51 PM PDT by savedbygrace (But God!)
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To: Jet Jaguar; xzins

The fifth amendment was designed to prevent the government from forcing you to testify in a trial in which you are the accused. I think is is perfectly legitimate for the government to use evidence of your demeanor following a crime including your failure to ask about the condition of a child that was critically injured in a crash in which you were involved.

Are we supposed to ignore such relevant evidence just because it might incriminate him? No, in this case his silence was as good as a confession. Sometimes that’s just how it turns out.

I have been thrown off juries because they asked if I could ignore the fact that a defendant didn’t take the stand. I replied that it is something I would have to take into account.

“Thank you Mr. Marlowe. You are excused.”


11 posted on 08/15/2014 4:13:08 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (There can be no Victory without a fight and no battle without wounds)
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To: Jet Jaguar

The magic moment of miranda? Your rights don’t count until we tell you about them?


12 posted on 08/15/2014 4:13:51 PM PDT by Usagi_yo (I don't have a soul, I'm a soul that has a body. -- Unknown)
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To: savedbygrace; xzins
This WILL be overturned.

Don't bet on it. His silence in the situation was relevant evidence independent of any statement of incrimination. It is one thing to button your lip, but it is entirely another thing to act indifferent to people who are dead or dying in a car wreck in which you were involved.

That was the issue. And that is why it is a correct ruling.

13 posted on 08/15/2014 4:23:09 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (There can be no Victory without a fight and no battle without wounds)
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To: Jet Jaguar

So basically in CA...

You have the right to remain silent and have it used against you. Anything you say or don’t say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning, which will be sued against you because only a guilty person needs a attorney. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.


14 posted on 08/15/2014 4:25:44 PM PDT by matt04
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To: matt04

Can someone please tell me the day when the Miranda case became a cause celeb to constitutional Conservatives?

I have always believed that if you are too stupid to know your rights then you shouldn’t have to have some government flunky explain them to you before you shoot your mouth off about a crime you have just committed.

Miranda was a really stupid decision. But everyone here seems to treat it like the holy grail of conservative constitutional principles.


15 posted on 08/15/2014 4:31:48 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (There can be no Victory without a fight and no battle without wounds)
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To: Abathar; Abcdefg; Abram; Abundy; albertp; Alexander Rubin; Allosaurs_r_us; amchugh; ...



Libertarian ping! Click here to get added or here to be removed or post a message here!

16 posted on 08/15/2014 4:32:52 PM PDT by bamahead (Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master. -- Sallust)
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To: P-Marlowe

Sorry, but I cannot agree with you here. That Mr. Tom did not ask about the people in the other vehicle is a fact. The prosecutors ASSUMED that this fact somehow demonstrated Tom’s guilt, when it did no such thing. Someone who can’t distinguish between evidence and assumption, or who thinks that silence is “as good as a confession”, should be thrown off juries.


17 posted on 08/15/2014 4:36:15 PM PDT by HartleyMBaldwin
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To: P-Marlowe

“The fifth amendment was designed to prevent the government from forcing you to testify in a trial in which you are the accused.”

Well, then, how about the 1st amendment? SCOTUS has already ruled that inherent in the First Amendment to free speech is the right not to speak/remain silent.


18 posted on 08/15/2014 4:38:30 PM PDT by spel_grammer_an_punct_polise (Why does every totalitarian political hack think that he knows how to run my life better than I do?)
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To: P-Marlowe

I don’t have any problem with reading something into a person’s refusal to testify in his own trial.

What I have trouble with is the warning “anything you say can and will be used against you.” It’s the WILL part that is chilling. It sounds like they’re saying, “who cares about truth, we’re going to try to twist everything you say.”

Most of my commanders and I in the military would always tell our young troops to say nothing to CID. CID has a problem of some really over-the-top agents. They seemed to be breathing, talking examples of the “we’re gonna twist what you say...”


19 posted on 08/15/2014 4:45:11 PM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: P-Marlowe

I don’t have any problem with reading something into a person’s refusal to testify in his own trial.

What I have trouble with is the warning “anything you say can and will be used against you.” It’s the WILL part that is chilling. It sounds like they’re saying, “who cares about truth, we’re going to try to twist everything you say.”

Most of my commanders and I in the military would always tell our young troops to say nothing to CID. CID has a problem of some really over-the-top agents. They seemed to be breathing, talking examples of the “we’re gonna twist what you say...”


20 posted on 08/15/2014 4:45:43 PM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: P-Marlowe; savedbygrace

I’m not familiar with the facts of this case. Did the police not know someone was injured?


21 posted on 08/15/2014 4:48:16 PM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: P-Marlowe
And that is why it is a correct ruling.

It's not that easy.

"How are the people in that car?"

"Which car is that?"

"The one over there."

"You mean the one you hit when you were speeding?"

"I didn't say that. You know, the other car."

...

Being forced to open your mouth to avoid being considered as wantonly indifferent to human life necessarily requires you to risk incriminating yourself.

We may now need to learn how to plead the Fifth along with Driver's Ed.

22 posted on 08/15/2014 4:48:51 PM PDT by Kennard
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To: DoughtyOne

““You have the right to remain silent!”

Didn’t these fools ever watch Dragnet?”

Didn’t you read the story?


23 posted on 08/15/2014 4:50:06 PM PDT by TexasGator
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To: P-Marlowe
P-Marlowe said: "But everyone here seems to treat it like the holy grail of conservative constitutional principles."

The overwhelming benefit of the Miranda warning was that it assured that the cops knew your rights and were aware of their obligation to respect them.

It's pretty hard to tell a person in one breath, "You have the right to remain silent" and then in the next breath tell them that if you don't speak you will be charged with a crime.

It's similarly difficult to tell a person one minute that "You have a right to an attorney before any questioning" and then insist that they answer your questions without the benefit of an attorney.

If you don't believe that cops have coerced confessions out of innocent people then you haven't been paying attention.

24 posted on 08/15/2014 4:51:09 PM PDT by William Tell
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To: Jet Jaguar

So the Government controls what Criminal Charges are to be brought against the Citizen.

The Government then controls what Evidence May be introduced in said Trial.

The Government controls and decides WHO can be a witness and what they can say, and who may Represent the defendant and their speech also.

The government then tells the JURY What their law means and that they cannot deviate regardless of the circumstance, Which is an Out and Out LIE, Jury Nullification has ALWAYS been the Safeguard the people had against Tyranny and has been used to nullify bad law throughout history

Why do we have trials anyway??


25 posted on 08/15/2014 4:51:43 PM PDT by eyeamok
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To: Usagi_yo

our rights predate the constitution. they come from God. the fed and state constitutions guarantee them, they are not the originators of those rights.


26 posted on 08/15/2014 4:53:46 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man ( Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: Jet Jaguar; Travis McGee
The California Supreme Court has ruled that the silence of suspects can be used against them.

California has gone full-on Communist.

Saw California's conversion to a Stalinist State coming for two decades.

27 posted on 08/15/2014 4:53:51 PM PDT by Lazamataz (First we beat the Soviet Union. Then we became them.)
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To: xzins
It sounds like they’re saying, “who cares about truth, we’re going to try to twist everything you say.”

Well, duh--it's not "like" they're saying that, they are saying that.

28 posted on 08/15/2014 4:55:25 PM PDT by Age of Reason
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To: savedbygrace
This WILL be overturned.

As a full-on Communist Collective, California will find a way around it.

Hell, they just might set up checkpoints at the border and a Berlin Wall, and ignore the ruling altogether.

29 posted on 08/15/2014 4:55:37 PM PDT by Lazamataz (First we beat the Soviet Union. Then we became them.)
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To: HartleyMBaldwin; xzins
That Mr. Tom did not ask about the people in the other vehicle is a fact.

Under the ACLU interpretation of the constitution that would be a "FACT" which the jury should not be apprised of. Would you agree that the jury should be precluded from knowing that Mr. Tom held his tongue while a little girl was dying in front of him?

The prosecutors ASSUMED that this fact somehow demonstrated Tom’s guilt, when it did no such thing.

They argued it. The jury agreed with their argument. It is a logical conclusion to draw.

Someone who can’t distinguish between evidence and assumption, or who thinks that silence is “as good as a confession”, should be thrown off juries.

The jury is instructed to draw reasonable inferences from the evidence. If he was silent, they were free to draw whatever inference they could from that fact. It is relevant to his demeanor at the time of the accident and is hence, evidence of a guilty conscience.

I will ask you again. Should the jury have been prohibited from knowing this FACT? Or should it have come in as evidence?"

30 posted on 08/15/2014 4:56:48 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (There can be no Victory without a fight and no battle without wounds)
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To: Kennard; P-Marlowe
You're absolutely right, Kennard.

When you open your mouth without legal counsel, things you say in complete innocence can be twisted and used against you.

31 posted on 08/15/2014 4:58:34 PM PDT by Age of Reason
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To: Age of Reason

They cannot possibly be saying that. It would be saying, “We’ll abuse our office and commit fraud if necessary.” How could a court order everyone to be given a warning that the system is allowed to fraudulently convict you?


32 posted on 08/15/2014 4:58:40 PM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: P-Marlowe
I think is is perfectly legitimate for the government to use evidence of your demeanor following a crime including your failure to ask about the condition of a child that was critically injured in a crash in which you were involved.

I sure hope you are not an attorney or in any way associated with the jurisprudence system.

Asking about the other parties condition could ALSO be introduced, as a 'guilty conscience' presumption of guilt.

Silence IS the correct behavior, ALL speaking should be done through an attorney.

California just nullified that.

33 posted on 08/15/2014 4:59:14 PM PDT by Lazamataz (First we beat the Soviet Union. Then we became them.)
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To: P-Marlowe; HartleyMBaldwin; xzins
Would you agree that the jury should be precluded from knowing that Mr. Tom held his tongue while a little girl was dying in front of him?

It should have no bearing on the decision of the jury.

34 posted on 08/15/2014 5:05:35 PM PDT by Age of Reason
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To: Lazamataz; xzins; Jet Jaguar
I sure hope you are not an attorney or in any way associated with the jurisprudence system.

Yes I am an attorney.

Asking about the other parties condition could ALSO be introduced, as a 'guilty conscience' presumption of guilt.

In this case the issue was not being guilty of causing the crash, the issue was whether or not the defendant showed a callous disregard of life. In that case, had he asked about the condition of the people in the other car, it would have been evidence of having at least some concern for the lives of the other people. However his callous refusal to inquire as to their well being was quite relevant to his state of mind, which was the primary issue in the case.

BTW, Since when did the Miranda decision become the holy grail of constitutional conservatives?

35 posted on 08/15/2014 5:06:14 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (There can be no Victory without a fight and no battle without wounds)
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To: P-Marlowe; HartleyMBaldwin

How did the policeman not know there were injured parties in the other car?


36 posted on 08/15/2014 5:06:32 PM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: Age of Reason
It should have no bearing on the decision of the jury.

Should the fact that he didn't bother to inquire as to the condition of the dying 8 year old have been withheld from the jury?

37 posted on 08/15/2014 5:07:28 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (There can be no Victory without a fight and no battle without wounds)
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To: TexasGator

Read it before. Reread it. Doesn’t change my opinion one bit.

What good is a Miranda protection if his silence prior to being advised of it can be used as evidence of guilt? It completely invalidates the Miranda protection.

If he talks he may incriminate himself. If he doesn’t talk it can be used as evidence of guilt.

This won’t stand. It’s idiotic.


38 posted on 08/15/2014 5:10:19 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (We'll know when he's really hit bottom. They'll start referring to him as White.)
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To: xzins

Define “truth.”

Trials are not about “justice.”

Trials are modern day versions of medieval trial by combat.

Trial by combat determined “guilt” or “innocence” on what we now consider which side engaged the strongest champion.

Modern trials determine “guilt” or “innocence” based on which side engages the cleverest lawyer.

In medieval times, people believed trial by combat was “just” because god would be on the side of truth.

In modern times, people believe trial by jury is “just” because “justice” will prevail. LOL. We’re just as stupid as we were a thousand years ago.


39 posted on 08/15/2014 5:14:10 PM PDT by Age of Reason
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To: Lazamataz; P-Marlowe

We’re not talking about silence regarding your own role in an accident. We’re talking about silence while you know that someone could be dying just over yonder and you’re refusing to say anything to let people know someone is seriously injured.

In a situation such as that, it is letting someone die unnecessarily.


40 posted on 08/15/2014 5:15:12 PM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: DoughtyOne
Revise the Miranda statement and it'll all be fine. Just include :
. . . and anything you don't say or haven't said can and will be used against you

/sarc if some need it

41 posted on 08/15/2014 5:15:39 PM PDT by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: Lazamataz

Whoever made this ruling must have gone to the Roland Freisler School of Law.


42 posted on 08/15/2014 5:16:33 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: P-Marlowe
Yes I am an attorney.

Oh, that's a shame.

"Asking about the other parties condition could ALSO be introduced, as a 'guilty conscience' presumption of guilt."

In this case the issue was not being guilty of causing the crash, the issue was whether or not the defendant showed a callous disregard of life.

Neat. So there is now a law, "Callous Disregard of Life in the First Degree", in which people are ordered by the state to care deeply about other people's condition. I did not know that, counselor.

But according to the particulars in the article, his conviction was NOT for 'callous disregard', but for the act of vehicular manslaughter, which conviction was reinstated.

In THAT situation, saying anything at all WILL be twisted to show a 'guilty conscience' and thusly, Mens Rea.

Hell, I'm not even an attorney, and *I* know that.

With this one ruling, you are now damned if you speak, and damned if you don't.

I don't see how an attorney can miss this -- perhaps you are a prosecutor and cheer this new legal weaponry.

43 posted on 08/15/2014 5:16:58 PM PDT by Lazamataz (First we beat the Soviet Union. Then we became them.)
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To: P-Marlowe
If he was silent, they were free to draw whatever inference they could from that fact.

No.

LOL, no.

Silence can only be considered within context, since it is NOT an act, by definition. You would first have to somehow prove that silence could ONLY mean guilt in specific context in order to invoke it as an act.

Oh yeah, and trash the 5th Amendment, due process, and any possible, conceivable limit on granting infinite power to the government to seize and convict anyone at any time for any reason using silence itself as the proof of their guilt.

This ruling is insane.

44 posted on 08/15/2014 5:17:50 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: P-Marlowe
Should the fact that he didn't bother to inquire as to the condition of the dying 8 year old have been withheld from the jury?

Please tell me how it would have any bearing on his guilt or innocence.

45 posted on 08/15/2014 5:18:08 PM PDT by Age of Reason
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To: Jet Jaguar

The US Supreme Court already ruled on this and said we no longer enjoy the 5th Amendment, that silence can be used against you.

We have lost just about every right we supposedly held.


46 posted on 08/15/2014 5:18:44 PM PDT by CodeToad (Romney is a raisin cookie looking for chocolate chip cookie votes.)
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To: Lurking Libertarian
That's absurd. The Miranda warning informs you of your rights, it doesn't give them to you. The only reason for the warning at all is to make sure people know about them. Hopefully this will be overturned in federal court.
47 posted on 08/15/2014 5:18:58 PM PDT by Hugin ("Do yourself a favor--first thing, get a firearm!")
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To: Lazamataz
Sometimes I'm just amazed at the lucidity of your posts.

Other times, not so much.

48 posted on 08/15/2014 5:18:59 PM PDT by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: rockinqsranch

“: It had better end up at SCOTUS, because this isn’t right. “

SCOTUS already ruled in favor of this.


49 posted on 08/15/2014 5:19:26 PM PDT by CodeToad (Romney is a raisin cookie looking for chocolate chip cookie votes.)
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To: kbennkc; KittenClaws; HiJinx; yorkiemom; null and void; laplata; Gluteus Maximus; Salvavida; ...
CWII Spark — Know Your Holder Rights: Anything you say or don't say can and will be used against you in a secret court operating above the law!

Welcome to the Star Chamber and the Witch-Trials.
Why do I get a feeling that this time, the Giles Corey refusal to enter a plea would not be an honored tactic?


The 80-year-old Corey was accused of witchcraft during the 1692 Salem trials, but he refused to enter a plea to the court. As punishment, he was laid naked in a pit in a field, and slowly pressed to death over two days. Heavy rocks were gradually placed upon his chest–but he refused to cry out in pain, or enter a plea, and each time he was asked to do so, he simply replied: “More weight.”

tvtropes explains why this was both necessary, and a Crowning Moment of Awesome —

More weight. — Giles Corey, being tried-by-crushing-ordeal for witchcraft in Salem, asked if he would confess to his "crime." He was a Real Life Rules Lawyer, and knew that if he died under interrogation, he was still legally a Christian and his sons could inherit his property. Confessing would spare his life, but he would no longer be considered a Christian and his property would be forfeit. Denying the charges would result in his conviction and execution, as the trials were flagrantly rigged, and again his property would be forfeit. So, by refusing to enter any plea at all, he saved his family from poverty and earned a Dying Moment of Awesome.
IOW, it averted the Catch-22 that the legal-system had going; this time I do not think that the judiciary would honor the rules, the law, Justice or the people.
50 posted on 08/15/2014 5:19:57 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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