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» US Constitution

Ex Post Facto Registration

I’ve written before about sex offender registration, which is required in Arizona for a variety of offenses. For many defendants, having to register is one of most unpalatable consequences of a conviction. It’s embarrassing. It forces them to remain in contact with the same evil government that rode roughshod over their rights to get a conviction in the first place. They end up living their lives being tracked like animals released into the wild, trying to move on but with a class four felony perpetually hanging over their heads. Strangely, people who accept a plea knowing they face registration may be the lucky ones. Many defendants with old Arizona convictions and people moving here from other states have ended up having to register even though they … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Constitution, Sex Crimes, US Constitution

Did He Mention It Was Just Plain Evil Too?

Jamison Koehler put up a post earlier today about Washington, D.C.’s “post-and-forfeit” statute being upheld in federal district court. A lawyer had sued D.C. after being arrested for disorderly conduct and given the “choice” pursuant to the statute of either paying $35.00 to be released and resolve the case or hanging around in jail for bit. As is often the case, Scott Greenfield wrote a post about the case over a year ago, not too long after the lawyer first filed suit. Whereas Scott expressed concerns about the law and its potential problems in his post, Jamison’s post wasn’t really about the law at all. He focused on how people shouldn’t pick unnecessary fights with police officers or bring stupid lawsuits. Discussing the plaintiff-lawyer’s decision to file … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Government Rants, US Constitution

Because There Is No Other Crime Here…

We have time to charge and convict people of things like this. Basically, Bishop Rick Painter of Phoenix’s Cathedral of Christ the King was convicted of a criminal noise violation for ringing the bells at his church. Here is more information about the case, with a video. Here is the judgment and sentence order, and here is a press release from Alliance Defense Fund, the attorneys he’s retained for his appeal. If you want to check out the church’s website and listen to what may be the bells that got him in trouble, click here. The law he was convicted of breaking was section 23-12 of the Phoenix City Code, “Creation of unreasonably loud and disturbing noises prohibited.” It provides that “[s]ubject to the provisions of … Read entire article »

Filed under: News, US Constitution

End Drug Prohibition

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of one stupid prohibition, I’d like to suggest we end another stupid prohibition. This one won’t even take a constitutional amendment, as the US Constitution miraculously evolved over the 20th century to allow it to happen with a mere act of Congress. Another act should do the trick. Rather than make my own case against the war on drugs, I’ll defer to someone else’s. There are plenty of smart people who have persuasively argued for legalizing all drugs, but this is definitely one of my favorite articles. Our failed war on drugs is one area where I have very little to add to what’s already been written. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, US Constitution

Jury Trial Shenanigans

The US Constitution says you get an impartial jury “[i]n all criminal prosecutions.” The Arizona Constitution says you get an impartial jury “in criminal prosecutions.” A misdemeanor is a criminal prosecution, so you get a jury trial, right? If you agree, it probably means you haven’t had the good fortune of spending three years in law school. Those three years are essential if you want to learn the super-important lawyer skill of looking at something really clear and interpreting it to mean something different from what it obviously means. The most important lesson lawyers-to-be learn in law school is that constitutions, statutes, and rules don’t always mean what they say. Sometimes, they don’t even mean what they mean. Nowhere are those important law school lessons more impressively … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, SCOTUS Cases, US Constitution

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