The Dangers Of A Law Which Will Alter The Right To A Trial By Jury

The following is taken from Michael Speciale’s website. He is a representative to the North Carolina House of Representatives who opposes a change to the North Carolina legal system that will be on the ballot in November.

On the November ballot you will be asked to vote on a change to the North Carolina Constitution. The change is to allow individuals who appear in Superior Court, in cases where the State is NOT pursuing the death penalty, to waive their right to a trial by jury. With the approval of the Judge, they will go in front of a Judge only. The question on the ballot will be as follows:

[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST

Constitutional Amendment providing that a person accused of any criminal offense for which the State is not seeking a sentence of death in Superior Court may, in writing or on the record in court and with the consent of the trial Judge, waive the person’s right to a trial by jury.

To some, the proposed amendment seems benign. It seems like no big deal, until you look at the ramifications, the precedence being set, and the liberty safeguards being forfeited.

Next to our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms, whose inclusion into the Bill of Rights was intended to ensure that we the people had the ability to fight a tyrannical government, our 6th Amendment right to trial by jury is the next most important right that we have.

This right is another measure to ensure that we can overcome a tyrannical government because juries have the power to judge the law as well as the facts of a case.

What would be the purpose of this amendment? I can only reason that its purpose is intended to clear the backlog of cases. On whose backs will this come? The State would like to cut down on costs for providing legal defense to the indigent. Sadly, they will be the ones targeted because disposing of their cases by a Judge alone is generally quicker and cheaper than dragging out a Jury Trial.

Let’s take a look at a couple scenarios to determine what could happen:

   1. Promises and Coercion: The indigent defendant is sitting in their cell awaiting trial because they cannot afford bail. They are approached by an officer of the court and the conversation goes like this: “It will likely be months before we can get you in front of a jury, but if you sign this waiver, we can get you in front of Judge so-and-so in a week or two. He’s usually pretty lenient in cases like yours.” What do you think the defendant is likely to do? He wants out of the cell; he wants his freedom. He is likely to sign the waiver under the belief that he will be out of there quicker, and with a lighter sentence. It is not likely that all will go as promised.

   2. Juries have the right to judge the law as well as the facts of the case. That means that, even though you may be guilty of violating a law as written, the jury may choose not to convict you because they believe the law to be a bad one, or they believe that the law simply should not apply in your case due to mitigating, extenuating, or exigent circumstances. This is called Nullification, and a Judge is not likely to consider this.

   3. What about Justice? The powerful and the politically connected commit crimes like everyone else. Picture a Senator or other powerful individual manipulating the system by choosing to waive his/her right to a jury trial in order to get in front of a Judge that he/she knows, such as a friend, a supporter, or someone who owes a favor. Justice would not be served in this case.

   4. When the government gets their ‘foot in the door’ the next step is to kick it wide open. Think of the seat belt law. In order to calm public opinion when the seat belt law was being considered, we the people were told that this would be a secondary offence. In other words, we would not be pulled over just for a seat belt violation, but we could be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt if we were pulled over for another offence. The reality is that shortly after the law was passed, it was changed to make it a primary offence. Just like that, once this amendment is passed, after a short time I can easily envision a change making it no longer a choice in certain cases, but a mandate. I can envision the law being changed to state that if you are charged with certain crimes, those particular crimes will no longer allow trial by jury, but will be tried in front of a Judge only. Can you see it?

We are losing our rights by the day, and we should not just give them away. I voted NO on the bill to put this on the ballot.

I recommend that you vote NO on the amendment.

It would not be smart to change the law in this way. Under this change, an average citizen could very easily be deprived of his right to a trial by jury. Please vote against this change.

Anyone Can Make A Difference

NewsMax reported yesterday that the initiative to stop the automatic gasoline tax increases in Massachusetts has made it onto the November ballot. The effort to get this on the ballot was a true grassroots effort.

The article reports:

Having secured a position on the fall ballot and with little money to propel it, the initiative to thwart an automatic rise in the gas tax by linking it to inflation could have an impact on other states if Bay State voters pass it this fall.

As Barbara Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, told Newsmax, “Any time a tax cut passes in blue-state Massachusetts, it gives hope to taxpayers everywhere. In other words, if we can do it, so can they.”

Veteran Massachusetts political consultant Holly Robichaud told Newsmax: “You have to remember that Massachusetts is the birthplace of the American Revolution and citizen outrage against ‘taxation without representation.’ And that’s about what happened here last year.”

She was referring to a vote in the overwhelmingly Democratic Massachusetts Legislature for a $500 million tax package. Buried within the package was the 3 cents per gallon tax increase. But far more significantly, the package also included language stating that the gas tax would now be linked to inflation.

“That means when inflation goes up, so does the gas tax — automatically, and without a vote by elected representatives,” Robichaud explained. “Theoretically, it could rise to infinity and beyond.”

Her view was strongly seconded by veteran tax battler Edward F. King, chairman of King Information Systems, founder of Citizens for Limited Taxation, and a Republican candidate for governor in 1978.

This is good news for Massachusetts residents, but it also an example of how ordinary citizens can undo the mischief that politicians do.

The article reports how it was done:

Although the potentially explosive linkage of the gas tax hike to inflation was largely ignored in the press, Robichaud, with her political ear to the ground, called a meeting at her Scituate home. Over Chinese food, activist Republicans, including former U.S. House candidate Marty Lamb, state Rep. Geoff Diehl, and GOP State Committeeman Steve Aylward plotted how to stop the tax link to inflation from becoming law.

Out of the meeting came language for a proposed statewide initiative that would not repeal the gas tax increase, but decouple it from inflation. As Robichaud explained, “We wanted the debate to be about automatic tax hikes. I think the debate on the principle is more important than 3 cents.”

Without this initiaitve (and hopefully a victory in November), the gas tax would have risen automatically without any legislator having to take responsibility for the increase–a politician’s dream and a taxpayer’s nightmare.

What Are We Doing?

CNS News posted a story today stating that the Obama Administration has allowed the transfer of $550 million in Iran’s frozen oil revenues to the country under an interim nuclear deal. Wait a minute. Congress just cut $6 million from the federal budge (the cut was obtained by cutting the cost of living allowance on military pensions) because we needed to cut the budget. Where did this $550 million come from?

The article states:

The money is the first installment of $4.2 billion in blocked oil funds that were to be made available to Iran under the nuclear deal signed in November. Iran received limited sanctions relief in exchange for agreeing to curb its nuclear activities.

So we are transferring millions of dollars to Iran while Iran is saying they will not stop their nuclear weapons program. In what world does this make sense?

Enhanced by Zemanta

America Needs To Learn The Lesson Britain Just Learned

Yesterday the U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about what is happening to the British workforce–it is growing and unemployment is going down!

The article reports:

A record 3,100 people every day are finding work as Britain’s jobless total falls at the fastest rate in 17 years.

The number of unemployed tumbled to 2.32million – falling by 167,000 between September and November, the biggest drop since 1997.

Yesterday the Office for National Statistics said the unemployment rate is now at 7.1 per cent after falling faster than any economist or the Bank (Bank of England) predicted.

…In an unusually political statement, the Bank also said the Coalition’s benefits clampdown may have pushed more people into looking for work, rather than continuing to rely on State handouts. It said: ‘A tightening in the eligibility requirements for some State benefits might also have led to an intensification of job search.’ 

Meanwhile, Congress in America is debating extending unemployment benefits.

Statistics have shown that people collecting unemployment insurance tend to intensify their search for work as their unemployment benefits begin to run out. Extending unemployment or increasing welfare benefits does not encourage people to join the work force–it destroys motivation. In most cases, it is simply more fun not to have to get up and go to work every morning. When the government subsidizes not working, more people don’t work. I am not saying that we should end unemployment or welfare, but we should put enough restrictions on both to prevent generations of America who have not grasped the concept of working for a living. America needs to follow the example of Great Britain.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Results Of Sharia Law

Sharia Law is the justice system of Islam. It discriminates against women in the way it regards the testimony of a man versus the testimony of a man, and it allows for honor killing–the murder of a family member for improper behavior. Sharia Law does not allow religious freedom and treats non -Islamic members of society (if it allows them to live) as second-class citizens. It prohibits Bibles, crosses and Christian literature. It also preaches anti-Semitism. It is the law of the land in Saudi Arabia, and soon may be the law of the land in Egypt.

One of the uglier sides of Sharia Law has recently come to light in Saudi Arabia. The Washington Examiner reported on Sunday that Fayhan al-Ghamdi, an Islamic cleric who killed his five-year-old daughter because he suspected that she was not a virgin, has been released from prison.

The article reports:

Saudi media reports say Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a frequent guest on Islamic TV programs, was arrested in November on charges of killing the girl. The reports said he questioned the child’s virginity.

Saudi media say he was freed last week after serving a short prison term and agreeing to pay $50,000 in “blood money” to avoid a possible death sentence.

That is the face of Sharia Law.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Between The Lines On The Jobs Numbers

Breitbart.com posted an article today about the latest jobs report. The article points out that the dip in the unemployment rate was the result of over a half-million people dropping out of the workforce.

The article also points out:

Over the last five months, 73% of all jobs created were government jobs. Moreover, the unemployment rate for government workers plunged to 3.8% in November — which is considered full employment.

Logically, when the civilian workforce is smaller, fewer people are paying taxes, and the money to fund the government shrinks.

The article reminds us:

Even though deficits rule the day at every level of government, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 847,000 new jobs created since June, a full 621,000 were government jobs. In November alone, 35,000 new government jobs were created.

In other words, as the labor participation rate plummets to a thirty year low — which means we have fewer taxpayers — we’re not only increasing the number of taxpayer-funded jobs, but the government is using the creation of these jobs to juice the employment numbers in a way that makes it look as though the job situation is actually improving.

I would be very surprised to see any of these numbers reported in the mainstream media.

Enhanced by Zemanta

What Happens If ObamaCare Is Overturned ?

Last week Investor’s Business Daily asked the question, “What happens if ObamaCare is overturned?” That is a very good question.

It would not be good for Congressional Democrat campaigns–the Democrats spent a year on this bill–were they wasting their time? But what impact would it have on the Presidential campaign? Are there parts of the bill that the public approves of that could be written into law between now and November? Is Congress capable of writing anything into law between now and November?

The article reports:

The KFF survey found that letting 26-year-olds stay on their parents’ policy polled well, with 71% viewing it either very or somewhat favorably. Also polling favorably was prohibiting insurers from denying coverage based on a person’s medical history, 60%, and limiting what insurers can charge older people vs. the young, 52%.

The article then reminds us that these provisions could collapse the insurance market. The thing we need to remember here is that insurance companies are in business to make money. There is nothing immoral about that. If they are allowed to make money, they provide jobs and insurance for people. That’s a good thing. There does need to be some sort of allowance made for a high-risk pool similar to what is done with car insurance, and I would also support something that protects someone from being dropped because they have gotten sick and actually need their health insurance.

What is needed is a fresh start. Such things as insurance portability across state lines, tort reform, and tax breaks for consumers buying individual insurance would be a good beginning. I suspect, however, that any beginning will have to wait until after the November election.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Something To Think About In November

Daguerrotype of the south front of the White House

Image via Wikipedia

I was listening to Bill Bennett this morning and MarcThiessen was one of his guests. Bill Bennett is one of my favorite radio shows because issues are discussed–not screamed. Mr. Thiessen was discussing his recent article in the Washington Post.

The article deals with some of the consequences (unintended and intended) of a second term for President Obama.

The article states:

Electing a transformational conservative president may not be in the cards this November — but stopping a transformational liberal president still is. Consider the consequences if Obama gets a second term: Obamacare will not be repealed. The unprecedented levels of spending in Obama’s first four years will become the new floor, as America sets new records for fiscal profligacy and debt. Job creators will face massive tax increases, and more Americans will come off the tax rolls — resulting in fewer citizens with a stake in keeping taxes low and more with a stake in protecting benefits. Government dependency, already at record levels, will continue to grow. Four lost years in dealing with the entitlement crisis will become eight — digging us into a hole from which we may not be able to emerge. Obama, unworried about the impact of gas and electricity prices on his reelection, will finally wage the regulatory war on fossil fuels the left demands. He will unleash the Environmental Protection Agency to impose crushing new burdens on U.S. business. His administration’s assault on religious freedom will go on and expand to new areas. The Defense Department will be gutted, with cuts so deep that America will no longer be a superpower. Obama could have the opportunity to appoint more liberal Supreme Court justices, ending the Roberts court in all but name for a generation.

Oh, and the oceans will continue to rise.

If President Obama is elected in November, the America that we have all grown up in will not exist by the end of his second term. Even if you do not believe me, there are enough non-partisan people saying similar things to at least cause you to pause and consider the idea. Unless you are willing to take that risk, please vote Republican in November.

Enhanced by Zemanta