The Pathos of Politics – Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement

The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual crime. ~ German philosopher Max Stirner

Humans are violent creatures: a proclivity which civilization has not tamed. Lawlessness is a problem in all countries: a dark cloud over the lives of the tamer majority, who wish only to live in peace and attain whatever prosperity they may.

Incarceration is the immediate fate of those who wrongly cross the police. This is manifestly contrary to the spirit of the law. At least from the time of Justinian I, presumption of innocence has been a legal right of accused criminals.

Proof lies on him who asserts, not on him who denies. ~ Justinian Code

Despite its obvious injustice, preemptive incarceration is the norm in all countries. One is de facto guilty until proven innocent. 60% of those in US jails have yet to be convicted of a crime.

The gross injustice of the American ‘justice’ system has no limits. Crime victims may themselves be incarcerated indefinitely for refusing to cooperate with prosecutors (by not publicly testifying about their victimization).

The state only fails when it cannot make its case, and the system is rigged to favor prosecutors. Only those who can afford an excellent defense, such as O.J. Simpson, may reasonably hope to evade punishment, let alone get away with murder.

People are behind bars only because they are poor. ~ US Attorney General Loretta Lynch

Written laws are like spiders’ webs: they will catch, it is true, the weak and poor, but would be torn in pieces by the rich and powerful. ~ 6th-century-bce Scythian philosopher Anacharsis

The US constitution requires that those accused of a crime be afforded legal representation. Public defenders, paid with public funds, defend the indigent.

Almost all US states do not sufficiently fund staff to provide decent legal defense to those accused who cannot afford to defend themselves. Private lawyers are terribly expensive. Accusation of a misdemeanor infraction can easily cost a half-year’s wages or more for the working poor. The story is much the same around the world.

In local jurisdictions, where most criminal trials take place, there is an inherent conflict-of-interest in the system: law enforcement, prosecutors, public defenders, and the courts themselves are funded in part by punitive fees and fines for alleged malfeasance. With justice as a money-making venture, there is ample incentive to find people guilty. In Louisiana, 2/3rds of the funding for the so-called justice system is earned from this extortion racket.

Louisiana is an outlier in its criminal justice excesses. Its murder and incarceration rates are the highest in America. No other state relies predominantly on court revenue to fund its legal system. But the problem of self-financing through extortion is nationwide. Many states use arrest warrants as a way to collect fees. Outstanding debts are compounded with new ones.

This unconstitutional practice is often framed as a routine administrative matter. ~ US Justice Department’s top civil rights prosecutor Vanita Gupta

Unethical punishments are common. A judge in Alabama ordered defendants to donate blood in lieu of paying their fines. An Arkansas judge granted leniency for sexual favors. The police and courts milking poor communities has been a major factor in civil unrest in many cities across the country.

We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force. ~ Ayn Rand