* * * Your Papers, Please! - II * * *
- J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California January 29, 2006
The Inherent Right of ALL People to Alter or Reform Their Government. The Right Upon Which All Other Rights Depend
Your Papers, Please! - II(By Ron Branson - Nat'l J.A.I.L. CIC)Two days ago, January 27, 2006, we published an article entitled "Your Papers, Please," about which we received numerous responses. Therein, we stated that there would follow an expanded version upon that subject. This is that expanded version. Therein, we stated that while seeking a place to park and patronize a restaurant, we came upon a street corner one block off the major boulevard, where there were a lot of police. We originally thought we had happened upon a major accident. A number of tow trucks were awaiting behind each other to haul away automobiles.After parking our vehicle, we walked back in the direction of the restaurant, and come to the intersection where the police were talking to drivers as they approached the stop sign.I asked a lady there what was going on, and she said the police were checking to see that everyone had their papers in order, and offered an unsolicited comment that she was thankful the police doing such a great job. I instantly thought of Nazi Germany, who did exactly the same thing, i.e., set up check-points to make sure everyone's paper work was in order.I asked myself, haven't we citizens in America learned anything from history by the examples of Nazi Germany? Evidently not. Yet we still see, to this day, documentary movies of Adolph Hitler and the horrendous oppression imposed upon the people. It certainly is not an example for any country to follow, yet America is doing just that.You may rest assured that none of these people will 1) get due process of law relating to their instant deprivation of their property pursuant to the Fifth Amendment, 2) be taken to see a magistrate, 3) have a determination of probable cause as required by the Fourth Amendment, 4) have a prosecutor to prosecute the case, 5) see an accusatory complaint written up against them as required by law, 6) be given an public defender to advise them on the law, and 7) ever be given a jury trial even if adamantly demanded. In other words, there will not be available not one iota of criminal constitutional processes. Yet these people will be forced to shell out a lot of money while being denied all processes due them.After leaving the restaurant, we returned to our vehicle via a different route, in which we happened by two cute little doggies so small one could hold a doggie in each hand. The question occurred to me if the owner of these dogs had dog licenses, and if not, they could be cited; and according to the Constitution, the government would be obligated to impanel a jury to try the issue.I imagined the scenario of a prosecutor standing before a jury saying, "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we have before us a defendant that had the audacity to possess two dogs without paying for a license and getting the permission of the government for having them." You are called upon to decide if he broke the law and should be punished. -- I could also envision the jury as they adjourned to the jury room to deliberate upon this prospective criminal. They would look at one another, and say, "What has this world come to that we are called away from our jobs to assemble to decide upon the government's criminal charge against this person?" Now I kid you not, the City Council of the City of Los Angeles has discussed mandating acquiring kitty licenses. Can't you just see men on their knees trying to net a cat underneath parked cars, or chasing cats up trees. Perhaps shooting them would more efficient. What's next? Hamster and goldfish license?Okay, I know, most of you would say, "But they don't give jury trials for lack of a dog licenses." Yes, that maybe so, but I am not talking about what is, but about what must be according to the Constitution, which all governments have sworn to uphold. Yes, there's a big difference.Many of us think we know all about juries, and some of us even know that juries have the unreviewable power to judge on both the law and the facts, but they know not the even greater power of the jury, and that is to curtain the by growth of government, and its concomitant tyranny. You see, our Founding Fathers knew that forcing government to bear the burden of financing jury trials for every trivial thing like seat belt violations, etc., would be very time-consuming, and costly. They could not rally enough prosecutors, public defenders, judges, clerks and court reporters. It would totally log-jam the justice system grinding it to a halt. The result would force the government to consider carefully its priorities in passing and enforcing multitudes of laws. If governments could not profit financially from all their rinky-dink "crimes" they pass, then what's the purpose? Do you think they are going to enforce all these laws for their health, or because they are driven by principle? Nay, without the bells on the cash register drawers ringing, government's incentive at most enforcement would not be there.This issue of cash register justice was dealt with by our Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence, to wit, "He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance." They knew that if they did not place a major burden upon government, then governments would seek to criminalize most everything for the purpose of collecting revenue. This is why they penned the words in our Constitution, "The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury." Art. III, Sec. 3. Since only government officials can be impeached, every charge, no matter what, must be by jury.The word "infraction," is neither mentioned nor inferred to in our Constitution. It recognizes only misdemeanors and felonies, and no others. Infractions were and unconstitutional invention of the government starting back in 1969.On a website called "Ticket Assassin," we are given the history of the invention of infractions;
Before 1969, traffic violations were misdemeanor offenses and defendants were fully protected by our justice system. .... Since 1969 in California, citizens have been denied jury trials for most alleged traffic offenses. Before 1969, there were only two classes of criminal offense in the state of California, misdemeanors and felonies. Felony offenses are very serious and can result in the death penalty or state prison time. All other offenses in California before 1968, including traffic offenses, were misdemeanors. ....
Beginning on January 1, 1969, the state legislature created a new category of criminal offense called the infraction. The state would preserve all its rights in prosecuting these infraction citations as criminal offenses, but would remove the citizen's most basic rights to justice in these cases. For the first time in California history, citizens would be legally denied their right to a jury trial in criminal cases."
This practice of denying the Constitutional rights to a jury trial soon spread across the country in other states. In defense of the denial of jury trials in the courts, it was argued that America is an offspring of English Common law, and that in England many were denied jury trials, and therefore, America could roll back to reliance upon the King of England for authority to denying jury trials.
Historically, it is correct that the King of England did often foreclose the people from jury trials. We find this fact in our Declaration of Independence from England, namely, "For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:" But this is the very reason our Founding Fathers said in our Constitution there is but one single exception to a jury trial, and that is for impeachments, invented "infractions" notwithstanding. Art. III, Sec. 3. How do we reclaim America again? By restoring the constitutional mandate of jury trials for everything! And how do we restore that constitutional mandate? Only by the passage of J.A.I.L. throughout this country will there exist liberty and justice for all.Below, is a too well known portrait of America today as we now know it.
I Am a Criminal
Yes, thats right. I, R. Lee Wrights, being of sound mind and aging body, do solemnly acclaim and justly affirm that I am a criminal. And, if I do my job correctly, by the time you finish reading this you will realize that you are a criminal also; and, that something needs to be done about it.
My premise is simply that government, not only at the federal level but in particular at the state and local level, has grown so gorged and bloated that it has become virtually impossible for any of us to remain "law-abiding citizens." In order to be law-abiding, one must first know and understand the law. Now I ask you, in todays society how many people really know, let alone understand, "the law?" Moreover, how many policemen really know or, more importantly, understand the law? Do the lawyers and judges, who are charged with the protection of Americas most sacred document, even understand the law? Judging from the number of appealed judgments these days, it would appear that even these "protectors of justice" are unable to effectively untangle the thicket of jurisprudence created by the endless loads of fertilizer produced by the various legislatures.
Just the number of laws one would have to familiarize themselves with in order to become adequately knowledgeable makes the task near to impossible. Why, we would all have to go to law school just to get to a proper starting point of understanding the law. Last year, in North Carolina alone, 519 new laws were passed by the General Assembly. Sixty new laws took affect in the Old North State on January 1st of this year. Add these to the tens of thousands of laws already on the books and you begin to see the enormity of the endeavor to properly understand justice and how its principles are to be applied. And that is just in one state, folks. I wonder how many "new" laws have been instituted where you live this year?
Still skeptical? Take an afternoon and go to the nearest law library. Even the name "law library" should send a chill down any thinking persons spine. I am not talking about a corner of your local public library where youll find a shelf or two stocked with reference books about a particular subject. No, I mean a whole library devoted to cataloging all the things you and I are not allowed to do. Whole rooms filled wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with a seemingly endless array of laws, statutes, and regulations. Shelf next to shelf, volume upon volume, and page after page, creating a twisting, turning maze of decisions, rulings and appeals. This is where you go when you seek comprehension of the chains that fetter your pursuit of happiness. Have a seat and look around at what you must learn if you really want to be an honest, up-standing, law-abiding citizen.
Government has simply made it too easy to break the law for us not to be criminals. I mean, you are required to have a license or permit to do practically everything. That means that you must go to a bureaucrat somewhere and ask their permission before you proceed or you become a criminal. If you want to drive to work, you must first have a paper from the State that says you are allowed to operate a vehicle. If you want to improve your home, you are required to go downtown and stand before your elected rulers and beg their indulgence so that you can add that patio or finish your basement. If you want to get a job to support your family, you cannot do so without a number supplied by the benevolent nannies that soil the seats of CONgress. How long does this list have to be before you realize that if you have to ask permission to do everything, not only will you eventually slip up and become a criminal, but you have also ceased to be free? With every new law enacted another little piece of liberty dies.
Perhaps nothing exemplifies my point more so than a personal experience I had about 6 or 7 years ago. I was invited by a friend to accompany him on a fishing expedition to one of the local lakes owned by the county where we both reside. Being the careful individual that I am, I researched the laws concerning wildlife management, as well as, the regulations adopted by the county. I found that if I only fished using live bait, the law did not require that I obtain a fishing license as long as I remained in the county of my residence. I was very pleased with myself that I had found a way to save a few bucks on what promised to be an enjoyable outing.
However, the day was not to go unspoiled. Not long after we had launched our boat and found what we thought looked like a promising spot, we were approached by a game warden. I remained unconcerned as we chatted and I proudly showed him that I was only using live bait and therefore required no state sanction. He asked for proof of my residence, which I supplied via business cards and a recent tax bill that I was going to pay on my way home. It was then that he informed me that I was in violation of state law. I was beginning to protest that I was in full compliance of the wildlife management code when the warden told me he was not referring to the wildlife code. It was then that I learned I was in violation of state law for appearing in public and not possessing a picture ID. At that moment, the veil was lifted from my eyes as my day of personal enlightenment dawned.
I realized that every time I set foot off of my own property, I became a criminal. I violate the law each and every time I take a leisurely stroll around my neighborhood. In almost half a century on this earth, I have never been arrested, much less convicted of a crime; and yet, all I have to do to become a criminal in the eyes of the State is leave home! Why? Because I do not have a snapshot of myself, taken by a state-sanctioned bureaucrat, in my pocket when I go out in public. I must ask you, am I really free? Are you really free? Are your papers in order? Are you a criminal?
There are laws regulating everything from what color you can and cannot paint your house to what kind of sex in which two consenting adults are allowed to engage. Why is it like this? Crime is big business, thats why. In fact, crime is governments biggest industry.
Surprised to see me say that? It really isnt all that odd when you consider that the State derives revenue on both sides of the law. Remember, all those licenses and permits you are required to obtain are accompanied by fees. While on the flip side, every breech of the never-ending, self-perpetuating, always-growing bureaucracy carries a fine. You are forced to pay in order to abide by the law so you can avoid having to pay for breaking the law.
Therefore, as the beast has grown, it has become the States own self interest that drives legislators to constantly search for new sources of revenue. Thats why 519 laws were passed in my home state last year. That is why 500 new laws will probably be passed this year, and again next year, and again the year after that. The only way a government can realize greater income than it does today is either by accelerating tax increases; or, by creating new ways for us to become criminals and providing the appropriately-priced bounties required to avoid becoming criminals. So you see, every new law not only nibbles away at your freedom while further gorging an already bloated beast Bureaucracy, it also becomes a new source of revenue for the State.
So, we are left with the question, "What can been done about it?" Take my advice, do yourself a favor and educate yourself. Do a little digging and find out all the different options made available to you, by your friends in government, for becoming a criminal. Then perhaps we will see the emergence of what is needed to reverse the encroachment of the law - Reform. You have to get fed up with the foolishness of endless legislation and do something. Speak against further regulation at every opportunity in any venue that opportunity provides. Run for public office as a truly reform-minded candidate, or support such candidates wherever they can be found. One thing is for certain; there will never be reform without reformers willing to make a fight if necessary. Or at least a group of decent, honest people that are just sick and tired of being criminals. Come on folks, enough is enough!
R. Lee Wrights
R. Lee Wrights is a writer and political activist living in North Carolina. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All and an editor at Free-Market.Net.
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