* * * Understanding Infractions * * *
- J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California March 27, 2007
The Battle Lines are Drawn: J.A.I.L. versus The Foreign Power
A Power Foreign to Our Constitution
By Ron Branson - National J.A.I.L. CIC
What is an infraction? 99.9 % of the American people do not understand the word "infraction;" therefore, this presentation is going to be of most interest to all. Infraction is not a medical term for a broken bone, nor is it a descriptive term of a mathematical equation. Many describe it as something that is a little bit wrong. But like death or pregnancy, there is no such thing as "a little bit wrong." Either it is absolutely wrong or it is absolutely not wrong, there is no in-between. So, if something is absolutely wrong, is it a violation of criminal law or is it a violation of civil law? You say, "I don't know!" If you cannot answer this question, you need the information this article is going to teach you.
Civil (contracts) and criminal jurisdictions cannot mix. It absolutely must be either one or the other. In order to determine whether something is criminal or civil, you must consider how the jurisdiction is enforced. If it is enforced with a badge and gun you know you are in a criminal jurisdiction. If is being enforced by your signature on a document, you know it is contract jurisdiction. So when the police officer walks up to your driver's window with a gun and badge and demands to see your papers, you know he is exercising police powers. This is true even if the situation is an Animal Control Officer knocking at your front door asking you about your dog license, or a city official entering your business asking you about your business license. But beyond this is where these officials merge criminal and contract jurisdictions when they order you, "Sign here."
If it be criminal, then the Fourth Amendment applies: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...." Hence, when the nice officer demands to see your papers and licenses, you can constitutionally tell the officer to bug off unless he has a warrant based upon probable cause, signed under oath or affirmation; and in such case, you must submit to his arrest. But then he is mandatorily required to take you, an arrestee, before a magistrate for a determination of probable cause. Upon a finding of probable cause by the magistrate, then, and only then, can a prosecutor draw up an accusatory pleading upon which you can enter a plea and be tried. Of course, constitutionally, then you are entitled to the right of the assistance of counsel, and a trial by jury.
Let's not forget that our subject here is "Understanding Infractions." You say, "But when I am cited for an infraction, I am not taken before a magistrate, nor am I given a probable cause determination, nor is there an accusatory pleading signed under oath filed against me, nor am I allowed the right to the assistance of counsel, nor am I given a jury trial." If that is what you are saying right now, you are certainly correct. You see, in the Constitution there are but only two types of crimes, and they are high crimes and misdemeanors. Constitutionally, there is no such thing as an "infraction," nor can there be.
"Infractions" are the 1968 brainchild of the California legislature wherein they decided that all the criminal protections of the Constitution, i.e., probable cause, accusatory pleadings under oath, right to the assistance of counsel, and trial by jury, were too costly, and burdensome, and so as a cost-cutting measure, they decided to eliminate all these rights, but as a "trade-off," they legislated that under no circumstances could anyone cited for an "infraction" ever be subject to jail or incarceration. Everyone was supposed to live happily ever after. In other words, the People were supposed to rejoice that the legislature now made it possible for them to waive their rights to a jury in exchange for security from being thrown in jail by the cops for almost any reason.Beginning January 1, 1969, Penal Code Section 19.6, the new "law," took effect in California, and eventually spread throughout the entire United States. Thus, a new class of crime was born for all Americans. All the legislatures of the other forty-nine states thought this was a very good shortcut around all those costly Constitutional mandates, and followed suit with California, in which everyone's constitutional right to a trial by jury was eliminated by renaming the misdemeanor "an infraction." Does renaming a cow a "fish," make it a fish?
First, I wish to take up the constitutional problems with this new "crime" of "infractions," and then cover it from a practical point. First, constitutionally: As you should know, the Constitution mandates that every government official, state and federal, must swear by a solemn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States as the supreme law of the land, Art. V, Sec. 3. This supreme law of the land says, "The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury." Art. III, Sec. 2, clause 2. So the simple question is: Does the legislature of California, or any of the fifty states, have the authority to invent a new class of crimes called "infractions" in which they can eliminate the constitutional mandate of a trial by jury? Now there is but only one exception in the Constitution, and that is in cases of impeachment. So I now ask: Does a so-called "infraction" charge meet that qualification of being an impeachment? Careful now how you answer this question, for if you say "no," then you have indicted every single legislator and every single judge in this country, unless you can show that they have individually vehemently opposed and fought this unconstitutional oppression upon the People of these United States. All others officials are subject to impeachment for their willful violations of their oaths of office.
Now we know why the "government" establishment is so afraid of the J.A.I.L. Initiative. If J.A.I.L. is passed into law, and adopted as part of the Constitution, it will totally eliminate this newly invented "crime" called "infractions," and this entire country will have to go back to before 1969, when the People were entitled to the right to a jury trial.
You may be thinking about now, how have they been able to get away with this
deprivation of jury trials for so long? Good question. After the legislature of California invented this new class of crimes, the California courts took over, and determined that under the King of England the People were often deprived of jury trials; and thus, argues the courts, since it could be done by the King of England under English Common Law, it follows that it can likewise be done within the current-day United States.
But what the courts overlook is that we have had an American Revolution, in which our Founding Fathers acknowledged such jury deprivation, and determined that never again would it be so in this country. They correctly indicted the King of England for his deprivations of jury trials in our Declaration of Independence, "For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury," and to assure us that it will never happen again in this country, they instilled indelibly the words of Art. III, Sec. 2, clause 3, "The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury."
The courts were not going to let the Constitution get in their way of depriving everyone of a jury trial, so they came up with the case of People v. Oppenheimer, (1974) 42 Cal.App.3d Supp. 4, 6 in which they justified the legislature in depriving Americans of their right to a jury trial in criminal cases.
In the recent unpublished case in the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division 2, Trotter v. Baca, B-188431, filed February 6, 2007, is stated the following:
"In People v. Oppenheimer, supra, 42 Cal.App.3d Supp. 4, the court recognized that Penal Code section 19.6 (formerly section 19c) and 1042.5, which provide court trials for infractions, conflicted with Penal Code section 689, which provides in part that '[n]o person can be convicted of a public offense unless by verdict of a jury.' The Oppenheimer court stated: 'Section 689, however, was originally enacted in 1872 and last amended in 1951. In accordance with ordinary principles of statutory construction we must read all of the sections of the Penal Code together, give effect in case of conflict to the latest enacted sections, and construe the provisions of the sections according to the fair import of their terms with a view to affecting their objective and to promoting justice.' " There you have it folks! Right out of their own mouths, the courts noticed a conflict in statute because one statute states that a conviction is not a conviction unless it be by verdict of a jury, and the other that says that no trial by jury shall be allowed. In order to resolve the statutory conflict, the court reasons that the latter statute must overrule the former. Thus, the court rules, everyone must be denied a verdict by jury in order to resolve this statutory conflict.
Now, let me come to the practical application. Keep in mind that no one can now be thrown in jail on an "Infraction" charge, so it says. So let's test this "principle." This author was traveling through the City of Pasadena and entered into an intersection in the inside lane in which he found himself trapped behind a stalled older model car. The gentleman was furiously trying to start his car so he could proceed out of the intersection. Since he could not move, it forced me to have to wait in the intersection until all the on-coming cars on my right had passed, allowing me to go around him. In that waiting time, the light turned red, and allowed me the freedom to get around him and move on through to clear the intersection.
Immediately thereafter, a cop chased me down, and cited me for "running a red light." I pointed back to the person who was still stalled in the intersection, and told the cop that I was trapped behind that stalled vehicle, pointing to it, and had to wait until the light had changed before I could proceed. Nonetheless, he cited me for "running a red light." When I went to court, I decided not to fight the ticket on the merits, but upon the lack of Constitutional process. My first argument was that there was lacking a decision by a magistrate establishing probable cause for the traffic arrest, and that the commissioner on the bench was not qualified under California law to be a magistrate, nor was he seeking anything but a plea to a required, but non-existent, accusatory pleading. This commissioner refused to hear anything I said but demanded I say either "guilty" or "not guilty." But since it was impossible for me to enter a plea to a non-existent pleading, he became angry and proceeded to act as my "attorney" and "entered a plea" of "not guilty" on my behalf, and then demanded that I sign my name to an agreement that I would be present for a trial on the "plea" he entered "for me" to a non-existent charge. When I refused, he ordered the bailiff to throw the handcuffs on me. I was taken behind the courtroom where I was manacled to five other arrestees, loaded on a bus, and taken downtown where it took the next eight hours to process me in as a prisoner. I was chest x-rayed, they took blood, they gave me a jail uniform, and after several hours I eventually was able to bed down in an extremely overcrowded room of perhaps a couple hundred prisoners, the bunk beds aligned side by side, head to head.
But wait! Did we not clearly establish that by statute, under an "infraction" charge, no one could possibly be incarcerated? The allegation against me was that I "ran a red light." If it was not possible for me to be jailed in an infraction, then what was I doing in jail? I sued the commissioner for kidnapping me, holding me hostage, and demanding ransom, (my signature.) In that case I completely dismantled the traffic courts in California in every way and at every turn using the Constitution and laws of California in the case of Branson v. Martin, (56 Cal.App.4th 300, now cited in U.S. Supreme Court cases). They knew that if Branson should win, the State of California would lose untold hundreds of millions of dollars in traffic revenues annually. The Branson case went on for over five years, all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. Absolutely no judge along the way wanted to touch any of this author's arguments, except California Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk, who voted to review the Branson case, in that the decision of the lower courts turned all prior existing California law on its ear.
While I would be delighted to go on with the details here, I believe for the present time I have said enough. So what have I established? I have established that in the Constitution, there are only two type of offenses, high crimes, and misdemeanors. There is no such thing as "Infractions." I have established that the term "infraction" is the invention of the California legislature, and that the new "law" conflicted with statute that provides that a conviction can only be valid if is brought by a jury. I have established that the courts have resolved this conflict that says the new "law" denying jury trials must supersede the statute requiring jury trials. I have established that the new mandate that no one can be jailed on a charge for an "Infraction" is pure nonsense and hypocritical. I was jailed on a infraction, and I can truthfully tell you that in the end, the "infraction" was totally dropped, and nothing came of it. But, of course, nothing came of my lawsuit against this commissioner. The courts "found" that he was covered by judicial immunity, which must admit that he did indeed falsely imprison me for no cause and in violation of statute.
Having now established how ridiculous things get, I have but one more point. When one gets off track, and refuses to give ear to the truth, things only get more out of hand. Now read the ridiculous story of the People of Florida being subject to losing their homes over a $5.00 parking ticket. I would love to tell you my account of the parking ticket that never was, when I received an accusation in the mail that I was illegally parked in a place I was not at, enforcing a "no cruising law," that took five years and a hundred thousands dollars of taxpayers' money, but I will forbear. The following news article will shock you!
Florida: City to Seize Homes Over a $5 Parking Ticket
Brooksville, Florida proposes to foreclose homes and seize cars over less than $20 in parking tickets.
The city council in Brooksville, Florida voted this week to advance a proposal granting city officials the authority to place liens and foreclose on the homes of motorists accused of failing to pay a single $5 parking ticket. Non-homeowners face having their vehicles seized if accused of not paying three parking offenses.
According to the proposed ordinance, a vehicle owner must pay a parking fine within 72 hours if a meter maid claims his automobile was improperly parked, incurring tickets worth between $5 and $250. Failure to pay this amount results in the assessment of a fifty-percent "late fee." After seven days, the city will place a lien on the car owner's home for the amount of the ticket plus late fees, attorney fees and an extra $15 fine. The fees quickly turn a $5 ticket into a debt worth several hundred dollars, growing at a one-percent per month interest rate. The ordinance does not require the city to provide notice to the homeowner at any point so that after ninety days elapse, the city will foreclose. If the motorist does not own a home, it will seize his vehicle after the failure to pay three parking tickets.
Any motorist who believes a parking ticket may have been improperly issued must first pay a $250 "appeal fee" within seven days to have the case heard by a contract employee of the city. This employee will determine whether the city should keep the appeal fee, plus the cost of the ticket and late fees, or find the motorist not guilty. Council members postponed a decision on whether to reduce this appeal fee until final adoption of the measure which is expected in the first week of April.
The full text of the ordinance is available in a 605k PDF file at the source link below.
Source: Ordinance No. 743 (Brooksville, Florida City Council, 3/19/2007)
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