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** There Outta Be A Law

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  • jail4judges
    J.A.I.L. News Journal Los Angeles - February 9, 2001 ____________________________________________________ Listen to HotSeat4Judges daily on Internet Radio
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 9, 2001

      J.A.I.L. News Journal
      Los Angeles - February 9, 2001
      Listen to HotSeat4Judges daily on Internet Radio M-Th, 6-7 pm P.T.
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      By Richard L. Baker

      How many times have you heard someone else say, "There outta be a law."  How many times have you said the same thing yourself? Well, there probably is a law someplace on whatever subject you were thinking about at the time. Somewhere hidden in the deepest bowels of government
      paperwork are mankind's regulations for life. There are laws at all levels of government, federal, state, local, and then there are the departmental
      regulations that have the weight and effect of law. (Which by the way, your legally elected representatives never enacted.)
      There are laws that are designed to protect consumers from unjust business practices, to protect the people from other people, to protect the well being of whatever the law is enacted to protect. Most laws are well written and indeed, needed, they are the good laws. Then there are the laws that serve only a short time frame to be used only for a momentary period of time and die a natural death.  The most insidious of laws are the hidden agenda laws. Laws written to confuse, confound the notion of true justice.

      As our society became ever more complex, we feel the need to enact new law to meet the changing times.  The problem is that there are so many laws on the books that it has come to the point that no one is able to be proficient in the knowledge of all of the law. Hence we have a boundless horde of attorneys, each specializing in a particular field. Even these experts in each field are woefully incapable of knowing all of the law for their own field.

      Oregon Revised Statutes is a collection of law enacted by our representatives over a great many years. The Statutes are filled with laws that in many instances refer to other laws, which in turn are tied to an even larger number of statutes. In the end they can and do add up to a confusing, confounding array that tends to circumvent the principle of justice.

      As an example lets look at just three ORS statutes. ORS 135.717, ORS 135.720 and ORS 135.455.

      ORS 135.717 TIME OF CRIME. The precise time at which the offense was committed need not be stated in the accusatory instrument, but it may be alleged to have been committed at any time before the finding thereof and within the time in which an action commenced therefor, except where the time is a material element in the offense. [Formerly 132.620]

      ORS 135.720  PLACE OF CRIME IN CERTAIN CASES. In an accusatory instrument for an offense committed as described in ORS 131.315 and 131.325, it is sufficient to allege that the offense was committed within the county where the accusatory instrument is found. [Formerly 132.610]

      These two statutes then give the prosecution the added unfair leverage of
      hiding the exact date, time and place of an alleged offense until trial. That
      will become clear when we read the next of our three laws.

      ORS 135.455 NOTICE PRIOR TO TRIAL OF INTENTION TO RELY ON ALIBI EVIDENCE; content of notice; effect of failure to supply notice. (1) If the defendant is a criminal action proposes to rely in any was on alibi evidence, the defendant shall, not less than five days before the trial of the cause, file and serve upon the district attorney a written notice of the propose to offer such evidence, which notice shall state specifically the place or places where the defendant claims to have been at the time or times of the alleged offense together with the name and residence or business address of each witness upon whom the defendant intends to rely for alibi evidence. If the defendant fails to serve such notice, the defendant shall not be permitted to introduce alibi evidence at the trail of the cause unless the court for good cause orders otherwise.
      (2) As used in this section "alibi evidence" means evidence that the
      defendant in a criminal action was, at the time of the commission of the
      alleged offense, at a place other than the place where such offense was
      committed. [Formerly 135.875]

      Put another way, the D.A. need not tell the specific date, time and place
      until trial, and by that time the accused has lost the opportunity to
      establish an alibi before the court. The accused is given the right by law to establish an alibi, and is also legally robbed of the right by the law.

      So the next time you think, "There outta be a law'," perhaps there already
      is, and it could have dire effects upon your life or the life of someone you
      know, because, THAT'S THE LAW.

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