The Law is for the Jury to Decide -- Not the Prosecutor

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

June 22, 2012

Police found Houston resident Israel Rangel in possession of less than a gram of cocaine – an amount equivalent to roughly half a sugar packet. He was arrested and charged with felony narcotics possession. When prosecutors vetted potential jurors, they found that 50 of the 130 candidates said they would not vote to convict someone accused of possessing such a tiny amount of cocaine.

The jury eventually acquitted Rangel of the charge. Lou Ellen Wheeler, who served on the jury, later said that the evidence against him was weak. But as defense attorney Todd Dupont pointed out, other jurors made it clear “they weren’t going to make somebody a felon and ruin their lives over a gram of cocaine.”

Prosecutor Julian Ramirez insisted that even though the amount involved was minuscule, possession of cocaine is a crime because “It’s the law.” However, the jury has plenary authority to rule on both the facts and the law.

This is at least the second time a conscientious jury has nullified a foolish drug prosecution. Two years ago a Montana jury refused to convict a man for marijuana possession. Hopefully this kind of principled rebellion will become a nationwide epidemic.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

If Only She'd Worn Her TSA Uniform....

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

June 20, 2012

Until recently, Carol Price was an employee of the Transportation Security Administration. She was on the receiving end of an invasive TSA groping when she went through airport security on April 20.

To protest what she considered an act of public molestation, Price performed the same procedure on a TSA supervisor. Price was arrested and charged with battery and resisting an officer. She is not the first to face prosecution for doing to a TSA screener as that agency’s employees routinely do to us.

In 2004, 62-year-old Appleton, Wisconsin resident Phyllis Dintenfass was charged with “assaulting” a federal official after a TSA screener named Anita Gostisha felt her up.

According to Dintenfass, her reaction was to mimic the unwanted and uninvited physical contact while exclaiming, "How would you like it if I did that to you?"

She was found guilty of that purported crime and sentenced to a year of probation and 100 hours of "community service."

Victorious federal prosecutor Tim Funnell insisted that Mrs. Dintenfass "punished Anita Gostisha for doing her job." U.S. Attorney Steven Bispukic insisted that TSA screeners are "entitled to protection from assault" -- that is, they're entitled to "protection" from the same treatment they inflict on the rest of us.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Romney: Impeachable Even Before Being Elected

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

June 19, 2012

Mitt Romney may be the first presidential candidate to commit an impeachable offense before even being elected to the office he seeks.

In an interview on the CBS program Face the Nation, Romney addressed the prospect of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.

“I can assure you if I’m president, the Iranians will have no question … that I will be willing to take military action, if necessary, to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world,” Romney told interviewer Bob Schieffer. “I don’t believe … if I’m president, we will need a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now.”

Given that Iran has not committed or threatened aggression against the United States, the action Romney describes would be aggressive war – which is a crime under any applicable standard. Furthermore, by promising to order that strike without a declaration of war, Romney has pledged to commit an impeachable offense. 

Granted, Barack Obama committed the same crime when he ordered a military attack on Libya without congressional involvement of any kind. Romney, however, expressed contempt for the president’s constitutional duties even before taking the oath of office.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Calling Out a Killer Cop

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

June 18 2012

Former Marine Stanley Gibson was shot to death by police in a Las Vegas parking lot last December 12. At the time, Gibson – who suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – was apparently experiencing a panic attack. Although police had been told that two men had attempted to break into a nearby condo earlier that evening, Gibson was not a criminal suspect.

Gibson’s car was pinned in by two police vehicles. When he refused to exit, the officers devised a plan to force him out: One would shoot out a windshield with a beanbag round, and another would incapacitate him with pepper spray. After the windshield was shattered, Officer Jesus Arevalo modified the plan by shooting him seven times in the back of head with his AR-15 rifle.

Arevalo was placed on administrative leave – that is, paid vacation. Gibson’s widow, Rhonda, has been left destitute. To relieve the financial burden of the widow of a fellow Marine, Steve Sanson, president of Veterans in Politics International, has challenged Arevalo – who is a competitive amateur fighter -- to a refereed mixed martial arts match.

This is at least the second time a challenge of this kind has been made to an abusive cop. Hopefully this will become a trend.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

The Government: Always Finding New Ways to Steal

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

June 12, 2012

A federal district court in Ohio has discovered a fascinating codicil to the Bill of Rights: Apparently, once a government agency steals your property, the Fourth Amendment’s provisions regarding seizure don’t apply, because the amendment deals with retaining property, rather than regaining it once it’s been seized.

Michelle Mathis of Columbus was in a traffic accident last January that resulted in her being hospitalized for the better part of a month. The Columbus Department of Public Safety towed her car and impounded it without sending Mathis written notice of those actions, or instructions about how she could reclaim her property.

Once she left the hospital, Mathis inquired after her car, but was told nothing about its whereabouts. She suspects, reasonably, that the city sold off the vehicle. Mathis filed a federal lawsuit against the city demanding redress under the Fourth, Ninth, and Fourteenth amendments.

The U.S. District Court for southern Ohio breezily dismissed Mathis’s lawsuit, insisting that her “interest in regaining her vehicle … is outside the scope of the Fourth Amendment” because its limitations on seizure only protect “an individual’s interest in retaining possession of property….”

The government never runs out of new ways to steal from us.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

When Will Paul Krugman Shut Up?

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

June 11, 2012

New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman suffers from a condition called “invincible ignorance”: Despite the fact that he is invariably wrong about everything, Krugman’s confidence in his own supposed wisdom never falters.

Krugman, who has suggested that the government stage a phony alien invasion in order to justify a huge spending program, recently dismissed the Baltic nation Estonia as a “poster child for austerity.” Since he insists that government spending is the key to prosperity, Krugman considered this to be a wounding insult. People who reside in the reality-based community will reach a different conclusion.

Since freeing itself of Soviet domination, Estonia has become one of the world’s freest and most prosperous economies. It is consistently ranked higher than the U.S. in the annual State of the World Liberty Index. It is the only European nation running surpluses, rather than deficits, and the only one with a growing economy.  While profligate European social democracies are disintegrating, Estonia’s booming tech sector and low tax rates are attracting copious investment capital.

In reply to Krugman’s criticism, Estonia’s leaders politely invited him to restrict himself to subjects about which he has actual expertise. Hopefully Krugman will follow that advice; the merciful silence would be most welcome.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

One Nation Under the (Federal) Gun

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

June 8, 2012

Although it is advertised as a constitutional republic, the system of government under which we live is a form of corporate socialism that operates through bribery and extortion backed by military force. This is vividly illustrated by the case of Bonners Ferry, Idaho resident Tremain Albright.

Five years ago, Albright obtained a variance from the federal government to construct an elaborate treehouse on his property bordering the Kootenai River. According to the Feds, this was necessary because Albright’s property is near a levy that could be damaged if the tree were to collapse.

On June 5, the Army Corps of Engineers – displaying the arrogant capriciousness typical of totalitarian bureaucracies – informed Albright that the tree would have to be torn down. This would also destroy the $14,000 guest house that had been built in it.

Municipal officials consider themselves powerless to help Albright protect his property: The Feds warned them that if the tree isn’t removed, the city will lose $128,000 in funding for levy repairs and other maintenance.  As Albright points out, the city is “pretty much held under the gun by the cost-share program.”

We once lived under the rule of law; now we’re subject to the whims of bureaucrats and the armed figures who enforce their decrees.

 Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

You're Not Under Arrest -- But Not Allowed to Leave?

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

June 7, 2012

If the car you’re driving is penned in by two police vehicles, and the officers approach you with guns drawn, you’re under arrest – correct? Not according toLouisiana’s Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal.

After Robert Carter parked outside a convenience store, two undercover police detectives hemmed in his car and approached him with guns drawn. Attempting to escape, Carter threw his car into reverse, severely damaging the unmarked car behind him.

The detectives were responding to a tip from an informant who claimed that Carter would visit the parking lot in order to conduct a drug deal. Carter claims that the arrival of two armed strangers – one of whom admitted in court that they didn’t clearly identify themselves as police – caused him to panic.  After being convicted of felony malicious property damage, Carter – a second offender – was sentenced to 20 years in prison. On appeal, Carter insisted that the arrest was unlawful.

Incredibly, the appeals court ruled that what it called an “investigative detention” is NOT an arrest – while insisting that Carter had no right to leave what the trial judge called “the arrested place [where] he’s supposed to remain.”

While Carter’s criminal history makes him an unsympathetic figure, this ruling has ominous implications for nearly anyone who operates a motor vehicle.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Our Army of Occupation At Work

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

June 6, 2012

Following an armed robbery at a local Wells Fargo bank, police in Aurora, Colorado arrested everyone in the vicinity until the suspect was found.

Believing that the alleged robber was stopped a nearby red light, the police barricaded that section of the street – which could be considered a reasonable tactic. However, they dragged more than forty people from their vehicles, handcuffed them, and held them for more than four hours – which is not.

Drivers and passengers “were handcuffed, then  were told what was going on and were asked for permission to search the car,” recalled Officer Frank Fania. “They all granted permission, and once nothing was found in their cars, they were un-handcuffed.”

Why was it supposedly necessary to handcuff people before asking permission? If the detention was justified, why did the police bother to ask for permission?

Fania insisted that the mass arrests were necessary and justified because it was a “unique” situation. Actually, this was done not to protect the public but in the interest of “officer safety.” This is the same reason why the police force in Colorado Springs, roughly 70 miles south of Aurora,  are using military-grade SWAT gear to carry out routine patrol functions.

 

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Uniting Against the Real Enemy

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

June 4, 2012

This year’s secretive meeting of the Bilderberg oligarchy attracted the ire of activists from both the Tea Party and Occupy movements.

The protesters gathered outside the Westfield Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia to denounce the elitist conclave.

 As the Guardian of London points out, in 2008 “then-senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton paid a flying visit to Bilderberg … after shaking off the press pack during the Democratic presidential campaign….Bill Clinton was introduced to the political big league at Bilderberg 1991.”

The Bilderberg meetings could be considered the most important annual meeting of the international Power Elite, which includes the people who control the system of international finance, dictate the ground rules of electoral politics, define the parameters of “respectable” public debate, orchestrate wars, and otherwise presume to define the future for us.

This is why it’s encouraging to see at least some street-level activists ignoring media-defined political labels and joining forces to oppose and expose the Bilderberg machinations. The rule of the Power Elite will continue as long as Americans imprison themselves inside the artificial partisan categories assigned to us.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

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