Something Feral

Digging up the flower-beds.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

We acknowledge no precedence for "liberty"

By putting our faith in men rather than law, we have descended to new depths:
A divided U.S. Supreme Court gave prosecutors more ability to use evidence obtained in violation of the Constitution, ruling against a man who was arrested and searched only because of a police clerical error...

Herring was arrested when he came to the Coffee County sheriff’s department to retrieve something from an impounded truck. At the time, a neighboring county’s computer system showed an active arrest warrant for Herring’s failure to appear in court on a felony charge. That warrant in reality had been recalled, so Coffee County police lacked any legal basis to arrest Herring.

The Supreme Court in some past cases has applied the so- called exclusionary rule to illegally obtained evidence, barring its use at trial. The court has restricted use of the exclusionary rule under Roberts and his predecessor as chief justice, William Rehnquist.

“As laid out in our cases, the exclusionary rule serves to deter deliberate, reckless or grossly negligent conduct, or in some circumstances recurring or systemic negligence,” Roberts wrote. “The error in this case does not rise to that level.”
Oddly enough (considering her usual tack), I agree with Ginsburg's minority opinion:
“Negligent recordkeeping errors by law enforcement threaten individual liberty, are susceptible to deterrence by the exclusionary rule and cannot be remedied effectively through other means,” Ginsburg wrote.
Note the key phrase: "... cannot be remedied effectively through other means."

Coupled with the ridiculous notion of Scalia's "new professionalism" in the ominous ruling for Hudson v. Michigan, the Sturmtruppen may now enter one's home without legal warrant, and anything seized in the process is admissible as evidence in court. More pointedly: "probable cause" isn't. The burden of proof is no longer upon the prosecution.

But that's not all:
In a second criminal case resolved today, the justices ruled that judges, rather than juries, can make the factual determinations necessary for sentences to run consecutively instead of simultaneously. An Oregon man argued unsuccessfully that a jury should have decided whether he was eligible for consecutive sentences on burglary and sexual assault convictions.

The 5-4 ruling marked a step back from a line of sentencing cases that had given new significance to the constitutional jury- trial right. Those earlier decisions had said that jurors, not judges, must make any factual determinations that increase a potential sentence.

Unsurprisingly, the Supremacy Court has elected to reinforce the power of the court over the the rights of the accused. The temptation to circumvent the law is most compelling when the crime is distasteful, but it is precisely the time when we should be most wary for our rights.

While FDR may have attempted to pack the courts to secure the "Constitutional" nature of his sweeping Fascistic reforms, it seems that it will not be necessary for future administrations; the highest court in the land seems determined to rubber-stamp every abridgment of liberty in the name of "justice".

Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato.


MikeT said...

This is why I have quipped that the only right we lead the world in is the right to not have troops forcefully quartered in our homes. Well, free speech in some respects too, but that will only last so long as there are guns available to the common pleb.

One of the reasons why I fear for our country's future is that we have always relied on a military based primarily on free men. When our country is truly no longer a free one, there won't be much of a reason for most of those men to risk their life except for the paycheck.

Something Feral said...

The paycheck is little incentive, especially considering the prospect of inflation in the future; I predict that pay-rates for the soldiers will not scale with the market, but will continue to lag (abysmally so) compared to the time-commitment and risk involved.

Worse yet, I think we can expect to see fallout above and beyond the current military enlistment in a law-enforcement capacity at home. Those choosing to support the police-state will be allowed to be armed, a la "gun control" legislation, while those that elect to do otherwise will be as restricted as the rest of the plebeians. (Yet another reason I'd like to see the CMP offer M-14s.)

Both of these court decisions (and their antecedents) are serving as nothing more than enabling mechanisms for a heterogeneous society: the serfs, and the gentry.