This article from the Huffington Post is timely and important, particularly in the wake of the Aaron Swartz tragedy. It demonstrates a criminal justice system that has become completely void of justice. A system in which medical marijuana dispensaries and raw milk farms are raided by SWAT teams, but in which bankers that rob trillions with a pen face a slap on the wrist at worst and promotions to higher office at best. This kind of system, where federal prosecutors will target citizens just for publicity or because they know Washington D.C. doesn’t like the person is more reminiscent or Nazi, Soviet or East German justice than traditional American justice. It is another symptom of a nation in rapid societal decline. From the Huffington Post:
Prosecutors have enormous power. Even investigations that don’t result in any charges can ruin lives, ruin reputations, and drive their targets into bankruptcy. It has become an overtly political position — in general, but particularly at the federal level. If a prosecutor wants to ruin your life, he or she can. Even if you’ve done nothing wrong, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it.
But by most estimates, there are at least 4,000 separate criminal laws at the federal level, with another 10,000 to 300,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally. Just this year 400 new federal laws took effect, as did 29,000 new state laws. The civil libertarian and defense attorney Harvey Silverglate has argued that most Americans now unknowingly now commit about three felonies per day.
Worse, while we citizens can go to prison for unwittingly breaking laws of which we weren’t aware, prosecutors and law enforcement officers who wrongly arrest, charge, and try citizens based on a misunderstanding of the law generally face no sanction or repercussions.