By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… I am beginning to feel like I fell down the rabbit hole with Alice. I expect to see a giant white bunny with a clock around its neck any day now. The court system of America is taking on the tapestry of a madhouse presided over by the Queen of Hearts.
A doctor sexually molests seven patients and is sentenced to seven days in jail.
Gangs of individuals riot in cities, burn and loot stores, destroy cars and physically assault police officers with guns and Molotov cocktails. Those arrested are released within twenty-four hours to return to the rioting. The Mayor tells the police to back off and let the rioters and looters have their way. When the dust settles and the buildings are looted and burned, the police are indicted because they attempted to enforce the law.
A sheriff is held in contempt of court because he enforced federal immigration laws in defiance of a 9th Circuit Court order to cease and desist.
The Bureau of Land Management engages in a round-up of cattle in violation of the federal Taylor Grazing Act. The BLM violates the First Amendment Rights of citizens to redress the government. The BLM violates the First Amendment by restricting the press in their attempt to cover the issue. The BLM declares a no-fly zone above the round-up area in effect keeping reporters from covering the story. They illegally detain a citizen who is merely filming the round-up from a state highway. The only violence in the entire episode is perpetrated by BLM agents. A sixty-year-old grandmother, battling cancer is thrown to the ground. When her nephew steps between the agent and his aunt, he is tazed three times. He did not retaliate, he merely stood his ground. A police dog is used to attack a protester. Not a single shot is fired, not a single agent is assaulted, even though the agents assaulted a number of citizens. The only threats of gun fire come from the BLM agents who were playing the role of mercenaries. The BLM cowboys hired to round up the cattle violate the federal and state Taylor Grazing Act by shooting some of the cattle that were too difficult to roundup.
The BLM violated numerous Constitutional rights of American citizens in their dogged pursuit of the Bundy family. Amendment VI states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial …obtain witnesses in his favor; …” One must question if three years sitting in jail in solitary confinement, under the presumption of innocence, meets the requirement of this Constitutional right of every American citizen.
When the country was established, the idea that a person would be presumed innocent was a great leap from the contemporary legal systems of the world. When the judge restricts the testimony of defense witnesses, as federal judge Gloria Navarro has done, she surely violates the rights of the accused to present witnesses in his favor.
Amendment VIII states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.”
When a court holds an individual without bail, that is surely excessive. When the prison system holds an individual in solitary confinement for years without a trial, this is surely cruel and unusual punishment.
They did not attack any agents they merely demanded the release of the cattle. When one of the participants was recently sentenced to what amounts to life in prison and a $1.5 million dollar fine, one must question if this is not an excessive fine and cruel and unusual punishment.
Compare this to what happened to rioters in Ferguson, Missouri, who were held for 24 hours and then released. The Ferguson rioters looted and burned stores and cars in protest of the the actions of a police officer who was protecting himself from the assault of a strong-armed robber.
Amendment V states: … “No person shall be… compelled to witness against himself…” This is one of the most interesting feature of the Gregory Burleson case. He was photographed carrying a rifle in a sandy wash near where federal agents were headquartered. It did not indicate he fired a shot or even pointed the weapon at anyone. He was armed, a right protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
What I find most interesting is that the statements used against Burleson were obtained by FBI agents posing as documentary filmmakers. The FBI admitted that they provided Burleson with alcohol as they interrogated him. Allowing the drunken rants of a citizen, not under oath, as evidence in a court of law makes one wonder if Judge Gloria Navarro has never heard of Miranda v. Arizona.
One might argue the FBI did not take Burleson into custody and that is all well and good. However, once Burleson was charged, the documentary statements should not have been allowed in court for, in effect, it caused him to testify against himself while being denied counsel.
One of the more disturbing facets of the decision to sentence Burleson to, what amounts to, a life sentence for walking down a wash in the Nevada desert with a rifle is that it was “at times emotional” on the part of Judge Gloria Navarro. We don’t need emotional decisions, we need legal decisions by our judges. If Judge Navarro cannot adjudicate a case based on law rather than emotion, she should be removed from that case or any other pertaining to the issue.
Assistant U. S. Attorney Nicolas Dickinson stated: “…they’re going to think twice about doing that because they’re going to know there are consequences to those actions.” The “THEY” are America citizens. The “THAT” is protesting government misconduct. We must never make the American people think twice about protesting illegal activity by the state or federal government. It is the obligation of the American people to protest government overreach and injustice.
The point of this column is not a defense of those involved in the Bundy protest or the condemnation of those who burned down Ferguson, Missouri. Rather it is an indictment of a court system that has lost its way among the fringes of American politics.
In the 9th Circuit we now have the “Queen of Hearts” whose answer to every citizen defending the Constitution or federal law is “Off with their heads.”
Thought of the week… Justice has nothing to do with what goes on in a courtroom; justice is what comes out of a courtroom.
– Clarence Darrow