How displacements defeat justice and law

One of the ways rights are being threatened by government today is the creeping practice of what may be called displacements.

In psychology displacement behavior is the substitution of behavior that is easier, safer, but unconducive to one's own best interests, for behavior that is more difficult, more risky, more conducive, but perhaps unacceptable in a larger context. The classic example is venting one's rage by uselessly smashing an inanimate object instead of doing something rational and effective about the real source of the frustration. It is usually to reduce emotional tension, without regard for solving underlying problems.

In law one of the forms displacement takes is making crimes out of what would previously  been considered only evidence of a crime, often weak and circumstantial. This is usually done because the basic crime, the malum in se, is difficult to prove. So possession or production of evidence thought to be associated with the underlying crime is prosecuted, as an act of discretion in which the courts defer to the judgment of the prosecution that the suspect is a bad guy, having that reputation with the prosecutor, even though the prosecutor is unable or unwilling to actually prove he committed that underlying crime, or even that such a crime was actually committed by anyone. Presumption upon presumption, until the burden of proof falls on the accused to prove his innocence instead of on the prosecutor to prove his guilt.

Transactions and communications with government agents

Four such statutes have become especially prominent: enabling civil asset forfeiture, against  money laundering and structuring, and against making false statements to government investigators.

A recent suspect involving two of these is former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, charged with money structuring and making false statements to FBI agents, about payments to a blackmailer in amounts of less than $10,000 each to avoid, to conceal his alleged acts of child molestation when he was a schoolteacher many decades ago. He was not charged with child molestation, prosecution of which is barred by a statute of limitations, and the payment of blackmail is not a crime, so the payments are not evidence of a crime, because there is no crime. Only the several payments made in amounts of less than $10,000 are considered to be the crime.

The legal theory for making a crime out of any false statement to a "government investigator" is that it is "obstruction of justice," like physically impeding officers while they are working. However, the statute is worded so vaguely that it can be used as a tool to prosecute anyone who says anything to a government agent, as long as two agents sign a form report that the statement was false, without providing any evidence like a recording of the conversation. Indeed that form can be signed without there having been any conversation at all. And it doesn't have to be a federal investigator working for what is usually perceived as an investigative agency. It could be a census taker. It could be a state or local agent, or even an agent of a foreign government outside the U.S. The hapless defendant, who may have just been trying to help, is treated as though he were under oath when he is not under oath.

Public Safety

A predictable response whenever there is an especially heinous shooting incident is to call for "stronger gun control laws". Yet almost none of the statutes proposed would do anything to prevent incidents like the one that occurred. Almost all seem to be predicated on the demonstrably false model that gun laws reduce the numbers of firearms generally available, and that that would reduce the firearms available to criminals. Yet it is more likely to result in more shootings by criminals who will have no trouble getting firearms and use them in a target-rich environment of unarmed victims. That kind of simplistic linear thinking is common to most kinds of displacement proposals.

The rational solution would be to so organize society that it can identify dangerous individuals and intervene before they can do harm, but most ways government might try to do that would be a danger to civil liberties and standards like due process of law. So some people seize on doing something easy so they can say they are doing something, even when what they are doing is useless or even harmful.

See also:

1 comment:

Catherine West said...

Jon, "displacement" has as many forms as does "consensus of group-committee-double-think and is very much what has occurred as you state in "How displacements defeat Justice - i'd change 'and' to -- In Law".

My latest is: "Remember August 28, 2010: The Majority of One: “For there is no king that had any other beginning of birth –
-For all men have one entrance unto life, and the like going out.”
at: http://declarationandconstitutionspeak.blogspot.com/2015/08/remember-august-28-2010-majority-of-one.html

“Law and Liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.”–James Wilson, Of the Study of the Law in the United States, circa 1790

“We lay it down as a Fundamental that Laws to be Just must give a reciprocation of Right, that, without this they are mere arbitrary rules of conduct founded in force, and not in conscience;”
Thomas Jefferson who also gave US(A) this sage, prophet’s advice:
“It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it,
and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue
leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition;”

“Liberty is a word which, according as it is used, comprehends the most good and
the most evil of any in the world. Justly understood it is sacred next to those which we appropriate in divine adoration; but in the mouths of some it means any ‘thing’;”– Oliver Ellsworth, hird Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, from “A Landholder No. III”; also a paraphrase of above, Matt. 15;

with: Constitutional Person - Mr. Defendant: ...In that Video, I was informed that I was now in a Democracy and it was repeated at least 3 times. Well, I
was angry! I looked around to see if I could surmise another person(s) who might share that anger.
Regardless, after the Courtroom Clerk finished putting things away, I raised my hand while saying “We are Not a Democracy. We Are A Republic!”—Looking at our California Republic Bear on our September 9,1850, State Flag---recently sold in stores with the Bear and the word California --- Republic arbitrary, rules of conduct-extortion in tyranny against the Article IV, V, VI, VII Citizens of our Ratified 1789 supreme Law fo the Land with that appointed-fellow-countryman-labeled with 'judge' was violating his Oath of Office....

There are groups forming led by 'isolated constitutionalists who are the "dialectical process-trainor's of consensus-group-think and deluding the many Americans of God and Nation First who do not know that AMERICAN GOD IS LAW within the Laws of The bible, The Declaration, and The Constitution --- and fully, with absolute Truth, Wisdom, Knowledge of The Eternal, your God gave US(A) with full intent -- our unique in all mankind's history, Republican Form of Representative government. --- They have no knowledge, but want to re-write those documents -- are even avid that God may have created man in His Holy Spirit of Truth -- but government of man... is definitely not government of ecclesiastical, rites, ceremonies, creeds, forms/ sects/ denominations; compulsion of conscience/ workers of iniquity "family is the most important- group-think value" of Papal authority's Peter, not Christ's Paul.

We the People must enforce Article II:4; but not in ignorance; nor with judge (on purpose) Roberts stated in the above link

Thank you, Cathy


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