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Last post Author Topic: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested  (Read 16195 times)

40hz

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #50 on: August 07, 2014, 09:16:06 AM »
Due process is a joke.

Not really. It's pretty precise for the most part. But it doesn't quite work the way people think it does - or think it should. Especially when we're sympathetic towards the defendant.

The biggest problem Ulbricht has is his allowing Silk Road to become associated with some things he had to have known would put it on very shaky legal grounds. Turning a blind eye and then claiming ignorance isn't a smart legal defence strategy. And displaying wilful ignorance is very often interpreted as an admission of culpability. Then he got foolish and decided to double-down and thumb his nose when it became general public knowledge there were concerns about the operation and activities taking place within Silk Road.

Sorry Ren, I don't see this as a kangaroo court just yet. (Although it could always turn into one.) I think the government prosecutors are dotting every i and crossing every t while his defence team is shot-gunning everything they can think of to muddy the waters and try to give them the moral high ground.

It's not going to work.

Like TechDirt, my real regret is that this isn't a good case to test the recent SC interpretations on limits for gathering evidence. It's a weak case on those grounds. And if those 4th Amendment motions are addressed in the final judgement, it will have the effect of legally weakening the SC's ruling by making judges (who generally do pay close attention to case law precedent) more likely to dismiss 4th Amendment challenges to the admissibility of evidence going forward.

Opponents of that SC ruling are probably hoping those motions by Ulbricht's legal team loom large in the upcoming trial for that very reason..

« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 10:02:57 AM by 40hz »

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #51 on: October 03, 2014, 08:29:18 AM »
It appears the FBI are lying about how they found the Silk Road. <faux surprise! />  :o

http://krebsonsecuri...holes-in-fbis-story/

Quote
“I find it surprising that when given the chance to provide a cogent, on-the record explanation for how they discovered the server, they instead produced a statement that has been shown inconsistent with reality, and that they knew would be inconsistent with reality,” Weaver said. “”Let me tell you, those tin foil hats are looking more and more fashionable each day.”
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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #52 on: February 04, 2015, 07:12:43 PM »
Verdict: Guilty.  :'(

So, if anyone does anything on your web site that is illegal, you can go to prison for it. Nice.

Insert freedom:

Woodgrain Cardboard Coffin.jpg
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40hz

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #53 on: February 04, 2015, 08:58:50 PM »
^@Ren: I don't know how to break this to you...but attempting to get some evidence barred on a technicality in the face of what could be seen by a judge to be clear evidence of wrongdoing is an extremely risky legal strategy even under the best of circumstances. Because despite what people see in movies how the despicable criminal character walks out of court scot-free on a minor evidentiary technicality or constitutional rights violation (within 15 minutes of going before a judge no less) is mostly the stuff of Hollywood script departments. In reality, it seldom happens. And this is nothing new. It's the way most courts operate, and have been operating for several decades. If a "clear appearance of wrongdoing" is there, technicalities will seldom save you. As a recent TechDirt post put it:

Quote
...even for the more nuanced legal arguments -- or Ulbricht's attorney's chosen path of trying to toss out a bunch of alternate scenarios to sow "reasonable doubt" in the jury -- the simple nature of the fact that many people used Silk Road to buy and sell illegal drugs was always going to cloud the overall case against Ulbricht.

There's a recent case in Nevada where a US Magistrate Judge (not the same thing as federal District Court Judge btw) got pissed about some FBI shenanigans when it came to applying for a warrant, and has moved to void the warrant and suppress the evidence that was collected under it from an upcoming trial. Story here.

But a Magistrate Judge (who is really more a high-level administrative legal assistant) doesn't get to make the final decision. That's for a District Court Judge (i.e. real judge) to decide when it goes to trial. Be interesting to see if the District Court Judge goes with the recommendation of the Magistrate.

I'm guessing he/she won't. But hey! This is all happening in Nevada - so you never know... ;)
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 09:05:56 PM by 40hz »

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #54 on: February 04, 2015, 09:07:11 PM »
Ulbricht's lawyer was desperate. The judge wouldn't let them have any defence at all. He took what was left after the judge explicitly banned him from using several other defences.

That was no less a show trial than any you'd expect in North Korea.

Being overly kind, this:



The kangaroo also banned any mention of jury nullification.
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40hz

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #55 on: February 04, 2015, 10:05:04 PM »
@Ren - You're still overlooking the 800lb gorilla in the picture.

re: jury nullification

Again, almost always in movies.

Attorneys are expected to argue for the law as it applies to the case, and the facts as presented. It's generally been seen as a violation of an attorney's oath (as an officer of the court) for one to ask a jury to ignore the law as it exists when considering their verdict.

And there's also a great deal of legal precedent that says that even though juries may choose to nullify, the courts are under no obligation to tell them they can - or - to allow an attorney on either side to so inform them. And that opinion goes back a number of years, and was the determination made in several different rulings on the subject of jury nullification.

So while it may seem like a cool idea for juries to take the initiative and override a law they disagree with when reaching a verdict (and they legally can do just that under US law) it's a dangerous road to go down. Because if it becomes commonplace, the entire legal system goes out the door and you have a small-scale version of mob rule in effect. Which means it's not the law, or the facts in a case, but rather the jury selection that becomes the deciding factor in obtaining a judgement. Which is ripe for abuse by both the prosecution and the defence.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 10:16:50 PM by 40hz »

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #56 on: February 05, 2015, 06:46:43 AM »
@Ren - You're still overlooking the 800lb gorilla in the picture.

If you mean the thugs that call themselves "government" or "government employees", well, no argument that they are the 800lb gorilla. ;)

re: jury nullification

Again, almost always in movies.

No.

http://en.wikipedia....i/Jury_nullification

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/R_v_Morgentaler

Quote
R v Morgentaler [1] was a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada which held that the abortion provision in the Criminal Code of Canada was unconstitutional, as it violated a woman's right under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to security of person. Since this ruling, there have been no criminal laws regulating abortion in Canada.

Jury nullification there. And one of the most important cases in Canadian law.

A paper on it here:

http://www.academia....n_a_Canadian_Context

p. 62~64 (screwed formatting)
 
Quote
The unanimous decision in Krieger was written by Justice Fish and it further demonstrates the Supreme Court of Canada‘s willingness to link law and morality, embracing edicts of natural law. The Supreme Courtaffirmed the not guilty verdict which the trial jury would have rendered because they believed more so in the process than the plain meaning interpretation of the statute. Fish states

    It has since then (in 1670, when jurors were fined and imprisoned for a ―not guilty verdict) been well established that under the system of justice we have inherited fromEngland juries are not entitled as a matter of right to refuse to apply the law — but they do have the  power to do so when their consciences permit of no other course.

This paragraph is suggestive that the judges of the Supreme Court believe in juries using their own morality. Justice Fish is quick to point out that the process of refusing to apply the law, or nullification is not ― a matter of right but that the power to do so exists, only when it is deemedby that jury to be absolutely necessary. When a jury‘s collective conscience tells them that thereis ―no other course‖ of action this is when nullification is absolutely necessary, as the jury felt in
was the situation in this case. Furthermore, the Court continues into the next paragraph by stating 
63
case law from 1784 that they have used throughout Canadian jurisprudence as the base for jurynullification:

    It is the duty of the Judge, in all cases of general justice, to tell the jury how to do right,though they have it in their power to do wrong, which is a matter entirely between Godand their own consciences.

Justice Fish indicates that while the Court has decided in this case and going forward that trial judges should not instruct jurors on how to find, that judges should still instruct jurors on what is the most appropriate legal course of action, or how to ―do right. Whether or not a jury chooses to abide by that course of action is, as the Supreme Court decided in this case, up to them.

Fish is here:

http://scc.lexum.umo...scc47/2006scc47.html

Cached here (I couldn't load it):

http://webcache.goog...=au&client=opera

Just one important snippet from there:

Quote
The trial judge deprived the accused of his constitutional right to a trial by jury when he directed the jury to find the accused guilty as charged.  The trial judge’s direction was not a “slip of the tongue” to be evaluated in the context of the charge as a whole; nor is this a matter of assessing the impact of subtle language susceptible to different interpretations.  His purpose and words were clear.  In effect, the trial judge reduced the jury’s role to a ceremonial one: He ordered the conviction and left to the jury, as a matter of form but not of substance, its delivery in open court.

A kind of important point there. 

Attorneys are expected to argue for the law as it applies to the case, and the facts as presented. It's generally been seen as a violation of an attorney's oath (as an officer of the court) for one to ask a jury to ignore the law as it exists when considering their verdict.

Juries are perfectly free to ignore the law. That's the point. Talking about the "officer of the court" being paid to railroad people and ensure that the jury is ignorant of their rights, and flat out deceived about them... that's another matter.

And there's also a great deal of legal precedent that says that even though juries may choose to nullify, the courts are under no obligation to tell them they can - or - to allow an attorney on either side to so inform them. And that opinion goes back a number of years, and was the determination made in several different rulings on the subject of jury nullification.

Not to be snotty or anything, but I'm not sure whether you're trying to be deliberately beligerent or whether you just don't know that the judge in this case explicitly banned the defense from mentioning it (see below re: 1st amendment). (Are you just screwing with me for kicks? I can't say as I'd blame you -- it can be fun trolling sometimes, and I'm a good target. :) :P )

For a judge to forbid someone to defend themself is beyond unconscionable.

I really don't understand how you don't see this.

Just to be clear... the judge **threatened** the defense and explicitly forbade the defense from using jury nullification in their defense.


So while it may seem like a cool idea for juries to take the initiative and override a law they disagree with when reaching a verdict (and they legally can do just that under US law) it's a dangerous road to go down. Because if it becomes commonplace, the entire legal system goes out the door and you have a small-scale version of mob rule in effect. Which means it's not the law, or the facts in a case, but rather the jury selection that becomes the deciding factor in obtaining a judgement. Which is ripe for abuse by both the prosecution and the defence.

Any country with common law. Canada, Australia, etc.

And, uh, no. Not a bad road at all. ;)

Remember... the next box is the cartridge box... Best to avoid that. ;)

Jury nullification is not "setting murderers free". Jury nullification is a judgement against a law.

e.g. Tomorrow possessing ginger ale is made illegal, and the police show up to arrest me (I just bottled another batch earlier today). It goes to trial. The jury votes "not guilty" knowing damn well that I had ginger ale.

That's not a statement about me -- it's a statement that the law is wrong.

i.e. "He had ginger ale. So what? Stupid law. Not guilty of anything that should be punishable."

It is very different from cases like that fellow in Florida in the late 80s who killed his wife, but got off with the defense "justifiable homicide". Very big difference. The laws against murder weren't nullified there.

This (proscribing jury nullification as a defense) is a BLATANT violation of the first amendment to the US Constitution in limiting what someone can say.

There's no wiggle room here. None. Zero. Nadda. Zilch. Zippo. Done. That's all she wrote.

The US Constitution, as other national constitutions, is meant to limit or set forth the power of the government, and banning speech is not one of the powers granted to the US government. In fact, it is explicitly forbidden.

Laws that violate the constitution are not valid laws. We have a special word for them: "unconstitutional". :)

But, but, but, but...

No. Read the first amendment. ;)

But, but, but, but...

The first amendment. ;)

Jury nullification is NOT open for abuse like you make it out to be.

But, if you can explain just how a finding of "not guilty" can benefit the prosecution, well, I'll be damn impressed! ;D

As for the issue of jury selection... c'mon... Really?

The prosecution gets an UNLIMITED number of dismissals. The defense has a limited number. Jury selection is (INFINITELY) HEAVILY weighted in favour of the prosecution already, so trying to confuse the issue of jury nullification with jury selection just doesn't hold water. The prosecution already has an INFINITE advantage there. What more do they need? Infinity + 1? An infinite set of infinities? C'mon... We both know that Cantor's Theorem doesn't apply here. ;)

This case was a joke from the start.



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40hz

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #57 on: February 05, 2015, 08:10:52 AM »
^Ren - you have a very single-minded all encompassing political lens (partially correcting some wilful blindness) that you tend to see the entire world through. I commend you for it. ;) :)

re: peremptory challenge (i.e. disqualifying jurors)

For the record, that's not how it works in the states. Prosecutors aren't allowed unlimited challenges. The details vary by jurisdiction as most procedural legal things do in the USA. And the number of juror candidate disqualifications allowed usually depends on the seriousness of the charge(s) tried. The more serious the charge, the more that are allowed. But in all cases the defense is allowed more of these than the prosecution. The most common number is 10 allowed for the defense and 6 for the prosecution.

That covers "peremptory" juror disqualifications - which is a fancy way of saying "I just don't want this person sitting on the jury." NO reason needs to be (or is) given for having a candidate disqualified with a peremptory challenge.

Any person being considered for a jury can, however, be disqualified for cause. And by either side. But those challenges are granted solely at the discretion of the trial judge hearing the case as normal part of the voir dire process. So while an unlimited number of potential jurors may be theoretically be disqualified, in practice the judge usually only allows so many. And there are fairly strict rules for what is considered an acceptable cause for disqualification - with the burden of establishing such cause resting solely on the shoulders of the attorney asking for it. The exception is in cases where a cause is so glaringly obvious (e.g where someone who is legally blind is being considered for a jury that will be asked to look at a great deal of photographic, video, and/or physical evidence during the trial) that a judge may disqualify the juror directly from the bench.

The usual way it works is 28 jurors (who could not be disqualified for cause) get selected. Then, the defense team gets to eliminate it's ten - and the prosecution gets to remove it's six. That leaves a classic 12-man jury - and trial proceeds. In cases where it is anticipated that the trial will run for a longer than average time, it's also not unusual to appoint one or two additional jurors as alternates - just in case somebody on the jury flips out or becomes medically incapacitated. Which happens from time to time, and could result in a mistrial if no alternate is available to take their place.

So that's why there are peremptory challenges. That's the trial attorney's ace in the hole for preventing the other side from too easily stacking the jury.

If you want a better understanding of how the entire process actually works, see: Jury Selection Procedures in United States District Courts. It's less than 70 pages. It's a very interesting read IMO. And a surprisingly easy one too.

re: what sort of evidence and testimony gets admitted during a trial:

In federal cases, what is admissible evidence is governed by either specific statute or The Federal Rules of Evidence which first went into effect in 1975. Those rules (which also cover the qualification and `admission of expert testimony and witnesses) were established to provide more uniform treatment in federal court cases.

So it's not really all that easy for Judge Kangaroo to do whatever he likes in a federal trial. (There's also the appeal process. That's something even the most arbitrary judges need to be concerned about if they played fast and loose with established procedure.)

re: the 800lb gorilla

First up - cute comeback. I laughed. :Thmbsup:

Next: I don't see anybody who argued that illegal drug trafficking wasn't being conducted through Silk Road. It was pretty obvious it was.

But Ulricht's legal argument was (a) that he was not involved in any way shape or form; and (b) that even if he somehow was involved, some odd sort of "safe harbor" rule applied because he was merely the site's owner. ("Look...I didn't do it. But if I did do it...it was an accident!") Unfortunately, "safe harbor" doesn't fly too well when a serious criminal act has been committed. But "aiding and abetting" provisions in the law certainly do. You can become an "accessory" to a crime either by your acts or your omissions. And you can be convicted of being an accessory to a criminal act even if the named principle is acquitted. Because it usually isn't a question of whether or not a crime was committed. In most cases, it's fairly obvious one was.  Once it goes to trial it's a mostly a matter of who will be held accountable. And in what capacity.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 08:46:35 AM by 40hz »

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #58 on: February 05, 2015, 08:54:48 AM »
Let's drop the jury selection bit. We're going across jurisdictions, and my memory of law classes may be a bit fuzzy. So, it's not a point that I think I can keep up with. Call it a win for 40hz. ;) (And I'll check into the docs you posted once I have time.)

But you didn't address the 1st amendment violation. This seems to be a teensy, tiny bit important.

I don't see how there's any way around that.

The judge put a gun to the defense's head and threatened them if they tried a sane defense (speech).

Trying to claim "federal rules of evidence" doesn't address the issue. If anything, it only illustrates the debasement of the first amendment and the criminality of the courts, judges, lawyers, and politicians that are complicit in that crime.
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40hz

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #59 on: February 05, 2015, 10:01:46 AM »
Call it a win for 40hz.

It's not a competition. But thanks. At least I wrote something that wasn't too vague or rambling for once. ;D

But you didn't address the 1st amendment violation. This seems to be a teensy, tiny bit important.

I don't see how there's any way around that.

The judge put a gun to the defense's head and threatened them if they tried a sane defense (speech).

Trying to claim "federal rules of evidence" doesn't address the issue. If anything, it only illustrates the debasement of the first amendment and the criminality of the courts, judges, lawyers, and politicians that are complicit in that crime.

Um...ok...

Quote
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Am I missing something?

Maybe you meant Amendments V through VIII?

Quote
Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

I don't see anything in any of the above that was clearly (or even obscurely) violated. :(

Perhaps you're saying that the due process itself is unjust? Well, therein lies the critical difference between what the law actually says - as opposed to what most of us (i.e. non-attorneys) usually think it says or wish it said. As one inexperienced attorney was famously reminded by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. when his arguments "for justice" ventured a little too far from the actual words of the law: "This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice."

Something to remember: The United States is a nation built on law. Whatever justice gets accomplished as a result of law is largely incidental.

As one wise individual by the name of Edison Haines so accurately put it: "Law is not justice and a trial is not a scientific inquiry into truth. A trial is the resolution of a dispute."

If it's any consolation, this comes as a complete shock to most Americans too. Especially the ones who first learn about it while facing a judge. It's right up there with the awkward feeling you occasionally experience in the presence of your parents once you're old enough to know (in no uncertain terms!) exactly what your father had to do to your mother in order to bring you into existence.
 ;)

 --------------------------------------------------
Note: I think it was defence attorney (and former federal prosecutor) Ken White of Popehat that had some excellent things to say on this very subject. If I can find it I'll post the link. :)

Update: Found it! Link here.

In this case it was about a particularly heinous individual getting off (in my state no less!) after committing a frankly hideous crime - not because of a "technicality" - but rather because the trial court correctly followed due process as the law does and should require it to do.

Ken goes on to explain why it is so important that a court behave in such a manner - and why the occasional grave injustice that does occur in the wake of the properly executing "due process of law" is so important in order to prevent even graver injustices from becoming the norm.

And while this one was a 'victory' for the defense side - what happened holds in the same manner for the prosecution under US law. Dame Justice's sword is a two-sided weapon.

Here's an excerpt:

Quote
Frankly, I Don't Care How Due Process Makes You Feel
by Ken White · October 9, 2012


I stopped blogging about Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the maker of the "Innocence of Muslims" video. I stopped because (1) I am interested in discussions about what the law is, to the extent that discussion is based on law, (2) I am interested in discussions of what the law should be, (3) I am interested in discussions of how courts work, to the extent those discussions are premised on actual experience and facts, but (4) I am completely uninterested in what people feel the law is, and (5) I am completely uninterested in what people feel happens in courts, frequently based on TV.

Discussions of what the law is based on feelings annoy me. They're about mob rule, not the rule of law...<more>
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 11:02:53 AM by 40hz »

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #61 on: February 05, 2015, 10:51:00 AM »
Am I missing something?

Yes.

Quote
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Is speech not allowed in court?


Maybe you meant Amendments V through VIII?

Nope. We don't even need to go there. Full stop at the 1st. That's all that is needed to show that the US judicial system is a complete and total farce and that the judges and related officers are nothing but criminals.


I don't see anything in any of the above that was clearly (or even obscurely) violated. :(

The first was obviously violated.

Or is speech in court not counted?

That would be a clear violation of the 6th, but only if you believe that a trial involves actually allowing a defense. If you don't believe that defendents are allowed to present a defense, then, well, all bets are off. Accusations equal convictions?

I think that we both know where that leads. The 4th box.


Perhaps you're saying that the due process itself is unjust? Well, therein lies the critical difference between what the law actually says - as opposed to what most of us (i.e. non-attorneys) usually think it says or wish it said.

There is no due process. It's a bloody joke. The rules are "fixed".

Quote
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

A mighty fine proposition! :P

If the law is incomprehensible, f**k it. Really.

Does everyone need to have a law degree to function?

If so, then yes. Killing all the lawyers is a good start to stave off that insanity.

You don't get off that easy talking about "Oh, gee, if only we poor serfs understood the heights and depths of law, and how it makes 'society' a better place!"

BS.

If everyone needs to spend 4 years of their life studying law, killing all the lawyers is a far, far better option.

Should we have any problems with slitting people's throats when they're attempting to force people into labour? Slavery isn't cool, and the implications of what you've said imply exactly that (if one accepts that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" -- need to be somewhat clear with that qualification before we start killing all the lawyers :P ).

Keep this in mind:

http://thelead.blogs...take-effect-in-2014/

40,000 new laws. That YOU are responsible for. Personally. And that you MUST know. (Ok, well... some you won't need to know because you are in IT and don't need to know some new commercial fishing laws, etc. But either way... 40,000 or 400... it's a LOT!)

Sorry - No. There is no reasonable expectation for most people to know what the law is. At all. Except in the most basic forms, e.g. theft, murder, etc.

40,000 new laws? In 1 year? Really?

Ignorance of the law **IS** an excuse.

But, this is a wild tangent.

It still remains that the judge violated Ross' fundamental right to free speech in proscribing several of his proposed defenses.

The real criminal here is Katherine Bolan Forrest (TOR .onion link).

If Ross was the DPR, he did nothing wrong.

If Ross was the DPR, he's a bloody hero.

Please note that some of the most popular drugs on the Silk Road were prescription drugs sold for 10% of the cost of regular prescriptions.

Does that give any more perspective on the issue? ;)





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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #62 on: February 05, 2015, 12:12:09 PM »
Am I missing something?

Yes.

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Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Is speech not allowed in court?

Nope.

Not unbridled speech anyway. It's an adversarial system, which means it's Q&A format. You can ask questions. And you can answer questions as given. But you're not allowed to make speeches. Or go off on tangents or rants. The prosecutor and defence team leader are allowed to address the jury directly at the beginning of the trial where they lay out what they intend to prove.

Then the trial moves to the Q&A with witnesses who are required under oath to directly answer the questions - as posed to them - without speechifying or editorial glosses. You can be held in contempt if you do otherwise.

Then there is the summation speeches where the prosecution followed by the defense are allowed to recap to the jury what they believe they have established, after which they ask the jury to pass the verdict their side is asking for.

Finally, (another speech) the judge charges the jury - giving them specific instructions on how each point of the law as found in the charges is to be interpreted along with some general instructions on how a jury is supposed to conduct its deliberations plus a short homily on the importance of what they are being asked to do.

Then it's all over until the verdict comes back and...it's showtime! (More speeches!)

So as you can see, free speech as most people interpret it, is not a part of a US criminal trial. Nor is it actually allowed. Because a court trial is, in itself, not a forum for public debate. That comes before and after. Not during.



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Maybe you meant Amendments V through VIII?

Nope. We don't even need to go there. Full stop at the 1st. That's all that is needed to show that the US judicial system is a complete and total farce and that the judges and related officers are nothing but criminals.

The First Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with due process. It deals with freedom of religion, speech, the press, the right of peaceful assembly, and redress of grievances against the government.

Freedom of speech (in the sense you're taking it) doesn't apply in a US court of law. So I wouldn’t see why you'd want to make a full stop here. You've gotten off at the wrong highway exit.


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I don't see anything in any of the above that was clearly (or even obscurely) violated. :(

The first was obviously violated.

Or is speech in court not counted?

No. And no. See above.

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That would be a clear violation of the 6th, but only if you believe that a trial involves actually allowing a defense. If you don't believe that defendants are allowed to present a defense, then, well, all bets are off. Accusations equal convictions?

I think that we both know where that leads. The 4th box.

Convictions are what a jury decides. No more, no less. Including if they decide to ignore the law in most (but not all) cases.


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Perhaps you're saying that the due process itself is unjust? Well, therein lies the critical difference between what the law actually says - as opposed to what most of us (i.e. non-attorneys) usually think it says or wish it said.

There is no due process. It's a bloody joke. The rules are "fixed".

So sez Ren! But in practice, it works pretty well most of the time. Possibly something you clearly can't allow yourself to acknowledge - or even see? :)

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The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

A mighty fine proposition! :P

If the law is incomprehensible, f**k it. Really.

Does everyone need to have a law degree to function?

If so, then yes. Killing all the lawyers is a good start to stave off that insanity.

You don't get off that easy talking about "Oh, gee, if only we poor serfs understood the heights and depths of law, and how it makes 'society' a better place!"

One of the unfortunate side effects of having a judiciary that attempts (as far as is possible) to follow the letter of law, is that there will be an inevitable slide towards increasing complexity as people (and attorneys) constantly attempt to get around the intent of the law as written by playing semantic games.

That leads to court rulings and additional laws being passed which attempt to clarify and define what was originally intended. Because this occurs in a willy-nilly (i.e case-by-case) fashion, noise gets introduced into the system. That results in differing rulings by courts in different jurisdictions and conflicting laws being passed. The United States also has the often conflicting goals and overlapping powers of its federal and state governments to contend with. So it's even more legally complicated here than it is for most places on this tired planet.

I think the mess found in US law is more attributable to our cleverness with words and a desire to "do whatever we want to do, whenever we want to do it" than anything else.


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There is no reasonable expectation for most people to know what the law is. At all. Except in the most basic forms, e.g. theft, murder, etc.

40,000 new laws? In 1 year? Really?

Ignorance of the law **IS** an excuse.

If true, so much for expecting, or even asking people, to exercise any form of social responsibility.

I'm guessing you're not a US citizen - or maybe just haven't lived very long among us American Neanderthals?  :P

Most of us don't have some weird  existential issue about dealing with this. Mainly because it's not the nightmare you seem to think it is. It's just complicated. Fortunately, most people here feel up to the task. We've grown up with it and live it, so we have lots of experience dealing with our government. We get by.

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It still remains that the judge violated Ross' fundamental right to free speech in proscribing several of his proposed defenses.


Nope. It was in keeping with the established rules of due process - which deal with the admissibility of evidence and testimony based on how well they're related (i.e. germane) to the charges being made.

Again, a US court isn't a public forum. It's a public trial. You can't just introduce anything you want into a trial and expect it to be allowed. Otherwise everybody could argue god told them do it -and their belief in the truth of that is protected under the 1st Amendment. And since who can say what god may or may not choose to have us do, the charges must be dismissed.

If you want to push everything to its logical extreme, everything ultimately reduces to an absurdity. Let's not go there. It's fun. But it wastes a lot of words.

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Please note that some of the most popular drugs on the Silk Road were prescription drugs sold for 10% of the cost of regular prescriptions.[/size]

Does that give any more perspective on the issue? ;)

It does. For you it's about what you feel the law should be. Not what it is.

In the US, all prescription medication is regulated by law, doled out exclusively by licensed pharmacists out of licensed pharmacies or by licensed medical doctors.. And I don't want to get into a whole discussion about drugs and drug prices (prescription or otherwise) right now because it's a very sore spot for me personally. But until the law changes that's the way it works.

I guess you're arguing from the perspective of public advocacy and reform, whereas I'm just trying to clarify for you how the law actually operates here. :)

Oh well...I've spent way more time than I should on all this than I should. So I'm gonna bow out from this thread for now. I hope Popehat does an analysis of the trial and the verdict soon. Ken White usually cuts through the chaff and delivers pure gold when it comes to helping amateurs like me understand how all this legal stuff really works.

Later! :Thmbsup:






« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 03:31:04 PM by 40hz »

wraith808

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #63 on: February 05, 2015, 12:40:07 PM »
So sez Ren! But in practice, it works pretty well most of the time. Possibly something you clearly can't allow yourself to acknowledge - or even see?

Actually, after many real world experiences in court, I'd more agree with Ren on this point.

40hz

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #64 on: February 05, 2015, 03:12:59 PM »
Actually, after many real world experiences in court, I'd more agree with Ren on this point.

I hear you. And I might even be inclined to agree (in principle at least) with a fair amount what Ren's saying. But what he's saying is not the way these things actually work in court. And if you persist in trying to use the rules of one board game while playing a completely different one, you're apt to be disappointed before very long. And lose.

Now if you want to talk about pushing for judicial and procedural reforms, that's an entirely different matter. But such proposed reforms aren't the law until they've become law. And that isn't going to help this former defendant right now.

----------------------------------------

P.S. I've had my share of experience with courts too - although these were all on the witness, 'expert' testimony, and jury side of the equation, thank heavens! They were all extremely interesting and eye-opening experiences. But they're also the sort of experiences best avoided if at all possible. At least AFAIC.

That said, I still think it works pretty well most of the time.  :)
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 03:20:13 PM by 40hz »

Stoic Joker

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #65 on: February 05, 2015, 05:10:26 PM »
So sez Ren! But in practice, it works pretty well most of the time. Possibly something you clearly can't allow yourself to acknowledge - or even see?

Actually, after many real world experiences in court, I'd more agree with Ren on this point.

Me too - And I've been fighting really hard to stay quiet and let the adults talk, but... Just because something has always been done that way doesn't mean it isn't stupid. :D

We -(The People)- need jury nullification to "down vote" idiotic laws.

wraith808

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Re: Silk Road Seized - Dread Pirate Roberts Arrested
« Reply #66 on: February 05, 2015, 05:51:40 PM »
So sez Ren! But in practice, it works pretty well most of the time. Possibly something you clearly can't allow yourself to acknowledge - or even see?

Actually, after many real world experiences in court, I'd more agree with Ren on this point.

Me too - And I've been fighting really hard to stay quiet and let the adults talk, but... Just because something has always been done that way doesn't mean it isn't stupid. :D

We -(The People)- need jury nullification to "down vote" idiotic laws.

I don't think it's necessarily the laws as much as it's the status quo.

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The largest problem that I've had in all of my court cases that went bad- and the one that went well- was the judge.  In the end, they can make any ruling and in their fiefdom, it's law.  The only check and balance on that is appeal.  And unless an appeal is based on precedent or some sort of out of the ordinary circumstance or provable misconduct, the appeals court is going with the judge, because of the tendency to not want to start down the road of eroding the power of the judiciary.

And it sucks.