Am I missing something?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
A mighty fine proposition!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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