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Making Everything a Crime

The Over-Criminalizing of Americans

This post’s title is from the folks over at Reason.com who posted the Title article which brings a refreshed look at three very important things:

  1. The continued over-criminalizing of Americans;
  2. The militarizing of domestic law enforcement; and,
  3. Criminalizing the use of constitutional rights.

The entire article is great and deserves a full read (the original article can be found here). Here is how it gets started:

Elizabeth Daly went to jail over a case of bottled water.

According to the Charlottesville Daily Progress, shortly after 10 p.m. on April 11, the 20-year-old U.Va. student bought ice cream, cookie dough and a carton of LaCroix sparkling water from the Harris Teeter grocery store at the popular Barracks Road Shopping Center. In the parking lot, a half-dozen men and a woman approached her car, flashing some kind of badges. One jumped on the hood. Another drew a gun. Others started trying to break the windows.

Daly understandably panicked. With her roommate in the passenger seat yelling “Go, go, go!” Daly drove off, hoping to reach the nearest police station. The women dialed 911. Then a vehicle with lights and sirens pulled them over, and the situation clarified: The persons who had swarmed Daly’s vehicle were plainclothes agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The agents had thought the sparkling water was a 12-pack of beer.

Did the ABC’s enforcers apologize? Not in the slightest. They charged Daly with three felonies: two for assaulting an officer (her vehicle had grazed two agents; neither was hurt) and one for eluding the police. Last week, the commonwealth’s attorney dropped the charges.

The Times Dispatch, A. Barton Hinkle, Jul 3, 2013

This is just one example of where law enforcement in America is going, and what it has now become. Here’s another example from the same article:

This follows the case of Jeff Olson, who chalked messages such as “Stop big banks” outside branches of Bank of America last year. Law professor Jonathan Turley reports that prosecutors brought 13 vandalism charges against him. Moreover, the judge in the case recently prohibited Olson’s attorney from “mentioning the First Amendment, free speech,” or anything like them during the trial.

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