A Geek With Guns

Discount security adviser to the proles.

Archive for the ‘Rights Dealing with Amendments Lower or Higher Than Two’ tag

You Have the Right to Remain Silent… So Long as You Specifically State It or are Being Arrested

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The Nazgûl have finally ruled on whether or not your decision to remain silent when confronted by the police can be used against you in a court of law. As you can guess they ruled that your silence can be used against you:

In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled today that a potential defendant’s silence can be used against him if he is being interviewed by police but is not arrested (and read his Miranda rights) and has not verbally invoked the protection of the Fifth Amendment.

In other words you only enjoy your Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination if you’ve specifically invoked it or are being arrested and have been read your Miranda rights. If, on the other hand, you simply remain silent your act of not talking can be used against you.

At this point the entirety of the so-called Bill of Rights, with the exception of the Third Amendment, have been turned into a Bill of State Granted Privileges. I’m sure that the only reason the Third Amendment remains unmolested is because the state hasn’t found a sufficient way to exploit it without a war breaking out here. Then again, with the way the current administration is continuously murdering people in foreign countries with remote controlled killing machines, a war in the United States isn’t entirely out of the question.

They’re All the Same

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Whenever somebody brings up the oncoming Romney vs. Obama race I’m always quick to voice my opinion that it’s really an Obama vs. Obama race. Romney and Obama are indistinguishable beyond physical characteristics. Saying this usually gets a rise out of both Romney and Obama supporters who believe their candidate is different from the other. Those who are asking gun owners to support Romney will point out that his election will slow down the race to socialism (which is really a race to fascism and the race was over decades ago) and strongly oppose my opinion that he’s the same as Obama. The sad truth is both candidates are exactly the same in the only matter that matters, they both believe in initiating violence.

My problem with these two candidates isn’t their views on guns, war, marriage, or the economy because their views on these issues are a symptom of something worse. What do all of these issues have in common? They all require the state’s gun to enforce.

Gun control laws are implemented under the threat of violence. If you purchase a verboten weapon the state will kidnap you and hold you in a cage. That’s what gun control is, that’s what every state decree is.

War is no different. Currently we have a voluntary military (until you’re in, at that point you become property of the state even more so than other citizens) but if the recruitment numbers aren’t high enough to wage the wars then the state will start another draft just as they did during the Vietnam War. Draftees will be offered the choice of being thrown in a cage or sent to war in a foreign land. The fact that the state can initiate a draft at all demonstrates the fact that we’re all slaves.

What about marriage? When the state makes a decree about marriage they’re violating peoples’ rights to voluntarily associate with one another. If the state choses to only recognize marriage between a single man and a single woman they are disallowing those who wish to marry people of the same sex or multiple people from entering into a contractual agreement. This is partially a byproduct of the state maintaining a monopoly on the court system and partially a byproduct of basing various government institutions on marriage status. Because of the monopoly on courts same sex partners can’t enter into the contractual part of marriage and because the state bases various institutions on marriage status same sex couples can’t apply for the same tax benefits as heterosexual couples. This is where the violence steps in, if a same sex couple decides to give the state the middle finger and pay their taxes as though they were married the Internal Revenue Service (revenuers) will bring down the hammer. The revenuers will demand more tax money and will go so far as kidnapping (or murder if the victims don’t come peacefully) and theft to get that money.

Economic matters are no different. When the state hands out money to favored businesses, generates regulations that harm their favoreds’ competitors, etc. they are brining the state’s gun to bear. A good example of this are regulations, most of which are designed in such a way to favor one set of businesses over another (usually the big politically well-connect businesses over the small guys who can’t afford lobbyists or offer cushy jobs to politicians when they exit their office). Environmental regulations are great for this as the book Political Environmentalism points out. During the acid rain scare the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated that all coal burning power plants install SO2 scrubbers to prevent sulfur from being released in the atmosphere. This regulation favored large power companies who could afford to install scrubbers and coal mines in the western United States. How did this regulation favor western coal mines? Simple, coal from the eastern part of the United States is low on sulfur content and burning it actually releases little sulfur, less than burning high sulfur western coal through scrubbers does. How does violence play into the equation you ask? Try building a power plant without the EPA mandated scrubbers while burning low sulfer coal and you’ll find out pretty quickly.

The bottom line is both Romney and Obama want to continue regulating all of these things and many more. There is no real difference between the two. Both candidates want to control your life and that’s the problem, that’s why no difference exists between the two. Whether you put a gun to my head to control what guns I own or what I eat is irrelevant to me, the fact you put the gun to my head at all is why I’m pissed off.

Regarding the Supreme Court

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With the upcoming election the most common scare tactic being used by those who advocate gun owners support Romney are possible upcoming Supreme Court nominations. For those who don’t know the president of the United States gets the privilege of nominating Supreme Court justices and those justices serve a lifelong term. Currently Romney’s camp are trying to scare people into voting for Romney by saying Obama will likely nominate Eric Holder as a Supreme Court justice. Honestly, if possible Supreme Court nominations weren’t on the horizon these people would likely come up with some of justification of why you should vote for Romney.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you who to vote for, that’s your business if you even bother to vote at all. What I want to consider is the Supreme Court itself and its implications for liberty. Many of the same people encouraging gun owners to vote for Romney are also individuals who think the Constitution is some kind of biblical document that was brought down by Moses from Mount Sinai. I hold a different view, I don’t actually like the Constitution all that much. Yes, it is better than most constitutions but I find the Article of Confederation far more desirable than the United States Constitution. Part of the reason I dislike the Constitution involves the judicial branch and the Supreme Court itself. The United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch in Article III:

Section. 1.

The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section. 2.

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;– between a State and Citizens of another State,–between Citizens of different States,–between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section. 3.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

From this single article of the Constitution has arisen a court that has the power to rule what rights individuals do and do not have. For example, the Second Amendment guarantees “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” To laymen that wording seems very straightforward, everybody enjoys the right to own and use firearms without any infringement agains that right. The Supreme Court has ruled otherwise, allowing restrictions against this supposed right.

When the Supreme Court makes a ruling it becomes the law of the land. If the Supreme Court ruled that the state held the right to confiscate any firearm at any time would people role over and submit to the state agents going from house to house taking arms? Those who subscribe to the idea that the Supreme Court is the ultimate authority of the matter of individual rights should, less they be hypocrites. To individuals like myself, who believe in the absolute right of self-ownership, the idea that nine men wearing robes can determine what my rights are is comical.

What if the Supreme Court did rule that the right to keep and bear arms was a collective right that could be violated by the state? It’s an interesting thing to consider. If you don’t recognize the state’s authority the ruling of the Supreme Court becomes irrelevant outside of the fact violence will be brought against your person if you should violated their decree. If you do recognize the state’s authority then you must also accept their ruling and comply with it believing it is right.

Those who recognize the absolute authority of the Supreme Court must then admit that they believe rights are not rights but state granted privileges. At any point these privileges could be taken away by the ruling of a mere five people (since Supreme Court rulings are always based on the majority out of nine). If one judge had ruled against incorporation of the Second Amendment every state would have the right to prohibit the ownership of firearms. If that had been the case then the Second Amendment, which states the right to keep and bear arms can not be infringed, would have been a temporary right stripped by a single Supreme Court ruling. In essence, the five judges who ruled in favor of incorporation each held the power to strip a supposed right from the people of the United States. Think about that for a minute, five people in this country held the power to determine whether or not those of us living in the United States had a right.

To me, the idea that five individual can legitimately determine what my rights are is absurd. Could the Supreme Court then rule that the First Amendment isn’t actually applicable? They did, in seven court cases. If the Supreme Court had rules opposing in any single mentioned case we would not enjoy the supposed rights we do today.

Believing that the Supreme Court holds some kind of authority necessarily means you believe rights are not only privileges but temporary privileges. Even though the Second Amendment has been incorporated by the Supreme Court people are afraid that one of Obama’s nominees may reverse that decision in another case. Stop and think about that for a moment. The Supreme Court holds the power to determine what rights you do and don’t have and that determination can be changed at any time. Why isn’t anybody pissed about that? Aren’t rights supposed to be absolute? Doesn’t the Constitution protect our rights? What happens when a clause in the Bill or Rights opposes a ruling by a court established by the Constitution?

I don’t think people spend enough time considering topics like this. Perhaps we should spend less time worrying about Supreme Court nominations and more time getting pissed off at the fact our rights are temporary privileges that can be granted to taken by the state whenever five individuals in robes decide so. Frankly I don’t give a shit who is on the Supreme Court because I find that entire court to be a sham. They no more hold a right to determine what my rights are than I have a right to determine what your rights are.

Before somebody posts a comment saying, “Yeah the situation sucks but it is what it is so you have to vote for Romney” let me just say this: no I don’t. The situation sucks because people kept voting for the “lesser” or two evils. Every time somebody justified voting for the “lesser” evil they have been responsible for the situation we face today. I’m not going to be part of the problem and I sure as the hell am not going to be the guy who has to explain to his children why their life sucks so much. Do you know what really sucks? People who cow to the state. Something isn’t so just because the state says it. If the state said you had to kill your neighbor would you kill your neighbor? What if the state decided to reverse its decision on abolishing slavery, would you help round up fellow human beings to be sold as slaves? How far are you willing to be pushed until you finally say “No?” I’ve already reached that point, I’m down cowing to the state, and I’m no longer going to be an obedient little dog whose only decision is whether I should put a checkmark next to the (R) or (D). I urge those of you reading this to join me. Whether you vote for the Libertarian Party, Constitution Part, Green Party, Independent Party, or don’t vote at all is irrelevant to me. My only request is that you think and stop relying on the state to do your thinking for you.

If the Supreme Court rules that I no longer have the right to keep and bear arms I will disregard that ruling just as I would disregard any ruling stating I no longer have the freedom of speech. Because of this I don’t care who the justices are nor will allow myself to be suckered into voting for Romney based on what amounts to a ghost story.

Crashing the So-Called Justice System

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We live in a police state where every person is actively breaking numerous laws. Between the constant issuance of speeding tickets, verboten substance possession charges, public intoxication charges, parking citations, and numerous other victimless “crimes” being perpetuated by everyday people you would think our court systems would be flooded with so many cases that none of these things would actually get to trail. The dirty little secret of the state is that they’re only able to fine, incarcerate, and otherwise punish people for these petty crimes is because they rarely go to trail. If we want to crash the punishment system (often incorrectly called a justice system in this country) all we need to do is take everything to court:

AFTER years as a civil rights lawyer, I rarely find myself speechless. But some questions a woman I know posed during a phone conversation one recent evening gave me pause: “What would happen if we organized thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people charged with crimes to refuse to play the game, to refuse to plea out? What if they all insisted on their Sixth Amendment right to trial? Couldn’t we bring the whole system to a halt just like that?”


“The truth is that government officials have deliberately engineered the system to assure that the jury trial system established by the Constitution is seldom used,” said Timothy Lynch, director of the criminal justice project at the libertarian Cato Institute. In other words: the system is rigged.

In the race to incarcerate, politicians champion stiff sentences for nearly all crimes, including harsh mandatory minimum sentences and three-strikes laws; the result is a dramatic power shift, from judges to prosecutors.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1978 that threatening someone with life imprisonment for a minor crime in an effort to induce him to forfeit a jury trial did not violate his Sixth Amendment right to trial.


On the phone, Susan said she knew exactly what was involved in asking people who have been charged with crimes to reject plea bargains, and press for trial. “Believe me, I know. I’m asking what we can do. Can we crash the system just by exercising our rights?”

The answer is yes. The system of mass incarceration depends almost entirely on the cooperation of those it seeks to control. If everyone charged with crimes suddenly exercised his constitutional rights, there would not be enough judges, lawyers or prison cells to deal with the ensuing tsunami of litigation. Not everyone would have to join for the revolt to have an impact; as the legal scholar Angela J. Davis noted, “if the number of people exercising their trial rights suddenly doubled or tripled in some jurisdictions, it would create chaos.”

We can grind the police state to a halt by simply exercising the rights that are supposedly guaranteed us by the United States Constitution. In other words we must overcome our fear that the state will toss us in a cage longer unless we surrender our rights. Furthermore we must stop looking at tickets on a purely costs basis. Sure it may cost more to fight a ticket in court than it would to simply pay it off, and the state realizes this, they have engineered the system this way to ensure we simply surrender our money to them.

The current criminalization of everything requires complacency by the people. Were every single citation, ticket, find, and charge taken to trail the court systems would be so flooded with cases that they would be entirely unable to function. In such a scenario they would be forced to make a decision: concentrate on crimes where a victim exists or continue prosecuting victimless crimes and finding it impossible to get through the cases.

Nothing can be changed at the ballot box, but we can change things through other methods. Jury nullification and taking everything to court, in other words exercising your rights, are two great ways to toss monkey wrenches into the state’s works. The state expects us to roll over and pay the money they demand from us because it’s easier than fighting them. In the short run it may be easier to roll over but in the long run it costs us far more as every infraction against our liberty the state wins empowers them, encourages them, and makes them believe they can extract anything they want from us by merely making the cost of fighting seem smaller in the short run. Let us use their own weapon against them, let us gunk up the engine of punishment by exercising our rights.

Rights Versus the State

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So Dayton vetoed HR 1467, and yes I’m still irked by that. Being I rarely like to let a situation go entirely to waste I believe it’s time again for Christopher Burg Explains Why the State is Bad.

Let’s consider a few things. First the state has declare itself the sole proprietor on deciding what rights we individuals hold. The state has decided that we don’t have a constitutional right to police protection as decided by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in Warren v. District of Columbia and the Supreme Court cases Castle Rock v. Gonzales. Being we have no right to police protection we must resort to taking the responsibility of self-defense into our own hands. There is a slight difficulty with this though, the state has also issued numerous prohibitions against self-defense. No right to carry a firearm exists outside of Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, and Wyoming (every other state requires a permit or offers no legal means of carrying a firearm). Many states, including Minnesota, still hold the common law requirement that one attempt to flee a situation before enacting defensive measures. While such a requirement may seem sensible it’s not since deciding whether or not you made best effort to flee is entirely subjective. Needless to say the state places numerous barriers between individuals and their legal ability to defend themselves.

Where does that leave we the people? Nowhere good. The state has restricted our right to self-defense while offering no guarantee that defense will be provided. We’ve allowed the state to infringe on our rights as self-owners by allowing them to decree that we hold no right to defend ourselves. Because of this we’re required to beg like dogs for laws that protect lawful self-defense and turn a potential bankrupting court case into a legally recognized right of preservation of self. This is why the state should never be given authority over individuals, once that authority is recognized it’s almost impossible to seize it back.

The state is also a masturbatory entity that indulges itself. As I posted last night Dayton’s decision to veto was, supposedly, based on recommendations he received from other state agents:

Dayton made his veto by letter without commenting publicly.

In his veto letter, Dayton said, he had to honor the opposition of law enforcement.

“The MN Police and Peace Officers Association, the MN Chiefs of Police and the MN Sheriffs Association represent the men and woman who risk their lives every day and night to protect the rest of us. When they strongly oppose a measure, because they believe it will increase the dangers to them in the performance of their duties, I cannot support it,” Dayton wrote.

Instead of listening to the people he relied on other agents of the state. Our voice as individuals who are supposedly represented by the governorship was entirely ignored because, according to state agents like the governor, we don’t matter. I can point to numerous cased of this, and have many times on this very site, but for demonstration purposes I’ll bring out the White House’s response to the We The People petitions:

According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health– the world’s largest source of drug abuse research – marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment. We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms. Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about what this means for public health – especially among young people who use the drug because research shows their brains continue to develop well into their 20’s. Simply put, it is not a benign drug.

For those unaware the National Institute of Health (NIH) is a government agency. In the case of marijuana prohibition the White House based its decision on the statements of another state agency. The vast amount of research that exists countering the findings of the NIH aren’t even mentioned nor were they likely considered.

Letting the state make decisions for us is not only bad because they will strip us of our rights but also because the only authoritative source of knowledge according to the state is the state. When you control the policy and the justification you can make anything appear justifiable.

The bottom line is that your government doesn’t love you. If you’re put at a severe disadvantage to further cement the state’s power so be it, according to the state. You and me don’t matter to the politicians, the only people who matter to them are each other and whatever cronies offer them the best deals. Politicians are only interested in power and share many traits of serial killers, which is why they likely ran for political office in the first place.

Now that I’ve bitched for a while I should present a solution. Many people firmly believe that we merely need to get the right people into office or return to a constitutional government for all to be well again. Both objectives are steps in the right direction but ultimately I believe the only solution is the elimination of the coercive entity we call the state. If my study in Austrian Economics has taught me one thing it is this: the only person qualified to make decisions that affect an individual is the individual the decision will affect. Everybody should have the same attitude as Ron Paul which is, “I don’t want to run your life, I don’t know how to run your life, I don’t have the authority to run your life, and the Constitution doesn’t permit me to run your life!” None of us have the knowledge to run each other’s lives and we shouldn’t be going around acting like we do. Likewise we shouldn’t delegate our rights as self-owners to outside entities as they don’t have the knowledge required to run our lives. The fact that we allow the state to decide whether or not it’s legal for ur to act in self-defense is absurd, we have a right to protect ourselves by the very fact that we are self-owners.

Protesting at Presidential Events Soon to be Illegal

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Remember all the gun we’ve had protesting at places where Obama made appearances? Those were the days and sadly those days are fast approaching a permanent end:

The US House of Representatives voted 388-to-3 in favor of H.R. 347 late Monday, a bill which is being dubbed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. In the bill, Congress officially makes it illegal to trespass on the grounds of the White House, which, on the surface, seems not just harmless and necessary, but somewhat shocking that such a rule isn’t already on the books. The wording in the bill, however, extends to allow the government to go after much more than tourists that transverse the wrought iron White House fence.

Before I start on my little adventure of looking at the bill let me first give some major kudos to Russia Today. Not only did they give the bill number but they also tried to link to the bill itself (unfortunately they linked to temporary results from the Thomas Library of Congress, but they at least tried). Now let’s take a look at the bill’s text:


This Act may be cited as the ‘Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011’.


Section 1752 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

‘Sec. 1752. Restricted building or grounds

‘(a) Whoever–

‘(1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so;

‘(2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions;

‘(3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds; or

‘(4) knowingly engages in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds;

or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

‘(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is–

‘(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both, if–

‘(A) the person, during and in relation to the offense, uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm; or

‘(B) the offense results in significant bodily injury as defined by section 2118(e)(3); and

‘(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in any other case.

‘(c) In this section–

‘(1) the term ‘restricted buildings or grounds’ means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area–

‘(A) of the White House or its grounds, or the Vice President’s official residence or its grounds;

‘(B) of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or

‘(C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance; and

‘(2) the term ‘other person protected by the Secret Service’ means any person whom the United States Secret Service is authorized to protect under section 3056 of this title or by Presidential memorandum, when such person has not declined such protection.’.

Beautiful huh? This bill is the exact thing I’ve been warning people about whenever a protest in Washington DC takes place. As I’ve said the king doesn’t like it when the peasants gather at the castle and this bill is a result of unruly peasants daring to take their message to the White House. Now going to the White House or any other location where somebody protected by the Secret Service is and “knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions” can face up to a year in prison. Our favorite Arizona protester with a gun would not face up to ten years in prison for his exercise of free speech.

I would echo the statement made in the Russia Today article and say that the First Amendment is dead but it died a long time ago. The Bush initiated “free speech zones” were bad but this is even more ridiculous, and it’s already passed the House and Senate so it merely requires a signature from Emperor Obama (who will absolutely love this bill since it will shield him from people with differing opinions to his own).

Constitution Free Zones

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We’re all aware of so-called gun free zones, places in the United States where it is verboten for law abiding people to carry firearms. Most readers of this blog are likely aware of the so-called Constitution free zones, the areas of the country within 100 miles of the border that the government have claimed fall outside of Constitutional protections. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has put together a rather frightening map that displays the areas of America where the Constitution apparently doesn’t apply:

Using data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the ACLU has determined that nearly 2/3 of the entire US population (197.4 million people) live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders.

The government is assuming extraordinary powers to stop and search individuals within this zone. This is not just about the border: This ” Constitution-Free Zone” includes most of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.

Ever wonder why they only made it 100 miles? Because that covers a majority of the population and as far as the state is concerned that’s good enough for now. Personally I don’t buy the bullshit idea of a Constitution free zone, nowhere in the document does it state that it ceases to apply within 100 miles of the borders and I’m pretty sure the founders would have put something that important somewhere in writing.

America: land of the free so long as you live 100 miles or more inland.

The Fifth Amendment has Been Buried

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Last month I reported about a judge who ordered a woman to decrypt here laptop and in doing so violated her Fifth Amendment right. The decision was appealed but the state is usually very consistent in violating rights so the order to decrypt the laptop was upheld:

Colorado federal authorities seized the encrypted Toshiba laptop from defendant Ramona Fricosu in 2010 with valid court warrants while investigating alleged mortgage fraud, and demanded she decrypt it by typing in her password. In January, U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn ordered the woman, who faces decades in prison if convicted, to decrypt the laptop by the end of February.

Her attorney appealed, hoping to win a reprieve based on the assertion that being forced to decrypt her laptop amounts to a breach of the woman’s Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, sided with the government’s contention that an appeal was not ripe — that she must be convicted or acquitted before the circuit court would entertain an appeal. Appellate courts usually frown on hearing appeals until after there’s been a verdict.

The appellate court wrote (.pdf) Wednesday that it lacks “jurisdiction to consider the resulting proceeding under any exception to our usual finality rules.”

In other words the woman is in a catch-22 situation, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals doesn’t want to make any ruling until after the case has concluded and the woman doesn’t want to decrypt her laptop meaning the case won’t conclude. If there is incriminating evidence on the laptop the woman should not be forced to decrypt the drive because doing so is self-incrimination. Unfortunately, according to the state, that’s irrelevant and she must possible incriminate herself in order to seek protection against self-incrimination.

The Fifth Amendment dies in the first ruling but it was buried by this most recent decision.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 27th, 2012 at 12:00 pm

It’s 1984 in Britain

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The Stasi are going to be working overtime in formerly Great Britain now that they’ll have records of every phone call, e-mail, and text message sent in the country:

Details of every phone call and text message, email traffic and websites visited online are to be stored in a series of vast databases under new Government anti-terror plans.

Landline and mobile phone companies and broadband providers will be ordered to store the data for a year and make it available to the security services under the scheme.

If you live in that forsaken realm of the damned it would be wise to personally run your own e-mail server that only accepts SSL-secured connections. While the Stasi are claiming they won’t store the contents of intercepted messages that matters not because once they know messages exist they can obtain records of them through glorious court orders (or if they have the equivalent to the United States National Security Letters they don’t even have to putz around with that). Remember that deleted e-mails may no longer be accessible to you but they’re likely accessible on some backup somewhere.

I would say denizens of Britain should attempt to flee to free America but we’re no longer free either. The best hope of not being spied on by your government is to live in a region controlled by a government that is too poor to implement a police state.

Nullification Alive and Well in Virginia

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I’ve talked about jury nullification several times on this blog but I don’t believe I’m talked about the ability of states of nullify federal laws. Through state legislation federal laws can be rendered unenforceable, or nullified. This has been done numerous times throughout American history with my favorite example of Wisconsin’s nullification of the Fugitive Slaves Act. Various states also nullified the REAL ID Act by passing legislation prohibiting the act from being implemented in those states.

The passed of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was not a happy moment in American history as it granted the United States government the power to indefinitely detain American citizens without trial. While Ron Paul introduced legislation to repeal the erroneous provision Virginia has decided to simply nullify the provision:

On Tuesday, February 14th, the Virginia House of Delegates voted in favor of House Bill 1160 (HB1160). The final vote was 96-4.

The legislative goal of HB1160 is to codify in Virginia law noncompliance with what many are referring to as the “kidnapping provisions” of section 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA). The official summary of 1160:

“A BILL to prevent any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the conduct of the investigation, prosecution, or detention of a citizen in violation of the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Virginia, or any Virginia law or regulation.”

I hope other states will follow Virginia’s fine example.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 17th, 2012 at 10:30 am