After a few years of analyzing and writing about politics, Alu discovered that the civics lessons we all learned as children are very far from the reality of our world. Though we all learned that Americans are ‘presumed innocent until proven guilty’ and convicted by a jury in a court, that is not how it works. When cops approach you, they determine that you are guilty, and they punish you before you could blink, let alone talk about the natural right to due process or the Constitution. From traffic law to self-defense, it seems like we are often punished before being convicted in court. Is there one common root cause for all of the violations of due process? What could we do to restore justice? Or is it a lost cause?
The following was not mentioned in the current edition but will be included in the upcoming edition of Presumed Guilty:
An NYPD cop shot and killed another cop. They were both going after a man who was stealing from a T-Mobile store. The thief’s friend was unarmed and was across the street when this happened. The unarmed friend was convicted of murder for the death of the cop. He was sentenced to prison for 30 years to life.
A cop was caught on video planting drugs on a suspect.
ATF Agents Going Door To Door Looking For Your Guns! – it’s now a crime to buy 2 guns at the same time? And you should be punished with no trial?!?!?
CANIGLIA v. STROM
During an argument with his wife, petitioner Edward Caniglia placed a handgun on the dining room table and asked his wife to “shoot [him] and get it over with.” His wife instead left the home and spent the night at a hotel. The next morning, she was unable to reach her husband by phone, so she called the police to request a welfare check. The responding officers accompanied Caniglia’s wife to the home, where they encountered Caniglia on the porch. The officers called an ambulance based on the belief that Caniglia posed a risk to himself or others. Caniglia agreed to go to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation on the condition that the officers not confiscate his firearms. But once Caniglia left, the officers located and seized his weapons. Caniglia sued, claiming that the officers had entered his home and seized him and his firearms without a warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The District Court granted summary judgment to the officers. The First Circuit affirmed, extrapolating from the Court’s decision in Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U. S. 433, a theory that the officers’ removal of Caniglia and his firearms from his home was justified by a “community caretaking exception” to the warrant requirement.
The federal courts account for 63 percent of the 3,278 life-without-parole sentences for nonviolent offenses. The remaining prisoners are in Louisiana (429 prisoners), Florida (270), Alabama (244), Mississippi (93), South Carolina (88), Oklahoma (49), Georgia (20), Illinois (10), and Missouri (1). The ACLU estimates that federal and state taxpayers spend $1.8 billion keeping these people in prison for life instead of more appropriate terms.
GOOD NEWS: Americans Under Felony Indictment Can Buy Guns: Federal Judge – this reverses one of the tiny examples of due process violations in the book! (though it will likely be overturned by a higher court)