The point of having a nation of laws is twofold: (a) you know how to prosper, and (b) you know how to stay out of jail.
The persecution of President Trump has revealed a new threat of charlatan prosecutors and agency administrators cobbling together disparate statutes which the media kindly calls “innovative”, “artful” or “novel” interpretations or constructions.
But these recombinations are actually new laws because they are the nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and contexts in criminal statutes, strung together in new combinations to create newly criminalized conduct after a citizen has engaged in some conduct.
This is opposite to centuries of American law. Those doing it are applying to our American culture standards that have never been part of our American culture, after having taken an oath to follow our constitution and laws.
The clear and simple existing legal repudiation of this spurious methodology is that no one can be expected to be on advance notice of these contrivances and therefore nobody can be in violation of them.
Which is why most if not all of the states’ constitutions, and the federal constitution, prohibit after-the-fact (ex post facto) laws.
In our American legal system we have for centuries required that a criminal statute be as clear and simple as addition in math (elements of the offense): allowed behavior #2 + allowed behavior #3 = criminal violation #5. We have all agreed on the meaning of #2 and #3 because they are often defined at the dictionary level, and therefore everyone knows not to do them together lest they fall subject to result #5. If they do not, they may not be otherwise be bothered by the statute.
The reason words in our statutes are taken at their dictionary meaning is so that the average American as a reasonable person, can know and understand them. Plummers, lathe operators, electricians, bricklayers, newscasters, and salesman, are not required to be legal scholars to know how to behave.
But around our beautiful nation we now see legal charlatans trying to turn this simple addition into calculus.
They reason they do this is because they want to get someone for something and cannot find where the people’s representatives in their legislature have described it in their statutes. So instead of asking the legislature if they would like to create a statute making that behavior criminal for the next time it arises, or decide they don’t want to criminalize it, they try to make it criminal after the fact by cobbling together different statutes created for different situations.
When charlatan prosecutors and agency administrators do this they violate the centuries-old American legal standard that a criminal statute must be blindingly clear so that people can steer clear of that behavior. And it must be so in advance, not after the fact. They intentionally, wrongfully and deliberately do this at the expense of the individual whom they want to entrap after the fact. They substitute their wants, and their place, for the legislature.
The recent crop of legal charlatans burdening America suffer from personal issues of cluttered thinking. Relevance, causation, proportion, and authority outside themselves, have always been things lacking in them. Such is the formation of their brains. But having themselves a bit of power we all have to endure the needless drama imposed on us by their muddied thoughts, leading to social instability. We in the normal population have become the victims of their abnormal brain functions. If their numbers continue to expand, the costs of constantly undoing their bad behavior increases and prosperity slows.
To vigilantly protect each other’s life and liberty we Americans have for hundreds of years made certain our law is that criminal statutes which are not precise and definite are therefore vague and prohibited from constituting a legal basis for punishment. They must be clear to a reasonable person, the average American. This is the law.
Why? Because if one cannot tell in advance what behavior is or is not included in a statute and therefore prohibited, they are not on fair notice of how to behave and avoid punishment. Simply put, when mom says to stay out of the kitchen after dinner, you know what’s going to happen if you’re caught there. The result is that Americans now find themselves living on the whim of politicians and prosecutors like countries elsewhere in the world to which we have pointed with blame for such for hundreds of years.
This basic law of strict clarity providing fair advance notice requires judges to reject at the out a criminal statute interpretation that is not precise and definite. To do so judges often look at what the legislature intended to punish when it created the statute. But when ne’er-do-well prosecutors start cobbling them together like a salad at a smorgasbord that approach is defeated because the charlatans are substituting their individual judgment for the collective will of the individual citizens they serve as expressed through their representatives in their legislative branch.
And when this longstanding law ends up being concluded only at the appellate level after a person has been compelled through the personal blood and treasure of a trial, the structure’s all-important protection of the individual is turned upside down and made worthless. Many innocents cannot afford an adequate defense. Many are intimidated by the might of the state. Many are bullied into pleading guilty in exchange for escaping exorbitant penalties. Many cannot fund an appeal. Many cannot find a lawyer willing to confront the absurd complexity of such legal contrivances. The ne’er do wells count on these and other such things to produce false victories, which they then show off to intimate other citizens. Such is legal anarchy, such is legal tyranny.
Innocent individuals should never have to bear the cost of legal charlatans trying to circumvent our American system of law in this way.
This is telishment -- the punishment of the innocent to attain a societal objective. We Americans decided hundreds of years ago that the financial cost and intellectual effort of creating new laws properly lay with the representatives we elect into our legislatures who base their decidings on an overall societal view after great discussion and public input.
In the various election-related political persecutions one might well ask why these courts have not done their duty? Why are citizens being bothered with new cobbled-together after-the-fact laws? Why are we all being bothered with this unnecessary drama?
Because as often as possible the charlatans select forums and judges of like mind who in turn facilitate an inversion of the hundred year old protections. They do not immediately shift the burden to the prosecutor to prove up the legitimacy of the “innovative”, “artful” or “novel” construction or application before any activity at the trial court level begins.
The bad behavior of these legal charlatans goes against the entire point and purpose of America, for which so many good men and women have sacrificed: that we do not live on the whim of another, that we have every right except those few which our elected representatives in the legislature have voted to very clearly spell out we do not.
The result of these unstayed attempts at “innovative,” “artful,” or “novel” constructions and applications is that no American citizen now lives in a nation of laws in which he and she knows for sure how to stay out of jail.
It cheats the entire populus. It puts the entire general population under threat and thereby chills prosperous conduct out of fear of jail. Freedom is suppressed. Progress reduced. Suffering increased.
It circumvents and violates the long-standing doctrines of malicious prosecution and abuse of process that we Americans created long ago to protect us against this un-American poison.
With the Bars and courts tolerating and facilitating this legal corruption, the life of the everyday American is now a guessing game. Prosperous Americans have been intimidated into keeping their heads down and avoiding the attention of the authorities so they do not become the next target. It is like the classic western where the evil land grabber comes to town, gets control of the key powers of the sheriff, prosecutor, and judge, and sets about taking over with full safety for himself at the full risk of others.
In the face of this new threat of legal charlatans cobbling together disparate statutes, a good judge would at the outset stay everything until after the appeal courts have settled the issue of strict construction and adequate notice, and determined if the “innovative,” “artful,” or “novel” assemblage or application, the spurious new law, is in fact a legitimate criminal construct under which the accused can be made to defend himself.
Instead, what most of the carefully selected courts are doing in the present situation facilitates the charlatans, and enables them to win their objective of intimidating the general population. Americans see one of their fellows defending themself against charges cloaked wit the appearance of legitimacy because a trial court is compelling a defense and trial. They see a citizen forced to bear an unaffordable financial burden for the conduct. They see lives ruined while it goes on. They see a prosecutor’s media tour about how right he or she was and how it was good for the country when some defendants collapse under this weight plead guilty for a deal. Those observations affect present behavior among the population, and will be the ones most often recalled among the general population when it is overturned years later, affecting future social behavior.
Our laws have never been made-up, after-the-fact things.
We don’t treat each other this way in America.
Our people deserve the best, not the worst.
Martin C. Boire
August 14, 2023
Overly educated, overly experienced. Often right, often wrong.
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