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Senators Attempt To Defund Justice Ex Post Facto

What would the law be without the Judicial Branch? Imagine an America in which you could be accused of a crime, convicted and punished without ever having the opportunity to set foot in a constitutional court of law. Imagine thinking that you would have the right to a fair trial, only to be informed that a new law had been passed, after you were accused of committing a crime that declares that anyone accused of the particular criminal event you’re alleged to be involved in would be put through a specially-established set of tribunals that don’t comply with constitutional standards of justice.

senator lindsey grahamThese circumstances are not idle speculation. They’re exactly the circumstances that would be created by a piece of legislation that has actually been written and is currently under consideration by the United States Senate. Senators Lindsey Graham, Joseph Lieberman and John McCain have promoted S.Amdt. 2669 to H.R. 2847, the Defunding Justice Amendment, which would forbid the Executive Branch from using courts established under the Constitution to prosecute criminal suspects accused of being connected to just one particular set of crimes. The amendment declares that no government funds can be used to conduct trials of suspects accused of connection to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

You may not like the people accused of participation in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Given what I know about them, I’m not fond of them myself.

In a free country, however, such prejudice is not supposed to be allowed to interfere with the conduct of any criminal trial, no matter how serious the charges. That’s why the Constitution requires that grave criminal charges must reach the stage of prosecution only after a grand jury has ruled that there is adequate evidence to bring the accused to trial.

There has still been no such grand jury in the prosecution of anyone suspected of involvement in the attacks of September 11, 2001, and that’s just the beginning in a series of evasions of our Constitution’s system of justice. The Defunding Justice Amendment violates another fundamental aspect of the Constitution’s system of fair trials: The ban on ex post facto laws.

Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution forbids ex post facto laws, meaning that Congress is not allowed to pass laws that change the rules of the law regarding an event after the event has taken place. That means that a legal act cannot retroactively be declared illegal, but it also means that the system of prosecution and punishment for a criminal act cannot be altered after the criminal act has taken place.

Way back in 1798, Supreme Court Justice Chase wrote the majority opinion finding that forbidden ex post facto law would include “every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offense, in order to convict the offender”. By creating the requirement, more than 8 years after the criminal event that the Executive prosecute suspects in just one particular criminal conspiracy be put on trial in a newly set up system outside of the constitutionally-established system of Justice, a system which has remarkably lower rules on evidence and testimony, the Defunding Justice Amendment would clearly violate Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution.

Perhaps your first inclination is not to care much, because you presume that the people accused of taking part in the criminal attacks of September 11, 2001 are guilty, even though not one suspect in the case has been convicted in a legitimate non-ex post facto court of law. If that’s your inclination, I urge you to reconsider, because the American system of justice is founded upon the presumption that a suspect is innocent until that suspect is proven to be guilty.

Disregard of that fundamental principle of American justice is not just unfair. It is downright unpatriotic.

5 comments to Senators Attempt To Defund Justice Ex Post Facto

  • Tom

    Yup – the whole thing just plain sucks. You know what sucks more is that we’re allowing it to happen.

    Unfortunately we’re starting to see what it’s like when the government walls(treets) itself off from the mass of society its supposed to serve.

    Unless we physically take it back – no change for the better will occur in time to stave off contining massive unemployment, with the accompanying severe drop in personal income tax receipts for the government – enough that the states declare bankruptcy while the fed continues making it up by just printing money out of thin air. (Even THIS won’t be enough! Just the fact that the YOKE has been put ON THE PUBLIC for these trillion dollar errors – i mean this will put GENERATIONS of people in slavery or worse for the forseeable future – if society doesn’t just completely collapse!)

    We’re defacto supporting a system that’s out of control and not responding to VOTING, REFERENDI, LAW, PEACEFUL PROTEST, or LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. The sparkling few times with which miniscule positive change occurs these days governmentally (ie. the last 10 years now) are rare and come at a glacial pace. There have been and continue to be massive personal rights violations, breakdown of services, ignoring of the Constitution, decline in standard of living, foundation of a police state, decay at all levels (that’s already happened and will only get worse from here) and nothing of substance is being done about it.

    The climate change issue is too big to ignore, and we’re doing nothing (as a planet – the only way it’ll work) while the evidence mounts: sea level rising, more flooding and droughts, more erratic weather, species are having trouble coping, plants are having trouble coping (read about wine grapes sometime), getting harder to grow food, the ocean is being poisoned and overfished . . ).

  • LGW

    They are already doing this to Americans. It is called the Adam Walsh Act.

  • They have already gutted the ex-post facto from the constitution. Alburto Gonzales did it in 2007.
    Note: http://cfcamerica.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1028:congressman-states-life-is-over-once-a-person-is-placed-on-the-sex-offender-registry&catid=12:legal-issues&Itemid=145

    This video speaks of the national Adam Walsh Act, which was made Ex Post Facto by the Attorney General.. thereby re-sentencing countless thousands of law abiding citizens to a lifetime of banishment.
    This ruined the lives of their familes, their children.. and today has banished them into homelesness and without hope of work.

    Nobody says anyhthing about this.

  • Was really excited cause the image popped into my head really quickly. ,

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