Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gotta prove intent in order to prosecute

That's the whine I read in the Wall St Journal. Some investigator working to nail somebody, anybody, for causing Great Depression 2.0, or at least profiting by it.
What is this? Intent is thought. Are we trying to prosecute thought crimes? Real crime, which juries will convict for, involved actions, not thoughts. Taking cash out of the vault, out of safety deposit boxes, out of customer accounts (Corzine!), forging signatures, that's crime. The law has been real clear on this sort of thing since Moses's time.
Buying a stocks and bonds that go down in value ain't criminal, dumb maybe, apt to get you fired, but it ain't a crime.
What this guy is complaining about is really one of two things.
A. Nobody committed any crimes.
B. He is too stupid to prove the crimes. (You gotta be smart to be Sherlock Holmes. Few guvmint employees are very smart)

Crime should not rest upon mental attitude. Proof of a crime should be proof of some action, not wheither the perp was thinking impure thoughts as he did the actions. Juries largely agree with this, and have been returning verdicts of "not guilty" when the government brings a thought crime case.
And no, we do not need more vague laws making impure thoughts into felonies.

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