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Reforming our Justice system

I've been doing a lot of thinking about our legal system, and the Bill of Rights especially. And I have an idea that might seem a bit radical, but I think it's time has come.

The Constitution forbids "cruel and unusual punishment." Further, it bans double jeopardy -- you cannot be tried and punished more than once for a crime.

With that in mind, I think it's time we did away with things like criminal records. Once a person has served their sentence, the matter is over. They have paid their debt, and it's unfair to keep punishing them for their crime. We cannot reasonably expect people to be able to go on with their lives with that cloud hanging over their heads.

Naturally, with that change, we will have to make other adaptations to fit. Criminal background checks will be much quicker, as only those on parole or probation will show up. And sex-offender registries would be a thing of the past. All we need to do is shift those duties on to those who currently run parole/probation programs.

Obviously, I'm being completely facetious here. But what I've described above seems to be the crux of the pro-illegal aliens movement. They want to get past the initial offense (or "original sin" of their breaking the laws in the first place (either by illegally crossing the border, overstaying their visa, or entering on a falsified visa) and simply accept their presence as a fait accompli.

The immigration laws are quite simple. If you want to enter the United States, you must do so through approved entry points. You must have a visa or other similar document, that outlines exactly why you're here and for how long. And when that time or purpose has been achieved, you must leave. If you want to come here to stay, say so up front and follow the established procedures.

Setting such policies are the right and duty of every nation. Those put forth by the United States are, quite possibly, the most liberal in the world, and have been of great benefit to both sides -- immigrants and Americans.

But the move now is to ignore those laws, to simply reduce immigration policy to a variant of the game "tag" -- with the "goal" being "once you get into America, we can't toss you back out." And it isn't even an open assault on the laws -- no one seems to be calling for changes to immigration policy, only its enforcement. I'd respect them more if they would actually put forth how they want the law changed, and not just whine about how "unfair" it is and do everything they can to hamper its application.

It all boils down to one simple question: does the United States have the right to set and enforce immigration policies, and to regulate its own borders?

According to "immigrant advocates," the answer seems to be "no."

Comments (8)

WOW! Let me tell you how w... (Below threshold)

WOW! Let me tell you how wonderful it would be! I "pleaded out" to a casino crime that was escalated from a misdemeanor to a felony by a young, power-seeking district attorney. The judge even laughed at the sentencing saying "Let me get this straight, Mr srbizman, you're here for trying to take money from a machine the casino designed to take money from you. Is that right?" and then gave me probation and asked me not to return to the Colorado Casino's for two years. NOW I AM BEING PUNISHED!

I'm a computer consultant and recently was hired by a prestigious pharmacuetical company who obviously didn't mind my record. When it came time to finalize everything, I couldn't get a "building pass" into the building because it contained "Federal Offices!" I guess us smarty pants kids that can find and exploit weaknesses in a casino slot machine are considered "Dangerous" ever since 911!

Back in the 70's when I was arrested, a relative worked for the NSA (or some such security agency that monitored all the Viet Nam war communications) and he had my record "sealed." No problems finding a job. I did my time and returned to being a tax paying member of society. Even owned and operated my own consulting company!

But, In 1999, when I decided a pistol would be a fun hobby, I discovered what the "Truth in Information" act (and time) had done to me. (OK, Automation and the computer helped create the problem too!) But, I was turned down! I wasn't allowed to purchase a pistol because now my "sealed records" were a matter of public information! Suddenly I went from tax paying, law abiding citizen to "Convicted Felon!" All overnight. Stay tuned, I might just write a whole story on this.

The Constitution forbids... (Below threshold)

The Constitution forbids "cruel and unusual punishment."

Note the word "and". Can punishment be merely cruel? Perhaps a modified "catch-and-release" policy could be adopted, where any illegal caught would be tattooed (or my preference, branded) on the arm for first offense, closer to private parts for subsequent offenses.

Okay, you say, that's too cruel. How about merely unusual, then? All illegal aliens should be injected with meth and then placed in a room with a 24-hour looped tape of Carrot Top in 5.1 Dolby surround sound. Upon completion of the punishment, explain to the miscreant that the next offense will be 24 hours of Pauly Shore, then it will be the Margaret Cho/Rosie O'Donnell Grrllz Gone Wild Special featuring the long lost love tapes of Andrea Dworkin and k.d. lang.

I predict mad results.

I see Nathaniel Hawthorne a... (Below threshold)

I see Nathaniel Hawthorne and Anthony Burgess have chimed in.

Hmmm.Sorry Jay but... (Below threshold)


Sorry Jay but that's a ridiculous idea that nobody would accept.

Tell me. If you have small children living with you. Would you like to know if someone with a history of kidnapping, molesting and murdering small children moved nearby?

If you've committed a crime then it should follow you.

Ed, with all due respect, d... (Below threshold)

Ed, with all due respect, did you read below the fold? I don't think Jay was serious about this.

"Obviously, I'm being compl... (Below threshold)

"Obviously, I'm being completely facetious..."

Much like people who don't read below the fold, liberals would likely not find you being facetious "obvious." I've actually heard very similar if not the exact same idea from some left-wingers.

Ed, that's where you're wro... (Below threshold)

Ed, that's where you're wrong. The ARE people that think it's a good idea. Afterall, they've paid their debt, right? I am reminded of Theodore Dalrymple's ideas on that:

"When prisoners are released from prison, they often say that they have paid their debt to society. This is absurd, of course: crime is not a matter of double-entry bookkeeping. You cannot pay a debt by having caused even greater expense, nor can you pay in advance for a bank robbery by offering to serve a prison sentence before you commit it. Perhaps, metaphorically speaking, the slate is wiped clean once a prisoner is released from prison, but the debt is not paid off."

Actually many, perhaps eve... (Below threshold)

Actually many, perhaps even most of the open border crowd don't believe that we have the right to set and enforce our own policy. How can we have that right when we, the focus of all the troubles in the world, stole this country from the Native Americans like Ward Churchill? Why we even stole Texas from the Mexicans, not to mention California, Arizona and New Mexico.
To that crowd this invalidates any of our rights as a nation.






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