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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct 5, 2011 / 7 Tishrei, 5772

Federal law will get you even if you watch out

By Jay Ambrose




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Figuring on going somewhere? Stay home and remain seated, because the federal government may otherwise throw you in jail. If you think I am kidding when I explain that tens of thousands of criminal laws are out there waiting to grab you, listen to John Baker Jr.

"Congress has made every American potentially indictable for a federal crime," the law professor said to me as he explained the threat that began growing when Richard Nixon was in the White House. This president wanted a war on crime and got that and a lot more. As decades passed, liberals and conservatives joined forces in passing all kinds of criminalizing measures, often without knowing what the laws actually said.

They did this despite the fact that criminal law is meant to be primarily a state function. The Constitution outlined just three federal offenses -- piracy, treason and counterfeiting -- but Congress has added more than 4,500 statutes to the list since then, and that's without counting the arduous, undying assistance of bureaucrats.

These happily busy public servants have squeezed in so many additional federal offenses on some 27,000 pages of the U.S. Code that groups trying to calculate the total have given up, including the U.S. Justice Department, the American Bar Association and the Congressional Research Service

Given that no one even has a handle on the number of these laws, it's obvious that not a soul out there can possibly know what most of them say, and then there is the related issue that many of them allow conviction with no proof of criminal intent, known by the Latin phrase, "mens rea," or "evil-meaning mind."

Some of these laws are big-time with big-time sentences, but are so vague you can step on the cliff thinking you're on a legal bridge, and others are trivial, everyday stuff that can still can put you in jail, cost you a big fine and subject you to public humiliation. Maybe you somehow misappropriated the Smoky the Bear or Woody the Owl character. It could be handcuff time, friend.

Chances are it won't happen to you, but it could even though you had absolutely no idea you were doing anything wrong and are far removed from entertaining criminal thoughts.

Consider Bobby Unser, the race car driver, who was out snowmobiling with a friend and got lost. They abandoned one snowmobile, went in the direction of possible help and then struck out on foot, eventually finding their way to safety after two days of facing death.

Federal officials wanted to know where Unser lost his snowmobile, and he told them and they said, well, that means you were on protected federal land and broke the law and face a $5,500 fine and six months in jail.

He fought back with the help of several large organizations that think highly of justice, but even though the government never found the snowmobile, he had failed to prove himself innocent and was declared guilty.

He was fined $75, but this was after he and those groups had spent as much as $800,000 fighting the case and the government spent something like $1 million, according to his version on an online video.

The Wall Street Journal has been doing running a series of articles on this over-criminalization, and a number of groups are doing their best to get more politician involved, among them the Federalist Society (with which Baker is associated), the American Civil Liberties Union, the Heritage Foundation and the Washington Legal Foundation.

Solutions? Some of those suggested are outright repeal of many of the laws, rewriting others, careful codification and switching some from criminal to civil penalties only. Before some of this can happen, the government will maybe need to assign people for years and years just to read everything that's there.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado.


Previously:

09/28/11: Leftist bugbears on the march

09/23/11: Still hope for coal to help us

09/21/11: Obama's Madoff ploy

09/19/11: U.S. can't afford to wait until it happens

09/14/11: Defending -- and strengthening -- gung ho collectivism

09/12/11: A pipeline to better times

09/08/11: Obama just keeps destroying jobs

09/06/11: Ultra-feminists thwarting justice

08/31/11: Corporations are people? Yes, Count the ways

08/26/11: What an earthquake tells us about debt

08/25/11: The tyranny of scientific consensus

08/23/11: Fracking hardly a public health threat

08/17/11: Why Obamacare won't control births

08/15/11: Balanced budget amendment unbalanced idea

08/10/11: Kerry's war on citizen speech

08/05/11: Upside to the compromise leaving the door open for obnoxious maneuvers

08/03/11: The people who may save America

07/29/11: On making deals, Obama is no LBJ

07/27/11: The threat behind the debt

07/23/11: Mean opposition to means-testing

07/20/11: Leftist babble makes debt crisis even worse

07/18/11: Time to raise demagoguery ceiling

07/13/11: Obama treating treaties badly

07/08/11: Is decline of U.S. exaggerated?

07/05/11: Not math deficiency, but demagoguery



© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE

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