Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat (Ignorance of the Law Is no Excuse/Does not Excuse): Impractical, Outdated and Unfair
When due process is too expensive for we the people
I do not understand the law. Well, to put it more accurately, I do not understand the legal system. The law seems pretty clear, although overwhelmingly voluminous. Perhaps that's why many attorneys can get away with charging for one hour what my take home pay is in a week! But, that's another article (or two or three - or more) for another time.
Anyway, shouldn't the rules of the game - the law - stay still long enough for a person (to stay with the game analogy for a bit) to finish his turn? I'm not saying that the law should never change - but damn it, if and when it does, wouldn't it be nice to let the citizenry in on it?
What? Too daunting? Too expensive? Too complicated? Too much of a, ahem, *tax* on resources?
TOO DAMNED BAD!!! It's right and it's fair and that is that! Make it HAPPEN! Otherwise, don't you dare try to hold *me* accountable to the rules I don't know about! That is sneaky, duplicitous, underhanded, and frankly an informational divide that makes the digital gap we so fear nothing but a laughable conspiracy theory by comparison.
Incidentally, ignorantia juris non excusat was the proscribed standard at a time when the law was barely more than an official declaration that "the right thing" was that which any *reasonable* person would judge to be moral and fair. It was NEVER meant to apply to a time where the laws on the books could fill *ENTIRE LIBRARIES*. Don't you *talk* to me about "too daunting"!
I say again - these excuses to subvert individual justice do not fly. For the individual citizen, yes - so long as the services of an attorney cost money - and they do. For the infrastructure - no way. Make the system work. Don't make the individual be the "collateral damage" for the so-called "greater good" which is such an egregious misnomer as to be unAmerican in and of itself.
So, let's LOOK at these excuses one at a time, eh? A logistical nightmare? Now imagine being the citizenry trying to keep up on its own - the average Joe with almost no access to the "system" until he gets caught up in it! To hell with your nightmare! Grab your teddy if you need to, drink some warm milk and cowboy up!
Too laborious? Um...let's see...laborious...labor....work...labor...wo.....JOBS! Seems "laborious" would be a *mighty* good thing! Oh - and electronic transmission alone won't cut it. The "digital divide" is a very real phenomenon, and if you do not want to accelerate the expansion of the chasm between the classes, between the "have it alls" and "have nothing"s, you'd better make sure that "the media" includes all ways, old and new, of disseminating official information. And, if public law, that body of regulatory mandates and powers that go with it, is going to be applied "objectively" by "blind lady liberty" it is most undoubtedly *official* information to which EVERY SINGLE individual is *entitled* to access, interpret, understand, and apply (in a court of law, for example) - AT PUBLIC EXPENSE. Affordability ("...and to have one appointed to you if you cannot afford one...") should have NOTHING to do with it, especially as the standards by which that is assessed are ridiculously inaccurate and biased. Everybody deserves the SAME, absolute right to the protections of the law of the land. That is the *essence* of due process! The Constitution *demands* no less.
Oh, and one other note about "paper" versus "high tech" - I'm one who likes to hold the contract in my hot little hands. And that is exactly what the law is - a contract of, by and for the PEOPLE. Seems to me if I didn't sign it, why the hell should you be able to hold me to it?? Get it out there! It just might even help stave off the demise of the United States Postal Service for another decade or so.
Too expensive? Oh - wait - already ticked that off of the excuse list. Expensive, how? Oh, right - WAGES! Yeah - jobs, the economy - that stuff. Seems like an ASSET, not a debit.
Have some people - have WE the people forgotten what matters in a democracy? What matters in a decent society? A decent world? It seems unreal to me that the monetary consequences, and especially a collective philosophy dedicated to serving those ends before the ends of justice, should EVER have become a popular force. And yet - hasn't it bullied its dominance throughout virtually every "red" state in the union? And even some of the "purple" regions (those that have a vote more evenly spread out along the political spectrum) are vulnerable to the propoganda that falsely pits idealogical idealists against "blue dogs" and other fiscal conservatives.
But this is not an issue of politics. I mean, in practical terms, it most certainly is at the mercy of political consideration and expediency. And that is wrong.
When public servants, and the institutions that they keep running, become a political force of their own, separate from and unaccountable to the people they are supposed to be serving - that is beyond "lobbying", beyond "political influence", beyond "leveraging their vote".
When, for example, corrections officers and prison officials vote to strengthen "3 strikes" laws and tougher sentencing, with their chief intent being sustained demand for their services (and thus job security) - that is corruption worthy of some pretty deep contempt. It is downright vile.
When politicians and those with whom they are closely connected can play by a different set of rules, where they have access to greater power and leverage of their own, not in the voting booth - no, in the halls of justice themselves, where they can quid pro quo their way to preferred legal outcomes - while the general public has access to no such privilege, influence, or even due process itself! - that is a sick and tyrannical injustice that should not stand.
When police can literally make the law as they go along, and then arrest somebody for breaking a law that is not on any books (because it isn't a law yet!), but is then "documented" after the fact - that is ex post facto, wrongful arrest, abuse of power, a civil rights violation, dereliction of duty, falsification of documents (perjury), intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a violation of the public trust JUST TO NAME A FEW.
When a cop can freely enter the dwelling of a law-abiding citizen, compel that citizen to obey HIS commands that, by definition, usurp and limit the rights of that individual (even if for the "officer's safety"), and then arrest the man for his WORDS that only called into question the legality and motive of that officer, that is one sick and tragic pissing on of the Constitution - and by one sworn to model the good stuff!
When that officer can then get a standing ovation by his chest-pounding brother bullies-in-blue, who are only sticking by him because he is THEIR color (blue!) - that is wrong wrong wrong!
I will not be a part of nor comply with anything that is such a sacrilege and undermining of the very finest, proudest, and fairest principles that America, or any country proclaiming the people as its top priority, is supposed to represent, defend, and BE.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse? How about the very breach of decency and the willful abuse of we the people?
What is the excuse for that , hmmmm???