Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent

Author: Harvey Silverglate
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by cbanek   2019-09-18
Violent crime isn't all crime, and I think the counterexample to what you're talking about is the number of non-violent laws we make:

We have so many laws that basically the legal system can find something wrong you've done, which makes everyone criminals. It's only a question of if they will charge you with it. You can't have a crime without a law, because a crime is when you break a law.

The war on drugs I would definitely say is crime expanding, as we are taking things that was legal, or more legal (even while dangerous or stupid) and are making them illegal. Now a substance abuse problem is also a criminal problem.

Same for three strikes, because many times you're taking a simple crime and over penalizing it. If the US's crime rate has been dropping so quickly, why do we have such a high prison population?

I also am not sure we're making that many new laws for violent crime. I think that is more or less well described.

And just because it's my favorite saying, "correlation is not causation!"

by ultimatefighting   2019-08-24

They now hand out felonies like candy.

For non-violent felonies, its not even a question. You shouldnt lose your rights in the first place.

> After a time they should be able to petition for their rights to be restored - as is current process/law.

Rights arent subject to "evaluation". They are inherent.

And about that restoration process... Wait, what restoration process?

But even more ridiculous is the idea that we're going to set a man free and prevent him from "legally" purchasing a firearm because we dont know if he can be trusted...

But feel free to use your legs, fists, a knife, an "illegally" purchased firearm, a blunt object, a vehicle, any number of chemical concoctions etc etc etc

Its just another excuse to deprive someone of their 2A rights, right to self protection.

The same reason why we need to return to a pre-NICS era.

by bertcox   2019-08-24

You first.

by pixl_graphix   2019-08-24

The issue here is the disconnect between the perfect surveillance state and perfect law.

All forms of surveillance state are biased against the citizenry because of a very flawed way we make laws. Simply put, in the US, no one really knows the actual number of laws that apply to a citizen day to day. We do know the number is in the 10s to 100s of thousands. We are talking about laws just past days ago to laws from the date our country formed. There have already been countless cases where law enforcement wanted to make a case against individuals and dug around in books to find the exact one they needed. Three Felonies a Day touches on this with the federal government.

The problem here is you are using the most obvious felonies such as murder as you're example, but really murders are rare. This system will be used as a method to assess a huge number of tickets for mundane things. And with the disparities we already have in our legal system, they will be used to a much greater effect in places that do not have the money to fight such tickets.

You really have to understand the history of how US laws were allowed to be written by the supreme court. Lots of laws have been 'allowed' because enforcement was difficult, when enforcement becomes easy the law needs to be assessed.

by pizza234   2019-08-02
> However "we" want them to be able to "stop the bad guys" and "monitor bad communication".

This is appropriate, under the assuption of accountability; right now, three letter agencies aren't subject to it.

> "We" also have nothing to hide.

This is disingenous or naive (and it's a worringly widespread idea). Literally (as in literal-literal) anybody can be accused and charged, it's just a matter of legal power¹. Giving up privacy makes it dangerously easier.

¹=There's even a book on this subject (although the angle is not precisely this):

by FattyRoyale   2019-07-21

By expanding what constitutes a felony or misdemeanor domestic abuse. By making criminal defense unaffordable. By making laws so vague, only the wealthy or powerful can defend against spurious accusation. By making criminal many activities which should not be. Here’s a great primer to start on the subject:

Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent

And btw, many states have misdemeanors which carry possible sentences long enough that the 4473 considers them felonies.

by Ordinate1   2019-07-21

> Well they shouldnt be committing felonies then.

by DocMerlin   2019-07-21

Thats ok, most dads are criminals, nearly everyone in the US is without even knowing it.

by NecessaryWafer   2019-07-21

> innocent people lie to the FBI and engage in witness tampering

You should read Three Felonies a Day.

by protestor   2019-07-21

It's the title of a decent book.

Here's a random article found at Google about this phenomenon.

It's most troubling because laws are enforced unevenly: everyone commits felonies but some groups within the population are much more likely to be targeted by law enforcement. It's an effective way to give a clothing of legality to glaring abuse of the criminal system. (an example of such corrupt behavior is the kids for cash scandal, in which for-profit detention centers bribed judges to sentence minors)

by Zedress   2019-07-21

I see you have read some Harvey Silver in your past.

by incelbootcamp   2019-07-21

Of course, every sitting president since WWII has done something indictable.

And even the average person commits three felonies a day.

So this is really just giving carte blanche to the FBI to commit a coup against any President they don't like based on selective prosecution.

And now we know that in Trump's case there was never any Russia collusion, the whole thing was just a smokescreen to find "crimes" by targeting an individual, which, yes, is a Stalinist practice.

I did not vote for Trump and golly gee he's repugnant in many ways, but having seen many modern Democrats' strange intolerance of Democracy, I'm kinda/sorta/maybe glad Trump won, just to show me the tribal rot on the other side.

by TheThirdNormalForm   2019-07-21

There's this idea that if the feds want to convict you of something, they can, unless you are speaking through an experienced lawyer.

by mayflower_mayday   2019-07-21

The flip side of this is that you are giving one person (or a small group) nearly unlimited power to investigate and remove democratically elected legislators and executives for slight misdeeds.

In our government there are so many laws that the average person commits three felonies a day mostly without knowing it. All you need is one partisan to take office with a mandate to remove or actually jail a significant number of the other side's representatives and you have a "reign of terror" type scenario where one person acts as kingmaker for the entire Federal government.

by jdietrich   2019-07-12
For more on this topic, see Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent by Harvey Silverglate.

by Balgair   2019-07-12
Remember, the average American commits ~3 felonies per day:

If anything, this list indicates that the legal system in the US is in need of an overhaul. That officers would be swept up in the same net we all are, should not be unexpected. Given their daily proximity to law enforcement, having a higher number than the average population should not necessarily come as a surprise.

The way to tell if they really are more 'criminal' than the rest of the population would be to look at the felony rates of judges, para-legals, lawyers, court-recorders, bailiffs, wardens, people who live/work close to precincts, etc. If your physical proximity to an officer is related to the felony rate, then this should come fall out of the data.

In essence, based on your napkin-math, further research is very much required for the sake of public safety.

by PostOnce   2019-07-12
Healthcare is available, yes, and so are gold-plated Lamborghinis -- these both apply to a certain class (not the same class, mind you, but there is an economic floor here).

Minimum wage is about $1300/mo, good luck paying rent and health insurance with that and not starving. Good luck paying rent and food and power on double that income and still being able to afford even remotely decent health insurance.

As for incarceration...

When everything is a crime, everyone is a criminal. Famous lawyers are writing books about that.

If you don't think just about everything is a crime, then you're uninformed. You probably committed a felony when you violated a website TOS today.

I have no problem with taxation as a concept.

Everyone says "if you don't like it leave", but that's a bluff -- until 2010, it was free to renounce your citizenship, and in 2010 it became $450. Four years later, it became $2350. If more people leave, it'll go up again. We say it, but we're afraid of people actually doing it.

I won't renounce my citizenship, but I do think it's silly for us to pretend we want people to do it when we provably don't.

by archivefile   2018-11-10

by ylan64   2018-11-10

Well, laws are made to be broken, so that the authorities always have something on you when they want ( .

The Germans, loving rules, also love enforcing them I guess, even the most insignificant ones.

Of course, all I'm saying here comes mostly from stereotype and is tongue in cheek and shouldn't be taken seriously.