Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent

Author: Harvey Silverglate
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by zepto   2021-09-20
> You don't seem to understand how the law works. The Federal offenses are not prosecuted. The State offenses are. My statement is true.

It’s only true in a narrow technical sense. You were clearly trying to give the impression that people were simply getting away with these offenses, when what is actually happening is that the federal government doesn’t see the need to prosecute people who are already being prosecuted by the states.

> It's a sloppy way for the people in power to ignore equal application of the law by picking and choosing who deserves it, which to me undermines the very principle of rule of law.

Prosecutorial discretion definitely undermines the rule of law, and is a well known people, but it’s everywhere in every justice system and has nothing to do with the government’s approach to guns.

As for the Kendi definition, I was using black in this example because most gun control laws disproportionately affect black people. Substitute other races if you like.

I don’t need to refute your position with data - that’s not what’s wrong with it.

We’ve shown that your 3% claim was misleading as presented.

by inglor_cz   2021-01-14

I am biased by the fact that I grew up in late Communist Czechoslovakia, but the American self-assuredness that "they only come for the bad guys" strikes me as very short-sighted. Precisely the USA with its long history of systemic discrimination against various outgroups should be wary of this kind of complacency.

by kube-system   2020-11-27
by kilkonie   2019-11-17

I'm pretty sure your comment was half-hearted, but here's an Amazon book recommendation for you:

by ultimatefighting   2019-11-17

Right, assuming that a case even gets that far.

AND that there happens to be a liberty minded juror.

But what you describe is incredibly fcked up.

Most of us dont even give a sht. Why would we, we're not criminals. We dont care or have to worry about how those scum bags are treated.

Problem is, with so many rules, regulations and laws on the books, there are many innocent people who can very well end up in the exact scenario that you described.

by GnosticGnome   2019-11-17

>That isn't really a very good reason though is it?

It's the best reason, no? Dealing with facts as they are, not facts as you might wish they were. Bad laws are a fact of life. Why double down on a bad law by passing new ones that make it worse?

Like right now, it's illegal to throw away junk mail addressed to the previous owner. That's a felony. Sure, the best option is to fix that. But until then, do you advocate spending billions of dollars to enforce that law? Doesn't it make more sense to turn a blind eye to it?

The average American commits three felonies a day. I think some crimes are worth singling out as particularly worthy of enforcement (rape, murder, robbery, etc etc) but border crossing? Why spend more when enforcement is actively bad for us?

by noposters   2019-11-17

There's a great book on this topic called Three Felonies a Day

by BTC_Brin   2019-11-17

Harvey Silverglate told us all that we commit an average of Three Felonies A Day.

by IridescentAnaconda   2019-11-17

Given that the average American commits 3 felonies per day, I guess you agree that everybody belongs in jail? Maybe even you do.

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.