Posted: December 11th, 2008 by Militant Libertarian
by Johnny Kramer
A good – and succinct – definition of “liberty” is “being legally free to do as you please, so long as you do not tangibly infringe on anyone else’s body or property.”
So, in a free society, there should be only two criteria for criminality:
1. Someone’s body or property has been tangibly infringed upon.
2. That person (the victim), or that person’s beneficiaries in the case of a murder, has filed criminal charges, seeking restitution and/or damages.
No victim? No crime.
Criminal courts should exist only to settle charges brought by victims, with the purposes of finding the truth and, in the case of a conviction, having the defendant pay the plaintiff for the damage his actions caused. Sentences would be given in units of money to be paid to the victim, rather than units of time in a cage.
The court would receive a fee for arbitrating the dispute, to be paid by the person who lost the case – which would discourage frivolous or fraudulent charges from plaintiffs, because such charges would likely result in nothing for them, as the losers of the case, but a bill from the court, plus further fees from retaliatory wrongful accusation charges from the defendant. Like any other business, courts would compete for customers in the marketplace, likely on factors such as price and the speed and fairness of their services.
Prisons, if they would exist at all, would be only for serial violent offenders who are unfit to live among civilized people, and possibly also for one-time offenders who refused to pay for their damages. Or the market might come up with something better than prisons; it’s impossible to say.
In our society, this is somewhat of a description of how civil courts work.
By contrast, criminal courts largely exist not to make restitution for victims, but to avenge the State, to punish people for breaking the State’s laws. Many criminal cases involve crimes with no victim, while others proceed against the victim’s wishes.
Not to mention that, when a real crime occurs, it means, by definition, that the police force for which the victim was coercively forced to pay through taxes failed to prevent the crime. And, despite the fact that the victim failed to get the “protection” he was supposed to receive for his money, he certainly has no recourse in seeking a refund. What would happen to the business of a private security firm that failed in such a way?
And, if the perpetrator of a real crime is convicted, he will ridiculously be sentenced not to make restitution to the victim, but to spend a prescribed amount of time in a cage.
This asinine system exists not to compensate the victim, but to make work for the parasitical criminal “justice” system’s judges, prosecutors, public defenders, parole and probation officers, wardens, prison guards, social workers, and other employees, who otherwise would have to go into the market and do productive work.
Even in cases of real crimes, this scam not only doesn’t exist to make restitution for the victim, but upon the perpetrator’s conviction, the victim will be further robbed through taxation to pay for it all!
For an example of this ridiculous and criminal system, look no further than last week’s sentencing of O.J. Simpson.
Like Plaxico Burress, Simpson did a dumb thing. But, as his attorneys contended, stupidity does not equal criminality. Over one incident that lasted less than five minutes, in which no one was injured or killed, Simpson has been sentenced a minimum of nine years in a cage. How does that return the property involved in the incident to its rightful owners, or compensate the two alleged victims for the trauma of the incident? It doesn’t; it makes work for the parasites in Nevada’s criminal “justice” system.
In fact, Las Vegas’ CBS affiliate reported that one of the alleged victims, Alfred Beardsley, didn’t want Simpson charged with anything, and was testifying as a “reluctant” witness, which means the State was using the same force against Beardsley to make him testify as it was accusing Simpson of using against him.
And, during coverage of the sentencing, a number of mainstream legal analysts, including former judge Andrew Napolitano, said that in some states (but apparently not in Nevada, even without guns), the incident wouldn’t have even been illegal had no guns been used.
In her sentencing statement, Judge Jackie Glass said to Simpson, “Now there’s still questions about whose stuff it is. I think that’s still in dispute. You thought it was yours. Your counsel said that over and over again to me during the trial, and now during the sentencing, as well as you.”
But that’s what this whole case should be about: determining whose property this is and returning it to the rightful owner(s) – who might be the Goldmans if some or all of it was Simpson’s and it fell within the guidelines of the civil judgment they won against him – and possibly requiring Simpson to pay damages to the two victims for the trauma of the event, because the way he went about recovering the property was wrong, even if it was his.
And even that should only happen if the victims press charges. (If not, the Goldmans could bring their own charges, attempting to seize the property under the stipulations of their civil victory over Simpson. But that’s a separate matter.) As we’ve seen, one of the victims was against the whole thing, which means he’s being victimized again by the State, but it claims the moral authority to charge Simpson.
It’s understandable that many – including the Goldmans – feel that Simpson is a murderer who is finally getting his due.
But that should have no bearing on this case; while Judge Glass made a point of saying the same thing, it’s obvious that such is not the case across this entire proceeding; legal analysts also asserted that the kidnapping charge, which carried the harshest sentence of all of the charges, and which stemmed only from Simpson demanding – which was heard on tape – that no one leave the room, likely would not have been pressed if this incident had involved Joe Blow instead of O.J. Simpson.
That fact is further evidenced by the plea deal the prosecutors offered to Simpson’s co-conspirators (Simpson reportedly declined an undisclosed plea offer of his own, but it sounds like his offer was less generous than what the others received), four of whom accepted and received only probation from Judge Glass.
The Beam in the State’s Eye
The hypocrisy of government is unbelievable.
The State murders many thousands of people – at least – through things like wars, drug prohibition, and the medical- and pharmaceutical-industrial complexes, then claims the moral authority to prosecute citizens for individual murders.
It steals trillions of dollars per year from the productive economy through things like taxes, inflation, subsidies, and bail-outs, then claims the moral authority to prosecute citizens for thefts of a few hundred dollars.
It has kidnapped thousands in the past through conscription and arrest, and has imprisoned for years, through its prison-industrial complex, thousands of people who hurt no one, then claims the moral authority to lock up O.J. Simpson for years because he attempted to stop a couple of people from leaving a hotel room for a couple of minutes.
It routinely clears police of any wrongdoing in cases where they’ve deliberately, criminally used guns or tasers on innocent citizens, then admonishes citizens like Plaxico Burress or Simpson for gun accidents that could have occurred – but didn’t: Burress’ gun could have shot someone else when it fell out of his pants; someone could have been shot in an adjacent room or the hallway during Simpson’s hotel room incident. But criminal law should only deal with tangible damage to person or property after the fact; “woulda, shoulda, coulda” should be left to the insurance industry.
(This is nowhere near a complete list, but you get the idea.)
Such hypocrisy was also evidenced in Judge Glass’ statement to Simpson: “You went to the room, and you took guns – meaning you and the group. You used force. You took property, whether it was yours or somebody else’s. And in this state, that amounts to robbery, with use of a deadly weapon. Whether it’s you having the gun, or Mr. McClinton having the gun, or Mr. Alexander having the gun.”
The only exception to her words is when the State has the gun: then, using force to take property isn’t called robbery; it’s called taxation. That point is likely lost on Judge Glass, as is the fact that the very use of force and guns to take property for which she condemned Simpson was exactly what paid for the building they were in and everything in it, down to the chair she was sitting on and the robe she was wearing. Maybe she should worry about the beam in her employer’s eye before concerning herself about the splinter in the eye of a comparatively petty criminal like Simpson.
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