Monday, January 14, 2008

Aren't Martha Stewart and other Felons "People"?

Doc Berman made this great catch over at Sentencing Law & Policy: In an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court, the Bush administration takes the position that convicted felons are not "people" as defined in the Constitution for purposes of determining whether they retain a 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, Berman responds:
Notably, the Bill of Rights uses the phrase "the people" in four other Amendments (the First, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth). I have never before heard a claim that all convicted felons are categorically denied the individual rights protected by all these Amendments. The Fourth Amendment, notably, speaks of the "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." The Supreme Court has never suggested that individuals, once convicted of a felony, thereafter cannot assert Fourth Amendment rights.
Despite Berman's clear logic, I wouldn't be surprised if SCOTUS buys this absurd argument. After all, they've already declared that a search isn't a search if police are only looking for illegal things.


Anonymous said...

There was a day in Texas when a person got a horse, saddle, and 30-30 rifle when he got out of prison. Back then laws dealt with what a person actually did, not what they might do. I find it interesting most of the gun violence that started the move to disarm U.S. citizens was committed by people who could legally buy guns. By creating an underclass of citizens with criminal records we breed more crime. Self fulfilling prophesy applies well to the life long criminal record. If you label a person a criminal what else can they become? The more doors that are closed for ex-offenders the more likely they will revert to criminal activity. In today’s legal system there is no attempt to restore and make better only destruction and suffering results when the current legal system operates. In fact today’s legal system seems to be more about generating money than restoring society. How many millions are spent yearly in this country on prisons which don’t seem to be working to stop crime? I guess we as a people will continue to do the same old thing expecting a different outcome that never happens.

Anonymous said...

TO 8:47 AM: Could you post a reference for the information concerning Texas inmates released received, a horse, saddle, and weapon? Thank You

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

Never mind serving the public good. The "system" is long past the tipping point between putting people in prison vs finding justice. Putting people in prison won that battle years ago.

Drugs are still available everywhere. We have gained nothing from all the effort money spent on the "Drug War". The rights guaranteed by the constitution have been lost and it will be a cold day in......if we ever get them back.

How can you confront your accuser when he/she is a dog? How can you ask the question about how accurate the dog is? If the dog does not signal the presence of drugs, is the "sniff" legal?