What I was worrying about …

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Jon Rowe

Jon Rowe is a full Professor of Business at Mercer County Community College, where he teaches business, law, and legal issues relating to politics. Of course, his views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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76 Responses

  1. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
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    says:

    I need to think on this some more. I’m sympathetic to much of what Tucker says. But his peroration on the “law” being the exploiter (or not…it’s not clear….maybe it’s some “elite” that’s the exploiter) is something I have to chew on. And his parting vignette about visiting McDonald’s and the lessons he wants us to take from that visit seem a bit….forced and seems to elide certain elements of coercion that can exist even in that happy locale.

    Not that an (in my opinion) inartful conclusion obviates the whole of what he’s saying. Again, I’m very sympathetic to much of it, even most of it. But I’m still contemplating in what ways I agree and in what ways I disagree.Report

  2. Avatar notme
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    says:

    Talk about overly dramatic.

    “Once arrested, you are a captured animal. Nothing else matters. You are no longer a consumer, a citizen, a person with a job, a normal human being. You are now just fodder, a thing they can use as they see fit.”Report

  3. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    That was an impressive piece. He managed to bury a really stupid reason to be jailed amidst a couple tons of adolescent whining. No he should not have been jailed for not having a license; that is stupid. But ranting about jail and loss of freedom. Well does he not believe that criminals should be arrested? Of course those people lose their freedom and it sucks. But unless he doesn’t believe anybody should be arrested then what is his point. If he believes is it a reasonable use of government power to arrest certain people for crimes then his screed is pointless. We just arrest to many people and for stupid reasons.

    And the bit Notme noted is overwrought. Why does he list consumer first as a thing he isn’t? Of course he is still a citizen. He has all sorts of rights. It does critics of our legal system no overstate things like this. If he wants to sway people he needs to be able to articulate what a justice system should be doing and how it should function. The hard part is realizing that even in a good justice system people will still be arrested and even sometimes innocent people. How to deal with with the highest principles of justice and fairness is the task. Or just read Radly Balko for how to write about the justice system.

    No jails don’t have smart phones. They don’t have HD TV eitherReport

  4. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    What is it about Rowe’s series of posts that turns everyone into a latter day Inspector Javert?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Heh. Like the writer of the linked post, I’ve been thrown in jail twice* so I can sympathize with the indescribably horrific loss of what he calls “volition” that ensues. It’s not a … pleasant … experience. When coupled with the relative arbitrariness under which people are sometimes denied their autonomy (their FREEDOM!) the combination ought to perk up everyone’s antennae.

        Adding *: one time for not having a light while riding a bike at night, one time for breaking my dog outa the pound. Both are very good stories!Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          We have a lot of… I don’t know what to call it (“self-regard”, maybe?)… tied up into the idea that our institutions work and are Just.

          If it turns out that our institutions do not work or are not Just (even as they work very, very well), it challenges our idea of ourselves. This is not pleasant.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Self-regard works for me. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how our criminal justice system works, especially on the front lines (cops and DAs), from the perspective of “who pays the bills”. Ostensibly (taking out graft and institutional corruption*), taxpayers fund our CGS, so it’s not unreasonable to suppose that the people who actually (ostensibly actually!) pay the bills – identified by stereotypes as well as specific individual power-holdings – will receive preferential treatment based on how much they contribute to the institutional structure. If that’s at all correct, then the administration of justice will track economic class (stake-holders, so to speak) rather than the self-regarding concept of impartial “justice”. And so on.

            That’s the view in broad outline, so a bunch of “and so ons” are necessary to fill it out, as well as a concession that what I’m saying here isn’t a new or unusual view! Just new to me in an important way.

            I mean, our CGS is FUBAR. That much seems clear to me. Don’t know about the rest.

            Oh, I need to explain the *: an example of institutional corruption would be using fines/court fees to increase Cop revenue rather than “approved” (!!) taxpayer funding allocations.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          Guest post! Guest post!Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            “Don’t make me sing.”

            I’ll think about it. I’ve told those stories so many times I’m not sure I can make them fresh for a bigger audience. (And I’m all about the freshies.)Report

    • Avatar Francis in reply to Kolohe
      Ignored
      says:

      becuase he sounds like a white male adolescent who just finished reading his first Ayn Rand novel?

      becuause in real life libertarians are almost entirely Republicans who want to smoke pot legally (and thus have little interest in supporting Democratic policies that might improve the quality of life of people who actually suffer the impacts of over-criminalization?)

      because the over-criminalization of society and its impact on poor and minority communities have been known to liberals for 20+ years and now suddenly internet libertarians are claiming the issue?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Francis
        Ignored
        says:

        Man, don’t you freaking hate it when people who used to disagree with you about something change their mind and agree with you about it?

        You know what? Screw them.

        They’re probably only against police unions anyway.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Kolohe
      Ignored
      says:

      Because they are making poor arguments. Lots of us will agree there is to much harsh enforcement of laws and to many laws on some things. But Jon’s post don’t seem to be stating that we are going to have some laws and there will be some enforcement and punishment. Do you think we should have laws and they should be enforced? Good, that means cops and fines an d tickets and even jail for some. Just railing how much of a pain the system can be doesn’t lead to an actual answer of how to make a good system.

      I don’t see anybody going all Inspector Javert. What i see people going straight to self-righteous hooting about freedom and eliding questions of how we enforce the laws we should have in the best way.Report

      • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to greginak
        Ignored
        says:

        Richard Epstein wrote a book called “Simple Rules For a Complex Society.”

        If people commit crimes that make them “dangerous” (i.e., what Tucker and I have not done as we are not dangerous) they should be restrained.

        For everyone else, the state needs to have a way of enforcing its rules without such heavy handed tactics. So in my scenario that car that I sold for $300 (and the person who dumped it but never claimed it “de facto” owns) it’s being held by a Trenton Tow company and in the process of having its title converted to the State of NJ, Municipality of Trenton.

        That’s remedy enough.

        Something very interesting occurred in NYC in protest by the police of the mayor. NYPD announced they would only police “necessary” violations. In other words, worry about those dangerous people. Stop writing “revenue raising” tickets. The quality of life changed not one bit even as the tickets written drastically reduced.

        So we libertarians believe that ONLY those “necessary” violations should be policed, especially if policing involves threats of jail.Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Jon Rowe
          Ignored
          says:

          Is there a definition of what makes something “dangerous” in Epstein’s book? For instance, is dumping 10,000 gallons of 5% solution of ethyl-methyl-badstuff into the local pond a “dangerous” activity?Report

          • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to Burt Likko
            Ignored
            says:

            I can’t remember. I do know that Epstein in addition to endorsing Mill’s harm principle, believes that actions that flunk social utility can be outlawed (using Benthamite and Rawlsian tests, Pareto and Kaldor-Hicks).

            And perhaps (if I’m not mistaken) the Coase theorem.

            Still I’m not sure if he believes environmental polluters should be treated like terrorists who want to use chemicals to blow things up.Report

            • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Jon Rowe
              Ignored
              says:

              A basically Bentham-Mills-Rawls-grounded understanding of social utility, and a claim that “that which fails to produce social utility may be legitimately outlawed” then this doesn’t strike me as particularly ambitious flavor of libertarianism. Rawls for sure would find a net disutility in the environmental pollution scenario, for instance, and probably Mills and Bentham too, grounded so heavily in the common law of Merry Olde England as they were. Seems to me that it’d work out to basically what exists today, with pretty much only some “public morality” type things (consensual adult prostitution, recreational marijuana use, public nudity) put off limits to the state.Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    Jon,

    Can you see a difference in tone between your piece and this piece? Particularly with regards to others caught up in the system? Any difference at all?Report

    • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      No. I see no difference, other than Tucker actually suffered from something I merely contemplated. See my most recent post for my current position. I had you in mind when I wrote it.

      Given it’s impossible for the best of us to perfectly dot our i’s and cross our t’s (or avoid typos) I don’t believe you when you said you wouldn’t have made the minor i dotting (arguable) error in question in my circumstance.

      Looking back in hindsight, of course we would say, “I wouldn’t have forgotten to cross that ‘t.'”

      That’s your response to my honest challenge.

      But, in reality, there are i’s you haven’t dotted, and t’s you haven’t crossed. They probably won’t come back to bight you. But maybe they will.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      @kazzy OOC, if Jon’s original post had been a similar story, but presented as “here’s the trouble with privatizing things like libertarians want us to do” rather than “here’s the trouble with big government bureaucracies,” do you think you would have had the same kind of problem with it that you do?

      Not a challenge, really. Just genuinely curious.

      I keep going back the post here that I thought was most parallel to Jon’s original, which is my own on my issues with AT&T doing the same to me — all legal and following the rules. The vast difference in responses to each has been interesting to me, and I’m trying to tease out why they are so disparate.Report

  6. Avatar LWA
    Ignored
    says:

    I also finished reading this with a bit of sympathy for Jeff Tucker, but also a feeling of scorn.

    Part of me struggles with this, wondering if it is my bias that dulls me to his pain.
    I mean, if this post were written by a black man describing his experience with Ferguson police, would I feel differently?

    Maybe. But look at it this way- couldn’t we have identified the author as a middle class educated white guy, even if it were anonymous?

    Where do we see oppressed people around the world arriving at Jeff’s conclusion of …wait, hold on a moment.

    Just WTF is Jeff’s conclusion anyway? We should not have a state? No laws, at all? Or that we should have one, but it should behave better?

    Truth is, there isn’t any coherent conclusion in the piece.

    The reason his post doesn’t have any coherent conclusion is that he himself isn’t able to square his inherent contradictions.

    He likes a social order (an “emergent social order” best of all!) that respects property and rule of law. Yet which is incapable of punishing those who break the order and disrespect property. Or punishes them, without, um, caging them, or something.

    This is why a black man most likely wouldn’t have written a post like this.

    Black Lives Matter isn’t calling for a defanging of the state, not even the stripping of power from the police. They very clearly want a state that has power and uses it. They just want the state to behave justly.

    Spoiled to preserve a civil tone.
    Jeff just wants to smoke weed and go to MacDonalds for munchies.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      I’d say that it’s an unequivocal good if folks who were once psychologically and socially immunized from worries about how our criminal justice system works are now NO LONGER so immunized. That awakening will manifest in different ways, but it all points to a better ending, no?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        Here’s a little story to sorta make that point:

        My mother, who’s as much of a Straight Arrow as you’ll find out there in White Guy Cultcha, was once-upon-a-time pulled over coming home from an after work drink by a cop in Michigan. He asked her if she’d been drinking. She said yes, she had a happy hour cocktail. So, being a responsible Enforcer of the Law, he made her do the roadside. Which she failed. (And to be honest here, she only had one drink and probably failed because she never thought of herself as the Type Of Person who’d haffta to a roadside.)

        She ended up in jail, posting bond and having to attend a scheduled court date. Of course, for her, being a straightlaced white woman, the HORROR was that folks would find out she’d been incarcerated (even if only temporarily) and what they might mean for her status in Society.

        Right after that, she began to wonder about things. Like (for example) what cops were really all about when they enforce the law. I mean, from her pov view, she was just being honest when she told the guy she’d had a drink, yet that admission didn’t count for nothin!

        It was a short lived realization about the world we live in, but very real for a short time. I’d like to think she revised her views about criminal justice – from having no views at all, being in the Privileged Class and all – and that perhaps did happen over the long haul, but I can’t say I saw a radical change once the shock and embarrassment faded.Report

        • Avatar notme in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          I’m curious, what did she think her admission should get her or entitle her to? Maybe just let her off? Don’t blame the cops b/c they have to enforce the laws that politicians pass. That seems to be the tone of the whiner in the OP.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to notme
            Ignored
            says:

            notme,

            I think her thought process was that she wasn’t the type of person who the cops are out there prowling for, so her admission ought to have signaled as much to him. A signal he didn’t pick up on in the way she (apparently) thought he would.

            She was really shook up about the incident, as she’d readily admit. What she has perhaps forgotten is that going into that incident she thought the cops were on her side. And they aren’t. (For better or worse, yeah?) That was a real eye-opener for her.

            For a very short time. 🙂Report

            • Avatar notme in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              I see. I wonder who she thought the “type of person who the cops are out there prowling for” is? Their job is to look for folks breaking the law. Criminals come in all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes. Maybe I’m cynical b/c my dad spent some time as a cop and told me how to act.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to notme
            Ignored
            says:

            I’ll add another story about what an admission gets you.

            A friend of mine who worked as a pre-school teacher was pulled over a couple years ago (for not being exactly in the center of the lane!) and the cop asked her if she’d been drinking. She said truthfully (unfortunately) that, yes, she had an after work cocktail. In this case, they didn’t make her do the roadside (since that’s not admissible in colorado unless you refuse) but long story short, her teaching license was revoked.

            The moral of the story, to me, is this: Never be honest with cops!!!

            Don’t know what you think it as, acourse.Report

          • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to notme
            Ignored
            says:

            Should she have lied? Maybe she had the proper amount of alcohol and any admission (because of those who lie) led to necessarily heavy handed tactics.Report

          • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to notme
            Ignored
            says:

            “That seems to be the tone of the whiner in the OP.”

            To which I ask, who the hell are you and who the hell are we?

            There are plenty of folks who are good at rebelling, fighting, suffering and living to tell the tale. Is that you? How may times have you been arrested and what are your jail experiences?

            I expect an honest answer before you can rightfully go on as criticizing the author of the OP as “whining.”Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      @lwa
      The reason his post doesn’t have any coherent conclusion is that he himself isn’t able to square his inherent contradictions.

      He likes a social order (an “emergent social order” best of all!) that respects property and rule of law. Yet which is incapable of punishing those who break the order and disrespect property. Or punishes them, without, um, caging them, or something.

      That was exactly the problem’s with Jon’s OP, also. Logically:
      1) People should not be allowed to abandon cars. That’s basically super-duper-extreme littering.
      2) People who *do* abandon cars should be tracked down and punished via the legal system. Which is done by charging them with a crime and ordering that they show up in court.
      3) People charged with a crime and ordered to show up in court can’t be allowed to just *not* show up, so they must be threatened with *more* punishment for failure to do that.

      …and where, *exactly*, Jon disagreed with any of this logic was completely unknown and impossible to figure out. I think he thinks that people should have talked to him before charging him…of course, the actual reason that doesn’t happen is *lack of budget*, and, uh, libertarians don’t get to complain about that.

      Here are, presented for ‘libertarians’, some conclusions that they *might* want to start using, because they don’t seem to have any of their own:

      The entire system of arresting everyone *before* the crime and keeping them there until they pay bail, and impounding their car, is not a good idea, and, in fact, not needed. We could easily (And as cheaply as imprisoning them) ankle monitor people, or, hell, not even *bother*…the amount of people who flee from prosecution is absurdly low, and keeps going down. People can no longer move a state over and start their life over. We *don’t* need to lock people up before trial.

      There. A perfectly reasonable conclusion, instead of just random whining. Although please note it wouldn’t have stopped Jon’s whine, because this is, literally, what happened with him. He *wasn’t* arrested, he was sent a damn notice. (Which is why I have so little sympathy for him. My god, a letter clearly laying out the legal repercussions of ignoring the justice system! The horror!)

      Another conclusion: We shouldn’t let police add criminal charges that are clearly the result of *them* making people do things. The Hispanic guy in the article did not smuggle drugs into a correctional institution. He was *forced* to go to a correctional institution while he had possession of drugs. Sure, he should be changed with ‘possession’, but that’s all. Likewise, I’ve seen the police attempt to get a drunk person to leave a building they had every right to be in. Why? So they could charge him with public drunkenness. The police sitting in the road to catch people who didn’t use the other lane is the same sort of thing.

      Oh, and that leads to another conclusion: Police should have some sort of actual oversight. Police who arrest someone for driving with a suspended license when that person has a *document from the government* saying their license isn’t suspended should be reprimanded. (Of course, if the police stop arresting people for everything, and instead wrote a ticket and that could easily get cleared up, that particular instance wouldn’t even exist.) Which is, sadly for libertarians, *more* government, so who knows if they’ll get on board there.

      Pick some of those conclusions, or stop whining.Report

      • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        Here is a problem with point # 2. This is a quote verbatim from a friend of mine who happens to be a judge in the very municipal court which threatens to punish me:

        “Unfortunately this is a problem which I see over and over again when people sell cars. There is really know [sic] easy way to verify that the buyer registers the car in the buyers [sic] name after the transaction is completed. …”

        Given I know this person, and s/he could mentor me in the “how to do it” process, I could be an NJ municipal judge. But given what I know about the system, I couldn’t do it in good conscience. For one, I told the judge, for any non-violent drug case I would automatically find “not guilty” regardless of the facts presented.

        The judge said this probably wasn’t for me.Report

        • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to Jon Rowe
          Ignored
          says:

          Again your point # 2:

          “2) People who *do* abandon cars should be tracked down and punished via the legal system. Which is done by charging them with a crime and ordering that they show up in court.”

          We stipulate the fact that I didn’t do this. If contacted with requests and demands for information regarding the car involved in the infraction, and a potential refusal of mine to give the necessary information (like an innocent witness to a guilty crime who nonetheless, without otherwise good reason, must testify to the crime) that’s one thing.

          But what I am dealing with is 1. I already GAVE information to the folks who filed the complaint (Trenton, NJ Police) that I didn’t do what I am being accused of, and 2. nonetheless am charged in court with doing it anyway.

          I have smoking gun proof (email me @ rowjonathan@aol.com, if interested). There is no good reason to subject me to this inefficient, potentially tyrannical (see what Tucker experienced) bureaucratic process other than to perpetuate the system.

          Shit happens. If stupid shit happens and I miss the court date, then I get subjected to the potential tyranny through no fault of my own, even as I have taken precautions to give all necessary information needed.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jon Rowe
            Ignored
            says:

            But what I am dealing with is 1. I already GAVE information to the folks who filed the complaint (Trenton, NJ Police) that I didn’t do what I am being accused of, and 2. nonetheless am charged in court with doing it anyway.

            I know. It’s almost like you actually interacted with the wrong people! It’s almost as if you decided to focus all your efforts on people who were just trying to tell you where your car was, instead of the *people who had charged you a crime*.

            It’s almost like the judicial branch of the government is actually *different* from the executive. Almost as if it’s not the *police* prosecuting crimes.

            Weird, I know.

            In fact, it’s almost as if you ran around *for no reason* before you were even charged with a crime, threatening random people for no actual reason, working off faulty information, and then when you *actually* got charged with the crime, were able to clear it up really really really quickly, over the phone.

            And the idea that someone might look guilt of a crime, but actually be innocent, and yet *have to explain that to the courts* to get a case dropped without a trial is completely absurd. I mean, we’re in complete crazy-land now.
            And while we’re at it, shouldn’t the courts just telepathically know everyone’s alibi?

            Shit happens. If stupid shit happens and I miss the court date, then I get subjected to the potential tyranny through no fault of my own, even as I have taken precautions to give all necessary information needed.

            And, yet again: Jon has drawn absolutely no conclusion as to what should actually be *changed* here, except a sort of vaguish conclusion of ‘We should have less laws because no one can follow them’.

            This is, of course, a completely absurd conclusion to a story of something that *really should be illegal* (I suspect even libertarians would outlaw *dumping a car* on the side of the road, and it’s not like it’s a *complicated* law to follow or varies from place to place.), and the courts thinking he did it (quite logically, because he literally *told* the government he owned that car), and that getting cleared up once he started making phone calls to the right place. (And not even having to go to court!)

            But, let’s ask again: Please state the actual legal changes you would like to see that would, in any manner, stop the horrible events that happened to you. Be specific.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              “Please state the actual legal changes you would like to see that would, in any manner, stop the horrible events that happened to you. Be specific.”

              After which you will, in your charmingly smarmy manner, expound at length on exactly how everything he said is either already extant, impossible because reasons, or just plain wrong because he’s a big libertarian dork who just wants to smoke weed legally and ought to move to Somalia if he has such trouble with the concept of laws and rules and stuff.

              **********

              Libertarians who think liberals agree with them about excessive policing are fooling themselves. What liberals think is that the iron fist is just about what this country needs to be properly managed; they just think the problem is all those damn racists who’ve insinuated themselves into the ranks of the police, and we’re only one good purge away from perfection. They aren’t complaining about police militarization, creeping legalism, the interaction of private concerns with law enforcement; they don’t mind seeing students pepper-sprayed and protestors fire-hosed. They just want it to be rich white students and Southern white protestors.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                After which you will, in your charmingly smarmy manner, expound at length on exactly how everything he said is either already extant, impossible because reasons, or just plain wrong because he’s a big libertarian dork who just wants to smoke weed legally and ought to move to Somalia if he has such trouble with the concept of laws and rules and stuff.

                Yes, heaven forbid I hypothetically point out that the laws he wants implemented are actually impossible, or already exist. (Seriously, what a dumb hypothetical complaint.)

                I don’t know how carefully you read it, but Jon’s tale of woe was about a law that *certainly* should exist (Unless there’s some sort of ‘right to abandon cars’ being argued for), and which he was able to extricate himself from very very easily once the court system took interest in him as a possible suspect. (He wasn’t able to get himself out of it *before* that, because that’s not how governments work.) From this experience he concluded, apparently, that the courts shouldn’t have the right to threaten him with possible jail time if he doesn’t show up in court.

                Now, he has *also* mentioned a real problem ‘A lot of people miss their notifications and have a warrant out for them’, which is a real, actual problem, to which I’ve actually offered some suggested conclusions he can make to fix that. Which he hasn’t bothered to do, him being too busy complaining about *his* circumstances…where he *did* get the notifications in timely manner.

                And Jon *still* appears to think what happened to him was unfair. Not just that it *could* have been unfair if he hadn’t gotten the notice and ended up arrested for that warrant (Which everyone actually agrees would be unfair), but that what *actually happened* was unfair. That was unfair for him to have to straighten this out, and unfair that, if he had completely ignored the government, he could have ended up in jail.(1)

                But any system where people can be charged with a crime, ignore the government, and *not* end up in jail is so completely surreal that Jon cannot come up with any hypothetical universe where the laws possibly make sense, and, thus, no conclusions. Like I said, he has refused to actually state how he thinks the process *should* have worked with him.

                Libertarians who think liberals agree with them about excessive policing are fooling themselves.

                Ah, yes. ‘Excessive policing’ by means of ‘tracking down registered owner of car, charging them with a crime, scheduling a court date, and then canceling it due to an explanation given over the phone’.

                Meanwhile, Jon keep trying to harp on a ‘too many laws and they’re too complicated’ laws point, and think this somehow proves we have too many, but as everyone (even libertarians) agree that people shouldn’t be able to abandon cars on the side of the road, that is a somewhat nonsensical conclusion.

                1) And in doing so, he basically looks like some rich guy completely flummuxed that, yes, the police are allowed to show up at *his house* and question *him*. How *dare* they demand an alibi from him merely because he was seen arguing with the victim! Yes, okay, he did have a perfectly good alibi the police accepted, and then left, but *how dare* they suspect him in the first place?!Report

              • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                BTW, the crook who did what I am being charged with didn’t in point of fact “abandon” the car in the street. They put it out there with a for sale sign on it.

                The fact that it was sitting there for more than a day or something like that gave the police an inch to take a mile and charge with abandoning the car.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jon Rowe
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                says:

                BTW, the crook who did what I am being charged with didn’t in point of fact “abandon” the car in the street. They put it out there with a for sale sign on it.

                Oh, I forgot, people abandoning cars are physically unable to put for sales signs on them.

                The fact that it was sitting there for more than a day or something like that gave the police an inch to take a mile and charge with abandoning the car.

                Yes, the fact it was left on the side of the road for a certain period of time gave the police the right to assumed it was abandoned, because that is, in fact, the legal definition of abandoning a car. In my state it’s 72 hours, in Jersey it’s apparently 48. Whatever.

                In fact, leaving a car on the side of the road for *any* period of time without current licenses plates (Or, in this case, fake plates) counts as abandoning it in New Jersey, presumably because either a) the owner was already operating illegally by driving it without good plates, or b) the owner had it towed there and dumped on purpose. Either way, they don’t get the benefit of the doubt.

                And feel free to argue that 48 hours is too short, but, uh, considering the car actually *was* abandoned, on purpose, on the side of the road, you are trying to argue using examples that don’t even vaguely support what you’re trying to argue. There probably *is* someone out there who is pissed Jersey towed their car after 48 hours, and that’s a fair complaint, and maybe longer would be better.

                The car in *this* example, however, was indeed an actual abandoned car, and it was perfectly correct to tow it and charge the owner (Or, rather, the last person to claim to the government that they were the owner.) with abandoning it.

                You really keep trying to make out what happened into *something else*. Now you’re disputing the car even was abandoned! Of *course* it was abandoned! It was a non-working car owned by a *towing company*, it didn’t end up on the street with bad plates by *accident* (We accidentally towed it there instead of our lot, and gave it fake plates because, uh, reasons!), and, oh, BTW, they ‘forgot’ to file the title change so it wouldn’t trace back to them.

                Yeah, I’m sure it was a complete accident.

                Jesus Christ, did you not actually realize this? You didn’t realize someone had committed a *deliberate criminal act*, knowing that you would end up on the hook for it?

                That sheds some new light on your weirdly entitled idea of what should have happened. Is it possible you don’t really understand what happened is, *quite correctly*, a deliberate crime?Report

    • Avatar trizzlor in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      What I took away from the piece is that even if you have a system with individually just laws, the simple nature of bureaucracy is that it will encourage those laws to be abused through combination of those laws. So you have Just Law #1, failure to appear; and Just Law #2, bringing illegal substance into a correctional facility. Individually, the two laws are justified and were executed justly; but together they lead to some guy who missed court for a traffic violation and happened to have pot flakes in his pocket have his life ruined.

      Basically, we advocates of the state don’t get to just throw our hands up and claim that because the individual inputs are all just the entire system must be just. For Tucker that seems to mean getting rid of laws. But for us it means at least being aware of the fact that bureaucracy can yield very non-linear outcomes, and good intentions aren’t always good enough. More specifically, there was a post here not too long ago that suggested all police officers be required to go through an undercover arrest, that’s the kind of solution that I could see both Tucker and BLM get behind.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to trizzlor
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        says:

        That’s a really good comment, @trizzlor .Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to trizzlor
        Ignored
        says:

        This is why incentives matter. And misaligned incentives lead to unfavorable outcomes. Gee, who a thunk that if we gave the power to confiscate property to cops and allowed them to use the property seized to fund their dept budgets, we have the civil asset forfeiture problems we do now. WOW, who’d a thunk!?Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to trizzlor
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        says:

        Exactly how are those just laws being abused by their enforcement/application at the appropriate time in the process?Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to trizzlor
        Ignored
        says:

        @trizzlor
        Individually, the two laws are justified and were executed justly; but together they lead to some guy who missed court for a traffic violation and happened to have pot flakes in his pocket have his life ruined.

        No. In fact, neither of those laws are good laws.

        If ‘bringing illegal substance into a correctional facility’ does not require *intent*, than it is not a just law. (If it *does* require intent, than they just wrongly charged him with it.)

        Hell, even if *doesn’t* require intent, that actually looks like entrapment to me…the police ‘encouraged’ him to go to the prison, which is what caused the crime, and he wouldn’t have committed it anyway. The police are not allowed to *cause* other people to commit crimes and arrest them for it, it’s almost textbook entrapment, except the police didn’t just ‘solicit’ the crime, they actually *forced* it to happen.

        Of course, this is exactly the sort of bullshit charge that people with crappy public defenders plead guilty to *all the time*.

        Likewise, ‘failure to appear’ is not a very just law, considering the amount of people who don’t know they were scheduled in court. I don’t understand why in civil cases, people have to be served in person, but in criminal cases, the courts can just *mail* notices with no evidence at all that the person got it.

        Either we need to stop mailing notices, or if we’re going to keep doing that, we need to change a ‘failure to appear’ charge where the police arrest you on the spot to the police saying ‘Hey, you’re currently ordered to make contact with X court, you missed a court date. Here is the printout, and you are now officially served with that information, and failure to make contact within 72 hours and scheduling a new court date will result in us coming by your house and arresting you.’Report

        • Avatar trizzlor in reply to DavidTC
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          says:

          Typically, this law is written so that it is in effect when the criminal “knowingly” carries drugs into a prison facility. If the criminal knew that he was being brought to prison, he should have notified the police that he was in possession of marijuana prior to being searched – and ignorance of the law is no excuse. Unless he can prove that the drugs were planted on him, the law functioned as it was intended. Writing in your proposed entrapment loophole for the arrested would encourage criminals to get arrested for petty offenses so that they could smuggle contraband into prison risk free. So the law needs to be re-written in such a way that it does not yield unjust results in overlap with other laws, or the police have to be incentivized not to look for edge-cases in laws to punish people excessively. Which is what I argued in my original comment.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to trizzlor
            Ignored
            says:

            f the criminal knew that he was being brought to prison, he should have notified the police that he was in possession of marijuana prior to being searched – and ignorance of the law is no excuse.

            What good would *notifying* the police do?

            Are you asserting that the police have some sort of affirmative duty to *remove* that from his possession while he’s under arrest, so he *doesn’t* break that law?

            I’d like some evidence of this duty of the police. I rather suspect if he’d notified the police, they’d just *leave* it in his possession and then charge him anyway once they enter the correctional institution. Why not?

            I’d also like an explanation of how a law that penalizes someone worse if they *don’t* confess to a criminal act before the police discover it isn’t a violation of the 5th amendment.

            I’d also think it would be an interesting question if the police *informed* him he was going to a correctional institution.

            Ignorance of the *law* isn’t an excuse, but an ignorance of the *facts* is, and if he ended up crossing the boundary of a correction institution *without* actually knowing he was about to (Or at least not knowing in time to do anything about it.), no, that’s not any sort of intent to break the law.

            Writing in your proposed entrapment loophole for the arrested would encourage criminals to get arrested for petty offenses so that they could smuggle contraband into prison risk free.

            ..and by ‘risk free’ you mean ‘found guilty of both the original offense and possession of controlled substances’.

            Yeah, let’s all worry about that.Report

  7. Avatar LWA
    Ignored
    says:

    See, as a tag on to my comment, here is Black Lives Matter’s response to unjust policing.

    They have suffered from abuses far more than Jeff Tucker, and have much more legitimacy to their complaint, and look at their response. It is clear, articulate, and founded upon principles that virtually anyone in America can respect, even if they disagree with them.

    This is why complaints from most libertarians are viewed with such scorn by liberals, even when they complain about stuff we agree with.

    Jeff Tucker writes with erudition and tremendous intellectual firepower. This is not a compliment.

    Because nowhere in all this does he identify something concrete or common to others that can be used to advance even the most hazy norm that could be changed.
    Instead he just complains that the state harmed him.

    Men with guns, cages, violence, coercion. Jeff suffered harm.
    Period.
    Full stop.

    How could this harm have been avoided? Hell if we know. He doesn’t even toss out “End the Drug War” as a suggestion, because as written, the complaint would have been the same had his offense been drunk driving, public urination, or even armed robbery.

    This is why is sounds so juvenile and self centered. The thinking never advances beyond “It is an injustice that any harm shall befall me“, and ladling on heaping doses of erudition and intellectual firepower only makes it worse, not better, since it strips away any shred of excuse. He just sounds like a sulking teenager quoting Nietzche in defense of why he didn’t feed the dog.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s one of the most well-designed websites I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a good example of how format can support content: the really good design, powerful photographic imagery, and clear graphics makes the policy arguments seem more attractive, practical, and necessary. The tone of the argument is forceful, direct, and powerful, without being directly disrespectful to the police who are the subjects of the criticism.

      I mean, I agreed with a good portion of what was being said there even before I went there, so I was ready to be persuaded. But wow, the dovetail of the design and the substance is really remarkable. Bravo.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      LWA,

      I can’t help but think that website is a direct response to Hillary telling BLM that they need to identify some policices to go along with all the social activism. (Her line to them was something like changing hearts doesn’t matter, changing policy does, which is a pretty dang good politics if you ask me). Do you know when it first showed up and why?

      Alsotoo, it’s sorta hilarious (as well as understandable!) that Bernie, who was the primary target for BLM, scores higher than any other politician on the BLM Ten Point Plan. (Hill’s scores a 2. Paul, Jeb! and Trump combine for 1 outa 30.)Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to LWA
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      says:

      Maybe it was just an anti state rant?Report

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