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Rutherford Institute Asks Supreme Court to Safeguard 6th Amendment, Prevent Judges from Ignoring ‘Not Guilty’ Jury Verdicts in Favor of Harsher Sentences

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For Immediate Release: July 15, 2014

Rutherford Institute Asks Supreme Court to Safeguard 6th Amendment,

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Committed to ensuring the continued vitality of the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee to a jury trial in criminal cases, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of Ball et al. v. United States. In asking the Court to hear the case in which a jury found three men not guilty of conspiracy drug charges, only to have the judge ignore their ruling and sentence them as harshly as if they had been found guilty, Institute attorneys argue for the need to restore the role of the jury from a minimal one to a central role. Moreover, Rutherford Institute attorneys point out that the Sixth Amendment requires that all persons charged with criminal offenses should only be put at risk for increased punishment and imprisonment on the basis of facts found by a jury of their peers employing the venerable “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.
The Rutherford Institute’s amicus brief in Ball, et al. v. United States, is available at www.rutherford.org.
“This alarmingly common practice by unelected federal judges of considering charges that criminal defendants were not convicted of during sentencing usurps the role of the jury and violates the constitutional right of citizens to be judged by a jury of their peers,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. “The very idea that judges could be allowed to discard the sound decisions of the jury in favor of their own determination of the facts runs contrary to the principles embodied in the Sixth Amendment, and to the very idea of a trial by a jury of our peers.”
In filing a brief in support of the petitioners in Ball et al. v. United States, Rutherford Institute attorneys have asked the Supreme Court to review the practice in federal courts that allows judges to consider “relevant conduct” that a defendant was found not guilty of by a jury of his peers, for the purpose of sentencing enhancements decided on by a judge. The case arises out of an incident involving three men, Ball, Jones and Thurston, who were charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, racketeering, firearms offenses and with selling a “street level” quantity of cocaine. After an eight-month trial involving 106 witnesses, the jury convicted the three of selling very small quantities of drugs but acquitted them of the conspiracy charge. At the urging of the government at sentencing, the judge set the defendants’ sentences as if they were involved in the criminal conspiracy as charged, resulting in a quadrupling of the defendants’ sentences, increasing one defendant’s sentence from less than 3 years to over 16 years. The defendants appealed their sentences to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, but the sentences were affirmed.
In May 2014, the defendants filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court asserting that the judge’s use of acquitted conduct in sentencing violated their Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial in a criminal case. In supporting the defendants’ petition, The Rutherford Institute’s amicus curiae brief points out that precedent allowing a sentencing judge to ignore the factual findings of the jury is contrary to the historic role and purpose of trial by jury as embodied in the Magna Carta and the Sixth Amendment.  Those documents allow imprisonment for crimes only upon the judgment and finding of a “jury of one’s peers.”
The Rutherford Institute was assisted in advancing its arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in Ball v. United States by attorneys Justin M. Sadowsky and by Paul M. Heylman and Matthew J. Antonelli of Saul Ewing LLP.

U.S. SUPREME COURT GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO INDEFINITE MILITARY DETENTION OF AMERICANS WITHOUT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

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U.S. SUPREME COURT GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO INDEFINITE MILITARY DETENTION OF AMERICANS WITHOUT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
04-30-2014 12:47 am – Bob Unruh – World Net Daily
A decision from the U.S. Supreme Court means the federal government now has an open door to “detain as a threat to national security anyone viewed as a troublemaker,” critics of the high court’s ruling said.

The high court by its own order this week refused to review an appellate-level decision that says the president and U.S. military can arrest and indefinitely detain individuals.

Officials with William J. Olson, P.C., a firm that filed an amicus brief asking the court to step in, noted that not a single justice dissented from the denial of certiorari.

“The court ducked, having no appetite to confront both political parties in order to protect the citizens from military detention,” the legal team told WND. “The government has won, creating a tragic moment for the people – and what will someday be viewed as an embarrassment for the court.”

WND reported earlier when the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act were adopted, then later challenged in court.

The controversial provision authorizes the military, under presidential authority, to arrest, kidnap, detain without trial and hold indefinitely American citizens thought to “represent an enduring security threat to the United States.”

Journalist Chris Hedges was among the plaintiffs charging the law could be used to target journalists who report on terror-related issues.

A friend-of-the-court brief submitted in the case stated: “The central question now before this court is whether the federal judiciary will stand idly by while Congress and the president establish the legal framework for the establishment of a police state and the subjugation of the American citizenry through the threat of indefinite military arrest and detention, without the right to counsel, the right to confront one’s accusers, or the right to trial.”

The brief was submitted to the Supreme Court by attorneys with the U.S. Justice Foundation of Ramona, California; Friedman Harfenist Kraut & Perlstein of Lake Success, New York; and William J. Olson, P.C. of Vienna, Virginia.

The attorneys are Michael Connelly, Steven J. Harfenist, William J. Olson, Herbert W. Titus, John S. Miles, Jeremiah L. Morgan and Robert J. Olson.

They were adding their voices to the chorus asking the Supreme Court to overturn the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the plaintiffs didn’t have standing to challenge the law adopted by Congress.

The brief was on behalf of U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, Virginia Sen. Dick Black, the U.S. Justice Foundation, Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Center for Media & Democracy, Downsize DC Foundation, Downsize DC.org, Free Speech Defense & Education Fund, Free Speech Coalition, Western Journalism Center, The Lincoln Institute, Institute on the Constitution, Abraham Lincoln Foundation and Conservative Legal Defense & Education Fund.

Journalist Chris Hedges, who is suing the government over a controversial provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, is seen here addressing a crowd in New York’s Zuccotti Park.
The 2014 NDAA was fast-tracked through the U.S. Senate, with no time for discussion or amendments, while most Americans were distracted by the scandal surrounding A&E’s troubles with “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson.

Eighty-five of 100 senators voted in favor of the new version of the NDAA, which had already been quietly passed by the House of Representatives.

Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and others filed a lawsuit in 2012 against the Obama administration to challenge the legality of an earlier version of the NDAA.

It is Section 1021 of the 2012 NDAA, and its successors, that drew a lawsuit by Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Jennifer Bolen, Noam Chomsky, Alex O’Brien, Kai Warg All, Brigitta Jonsottir and the group U.S. Day of Rage. Many of the plaintiffs are authors or reporters who stated that the threat of indefinite detention by the U.S. military already had altered their activities.

Video mania: The instruction manual on how to restore America to what it once was: “Taking America Back” on DVD. This package also includes the “Tea Party at Sea” DVD.

“It’s clearly unconstitutional,” Hedges said of the bill. “It is a huge and egregious assault against our democracy. It overturns over 200 years of law, which has kept the military out of domestic policing.”

Hedges is a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and was part of a team of reporters awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism.

The friend-of-the-court brief warned the precedent “leaves American citizens vulnerable to arrest and detention, without the protection of the Bill of Rights, under either the plaintiff’s or the government’s theory of the case.

“The judiciary must not await subsequent litigation to resolve this issue, as the nature of military detention is that American citizens then would have no adequate legal remedy,” the brief explained.

“Once again, the U.S. Supreme Court has shown itself to be an advocate for the government, no matter how illegal its action, rather than a champion of the Constitution and, by extension, the American people,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute.

“No matter what the Obama administration may say to the contrary, actions speak louder than words, and history shows that the U.S. government is not averse to locking up its own citizens for its own purposes. What the NDAA does is open the door for the government to detain as a threat to national security anyone viewed as a troublemaker.

“According to government guidelines for identifying domestic extremists – a word used interchangeably with terrorists, that technically applies to anyone exercising their First Amendment rights in order to criticize the government,” he said.

It’s not like rounding up innocent U.S. citizens and stuffing them into prison camps hasn’t already happened.

In 1944, the government rounded up thousands of Japanese Americans and locked them up, under the approval of the high court in its Korematsu v. United States decision.

The newest authorizes the president to use “all necessary and appropriate force” to jail those “suspected” of helping terrorists.

The Obama administration had claimed in court that the NDAA does not apply to American citizens, but Rutherford attorneys said the language of the law “is so unconstitutionally broad and vague as to open the door to arrest and indefinite detentions for speech and political activity that might be critical of the government.”

The law specifically allows for the arrests of those who “associate” or “substantially support” terror groups.

“These terms, however, are not defined in the statute, and the government itself is unable to say who exactly is subject to indefinite detention based upon these terms, leaving them open to wide ranging interpretations which threaten those engaging in legitimate First Amendment activities,” Rutherford officials reported.

At the trial court level, on Sept. 12, 2012, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District Court of New York ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and placed a permanent injunction on the indefinite detention provision.

Obama then appealed, and his judges on the 2nd Circuit authorized the government detention program.

Since the fight started, multiple states have passed laws banning its enforcement inside those states. Herb Titus, a constitutional expert, previously told WND Forrest’s ruling underscored “the arrogance of the current regime, in that they will not answer questions that they ought to answer to a judge because they don’t think they have to.”

The judge explained that the plaintiffs alleged paragraph 1021 is “constitutionally infirm, violating both their free speech and associational rights guaranteed by the 1st Amendment as well due process rights guaranteed by the 5th Amendment.”

She noted the government “did not call any witnesses, submit any documentary evidence or file any declarations.”

“It must be said that it would have been a rather simple matter for the government to have stated that as to these plaintiffs and the conduct as to which they would testify, that [paragraph] 1021 did not and would not apply, if indeed it did or would not,” she wrote.

Instead, the administration only responded with, “I’m not authorized to make specific representations regarding specific people.”

“The court’s attempt to avoid having to deal with the constitutional aspects of the challenge was by providing the government with prompt notice in the form of declarations and depositions of the … conduct in which plaintiffs are involved and which they claim places them in fear of military detention,” she wrote. “To put it bluntly, to eliminate these plaintiffs’ standing simply by representing that their conduct does not fall within the scope of 1021 would have been simple. The government chose not to do so – thereby ensuring standing and requiring this court to reach the merits of the instant motion.

“Plaintiffs have stated a more than plausible claim that the statute inappropriately encroaches on their rights under the 1st Amendment,” she wrote.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/04/supreme-court-green-lights-detention-of-americans/#r3IAig6fLWioaQWy.99 – See more at: http://www.libertynewsonline.com/article_301_35369.php#sthash.uo27Loqv.dpuf

new-logo25Bob Unruh – World Net Daily

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“The Obama administration had claimed in court that the NDAA does not apply to American citizens, but Rutherford attorneys said the language of the law “is so unconstitutionally broad and vague as to open the door to arrest and indefinite detentions for speech and political activity that might be critical of the government.” 

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1459169_743562532338888_201663292_nA decision from the U.S. Supreme Court means the federal government now has an open door to “detain as a threat to national security anyone viewed as a troublemaker,” critics of the high court’s ruling said.

The high court by its own order this week refused to review an appellate-level decision that says the president and U.S. military can arrest and indefinitely detain individuals.

Officials with William J. Olson, P.C., a firm that filed an amicus brief asking the court to step in, noted that not a single justice dissented from the denial of certiorari.

“The court ducked, having no appetite to confront both political parties in order to protect the citizens from military detention,” the legal team told WND. “The government has won, creating a tragic moment for the people – and what will someday be viewed as an embarrassment for the court.”

WND reported earlier when the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act were adopted, then later challenged in court. More

FISA secrets: The Court That Lays Golden Unconstitutional Eggs

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new-logo25Marti Oakley        © copyright 2014 All rights reserved

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Legal v Lawful:  Weasel word swapping at its finest

Weasel word swaps are those words and phrases that sound as if they mean a certain thing and, most of you have been conditioned to believe mean something specific, when in fact, they do not. The recent ruling by U.S. District Judge William Pauley III who took it upon himself to violate the Constitutional rights of every American citizen when he decided that the unwarranted and illegal  NSA spying on virtually everyone, was LEGAL (he did NOT say lawful).  The swapping of the word legal as opposed to lawful requires a closer look.

Definition of legalize:

To make legal or lawful; to confirm or validate what was before void or unlawful; to add the sanction and authority of law to that which before was without or against law.  

In other words, the NSA Spying without probable cause, without obtaining a warrant  is and was1441183_401318466665654_1752838926_n unconstitutional and therefore, unlawful.  Pauley, who knew exactly what he was doing, attempted to by-pass the Constitutional prohibitions against exactly this kind of unfettered and lawless activity by the government and its incorporated agencies to make an otherwise Constitutionally prohibited activity appear to be lawful.

Law Dictionary:

Definition of Legal:  Blacks Law Fifth Edition page 803, column 1, para: 9

Conforming to the law; according to the law; countenanced by the law; good and effectual in law. Not forbidden or discountenanced by law; good and effectual in law.

This contrasts with a ruling earlier this month by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon who ruled that the spying was in fact, unconstitutional and unlawful.

Here’s a clue:  More

SCOTUS & Eric Holder: Its political pimpin’ pimpin’, man!

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Marti Oakley    ©     Copyright 2012- All Rights Reserved

Note:  I wrote this article last night in anticipation of what I was sure would be the results of SCOTUS….unfortunatley I was absolutely correct in my predicition on the outcome of Citizens v Obamacare.  The Court voted to uphold this unconstitional assault on America.  Just one more reason this court needs to be rendered defunct.

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For a portion of this afternoon, I flipped back and forth between the tedious and twisted up oral arguments in the Supreme Court for and against Obamacare and the political pimping going on, on MSNBC about the pending vote of [contempt of congress] against Eric Holder, the US Attorney General. MSNBC is of course the lefts’ counter to FAUX News on the right, and these days has about as much credibility.

Those magic black robes!

I doubt there are any of us out here who think or believe that Obamacare is even remotely constitutional. Yet the Supreme’s and the attorney’s talked endlessly about whether or not the penalty tax was really a tax or just a penalty while every one of them knew it was a penalty tax meant to raise revenue and to coerce unwilling individuals into a system they don’t want to be a part of.  Simply put:  It is legislative extortion meant to raise revenue or, involuntary forced compliance which will also raise revenue.

At one point, the argument from the bench was that Social Security was also a tax that everyone had to pay. Only that isn’t really true, and neither is it true in regards to Obamacare. I have no intentions of getting into this any further except to say that Obamacare is a direct assault on individual rights and is clearly unconstitutional from start to finish. Congress knew it when they passed it and the president knew it when he signed it into law. The Supreme’s also know this and I can hardly wait to hear the convoluted rationale to be given to explain why they did not declare the entire mess unconstitutional. But I have no doubt that they will uphold this unconstitutional assault on the public.

I consider this to be Citizens v Obamacare opinion which will rival the Citizens v United for position #1 on the greatest failures of this court to defend and protect the Constitution for the people of the United States.

About those talking heads at MSNBC…. More

SCOTUS on illegal immigration

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Marti Oakley        Copyright 2012- All Rights Reserved

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On June 25th, 2012, the Supreme Court issued its final ruling on SB 1070, the law passed by Arizona to deal with illegal immigration that has been not only allowed by the federal government, but also encouraged.  The court struck down three of the primary points of the legislation, yet left one standing: Police can inquire about immigration status if an individual is being investigated for a criminal act, while they have him/her in custody.

SCOTUS went on to rule that the individual in question cannot be held longer than usual while that investigation occurs, but issued no guidelines on how long [usual] is, or could be.  This blatant omission of course is laying the groundwork for subsequent lawsuits brought by illegal immigrants in the future who will claim abuse.

It is alleged that the private prison industry which is flourishing in states like Arizona, actually wrote the legislation in anticipation of greater numbers of prisoners from which greater profits could be made.  This is more than likely, true.  The private corporate prison is a fast growing business in the US as these corporations engage in human trafficking for profit.  I cannot think of any other way to efficiently describe what the business is of these prisons, otherwise.

SCOTUS’ main contention was that the States cannot overstep the Federal government to deal with illegal immigration.  That is the job of the federale’s.  Only they aren’t doing their job and have not for more than two decades as the US has been steadily colonized by illegal immigrants who have found protection and privilege provided by the same agencies charged with defending our borders from just such an influx of illegal residents.

From the newly and constantly revised US Code & Title 8, regarding defense of our inland and coastal borders and just whom is charged with defending that border, we find this revision in the code: More

The Ruthie Report/ Illegal immigration news and information

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Did you know only four sections of SB1070 will be heard by the Supreme Court?

We will discuss what transpired on April 25th and the sections that the Supreme Court will hear.

From Rick Oltmans article:

Dems Vow to Kill AZ Immigration Law?…GO FOR IT. More

Obamacare: SCOTUS won’t save the day

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Marti Oakley      Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved

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Having talked with numerous individuals about the case in the Supreme Court challenging the individual mandate which is the pivotal constitutional assault in Obamacare, I found it curious that there are people out here who actually believe SCOTUS will do the right thing. After all, most of us are very aware that this KILLED BY SCOTUSmonstrosity of a bill is clearly unconstitutional on many levels and the Supreme’s will surely point that out and strike it down, won’t they?

But then I got to thinking…….why is it that they will not have a ruling until June sometime?  Why will it take these supposed experts months to render a five-minute decision?  Most of us knew before this assault on the public was passed that it was unconstitutional…….but these legal constitutional experts don’t?  They have to decide if it is or not and it will take them a long time?

I am also waiting for Elena Kagen to recuse herself from hearing the case on Obamacare.  Her past, but oh so recent, affiliation with the president should disqualify her from sitting in on the hearing or contributing to the ruling.  Of course she never recused herself when the issue of the birth certificate came up either.

I can only speculate that Kegan is following the example set by Clarence Thomas, former Monsanto attorney, who refused to recuse himself from cases involving Monsanto.  Gosh….I wonder how those turned out?  Oh! That’s right!  Monsanto got everything it wanted.  Imagine that!

What is the enabling clause for Obamacare?

When Nancy Pelosi claimed it was being passed under the commerce clause, then had to back track and claim it was under the taxation clause, because although the feds can tax they were never supposed to be involved in regulating commerce within the states, no one said a word.  In fact, the claim that the fines that would result if individuals refused or could not afford the artificially bloated insurance rates that are the result of Obamacare, were actually taxes but would not be treated as taxes, should have sounded an alarm.  Pelosi and the criminal gang on CRAPital Hill never batted an eye even after they were caught with their constitutional drawers around their ankles. More

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