View Poll Results: Can covering yourself in black bloc make you a conspirator to your group's crimes?

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Thread: Black Bloc Criminal Conspirators

  1. #41
    Member zago's Avatar
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    While the Battle of Berkeley was clearly the most fun thing to happen in 2017, I think it was a perfect demonstration of what happens when the government steps out of the way and leaves a power vacuum for someone else to try to come fill.

    When the government steps aside this way, people get hurt and die. Lots of other events this year had pretty exemplary security and never became major news because nothing happened except a few freaks getting arrested or something.

    I could give a crap about people's "freedoms" to cover their face so they won't be identified as they commit crimes, assault people, and sow chaos. It's stupid. It's hilarious that our government is so passive that it lets people hold mass demonstrations that would become coups if they were bigger and tell it to go fuck itself in the streets yet they still complain as if they face the worst oppression. Omg, the government made laws and defends its sovereignty, wtf?

  2. #42
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    The marxist agenda to destabilise the US as part of a culture war...

    TRIGGER WARNING!


  3. #43
    malarkey oxyjen's Avatar
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    Prosecutors gained some guilty pleas, zero convictions.

    "Federal prosecutors on Friday dismissed rioting charges against all remaining defendants arrested after destructive Inauguration Day protests in the nation’s capital, bringing to a close a controversial case that led to allegations of government overreach.

    Prosecutors began filing paperwork Friday afternoon to formally drop the cases against 39 people who had been awaiting trial.

    The vandalism of downtown businesses on the day President Trump was sworn in stretched more than 16 blocks as part of a disturbance called DisruptJ20. Members of a large group of protesters set small fires and used bricks and crowbars to smash storefronts.

    In all, 234 people were arrested and charged with rioting. Of them, 21 defendants pleaded guilty before trial. But prosecutors had been unable to secure convictions at trial against others in the group.

    Defense attorneys have long contended that prosecutors went too far in pursuing cases against more than 200 people. They argued that their clients were not rioting, but were swept up in the arrests while peacefully protesting.

    Lacy MacAuley, one of the organizers of the DisruptJ20 Inauguration Day protests, said she celebrated the decision to end the prosecutions. She said the defendants have “suffered” more than a year of angst associated with the arrests, forcing many of them to put their lives on hold as they waited for outcomes in the criminal cases."

    "“They overreached in terms of their legal theory,” said Mark Goldstone, a D.C. defense attorney who represented two defendants, one of whom was acquitted in the first trial. “That a person is responsible criminally for any destruction and violence inccurred by someone in the same vicinity because of the clothes they wore — and because of that, a person is facing seven years in jail because of someone else’s actions — that is absolutely preposterous.”

    “It was a waste of time and a waste of taxpayers’ resources,” Goldstone said. “They spent way more in prosecution than the financial damages that were caused.”

    Federal prosecutors dismissing remaining Inauguration Day Protest Arrests

  4. #44
    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Conspiracy charges seem like a stretch to me, though I'm not a lawyer or anything.


    I thought a conspiracy conviction required specific foreknowledge and active contribution to planning the crime. The classic sort of conspiracy case would be someone hiring a hitman--you didn't personally murder anyone, but the victim's death was obviously your idea and you did a lot of the logistic work to facilitate the crime before the fact.


    Something more like an 'accessory' charge would seem to make more sense here, if anything. Even there, though, the burden of proof would still be on the government to conclusively demonstrate that each of the specific people being prosecuted personally did something to help the individuals who did commit vandalism or whatever escape arrest after the crime per se occurred.

    (So, like in a murder case you can prosecuted as an accessory if, say, you helped the murderer destroy evidence, or provided them a hiding place after they committed the crime, but not conspiracy if you made these decisions after the crime happened without knowing in advance that the murder was going to happen.)

    If it's just "you were at the same public event attended by a very large number of people, some of whom decided to engage in criminal activity on their own personal initiative during the event", then yeah, it's a pretty obvious "guilt by association" fallacy, and given that the current federal executive administration doesn't tend to have a very friendly relationship with the judicial system in general, I'd guess that the legal implications of this inherent fallacy were always rather likely to undermine the effort to actually prosecute all of these people on the spurious 'conspiracy' charges.


    Of course this is all a bit beside the point, in a sense, since the obvious intent of these prosecutions is to push the limits of what the law actually allows in a politically motivated effort to 'send a message' designed to intimidate a specific group of people.

    (Much like the more recent instance of overly draconian treatment of asylum applicants and their children, in this respect.)

    That kind of thing is traditionally considered an improper use of the state's authority to pursue criminal prosecutions, though whether it's strictly illegal in itself in all cases I couldn't say.


    As far as the more general issue of protests vs. traffic laws, I do recall a case that came before the state supreme court in Oregon some years ago, in which someone arrested for physically occupying a car traffic lane in a political demonstration without a parade permit appealed their conviction all the way to the top, and the supreme court ultimately concluded that the prosecuting city court had based the prosecution, by implication, on a legal argument amounting to a claim that their municipal traffic ordinances took precedence over the federal 1st and 14th Amendments.

    Since they decided that implicit argument by the city was obviously false, they threw out the appellant's conviction for disorderly conduct.


    Though Oregon's state courts are kind of famous (well, famous if you live there anyway) for being consistently very absolutist about freedom of speech cases, more so than perhaps any other court system at any level in the rest of the country, so this doesn't seem to have set any particularly influential precedent for anyone else.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

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