Friday, September 06, 2002

What If The Law Is Stupid?

Have you ever . . .

. . . thought that there are simply too many laws these days?
. . . asked yourself, "How do we get rid of bad laws?
. . . served as a member of a jury in a criminal case?
. . . wanted to help improve the criminal justice system?
. . . thought that there are too many harmless people in prison?
. . . wanted to help improve the criminal justice system?

If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, the Common Sense Justice Amendment is for you!

Thus a web site devoted to the passage of Amendment A begins. Common Sense Justice for South Dakotans is a group that supports the passage of Amendment A, an amendment to the South Dakota constitution that would give criminal defendants the right to argue that the law which they are accused of violating is stupid. That's a paraphrase. To quote: "The right to argue that the law itself is flawed, or that the law is being misapplied in the case at hand, or that the proposed sentence for violating the law is too harsh for the harm done." There. I couldn't have said it better myself.

This amendment was proposed in response to the State's drug laws, which are demonstrably stupid, if not downright evil. No less of a light than Thomas Jefferson famously compared a pending law in France, in fact the first legislation anywhere that called for a doctor's prescription to be necessary for citizens to purchase medicines, as "tantamount to mind control" and "infamous."

The government may have the right to prevent citizens from hurting themselves, but where in our beloved constitution can the authority be found to allow our government to imprison any citizen who grows and/or smokes hemp?

I don't intend to fight the drug war right now. For further reading on Amendment A, as well as a great resource on the War on (some) Drugs, click on this.