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From: Vince Brannigan
Subject: Re: [NEWS]: Probe: U.S. Knew of Jet Terror Plots
References: <3D959025.284F175B@verizon.net> <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 05 Oct 2002 16:29:33 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sat, 05 Oct 2002 12:29:33 EDT
"Fred J. McCall" wrote:
> Vince Brannigan wrote:
> :"Fred J. McCall" wrote:
> :> :> On a simpler level, running a red light is a strict liability offense.
> :> :That
> :> :> is, No intent is required. So either you did or didn't. Which I think this
> :> :> whole overly long threat is about.
> :> :
> :> :And the court is who decides whether you did it or not.
> :> Under law. Their decision doesn't change whether you actually did it
> :> or not.
> :Whether you "did it" is a question of fact , whether what you "did" is a crime is
> :a declaration by the court
> No. Whether what the court THINKS you did is a crime is a declaration
> by the court.
no the court declares you guilty. that is a declaration of both factors
1) that a crime has been committed and
2) you did it.
> The court often doesn't have perfect knowledge of all
> the actual facts. Therefore, what you ACTUALLY did can have been a
> crime, but what the court THINKS you did was determined not to be.
no. Courts do not THINK they ACT. they give Judgments
You are not legally competent to declare yourself guilty of a crime. you have to ask
a court to find you guilty
that is why it is called a plea. A court can reject a plea. If a court declares you
guilty, then for legal purposes (but no other) you are guilty. Until that point, you
are not. The criminal legal system has no concept of a crime that can be separated
> In other words, Vince, the difference between your position and mine
> is this. By my lights, breaking the law constitutes a crime, whether
> you get caught and convicted or not. By your lights, the only crime
> is getting caught and convicted for something.
my position is very simple. individuals perform acts. When and if a court declares
the person to be guilty, it declares that a crime has been committed and by the
defendant. Guilt is an operative statement only valid within the legal system. It
has no external "factual" reality.
I fully accept that the underlying "facts" may be used for other purposes by both the
civil law, the political system and the world in general, but it has nothing to do
with a declaration that a crime was committed.
As a practical matter this is why the plea of "nolo contendere" was invented.
nolo contendere Latin for "no contest." In a criminal proceeding, a defendant may
enter a plea of nolo contendere, in which he does not accept or deny responsibility
for the charges but agrees to accept punishment. The plea differs from a guilty plea
because it cannot be used against the defendant in another cause of action
now if guilt is a "factual statement" this plea is meaningless But guilt is not
factual, it is declaratory In this case the court declares that the defendant is
willing to be punished for the act as if he were guilty of a crime. it s a special
purpose declaration and if accepted by the court operates as a the narrowest possible
statement that a crime has been committed. i.e. a crime has been committed for the
purpose of assessing punishment, but for no other purpose.
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