Sunday, December 16, 2012

Article 1, Section 9, of the American Constitution

     The Constitution takes the muscle and flab of human endeavor and impulse and arranges it, like a body, into systems that have both possibilities and limitations.
     Whereas the Constitution describes the overall structure and function of our shared governing body, the Articles give specificity to certain organ systems within that body.  They outline how much power these organs--especially the three branches of the federal government--should have, how breaches should be handled, and how the body itself should go about updating or otherwise amending laws for situations that, like DNA transpositions, could not have been foreseen.  Cases, and case law, offer real-life examples of how the general statements set forth in the Constitution operate in the lives of human beings, in an if-this-then-that formulation, and serve as mini-laws, or "precedents," against which new cases can be measured and decisions induced.    
     Article 1 is a description of the powers and limitations of the federal government.  Article 1 concerns me, because it is the federal government, via its agents, which may have overstepped its limits when my office and bank accounts were raided, and Medicare's representatives declined to pay me, without giving a reason.
     Section 1 of Article 1 describes the scope of the legislature, Section 2 that of the House of Representatives, and Section 3, that of the Senate.
     Section 4 outlines the procedures for electing members of Congress, Section 5 the rules of order for conducting congressional meetings, and Section 6 compensation of elected officials.  Section 6 also describes the degree of independence Congress may exercise apart from the executive branch.
     Section 7 gives the procedure for introducing a bill and moving it into law, as well as the uses of the president's veto.  Section 8 enumerates the powers of Congress, including that stipulation that Congress can do whatever is "necessary and proper" to carry out the powers with which it is vested.  Over the years, many such powers have been deduced, or "implied," sometimes by those with a vested interest in pushing through laws that would advance a partisan cause;  therefore the powers of Congress have become broader, perhaps, than our forefathers intended.
     Section 9 outlines the limits of Congress.  Mostly it is out of date, setting a minimum tax on the importation of slaves, and prohibiting taxes on one state over another when there is transport of goods across borders.
     The two paragraphs that may apply to my situation are the following:

     The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

   and

     No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

     Article 1, Section 9 has been referenced by one of my attorneys and by occasional others, offhandedly, when they hear the general outlines of my clinic's raid, as a violation of my rights.  But as I understand it, no specific rights in this Section have been breached by the government.  Habeas corpus is a writ that allows a detained prisoner to come to court with a demand to know why he has been imprisoned.  If the detention is unlawful, the prisoner can be released by order of the court.  I have not been formally detained, therefore cannot insist on a right to know why I have been imprisoned.
     I have, however, been informally, or effectively detained, i.e.,  held hostage by the government's actions against me, and by the assumption of my criminality, made public via media coverage and underlined by the removal of $400,000 from my bank accounts--a fine, or punishment, that has been imposed before an allegation, or trial, or conviction have been tendered.
     Could a writ of habeas corpus be used to force my prosecutor to come forward with the charges against me, since I have already been ruined, in so many ways equivalent to the ruination of a citizen who has been thrown into jail without explanation, and whose public persona has been blackened?
      A "bill of attainder" is a law allowing for a person to be convicted without trial.  The stipulation that no bill of attainder shall be passed insists on the necessity for a citizen's right to a trial, before conviction.
     I have not been formally "convicted," therefore government officials may claim that I don't have a right to a trial under the circumstances.  But I have been effectively convicted, without being detained in jail, insofar as my clinic has been shackled by Medicare's unexplained refusal to pay for my services, and by the forfeiture of clinic and personal funds, rendering the clinic insolvent, and by an investigation hanging over my head like a guillotine blade for two and a half years thus far--and up to ten years, depending on the [concealed--for what reason?] charges being levied against me.
     Do I have any rights, under Article 1, Section 9?  I am going to have to review cases, going all the way back to Lincoln, of individuals who exercised their ability to issue a writ of habeas corpus, and could not be denied by the courts, as they insisted on knowing why public officials threw them in a holding tank--usually jail--but in my case a jail without bars.
     The right to know is what has been infringed.  Unless government officials can claim that we are in a state of national emergency, and that I pose an immediate threat to the public good, they are required to tell me why my clinic was raided, and why my public name has been slandered, and why I have been punished before being convicted. 
     Right?

6 comments:

  1. YES I DO BELIEVE YOU ARE TOTALLY RIGHT.

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  2. Do not miss the article in today's Gainesville Sun entiltled, 'Why are hundreds of cases dropped over insufficient evidence?'

    http://www.gainesville.com/article/20121216/ARTICLES/121219734/1002/news?Title=Why-are-hundreds-of-cases-dropped-over-insufficient-evidence-

    There are thousands of cases dropped over insufficient evidence in Florida every year.

    Here's a local defense attorney's view:

    “It would amaze the public how egregious some of the lies are,” said Gainesville attorney Robert Rush, who is representing Locke in the suit. “There are so many excellent officers out there. They say it like they saw it — just the facts.

    “But we all know there (are) officers who can always smell the marijuana, whose dog always alerts on the car for having contraband in it, and yet there were no drugs in the car. How come the dog alerted? Because they are making it up.”

    I was shocked when I read the 'probable cause'
    statement written by the arresting officer in my own case. There were three paragraphs and in each paragraph there contained a major lie.

    I think that you will be shocked when you are able to know what lies were told about you.

    What I am most amazed at is that these lies go unpunished. Defense attorneys, sheriffs, police chiefs, prosecutors, judges...they all know who tells lies but it seems no one does anything about it.

    I feel that the reason behind not correcting the problem is the money gained by the industry from arresting innocent people.

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    Replies
    1. I read the article. I find the 43% statistic astounding (43% of arrests don't end up being supported by evidence and are dropped). While it's understandable that government agents might make more arrests than result in convictions, if they're using an intelligent degree of suspicion, rather than going for as many arrests as possible (to make their dockets look good) they shouldn't be arresting so many people that 43% end up being exonerated, their lives thrown into havoc in the meantime and their employment options narrowed by the fact of having been arrested. The problem is this: government agents don't seem suffer in any way at all when they use bad judgment and wreck other people's lives. If there's no deterrant to making false arrests, and it looks good to supervisors, why not arrest and investigate as many people as possible?

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  3. Just a thought…

    I agree with you whole-heartedly. One big problem is the willful misconduct of officers who are not reprimanded but are rewarded. These are the officers who turn in probable cause statements containing fabrications, exaggerations, and out-and-out lies. In the December 17th Article ‘Officials: Some officers bend rules with arrests’, Sheriff Darnell stated that her office does not regularly review dismissals from the State Attorney’s Office to identify if certain deputies or types of cases are resulting in high rates of dropped cases for insufficient evidence. I ask, “Why not?” Then Sheriff Darnell states, “Most errors are made unintentionally.” Now, how does she know that? If my organization was having a 43% error rate and the top reason for my cases being dismissed was due to insufficient evidence; I would be taking action to review everything until that problem no longer existed. Prosecutors, the Gainesville Sun, nor anyone else would have to let me know when I had recurring issues with the arrests by a particular deputy. I would nip that in the bud. How does she keep her job?

    Could be that the cause for dropped cases due to insufficient evidence is the bounties for any sort of information people want to give, untruths accepted at face value, and rewards for arrests that are offered to officers. Wow! Talk about an incentive combo. Why not embellish, exaggerate, or tell a series of lies? The numbers suggest that the payoff is big.

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  4. If officers are judged based on how many arrests they make, then they'll make as many frivolous arrests as they like, expressing their prejudices in the process--more blacks, more young people, more people in red cars, etc. If it doesn't cost the justice system much to make arrests, why not? If, in addition, money is made to support the system, all the better. I propose, therefore, that the local police and feds summarily arrest every single person once a year. Then we'll have fairness across the board, the DOJ can scoop up lots of money in settlements, and we may even be able to correct the national debt and do away with the IRS in the process. The question is: how do we want to support our government? And how much money should the government be alotted to run this country and keep us safe? At the rate the government is going, we've got a monster on our hands, doubling at a rate faster than cancer cells.

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