Showing posts with label 14th amendment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 14th amendment. Show all posts

Friday, August 4, 2017

Jeff Sessions Plans to Increase Government Robbery, Extortion and Overall Belligerence

Back on July 19th, Jeff Sessions reinstated the equitable sharing program, abandoned during the last year of the Obama Admin, and called for an increase in civil forfeiture. The policy change allows police departments and sheriff's offices to circumvent state laws that require a criminal conviction or at least criminal charges filed to seize property from citizens, such as Utah which recently passed civil forfeiture reform. In the past few years, nine states and the District of Columbia have passed civil forfeiture reforms two of which have abolished the practice by requiring a criminal conviction before property can be taken (New Mexico and Nebraska). Civil asset forfeiture is based on two asinine notions: the accused is guilty until proven innocent and their property should be prosecuted separately as if it had agency. In practice, this means a man can be acquitted of a crime and still lose his property if he doesn't have the means to fight the civil case. Civil asset forfeiture is where the expediency philosophy of politicians twists itself into logical absurdities and contradictions. Sessions says he wants to protect innocent property owners, but most of the time it is innocent property owners who fall prey to these sorts of policies. As I reported back in April, most people targeted with civil asset forfeiture obtained their money legally and more often than not they are small business owners that deal in cash. For instance, in 91% of criminal investigations conducted by the IRS where money is taken through civil forfeiture, the businesses or people it is taken from obtained it legally. Civil asset forfeiture has wiped out peoples' savings, put small business owners in jeopardy, and caused tremendous stress for law abiding citizens who are just trying to make a living. We already know how Trump feels about civil asset forfeiture from what he told a Sheriff back in February. It isn't surprising that a man who has no principles and stands for nothing except personal enrichment would fall for such immoral and absurd policies, and it will only get worse.

In addition to increasing government robbery, Trump also promised to make domestic law enforcement look more like the military. Back in late July, during a law enforcement briefing on gang violence, Trump said he would lift restrictions on the transfer of surplus military equipment to local and state police. Ostensibly he is talking about Pentagon program 1033 that gives used military equipment to 8,000 law enforcement agencies across the country. The Obama Admin slightly scaled it down in 2015, banning certain items such as MRAPS, Tanks, grenade launchers, and guns .50 or higher, though the vast majority of equipment can still be transferred.

You know, when you wanted to take over and you used military equipment -- and they were saying you couldn’t do it -- you know what I said? That was my first day: You can do it. (Laughter.) In fact, that stuff is disappearing so fast we have none left. (Laughter.) You guys know -- you really knew how to get that. But that's my honor. And I tell you what -- it's being put to good use.

In this same briefing he encouraged officers to beat up suspects before they have their day in court. Of course, it is not surprising that he would use gang violence as a pretense to expand executive power.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

State of Oregon Takes Kids From Parents For Low IQ Scores

Source: The Oregonian

Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler lost custody of both of their sons. The Department of Human Services placed Fabbrini's first son, Christopher, in foster care four years ago. They took her second son, who was born this February, straight from the hospital. While the state found no evidence of abuse or neglect, a psychological evaluation of the couple revealed that Fabbrini has an IQ of 72 and Ziegler has an IQ of 66. Thus, the state used their lack of intelligence as the sole grounds for deeming them unfit to be parents. Amy Fabbrini's father, Raymond Fabbrini, prompted the state to take custody of Amy's first son Christopher. The report relays that she had a falling out with her father who urged her to put Christopher up for adoption and said among other things that she doesn't have the instincts to be a mother and was a lazy child that didn't do nothing. Her father currently has custody of twin girls she bore in a previous marriage before she met Ziegler. Since the couple lost custody of their newborn, they have taken classes on parenting, first aid, CPR and nutrition through WIC, MountainStar, and Healthy Families of the High Desert to no avail. They are currently only allowed supervised visits to their sons.

It doesn't make sense to assign as much weight to IQ as the state has. People with average or above average IQs can still have disorders that impair their judgment as parents to the point where they aren't able to sufficiently provide for and protect their children. It is not the best measurement of how well a person can raise a child by a long shot. A high IQ doesn't make one capable of being a parent and a low IQ doesn't make one incapable of being a parent. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the average IQ is 70 yet no one is advocating to take away their children despite the squalor they live in, but these facts are immaterial. The principle of the matter is that all citizens are afforded the same rights under the constitution regardless of intelligence or any other heritable characteristic. The 14th amendment stipulates that every citizen of each state must not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process and should be given equal protection of the laws. Fabbrini and Ziegler should first be proven neglectful and incompetent as parents before having their children taken from them, just as any other couple would be treated by the state. State law stipulates, among other things, that the case workers make an effort to reunite the family and that a magistrate conduct a permanency hearing to determine if the children can return home and plan for such an occasion. None of this was done.

From what I have seen in the video, their intellectual disabilities seem mild at worst. Perhaps assistance from a social worker would prove a better solution then breaking up the family.