should be tarred and feathered. And a few of them hung.
Consider small-time inventor and entrepreneur Krister Evertson, who will testify at today's hearing. Krister never had so much as a traffic ticket before he was run off the road near his mother's home in Wasilla, Alaska, by SWAT-armored federal agents in large black SUVs training automatic weapons on him.
Evertson, who had been working on clean-energy fuel cells since he was in high school, had no idea what he'd done wrong. It turned out that when he legally sold some sodium (part of his fuel-cell materials) to raise cash, he forgot to put a federally mandated safety sticker on the UPS package he sent to the lawful purchaser.
Krister's lack of a criminal record did nothing to prevent federal agents from ransacking his mother's home in their search for evidence on this oh-so-dangerous criminal.
At least it was over, right?
The good news is that a federal jury in Alaska acquitted Krister of all charges. The jurors saw through the charges and realized that Krister had done nothing wrong.
The bad news, however, is that the feds apparently had it in for Krister. Federal criminal law is so broad that it gave prosecutors a convenient vehicle to use to get their man.
Two years after arresting him, the feds brought an entirely new criminal prosecution against Krister on entirely new grounds. They used the fact that before Krister moved back to Wasilla to care for his 80-year-old mother, he had safely and securely stored all of his fuel-cell materials in Salmon, Idaho.
According to the government, when Krister was in jail in Alaska due to the first unjust charges, he had "abandoned" his fuel-cell materials in Idaho. Unfortunately for Krister, federal lawmakers had included in the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act a provision making it a crime to abandon "hazardous waste." According to the trial judge, the law didn't require prosecutors to prove that Krister had intended to abandon the materials (he hadn't) or that they were waste at all -- in reality, they were quite valuable and properly stored away for future use.
In this case, first you have a bunch of idiots in DC who seem to think if they're not making something illegal or taxable or both, they're not doing anything. Second, you have law enforcement officials who are statist morons. There was no damned reason for, if you had to arrest Krister at all, using an effing SWAT team. And apparently we're supposed to believe that actual crime is so far under control that this moron prosecutor had the time and money to waste filing the second charge on him.
The other hardened criminal whose story members of Congress will hear today is retiree George Norris. A longtime resident of Spring, Texas, Norris made the mistake of not knowing and keeping track of all of the details of federal and international law on endangered species -- mostly paperwork requirements -- before he decided to turn his orchid hobby into a small business. What was Norris's goal? To earn a little investment income while his wife neared retirement.
The Lacey Act is an example of the dangerous overbreadth of federal criminal law. Incredibly, Congress has made it a federal crime to violate any fish or wildlife law or regulation of any nation on earth.
Facing 10 years in federal prison, Norris pled guilty and served almost two. His wife, Kathy, describes the pain of losing their life savings to pay for attorneys and trying to explain to grandchildren why for so long Poppa George couldn't see them.
Again, some morons in DC thought this crap was a good idea, and some prosecutor apparently had so little actual crime to deal with that he thought spending money and time to screw a family over, was a good idea.
Few years back I read about a problem in New York Effing City for people who use guns in self-defense: if you had a legal gun and killed an attacker in actual self-defense, the prosecutors liked to charge you with involuntary manslaughter. It was an easy charge to make, fairly easy to get a conviction on(you either agreed to that or got charged with something else, OR went broke trying to defend yourself against it), and when you ran for office later it gave you another 'conviction of a dangerous criminal' to point to on your record. A prosecutor who actually gave a rats ass about truth and justice wouldn't do such; just like one who gave a crap about those things wouldn't have been involved in the crap above. Unfortunately, there's a lot of them who don't.