Thursday, February 9, 2017

Trump Plans to Create New Crimes And Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Trump's most recent executive orders are an ominous warning to Americans of things to come. All three new executive orders deal with law enforcement. The first one directs Jeff Sessions to create a crime reduction task force that will among other things
(iii) identify deficiencies in existing laws that have made them less effective in reducing crime and propose new legislation that could be enacted to improve public safety and reduce crime;
In other words, continue ditching constitutional principles in favor of more expedient measures. Given Trump's recent comments on Civil Asset Forfeiture, his past comments on constitutional rights, and Jeff Sessions stances on mass surveillance, the drug war, and encryption, this is probably the intention of creating this task force. And did I mention that national crime rates are, despite a recent spike, much lower than they were 47 years ago? Trump is entitled to alternative opinions, but not alternative facts.

The second executive order supposedly prevents violence against law enforcement and proposes, among other things, to define new crimes and creating new mandatory minimum sentences for those crimes. In all likelihood incarceration rates will reverse their current downward trend and the private prison industry will boom again under the Trump administration.
(d) following that review, and in coordination with other Federal agencies, as appropriate, make recommendations to the President for legislation to address the protection and safety of Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers, including, if warranted, legislation defining new crimes of violence and establishing new mandatory minimum sentences for existing crimes of violence against Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers, as well as for related crimes;
None of the provisions in the third executive order caught my attention as particularly noteworthy; it's the same old war on drugs schtick that's been failing for the past 40 years, which is also around the time when there was a dramatic spike in crime rates that peaked at 10.2/100,000 murder rate nation wide in 1980.

An institution that is itself a criminal enterprise does not stop criminal activity; its only concern is gaining a monopoly over criminal activity and becoming the sole purveyor of injustice.

'As long as mankind continue to pay "national debts," so-called -- that is, so long as they are such dupes and cowards as to pay for being cheated, plundered, enslaved, and murdered -- so long there will be enough to lend the money for those purposes; and with that money a plenty of tools, called soldiers, can be hired to keep them in subjection. But when they refuse any longer to pay for being thus cheated, plundered, enslaved, and murdered, they will cease to have cheats, and usurpers, and robbers, and murderers and blood-money loan-mongers for masters.' 
- Lysander Spooner, No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority  

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