The Rule Of Law Over The Rule Of Reason

from the stop-the-insanity dept

While not directly a tech/business related story, Jonny sent in this rather disturbing story of a grandmother arrested in Indiana for buying two whole boxes of cold medicine in less than a week. As you're probably aware, most states have greatly limited the ability to buy cold medicine that contains pseudoephedrine, the ingredient that makes most cold medicines effective -- but also a key ingredient used in making meth. So, rather than deal with the growing meth problem head on, many politicians sought to annoy pretty much anyone with a serious cold by making it quite difficult to get any drug that actually contains useful medicine.

Apparently, the Indiana law forbids buying more than 3.0 grams of the stuff in a single week, and the two boxes of cold medicine exceeded that amount. The end result? Police show up at the woman's house and arrest her -- and then keep defending the arrest, citing meth abuse, even as everyone admits that this woman was not making meth:
"I feel for her, but if she could go to one of the area hospitals and see a baby born to a meth-addicted mother ..."
It's difficult to see what that has to do with anything considering that everyone knows this woman had no intention of making meth. The whole thing is ridiculous, but is symptomatic of a problem that we're seeing all too often, where the focus is on enforcing poorly thought out laws, to ridiculous consequences, with no attempt to ever look at the negative consequences and seeing if the original law made any sense in the first place.

We've discussed this in the past with regards to other laws as well. In business, if you plan a new initiative, you have metrics and you check to see if you accomplish them, and you monitor negative effects of what you do as well. So why don't politicians ever do this? When they pass a law to ban spam, increase copyright duration or take away privacy for some reason or another, why are politicians never asked to put in place benchmarks to see if the laws actually do what they promise? Why aren't there any plans for a change or a removal of the law if it turns out to do more harm than good? Certainly, by this point in time, there's a better process to creating regulations than simply saying what they're intended to do without ever bothering to check to see if those goals are achieved?


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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 3:50am

    what a bunch of BS!

    SHAME !!!!!!

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 3:51am

    Yes, But Who Would Vote For It?

    Politicians reflect the opinions of the voters who support them. Who would vote for a “reasonable” politician? Where is the “reasonable” voters’ party? Would it mean putting scientists in charge of the government? How successful do you think that would be?

     

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    Griff (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 4:15am

    It's not just the daft laws - it's the daft police

    We have a recent daft news story in UK. Two female police officers had an arrangement whereby (as they worked different shifts) they would look after each others children when off duty. However, because - it was more than 2 hrs per day - they are not related - they are doing it for "reward" (albeit in this case not financial) they must legally be registered child carers to do this. So they got a visit from the people responsible for prosecuting non registered child carers. What galls me is not that the law was drafted without spotting and excluding this scenario, but that the people with a finite (probably oeverstretched) budget for dealing with violations decided that this case ranked above all the others in today's in tray and decided to pursue it. Similarly with the story above, maybe this old lady is breaking the letter of the law but can't the cops see instantly that this is a wasted trip and choose not to arrest her. The fact that law enforcement are increasingly unthinkingly "just following orders" is far more worrying to me than the incidence of poorly drafted laws. Just read history from 60 years back... In the UK we have restrictions on how much paracetamol (acetomeniphen ? in the US - Tylenol, anyway) can be bought at once to prevent the appalling after effects of half hearted teenage "cry for help" overdoses (liver failure and death inside a week). But it's a pain in the behind if you want to stock up for a family holiday. And some stores combine tylenol and advil under this rule which makes no clinical sense whatsoever. It probably never saved anyone's life but at least noone gets arrested for visiting 2 different pharmacies.

     

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    Richard (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 4:18am

    Silly Law enforcement

    Just to show that we Brits aren't immune from this kind of stupidity have a look at this case...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8278533.stm

    Two policewomen who look after each others children when not on duty have found that they need to register officially as childminders because reciprocal childcare amounts to working for "reward"!

     

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    Richard (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 4:21am

    Re: Silly Law enforcement

    and of course while they're pursuing this case they're neglecting real cases of child abuse!

     

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    MarksAngel (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 4:31am

    what I'm trying to figure it is how these police can look themselves in the mirror when knowing they arrested this poor woman for simply having a cold and needing medicine. I would have to find another job seriously because that's just stupid!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 4:54am

    Re: It's not just the daft laws - it's the daft police

    So they got a visit from the people responsible for prosecuting non registered child carers.

    So why didn't they just follow the law and register LIKE EVERYONE ELSE? I am so sick of people wanting more and more laws passed but then not wanting them to apply to everyone.

     

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    ..., Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:02am

    Re: Yes, But Who Would Vote For It?

    Are you daft?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:04am

    Re:

    what I'm trying to figure it is how these police can look themselves in the mirror when knowing they arrested this poor woman for simply having a cold and needing medicine.

    Are you suggesting that women should be above the law or would you be saying the same thing if the person had been a man? How about if she was a little younger and a member of a motorcycle club?

    Even worse than passing bad laws is applying them selectively.

     

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    John Doe, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:04am

    Think of the children!

    This law pisses me off too. If people want to kill themselves on meth then let them do it. Why treat everyone else as a criminal for the few that are?

    Besides, it is a woman's body and if she wants to have an abortion or do drugs/smoke/drink while pregnant that is her choice. After all, a fetus is not a person, right?

     

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    ..., Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:08am

    Who is keeping count ?

    Wow, dont these folks have better things to do ?
    I would like to know, and the article did not say, how do they keep track of the cold medicine purchased ?

     

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    John Doe, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:09am

    Re: Re:

    Did she even know there was such a law? I sure didn't. I know they moved the meth based drugs behind the counter but I didn't know there was a limit to the amount you could buy.

    What we need are more laws to turn honest people into criminals. It's not like we can't afford to put a few more people into jail is it?

    Seriously though, what we need are less laws and especially less stupid laws.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:10am

    Re: Think of the children!

    Besides, it is a woman's body and if she wants to have an abortion or do drugs/smoke/drink while pregnant that is her choice.

    You left out overeating and other health compromising or risky behaviors.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:16am

    Re:

    what I'm trying to figure it is how these police can look themselves in the mirror when knowing they arrested this poor woman for simply having a cold and needing medicine.

    Except they didn't, did they? They arrested her for breaking the law. When someone robs a bank to get mortgage money, they aren't arrested for "having a home and needing to make payments", they're arrested for "robbing a bank".

     

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    Rich Kulawiec, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:19am

    Unintended (?) consequences

    One of the unfortunate side effect of these very silly anti-drug laws which delusional politicians have enacted this idiocy (wait...say it with me...FOR THE CHILLLLLLDRRRRRRRRRRUNNN) is that it's forced some cold/allergy medications to move off the open shelves and behind the pharmacy counter. This in turn has depressed the sales of those particular products, and this in turn has forced some of them off the US market. For example, Drixoral's mainstay anti-allergy med is now unavailable in the US -- after decades on the market. There are others missing as well.

    Now, it might be easy to say "just take another one", but one of the tricky things about these formulations that what works for one person doesn't work for another. Many allergy sufferers wind up working their way through a dozen or more experiments before they find one that works for them (and hopefully doesn't make them so sleepy that they can't function). So every time one of these drugs disappears from the market, all the people taking it get to run a series of tests on themselves until they find something that works -- if they can.

    And meanwhile, of course, the net impact on the people who are making meth is zero. They couldn't possibly care less, and are not inconvenienced in the slightest. The whole episode is pointless, useless theater contrived by politicians who can babble nonsense like "taking the drug problem seriously" while they (of course) do everything that they can to defund the clinics that actually have some real impact on the issue.

     

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    Lucretious, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:21am

    Forget the police, the prosecutor should be certified insane:

    While the law was written with the intent of stopping people from purchasing large quantities of drugs to make methamphetamine, the law does not say the purchase must be made with the intent to make meth.

    “The law does not make this distinction,” Alexander said…

    Just as with any law, the public has the responsibility to know what is legal and what is not, and ignorance of the law is no excuse, the prosecutor said.

    “I’m simply enforcing the law as it was written,” Alexander said…

    It is up to customers to pay attention to their purchase amounts, and to check medication labels, Alexander said.


    Truly mind bending.

     

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    Dane, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:26am

    Contact info for the 'thorities involved

    Vermillion County Prosecutor
    P. O. Box 249
    Newport, IN. 47966-0249
    (800) 340-8155
    Ext: 125 Prosecutor Nina Alexander


    Sheriff's Office
    201 Cherry St.
    Terre Haute, IN 47807
    812-462-3226

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Did she even know there was such a law? I sure didn't.

    I sure did. Since when is ignorance of the law a defense?

    What we need are more laws to turn honest people into criminals. It's not like we can't afford to put a few more people into jail is it?

    The criminal justice system is a HUGE business in the US. In the minds of most people in the US, there is no such thing as spending too much on it. Until it comes after them or someone they care about, that is. Then they want selective enforcement.

    Seriously though, what we need are less laws and especially less stupid laws.

    Agreed.

     

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    Grumpy, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:30am

    My experience in the UK was equally infuriating. Tried to buy some Ibuprofen plus (ibuprofen with codeine)and Migraleve (paracetamol with codeine) one for painful shoulder and other for occasional migraines. Was told I couldn't by both together.

    Purchased one, went to back of queue -reappeared at counter seconds later and purchased the other. Nobody batted an eyelid. Very stupid and very annoying. I could just as easily have bought it the next day but would have caused more inconvenience. Where is the sense in this!!!

     

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    Chargone (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:36am

    Re: Re: It's not just the daft laws - it's the daft police

    i've got not idea what the registration process in the UK is like, but if it's anything like here?

    it's because it's expensive and borderline impossible to actually do without taking all sorts of [also expensive] courses.


    also I'm fairly sure the point was actually not that the law shouldn't apply to everyone, but that stupid laws shouldn't be made in the first place, and that the laws made should be enforced in a way that actually makes sense.

    there is no sane reason why the above arrangement requires government regulation.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:37am

    they should arrest the store clerks and owner who sold all that "meth" to that poor old woman.

     

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    Mike C. (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:46am

    Law was obviously written by a single/childless legislator

    My household is a family of 4 - me, my wife, 2 kids ages 8 and 12. The 12 year old is 5'7" and takes adult medication at the low end of the recommended dose. With cold and flu season coming, we'd be screwed if we lived in Indiana.

    Psuedophed makes a 12-hour dose that contains 120mg per pill. If my wife, my older son and myself were all sick needing a decongestant for a week, we'd use 42 pills (3 ppl x 2 pills per day x 7 days). That's 5.04 grams. Add in a children's dosage for my 8 year old, and heck... we might even hit 6 grams a week. Looks like it would be jail time for me... :-)

    I guess according to Indiana law, they'd rather encourage the spread of illness by forcing multiple people to make multiple trips to the store to keep themselves snot free. What could possibly go wrong?

     

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    Coughing Monkey (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:57am

    This is nothing new

    DOH!!! they made an excellent plant quite illegal a few decades ago and we are barely getting it brought back into a semi-legal use legal area now after many decades of battling the laws against it. Can you say marijuana? I knew you could.
    Legalize it!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:06am

    Re: Law was obviously written by a single/childless legislator

    With cold and flu season coming, we'd be screwed if we lived in Indiana.

    Go to the doctor and get a legal prescription.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:07am

    Part of the problem is the meme that the Law is our master, rather than our servant. I've observed many in the law profession who believe in the "Rule of Law" to the extent where the people are servants to the Law, rather than the Law as the servant of the people. An example of this meme run amok is the legal phrase "ignorance of the law is no excuse." With a "Rule of Reason", sometimes ignorance of the law can be a legitimate excuse and should be determined on a case-by-case basis by a jury. (Of course, one can logically conclude from a "Rule of Reason" is that Jury Nullification must be an important component of true justice.)

     

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    LoL, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:09am

    Law.

    Judge Dread would be proud.

    On a more serious note, what is needed is consequences for bad laws. Has common sense been override? Has people lost critical thinking in law enforcement? Politicians don't pay attention to these little details?

    I wonder if politicians ever get feed back from the laws they pass or wait till they explode in some scandal to take action.

    We live in an age were we could and should do better, where benchmarks should exist and laws should be written with provisions that would force congress to act on them if they don't achieve what they were supposed to do. The government sure have the human and technological resources to do it, why they don't? There should be some sort of accountability for laws passed they are not even doing the minimum.

     

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    Sneeje (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:10am

    In business, if you plan a new initiative, you have metrics and you check to see if you accomplish them, and you monitor negative effects of what you do as well. So why don't politicians ever do this?

    In *business* school we *learn* to do this, but is it always or even usually done? I think not--and for many of the same reasons as politicians. Because the "change agent" responsible for the initiative gets paid or rewarded (by the leadership or public) for making the initiative happen, not based on the impact years later. In fact, they often have an incentive to hide the negative effects if general perception is that they made a positive impact. Think "security theater" as a corollary.

     

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    Brandon, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:10am

    Re: Who is keeping count ?

    "I would like to know, and the article did not say, how do they keep track of the cold medicine purchased ?"

    Here in Indiana, if you buy one of those medicines, you have to show ID and sign a form that, I believe, includes not only your name but your address and phone number. I'm not completely sure what all it includes as I stopped buying those kinds of medicine after this law went into effect. My cousin had a sick husband and kid once and they wouldn't sell her both the adult and the children's kind because it was too much. She had to go home and send her sick husband to the store to get his medicine.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:18am

    "In business, if you plan a new initiative, you have metrics and you check to see if you accomplish them, and you monitor negative effects of what you do as well. So why don't politicians ever do this?"

    Thats because businesses constantly strive to be more effective and more efficient. Government constantly strives to become more powerful and to abuse the power it has. Asking why don't politicians do this is like asking why don't dogs meow? Simply there is no mechanism in our government for reevaluation of laws without some poor schmuck getting abused by the law and making a supreme court case out of it.

     

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    Richard Ahlquist (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:23am

    You act surprised?

    This is the new drug tax. Use too much and we will tax you, think of it as a parking meeter for your health.

     

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    Shawn (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re: Law was obviously written by a single/childless legislator

    For a drug that does not require a prescription?

     

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    LoL, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:34am

    Acquital.

    I read somewhere that there are states that make it unlawfull to inform a jury that they have the power of "Jury Nullification", and that really made me worry about how things are going.

    Is like something is slowly and silently taking off all the mechanism that make part of checks and balances and making society impotent against their own governance.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:37am

    Re: Re: Law was obviously written by a single/childless legislator

    "Go to the doctor and get a legal prescription."

    ...

    Which is exactly what the drug company lobbiests want. I would love to see how much of the lawmaker's income came from these companies. If over-the-counter meds are cutting into your sales of prescription meds, you can always increase your sales by forcing the OTC meds off the market or making them illegal to buy in any useful quantity. It's easy, just buy a few lawmakers and feed them the 'drug-making' or 'protect the children' excuse and there you go.

    Bam, said the lady!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:44am

    Yes, Jury Nullification is a legitimate check on the Power of the State. I believe it should be legally enshrined, rather than banned.

    The typical argument against JN is that it may lead to the guilty being let free. But this is a silly and dangerous argument. The law profession itself embraces the saying ""It's better that 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man suffer."

    For more info on Jury Nullification, refer to the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification

     

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    ChrisB (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:44am

    Don't sell it ...

    > It is up to customers to pay attention to their purchase
    > amounts, and to check medication labels [from article]

    This has always baffled me. It is okay for a pharmacy to sell you the drugs, but not okay for you to buy them. Instead of having the pharmacist say, "whoops, you can't purchase this because you've already bought one this week," it escalates to arrest. Idiots.

     

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    Free Capitalist (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:46am

    I'm curious -- does anyone know if by breaking this drug-related law, is this woman is subject to having her rights suspended and her property auctioned off?

    These cases of naked aggression by "law enforcement" against average, harmless people make me wonder if there truly is a "moral panic" impetus coming from the people driving this insanity. Or is the perpetuation of legal hostility to the general populace simply the fulfillment of a for-profit business model in public service.

    In either case, we (the normal people) are the victims, and the suckers.

    "Don't blame me, I voted for Kotos" -- The Simpsons, 1996

     

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    Rich Kulawiec, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Law was obviously written by a single/childless legislator

    You're correct, of course. "Go see a doctor" is the kind of advice dispensed by people wealthy enough to be able to afford insurance, fortunate enough to have jobs that will allow them time off for doctor visits during the working day, and lucky enough to have doctors nearby who can fit them into their schedule.

    That's not reality for most people in this country. Reality for most people is that they don't have insurance, or have expensive, poor insurance which won't cover such visits -- which means that they have to pay for the visit AND pay for the meds. Reality is that getting time off from jobs that they can't afford to lose can be tough. Reality is that trying to get in to see a doctor can mean a wait of months -- unless of course they allow their condition to deteriorate to the point where it's an emergency, whereupon they can add to the hopeless overcrowding now commonplace in many ERs. Reality is that the aggregate result of all this is that more people stay sick for more time, which, in the end, not only costs us more as a society, but increases the collective health risk, since of course we all come into contact with each other -- including the people who are working while sick because they have little choice.

    And as I pointed out previously, NONE of this has the slightest impact on actual drug dealers. I'm certain they're laughing at all this with mocking derision, and they should be: it's the appropriate response to this farsical charade.

    And joining them in the chorus are the big pharmaceutical companies, who are of course delighted to increase their already-enormous profits by shifting any many medications as possible from over-the-counter to prescription status, especially when they need not take any overt action and can simply assert that such changes were mandated by law -- thus they are only being Good Corporate Citizens by complying in full (wink wink).

     

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    Call me Al, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re: It's not just the daft laws - it's the daft police

    Where is the suggestion that anyone, other then the legislators, wanted the laws to cover this kind of thing? Save your righteous indignation for when it makes any kind of sense.

    Both these cases are ridiculous but not surprising. The issue is that due to the efforts of the legal proffession, among others, to find loopholes in every piece of legislation it means that the legislators are forever trying to fill all the gaps, or to create such broad legisltation that it can cover everything. The police are then encouraged by their legal advisors to do everything exactly by the book in order to avoid invalidating a case, or being seen to bend the rules in favour of one party instead of another. This then means that the take the broad legislation and apply it to every circumstance that it can cover, which goes far beyond the spirity of the law but is technically the correct course of action.

    We've abandoned common sense and reason on these issues. Its all about following the letter of the law and obeying orders.

     

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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:10am

    Intent

    A major factor in this stupidity is that over the last 30 years the notion of intent has been diminished in law enforcement and prosecutorial decisions. I'm not a member of the bar but I kinda recall that our inherited English common law requires the intent to commit a crime as a prerequisite for establishing criminality in many cases. Our modern system of juris prudence has dumbed-down that thinking to where just tangentially, unknowingly breaking even the most inane of laws can land a person in a world of hurt. I'm not saying the ignorance of a law is an excuse (though the fact is that no lay person can possibly understand all applicable law, including the many laws each of us break every day unknowingly), but rather that the intent to break a law once was a factor in establishing guilt or innocence. Except for hate crimes, where the *intention* is actually weighted as heavily as the crime itself (or more heavily), which is stupid in the other, thought police-style direction, intent is too often not a factor.

    Unfortunately, in many jurisdictions, law enforcement (police) are being given less and less field discretion to avoid silliness. If the DIDN'T arrest this person, they might be subject to discipline or dismissal. I don't know that to be the case here, of course, but it is the case all too commonly now. As a result, I find less fault with the arresting officers than with the politicians passing draconian laws with tons of unintended consequences, and with the prosecutors who insist on seeing these silly things through to make some kind of political or societal point. The fact is if our politicians were public servants rather than career serial opportunists (hello universal term limits...PLEASE) they might read and think about these things before casting a vote. Alas, we see knee-jerk legislating going on from Congress to the local school board.

    This ain't the way it's supposed to be, folks.

     

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    Alex, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:11am

    Benchmarks

    "So why don't politicians ever do this? When they pass a law to ban spam, increase copyright duration or take away privacy for some reason or another, why are politicians never asked to put in place benchmarks to see if the laws actually do what they promise?" Because politicians don't suffer when a law fails to work, and their benefit is all front loaded when they are seen passing a new law. No one cares if it works, only that they are seen to be "doing something"

     

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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:16am

    Re: Benchmarks

    Absolutely agree, Alex. It's all about the perception of caring and doing something, not the reality. If every criminal law were benchmarked and reviewed for effectiveness in its intended purpose, our system would be much, much simpler, less expensive to operate and much more effective. Sadly, simple, cheap and effective are the antithesis of what politicians and government stand for.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Law was obviously written by a single/childless legislator

    For a drug that does not require a prescription?

    No, for a prescription drug instead. Duh! You had to be told that?

     

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    Jim O (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:20am

    Re:

    Laws should be enforced the same way every time. Bad laws more so, and if they are indeed bad, enforcement will bring about repeal. Asking the cops to use their best judgment or the prosecutor to ignore this one is not how it works. If you don't like the law then get it changed, don't gripe about it being enforced the way it was written.
    Let me not be understood as saying that there are no bad laws, nor that grievances may not arise for the redress of which no legal provisions have been made. I mean to say no such thing. But I do mean to say that although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still, while they continue in force, for the sake of example they should be religiously observed.
    -Abraham Lincoln (found via www.quotationspage.com)

     

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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:22am

    Re: It's not just the daft laws - it's the daft police

    Here's a highly similar story from the US just today. Luckily, it appears that everyone involved realizes the regulation as written defies common sense and neighborhood goodness.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090930/ap_on_re_us/us_baby_sitter_backlash_mich

     

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  45.  
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    Alex Scrivener (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:26am

    Re: Laws

    I am stealing that quote. It's awesome.

     

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  46.  
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    keith (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:35am

    On a more sane side...

    Just saw this article today,

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090930/ap_on_re_us/us_baby_sitter_backlash_mich

    The good news is the representatives sound like they are using common sense, admitting the law is poor, and are actively working to change the legislation. A nice change of pace, no?

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Law was obviously written by a single/childless legislator

    You're correct, of course. "Go see a doctor" is the kind of advice dispensed by people wealthy enough to be able to afford insurance, fortunate enough to have jobs that will allow them time off for doctor visits during the working day, and lucky enough to have doctors nearby who can fit them into their schedule.

    You sound like one of those socialist Obama-nuts. Well here's an idea for you hippie: get a job. Besides that we already have free health care for those who truly can't afford it: just go to the hospital emergency room. You aren't working anyway, so the wait shouldn't be too much of an inconvenience (unless you just can't wait to get back to your favorite street corner or bar). The last thing I want is for the government to tax me to take care of other people. It's my money, MINE!!!

     

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  48.  
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    NC Saint, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:36am

    Jonny

    I agree that Jonny is not directly a tech/business related story, but rather a person. I fail to see the relevance, though.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:41am

    Re: Intent

    A major factor in this stupidity is that over the last 30 years the notion of intent has been diminished in law enforcement and prosecutorial decisions. I'm not a member of the bar but I kinda recall that our inherited English common law requires the intent to commit a crime as a prerequisite for establishing criminality in many cases.

    The law there clearly says it's illegal to buy that much in less than a week. So you're saying that she didn't intend to buy that second box, that it was an accident of some sort? I doubt that was the case. I'd say here actions were probably deliberate.

     

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  50.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re:

    When someone robs a bank to get mortgage money, they aren't arrested for "having a home and needing to make payments", they're arrested for "robbing a bank".


    Interesting, so following that line of reasoning, this woman was arrested for "having a cold".

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:58am

    Re: It's not just the daft laws - it's the daft police

    Here in the US the police & politicians swear oaths to uphold the Constitution of the United States. So that is their job not this stupidity. If a law goes against the tenants of the constituion then it should be ignored and repealed. Unfortunately, the police are more concerned with writing tickets; and politicians are more concerned with writing more stupid laws.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 7:59am

    Interesting, so following that line of reasoning, this woman was arrested for "having a cold".

    Using MarksAngel's reasoning, yes.

     

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  53.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re: Intent

    I'd say here actions were probably deliberate


    Yes, she deliberately broke a law. In so doing she is inadvertently illustrating once again that the law and law enforcement does not always work for the people, and in my opinion only works for people on occasion by mere coincidence.

    If civil disobedience were not all but outlawed in the fallout of the 60's, the people would have clear recourse for addressing imbecile, hostile tyrannical laws such as this.

    What recourse do we have now?

     

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  54.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 8:16am

    Re:

    Using MarksAngel's reasoning, yes.

    I stand corrected. MarksAngel is wrong and you are right.

    She was arrested for "treating a cold".

    That makes all the difference and I now feel comfortable that the law and law enforcement worked to preserve the peace and protect average citizens.

    Oppression is oppression. Legal or not. This is an attack on an average, harmless citizen and is inexcusable. The police, the prosecutor, and especially the legislators and corporate lobbyists involved in the creation of this farce of justice deserve to be lynched.

     

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  55.  
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    MarksAngel (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re:

    No I'm saying that the law is stupid, and needs to be re-worded to say the medicine was purchased with intent to make meth. Running around arresting people who have done nothing other than be sick & need medicine is stupid. It has nothing to do with gender or age.

     

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  56.  
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    AMATI, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 8:43am

    Shoot Now Question Later

    "
    original law made any sense in the first place.
    "

    The law is a good invention
    however paved with good intension.
    The road to hell
    so paved as well

    Have you ever noticed how the police will investigate the real crooks for months or years before moving in to halt the action that is going down. But if one of their frat brothers has a financial problem to the extent that he needs quick action on his dying aunts will, a sudden arrest of the coughing aunt could just tip her over the edge. Right?

    "
    Go pick her up right now. If you suspect that she has a concealed box-opener in her snuff-box then shoot to kill
    ; ask questions at the reading of her will.
    "

    Just kidding guys! Just a friendly laugh. Don't put the GPS on my car, huh.

    Thanks, guys
    !

     

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  57.  
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    AMATI, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 8:49am

    Laugh-in

    Shoot Now Question Later

    "
    original law made any sense in the first place.
    "

    The law is a good invention
    however paved with good intension.
    The road to hell
    so paved as well

    Have you ever noticed how the police will investigate the real crooks for months or years before moving in to halt the action that is going down. But if one of their frat brothers has a financial problem to the extent that he needs quick action on his dying aunts will, a sudden arrest of the coughing aunt could just tip her over the edge. Right?

    "
    Go pick her up right now. If you suspect that she has a concealed box-opener in her snuff-box then shoot to kill
    ; ask questions at the reading of her will.
    "

    Just kidding guys! Just a friendly laugh. Don't put the GPS on my car, huh.

    Thanks, guys
    !

     

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  58.  
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    TheStupidOne, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 9:22am

    Re:

    I agree completely

    The law actually does make some sense. I used to live in Indiana and there is a HUGE meth problem there. The government needs to tackle it from more than one angle one is actual tracking it down, and another is limiting supply of critical ingredients.

    That said, the police were dumbasses in this case. They need to think just a little bit before arresting an old lady. Go to her home tell her that she bought more of the drug than was allowed and ask to do a quick search of her home. After looking in the basement and seeing nothing noteworthy they should have apologized and left. They could have even offered to help make her feel better instead of arresting her.

    There are 3 branches of government in this country. The legislature makes the laws. The executive brance enforces those laws. the judicial branch judges those laws. Police are not required to enforce the letter of the law because they are a check on legislative abuse of power. So every police officer can choose not to arrest someone who broke the law but didn't cause any harm.

     

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  59.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 10:21am

    Re:

    "what I'm trying to figure it is how these police can look themselves in the mirror when knowing they arrested this poor woman for simply having a cold and needing medicine."

    The difference between a cop and a criminal is .... the cop hasnt gotten caught yet.... GRIN ... old joke ... an officer of the law told it to me

     

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  60.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: It's not just the daft laws - it's the daft police

    Registering here in Oklahoma costs upwards up $1500 each year, not to mention the required educational costs and time spent in those classes. :)

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re:

    There are 3 branches of government in this country. The legislature makes the laws. The executive brance enforces those laws. the judicial branch judges those laws. Police are not required to enforce the letter of the law because they are a check on legislative abuse of power. So every police officer can choose not to arrest someone who broke the law but didn't cause any harm.

    Oh, so you're saying that the executive branch (police) also has the ability to judge the laws, eh? I always thought that was reserved to the judicial branch. In fact, I didn't even know that cops had the legal training to do so competently and that was why it was left up to courts and judges with legal training. I guess there's something to be learned every day here on Techdirt.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Running around arresting people who have done nothing other than be sick & need medicine is stupid.

    And broken the law. You keep leaving that part out.

     

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  63.  
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    Enrico Suarve, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Law was obviously written by a single/childless legislator

    Fantastic comment, I now have a perfect mental image of a troll under his bridge clutching his cash - "Mine I tell you MINE!!!"

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: It's not just the daft laws - it's the daft police

    Registering here in Oklahoma costs upwards up $1500 each year, not to mention the required educational costs and time spent in those classes. :)

    I'd say that needs to be reduced, but I'm betting that there hasn't been any great public outcry to do so.

     

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    MarksAngel (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    I'm not leaving it out you are I said It needed to be changed.

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re:

    She was arrested for "treating a cold".

    I read a story the other day about a guy who was sentenced to life in prison just for "scratching an itch". Can you imagine that? What is this world coming to?

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that his "scratching" involved sex with underage children, but still...

     

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  67.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re:

    The law actually does make some sense. I used to live in Indiana and there is a HUGE meth problem there. The government needs to tackle it from more than one angle one is actual tracking it down, and another is limiting supply of critical ingredients.

    You're presuming that this law -- even if scrupulously enforced -- will actually have such an effect. There is no evidence of any kind supporting that assertion.

    "Professional" meth labs do not rely on one-off purchases of raw materials: that's time-consuming, expensive, risky (in part because of the repetitive nature of the process), slow, and doesn't yield nearly enough material. The pros are buying this stuff in bulk: because they can, because it's cheaper, because it's more efficient, and because there's less aggregate risk.

    The only actual tangible result of such laws is to provide campaign fodder for politicians who wish to make it appear that they've done something useful. And of course it really does work, because there are so many clueless morons out there who actually BELIEVE this tripe.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    Heh, everyone can see where you wrote "...arresting people who have done nothing other than be sick & need medicine...", which isn't quite true. And since you're using a registered account it's going to be kind of hard to claim that was somebody else.

     

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  69.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I read a story the other day about a guy who was sentenced to life in prison just for "scratching an itch". Can you imagine that? What is this world coming to?

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that his "scratching" involved sex with underage children, but still...


    Four cylinder engines, in general, get better gas mileage than 6 cylinder engines.

     

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  70.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re:

    It is reasonable for the public to want their police forces to use some sort of critical judgment in the conduct of their duty.

    For example, if a police officer's commander ordered him or her to open fire on group of kids in daycare, I would damn well hope they would tell that authority to go fuck themselves.

    What the hell kind of mentality allowed the police to deem the arrest of this woman as appropriate response to her actions?

    If all police officers must conduct themselves in this manner due to procedure, then we are better off eliminating the police on salaries and going with full robotic justice.. not even robocop.. just machines. After all just being human might allow for moral considerations, which would have no place in the legal system or its armed forces.

    And I'm sure this case I'm spelling out is at least partially true... there no room for "interpretation" on the streets. This is why I fundamentally reject all laws defining "victimless crimes" as hostile to the public they are purported to serve.

     

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  71.  
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    Griper, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: It's not just the daft laws - it's the daft police

    So, you've never been let off with a warning after you've been pulled over going 5 mph over the speed limit?

    Police have always been given the option to use their discretion, these knuckleheads failed to use it and makes their dept and all cops look like dicks.

     

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  72.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > Since when is ignorance of the law a defense?

    Since they passed so many laws that no single person can possibly know about them all, even if all they did was study it on a daily basis, and the laws they're passing defy common sense and fair play to benefit some at the expense of everyone else.

     

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  73.  
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    Richard (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re: It's not just the daft laws - it's the daft police

    They are registering now - but there is a time delay and at present they are having to shell out for paid childcare.

    The children don't understand it and are apparently quite upset.

     

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  74.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re: Intent

    The law there clearly says it's illegal to buy that much in less than a week.

    Where? Show me.

     

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  75.  
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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re: Intent

    My point, Mr. Literal, is that her intent was not to commit a crime, but to treat a cold. The breaking of the law was inadvertent, not knowing. I have no idea what the law clearly says, because I haven't seen the text of the law...I presume you have? Right. I'm betting this law is not well-advertised in the jurisdiction at all. In my area, you have to ask a pharmacist for the medicine, your drivers license number is recorded with each transaction, and are blocked from purchasing more than the allowed amount per week. Still stupid and burdensome, but it puts the burden on the pharmacist professional, not the cold-suffering lay person. This silly law appears to punish the purchaser, but not the seller. I've never understood laws that allow sale but not possession, or possession but not use. That's a further part of the stupidity here.

     

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  76.  
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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 1:56pm

    Re: This is nothing new

    [yawn]

     

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  77.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re:

    "Go to her home tell her that she bought more of the drug than was allowed and ask to do a quick search of her home. After looking in the basement and seeing nothing noteworthy they should have apologized and left."

    And what if she refuses to allow the search? Lots of innocent people, including myself, would -- and would be entirely within our rights to do so. What then?

    Don't you think it's a bit extreme to even be subjected to a search for two boxes of cold medicine? These restrictions on cold medicine are stupid, stupid, stupid. They are easy to bypass and hinder nobody.

    Case in point -- because of these laws, the only allergy medicine on the market that works for me and doesn't give me terrible side effects is no longer manufactured. I asked the company, and they said that because of the laws, sales had fallen to the point where it's not worth making the stuff anymore.

    So, knowing that, I stocked up by getting online and having people around the world buy boxers of it and mail it to me. I have plenty now. If I were a meth cook, I could do the exact same thing to get my pseudoephedrine.

     

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  78.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "And broken the law. You keep leaving that part out."

    Because the law is immoral and trivial to break by accident, therefore at least some additional thought and compassion should be shown when applying it.

    Personally? It's one of the handfuls of laws that are so egregious that they should be broken by any citizen who has any respect for the rule of law. It's these kinds of things that are destroying respect for the law and the only way they ever get changed is when enough normal people violate them routinely.

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 3:57pm

    Back when there was 100 or so laws it was easy to say"if you don't know the law that's your fault" but there are so many laws you cant count all of them. That's right, even cops don't know all the laws. Its so easy to charge someone that we can toss every man woman and child in jail right now (and the jailers too)

    We need broad laws that make sence, not specific laws with loopholes. Tax law could be handled quickly with a "you make X you pay Y - credits and not care how you made your money. Instead we get situations where the top guy at a company pays 16% and his workforce pays 32%+ because hes taxed differently on his income.

     

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  80.  
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    AW, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 8:23pm

    Totally Ineffective

    Meth producers can now produce meth in a safe and nearly undetectable way using 2 Liter bottles and far smaller amounts of pseudoephedrine. This law is not only ineffective, it's immoral. This is effectively a tax on a cheaper drug. One should not be required to go to a doctor for a prescription for something that does not require a prescription. This is ridiculous and officers are supposed to use their discretion at all times.

     

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  81.  
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    GJ (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 8:37pm

    Re: Yes, But Who Would Vote For It?

    I have yet to come across a politician who's running on a platform of "I'm going to get rid of stupid laws", or one who runs on "I'm going to get rid of ANY laws".

    The only thing the lawmakers do is, surprise, make new laws. Getting rid of stuff is not on the priority list.

    I guess it's not sexy ( = obscure reference to canadian politics about worldwide medical isotope shortage ).

    --GJ--

     

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  82.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 11:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Intent

    Where? Show me.

    Too ignorant or lazy to use Google?
    http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2005/SE/SE0444.1.html

     

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  83.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 12:18am

    Re: Totally Ineffective

    "This is ridiculous and officers are supposed to use their discretion at all times."

    Hey, I've got an idea: Let's just make everything illegal then and let officers use selective enforcement at "their discretion".

     

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  84.  
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    the orang3box, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 2:36am

    another way for the war on drugs to be justified in tiles of cut backs

    HMM..looks as if cops are trying to jusctify the existance of over funded budgets by making stupid busts.
    arse-holes!!

     

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  85.  
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    Call me Al, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:26am

    "Ignorance of the law is no defence" is, to some extent, a ridiculous statement. There are now an incredible number of pieces of legislation and more are passed all the time. You only need to look at professions who work with legislation, such as solicitors, lawyers, tax professionals etc. They all specialise to an amazing degree, they will know their particular field inside and out because there is so much depth in the law now. To expect that the average person on the street will know even a 10th of 1% is exceptionally stupid.

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:27am

    Re: Totally Ineffective

    Meth producers can now produce meth in a safe and nearly undetectable way using 2 Liter bottles...

    Oh oh, I guess the cops will now be keeping an eye out for empty 2 L soft drink bottles, possession of which will be evidence of meth production. I wonder if they can seize people's homes under drug forfeiture laws if 2 L bottles are spotted in their trash.

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > Since when is ignorance of the law a defense?
    Since they passed so many laws that no single person can possibly know about them all,


    Well now, I know you're a lawyer, so how about providing a legal citation for that? When was the last time you went into court and declared to the judge "Your Honor, my client pleads innocent by reason of ignorance"?

     

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  88.  
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    Call me Al, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It isn't legally a defence but that isn't his point. His point is that in cases such as this the law is an ass.

     

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  89.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Intent

    My point, Mr. Literal, is that her intent was not to commit a crime, but to treat a cold.

    Kind of like the fellow whose intent was not to commit a crime, but to pay his mortgage, eh? It was just an unfortunate coincidence that bank robbery also happened to be illegal.

     

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  90.  
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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Intent

    Once again, Mr. Literal AC, your desire to be snide is leading you astray. In your irrelevant example, the person's intent in robbing the back is to illegally get money. Robbing a bank is illegal on its face, has been for eons across all cultures on the planet that have a concept of banks. This lady's intent was to buy a legally available medicine, paying money for it via a legal transaction. The transaction had every appearance to her of being legal and, in fact, those controlling the distribution of the substance (her local shop) provided her the product in exchange for the dollars.

    Someone who says "I am going to rob a bank" - for whatever reason - is de facto intending to commit a crime. Someone who says "I'm going to buy legal medicine" is not intending to commit a crime.

     

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  91.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Intent

    The transaction had every appearance to her of being legal

    How so? The law clearly stated that her actions were illegal so how could they "appear" otherwise to her?

    those controlling the distribution of the substance (her local shop) provided her the product in exchange for the dollars.

    So? That doesn't mean they were aware of her criminal intentions. The airlines provided legal tickets to the 9/11 terrorists "in exchange for the dollars". By your reasoning that should excuse the terrorists' actions. I disagree.

    Someone who says "I'm going to buy legal medicine" is not intending to commit a crime.

    Someone who says "I'm going to violate the law to obtain an illegal amount of a chemical substance in the hopes that I don't get caught" is intending to commit a crime.

     

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  92.  
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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Intent

    Sigh. Mr. Literal AC, you keep adding flourishes to bolster your weak point rather than sticking to the elements of the story. The lady did not know the of the limit on sales, therefore should could NOT have intended to break a law, a law that - say it again - she knew nothing about. Ignorance of the law (as most of us are ignorant of MOST laws on the books) does factor in to intent. We can argue whether it is a legitimate excuse, but it is absolutely material to establishing intent.

    Also, your grammatical structure is a mess. By writing "I'm going to violate the law to obtain an illegal amount of a chemical substance in the hopes that I don't get caught" I believe you *intend* to say "I'm going to violate the law IN ORDER to obtain an illegal amount of a chemical substance, WITH the hope that I don't get caught" Your sentence is flawed as is your point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It's not just the daft laws - it's the daft police

    I am friends with two people in the industry, and have used child care intermittently for several years. If anything, I'd say that it needs to be more.

    Why? Because those fees pay for the people who make surprise visits and monthly inspections and Oklahoma has a bad track record for finding violations, because they don't have enough well-trained people.

    They get new people and just have to throw them out there, and they can't afford to hire as many as they need. So providers who are cutting corners on care get a free ride on the abuse and neglect that they dole out. :(

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 4:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Intent

    The lady did not know the of the limit on sales...

    Sure she did. She just thought she'd get away with it.

    We can argue whether it is a legitimate excuse...

    Until you can provide a legal citation supporting your position that proclaimed ignorance of the law is a legal defense in court, I saying that you're just making stuff up.

    Also, your grammatical structure is a mess.

    As a last resort, resort to ad-hominem attacks, eh? That's a sure sign of a weak argument.

    ...I believe you *intend* to say...

    Again, your beliefs are faulty. I wrote what I intended to write and the grammatical structure was a deliberate characterization. That, however, seems to have gone right over your head.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95.  
    identicon
    you suck, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 5:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Law was obviously written by a single/childless legislator

    You are obviously an idiot with no grounding in reality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  96.  
    icon
    BobinBaltimore (profile), Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Intent

    Dead thread, but I'll bite because you annoy me:

    1. You are assuming that she knew. I am assuming she didn't. Since he has no record prior to or following this incident (according to all the articles I found on this case) and seems stunned by the whole thing, it's pretty apparent that she didn't know. The "Meth Watch" signs the Star-Tribune article mentioned were in place are generic, do not mention the gram limits and do not mention products by brand name. They are of no help. There is every reason to assume that this woman did not know of the specific limit and/or how the two different products she bought 6 days apart factored into any transgression, and/or the time limit specified by the law.

    2. You wrote "...legal citation supporting your position that proclaimed ignorance of the law is a legal defense in court." Firstly, as I said earlier, I'm not a lawyer, so I shan't be pumping out any legal citations. Moreover, if you read carefully, or even not so carefully, you'll clearly see that this is NOT my position. I actually note above that ignorance of the law may not be an excuse at all. My POINT is that INTENT should be factored in to the establishment of criminality. This law excludes an intent clause, which is a big part of the problem. If the law had said (as it should) purchase of more than 3g within 7 days "with intent to manufacture or aid in the manufacturing of an illegal substance," then this poor lady would not have had per picture on the front page of the local paper, as she did. My whole point (and the subject of my thread, incidentally) is intent, not ignorance of the law is an excuse.

    3. As for your grammar, it's not ad hominem when it goes directly to the point of the argument. The example you gave was so poorly constructed that it is easily misconstrued and would completely confuse the base of the discussion. As written, your sentence actually means that because someone hoped they wouldn't get caught, they violated a law which requires them to obtain illegal amounts of a chemical substance. Their motivation was the hope the wouldn't get caught, and the law the violated was the "law to obtain an illegal amount." Huh?!?! Adverbs, objects, antecedents and punctuation matter. We all have typos and misspellings, to be sure. I sure do. But yours was a misconstruction resulting in you unknowingly confusing your point. If it was deliberate as you say, then you deliberately intended to confuse your own point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  97.  
    identicon
    Paul Product, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 2:26pm

    Um, guys (and gals)? If anyone is still bothering to read this thread, it might be helpful to know that, in fact, the Indiana criminal law in question *does* have an intent requirement. That is, the violation is a misdemeanor if commited "knowingly or "intentionally". What the law in question says, essenstially (and in the midst of assorted other rules about how such products may be sold) is that buying more than 3 grams of pseudoephedrine in a week is illegal, and if one violates this law knowingly or intentioanlly, it's a misdemeanor. Here's the law:
    http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title35/ar48/ch4.html
    (see section 14.7 -- it's hard to find)

    The Indiana Court of Appeals issued an opinion just last month in a differnet, similar case, in which the court reversed a conviction against a woman convicted under the same law under similar cirumstances. The court rejected a number of the defendant's arguments, but did accept one -- they found the government had not proven that the defendant acted knowingly or itnentionally. Perhaps that court case will be of some help to Ms. Harpold, and may also emphasize for Indiana police and prosecutors that knowledge/intent is an essential element of the offense.
    http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/09090901par.pdf

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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