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"Ignorance of the law does not excuse" - The Autobiography of Russell
Life from a different perspective
"Ignorance of the law does not excuse"
"Ignorantia juris non excusat"

From TechDirt's Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week post:

The Infamous Joe, whose comment on the story of Phil Mocek winning his legal battle against the TSA (where he was arrested for not showing ID and for filming his interactions) really seemed to strike a nerve with people. He was responding to someone who asked why the officers doing the arresting get in some sort of trouble for what turned out to be a bogus arrest. The Infamous Joe responded:
The forgiving part of me wants to say that these TSA officers and Law Enforcement Officers were simply ignorant of the law, or confused at what the law really says-- I mean, they can't know the ins and outs of every law. Then, I recall what *every* cop and lawyer and judge will tell you if you break a law you didn't realize you were breaking: Ignorance of the law is no defense. If I, as a non-lawyer, non-law enforcement functionary, am expected to know the laws that bind me such that *not* knowing is a fault on my part, then surely we can hold the very people who are binding us to these laws to the same standard. I say they should be held accountable, to the maximum extent of the law. They'd do the same to me.

Oh how I wish this were true and could be the end of the story.

Unfortunately, the people who make these laws have equipped their enforcers with extra protection. Do you think any law enacted by one group would ever get enforced by another group if the group enforcing it would get in trouble yet the people who enacted it wouldn't? Ha! Law enforcement is equipped with "qualified immunity" and lawyers (prosecutors) are equipped with "absolute immunity", both of which mean exactly what it sounds like. The entire legal system, from the people making the laws to those enforcing them, is tipped in favor of those same parties.

Lastly, I'll leave you with some reading matrial: "Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse Unless you work in law enforcement"

Current Mood: pessimistic pessimistic

2 comments or Leave a comment
From: anarchomo Date: January 31st, 2011 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I used to trash the death penalty by saying the executioner should be charged for murder. =)

Some social theorists have gone so far as to say that you can't have a system without something outside to enforce that system. People influenced by them say you must want chaos if you don't want The Man to be exempt from his own laws.

And yet there are societies that are run more-or-less by consensus, and *most* places didn't have anything like police until colonialism. They just look so different that it's hard to wrap our minds around how they work, and encountering them had complicated effects on Western cultures. About which I could talk your ear off, but this is prolly not the place for one of my canned postcolonial psychology spiels. =)
legolastn From: legolastn Date: January 31st, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, in our system some groups are more equal than others, so I guess people shouldn't be surprised at the very public extensions of these sorts of ideas - often with surprisingly broad support from the public (e.g., the PATRIOT Act, unlimited detention of non-citizens, allowing banks that were bailed out to abuse their mortgage agreements, etc).
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