Terrorism and the threat of terrorism have once again been making headlines internationally. But in the legal sense, the concept of terrorism is not something confined to foreigners in faraway lands. In fact, Kentucky law recognizes the act of terrorizing someone else as a crime in this state.
Like most people who watch television on a regular basis, you probably know and can recite the warnings police read when placing someone under arrest that begin: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."
“You are now under arrest.”
One of the most upsetting characteristics of the law with regard to convicted sex offenders is that even when they have completed a prison term, their punishment can continue in the form of having to comply with sex offender registration requirements.
While the following story is a little bit older, the information it contains is useful today, tomorrow, and really at all times. It shows just how flawed the current criminal justice system is, and it ties in nicely with our last post about criminal exonerations.
Six people in Kentucky were arrested for being involved in a heroin drug dealing ring. Police executed a search warrant of a home where four people lived, and found heroin, marijuana and other drugs, as well as cash and digital scales. Apparently some of the residents of the home would drive out of the state to obtain heroin, and then they would package and sell it.
In 1983, there was a significant ruling made by the Supreme Court. The ruling echoed something that had already been done more than 100 years prior to it -- namely that debtors' prison, which is the idea that a person who can't pay his or her court costs and fines should be jailed, are illegal. But there was a stipulation in the ruling that said if a person had the financial means to pay the fees and fines but refused to pay, then he or she could be thrown in jail.
Let's say that you are accused of a crime that you did not commit. You plead with the cops in the most respectful and proper way that you can imagine, but it doesn't matter. For weeks your life is consumed by this pending criminal case and all of the consequences you are going to have to deal with. You're an emotional wreck, constantly stressing about what is going to happen to you.
Many Kentucky residents have seen their fair share of "Law & Order" and "CSI." These shows glorify the side of the law that includes the police, the prosecution and evidence gathering. You see complex crime labs with genius technicians using sophisticated tools and technology to prove that a certain piece of evidence is linked to the suspect or to prove that the evidence is indeed what the investigators think it is.