A Dictator’s Dream: Suspend Due Process and Invoke a Presumption of Guilt?

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Recently, President Trump suggested we identify crazy people and immediately take away their guns and let due process proceed thereafter.

This would be a grave mistake.

Far better to rightly identify such a person, charge him, and arrest him or commit him for observation, preserving everyone’s rights, and securing both the presumption of innocence and due process. In this way you do not need to confiscate guns to preserve public safety, and if due process directs, authorities can lawfully confiscate the weapons later.

If you suspend the presumption of innocence and due process, gov’t will surely stomp all over everyone’s rights. Mr. Trump’s remarks clearly propose a presumption of guilt and the suspension of due process, both incredibly dangerous to liberty.

We have such a law in Oregon now. Based only on a rumor brought by anyone against another, and a secret hearing for a judge to determine the validity of the accusation, the judge can order confiscation of firearms, without notification, without a hearing.  Police can be dispatched to confiscate all weapons deemed a threat. The accused doesn’t even have to be charged with a crime. It is estimated it will take a year for the accused to prove innocence and to retrieve his property.

This is a terrible policy for it can easily be expanded to include incarceration without charges, that is, indefinite detention based on a presumption of guilt. Dictators love such laws for they are very convenient to the purpose of jailing or killing political rivals and enemies.

Allan Erickson

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1 comment for “A Dictator’s Dream: Suspend Due Process and Invoke a Presumption of Guilt?

  1. juli
    March 8, 2018 at 1:27 am

    Jack Remember the Cyprus fiasco where the government arbitrarily confiscated up to fifteen percent of account holdings over a certain amount. The first step in this equation is to force everyone to have their money in an electronic account. Then the next step is easy. But the low hanging fruit today is the retiree with thousands in a super fund. Simply confiscate the funds in exchange for an annuity (instead of that pension you have already had confiscated). Next asset up for grabs the family home. Simples The Government converts it to an annuity and you draw it down as a reverse mortgage. Gold is about the only anonymous currency left.

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