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Justices Rule Action Isn't Necessary to Prove Conspiracy -NYT

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Rose Siding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:29 PM
Original message
Justices Rule Action Isn't Necessary to Prove Conspiracy -NYT
WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 - The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the government can obtain a conviction for a money-laundering conspiracy without the need to prove that any of the conspirators did anything concrete to carry out the scheme.

The unanimous decision resolved, in the government's favor, a dispute among the lower federal courts over the meaning of a 1992 amendment that added a conspiracy provision to the federal law against money laundering.
...
In her opinion, Justice O'Connor observed that in the general federal conspiracy law and in 22 provisions outlawing specific types of conspiracies, Congress had included an overt-act requirement, "clearly demonstrating that it knows how to impose such a requirement when it wishes to do so." Among these are conspiracies to kill or kidnap the president and other government officials, to steal trade secrets and to produce "defective national defense material."

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers urged the justices to find an overt-act requirement in the money-laundering conspiracy statute. The group's brief said that the absence of such a requirement "would give federal prosecutors unbridled discretion to bring such prosecutions whenever and wherever they choose, implicating constitutional due process principles and concerns about a statute that was already very broad."

http://nytimes.com/2005/01/12/national/12scotus.html
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
1. Good. (nt)
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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Dunno
If these guys fold RICO prosecutions into terorism prosecutions/investigations, they will basically be able to run the civil liberties table. This'll help.
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senegal1 Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Plain English for those non-lawyer types here?
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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Here's what it means
In almost thirty years of practicing law, I always feared something like this.

A Constitutional law professor of mine predicted it - in 1972.

Before this ruling, the conspiracy charge wouldn't stick unless someone made one move - an obvious action designed to advance the alleged conspiracy.

Now, with this ruling, America finally has the most dangerous law that ever could have happened. No longer is any action required.

We now have a law that punishes thought.

I wonder if people will understand how incredibly important and dangerous this ruling is.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:45 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Can it "backfire" on them, though. So much of what the Left wing knows
about the whole Bush Gang would be considered "conspiracy." Even when two lawsuits tried to get a R.I.C.O. case against Bush/Cheney et. al. for 9/11 it was called "conspiracy."

Could this backfire given what we are dealing with or will it just be used against "Internet Web Sites" who discuss? :shrug: Or, folks who organize protest marches against the War in Iraq and Bush's policies.
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bpilgrim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:24 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. not while THEY're at the helm
:scared:

peace
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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:38 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. No offense,
but I don't understand any of your post.

Sorry.
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senegal1 Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 01:20 AM
Response to Reply #5
17. Ah I had that impression from the post -- thats very bad.
I am stunned. Thanks for the translation.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 01:57 AM
Response to Reply #5
19. "We now have a law that punishes thought." OH. MY. GOD.
Orwell's world has arrived, just 20 years after he predicted.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 02:13 AM
Response to Reply #5
21. Hmm, that sounds bad.
I was initially hoping that this would mean that some of these money launderers would get caught more easily, but it sounds like they've entered into a whole new arena of law.
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Lone_Star_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 02:22 AM
Response to Reply #5
23. Help me understand this, please.
Let's say that we were to discuss said action and never do more. No decisive formulation of a plan just a discussion. That would now be enough to merit a conspiracy charge?

It would no longer have to be defined as an agreement between two or more people, but the mere conception and discussion of the idea would be enough?

Is that what this means?

I'm sorry, sometimes I just need things spelled out in block letters.
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Charlie Brown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 02:25 AM
Response to Reply #23
25. These laws have been on the books for years
the Supremes were merely upholding them as consistent with common-law and case history. On what grounds would they have been overturned?
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 02:26 AM
Response to Reply #23
26. it's too scary for the mind to accept right away
but that's the precedent this thing could set.
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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #23
30. YES
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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #23
31. YES
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 02:25 AM
Response to Reply #5
24. I was kind of hoping I read it wrong.
thanks for clearing it up and throwing me into utter despair :puke:
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Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. isn't this good for the voting fiasco?
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Rose Siding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. They've outlawed thought. Why is that good?
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atommom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:56 PM
Response to Original message
8. Just in case the Patriot Act doesn't make it quite convenient enough
for the government to disappear people it doesn't like ... now we can be convicted of thoughtcrime.
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orthogonal Donating Member (424 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:58 PM
Response to Original message
9. This is very very bad
This is very very bad.

In plain English: you can be convicted of a money-laundering conspiracy even if you never did any money-laundering, or even any preliminary steps to do so -- you can be convicted just for conspiring to launder money.

In other words, all the government needs to show is that you talked about laundering money.
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KingoftheJungle Donating Member (355 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:04 AM
Response to Original message
10. what kind of backlash is going to bring?
Or are citizen groups already stretched thin from Bushco? Is the ACLU going to get involved?
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bpilgrim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:25 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. the right wingers ain't worried about it...
they think they got NOTHING to hide from big-bro :crazy:

peace
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:18 AM
Response to Reply #13
28. Yeah, they launder their money offshore!!! n/t
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sherilocks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 05:42 AM
Response to Reply #10
29. SCOTUS has spoken
The ACLU and citizen groups have no place else to go. If I said more, we could all be convicted of conspiracy. :evilfrown:
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Straight Shooter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:20 AM
Response to Original message
11. Is this restricted to money-laundering conspiracies?
If so, they're going after the terra-rists. That is to say, all the terra-rists not related to the bin Ladens or the Carlyle Group or Hallie Burton, et cetera, et cetera.

Now all the freeper-creepers will go nutso calling their local FBI to report that a gay-lovin', flag-hatin' commie pinko lib'rul down the street is involved in a money-laundering scheme because he swears he overheard a conversation at the local diner.

Uh-huh. This is ripe for abuse.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:46 AM
Response to Original message
15. J'Accuse!
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Charlie Brown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 01:07 AM
Response to Original message
16. Here's the decision, if anyone's interested
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 01:24 AM by Charlie Brown
http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/11jan20051115/w...

In the Justices' defenses, it sounds as if they're upholding generations of common-law and case history regarding conspiracies. The best way to counter this ruling is to protect the innocenct from its abuse by law enforcement.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 02:01 AM
Response to Reply #16
20. ...unfortunately "law enforcement" doesn't mean the same thing any more
As on Orwell's Animal Farm, all may be created equal, but some are more equal than others.

"Law enforcement" is increasingly meaning "law enforcement and miscellaneous dissent crushing."

This is a nightmare.
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Algomas Donating Member (576 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 01:24 AM
Response to Original message
18. From the great prophet, Orwell...
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 01:50 AM by Algomas
Words for those who cannot sleep
Won't you read them now and weep
Tis a bitter crop we reap
Grown from seeds of greed,
Sown deep



It was always at night-the arrests invariably happened at night. The sudden jerk out of sleep, the rough hand shaking your shoulder, the lights glaring in your eyes, the ring of hard faces round the bed. In the vast majority of cases there was no trial, no report of the arrest. People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out. your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: "vaporized" was the usual word.
For a moment he was seized by a kind of hysteria. He began writing in a hurried untidy scrawl:

"theyll shoot me i dont care theyll shoot me in the back of the neck i dont care down with big brother they always shoot you in the back of the neck i dont care down with big brother-

He sat back in his chair, slightly ashamed of himself and laid down his pen. The next moment he started violently. There was a knocking at his door.]
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Liberty Belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 02:19 AM
Response to Original message
22. Can't this be applied to voting fraud?
If you don't need proof that a conspiracy was actually carried out, then wouldn't the Florida programmer's testimony that a Republican Congressman hired him to create vote-rigging software be proof enough of a GOP-backed plan to steal the election?

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TankLV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:09 AM
Response to Reply #22
27. Nope - only if Democrats and non-repukes are involved.
Doesn't ever apply to repukes - no matter if we show countless hours of taped conversations or writtend documentation to that effect.

Gotta read between the lines.

Using their "definitions", we have clear cut cases against "as long as I'm the dictator" bush*, repuke co-chair harris and "I guarantee florida" jeb, and "I'll deliver Ohio" blackwell.

The hypocricy is just too rich here.
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