The real fascist threat

There have been a lot of allegations about creeping fascism and the squashing of civil liberties of late. These have been directed in a manner that has raised questions about derangement.

What has not gained much notice is the real fascist threat, the one that does infringe on civil liberties and has rather egregious examples to illustrate it. That threat is from prosecutorial zeal. Observations about this are one reason the independent prosecutor thing circa Nixon was allowed to expire. Mr. Nifong provided a rather public example recently in the Duke case. Then there is the junior high school pervert problem:

Mashburn and Cornelison do not believe they’ve committed a crime, so they would like to exercise their right to the presumption of innocence – a bedrock principle of the English legal tradition now in great peril from American prosecutorial excess. Instead of letting the state bully them into a grubby, shaming deal, the boys would like it to do what justice systems in civilized societies are required to do: prove the crime. It’s a gamble: Those 10 charges each command a one-year sentence, plus lifelong sex-offender registration. … A society that looses the state to criminalize schoolroom horseplay is guilty not only of punishing children as grown-ups but of the infantilization of the entire citizenry. [Mark Steyn: Swat somebody’s butt, and yours belongs to the the D.A.]

And an example of the efforts to fill the federal prisons with drug offenders.

the case against the lawyer fell apart, though they stuck him with one count of mail fraud and pretty much destroyed his life. And since then I’ve been a consistent opponent of the “war on drugs” because, as I wrote the other day and as I’ve written before in The American Spectator and elsewhere, it corrodes the integrity of the justice system, and it’s foolish to think that that that corrosion can be confined only to one corner of the law. [Maclean’s Canada – Blogs | Conrad Black Trial]

What happens is that a government agent is given the charge to nail the bad guys. They are provided with public sentiment about what are the bad things. Sometimes the desire to get the job done obscures the fundamental justice. That can create much pain and expense for the innocent. It also can stimulate distrust and cynicism about government and its action. That doesn’t bode well.

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