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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 12th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
But how do you really feel?
Aug. 12th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, you know. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. The usual.
Aug. 12th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
Not that I have any love for Bush's Justice Department, but he's not exactly wrong, right? I mean, I tend to think in this instance that crimes were committed somewhere along the line, but it's true that not every violation of the law is a crime.
Aug. 12th, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
Okay, I admit I didn't go to law school. Can you give me an example of a violation of the law that is not a crime?
Aug. 12th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
Sure. One place this distinction has been a major issue is in immigration. While entering the country illegally is a federal crime, lacking legal status is a civil violation. This matters when local law enforcement officers decide that they want to start enforcing federal immigration law (which may very well be against the law in itself, but let's definitely not get into that *g*). Some law enforcement officers have used databases that include status-related offenses (e.g. overstaying a visa) as well as criminal offenses, which means that they may be detaining people based on the database without any evidence that they've actually committed a crime.

Administrative law presents a lot of these types of situations, where there's a violation of a regulation of some sort that isn't actually prohibited in criminal law and carries no criminal penalty.

Of course it's all muddled because you can use "law" to mean any number of things and "crime" to mean any number of things. But I would've said it the way Mukasey did without really thinking too hard about it. In his position he should've been thinking about what it'd sound like to non-lawyers, of course. I bet he will in the future.
Aug. 21st, 2008 12:07 am (UTC)
Fair enough, thanks! "Law" and "crime" are words that most of us use all the time and don't think of as unclear at all, but it's easy to forget that every profession has a specialist's vocabulary, too.

I bet he will in the future.

I would take that action. Not that I don't hope you're right, but I suspect you're wrong.
Aug. 12th, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC)
Copyright violation. Under most circumstances, it subjects you to civil rather than criminal penalties, and "crimes" are traditionally defined as those acts that subject you to criminal liability.

If you want one enforced by the government, you can violate antitrust law (see: Microsoft) without being subject to criminal penalties.

I understand why you gag on the sentence--it's infuriatingly phrased--but it's technically not wrong.
Aug. 21st, 2008 12:12 am (UTC)
Out of the goodness of my heart, I am now willing to stipulate that maybe it was said out of a thoughtless assumption that non-lawyers would interpret the statement the way lawyers do. Or maybe my definition is the skewed one, but it certainly wouldn't have occurred to me that when something goes to a civil instead of a criminal court, it's because the offense wasn't a crime.

Anyway, I'm just so tired of bogus explanations as to why X isn't what we think it is because now we're calling it something totally different (it's enhanced! it's a horizon!) that my nerves are clearly on edge. *g*
Aug. 21st, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
It's not torture, it's "harsh interrogation techniques."

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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