|Organizers claim the resolution, although symbolic, can have legal teeth provided it’s taken to the next level. The organizers I know are seeking legal help from Francis Boyle and Connecticut Green Party candidate Harold Burbank. Here’s their legal argument:
” Under a legal provision known as “Common Law Application,” municipalities have indisputable legal standing to apply laws against any alleged criminal who violates Federal law - which encompasses violating treaties, being party to war crimes, or engaging in any other criminal activities. We have also been assured that the language in the resolution is well suited for implementing this provision.In short, we have the legal justification to call for a legal remedy, because the government cannot nullify the rights invested in its citizens to invoke Federal or international criminal law. Put another way, any town has the right to pass laws to address war crimes, or any other Federal crimes, and to indict the people alleged to have committed them.”
1. I have a hard time believing anything Francis Boyle advocates for. This is the same guy who claimed Amnesty International was infiltrated by the CIA and the British Secret Service. Boyle was also a legal advisor to the PLO and his work is frequently posted on 9-11 conspiracist sites (like infowars.com). As far as Burbank, I’ve never heard of him until now. The fact he’s a Green Party candidate running for Congress in Connecticut doesn’t help either. This HAS to appeal beyond the left fringe but organizers don’t want to accept that. This is why they have to tone down their rhetoric and get support from influential people beyond their own political preferences.
2. As far as I know, The “common law application,” is WAY outta date. It may have been good law in the 1700s, but no more. An informed blogger on DKos wrote the following:
“the federal government can “annul” federal criminal law. If they pass a law prohibiting X, it’s illegal. If they don’t, it’s legal. Further, I’m reasonably sure the feds have exclusive jurisdiction over enforcement of their own laws and “international criminal law,” whatever that means, just doesn’t apply to Americans.”
Bingo. So why don’t organizers know that and why isn’t the discussion focusing on issues like this? Instead we got nothing but sloganeering, lofty rhetoric, and all these missives about what are you going to do to stop Bush & Cheney.
3. Here’s the other problem I have which NONE of the organizers can answer:
You cannot indict somebody by referendum. You indict somebody by presenting the case to a Grand Jury. The Grand Jury hears testimony, including that a crime (defined by statute) was committed in the Grand Jury’s territorial jurisdiction, and the Grand Jury votes an indictment. When an indictment is reported out by the Grand Jury, an arrest warrant is issued.
Here there are some other problems with indictment by referendum. First, there’s no crime as defined by statute. “Crimes against our constitution” is not a crime. The Declaration of Independence is not a statute. Second, it’s a stretch to figure out how the crime may have been committed within the territorial jurisdiction of Vermont.
How do you legally prove that false and/or how do you prove that the resolution is legal and enforceable?
Organizers like Dan DeWalt and Kurt Daims claim, it’s not about arresting anyone but really to “stimulate meaningful dialogue.” Through a referendum? How is that possible? It’s an opinion poll as far as I can see.
I think this is just another naive tactic done the same old way and will get the same old results. If it passes, DeWalt and co. claim victory and spin this to high hell. The media will cover them and the Bushies will continue to laugh. I guess my problem with it all is activists thinking their approach and their ideas of the Bushies are the right ones. They also think the more they get their message out, people will come to their senses and think, ‘oh yeah, they’re right about all this.’ These issues have more complexities and nuances that they’re willing to admit and this is one of the main reasons why I can’t associate myself with Brattleboro activists, even though I’m on the same page with them on the issues.
Hope I made sense, y’all. I guess this sounds more like a rant than an argument. I hope it doesn’t pass. I think this does more to hurt the impeachment cause and people who don’t associate with activist or left causes will get turned off even more. How can we not think this WON’T turn a lot of people off too? I don’t think Brattleboro activists involved with this issue get that.
Thanks for letting me get this out. I figured you all at GMD would understand where I’m coming from.