I�m a Criminal, You�re a Criminal

by Katherine Mangu-Ward

Harvey Silverglate, a Boston-based criminal defense and civil liberties attorney, is the co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which fights speech codes on college campuses. He is also the author, most recently, of Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent (Encounter Books), a book about �how the United States Department of Justice targets all segments of civil society by means of abusive prosecutions based upon unacceptably vague federal criminal statutes and regulations.�

Senior Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward spoke with Silverglate in November.

Q: When did you notice that people were committing crimes without knowing it?

A: Starting in the mid-1980s, I noticed in my federal criminal cases that people who were being indicted would ask, �What the hell did I do to get myself indicted?� We would read the indictment, and neither I nor my law partners could figure out why the feds considered what this person did to be a crime. We weren�t contesting that the client did what he was charged with, but we couldn�t figure out when what he did had become a federal crime.

This is the same period of time when I started keeping track of what I later realized was a related phenomenon. In universities in the mid-1980s, students were being charged under these incredibly vague speech and harassment codes on campuses when the student was engaging in what the student�and I�considered to be normal college-age behavior: saying things that were provocative, sometimes kind of sharp, sometimes insulting.

I can't help but think that they�re related, that they have something to do with a decreasing emphasis on language with real meaning, that there is a kind of corruption of the English language that enables these kinds of codes and federal statutes to wreak havoc in the lives of people who would not normally be on notice that they�re doing something that can get them thrown out of school or into federal prison.

Read more here:Reason.com

Well, OK. Maybe not yet. But according to John Stossel's "Illegal
Everything" just about everything else IS against the law.

I don't often praise the so-called 'main stream media', especially
FOX News, but this mini-documentary on the criminalization of just
about everything is spot-on. It is as entertaining as it is
frightening and revealing.

Lemonade anyone?


Defending civil liberties John Stossel's Illegal Everything

Goodman Green
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