The Liberty Law Office of Jason Wilson

"When governments fear the people, there is Liberty. When people fear the government, there is Tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson

Providing legal representation for those accused of a crime, as well as all others involved in the snare of the legal system.

June 7 - Vladimir Putin. Speaker of Truth???????

Megyn Kelly recently interviewed Russian President, Vladimir Putin. In that interview, she questioned him on Russia’s oppressive policies towards dissidents. After giving the standard answer we would expect from a dictator, Putin then asked Ms. Kelly this -

“Why do you believe [America is] entitled to put such questions to us and, mind you, do it all the time, to moralize and to teach us how we should live?”

That is a very valid question. When our country has the largest percentage of a citizenry in jail, then why do we believe that we are entitled to preach and to “moralize” to other countries about the way that they treat their citizens?

Here in America, we are told that our judicial system is the best in the world because, upon being arrested, a citizen is innocent until proven guilty.

This is just a large of a lie as anything Putin said in his interview.

After a person is arrested, he is put into a holding cell. Shortly afterwards, he is given a bond that is usually so absurdly high (A $50,000 bond for a minor offense is not unusual) that he has no hope of paying it. But don’t worry! If he can’t pay the bond, the he can just go to a bondsman. He will then pay the bondsman around 15% of that amount – money that he will never see again. This essentially means that he has now been fined for a crime for which he has not been found guilty.

If he is like many people sitting in our jails, however, he is unable to even pay that reduced amount. So now, he has another choice. He can spend months waiting for his misdemeanor trial OR he can take the plea offered by the government. When that plea is Probation, a fine, and community service (standard for many misdemeanors), then it begins to look more and more tempting with each day that he spends in a small holding cell.

Once he has been successfully pressured into taking the plea, he begins his new life as a “free” citizen who can’t leave the state without telling his probation officer where he is going. And then, six months later, that probation officer launches a surprise visit on the citizen’s house. The man is found sitting on his couch, drinking a beer while watching television. This is, of course, against his probation conditions – and enough reason to have him locked up again. But things get even worse when he is forced to pee into a cup (right in front of the watchful eyes of his probation officer) and that urine is found to be positive for marijuana. His probation is now revoked and he ends up right back in jail.

When I watch one of our politicians discuss the criminal justice system in America, I look at him in the same manner with which I would look at Putin – as a lying weasel defending an oppressive system whose sole purpose is to put people in jail.

I can’t believe I’m actually writing this - - but Vladimir Putin is right.

May 25 - The trial of Oscar Wilde.

On this day in 1895, Oscar Wilde was sentenced by a British court to serve two years in prison for “committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons”.

Fortunately, times have changed and we no longer imprison people for victimless activities simply because some members of society view those activities as being immoral.

(Sorry for any confusion. I just thought I’d try my hand at some satire in honor of Mr. Wilde)

You do not live in the Land of the Free.

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably well aware that America is not the “Land of The Free”. It is a nonsensical notion to use that title for a country that has the highest rate of incarceration of any other nation in the world. And, yes, many will argue against this fact by pointing out that countries like North Korea and the Republic of China (1) don’t incarcerate many of their prisoners, because they execute them and (2) don’t release truthful information about their prison statistics.

That is correct. But really . . . . is that how far we’ve sunk as a nation? That our patriotic declaration is now “America! Hey, at least you’re not in North Korea!!!!”

If you live in Georgia, though, it’s even worse. A minimum of 1 out of 13 adults in our state is under some form of correctional supervision. That’s a half-million Georgia residents either in prison or under government surveillance through parole or probation. The national average is only 1 out of 31 citizens.

And, yes, I know it’s horrible that I just used the word “only” in that last sentence.

But wait. It gets worse.

Georgia has a population of 10 million people. One-fourth of that population (2.5 million) has a criminal history. That means, if there are three or more people sitting near you in a restaurant – one of them is probably a convict. Unless, of course, that convict is you.

And, if you want to get an idea of what types of offenses are, then I invite you to sit in at the Calendar Call of your local Superior Court. You’ll be shocked at how often the accused felony is a victimless drug charge. For having some Xanax in his pocket, an individual can lose his right to own a gun, his right to move freely between states, and his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. And it is happening to many more citizens than you can imagine.

You do not live in a free country.

Don’t delude yourself into believing otherwise.

REMOVING YOUR FELONY STATUS

Having a felony conviction doesn’t mean that you have to remain a felon for the rest of your life.

The First Offender Act is one of those rare statutes to come out of the Georgia Capitol that actually helps the individual citizen. It aims to give a person a second chance to set his life straight or, if convicted of a nonsense felony charge like Terroristic Threats, a chance to avoid the government from screwing up your life. The way it works is that you are not actually convicted of the offense if you are able to jump through some hoops that the State provides for you (such as probation and classes). If you complete all of the requirements, then your record is sealed and you can honestly tell people that you have never been convicted of a felony.

But have you already pled guilty to or been convicted of a felony? That doesn’t mean that you can’t use the First Offender Act. Thanks to a recent statute passed in 2015, it is now possible to retroactively apply First Offender status to your felony charge. It’s not easy and it helps to have a prosecutor who is willing to comply, but it can be done.

If you’re in this situation, then give me a call and I’ll let you know what we can do.

What is the Law?

A good answer to that question is given to us by Cary Grant in the 1942 movie, “The Talk of the Town.”

In that film, a wealthy and detached law professor claims that “The law is the sum of the experience of civilized man. It is the sign that man has emerged from the jungle.”

In the role of a Labor Union leader who is being hunted by a state-compelled lynch mob, Cary Grant responds “What is the law? It’s a gun pointed at a person’s head. It all depends on which end of the gun you stand whether the law is just or not.”

Those two beliefs remain the contrasting views of the law. The people holding the gun believe that it is the fine-honed tool of a civilized society. The people looking down the barrel believe otherwise.

For the well-off middle-aged woman with her proper virtues, laws prohibiting prostitution are necessary to maintain a moral civilization. For the impoverished and unskilled woman who has no other means of earning money, those laws result in an arrest that leaves her in an even worse situation than she was beforehand.

For the upper class man with his cigars and champagne, laws prohibiting marijuana are an absolute requirement to keep society from collapsing. For the person who likes smoking, those laws result in the loss of his job, his finances and his freedom.

And, though we can all agree that Aggravated Assault needs to be illegal - The righteousness of that law’s application might be questioned by the man who is doing three years in prison because he pulled a knife out in a bar.

Since the days of Cary Grant, some of the specifics have changed. But the law is still what it always has been - a gun held by the powerful that is aimed at the powerless.