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.

March 11 - "Probation is not benevolence from the State."

PROBATION IS NOT BENEVOLENCE FROM THE STATE

It is important to always remember that our judicial system is not about justice. It's not about deciding who is guilty and who is innocent. It is about funneling people through a system that has, as its endgame, the placement of individuals into government control. The probation system serves as an excellent reminder of this.

People often think of prison as being the final result of guilty verdicts or guilty pleas. While it is true that prison is the most oppressive part of our justice system, it is also the smallest. The number of people in prison is nothing compared to the number of people who are on probation. Why is this? It is because prosecutors usually offer plea deals that consist only of the offender being place on probation. This is especially common among misdemeanors.

The deal goes something like this:

 

Prosecutor: I have decided to offer you 12 months probation if you plead guilty on this misdemeanor.

Defendant: But I'm innocent!

Prosecutor: Well, this is America. So you are welcome to have a trial.

Defendant: I think I'll do that.

Prosecutor: Okay. Just know that, if you lose the trial, you could go to prison for up to a year and pay a $1000 fine.

Defendant: Errrrrr. Okay, I'll take the probation.

 

And that's how it is done. This happens to thousands of people who are innocent of the charged offense. It happens to thousands of people who are charged with a drug offense that should not have been a crime to begin with. The accused agrees to probation, and they are grateful that they weren't put in prison.

Before making the choice to accept this, however, here is something that you should know about probation - -

When you go on probation, you are placing yourself under government control for the duration of the period of probation. You will have to regularly see a government official who will ask questions about your private life. Failure to answer these questions could result in a violation of your probation. In many cases, you will have to ask your officer for permission to leave the state. In most cases, you will - for the entire period of probation - have to refrain from drinking a can of beer or sitting in a bar with your friends. And you will have to be prepared for a government official to come to your door at any time to demand that you piss in a cup.

But wait. It gets better! You will often be required to sign a Fourth Amendment Waiver. This means that, during the time that you are on probation, you will be required to give away a right that is so sacred to our nation that it is fourth in line in our Bill of Rights. This means that police can search your house, your car, or your body whenever they want - - for no reason at all.

So that's probation. The wonderful outstretched hand that prosecutors ask you to gratefully kiss.

Now, I'm never the defendant in the charged case (except once, but we won't get into that). So it's not right for me to tell you that you should take a risk by refusing probation and demanding a trial - not when that isn't what you want to do. All I'm suggesting is that you keep in mind the fact that probation is not the wonderful opportunity that the government tries to make it out to be. It is a minimum of one year of government intrusion in your life.

So give that some thought before bending the knee.

 

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.