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Re: Hallam-Baker demands more repudiations or he'll write!
At 11:50 PM 9/24/96 -0400, Brian Davis wrote:
>On Tue, 24 Sep 1996, Rich Burroughs wrote:
>> <AP stuff>
>> Anyone who mistakes the lack of "repudiations" for AP on the list for some
>> kind of tacit approval is not getting the whole picture, IMHO.
>> Is this how journalists do their research nowadays -- "give me some info or
>> I'll write something really bad about you that you'll regret?" Cool. I
>> guess I thought there might still be some kind of pursuit of the truth
>> I personally don't have the time or energy to contribute to the AP threads.
>> That != approval for the idea.
>> I hope you include your above quote in your piece.
>Amen to that. Add that at least one lawyer (and former prosecutor) on
>the list is confident that successful prosecutions will ensue is AP ever
>gets off the ground.
I don't doubt that there will be harassment. (you can't deny that charges
would be brought even if it is tacitly agreed that no crime has been
committed; "the harassment-value" of such a prosecution would be desired
even if there is ultimately an acquittal.) AP will resemble, more than
anything, gambling. While gambling is illegal in some areas, it is quite
legal in others and there is no reason to believe that locales can't be
found in which an AP system could operate legally.
Make American laws apply everywhere? That'll be hard to justify, unless you
want to unleash a world where an all people can be subject simultaneously to
the laws of EVERY country, should they choose to enforce them! Would you
like to be arrested in Red China for something you said years earlier in
America about their leadership?
And are you ignoring the fact that the intentional isolation of one
participant from the knowledge of the actions and even the identity of the
others makes opportunities for prosecution on "conspiracy" charges mighty
slim. And since AP can operate across traditional jurisdictional
boundaries, you're going to have to explain how you can prosecute Person A
in Country B for giving a donation to an organization in Country C, to be
paid to a person D in country E for correctly predicting the death of person
F in country G, particularly when none of the identities of these people or
countries can be easily known given a well-crafted cryptographic and
Further, as you probably know as well as any, in order (at least,
supposedly!) to get a conviction you need to prove "mens rea," or "guilty
mind," and I suggest that none of the more passive participants in the AP
system have that. (The ones who DON'T pick up a gun, knife, bomb, poison,
etc.) Sure, they are aware that somewhere, sometime, somebody _may_ commit
a crime in order to collect a lottery, but they don't know who, what, when,
where, or how this will occur, if at all. (either before or after the fact!)
In fact, since it is possible for a target to collect the reward himself
(to be directed toward his designee, obviously) by committing suicide and
"predicting" it, it isn't certain to the other participants that there has
even been any sort of crime committed!
Based on the mens rea requirement, I propose that there is plenty of room
for most of the participants to reasonably claim that they are guilty of no
crime. They have carefully shielded themselves and others from any guilty
knowledge, and presumably they are entitled to protect themselves in this
way. Morally, you could argue that these people are countenancing something
nasty, in the same sense that somebody could equally well argue that if you
buy a cheap shirt in Walmart you're partly responsible for sweatshop labor
in El Salvador. True, I suppose, but moral guilt does not always translate
into legal guilt.
> And yes, I've read Jim Bell's manifesto. The fact
>that no lawyer has dissected it from a legal standpoint has been used by
>Mr. Bell as support for the propostion that it is legal.
I suggest that there is a greater likelihood that the "powers that be" will
just abandon all pretense of legality, and attempt to strike at the
participants if they can find them without benefit of any sort of trial.
This is a more plausible conclusion, because it cuts through all of the
legal difficulties which would hinder prosecution. In effect, a low-level