Seeking lawyer willing to challenge unjust laws (Canada)
Posted: 31 May 2011 12:11 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The following is a copy paste from where I posted this question on yahoo answers. Between the less than helpful response I got there, and every lawyer I have spoken to telling me that while they are certain they could get the charges dropped they will only do so for $1500-2500, and would not be willing to challenge the validity of the law itself. I thought to explore alternative means of seeking such a lawyer; so I am trying here as well. I am not satisfied simply have my charges taken care of, I wish to solve the fundamental problem.

‘I was recently arrested for ‘public intoxication’ while completely sober, and spent the entire evening in the drunk tank denied a lawyer, phone call, any means to defend myself or even any way of demonstrating I was not intoxicated. I requested multiple sobriety tests, or breathalyzer tests and even flat out asked if there was any way whatsoever I could demonstrate I was not drunk and one officer said, very clearly, “Nope.” There were people at my home that were concerned about me enough they actually searched for me, as I was being denied any means of letting them to know I was unhurt.

Anyway; the wrongful arrest and lack of civil rights I have already filed a complaint about and will pursue that as far as is reasonable. Half an hour after the wrongful arrest I was subjected to a search, and they then found my marijuana. It never even occurred to me to ‘ditch the evidence’ while I sat unsupervised in the squad car, as due to the simple fact that I do not think like a criminal. I was charged with possession, and ‘obstructing an officer,’ which means nothing to me. Sounds like a bonus charge… although perhaps the thirty seconds I interacted with the officers before I was handcuffed was long enough to ‘obstruct’ his predetermined intention to arrest me.

I have decided that I will not compromise my position, I have done nothing wrong and will not allow someone to tell me that I have. Human freedoms should only be sacrificed in exchange for a right of greater value. Giving up the freedom to kill a human grants the right to not be killed by a human. Giving up the freedom to steal grants the right to not have your belongings stolen. I never gave up my freedom to smoke marijuana, and I was certainly not granted an equal right in exchange. I find this morally reprehensible. Laws exist to protect human rights, one that simply denies freedom is not valid.

My moral philosophy is this; Anything that violates a human right, or denies a human freedom, is immoral. Valid laws do not deny freedom, they protect rights. The one thing that takes priority over freedom is rights. So any law that denies freedom, and does not protect rights, is immoral. And this immorality is compounded when citizens who are not criminal (read - immoral) are treated, and classified, as though they are.

It is very simple. If it is immoral, it needs to be illegal. If it is not, then it does not. Smoking marijuana is not immoral; in smoking marijuana I am violating no one else’s rights nor denying any one else’s freedom. Therefore, the action is not immoral.

While I realize in my own position there is a real possibility I could find a lawyer that will get it thrown out because of the initial invalid arrest, I want to take this fight now that I have been given thopportunityty. I am not a criminal, and I will not allow someone to label me such when I have done nothing immoral.

The law is not valid, and I am going to challenge this to the extent of my capabilities. If I had a lawyer on hand, even just for occasional consultations, it would greatly extend those capabilities. So, anyone know someone, or is someone, who might be interested in joining a fight for human freedom, and our right to it?’

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Posted: 31 May 2011 12:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It sounds as if an organization similar to the U.S. one, the ACLU, would like to deal with that kind of situation.  You may want to contact them to see if they have any recommendations.

Occam

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Posted: 31 May 2011 12:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Ah, the CHRC (Canadian Human Rights Commission). I will try that, when they open tomorrow. Although the impression my brief research gave me was that the primary function of that commision is to protect employees from employers that seek to deny human rights. It may be that a legal challenge is beyond their… interests.

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Posted: 31 May 2011 03:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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You should look online for Marijuana Advocacy groups,there are dozens of them in North America,some probably have lawyers in that field.

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Posted: 31 May 2011 07:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 31 May 2011 12:11 AM

Half an hour after the wrongful arrest I was subjected to a search, and they then found my marijuana. It never even occurred to me to ‘ditch the evidence’ while I sat unsupervised in the squad car, as due to the simple fact that I do not think like a criminal. I was charged with possession, and ‘obstructing an officer,’ which means nothing to me.

I don’t know Canadian laws, but I know you’ll need a lawyer.  Probably one specializing in criminal law.  I know you think your rights were violated, and they probably were and I’m sad to hear it, but even intelligent well intentioned people who haven’t hurt anyone are being sentenced.  I hope you can get the charges thrown out for your sake.  That you’re innocent minded and not thinking like a criminal is a good thing, but be prepared that people will probably just mock you for it, don’t let them confuse you.

The laws have gone way too far, they shouldn’t be convicting good people who make a small harmless mistake.  The laws should be convicting the hardened dedicated violent criminals, there are plenty of them running around free.  The laws really need more restraint.  That problem exists before the over-zealous cops violate, rather than protect, your rights.

I wish you luck, a good lawyer, and a sympathetic judge.  grin

There are people who will really convict for a small amount of illegal narcotics, beware people.  Not everyone agrees that the narcotics should be legalized, the laws do remain on the books, and people’s lives really are being ruined.  Federal convicts loose their right to vote in the USA, I don’t know about Canada.  downer

Stormy Fairweather - 31 May 2011 12:11 AM

My moral philosophy is this; Anything that violates a human right, or denies a human freedom, is immoral. Valid laws do not deny freedom, they protect rights.

I love your philosophy, but the judge will judge you based on law not on philosophy.  How’d you get out of the tank, anyway?  It could be a good sign, maybe the police are being sympathetic towards you?  smile

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Posted: 31 May 2011 07:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 31 May 2011 12:33 AM

Ah, the CHRC (Canadian Human Rights Commission). I will try that, when they open tomorrow. Although the impression my brief research gave me was that the primary function of that commision is to protect employees from employers that seek to deny human rights. It may be that a legal challenge is beyond their… interests.

I have designed tons of stuff for the CHRC in the past. They usually only focus on irrelevant nonsense.

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Posted: 31 May 2011 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Yeah, Jump-in-the-pit, a superior officer did release me before the arresting officer wanted me to be let go. He did so becasue he said it was clear I was not intoxicated. He gave me quite a bit of information on how I should file a complaint, and even confided he shared my stance on the validity of the law on marijuana. He hummed and hawed about being called as an expert witness, but I suspect he would come. He seemed like a far more reasonable individual than the other officers, and even offered to join me for coffee post shift some time to discuss moral philosophies. Unless he was merely trying to gain my confidence by claiming views he does not hold, which would be fraud and representitive of the very immorality I experienced.

That is disheartening George, but I will reserve judgement.

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Posted: 31 May 2011 08:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 31 May 2011 07:51 AM

Yeah, Jump-in-the-pit, a superior officer did release me before the arresting officer wanted me to be let go. He did so becasue he said it was clear I was not intoxicated. He gave me quite a bit of information on how I should file a complaint, and even confided he shared my stance on the validity of the law on marijuana. He hummed and hawed about being called as an expert witness, but I suspect he would come. He seemed like a far more reasonable individual than the other officers, and even offered to join me for coffee post shift some time to discuss moral philosophies. Unless he was merely trying to gain my confidence by claiming views he does not hold, which would be fraud and representitive of the very immorality I experienced.

That is disheartening George, but I will reserve judgement.

In Canada,do they not hold you until a bail hearing,is there a mandatory holding time depending on the crime?It sounds like they released you on your own recognosince,if they did you should forget the whole thing and be more careful in the future! Here in the U.S. the laws vary alot from state to state,city to city,ect.

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Posted: 31 May 2011 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I am no expert on being arrested, but the impression I was left with was that the status of my freedom was at the complete whim of armed unreasonable men. In a very real sense I was held hostage, robbed of my possessions, and simply released later.

If I had been put through the exact same experience by men who were not police officers no one would suggest I simply forget it.

[ Edited: 31 May 2011 09:02 AM by Stormy Fairweather ]
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Posted: 31 May 2011 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Personally, I’d be so grateful if they aren’t prosecuting after they found narcotics, I’d being jumping for joy!  grin  Not to say that I’m a part of your cracker-jack legal team.  The police do have some discretion to use force, restrains, and detention; normally that’s an assault but not when the police do it.  Of course, they need to show just cause to a judge for that.  Didn’t they give you your possessions back?  (No, don’t ask for the drugs!!)

[ Edited: 31 May 2011 10:43 AM by jump_in_the_pit ]
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Posted: 31 May 2011 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 31 May 2011 09:00 AM

I am no expert on being arrested, but the impression I was left with was that the status of my freedom was at the complete whim of armed unreasonable men. In a very real sense I was held hostage, robbed of my possessions, and simply released later.

If I had been put through the exact same experience by men who were not police officers no one would suggest I simply forget it.

Understandable,but are you going to be charged with a crime?If not you might have a hard time convincing a lawyer to challenge the system,because lawyers wont take on moral crusades unless they think there is a chance of winning;at least thats how it is in the U.S.Sometimes law enforcement will arrest someone they think is under the influence,and let them go if they see no reason to hold the person,that means the person doesnt have to go to court,hire a lawyer and so forth,the issue is usually dropped completly.It may be different in Canada,I am only speaking from personal experience.BUT IF you were harassed by police just because the police decided to be assholes,and it can be proven in court,that can help your cause.

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Posted: 31 May 2011 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I am almost certain I can prove the arrest was unjustified… and I am being charged with possession. Also obstruction, but that charge is as unfounded as the arrest.

The harassment and wrongful arrest is a separate case from the marijuana law. I have taken action against the officer that wronged me and continue to pursue that, now I am taking action against the justice system that wronged me, and will pursue that to its conclusion, one way or another. In the words of one wise american; Give me liberty, or give me death.

The criminal status of marijuana is part, another part is that police in this country have the capacity to detain you without laying criminal charges or having any justifications for doing so. I wonder if I could use this event as a platfrom to launch a political career aimed at legal reform… I consider the legalese jargon that complicates what is a pretty simple matter of morality to be as useful and insightful as the equally indecipherable babble in the bible. Which makes it appropriate that one must swear by one (my court experience is limited to television, so this may be an urban myth that only fooled me).

Edit - I just got off the phone with the Canadian Human Rights Commision, and the only thing they recognize as a violation of human rights is discrimination against someone for one of eleven ‘mandates,’ nothing else is within the scope of what they recognize as a violation of human rights. It appears Geaorge was correct; they are essentially useless.

[ Edited: 31 May 2011 01:43 PM by Stormy Fairweather ]
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Posted: 31 May 2011 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 31 May 2011 11:17 AM

I am almost certain I can prove the arrest was unjustified… and I am being charged with possession. Also obstruction, but that charge is as unfounded as the arrest.

The harassment and wrongful arrest is a separate case from the marijuana law. I have taken action against the officer that wronged me and continue to pursue that, now I am taking action against the justice system that wronged me, and will pursue that to its conclusion, one way or another. In the words of one wise american; Give me liberty, or give me death.

The criminal status of marijuana is part, another part is that police in this country have the capacity to detain you without laying criminal charges or having any justifications for doing so. I wonder if I could use this event as a platfrom to launch a political career aimed at legal reform… I consider the legalese jargon that complicates what is a pretty simple matter of morality to be as useful and insightful as the equally indecipherable and meaningless babble in the bible. Which makes it appropriate that one must swear by one (my court experience is based on television, so this may be an urban myth that only fooled me).

You don’t have to swear on the bible,thats just a charade to make a person look more trustworthy.I was under the impression that Canada is more progressive with drug issues.

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Posted: 31 May 2011 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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No, canada is not. Many police officers are, often opting to simply steal (confiscate) marijuana without filing charges (which also means there is no paperwork attached to said marijuana, make of that what you will). However, this is not more progressive, it is less so. It means that your actions are criminally punishable, or not, depending on the mood or personal opinion of the officer involved. The penalties are less steep than in many other countries, true, but marijuana is illegal excepting a doctors note, and the attached bureacracy.

Having some cops not charge for possession is actually less fair than having all of them charge all the time. While the individual police are acting in a more just manner by not enforcing laws they do not see as valid, the simple fact that various laws, like jaywalking, can be enforced whenever an officer feels the desire grants one group of humans tremendous power over another, and this has been demonstrated to be a terrible system in at least one frightening study [1]. Every law that exists should exist becasue it needs to be enforced all the time. Like the ones against murder, theft and rape.

It is a part of the design of the legal system here (and in the states as I understand it) that no one can ever be entirely certain whether or not they have broken any laws, or by-laws, or traffic codes, or some other variation of ‘laws,’ which means no one can confidently say they are not a criminal within the current justice system. Anyone who can say they are moral should be able to say with the same confidence they are not a criminal. I probably sound like a broken record, but cannot abide immorality, and I see it as my responsibility as a human to contest it.

Of course, the fact that I thought the swearing on bible thing may have been true is a clear indication my own understandings are far from complete. Not that I mind, learning is as intregral to the human condition as freedom itself.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

[ Edited: 31 May 2011 03:02 PM by Stormy Fairweather ]
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Posted: 05 February 2012 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Don’t chuck out the Bible that quickly. You’ll be pleased to know it’s on your side. St. Paul in 2 Cor2, 6,7 does a turn from addressing individuals and instead voices his disdain of the common good practice of perpetual sentencing. His point was that anything they do from the point of paid sentencing should go to closure of the case and reintegration into the community.

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