How "the man" criminalizes the innocent.
The rule of law is on life support in this country.
What really happened at the Nashville plant?
Henry Juszkiewicz bought the troubled Gibson Guitar company in 1986. With revenues having dropped to below $10 million a year, the iconic 84-year old guitar maker was bleeding cash and on its way to bankruptcy. Since then, Juszkiewicz turned Gibson around, making it into an international powerhouse, growing at better than 20 percent a year compounded, with current annual revenues rumored to be approaching $1 billion.
A great American success story? Yes, but Gibson’s very success made it a fat target for federal prosecutors, whom Juszkiewicz alleges were operating at the behest of lumber unions and environmental pressure groups seeking to kill the market for lumber imports. “This case was not about conservation,” he says. “It was basically protectionism.”
Two months before the raid, lobbyists slipped some arcane supply-chain reporting provisions into an extension of the Lacey Act of 1900 that changed the technical definition of “fingerboard blanks,” which are legal to import.
With no clear legal standards, a sealed warrant the company has not been allowed to see too this day, no formal charges filed, and the threat of a prison term hanging over any executive who does not take “due care” to abide by this absurdly vague law, Gibson settled. “You’re fighting a very well organized political machine in the unions,” Juszkiewicz concluded. “And the conservation guys have sort of gone along.” Hey, what’s not to like about $50,000?
And this isn’t an isolated incident. Just ask Harvey Silverglate, Boston lawyer, activist, civil liberties advocate, and author of Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent. As he explains, the Feds routinely take advantage of the vagueness of many of our laws by starting from the target and working backwards, selectively prosecuting people they want to go after by charging them with crimes they often don’t even know exist.
Re: How "the man" criminalizes the innocent.
Did he break the law or not? A vague law does not make it any less potent. I can't legall kill you but george Zimmerman can.
“Henry. A SWAT team from Homeland Security just raided our factory!”
“What? This must be a joke.”
“No this is really serious. We got guys with guns, they put all our people out in the parking lot and won’t let us go into the plant.”
“What is happening?” asks Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz when he arrives at his Nashville factory to question the officers. “We can’t tell you.” “What are you talking about, you can’t tell me, you can’t just come in and …” “We have a warrant!” Well, lemme see the warrant.” “We can’t show that to you because it’s sealed.”
While 30 men in SWAT attire dispatched from Homeland Security and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cart away about half a million dollars of wood and guitars, seven armed agents interrogate an employee without benefit of a lawyer. The next day Juszkiewicz receives a letter warning that he cannot touch any guitar left in the plant, under threat of being charged with a separate federal offense for each “violation,” punishable by a jail term.
BTW, you can legally kill me if I break into your home.