Ignorance of the law is no excuse. That's the standard line motorists hear when they say they weren't aware of the speed limit, or gun owners hear when they say didn't know about the gun laws in the jurisdiction they happened to get arrested in. Yet that ignorance is pretty understandable in an America where just about everything is being criminalized. At the federal level alone there are now more than 4,500 separate crimes, and that's not counting the massive regulatory code, violations of which also can sometimes be punished with criminal charges.Read the whole thing, and weep for the end of liberty in America. [hat tip to Uncle.]
As citizens, we're expected to know and obey all of these laws, in addition to state and local statutes and the relevant court opinions that interpret the breadth and depth of all of those laws.
But what happens when law enforcement officials don't know the law? What happens when they illegally detain, arrest, and charge you even though you've done nothing wrong? Unlike you, their ignorance doesn't result in arrest or jail. And unless the violation is pretty egregious, they're unlikely to be punished for it.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse - Reason Magazine Unless you work in Law Enforcement.