The Sinister Reason You Shouldn’t Expect the Hillary Treatment

Hillary Clinton clearly violated federal laws about management of confidential information, but the FBI and Obama Justice Department are allowing her to walk away scot-free.

Our leaders are crafting, manipulating, and molding a set of rules for themselves that is the exact opposite and different from what we have as individuals.

If any of us had chosen to have to bring classified, let alone secret, or top secret or special access programs onto our own private server, we would have been completely fried.

But Clinton is getting the mercy of a Justice Department that, in her case, cares about her intent (which is not part of the statute).

From the New York Post:

Not every potential federal defendant gets the benefit of such distinctions. Consider the retired racecar driver on a snowmobile outing in Colorado who got lost in a blizzard and unwittingly crossed into a National Forest Wilderness Area, the Native Alaskan trapper who sold 10 sea otters to a buyer he mistakenly believed was also a Native Alaskan, and the 11-year-old Virginia girl who rescued a baby woodpecker from her cat.

The first two of these incidents resulted in misdemeanor and felony convictions, respectively, while the third led to a fine (later rescinded) and threats of prosecution. All three qualify as federal crimes, even though the perpetrators had no idea they were breaking the law — a kind of injustice that would be addressed by reforms that opponents falsely portray as a special favor to corporate polluters and other felonious fat cats.

The federal code contains something like 5,000 criminal statutes and describes an estimated 30,000 regulatory violations that can be treated as crimes. The fact that no one knows the precise numbers is itself a scandal, compounded by the fact that many of these provisions include minimal or no mens rea requirements, which specify the mental state required for conviction.

The upshot is that innocent acts, honest mistakes and simple accidents can lead to criminal convictions that deprive people of their liberty and property, ruin their reputations and carry lifelong collateral consequences ranging from impaired occupational opportunities to the loss of constitutional rights.

That’s a serious problem recognized by Democrats as well as Republicans, as demonstrated by the bipartisan support for mens rea reform in the House of Representatives.

Yet Senate Democrats dismiss the proposed changes, which would add culpability requirements to statutes that do not address the issue, as “corporate protection.” They blame Republican insistence on mens rea reform for imperiling a criminal-justice reform bill that until recently seemed likely to pass this year.

Their chief complaint, also voiced by the Justice Department, is that requiring the government to prove a defendant knew he was breaking the law will make it harder to convict people. No kidding.

Every year, individuals pay the price for accidentally violating some complex and arcane Federal law. If politicians are going to grant each other a strong mens rea (the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that constitutes part of a crime, as opposed to the action or conduct of the accuse) requirements for criminal prosecution, then politicians need to give this to the rest of us as well.

Next time you get pulled over by the police, just tell them you didn’t know the speed limit, therefore nothing should happen to you according to the FBI director. The rest of us should also be entitled to a mens rea defense from prosecution.

We live in the best country in the world. We deserve the best leaders in the world. Hopefully this election will be about ejecting people like Hillary Clinton.

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