"The prime function of the criminal law is to protect our persons and
our property; these purposes are now engulfed in a mass of other
distracting, inefficiently performed, legislative duties. When the
criminal law invades the spheres of private morality and social welfare,
it exceeds its proper limits at the cost of neglecting its primary
tasks. This unwarranted extension is expensive, ineffective, and
Norval Morris
(1923-2004) American law professor, criminologist, and advocate for criminal justice and mental health reform
The Honest Politician's Guide to Crime Control
by Norval Morris and Gordon Hawkins
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Pat Brandner, Eau Claire, WI      
All victimless crimes are unconstitutional for a myriad of reasons, One reason is you are unable to question your accuser. Only the victim can accuse and be questioned as to the nature and substance of the violation. In the case of inability, such as death, the state stands for the victim. In the case of victimless crimes, there is no accuser, only witness(es) to violations to a de facto sovereign's rules.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I must here apologize for my failed attempt at humor. A de facto sovereign is an oxymoron and the perpetrator of victimless crimes in the U.S. is de facto, not sovereign.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Very true! Just like our tax code the criminal code has lost it's primary purpose and taken on the purpose of social engineering. The notion of a "hate crime " is idiotic, among other things. Unfortunately Mike, your comment that "victimless crimes are un-Constitutional" is ludicrous. All societies have mala prohibita laws which are used to regulate their societies. Most such laws are not federal issues and the federal government should not have many such, but some are necessary. But as much as I dislike and disregard speed limit laws, they are not un-Constitution. Mala prohibita laws should be mininmized in a free society, but endless ligigation results in more and more of them in an attempt to to protect the stupid and irresponsible, and because the immorally greedy want to use the courts to steal via the courts.
     -- helorat, Milton     
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    The quote I believe to be true - bring the Bobbies back on the streets and provide them with a vegetarian diet. So, what do you call it when people are killed or maliciously harmed because they are hated? do you change the name of the crime just to protect the masses, just to protect intolerance, just to protect those who are hateful and influence violence against those they hate - OK what do you want to call it? It is what it is. These crimes against each other are wrong and evil - but when conducted against another country we call it WAR.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
     -- Robert, Sarasato      
    My person is far more at risk due to our social conditions than crime itself. The lack of universal health care is much more likely to cause problems for most of us than any other cause. The lack of good education is clearly causing us problems when people do no understand basic science principles.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
    helorat, one of the most fundamental foundations of law that sets this Republic apart from all other societies was its mens rea, making the mala prohibita (if we must speak Latin) a very narrow scope of what crime is. If one intends to commit theft, harm, murder, etc., it is a crime. Statutes were to originally define the God of Nature's laws, not create them. My comment was to the national government but my statement here is a second example why victimless crimes are unconstitutional even at a state level. In fact, the prima facie law in all states is you can drive as fast as it is safe (very arbitrary but supercedes even the posted speed limit). This blog is not the forum to go into detail about the myriad of reasons why victimless crimes are unconstitutional. AND, speaking of an oxymoron, basic science principles say where universal health care is implemented, the economy becomes lethargic and/or dies, now that's a crime ;-).
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    The criminal justice 'system' has indeed become corrupted. American Common Law may be the least understood (and practiced) in the world. Our legal system is not like any other country. Mike is right -- the Constitution protects the rights of the People. Speed limit laws are only applicable to those who are driving vehicles placed in trust with the state (that is what a certificate of title does) and therefore since it is not your car, you are required to abide by the rules of the owner (the state) as per your agreement (i.e. driver's license). Prohibitions on what a person may put into his/her body are unconstitutional -- if the person violates another person's rights afterward, well, there are already laws on the books for that. The Commerce Clause of the Constitution is the basis of all commercial law (i.e. Uniform Commercial Code) in the US and unfortunately usurped the common law jurisdiction. Now commercial violations are 'crimes'. The fact that the US has stretched the UCC beyond its constitutional limits and no longer provides common law courts is a prime example of how far we have come from the original intent of the founders. Most of us have NO IDEA how much power We the People have and how it is protected. Watch your signature -- you are giving away your rights in exchange for government privileges.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
    Editor, thank you for indulging me, this will be my last comment today. 'helorat' do you have personal knowledge of the race cars I used to campaign, how much or what training I've had as a driver, or what I've done to my vehicle to make it drive safer? Do you personally have authority or right to limit the safe speed at which I may drive my car. Does your neighbor personally have such right or authority? What is the magical number or the nexus at where the guaranteed Representative Republic is supplanted by an alien power to you and me that has that right or authority?
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Mike your race car experience is as irrelevant as my 7000 flight hours to the issue. If I live in a quiet neighborhood with limited sight distance and my neighbors and I can convince the county or town to have a 15 mph speed limit because we feel it is in the best interest of our families, and their safety the Constitution does not have squat to do with it, and you and anyone from Conn or the PRC of MA or where ever have no dog in the fight. The states are representative republics too, as guaranteed by the Constitution. Remember the 10th Amendment, and remember the wording difference between the First and Second Amendments; the Founders clearly recognized that certain rights needed to be protected from federal encroachment only (1A) and some required universal protection (2A). State roads, state laws apply, county roads, county law applies, he who pays sets the rules. No like the rules no drive on roads. I despise the TSA and airport security laws, so I do not fly. I have no Constitutional right to a commercial flight that is being infringed upon. If the sheep who fly are happy with it, more power to them. I would prefer a plane load of real Americans with all of them packing more then luggage. But as ardent a believe in the Second Amendment as I am, I do not believe there is a Constitutional issue in probiting me from carrying my personal firearm into a courtroom or jail, as long as they provide me a place to check it on the way in and give it back on the way out.. If you would say most victimless crimes are un-Constitutional, you might be right, but that all thing just does not cut it, there are many more examples. Some crimes appear victimless to the casual observer, but really are not, like 300 lb people in thong bathing suits in public and Hillary showing clevage, those are victimless only if you are blind. As to the idiocy of universal health care (talk about a moonbat non sequitar for this quote, whew!), if you want your health cared for, take care of it yourself. If you want a health maintenance plan, plan to pay for it based on how well you perform that self health care. If you want health insurance to pay for unexpected "catastrophies" do the same. There is a difference between a maintenance plan and insurance, and the price difference should be vast. Regardless where is the authority in the Constitution to steal money from me to pay for the health care of someone who does not care about their health. It does not exist. Ask the guy who wrote it: In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison stood on the floor of the House to object saying, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." -- James Madison, 4 Annals of congress 179 (1794)
     -- helorat, Milton     
  • 1
    Editor, a new day. helorat, my examples are only relevant to a representative republic at natural law (the laws of nature and of nature's God - State and Federal; see Ariticle IV Section 4). Your examples are relevant to oligarchies and democracies at legal positivism. The Constitution(s) is at natural law, a limiting tool (structure, rules, statutes, limitation, etc.), to define life (murder), liberty ("The power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature." (Bouvier's Law Dictionary)) and property (perfected allodium and larceny). You are partially correct; to its de jure entirety, the Constitution(s) (federal and state) limits government and as liberty is here defined, Each individual is free with all victimless crimes (to people or property) being a crime against society. Because de jure federal government can not act unless given specific authority to do so, it can not lawfully, morally, at justice or in any other way define the scope of crimes (federal crime) as the occupying statist theocracy now infesting this land does regularly.

    Of course there is a de jure difference between States and Federal jurisdictions and job descriptions. My rights as an individual sovereign are the same as yours. Those rights exist as a faculty of birth - not any political over-loard's decision. Representatives represent the rights that are equal to all men. Representatives do not represent the person or any groups thereof (each person has differences - medical, transportation, neighborhood, etc.) All speed limits are arbitrary. When a crime is committed, speed being a part of that crime, it is up to the prosecutor to demonstrate association. If sufficient tests are run to determine a general safe speed under normal conditions (not merely estimated by neighbors), that speed may be posted and used as evidence when harm to person or property has occurred.

    I should have given this quote a thumbs down. The concept; "The prime function of the criminal law is to protect our persons and our property." For the government to protect our persons and
    our property is a monumental and most heinous lie to deceive the sheeple. By the laws of nature and of natures God, protecting person(s) and property(s) is a sovereign right that can not be passed to a representative. Sovereigns can join together to protect self and assist others or hire representative to help protect individual sovereign rights. The prime function of the criminal law at, Constitutional law, natural law and justice is to simply and uniquely define that which is, contrary to natural law, along with mans administration thereof. By way of example, murder and larceny are against the law. Man then defines murder (1st degree, 2nd degree, man slaughter, etc.), larceny (grand theft, petty theft, by deception, etc.), etc. for any given individual / societys best interest and understandings. Such murder and larceny definitions are by way of ORDER, not protective law.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    by a crime against society, I mean each individual (individually, or individuals in concert, formally organized or causally near others by happenstance)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Criminal Law is an appropriate name as cops commit criminal acts daily. And of course, it's all done for our own good ; a slight case of sarcasm here. The wonderful War on drugs has cost billions and has done zip to stop drug usage. It has , however, given us Asset Forfeiture laws by which the police can steal your property without even charging you with anything. They may , and often do, break into homes late at night because some neighbor said there was dope in the home. A number of innocent people have been shot by drug cops after one of these break ins. Yes, criminal law is well named.
     -- jim k, austin tx     
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