Decriminalization and What's Behind It
It will be busy over at the city's hearing office if The Mayer (Councilor Mayer) gets her way. The Mayer is leading the charge to decriminalize some 72 misdemeanor offenses. Things like violations of the noise ordinance, failure to obey a police officer, purchasing ephedrine (which is used to make meth), illegal wood burning, and of course The Mayer's very own HEART (not head) ordinance, just to mention a few.
We're sure that the reason for decriminalization of these dastardly deeds will be to take the burden off the court system. In fact, at first glance it seems like a pretty good idea. However, when you look deeper you'll find a few facts that are very disturbing.
The ordinance O-06-25 (scheduled to be heard Monday, April 16) if enacted, will make all of these criminal offenses civil offenses. If this sounds familiar to you it should. It's the exact theory that Albuquerque's photo enforcement program runs under. Running a red light in one of these intersections is a civil offense (apparently committed by your vehicle because the driver is unknown). The same will become true of the 70 plus offenses that are currently petty misdemeanors.
Like the red light camera program, you will be issued a civil citation that will require you to pay up or request an administrative hearing. The fine structure should also sound familiar, $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second, and $500 for the 3rd and all subsequent offenses for the rest of your life (and that of your children if they could get away with it).
This is where we really start to have problems, the first of which is that of due process. As we've already established, the complainant and the hearing officers both work for the administrative branch of government, in this case King Mighty Marty I. The opportunity for a fair and impartial hearing is immediately diminished by the very fact that the mayor is the hearing officer's boss.
In addition, by changing a criminal offense to a civil offense you also change the standard of judgment from beyond a reasonable doubt, to a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, a lower standard that leans towards guilt rather than innocence. A standard that favors the accuser. A standard that favors the city in these cases, even if they were heard before a judge, which they're not.
Finally, when you pay your fine (not if you pay), the money is then collected by the city. Let's see... control the accusing agencies, control the hearing officers, cut out the court system, and collect the money; motive and profit opportunity. Sounds like the perfect system for a banana republic or a tyrannical dictatorship; certainly a system where you are guilty until proven innocent.
The Piercing Truth
This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes