The NoVa Police Blackout

Law enforcement agencies in Northern Virginia say you have no right to know what they're doing

Last November along the roadside of Richmond Highway, a major thoroughfare in Fairfax County, Virginia, a police officer shot and killed David Masters, an unarmed motorist, as he sat in the driver's seat of his car. Masters, who was bipolar, was wanted for allegedly stealing some flowers from a planter. He had been given a ticket the day before for running a red light and then evading the police officer, though in a slow and not particularly dangerous manner.

In January of this year, Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond Morrogh announced through a press release that he would not be filing any charges against the officer who shot Masters. The shooting, Morrogh found, was justified due to a "furtive gesture" by Masters that suggested he had a weapon. The only eyewitness to the furtive gesture was the police officer who pulled the trigger.

There exists dash-cam video of Masters' shooting. There are also police interviews of other witnesses, and the police report itself. But the public and the press are as unlikely to see any of those as they are to learn the officer’s name. That's because the Fairfax County Police Department—along with the neighboring municipal police departments of Arlington and Alexandria—are among the most secretive, least transparent law enforcement agencies in the country. And local political leaders don't seem particularly concerned about it.

Fairfax County hasn't charged a police officer for an on-duty shooting in 70 years. Perhaps that's because no officer there has ever merited charges through a use of force. But it could also be because local cops and prosecutors have too cozy a relationship. The point is, we don't know. Fairfax police have cut off inquiry and second-guessing by simply denying public access to any relevant information.

Michael Pope, a reporter who covers Northern Virginia for the Connection Newspapers chain and for the Washington, D.C., NPR affiliate WAMU, filed a series of open records requests with the Faifax Police Department related to the Masters shooting. All were denied. Last month, Pope asked Fairfax County Police Public Information Officer Mary Ann Jennings why her department won't at least release the incident report on Master's death, given concerns raised about the shooting. "Let us hear that concern," Jennings shot back. "We are not hearing it from anybody except the media, except individual reporters."

That's an astounding answer. "Except the media?" That's exactly who you would expect to file most open records requests. When asked why her department won't even release the name of the officer who shot Masters, Jennings got more obtuse. "What does the name of an officer give the public in terms of information and disclosure?" Jennings asked in reply, presumably rhetorically. "I'd be curious to know why they want the name of an officer."

Well for starters, because he's a government employee, paid and entrusted by taxpayers with the rather serious power to arrest, detain, coerce, and kill. And he recently used the most serious of those powers on an unarmed man. Releasing the officer's name would allow reporters to see if the officer has been involved in other shootings. Perhaps there have been prior disciplinary measures or citizen complaints against him. It would allow the media to be sure the Fairfax County Police Department has done an adequate job training him in the use of lethal force.

Of course Jennings knows that journalists—or anyone else for that matter—can't access any of that other information, either. The default position of the Fairfax County police department, Pope says, is to decline all requests for information. And not just from the media. When a member of the county's SWAT team shot and killed 38-year-old optometrist Sal Culosi, Jr. in 2006, it took nearly a year plus legal action to get the agency to release its investigation of the shooting even to Culosi's family. Culosi, who had been suspected of wagering on football games with friends, was also unarmed when he was killed.

In a state with comparatively favorable open records laws (the professional journalism association Investigative Reporters and Editors ranks Virginia the fifth most transparent in the country), the police departments in Fairfax, Arlington, and Alexandria have managed get away with interpreting that law in a way that allows them to remain almost completely opaque.

"Part of my daily routine when I worked in Florida was to drive to the police station and get a copy of the previous day's incident reports," Pope told me in a phone interview. "I was just dumbfounded when I started working in Virginia. They rejected all of them." The police agencies even rejected requests for incident reports about arrests for which the same department had put out a press release.

Pope wrote a remarkable article last month for Northern Virginia's Connections Newspapers detailing the police blackout, quoting a number of local public officials whose definition of oversight is apparently no more than "how tall people view the world."

"I don’t think we have to justify it," Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook told Pope of his department's refusal to release information. "A lot of things can be said about transparency, that doesn’t make it effective."

Invoking a phrase traditionally used to refer to government censorship (apparently without irony), Fairfax’s Jennings told Pope that releasing police reports to the press would have a "chilling effect" on victims and witnesses coming forward to report crimes, though as Pope noted in another piece for WAMU, that doesn't appear to be the case in nearly every other police department in the country. When Pope asked Jennings what evidence she has to support her theory, she replied, "I don’t know if there’s evidence or not. All I have is what our investigators and what our commanders and the police administration believe."

Don't look to elected officials to correct any of this, either. "I am in the corner of trusting our police department," Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola told Pope. "If they push back I am not going to override them, and I don’t think I could get three votes on the board to override them either."

And then there's Alexandria Commonwealth Attorney Randolph Sengel, who fired off an indignant letter to the editor in response to Pope's article. Calling Pope's well-reported piece a "rant" that was "thinly disguised as a news story," Sengel wrote that "Law enforcement investigations and prosecutions are not carried out for the primary purpose of providing fodder for his paper." Mocking the media's role as a watchdog for government officials, Sengel added, "The sacred 'right of the public to know' is still (barely) governed by standards of reasonableness and civility," as if those two adjectives were incompatible with a journalist inquiring about the details of a govenrment agent's fatal shooting of an unarmed man. Sengel's concluding graph is worth excerpting at length to give a better feel for a certain type of official contempt for disclosure:

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  • ||

    Fuck Jennings, Fuck Sengel and Fuck Virginia.

  • fuck fuck fuck||

    well, Virginia is for Lovers

  • ||

    Except for them gay ones!

  • ||

    Trust me. There are plenty of us.

  • ||

    Am I supposed to take this vulgar, disgusting comment seriously? Crude idiots should not be allowed near keyboards, until a couple of their brain synapses get connected. Ditto for the comment that follows.

  • ||

    For clarity, I am referring to the comment by "Kool" and the one immediately following.

  • the one immediately following||

    I love that you can't even type those deadly words. Do you pretend you have never said them? Thought them? Does it not count because no one heard you say it? Fascinating. Words don't hurt adults in this type of context. I assume you are a libertarian and that certainly means you'll have to justify more crap that I will ever have to with words. Btw, I am diagnosis you with IAAD (I am a dick syndrome). You'll find a multitude of camaraderie on this site.

  • ||

    We are so screwed.

  • affenkopf||

    You know what you get when you have an organisation like the police and multiply its' power, reduce its' accountability and have them look down on 'civilians' ten times as much? This.

  • virginia||

    when they carried the kids bodies like sacks of potatoes, my heart sank a little.

  • ||

    Do you mean when the soldiers were risking their own lives running through sporadic enemy fire with the wounded kids? Luckily, (contrary to the video comment) they got the kids to an American MASH unit and their lives were saved.

  • ||

    You have videos of their activities released to the public on YouTube? I don't get it.

  • Warty||

    There's the Balko ballkick. I was worried it wouldn't come today.

    Ow...my balls.

  • asdfgh||

    Ow My Balls will be a very popular TV show in the future (if we can trust Idiocracy to be accurate. So far it's been right on. Well, close, President Camacho had a far more intelligent and capable administration.)

  • Unclaimed Mysteries||

    President Camacho's got a three point plan that is going to fix EVERYTHING!

  • Gabe E||

    Brought to you by Carl's Jr.

  • not sure||

    Welcome to costco, I love you.

  • Zenmaster||

    Brawndo's got what plant's crave!

  • MrGuy||

    It's got electrolytes

  • ||

    I think that "Ow My Balls" is already a game show on TV in Japan. See youtube for examples.

  • sage||

    Those shades make that cop look teh fat.

  • ||

    Funny, I thought it was the fat that made him look fat.

    LOL DONUTS

  • ||

    No, its his triple chins that make him look fat.

  • ||

    Yanno, it's in really bad taste to speak ill of the dead. It's John Candy. That photo is obviously from his role in "Only the Lonely."

  • ||

    That was one cop I actually did not dislike. Anthony Quinn and Maureen O'hara had a thang goin on in that flic IIRC.

  • ||

    Yep, MOH spent much of the movie rebuffing AQ because he was Greek and she a good Irish Catholic.

  • T||

    Thanks again for validating my decision to flee NoVa many years ago.

  • Badley Ralko||


    How is that [in Northern Virginia] three large police agencies continue to be among the least transparent, most secretive in the country?


    Because the least transparent, most secretive federal agencies are based in and around the same area.

  • asdfgh||

    This is true, but do you think the general attitude involving secrecy and police department is due to co-operation with federal agencies, or do they simply feel entitled since the feds do it so why can't they?

    Either way there's something fundamentally wrong about the whole idea that police should have to answer to no one. They are people and sometimes they violate the law, too. Having the powers listed in the article they should be held to an even greater degree of accountability than the average citizen.

  • j||

    As someone who periodically travels to NoVA but lives far away, I've noticed that the area just feels a little out of touch with how the rest of the country is. The NoVA solution to congestion along Sully Rd, for example, is to make it a virtual expressway, with overpasses and onramps. Most other areas of the country don't compartmentalize their regions into little wads of twisty roads. Most other areas of the country try to plan to cause modest, manageable growth - NoVA seems to have tried just throwing money at the Sully problem, and it hasn't really fixed it, and it won't stay fixed for long.

    I've met lots of nice people in NoVA, but whoever's doing the planning out there seems to suffer from an excess of funding and a shortness of brains. It's just one of many little things that has given me the impression that they are a bit out of touch with the rest of the country, and so I guess it doesn't shock me to hear this about the law enforcement.

  • MrGuy||

    Do you remember how long it took them to build the "mixing bowl"? As I recall, the heads of the project were fired many times.

  • strat||

    For many years, Virginia has generally been a place that builds very nice roads, just not to places you actually want to go. This may be a misapprehension on my part in that they're simply trying to get ahead of the curve and building them a decade too early. In any event, the end result is that the ones you want to use are too narrow while there are others that are overengineered and desolate.

    This is not to be confused with West Virginia's ribbons of sparkling disused asphalt superhighways to absolutely nowhere, courtesy of Byrd's government largesse.

  • WhereYou'reWrong||

    Because the dumbass citizens of the area keep electing the same people to positions of power.

  • Wegie||

    Yes...Yes.

  • Tim||

    I guess we can't have press access to reports of senior bureaucrats who fight with their spouses or whose kids shoplift. Or congressmen soliciting prostitutes...

  • Warty||

  • sage||

    This seems like a fun place to hang out and video tape traffic stops. Just to piss off the piggly wigglies.

  • asdfgh||

    just trust us we're your friendly local secret police.

    Creepy stuff.

  • ||

    If they are violating State laws, why not have the feebs arrest them? I'd start with the Chiefs . . .

  • Brian||

    I saw on Forbes that those were some of the richest counties in the US based on per capita income. Taking that into consideration, how do these guys get away with this?

  • Ska||

    They stay away from harassing the white folks in the nice cars?

  • ||

    Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner here folks. As a resident of Old Town Alexandria who is white and drives a really nice car I must say the police leave our kind alone.

  • Joshua||

    "graph"?

    Really? Those four extra letters in front of that were just too much of a burden for ya?

    weak

  • Silly Joshua||

    What, the ou, right there next to the y on your keyboard, were too difficult to type? You had to go with the a?

    weak

  • Chris||

    What. The. Fuck.

    Shit like this makes me want to fucking puke. This needs as much coverage as possible, all aimed at outraging the reader.

  • David McElroy||

    When I was a reporter, we sometimes had to get lawyers involved in order to get police departments to do what the law required. But if Virginia has decent public access laws, why aren't any of the media taking the police to court for their refusal to follow the law? That's worked well in other places.

  • ||

    Once again, the joys of the monopolization of the administration of justice!

    This story underscores how a lack of competition underserves us all. Make no mistake about it, we do not have a competitive marketplace for punishing pigs or resolving disputes. This state of affairs breeds chaos and violence and mayhem, not order and certainly not justice.

    If the framers had intended to give the state a monopoly on the administration of justice they would have so stated within the four corners of the constitution. Thus, there is no textual support for the proposition that only the state can administer justice. Nobody surreneders their god given, natural and inalienable right to govern themselves; nor does anyone cede their natural right to dole out justice to those who wear the impramutur of Caesar.

    The framers were smart enought to consider and ultimately reject the shallow, sophomoric and irrational contention that peace and prosperity could only be had if the government were granted a monopoly on the use of force. They saw right through such childish claptrap as nothing more than a frivolous pretext advanced by power hungry, parasitic factions who would stop at nothing to get their way-financed by those whom they sought to subject.

    If one buys that the framers desired a dispersal or diffusion of power, upon what basis would one argue that the 76ers thought that the application of the principle should be limited to the separation of powers and federalism? The 2nd amendment, itself, is some evidence that the founding generation did not favor a monopolization of the administration of justice. Hey, they knew that the most lawless of men are those who curry favor with the crown and those who humiliate themselves by taking the king's stipend. They realized that there had to be powerful and immediate checks on the public sector, including the right to physically restrain officers of the crown.

    The powerful check can also be utilized by competition. Of course, the idiots among us will, without empirical data, engage in rank speculation that competition for courts and cops would result in "anarchy" and "chaos" and that civilization would crumble. Some critics of competition wrap their speculation with apocalyptic ribbons, "all hell would break loose" or "we would go back to the stone age" or "murder would go through the roof" or "nobody would be safe anymore" or "people would not be able to count on the police anymore" or "life as we know would be destroyed" and the like.

    Of course, such doom and gloom is utter gibberish. But, we do have actual evidence on what monopoly has wrought, you know, reality, as opposed to rank speculation. One could start with the drug war as Randy regularly chronicles. We know that there have been millions incarcerated for drug possession alone and countless millions more incarcerated for possession with the intent to distribute in the US in the last 40 years. The cost of incarcerating all of those people has been borne by the american taxpayer. We can all agree that the cost of jailing drug possessors is exorbitant. We can also agree that the money has flowed to special interests who are great rent seekers, like the police unions, the corrections unions, prison building concerns, prison administration companies, all of the entities that supply prisons, propaganda constructs like DARE, drug testing companies and other parasites.

    I trust not many here would quibble with the observation that the money has not been well spent. IOW, a spectacular misallocation of resources that has and continues to contribute to the empire's inevitable collapse. We have not even factored in the opportunity costs of imprisoning millions of people who could have been making and inventing and producing stuff.

    The drug war could only have happened with the state having a monopoly on the administration of justice. We can cite the hundreds of thousands of murders perpetrated by the state and the black marketeers in the last 40 years as evidence of "mayhem" and "all hell breaking loose" and "nobody feeling safe."

    Jennings and Sengel are reflections of what monopoly justice produces and what the framers feared. Jennings and Sengel know that they take orders from a gang that knows it has no competition. Hence, Jennings and Sengel can extend their middle fingers unabashedly.

  • ||

    "" The 2nd amendment, itself, is some evidence that the founding generation did not favor a monopolization of the administration of justice.""

    The 2nd amendment isn't about justice, it is about war. In no way does it authorize use of force against the government. Clearly, the founding fathers did limit the citizen's ability to rebel by allowing Congress the ability to take away your right to a trial if you rebel. If Habeas Corpus is a coveted right, then how wrong did the framers consider rebellion for them to give Congress the right to remove it?

  • ||

    No government will ever promote its own potential toppling, but an armed supportive citizenry is a good check against those who try and subvert the government. Only those with the majority of the guns can determine who are the subversive elements.

  • ||

    Oh yes it's about toppling the Government. It's our country's failsafe button.

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. ... God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion; what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787

  • ||

    A bit wordy, aren't you?

  • Boss Tweed||

    You have to keep the information bottled up all the time for when you really need to keep things secret.

    If you only refuse to release information when the cops lynch a few niggras or beat up some queers that would raise too much suspicion.

    If you refuse information all the time, people get used to it and quit asking questions.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Radley,

    You're right on the facts, as always, but couldn't you have found a picture of a fatter cop, with, you know, unshaven jowels, and maybe chewing tobacco? When it comes to stereotyping, that photo of Officer Porkchop was almost worthy of Frank Rich.

  • sage||

    Shut your gorilla mask, Vanneman.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    Good point Vanneman.

    Something about this article just doesn't ring true. It's like Balko hates the institution of Local Police, and went out to find something he could use to back up his predetermined conclusion.

  • ||

    Maybe they could've used that unforgettable photo taken during the trial of the Mississippi civil rights workers' murders--the fat redneck sheriff leaning back in his seat and dipping into a pack of Red Man chewing tobacco. Sometimes a picture really is worth 1000 words.

  • ||

    Hey comrade! I've bone to pick with you!

  • random town folk||

    We need some pitchforks, tar, feathers, and a scanner/portable drive.

    We can get that information.

  • ||

    We need to start shooting back.

  • ||

    Not to minimize the problem, but you can find quite a bit of information about FCPD activities here:

    http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/crime/

  • ||

    Having said that, the exemptions section of their FOIA page seems to confirm the premise of this article. There isn't much they *can't* refuse to release if they don't want to.

  • Fairfax resident||

    Fan-fricking-tastic. Just great.

  • ||

    Just don't do anything suspicious and you have nothing to worry about, citizen. Go about your day.

  • ||

    quote siegel:
    "Last time I checked there were multiple safeguards in place to assure the integrity of the criminal justice system..."

    And then he proceeds to enumerate exactly...wait, let me count...NONE of them.

    While currently limited to what he views as media critics, that "us against them" mentality can be fertilized by paranoia and self-righeousness and is certainly inconsistent with that old-skool "protect and serve" stuff a lot of us associate with our Peace Officers.

  • ||

    quote siegel:
    "Last time I checked there were multiple safeguards in place to assure the integrity of the criminal justice system..."

    And then he proceeds to enumerate exactly...wait, let me count...NONE of them.

    While currently limited to what he views as media critics, that "us against them" mentality can be fertilized by paranoia and self-righeousness and is certainly inconsistent with that old-skool "protect and serve" stuff a lot of us associate with our Peace Officers.

  • bob||

    If police believe it is in the public's best interest to kill unarmed citizens, who are you to question them?

  • ||

    Lols. Have you seen "Hot Fuzz"? You'd like it.

  • ||

    To paraphase Professor Phil Jones (East Anglia U) when asked for his data and computer programs: "Why should I give you all that, when all you're going to do with it is make me look bad." Yeah. Exactly. Whatcha hiding there, bub??

  • ||

    Big fuckin' deal. The State of Virginia murdered a citizen. This is news? I'm sure it happens all the time.

    Here's the thing: police are nothing more than a federal bailout of the donut industry. Typically cops don't even have the balls to issue a speeding ticket to a woman if she has nice boobs. If they came in contact with an actual criminal the typical cop would poop his pants. The VERY best thing a cop can do is retire and start drinking full-time off his $200K pension.

    They are absolutely no different (except perhaps for the worse) than any other government functionary: power lusting, self-absorbed, liberty hating, fat, limp dicked losers. All of them, every where. Losers

  • MrGuy||

    So you're saying you don't like cops?

  • ||

    Seems to me that we ought to start instituting gun control on our own police forces with all of the misuse of power that they have been exhibiting lately. They have forgotten that COPS are just Citizens On Patrol and not superior beings.

  • edwin||

    Un-policed Police = State-sponsored terrorism

  • MrGuy||

    As a former Virginia resident of 14 years, and a former Fairfax County resident of ten of those years, I say... FUCK VIRGINIA!

    Leave while you still can!

    The world is not politics, it is >NOT< Washington DC. From the horrible roads, to the horrible and depressing weather, to the lack of sidewalks or parks, to the entitlementistic attitude of the locals, and their unfriendly disposition, to the high state tax, to the oppressive beaches. Fuck virginia whose name doesn't even deserve capitalization.

    Every day I wake up and I realize that I don't live there anymore, an uncontrollable smile graces my face. Taint does not describe how horrible that place is, its more like an anus fold.

  • ||

    WOW,

    Somebody finally told the truth. If I were you I would look out, because now that you have spoken, you will be next. I work in Alexandria, VA in a bulding right behind the Franconia police station and we see the police officers on a regular basis drink beer for hours behind the station. Then they all get in their squad cars and drive away. The rules do not apply for DUI to them. And as far as shooting people, is it not ironic that the Alexandria police cheif's wife was shot dead in her own home and the police cannot find the killer. I think they know who killed her. God rest her sole, because that will be the only justice her family will get.

  • ||

    Aggghhh! Somebody get all this nasty, cluttery "Pingback" crap out of here! It makes the threads messy and disheveled.

  • gs||

    Disquieting thought: what might be the next step in NoVa police overreaching?

  • ||

    SO...what part of "The Constitution is no longer in effect" do people not understand???

  • ||

    Key Quote: "I don’t know if there’s evidence or not. All I have is what our investigators and what our commanders and the police administration believe."

    Translation: "Badges? We don' need no stinkin' badges!"

  • ||

    Oddly enough, the press has brought this upon themselves, through their incredible bias, incorrect reporting (see almost any article on a self defense shooting, for example) and outright toadyism to one political party (that party starts with a D).

    "Journalist" is usually a shorthand n
    notation for a liberal-to-progressive-to-marxist, anti-individual-rights, politically correct, victimhood-mongering, bias-enhancing fool who thinks that self defense is the same as a murder. Why on earth would any self respecting individual give one the time of day, let alone allow them to root about in records that can be used to discredit honest persons?

  • ||

    Mikee beat me to it.

    There needs to be someone reasonable put in place to provide the media and the public with information that is not going to knowingly put someone in danger. This communications officer, Mary whatever, needs to be either re-trained, re-assigned, or canned. The job is not called public non-information officer.

    That said, the media in this country has acted so ridiculously irresponsible for so long, that it is hard to blame public safety people for giving them the finger. Whether it be the release of national security information by the NYT or the sensationalizing of any and all imperfect outcomes by local news outlets, the media in this country often does much more harm then good and leaves us worse informed then before they reported anything.

    I feel for the cops much more than for the prestitutes, but we need better transparency than these people are allowing - assuming the article is accurate - which is not at all a sure thing.

  • Francis Marion||

    I'm conservative. And I used to believe in the infallibility of law enforcement. I don't anymore. When cops seized the guns of law abiding citizens in New Orleans, leaving them defenseless, or when they blamed " white guys, militia types " for the attacks during the DC sniper case, or when they stood by during the LA riots and let some 50 citizens be murdered by a mob....they broke faith with the people and the Constitution. Time and again I have seen sworn officers look the other way when crimes have been committed. Much of their enforcement is selective and makes a mockery of justice. Are most cops good? Yes. But they have been coopted by political agendas. This article should be applauded. Secrecy begets excess. And we do not have "secret police" in the US. Or do we?

  • ||

    Francis,

    You're describing the other side of the biggest problem we have now in the U.S.: the loss of government legitimacy. The lefties swore for eight years that Bush was illegitimate, and acted like horses' asses the entire time until he was gone. Now Obama and his cronies have the conservatives on the edge of being willing to take up arms against the government because of their misuse of power.

    The outcome of this is that actually damned few people in the U.S. like their government or have much respect for it. With less than one in five people thinking Congress is even coming close to earning their pay, and Obma having reached levels of unpopularity in less than two years that Bush took eight years to achieve, it's pretty clear that most people in America would like to kick the lot of our political class not only out of office, but, if possible, out of the country. A nation with the levels of contempt for government that ours has is going to be in a Hell of a spot if something major goes wrong. And, you can bet on it that something WILL go wrong, in a major fashion, fairly soon. Murphy works that way.

  • ||

    It is a shame that the family did not file a wrongful death civil suit. Then the video and eyewitness statements would have to be released to the plaintiff's attorney in the discovery process. The same goes in the case of the unarmed physician who was shot by the police. If it were subsequently proven that the police were willfully obstructing justice, then perhaps some heads would roll and things could be changed. But somebody needs to step up and file a mega-multi million dollar wrongful death lawsuit against the police department involved and against its administrators personally. The force of law is the only thing that will work against these kinds of unaccountable police and prosecutors.

  • Former Old Townian||

    I'm so glad to hear that things in Alexandria have not changed.

    I miss the home of my misspent youth.

    Not goin' back though.

  • ||

    Isn't there a coronor's inquest in the case of a cop killing a suspect? Doesn't it name the perp cop?

    Does Virginia have a FOI act? Perhaps if the Post got on this story, the prosecutor would't be so difficult to deal with.

    Sometimes size does matter!

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    ""The 2nd amendment, itself, is some evidence that the founding generation did not favor a monopolization of the administration of justice.""

    [...] Clearly, the founding fathers did limit the citizen's ability to rebel by allowing Congress the ability to take away your right to a trial if you rebel. [...]

    Hmmm...

    Article, section 9:

    The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

    and Amendment IV:

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger;

    This does not seem to address the question of trials, rather that of holding someone without trial (i.e. not answering a writ of habeus courpus).

    As I read it, the Congress is empowered---in times of invasion or rebellion---to allow the holding of prisoners without answering "Why?", but when those conditions no longer obtain the regular rules reassert themselves and a trial must be offered or the accused released.

    The document is silent on dealing with rebels taken in arms against the United States, but I presume that in practice it will be easy to secure a conviction against them in the aftermath if this is desired.

    Now I expose my shaky grasp of our actual history. How was the common soldier of the Confederacy treated after the surrender? Most were let go without change, no? I mean, amendment XIV puts limit on rebels serving in office if they had previously taken an oath to uphold the constitution, but that were other penalties imposed?

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