Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby davids » Sun May 11, 2014 8:21 pm

notorial dissent wrote:Ah yes, The Western Journal, that bastion of respectability and forward thinking, almost as prestigious as Wing Nut Daily when it comes to reporting.

I guess I must have a missing page in my copy, but I don't seem to remember a constitutional right to plan and commit murder and acts of terror, or espouse the violent overthrow of the gov't. But then Western Journal has never been real big on them new fangled things called facts.


Maybe The Western Journal isn't a great source, but that article was written by his attorney, has been posted in many places, and makes some really good points. I suspect he gave them permission to reprint it in order to try to drum up funds for the appeal which seems to be the intent of the piece.

To your second paragraph - of course there isn't a constitution right to plan and commit violence. But there is also such a thing as a braggart motormouth like Cox being possibly influenced by much pressure from informants who would like to see him try to arrange something like that. I am disturbed that the tapes that were made by the government, with taxpayer dollars, were then excluded at trial on request by the government. I am also bothered by the fact that the defendant prevailed on similar charges in state court. (If the double jeapordy laws were of any strength this should not happen).

It is really easy to get caught up in the foolishness of Cox'es bragging, and in the foolishness of his supposed ideas, and ignore the constitutional issues that are presented.

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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby ArthurWankspittle » Sun May 11, 2014 9:34 pm

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:To your second paragraph - of course there isn't a constitution right to plan and commit violence. But there is also such a thing as a braggart motormouth like Cox being possibly influenced by much pressure from informants who would like to see him try to arrange something like that.
Cox's problems weren't that he was a motormouth, he was, but he was a motormouth who threatened LE and was out trying to buy weapons like a .50 cal and grenades. He might have been helped by people who later turned out to be informants but the ideas and enough of the actions were his.
Bovine, Flatulating: wrote: I am disturbed that the tapes that were made by the government, with taxpayer dollars, were then excluded at trial on request by the government. I am also bothered by the fact that the defendant prevailed on similar charges in state court. (If the double jeapordy laws were of any strength this should not happen).
Alaska has state laws which meant that some/a lot/all of the taped evidence was inadmissible in state court. Someone must have thought he still had a case to answer and brought federal charges. If there was the slightest chance that a state prosecution would preclude a federal prosecution by reason of double jeopardy, it would never have been brought in state court. It isn't double jeopardy anyway, if anything it is federal law overriding state law which is what the constitution says or allows, I think.
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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby wserra » Sun May 11, 2014 9:44 pm

ArthurWankspittle wrote:It isn't double jeopardy anyway, if anything it is federal law overriding state law which is what the constitution says or allows, I think.


Actually, it's something called "dual sovereignty". While many states have statutes which prevent a state trial on the same crimes as a previous federal trial, the federal govt does not. And the Constitution permits it, since they are different sovereigns.
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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby davids » Sun May 11, 2014 9:49 pm

ArthurWankspittle wrote:
Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:To your second paragraph - of course there isn't a constitution right to plan and commit violence. But there is also such a thing as a braggart motormouth like Cox being possibly influenced by much pressure from informants who would like to see him try to arrange something like that.
Cox's problems weren't that he was a motormouth, he was, but he was a motormouth who threatened LE and was out trying to buy weapons like a .50 cal and grenades. He might have been helped by people who later turned out to be informants but the ideas and enough of the actions were his.


Other than playing army on the weekend, talking tough, and holding fake court hearings at Denny's (all of which are ridiculous, agreed), what actions are those?

ArthurWankspittle wrote:
Bovine, Flatulating: wrote: I am disturbed that the tapes that were made by the government, with taxpayer dollars, were then excluded at trial on request by the government. I am also bothered by the fact that the defendant prevailed on similar charges in state court. (If the double jeapordy laws were of any strength this should not happen).
Alaska has state laws which meant that some/a lot/all of the taped evidence was inadmissible in state court. Someone must have thought he still had a case to answer and brought federal charges. If there was the slightest chance that a state prosecution would preclude a federal prosecution by reason of double jeopardy, it would never have been brought in state court. It isn't double jeopardy anyway, if anything it is federal law overriding state law which is what the constitution says or allows, I think.


As to double jeapordy, yes, I understand the separate sovereign exception to double jeapordy applies here. But, what I was saying, is in a free society, it shouldn't.

As to the tapes, you've got it backwards according to my reading of his attorney's article. What happened is that the tapes WERE admitted in Alaska state court, and then excluded in federal court.

Of course "someone must have thought he had a case to answer"...what I was discussing is that this isn't the way it should be. I'm not in denial that it is the way it is. If that makes any sense :shock:

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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby Famspear » Sun May 11, 2014 10:31 pm

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:...As to the tapes, you've got it backwards according to my reading of his attorney's article. What happened is that the tapes WERE admitted in Alaska state court, and then excluded in federal court....


If you're referring to the more than 100 hours of warrantless, undercover FBI tape recordings of Schaeffer Cox, then you, or the attorney, or both, are apparently wrong. According to the news report (from Alaska Dispatch, Oct. 17, 2011) I have in my file, the judge who denied admission of those materials was Judge David Stewart, a "superior court judge" in Fairbanks, Alaska. That's a state court, not a federal court.

The article goes on to say that the materials were excluded in the state court proceeding because of a provision of the Alaska state constitution. A provision in the Alaska state constitution generally would not govern the admissibility of those same materials in a federal criminal case.
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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby Famspear » Sun May 11, 2014 10:38 pm

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:....Other than playing army on the weekend, talking tough, and holding fake court hearings at Denny's (all of which are ridiculous, agreed), what actions are those?


The following describes the conduct -- the actions -- for which Cox was convicted:

--->Engaging in a conspiracy to Possess Unregistered Silencers and Destructive Devices
18 USC section 371

--->Possession of Unregistered Destructive Devices
26 U.S.C. sections 5861(d) and 5871

--->Possession of an Unregistered Silencer
26 U.S.C. sections 5861(d) and 5871

--->Possession of an Unregistered Machine Gun
26 U.S.C. sections 5861(d) and 5871

--->Illegal Possession of Machine Gun
18 U.S.C. sections 922(o) and 924(a)(2)

--->Making of a Silencer
26 U.S.C. sections 5861(d) and 5871

--->Possession of Unregistered Destructive Devices
26 U.S.C. sections 5861(d) and 5871

--->Conspiracy to Commit Murder
18 U.S.C. sections 1117 and 1114

--->Solicitation to Commit a Crime of Violence
18 USC section 373
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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby davids » Mon May 12, 2014 8:02 pm

Famspear wrote:
Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:...As to the tapes, you've got it backwards according to my reading of his attorney's article. What happened is that the tapes WERE admitted in Alaska state court, and then excluded in federal court....


If you're referring to the more than 100 hours of warrantless, undercover FBI tape recordings of Schaeffer Cox, then you, or the attorney, or both, are apparently wrong. According to the news report (from Alaska Dispatch, Oct. 17, 2011) I have in my file, the judge who denied admission of those materials was Judge David Stewart, a "superior court judge" in Fairbanks, Alaska. That's a state court, not a federal court.


I don't know exactly what his attorney was referring to. But since it came from his attorney, I will assume that there was some aspect of the taped evidence that was not admitted, and which he sought to have admitted. News articles written by nonlawyers are often very hazy about legal details and procedural issues. This is a common phenomenon for anyone who has experienced a news article written about a court proceeding with which one was familiar.

I am aware that he was convicted of many things. A great many of those are strict liability crimes where the offense isn't really doing anything, or having any mental state, but rather owning a firearm or weapon of a variety that isn't allowed by some governmental entity, or not having the appropriate papers for it (arguably all dubious bases for criminalization under the Second Amendment, but your mileage may vary).

The other crimes seem to be ALL mental state and no actus reus.

This is particularly bothersome in light of a spate of supposed "foiled terror plot" news stories, which all had one thing in common: they were all instigated, planned, and made possible by informants, and likely there would have been nothing to foil but for the informants. Usually the supposed mastermind was someone of low intelligence and social abilities. So, you'll have to forgive me if I don't cheer to hard at having a motormouth sovrun locked up for being a motormouth sovrun. I'm not saying the result was wrong, perhaps if I were on the jury I would have done the same.

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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby ArthurWankspittle » Mon May 12, 2014 8:56 pm

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:I don't know exactly what his attorney was referring to. But since it came from his attorney, I will assume that there was some aspect of the taped evidence that was not admitted, and which he sought to have admitted. News articles written by nonlawyers are often very hazy about legal details and procedural issues. This is a common phenomenon for anyone who has experienced a news article written about a court proceeding with which one was familiar.
I can't remember what this was about, but I think there was something in the Federal case that the defence believed would enhance their position that this was all caused by agent provocateurs. However, it may also be being muddled up with Cox's wild accusations of an 8 man (IIRC) FBI assassination squad.
Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:I am aware that he was convicted of many things. A great many of those are strict liability crimes where the offense isn't really doing anything, or having any mental state, but rather owning a firearm or weapon of a variety that isn't allowed by some governmental entity, or not having the appropriate papers for it (arguably all dubious bases for criminalization under the Second Amendment, but your mileage may vary).
It very much does. This site has already said it won't hold a Second Amendment discussion so I'm saying no more except I don't consider buying grenades "isn't really doing anything".
Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:The other crimes seem to be ALL mental state and no actus reus.

This is particularly bothersome in light of a spate of supposed "foiled terror plot" news stories, which all had one thing in common: they were all instigated, planned, and made possible by informants, and likely there would have been nothing to foil but for the informants.
But that wasn't the case with Cox. He was the leader. He gave the instructions. He wanted the weapons, made the plans, needed the bodyguard against the non-existent hit squad. More importantly, he drew up the hit list and made the veiled threats against LE and the judge. (Again IIRC, I'd have to look all this up.)
I have to return to the comparison I have used in the past. If the 9/11 terrorists were stopped on 9/10 according to your thinking they hadn't committed any crime at that point.
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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby davids » Mon May 12, 2014 9:07 pm

ArthurWankspittle wrote:But that wasn't the case with Cox. He was the leader. He gave the instructions. He wanted the weapons, made the plans, needed the bodyguard against the non-existent hit squad. More importantly, he drew up the hit list and made the veiled threats against LE and the judge. (Again IIRC, I'd have to look all this up.)
I have to return to the comparison I have used in the past. If the 9/11 terrorists were stopped on 9/10 according to your thinking they hadn't committed any crime at that point.


Yes, I understand and yes he was convicted of that. If that is true and it was proven, then wonderful. But for the reasons stated, it is bothersome. Even if it didn't happen here there have been occasions of overreaching in other cases and that causes one to question this.

The 9-11 terrorists are perhaps a bad example as history has shown and proven they had a mental state and an intent to act. With Cox etc., that isn't really known. Other than playing army on weekends, collecting weapons, and pretending to be something he's not (the leader of some large powerful group) it doesn't seem like he actually did much. But it is tough to tell with him in part because of the huge gulf between what he says and reality, demonstrated on many occasions.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of him or his ideology. I've seen the youtube videos of his speeches including in court and all I have ever thought in response is "what an idiot."

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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby Famspear » Mon May 12, 2014 10:42 pm

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:.....A great many of those are strict liability crimes where the offense isn't really doing anything, or having any mental state, but rather owning a firearm or weapon of a variety that isn't allowed by some governmental entity, or not having the appropriate papers for it (arguably all dubious bases for criminalization under the Second Amendment, but your mileage may vary).

The other crimes seem to be ALL mental state and no actus reus.


I'm not sure what you're referring to here.

In the case of Schaeffer Cox, most of his convictions were under 26 USC 5861(d). As far as I know, a conviction under that provision requires proof of both a certain conduct and a mens rea.

As is the case in many federal statutes, the mens rea component for section 5861(d) is not stated in the statute itself. Under the case law, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant knew the FACTS that made his conduct illegal.

Granted: As in any normal criminal statute, the prosecution in a 5861(d) case does not have to prove that the defendant was aware that his conduct was illegal; generally, ignorance of the law is not a valid legal defense.

However, under section 5861(d), the government is required to "prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he [the defendant] knew the weapon he possessed had the characteristics that brought it within the statutory definition...." of the kind of weapon or device covered by the statute. See the United States Supreme Court decision in Staples v. United States, 511 U.S. 600 (1994). I haven't researched this, but I'm not aware of any Supreme Court decision that has overruled or limited the effect of the Staples decision. The mens rea requirement is "knowledge." Did the defendant knowingly engage in the conduct?

Perhaps Wes or others here who have much more extensive knowledge than I do on this matter can elaborate or correct me, if needed.

Footnote: Of course, as noted often in this forum, Federal tax crimes where the "willfulness" mens rea requirement exists are an exception to the general rule. In those cases, the ignorance of the law may be a valid legal defense, where the defendant had an actual good faith belief based on a misunderstanding caused by the complexity of the tax law.
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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby LPC » Mon May 12, 2014 11:12 pm

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:A great many of those are strict liability crimes where the offense isn't really doing anything, or having any mental state, but rather owning a firearm or weapon of a variety that isn't allowed by some governmental entity,....


First, I very much doubt that there is now, or ever has been, a "strict liability crime" for which someone can be found guilty without doing anything.

Second (and this may seem trivial), weapons offenses are usually based on possession and not "owning" or "ownership." Owning a gun in the abstract is not necessarily illegal if it's not in my possession, and having a gun in my possession may be illegal regardless of who "owns" it.

Third (and perhaps most important), the possession of something is "doing something." Unless you were born with a gun duck-taped to your hands, if you "possess" a gun then you bought it, picked it up, didn't put it down, or did *something* to acquire or maintain possession of that gun. Mere possession is therefore the "doing something" that is the "actus rea."

I'll leave "mens rea" and other issues to others.
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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby davids » Tue May 13, 2014 1:10 am

LPC wrote:
Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:A great many of those are strict liability crimes where the offense isn't really doing anything, or having any mental state, but rather owning a firearm or weapon of a variety that isn't allowed by some governmental entity,....


First, I very much doubt that there is now, or ever has been, a "strict liability crime" for which someone can be found guilty without doing anything.


A couple of things here - and I'm not trying to nitpick or be adverse - but you're combining a couple of concepts here. A strict liability crime is not one where one can be found guilty without doing anything. It is a crime where one can be found guilty without regard to mental state.

Historically, for there to be a crime, there must have been an act (actus reus) and a mental state (mens rea), both elements which must be proven by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt, along with any other elements. For example, manslaughter, the negligent (mens rea) killing of another person (actus reus). Most common law crimes (real common law, not make believe sovrun common law) have both a mens rea and actus reus element.

The phrase "strict liability crime" refers to a crime where there is no mens rea or mental state element. It is a legal term of art. Such crimes have been on the books for about the past 3 or 4 decades and are therefore a relatively recent occurrence. Some question their validity as without even a mental state of "knowingly" they lead to prosecution and incarceration of persons who simply don't have a criminal mindset and never intended to commit any crime - many gun laws for instance are strict liability - e.g., have a loaded weapon in a place where you're not supposed to and it doesn't matter if you knew, didn't know, intended to use, didn't intend to use, etc. The mens rea is not an element hence the phrase strict liability.

A bill was introduced in the Senate recently to outlaw such crimes. I don't give it much a chance of passing, but personally it sounds like a good idea to me. YMMV.

Here's a wikipedia article on the subject:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strict_liability_(criminal)#United_States

So, yes "strict liability crimes" exist, even though many think they shouldn't, and they don't involve crimes where "no one did anything" (actus reus) but rather crimes where there is no intent element that must be proven by the prosecution.

LPC wrote:Second (and this may seem trivial), weapons offenses are usually based on possession and not "owning" or "ownership." Owning a gun in the abstract is not necessarily illegal if it's not in my possession, and having a gun in my possession may be illegal regardless of who "owns" it.


Correct - but owning some guns or weapons is enough, under certain strict liability crime statutes, to be a crime. In my state, the wrong combination of where you have the gun, the ammunition, and circumstances can all combine to make your possession of an otherwise perfectly legal firearm illegal, regardless of mental state, knowledge of law, what you had for breakfast, etc.

LPC wrote:Third (and perhaps most important), the possession of something is "doing something." Unless you were born with a gun duck-taped to your hands, if you "possess" a gun then you bought it, picked it up, didn't put it down, or did *something* to acquire or maintain possession of that gun. Mere possession is therefore the "doing something" that is the "actus rea."

I'll leave "mens rea" and other issues to others.


If it is, there should still be a requirement that there be a mens rea. For example, if one is driving a car where a passenger left contraband, one may have possession of it, but unless that is "knowing" or greater mens rea, there is no criminal mindset and in my idea of a just legal system, should be no statute which would criminalize that.

Nothing I'm saying here other than my own editorializing and statements of preference are anything which I think any legally trained person would disagree with. I'm not engaging in any crazy theorizing here, rather, this is stuff right out of my criminal law courses in law school way back when.

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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby Famspear » Tue May 13, 2014 3:32 am

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:....A strict liability crime is not one where one can be found guilty without doing anything. It is a crime where one can be found guilty without regard to mental state....


I think that's a good working definition. Actually, the Wikipedia article you cited uses the term a bit differently. The article states that in criminal law, strict liability is "liability for which mens rea ... does not have to be proven in relation to one or more elements comprising the actus reus". I would argue that if there is any mens rea element at all, then the crime -- "strictly" speaking, if you will -- is not a "strict liability" crime.

Historically, for there to be a crime, there must have been an act (actus reus) and a mental state (mens rea), both elements which must be proven by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt, along with any other elements....


Yes, at common law that was generally the case.

....many gun laws for instance are strict liability - e.g., have a loaded weapon in a place where you're not supposed to and it doesn't matter if you knew, didn't know, intended to use, didn't intend to use, etc.


As I remember from law school (a long time ago), the closest thing we have to strict liability crimes in the United States would be certain crimes involving food safety, public health, etc., and (as has been pointed out) street and highway vehicle traffic laws.

In my state, the wrong combination of where you have the gun, the ammunition, and circumstances can all combine to make your possession of an otherwise perfectly legal firearm illegal, regardless of mental state, knowledge of law, what you had for breakfast, etc.


So, even if you weren't aware that you had the gun or the ammo, etc., you could be validly convicted?

....if one is driving a car where a passenger left contraband, one may have possession of it, but unless that is "knowing" or greater mens rea, there is no criminal mindset and in my idea of a just legal system, should be no statute which would criminalize that.


In Texas (my state), the statute expressly provides for a sort of "mens rea requirement" to the concept of "possession" -- and this is before you even start talking about the formal mens rea levels which are, in Texas: (1) intentional conduct; (2) knowing conduct, (3) reckless conduct, and (4) negligent conduct. The Texas statute says that for possession to be culpable at all, the possession must be "voluntary". And, with respect to "possession," the term "voluntary" is defined in terms of a level of "awareness":

Sec. 6.01. REQUIREMENT OF VOLUNTARY ACT OR OMISSION. (a) A person commits an offense only if he voluntarily engages in conduct, including an act, an omission, or possession.

(b) Possession is a voluntary act if the possessor knowingly obtains or receives the thing possessed or is aware of his control of the thing for a sufficient time to permit him to terminate his control.


---excerpt from Texas Penal Code section 6.01 (bolding added).
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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby LPC » Tue May 13, 2014 5:08 am

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:
LPC wrote:
Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:A great many of those are strict liability crimes where the offense isn't really doing anything, or having any mental state, but rather owning a firearm or weapon of a variety that isn't allowed by some governmental entity,....


First, I very much doubt that there is now, or ever has been, a "strict liability crime" for which someone can be found guilty without doing anything.


A couple of things here - and I'm not trying to nitpick or be adverse - but you're combining a couple of concepts here. A strict liability crime is not one where one can be found guilty without doing anything. It is a crime where one can be found guilty without regard to mental state.

But that's not what you *wrote*.

What you wrote is that "A great many of those are strict liability crimes where the offense isn't really doing anything..."

Which lead me to believe that you thought that there were "strict liability crimes" for which someone could be found guilty without actually doing anything.

If what you said was wrong, and there is no such "strict liability crime," that's fine. But you seem to be accusing me of "combining a couple of concepts" when all I was doing was responding to what you yourself had written.

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:Historically, for there to be a crime, there must have been an act (actus reus) and a mental state (mens rea), both elements which must be proven by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt, along with any other elements. For example, manslaughter, the negligent (mens rea) killing of another person (actus reus). Most common law crimes (real common law, not make believe sovrun common law) have both a mens rea and actus reus element.

The phrase "strict liability crime" refers to a crime where there is no mens rea or mental state element. It is a legal term of art. Such crimes have been on the books for about the past 3 or 4 decades and are therefore a relatively recent occurrence. Some question their validity as without even a mental state of "knowingly" they lead to prosecution and incarceration of persons who simply don't have a criminal mindset and never intended to commit any crime - many gun laws for instance are strict liability - e.g., have a loaded weapon in a place where you're not supposed to and it doesn't matter if you knew, didn't know, intended to use, didn't intend to use, etc. The mens rea is not an element hence the phrase strict liability.

A bill was introduced in the Senate recently to outlaw such crimes. I don't give it much a chance of passing, but personally it sounds like a good idea to me. YMMV.

Here's a wikipedia article on the subject:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strict_liability_(criminal)#United_States

So, yes "strict liability crimes" exist, even though many think they shouldn't, and they don't involve crimes where "no one did anything" (actus reus) but rather crimes where there is no intent element that must be proven by the prosecution.

All of which is, to coin a phrase, "bovine flatulence" that has very little to do with what you wrote and what I responded to.

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:
LPC wrote:Second (and this may seem trivial), weapons offenses are usually based on possession and not "owning" or "ownership." Owning a gun in the abstract is not necessarily illegal if it's not in my possession, and having a gun in my possession may be illegal regardless of who "owns" it.


Correct - but owning some guns or weapons is enough, under certain strict liability crime statutes, to be a crime.

Prove it. Provide evidence of a statute that makes it a crime for me to own a weapon that is located in Spain.

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:In my state, the wrong combination of where you have the gun,

That's my point exactly. "Where you own the gun" is "possession" and not "ownership."

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:
LPC wrote:Third (and perhaps most important), the possession of something is "doing something." Unless you were born with a gun duck-taped to your hands, if you "possess" a gun then you bought it, picked it up, didn't put it down, or did *something* to acquire or maintain possession of that gun. Mere possession is therefore the "doing something" that is the "actus rea."

I'll leave "mens rea" and other issues to others.


If it is, there should still be a requirement that there be a mens rea. For example, if one is driving a car where a passenger left contraband, one may have possession of it, but unless that is "knowing" or greater mens rea, there is no criminal mindset and in my idea of a just legal system, should be no statute which would criminalize that.

So you're saying that there are people who have been convicted of crimes because automatic weapons were discovered in the glove box of their car and they have no idea how they got there?

If not, then what the hell are you talking about?

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:Nothing I'm saying here other than my own editorializing and statements of preference are anything which I think any legally trained person would disagree with. I'm not engaging in any crazy theorizing here, rather, this is stuff right out of my criminal law courses in law school way back when.

Right. There are lots of criminal law courses that talk about the problems of people convicted of having automatic weapons in the glove boxes of their cars that they have no idea how they got there.
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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby Arthur Rubin » Tue May 13, 2014 4:07 pm

Bovine, Flatulating: wrote:If it is, there should still be a requirement that there be a mens rea. For example, if one is driving a car where a passenger left contraband, one may have possession of it, but unless that is "knowing" or greater mens rea, there is no criminal mindset and in my idea of a just legal system, should be no statute which would criminalize that.

So you're saying that there are people who have been convicted of crimes because automatic weapons were discovered in the glove box of their car and they have no idea how they got there?[/quote]
Well, yes, as far as anyone knows. There are people convicted of crimes because automatic weapons were discovered in the glove box of their car and they claim they have no idea how they got there. The matter isn't investigated because it isn't an element of the crime. (Well, maybe not the glove box. Under the back seat or in the trunk (boot), perhaps. A claim that you don't know that an automatic weapon is in the glove box is a bit absurd.)
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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby Famspear » Tue May 13, 2014 5:01 pm

Arthur Rubin wrote:...There are people convicted of crimes because automatic weapons were discovered in the glove box of their car and they claim they have no idea how they got there. The matter isn't investigated because it isn't an element of the crime....


The issue here is not where someone makes an absurd claim about lack of knowledge, a claim that is false -- a claim that the jury just doesn't believe.

I think the drift of the discussion is embodied in this kind of question: Is there a statute (federal or state) somewhere, where, literally, a person can be properly convicted of a crime in connection with possession of a gun, where even the prosecution agrees that the defendant was not aware in any way that the gun was "there."

I have yet to see anyone else in this thread cite a statute regarding a gun possession crime where there is literally NO MENS REA element that needs to be proved by the prosecution. There may be such a statute, but no one has cited it yet.
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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby Fmotlgroupie » Tue May 13, 2014 5:04 pm

In Canada a lot of regulatory offences (for example traffic offences) are absolute or strict liability but I don't think there are any criminal offences like that.

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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby Famspear » Tue May 13, 2014 5:10 pm

Arthur Rubin wrote:....A claim that you don't know that an automatic weapon is in the glove box is a bit absurd.)


You're saying that no one can put an automatic weapon in the glove box of your car without your being aware that the person has done that? Really? You can't think of any factual situation where that might occur?

I certainly can.

You loan your car to someone who you believe to be a friend, and unbeknownst to you he is trying to frame you. So, while he has your car, he puts a weapon in the glove box.

Now, frame-ups don't happen to most people (especially to people like you and me who are unlikely to have "friends" who would want to frame us), but these things probably do happen.
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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby JamesVincent » Tue May 13, 2014 5:44 pm

Famspear wrote:....I certainly can....


A buddy of mine repopped a car in New York. Got it back to Md and started cleaning it out. Found a fully loaded, fully automatic AK under the back seat along with a 9mm.
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Re: Schaeffer Cox trial underway in Alaska

Postby Dr. Caligari » Tue May 13, 2014 6:32 pm

You're saying that no one can put an automatic weapon in the glove box of your car without your being aware that the person has done that? Really? You can't think of any factual situation where that might occur?

I certainly can.

You loan your car to someone who you believe to be a friend, and unbeknownst to you he is trying to frame you. So, while he has your car, he puts a weapon in the glove box.


That is not an example of a strict liability crime; the jury will be instructed that the defendant is not guilty if he didn't know the gun was in the glove box.

There are some strict liability crimes in the U.S. Code, but none, so far as I know, involving guns. For example, if you manufacture and sell food in interstate commerce, you are guilty of a crime if that food is adulterated when it leaves your factory, without any proof needed that you knew of the adulteration. The theory is that, if you are in the food business, you had better do everything you can to make sure that the food leaving your factory is safe.
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