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2020-09-23 11:28 by Karl Denninger
in Politics , 232 references Ignore this thread
Sorry, That's Not Illegal
[Comments enabled]

Florida amended its Constitution to allow felons to vote if they had completed all aspects of their sentence.  I resided in the state at the time and voted for that amendment, which passed.  Why?  Because our justice system is predicated on the premise that once you fulfill all aspects of your sentence, whatever they are, it's over.  You incurred a debt by committing a crime, you paid it, it's done.  Period.

If the penalty is insufficient to deter a second offense or protect the public the problem lies in the sentence itself, not some retroactive punitive measure. Fix the problem. We have a revolving door justice system for many offenses on purpose and instead of holding the proper people to account we wave our arms and scream.  Nope.

Well, the ACLU and others didn't like the fact that fines and restitution had to be paid (they're part of the sentence!) and sued.  They got a court to overturn that.  This was illegitimate and should have gotten people locked up instantly, or the entire amendment thrown out.  A higher court figured it out before a bunch of someones had to be fed to sharks and reversed.

This pissed off the Democrats of course, who expected former felons to vote for them.

So Bloomberg, and now others, have decided to go down a different road.  They're paying the fines.

This has prompted howls of "illegal vote-buying" by Matt Gaetz and others.  Which is a flat-out lie.

Florida has a rather explicit statute on this and it's a good law.  It states:

104.012 Consideration for registration; interference with registration; soliciting registrations for compensation; alteration of registration application.—(1) Any person who gives anything of value that is redeemable in cash to any person in consideration for his or her becoming a registered voter commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. This section shall not be interpreted, however, to exclude such services as transportation to the place of registration or baby-sitting in connection with the absence of an elector from home for registering.

(2) A person who by bribery, menace, threat, or other corruption, directly or indirectly, influences, deceives, or deters or attempts to influence, deceive, or deter any person in the free exercise of that person’s right to register to vote at any time, upon the first conviction, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, and, upon any subsequent conviction, commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(3) A person may not solicit or pay another person to solicit voter registrations for compensation that is based upon the number of registrations obtained. A person who violates the provisions of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

There is no compensation being given ("anything of value redeemable for cash") nor any threat, bribery or deception, nor are they paying people on a "per-registration" basis.

That paying someone's fine allows them to vote where they otherwise could not is not prohibited. There is no prohibition on paying someone else's fine or restitution; in fact that happens all the time.  Family members often pay someone's fine who doesn't have the money in various instances; witness someone who gets busted for DUI and is bailed out both by money and, oh, maybe influence of their Dad?  We don't know anyone that might apply to, do we?

There has to be direct consideration in exchange for the action.  There isn't.  That paying off felons' fines they can't cover leave them able to register to vote and then exercise their franchise is immaterial.  The statute is quite-clear; I cannot pay you $50 to fill out the form and register.  That's a felony.  But if you're prohibited from registering because you owe a $5,000 fine for some previous criminal offense and I pay the fine what you choose to do after that is not under my control.

The law is clear on this folks.  Frankly, this is an extraordinarily expensive operation for people like Bloomberg; fines and restitution in felony cases where the person who was convicted cannot pay are typically quite large.  If you got busted for felony theft, for example, it's not uncommon for there to be a punitive fine and restitution in the amount of whatever you stole!  If the fine is small it's not hard to pay, especially over many years' time.  But if it's large, well, that's why it doesn't get paid.

So Gaetz, shut the **** up.  You're wrong on this and you know it.  The bottom line is that if Bloomberg wants to blow millions of dollars (or more) paying someone else's fines, so what?  That's a social good. The fines and restitution are real money owed to real people.  Fines and restitution are typically imposed not just as a punitive measure but as cost recovery for both the jurisdiction that had to prosecute you and to make whole the person you screwed.  They're a legitimate part of the judicial process and compliance isn't about hurting the person convicted, it is about making whole the person(s) who got screwed in the first place as a result of the criminal act, including all the taxpayers who had to pay for the cops, jail, judges and juries.

There's no crime here -- this is nothing more than a complaint by Gaetz because he believes that those who were convicted of felonies will overwhelmingly vote Democrat.  Well, they probably will -- but that they will doesn't make a bit of difference when it comes to the law, as it's not illegal to be Democrat.

It might be stupid to vote for a geriatric old coot who has had two strokes and can't even read a teleprompter, but it's not illegal.

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Aaugusti
Posts: 24
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Michigan
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I wonder if the government will go after the recipients of the "gift" for taxes due if the amount of the fine is over the gift tax.
Greenacr
Posts: 130
Incept: 2016-03-15

Northern Ohio
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As usual Karl you are dead on in your analysis.

In the end, even if some of these folks vote (and they may or may not) it's probably a wash. The Repubs are in part, just making it an issue to show where the Democraps really are so that they hope it will motivate their base mor

I am not convinced that these low lifes are going to actually register then actually vote.
Tickerguy
Posts: 168086
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A True American Patriot!
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@Aaugusti -- Probably. But the threshold is $14k for this year ($15k for next); that's pretty high. I wouldn't be even slightly surprised if most of these fines are in the many-thousand range (if you fine someone $2k they can probably pay it, but it may take them a few years if they're a minimum-wage worker) but I also bet most of them are under the $14k threshold.

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I don't give a flying **** if you're offended.

Redjack
Posts: 439
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Iowa
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Aaugusti

My first thought also.
Considering forgiving a loan (or having another party pay it off) is considered "income" by the state of Iowa and the Fedgov, I would bet the IRS is about the slap some more fines on top of the felony fines.

Which in a way will be a very instructive lesson.

I personally disagree with what Bloomberg is doing, but it is his money and his choice. I also don't like excessive chemicals on the lawn and using back up cameras. Which effects no one buy my own choices.
Tickerguy
Posts: 168086
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@Redjack - It will be considered a gift (because it is) and thus only taxable beyond $14,000. Which I bet most are not, as I noted above.

Not that it matters; this is damned expensive for Bloomberg and others doing it, and since the entire point up front is to cover the costs the criminal imposed on others, who gives a **** -- if you're willing to pony up someone else's fine then have at it.

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Aquapura
Posts: 1356
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GeorgeFloyd-ville
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Yes Sir. If Mikey Bloomberg wants to******his money away on paying other peoples fines or a pathetic attempt at running for president...well, that's his right.

What I think the opposition should do is turn this around on the Democrats. I'm reminded of Bush Sr.'s tv ad in 1988 with the revolving door on the prison. That put a nail in the coffin of the Dukakis' campaign. In 2020 we have the Democrats admitting through their actions that convicted felons are their voting bloc. Get that message out there. I doubt it will be received well in the heartland, let alone in the Sunshine State
Jack_crabb
Posts: 9100
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Peoples' Republik of Maryland
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@Aquapura - has one paid their debt to society upon completion of their sentence or do they go through the rest of their life as felons?

Besides, anyone with half a brain can see that Demonrats and most Rethgulicans are criminal, lying, thieving bastards.

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Molon Labe
Where is Henry Bowman when you need him?
How many are willing to pledge this? We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor
Wis/min
Posts: 5934
Incept: 2009-08-14
A True American Patriot!
On the border
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FYI Karl I get this warning on your twitter account.

Caution: This account is temporarily restricted
Youre seeing this warning because there has been some unusual activity from this account. Do you still want to view it?
Tickerguy
Posts: 168086
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They just flagged me as a potential robot but I passed their validation so.... Not sure WHAT is going on now.

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Jack_crabb
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Peoples' Republik of Maryland
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**** Jackoff Dorsey with your rusty chainsaw. On general principle.

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Molon Labe
Where is Henry Bowman when you need him?
How many are willing to pledge this? We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor
M1919a2
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Washington
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@Ticker Guy

We all know what's going on - Naivete is Strong in this nation's people!
Tickerguy
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Yep.... rather obvious an intentional blackball, with no way to know what's happening and no "expiration date" either that I'm aware of.

And I can't DM Twitter or Twitter Support.

So folks.... how about you start raising Hell on my behalf? Thanks!

Oh and while you're at it, please follow @SDPTraveler (my kid's account) and retweet and like her stuff. Since I can't.

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Aquapura
Posts: 1356
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GeorgeFloyd-ville
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@Jack Crabb - I agree once ones debt to society is paid they shouldn't be considered felons or criminals. Unfortunately that's not how reality works...basically black balls a lot of people and probably why there is a lot of repeat offenders but that's a different discussion.

I'm just saying how I'd play it if I were Trump or Matt Gaetz. Both parties are criminal for sure. Now given Bloomberg's recent successes I think Biden should be very scared about this stunt as Bloomie hasn't been batting 1000.
Jack_crabb
Posts: 9100
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Peoples' Republik of Maryland
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We don't disagree then, Aquapura.

Quote:
Unfortunately that's not how reality works...

Way too true, way too often, about way too many things.

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Molon Labe
Where is Henry Bowman when you need him?
How many are willing to pledge this? We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor
Redjack
Posts: 439
Incept: 2018-01-29

Iowa
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I have often thought that if a felon is to dangers to be allowed to do X once freed, why are they freed?

I have hired ex cons, some who have been great workers. Those guys realized they made a major mistake, and worked to correct it. Hell, I had one guy on my team that served time for beating his attempted killer to death (his ex wife hired some hillbilly to kill him. The judge the sentenced my guy was the same lady who later gave 3/4ths of his property to the exwife that tried to kill him!).

But that was 20 years ago. Now, there is no way my insurance company would allow me to hire anyone with a DUI on their record, let a lone a major felony.
Jack_crabb
Posts: 9100
Incept: 2010-06-25

Peoples' Republik of Maryland
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@Redjack - yeah, **** insurance companies [and banks], too.

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Molon Labe
Where is Henry Bowman when you need him?
How many are willing to pledge this? We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor
Asimov
Posts: 119611
Incept: 2007-08-26

East Tennessee
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Social media without controls = 4 chan.

Social media with controls = facebook/twitter.

Isn't there a happy medium somehow?

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It's justifiably immoral to deal morally with an immoral entity.

Festina lente.
Redjack
Posts: 439
Incept: 2018-01-29

Iowa
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Jack,

I had to not hire a great candidate for something he had no control of, no consequences of, and only tangentially connected to. It wasn't even anything legal related, but a accident that occurred under the candidate's watch.

So the candidate lost on a job, I lost a good candidate and have to cover for more OT, and the insurance company raised my d$%n rates. I would punt them, but they are required for operation.

Reformedhippy
Posts: 14
Incept: 2020-07-01

Rural, OK
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If anything I think this move proves to incentivize voting Republican. If the Dems are so threatened as to pay these fines, the way to keep them paying is to keep them losing.
Jack_crabb
Posts: 9100
Incept: 2010-06-25

Peoples' Republik of Maryland
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My little construction company has gotten exponentially more ridiculous with insurance, workmens' comp, banking rules, and other misc requirements since we started in 2000.

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Molon Labe
Where is Henry Bowman when you need him?
How many are willing to pledge this? We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor
Dontezuma
Posts: 34
Incept: 2009-09-10

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I'm pretty sure the memo that was leaked referenced a strategy of paying fines that were $1,500 or less. Yes, a very expensive strategy, but they limited the amount they were willing to shell out.

So, wait, is your Twitter account blocked now?
Mangymutt
Posts: 1736
Incept: 2015-05-03

Vancouver WA
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Jack_Crabb -
Quote:
My little construction company has gotten exponentially more ridiculous with insurance, workmens' comp, banking rules, and other misc requirements since we started in 2000.


Jack - Take a trip to Mexico, learn to say "No Hablo Inglese", "Que?", "Donde esta la banjo". Sneak back across the boarder into the U.S by walking around the new wall, find the nearest welfare office, apply for welfare, apply for and receive a minority owned business loan. Start a small construction company, hire more illegals like yourself, do not pay insurance, workers comp, or unemployment insurance, oh hells bells don't pay ANY taxes either.

If any state official comes to ask you questions state: No Hablo Inglese

If they as you for your papers say: Que?

If they want you to go with them ask: Doned Esta La banjo and when they show you were it is....Start RUNNING and do not stop.

Go back to Mexico and live the high life.

Oh you might also want to work on your tan.

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"It's just a shot" - Gates
Tripseven
Posts: 171
Incept: 2012-04-26

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Does this restore the felon's 2A rights?

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Please God, take it all away...we don't deserve what we have!

"I find medicine is the best of all trades, because whether you do any good or not, you still get your money." -Moliere "A Physician in Spite of Himself" 1664
Happyapricot
Posts: 20
Incept: 2019-07-06

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I agree with you that after a felon serves their time, they should be able to vote again. However, do you not think there is maybe a little smoke here? Would it be something to do with mail in votes. Some 32,000 votes that the democrats will hold until the end of the election as a trump card to play on Trump? I know it is just wild speculation. I do not see what else he would have to gain other than sticking it to Trump.
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