Bottom line: Neither ignorance nor innocent intent are stay-out-of-jail cards for ordinary folks.
Let’s connect two articles from last week.
The first is a legal opinion from The Hill:
It’s relatively short and direct – well worth reading.
The essence of the legally supported conclusion:
In letting Hillary off-the-hook, Comey revived two old, tenuous legal defenses: “ignorance of the law” and “no direct evidence of criminal intent”.
Every kid is taught that ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse, right?
And, courts have regularly dismissed the need for prosecutors to prove “willfulness”.
If you did it, you did it
Old adage: Do the crime, do the time (or pay the fine).
But, since Comey’s leniency rested on ignorance and willfulness (“no direct evidence of criminal intent”), those defenses are making a comeback.
Here’s a specific case …..
According to US News & World Report …
A former Navy machinist mate was prosecuted for unlawfully retaining national defense information after taking six cell phone photos inside the USS Alexandria.
The sailor said that the pics — were for just for the family photo album – a record of what he did in the Navy.
He had a clean record and there was no insulation of criminal intent, espionage or other.
After-the-fact, the photos were deemed “confidential,” the lowest level for classification.
Prosecutors threw the book at him and asked for 6 years behind bars.
The sailor’s attorneys pleaded for probation in light of authorities deciding not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information on a private email server as secretary of state.
His attorneys argued that Clinton had been “engaging in acts similar ” with information of much higher classification.
So, it would be “unjust and unfair for the sailor to receive any sentence other than probation for a crime those more powerful than him will likely avoid”
But, U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill sentenced the sailor to one year in prison and a $100 fine, along with six months home confinement, 100 hours of community service and a ban on owning guns.
Morale of the story: Ignorance of the law and innocent intent still don’t work for ordinary folks … only for a very narrow protected class.
I hope that Comey read these articles and is feeling a bit ashamed …