If dictatorships need gulags, where defendants barred from posting bond are held in pre-trial solitary and brutalized, they also depend on secret courts.
Writing at Richard Viguerie's Conservative HQ George Rasley makes the unprecedented horror of the star chamber evident in a sharp discussion in "The Murder of Ashli Babbit."
In an act truly unprecedented in American law and history, after a secret process in which no public testimony was taken and no media were allowed in to report on the proceedings, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice announced the government will not pursue criminal charges against the U.S. Capitol Police officer involved in the fatal shooting of 35-year-old Air Force veteran and Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt.
We say unprecedented because over the long course of American history – from the pre-Revolution Boston Massacre in 1770 to the Kent State shootings in 1970 – the armed authorities deployed in this country have always had their actions publicly reviewed and been held accountable for shooting into unarmed crowds.
But today, we know more about the participants and defendants in the Boston Massacre than we know about who killed Ashli Babbitt and what their justification was for shooting into an unarmed crowd.
We know that Captain Thomas Preston was the officer in charge of the British detail that killed Crispus Attucks, Samuel Gray, James Caldwell, Samuel Maverick and Patrick Carr. And we also know that Preston and his men were immediately arrested and spent months in jail before they were tried for murder and the lesser included charge of manslaughter.
Patriot firebrand and later President John Adams defended the British soldiers because he thought it was important that they have a fair trial – all but two were acquitted of all charges, with two being found guilty of manslaughter.
In 1970, after a detachment of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students during an anti-Vietnam war protest at Kent State University numerous public investigatory commissions and court trials followed, during which members of the Ohio National Guard testified that they felt the need to discharge their weapons because they feared for their lives.
A grand jury indicted five guardsmen on felony charges -- Lawrence Shafer, 28, and James McGee, 28, both of Ravenna, Ohio; James Pierce, 30, of Amelia Island, Florida.; William Perkins, 38 of Canton, Ohio; and Ralph Zoller, 27, of Mantua, Ohio. Barry Morris, 30, of Kent, Ohio; Leon Smith, 27, of Beach City, Ohio; and Matthew McManus, 28, of West Salem, Ohio, were indicted on misdemeanor charges. The guardsmen claimed to have fired in self-defense, testimony that was generally accepted by the criminal justice system.
On November 8, 1974, U.S. District Judge Frank J. Battisti dismissed civil rights charges against all of the accused on the basis that the prosecution's case did not warrant a trial. However, in dismissing the case Judge Battisti said, “It is vital that state and National Guard officials not regard this decision as authorizing or approving the use of force against demonstrators, whatever the occasion of the issue involved," Battisti said in his opinion. "Such use of force is, and was, deplorable.”
The Department of Justice decision not to pursue charges against the Capitol Police officer who killed Ashli Babbitt hinged on much the same plea as did the decisions in the Kent State killings and indeed the Boston Massacre trial findings:
The focus of the criminal investigation was to determine whether federal prosecutors could prove that the officer violated any federal laws, concentrating on the possible application of 18 U.S.C. § 242, a federal criminal civil rights statute. In order to establish a violation of this statute, prosecutors must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officer acted willfully to deprive Ms. Babbitt of a right protected by the Constitution or other law, here the Fourth Amendment right not to be subjected to an unreasonable seizure. Prosecutors would have to prove not only that the officer used force that was constitutionally unreasonable, but that the officer did so “willfully,” which the Supreme Court has interpreted to mean that the officer acted with a bad purpose to disregard the law. As this requirement has been interpreted by the courts, evidence that an officer acted out of fear, mistake, panic, misperception, negligence, or even poor judgment cannot establish the high level of intent required under Section 242.
But those findings were made after public trials and inquests during which the killers were required to justify their actions.
Having successfully seized the presidency from the People, the regime justifies nothing.