Does the government understand it’s own laws? If you ask the elected officials who are drafting the laws, they may tell you to wait until the bill has passed to find out what’s in it. Basically, not even the people drafting our laws understand them, and things get no better once a law has passed. Ask three government officials a question, and you’re likely to get three different answers. Even if you arrive at a reasonably correct answer, that law may conflict with several other laws. For example, when We The People decided to legalize marijuana in several states, our federal government did not agree with that decision. After all, marijuana is still a Schedule 1 narcotic under federal law. So, do you think the federal government might respect the state electorate’s decision? Of course not. Like some two year old throwing a tantrum, the feds harass legal marijuana retailers by threatening money laundering charges against any bank that accepts currency derived from the sale of an illegal narcotic. If you want to legally buy weed, you’re going to have to pay in cash. Coincidentally, this is the way weed transactions have gone down while the substance was illegal, so I guess some things never change.
The federal government is not happy with certain aspects of Florida’s criminal justice system. Namely, they don’t like the fact that Florida permits citizens to admit to a crime–yet not be found guilty of it. We call this a “withhold of adjudication”, and here’s how it works. Say you have stolen a car, and you confess to such. In court, the guilty plea sounds something like this: “Yes Your Honor, I stole that car, I plead guilty to the crime of Grand Theft Auto”. In Florida, the judge may respond “I am not going to find you guilty of stealing the car, this court will withhold adjudication, you will not be a convicted felon”. Unfortunately, the federal government has never approved of such technicalities, and the feds will treat this plea as a conviction. To see how this issue was recently resolved, let’s take a look at the case of Clarke v. United States of America, 2016 Fla. LEXIS 277 (Fla. 2016). Continue Reading