Why I Oppose the New Mexico Denial of Bail Measure, by Freddie Joe Nichols III

Why I Oppose the New Mexico Denial of Bail Measure

Coming up on the ballot on November 8th is a ballot measure called, New Mexico Denial of Bail Measure, Constitutional Amendment 1. The measure’s goal is to allow police time to investigate dangerous crimes while keeping the defendant locked up by denying them bail. It definitely sounds good at face value, “to protect community safety.”

To be fair, the measure attempts to fix a few issues that we have currently like removing the portion that requires people who were previously convicted of 2 or more felonies to automatically be denied bail of 60 days after incarceration if they are accused of another crime, and also ensuring that non-violent offenders can be released even if they don’t have the financial means to post bail. These changes would definitely be great wins in terms of due process, but there’s more.

The measure removes the limit on how long the state can deny an individual bail. So, if a judge deems someone who has been accused of a crime to be a “danger” they can deny them bail indefinitely. Let me say that a different way. If someone is accused of a crime and hasn’t had a trial to prove their innocence or guilt, a judge can still decide thatthey are dangerous and keep them locked up forever. The idea that a judge, or any state agent for that matter, can decide to keep an individual imprisoned forever just because they think that individual is dangerous is a major violation of due process. I’m sure during the American Revolution, King George III would have claimed all of our Founding Fathers were dangerous and imprisoned them forever if he were given the chance.

This measure, as with most measures, has some good and some bad. In my opinion the bad outweighs the good, and we will have better opportunities to address these issues going forward. Anytime I see “to protect community safety” at the beginning of a bill I start looking for the rights they are trying to infringe on this time. I can’t in good conscience vote for something that has the potential to allow the state to indefinitely detain a person who has not been tried by a jury of his / her peers and convicted of a crime. I will be opposing New Mexico Denial of Bail Measure, and I encourage each of you to do the same.

In Liberty,
Freddie “Joe” Nichols III
Candidate for NM State Representative District 54


FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

  1. Nichols’ campaign site
  2. Nichols’ candidate Facebook page

Copyright © 2016 Libertarian Party of New Mexico, Libertarian Party of Chaves County, New Mexico, Libertarian Party of Eddy County, New Mexico, Libertarian Party of Otero County, New Mexico, and Freddie Joe Nichols III. All rights reserved.

[Garrison Center] Arbitration Isn’t The Problem

Arbitration Isn’t The Problem

November 5, 2015 — Thomas L. Knapp

Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Robert Gebeloff of the New York Times claim to have discovered “a far-reaching power play orchestrated by American corporations” (“Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice,” October 31[1]). They’re missing the forest for the trees. Arbitration is not the problem.

Corporate preference for private arbitration instead of litigation in government courts is nothing new. The twist in the Times expose is that arbitration clauses have evolved to make it more difficult for dissatisfied customers to band together and bring particular types of suits: “Class actions” in which numerous complaints are bundled together, reducing the plaintiffs’ costs and resulting in huge potential aggregated damage awards.

In recent years, arbitration clauses have begun specifying individual arbitration. Corporate attorneys know that most customers won’t spend hundreds or thousands of dollars arbitrating $10 complaints. If the complaints can’t be aggregated, they’re not worth pursuing from a financial standpoint. A win for the corporations, a loss for consumers whose complaints don’t pass the financial test.

What Silver-Greenberg and Gebeloff leave out are two important consumer tools: Information and choice.

Their story opens with reference to “a clause that most customers probably miss” on “page 5 of a credit card contract.”

The reason most customers probably miss that clause is that most customers don’t bother to read contracts pertaining to small-money matters, or have them reviewed by attorneys, before signing them. That’s a choice. So is the decision to sign something one hasn’t read.

The Times piece quotes F. Paul Bland Jr. of Public Justice, a “national consumer advocate group.” Bland claims that “[c]orporations are allowed to strip people of their constitutional right to go to court.” No, people are allowed to voluntarily waive their right to go to court, in return for valuable considerations. If they do so from voluntary ignorance, that’s their fault and no one else’s.

It’s not that complicated:

If you don’t want to commit to arbitration in general, or to individual arbitration in particular, don’t sign contracts committing yourself to those things.

If you consider reading and understanding a contract before you sign it to be too much work, don’t complain when your decision to remain ignorant comes back to bite you.

If you really, really want something, but the only way to get it is to accept an arbitration clause, then make your choice. Do without that thing or to accept the clause. Nobody owes you a smart phone or a credit card or whatever. Take the deal or don’t take the deal. Don’t blame arbitration itself, which is as good in some cases, and better in most, than resort to government courts. Remember, it was government that made the corporations so powerful in the first place.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

  1. http://nytimes.com/2015/11/01/business/dealbook/arbitration-everywhere-stacking-the-deck-of-justice.html

NOTES

  1. Approximate reading level – 12.3
  2. Original article

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