Have you hear d the one about the granny arrested for not trimming her hedges to a bureaucrat’s satisfaction and who was nearly thrown into jail (even though she was cancer-ridden)?
Or how about a young girl hauled off to jail for eating a French fry?
Or the one about the high school student’s graduation and future nearly wrecked by the fact that a blunt dinner knife was found in her car? (She was actually charged with felony weapons possession and sent to jail).
No, these are not from the opening monologue of the Jay Leno show, but rather real, true accounts of the law trying to invade and ruin the lives of citizens much like you.
Many such appalling cases are profiled in One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty (The Heritage Foundation, 2010, $14.95, paperback), edited by Paul Rosenzweig and Brian W. Walsh.
Covered in the book are examples of average Americans doing their best to be respectable, law-abiding citizens and whom, despite their best effort, ran afoul of our nation’s ever-expanding criminal legal system. Businessmen and women who had their lives and livelihoods ruined, only in many cases to be eventually exonerated – exonerated but broke and broken.
I found the introduction by former Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III, particularly compelling.
Writes Meese: “The average American, the average business person, and the average corporation have little or no hope of knowing all of the now thousands of criminal law statutes—and yes, tens of thousands of criminal-law regulations—by which they must abide in order to remain on the right side of the law.”
The book is not merely “a little shop of horrors”—there is call-to-action in its pages.
You’ll find specifics on ways to begin the process of paring back our legal codes. As Rep. Louis Gohmert (R.-Tex.) put it in his jacket endorsement of One Nation Under Arrest: “Read this book, contact your attorney, and then demand that your congressman help make this once again the land of the free and the home of people who have reason to be brave.”