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The US 'snitch' system of justice


seabhcan

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In the US, sentences are mandatory of many crimes. This means if the prosecutor accuses you of a crime carrying 25 years, the judge cannot take any other factors into account - he must jail you for 25 years.

The only 'out' is to help incriminate other people. If a police officer forces or tricks someone into committing a crime, thats entrapment and the case is thrown out. If the police officer forces someone else to entrap a 3rd person - thats ok.

The story of John Horner is very interesting. He was talked into sharing prescription drugs with a friend who couldn't afford them - and was then arrested for drug dealing. The friend had, it turned out, been arrested and threatened with 25 years unless he incriminated others. John was offered the same deal. Find 5 more people who can be arrested for drugs offences and see your sentence reduced.

BBC News - The trouble with using police informants in the US

Under the deal he signed with prosecutors, he agreed to plead guilty. But if he helped make prosecutable cases against five other people on drug-trafficking charges - charges carrying 25-year minimum terms - his own sentence could be reduced from 25 years to 10.

That choice - put crudely, do the time or snitch - is one faced by thousands of Americans every year.
Then there is the case of 23 year old Rachel Hoffman who was arrested, threatened with 5 years in jail, and then sent out on the street with a wire and no training and a mission to track down drug dealers. She was dead a few hours later - murdered by a drug dealer who quickly found the wire.

Mad system - hopefully it will never arrive on these shores. But it explains part of how the US manages to jail 1% of its entire population.
 


Kevin Parlon

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I read the link. What a horrible and sad story. I think perhaps where you have the likes of sherrifs being elected rather than appointed and the sherrif reporting to a mayor, an intense degree of populism is brought into things and there is a tendency to police by numbers. Like a "Todd Stelzer Snr as sherrif increased convictions for drug trafficking by 18% last year!" type of environment.

Europe sentences too lightly IMO. The States do it too heavily. I think Australia gets it about right (though we have police corruption issues here too).
 

james5001

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If they really wanted to stop the illegal drugs trade, they'd go after the places where the big money goes through.

''According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the
money produced by drug trafficking throughout the world reached $460 billion in
1993, of which the U.S. received $260 billion, which is circulated through its financial system, as contraband, and through other ways. Colombia, as a producer-exporter, gets only $5 to $7 billion, or 2 to 3% of what remains in the U.S. The big business is, therefore, in that country.''
Apolinar Biaz-Callejas, "Violence in Colombia, its History," Latin America News Update (Chicago, IL), Vol. 10, No. 12, December 1994, pp. 19-20
 

james5001

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Europe sentences too lightly IMO. The States do it too heavily. I think Australia gets it about right (though we have police corruption issues here too).
Prevention is better than cure.
 

james5001

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And if they really wanted to reduce the reoffending rate they wouldn't have removed the Pell grants.
Think if you were in that situation.
Young black male living in the ghetto, with little to no solid employment opportunity, reduced education grants to help you and welfare from the government which isn't enough. What else are they gonna do but sell drugs?
 

'orebel

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I read the link. What a horrible and sad story. I think perhaps where you have the likes of sherrifs being elected rather than appointed and the sherrif reporting to a mayor, an intense degree of populism is brought into things and there is a tendency to police by numbers. Like a "Todd Stelzer Snr as sherrif increased convictions for drug trafficking by 18% last year!" type of environment.

Europe sentences too lightly IMO. The States do it too heavily. I think Australia gets it about right (though we have police corruption issues here too).
It's not just at county or state level. The feds do it too.
I remember seeing a documentary about a young Deadhead who was approached by some undercover feds, who knew he liked to dose, to sell them some acid at a Grateful Dead show. He told them he wasn't a dealer and couldn't help them. He was approached by them again at the next stop (Deadheads tended to follow the band from one venue to the next for as many shows as they could afford throughout a tour) and again told them he wasn't a dealer and couldn't help them.
He was approached by the same guys 5 or 6 times at different shows in different cities with the same result. The last time he was approached his VW van had broken down and he was stranded so he told the guys he might be able to sort something. Bear in mind that LSD was the drug of choice at Dead shows and was readily available to anyone in the know.
He organised someone to get him a batch and met the guys in a motel room whereupon he was promptly busted and received the 10 year mandatory minimum in a federal penitentiary.
Scary stuff as at the time I had been to see a bunch of Dead shows and had actually met this guy. He used to sell grilled cheese sandwiches from the back of his camper after the show for gas money to the next gig.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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If they really wanted to stop the illegal drugs trade, they'd go after the places where the big money goes through.

''According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the
money produced by drug trafficking throughout the world reached $460 billion in
1993, of which the U.S. received $260 billion, which is circulated through its financial system, as contraband, and through other ways. Colombia, as a producer-exporter, gets only $5 to $7 billion, or 2 to 3% of what remains in the U.S. The big business is, therefore, in that country.''
Apolinar Biaz-Callejas, "Violence in Colombia, its History," Latin America News Update (Chicago, IL), Vol. 10, No. 12, December 1994, pp. 19-20
It is the one that I always wonder is where all that drug money gets laundered. Even if the values of what is claimed to be traded are even 40% of what it is estimated* to be it is still a hell of a lot of money requiring laundering.

*Note I never pay a lot of heed to values estimated by law enforcement agencies as they would tend to ignore prudence and go for the higher valuation. This isn't an indictment of these law enforcement agencies, it is merely human nature to pick the highest possible figure when saying "look how well I did" when making this seizure of drugs.
 

james5001

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It is the one that I always wonder is where all that drug money gets laundered. Even if the values of what is claimed to be traded are even 40% of what it is estimated* to be it is still a hell of a lot of money requiring laundering.

*Note I never pay a lot of heed to values estimated by law enforcement agencies as they would tend to ignore prudence and go for the higher valuation. This isn't an indictment of these law enforcement agencies, it is merely human nature to pick the highest possible figure when saying "look how well I did" when making this seizure of drugs.
Regarding the Note part you're right. But this is from the OECD.
Regarding your bold point- That's the key point. The more money one makes the harder it is to launder. If you ever watched breaking bad it shows that. Massive institutions are laundering this money. Household names.

Is the system still in place where banks have to inform the FEDS if a cash deposit of more than $10,000 dollars is made? According to what I have read, the Republicans de-regulated this system in the 80's (so much for the drugs war), but was it ever re-introduced?
 

nationalsday

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Nov 1, 2011
Messages
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Oh I thought that we also had a State sponsored system of secret snitching on social welfare "cheats" (in the moral parlance of the touts ) in this country too - what's the official figure now something like 28,000 of the scum living amongst us
 

ocianain

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Feb 24, 2013
Messages
2,299
In the US, sentences are mandatory of many crimes. This means if the prosecutor accuses you of a crime carrying 25 years, the judge cannot take any other factors into account - he must jail you for 25 years.

The only 'out' is to help incriminate other people. If a police officer forces or tricks someone into committing a crime, thats entrapment and the case is thrown out. If the police officer forces someone else to entrap a 3rd person - thats ok.

The story of John Horner is very interesting. He was talked into sharing prescription drugs with a friend who couldn't afford them - and was then arrested for drug dealing. The friend had, it turned out, been arrested and threatened with 25 years unless he incriminated others. John was offered the same deal. Find 5 more people who can be arrested for drugs offences and see your sentence reduced.

BBC News - The trouble with using police informants in the US



Then there is the case of 23 year old Rachel Hoffman who was arrested, threatened with 5 years in jail, and then sent out on the street with a wire and no training and a mission to track down drug dealers. She was dead a few hours later - murdered by a drug dealer who quickly found the wire.

Mad system - hopefully it will never arrive on these shores. But it explains part of how the US manages to jail 1% of its entire population.
That's why if called to jury duty, I go gladly, and I will not convict for minor offences, minor drug offence? You're walking. Americans need to know about the jury system and its power, it is the last defense against tyranny.

| Fully Informed Jury Association
 

'orebel

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Nov 13, 2009
Messages
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Regarding the Note part you're right. But this is from the OECD.
Regarding your bold point- That's the key point. The more money one makes the harder it is to launder. If you ever watched breaking bad it shows that. Massive institutions are laundering this money. Household names.

Is the system still in place where banks have to inform the FEDS if a cash deposit of more than $10,000 dollars is made? According to what I have read, the Republicans de-regulated this system in the 80's (so much for the drugs war), but was it ever re-introduced?
I'd imagine the majority of the money is spread very widely through an enormous number of dealers and the big money makers who are smart will invest in businesses with which to legitimize their takings. As long as they pay their taxes on their 'legitimate earnings' and keep themselves at arms length from the actual trade they'll remain below the radar for along time.
It's the flash Harrys and the greedy who get caught.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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I'd imagine the majority of the money is spread very widely through an enormous number of dealers and the big money makers who are smart will invest in businesses with which to legitimize their takings. As long as they pay their taxes on their 'legitimate earnings' and keep themselves at arms length from the actual trade they'll remain below the radar for along time.
It's the flash Harrys and the greedy who get caught.
Your quite right, and a lot of the ways in which money like this is washed are through various small cash business where the drug money can be introduced as cash takings into turnover.

There still must be a quite a few extremely rich drug dealers out there though that might surprise all of us if they ever slip up.
 

'orebel

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Joined
Nov 13, 2009
Messages
20,532
It's not just at county or state level. The feds do it too.
I remember seeing a documentary about a young Deadhead who was approached by some undercover feds, who knew he liked to dose, to sell them some acid at a Grateful Dead show. He told them he wasn't a dealer and couldn't help them. He was approached by them again at the next stop (Deadheads tended to follow the band from one venue to the next for as many shows as they could afford throughout a tour) and again told them he wasn't a dealer and couldn't help them.
He was approached by the same guys 5 or 6 times at different shows in different cities with the same result. The last time he was approached his VW van had broken down and he was stranded so he told the guys he might be able to sort something. Bear in mind that LSD was the drug of choice at Dead shows and was readily available to anyone in the know.
He organised someone to get him a batch and met the guys in a motel room whereupon he was promptly busted and received the 10 year mandatory minimum in a federal penitentiary.
Scary stuff as at the time I had been to see a bunch of Dead shows and had actually met this guy. He used to sell grilled cheese sandwiches from the back of his camper after the show for gas money to the next gig.
The amount of acid this chap had was pretty small in the scale of things but the law at the (it might remain so) stated that the weight of the drugs was calculated to include the medium it was suspended/carried in. The acid he had supplied was contained in sugar lumps. If the same amount of LSD had been contained in blotter paper he would have received a much reduced sentence.
 

james5001

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I'd imagine the majority of the money is spread very widely through an enormous number of dealers and the big money makers who are smart will invest in businesses with which to legitimize their takings. As long as they pay their taxes on their 'legitimate earnings' and keep themselves at arms length from the actual trade they'll remain below the radar for along time.
It's the flash Harrys and the greedy who get caught.
If they're earning millions, which some are, you need big businesses to hide it. Really big.
And it'd be much easy to catch them, expenditure wise, than targeting the other areas.

Look at Operation Greenback on wiki. Very, very interesting, including the people in charge. Note how many of the banks weren't prosecuted. The reason is obvious. There is no war on drugs.
 

james5001

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Your quite right, and a lot of the ways in which money like this is washed are through various small cash business where the drug money can be introduced as cash takings into turnover.

There still must be a quite a few extremely rich drug dealers out there though that might surprise all of us if they ever slip up.
With the amount of money that stays in the US, there are a lot of wealthy people. Therefore large institutions are laundering this money.
 

NYCKY

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Joined
Apr 17, 2010
Messages
13,110
If they really wanted to stop the illegal drugs trade, they'd go after the places where the big money goes through.

''According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the
money produced by drug trafficking throughout the world reached $460 billion in
1993, of which the U.S. received $260 billion, which is circulated through its financial system, as contraband, and through other ways. Colombia, as a producer-exporter, gets only $5 to $7 billion, or 2 to 3% of what remains in the U.S. The big business is, therefore, in that country.''
Apolinar Biaz-Callejas, "Violence in Colombia, its History," Latin America News Update (Chicago, IL), Vol. 10, No. 12, December 1994, pp. 19-20
The US with the size of it's economy is inherently both a target of and prime location for money laundering (as are all large economies). The figures quoted for the US and Columbia are broadly similar when compared to the respective sizes of their economies and with purchasing power $5 - $7 billion will get you a lot more in Columbia than $260 billion will in the US.
 

'orebel

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Your quite right, and a lot of the ways in which money like this is washed are through various small cash business where the drug money can be introduced as cash takings into turnover.

There still must be a quite a few extremely rich drug dealers out there though that might surprise all of us if they ever slip up.
The 'profits' from the small cash businesses can then be invested in larger legitimate businesses at which point, generally, the smart guys get out of the trade and the greedy guys get caught.
 

NYCKY

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Regarding the Note part you're right. But this is from the OECD.
Regarding your bold point- That's the key point. The more money one makes the harder it is to launder. If you ever watched breaking bad it shows that. Massive institutions are laundering this money. Household names.

Is the system still in place where banks have to inform the FEDS if a cash deposit of more than $10,000 dollars is made? According to what I have read, the Republicans de-regulated this system in the 80's (so much for the drugs war), but was it ever re-introduced?
Yes the system is still in place and the Feds have to be informed by filing a CTR, currency transaction report. Not sure what you are reading but the Republicans never deregulated it. They have to be filed with any $10 thousand transaction, withdrawal, deposit, or even combination of say two $6k deposits in separate branches. The amount has been the same for decades despite inflation. Also, its not just banks but casinos, boat dealers, western union branches etc that have to comply with this.
 

'orebel

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Yes the system is still in place and the Feds have to be informed by filing a CTR, currency transaction report. Not sure what you are reading but the Republicans never deregulated it. They have to be filed with any $10 thousand transaction, withdrawal, deposit, or even combination of say two $6k deposits in separate branches. The amount has been the same for decades despite inflation. Also, its not just banks but casinos, boat dealers, western union branches etc that have to comply with this.
This must make it impossible to track this stuff. There must be many thousands of such transactions daily in the US.
 

NYCKY

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This must make it impossible to track this stuff. There must be many thousands of such transactions daily in the US.
Absolutely, thousands of them on a daily basis getting filed. They used to be all paper based but now many of them are electronic. I am sure there are various flags and characteristics, that get some sorted for greater scrutiny, There is the option of filling out a SAR (suspicious activity report) along with them if it is felt that there is something suspicious about the transaction that gets them moved up the chain.
 

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