The New Constitution: Amendment XIII – due process of law

The New Constitution

Amendment XII

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against him or herself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Rationale

Unchanged.

_____

Index: The New Constitution Series

4 comments

  • I think this one needs to be updated for two or three things.

    First, I’d like to see the “double-jeopardy” piece beefed up a bit. I don’t think it’s right that people who are acquitted of criminal charges can still be re-tried on civil charges that are intimately linked to the criminal charges.

    Second, I’d like to see explicit language that prevents laws from being passed that further punish criminals after they’ve served their time. For example, say a guy is convicted of grand theft, serves 20 years in prison, and then gets released. But after he is released, a legislative body comes along and requires that everyone who has been convicted of grand theft must now wear a monitoring anklet that tracks his whereabouts continually. Today that convict is required to wear the anklet even though the law was passed after he was released – essentially the government has redefined his term and type of punishment after it was completed.

    And third, the Supreme Court ruled years ago that this very language permitted local governments to condemn private property in order to resell it to developers who could make more tax income for the government. This is an abuse of “public use” that I’d like to see remedied.

    • First, I’d like to see the “double-jeopardy” piece beefed up a bit. I don’t think it’s right that people who are acquitted of criminal charges can still be re-tried on civil charges that are intimately linked to the criminal charges.

      I like to think that the other elements of TNC solve this. In most cases you get things like federal “civil rights violation” prosecutions when the states really fuck it up. Waiting to see what happens on the Zimmerman front, in fact. But that’s less likely to happen if you have professional juries – and stay tuned for that one.

      I have no interest in getting rid of the civil process, though. Convicting someone (or letting them off) does nothing for genuinely damaged victims. If you kill my family, in the process destroying my life and costing me a million dollars, I have the right to pursue compensation. And I REALLY don’t want to do anything that would further insulate corporations from liability.

      Second, I’d like to see explicit language that prevents laws from being passed that further punish criminals after they’ve served their time. For example, say a guy is convicted of grand theft, serves 20 years in prison, and then gets released. But after he is released, a legislative body comes along and requires that everyone who has been convicted of grand theft must now wear a monitoring anklet that tracks his whereabouts continually. Today that convict is required to wear the anklet even though the law was passed after he was released – essentially the government has redefined his term and type of punishment after it was completed.

      This isn’t about an amendment, this is about the refusal of legislators to follow the constitution. You can’t have an amendment that boils down to “And we mean it, dammit.”

      And third, the Supreme Court ruled years ago that this very language permitted local governments to condemn private property in order to resell it to developers who could make more tax income for the government. This is an abuse of “public use” that I’d like to see remedied.

      Yeah – that was the Souter decision, right? How would you word that?

  • Agree with you stance on the civil process. Addressing different aspects of a crime with different standards of proof. I do not see it as a double jeopardy situation although I understand the argument.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s