Stacking the deck

When the deck is stacked against all public defenders within Asotin County, it’s no wonder the county is having a hard time finding attorneys willing to represent indignant citizens.

Asotin County Prosecutor Ben Nichols’ solution to this problem is: Hire additional prosecutors. Don’t you think over-prosecutions of cases in Asotin County Superior Court is one of the reasons for the shortages of willing public defenders?

Hire more public defenders and stop over-charging and over-prosecuting cases. It’s just that simple.

Ryan Schlieper


ALEC’s handiwork

ALEC is an acronym for the ignoble corporate organization the American Legislative Exchange Council, which was established in the 1970s along with other political action committees.

ALEC corporate members get together with legislators to exchange ideas on how to make corporate businesses more profitable. Those same corporations donate PAC money to their legislators.

So what recent laws has this latest collaboration produced?

The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, which prohibits demonstrations that interfere with corporate profits at fracking sites, mining operations, pipeline construction, chemical plants and factory farms. ... Protests that interfere with the operation of these facilities are considered a felony, punishable by jail time.

Nine states: Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas have signed this act into law. Four states are pending: Colorado, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In Texas, there are charges against 20 Greenpeace protesters. One of their members’ bail has been set at $100,000 for losses to the oil economy.

The First Amendment grants the right of the people to peaceful assembly. The Eighth Amendment states “excessive bail shall not be required, no excessive fines be imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.”

Doesn’t this act violate both the First and the Eighth amendments? A felony charge for those involved in peaceful assembly in an effort to protect the environment from air and water pollution? Doesn’t pollution violate the Clean Air and Clean Water acts?

Is this country being run by U.S. law or corporate law? Don’t let this happen in Idaho.

Carol Schmidt


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