Swapping Jurisdictions   Leave a comment

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
British policy allowed Americans to be transported to England at the desire of either prosecutor or defendant in trials of persons charged with having committed murder in the course of suppressing a riot or enforcing revenue laws. Americans charged with crime subject to trial in the military courts could also be transported far from the scene of the actual crime to stand trial. And, Americans could also themselves be shipped to England to stand trial for certain crimes against the King’s property, for example His Majesty’s ships or other military equipment. This policy was so obnoxious to the Americans that the first Continental Congress on October 21, 1774, adopted a resolution declaring “That the seizing, or attempting to seize, any person in America, in order to transport such person beyond the sea, for trial of offenses, committed within the body of a county in America, being against law, will justify, and ought to meet with resistance and reprisal.”

That’s not happening today, is it?

Well, … yeah, actually it is. Locally, Shaefer Cox committed his so-called crimes in Fairbanks. He vented, he gave some speeches, he planned violent actions in response to a future collapse of society (all theoretical) and he owned a semi-auto rifle that had been non-functioning since he’d attempted to convert it to an automatic more than 10 years before. Scary dude, huh? He did all these things in Fairbanks. The federal government insisted upon trying him in Anchorage and when his attorney objected that Anchorage is 400 miles away from Fairbanks, the judge replied that they could just as well move the trial to New Jersey and still get a fair jury of Shaefer’s peers.

You decide? Do you see any similarities?

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