Vale’s predicament is a microcosm of what is wrong with the U.S. justice system
By JAMES RETARIDES
As I am to understand Jason Vale’s situation, he was warned several times not to sell the seed without going to the FDA. Legally, he may have been wrong. Ethically, many believe he was right.
I don’t doubt it.
It is funny, because since Michael Sivak and I have gotten into our hobby (i.e. judicial reform matters) I think I have met more people that have been given the shaft due to following their hearts and doing the right thing than I had ever seen in movies or television.
The technicalities of law have come to supersede right and wrong. Mandatory minimums and so-called ‘truth in sentencing laws’ have quietly quintupled the prison population in the northeast and placed the U.S. prison population so high that it has now surpassed the former Soviet Union at its most oppressive point.
Most people are blind to it however because the movement began more than a decade ago. Republican politicians, most of them lawyers that we voted in, decided these laws would make them appear “tough on crime,” because so-called ‘soft liberal judges’ were being too kind to hardened criminals. Democrats saw how the laws could strengthen their image with their constituents and followed suit soon after.
What we are experiencing now is the epitome of the law of unintended consequences. These laws have completely taken away the power from judges and put it in the hands of prosecutors, who use these sentencing laws as bargaining chips.
For example: A guy defends himself in a dark alley against several larger men. He injures one of the men but, even though the man he injured was the aggressor, he is charged with assault in the first degree. The man pleads self-defense. The prosecutor offers the man a two-year sentence because he or she knows that an assault-1 conviction carries a mandatory five-year sentence. They dangle that like a carrot.
More often than not, the man will take the two years, regardless of right or wrong, because the mandatory minimum looks far too sever to face. If he doesn’t take it, the state’s attorney’s office will prosecute it extra hard to make an example of that person, regardless of mitigating factors.
There are so many more innocent people in jail right now than ever before that it is scary. When a state has a 400 percent increase in prison, with a decreasing crime rate but a stable overall population, that means you have far too many people in prison that don’t belong there.
That is why DOC budgets from throughout the nation have been so high. That is why prisons, that they cannot even afford to properly staff, are being built at an alarming rate. But what are they doing? They are warehousing people, plain and simple.
The Department of Corrections is not correcting anyone.
What are they doing to prevent recidivism? Nothing. Ten years from now don’t be surprised if the U.S. starts to resemble Singapore.
Jason’s case is a prime example. Imagine for a moment, you are told at a young age that you have terminal cancer. Most young people and their parents will desperately seek out a cure. Jason Vale, through trial and error, found apricot seeds. Does he go to the FDA right away?
Eventually he does; he is denied. Understanding that a great deal of people run the risk of dying and believing he has the right medicine to save them, Vale sets out on a mission to market these seeds.
He gets a bunch of customers that take it and say it has positive effects. The FDA doesn’t care because now Vale has two strikes against him and this is not exactly a baseball game.
Vale allegedly uses America Online illegally to both market his product and reach the masses.
Now he has raised the ire of federal prosecutors, the FDA and a media conglomerate. Lights out!
They don’t care if Jason was right about any of this because he broke their rules several times and now it is time to teach him his lesson.
Remember, cancer research is big business in this country. If you think for one solitary moment that all of that money is going to some celibate scientist that is spending 22 hours in the lab each day fighting for a cure, you are sorely mistaken.
Politicians love cancer research a lot, almost as much as they love motor oil. And for years we have had vehicles that could operate on sunlight, electricity and/or a strong batch of moonshine. When was the golf cart invented? You don’t think that the technology used could have been sound enough by now to have on highways?
If David Sarnoff could keep television from the world for decades because he had so much money invested in radio, than several politicians and oil execs (or both rolled up into one is some cases – see the president) could suppress technology that would help stop pollution or even help cure cancer.
The fact is that
Jason refused to try and play Moses and part through the red tape and now he is
in prison awaiting sentencing because he is seen as a flight risk. I have a
feeling that even though this has been going on for years, Vale’s saga has only
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