This is what happens when Bad Laws victimize Good People.
Back on May 16, 2011 I wrote about the case of 72-year-old Port Angeles resident Fred Rodolf, who made the mistake of passing through Canadian waters on his way to Alaska. He runs a small charter business there each year.
That article was titled “Thank God we’re safe from dangerous 72-year-olds!” and outlined the absurdity of charging Mr. Rodolf.
Fred Rodolf is not a criminal. He is not a threat to anyone. He happens to own firearms, as is his right. Now, because of his oversight and Canada’s asinine gun laws, this good man will likely be spending three years in prison.
While he has a right to trial by jury, the sad fact of the matter is that a Canadian jury will simply not comprehend they have the right to judge both the offense AND the law.
It’s a common misconception… juries, especially Canadian juries, do what the power and authority tell them to. In a courtroom that power, that authority, is generally considered to be the judge. And there’s not a judge in the land that will tell a jury that they have the power to refuse to convict when the law is an ass, as it clearly is in this case.
The most important aspect of determining if an action is criminal is intent. Mens rea. The legal definition of Mens Rea, Latin for guilty mind; guilty knowledge or intention to commit a prohibited act.
Fred Rodolf does not have that.
Fred Rodolf was not “smuggling guns” into Canada.
Fred Rodolf was traveling FROM the United States TO the United States. His “crime“, if you can call it that, was passing through Canadian waters to get to Alaska so he could run his summer business.
Any jury that knows their full rights and responsibilities would return a verdict of Not Guilty in ten seconds or less.
Unfortunately for Mr. Rodolf, the folks who sit on juries don’t know that, and the justice system isn’t going to tell them.
Now I understand that this is a foreign concept to most Canadians. Heck, it’s a foreign concept to most Americans!
Ask yourself one simple question.
Who has the power in a courtroom?
Seriously… ask yourself that question, right now.
What was your answer?
If it was “the judge”, then you are wrong.
It is the jury that has the power.
Don’t believe me? That’s fine… you don’t have to. But I will ask you to ask yourself a second question.
If the judge has the power, why is the judge not allowed into the Jury Deliberation Room?
They’re not, you know.
If they are all-powerful inside a courtroom, why can’t they go into the jury room to, say, answer any questions they might have?
Because they aren’t the one with the final power in that courtroom.
The jury is.
The laws that Fred Rodolf is charged with violating were supposedly designed to keep guns out of the hands of gang-bangers and other violent criminals.
Who these bad laws catch, however, is decent men like Fred Rodolf.
The mandatory minimum sentences attached to those laws were designed to be a deterrent to those same criminals.
Who those mandatory minimums affect, however, are NOT the gang bangers and violent criminals, but good men like Fred Rodolf.
How on earth is society served by sending a 72-year-old businessman to prison for three years?
The simple truth is this: It’s not.
Fred Rodolf was not “smuggling firearms” into Canada. He was passing through Canadian waters on his way to Alaska.
Send the man home. Keep his guns if you really think that’s necessary. Just send the man home and stop wasting tax dollars prosecuting and incarcerating a man who is not, has not and will not ever be a threat to you, me or anyone else.
You’d have to be a moron to think he hasn’t learned his lesson from this experience already.
VICTORIA TIMES COLONIST – MAY 22, 2011
Thumbs up/ thumbs down
THUMBS UP: To Fred Rodolf, 72, for highlighting the stupidity of mandatory minimum sentences. The Port Angeles man sailed into Pender Harbour and didn’t declare three handguns on his Alaska-bound boat. He faces a mandatory three-year jail term for smuggling firearms. He should lose the guns and face a big fine. But paying to keep him in jail makes no sense; nor does removing the courts’ ability to impose appropriate sentences in each case.
Don Laird says
Unfortunately Christopher I slightly disagree with you.
Judges are notorious for the browbeating and manipulation of a jury in criminal trials.
As for this case, it highlights an experience of my own.
I was traveling in northern Alberta and came across a man and his wife who had gotten their million dollar motorhome stuck on its bumper. These were very frail old folk in their mid eightes. Seriously….the guy look like about 87 or 88 and about 120 pounds soaking wet and the wife was actually very frail and sickly.
Anyway , they were heading up to Alaska and had made the mistake of leaving an exitway and getting stuck on a steep driveway.
Long story short a bunch of us helped him off the hump but in the process I had to go into the cab area of the RV and noticed a pistol similar to a glock laying on the floor just behind the drivers seat.
As we were getting the RV off the hump I quietly mentioned to the old man that he should put that away in case a police officer should see it. He did.
Later he came back and I told him there were many cops about who had been schooled in the warped, politically correct police academies and could not be trusted to use a little good judgement and commonsense.
Christopher di Armani says
I’m not sure what we’d be disagreeing with, since that was essentially my point, and the reason why juries need to know what power they truly have so judges can’t pull that crap. 🙂
Diane Dillon says
Amazing and truthful. well in Canada it appears we cant deal with real ciminals so we have to create them in this manner.
peter Juk is the crown council for vancouver island he is the head honcho, Now he was bragging he prosecxtued the 2 teens that tortured and murdered the young beautiful Kimberly Proctor. Well I spoke with Peter last week and I would like to know why he thinks he did anything at all. The 2 teens confessed there was a murdered teen and all he did was usher them to where they belong , they actually prosecuted themselves. By the way since I worked with the kids at that school and I knew the 2 teens if Corwn had prosecuted them for the other offenses they were guilty of 8 months earlier they would not have been free to do this to Kimberly. Corwn decides if charges are to be laid in Bc not police or RCMP its like palying mother May I. please let us lay charges on these criminals. what we do not condemn we condone and crown has let many offenders walk and cant be bothered as according to them it is not in public interest to lay charges. I beg to differ if 10 counts under the ciminal code is not what is and how many bodies do we need on a slab and what laws need to be broken to get charge laid.Corwon bases it decision on 2 things is it in piblic interest and can charge be laid etc. well maybe the fact that one of the offenders is an attorney and his wife is the ceocnd offender is the reason no charges are laid even though it is 10 counts under the criminal code. the honorable judge presiding in a case is the one that directed this action to be taken , trial dates set aug 5 for the last week of september and I get a call from a rather inexperienced compalcent young sounding corwn council from the westshore courthouse telling em they have decided to cancel the trail or stay it. I was sure to ahve someone on the other phone to listen and witness thsi I traveled 300 iloes 2 times to do this and then 2 other tips to swear subpenoas as instructed they were sent and this crwon tells me well she can do something about that excpet she got caught lying. she ahd already canceled the the week before and they were already in the mail back to me according to the justice of the peace I spoke to.One of the people being subpenoad a witness, a MLA Maurine karaginais and quite a few others. her office spearheaded the investigation of this place so if that is not in the public interest what is. This amn 72 if it is not in the public interest to have an expensive trial on an innocent man protest and call crown council then they may drop it where is this trail taking place let me know I will be glad to take action on this firstname.lastname@example.org