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Irish Blasphemy Law Passes
Posted: 19 July 2009 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Billy Shears - 19 July 2009 04:28 PM

Wrong again.  It absolutely does mean that if the magistrate or judge isn’t even willing or able to issue the warrant.

Still stuck on needing a warrant to arrest someone?  What kind of cop are you that you need to go before a judge to get a warrant to arrest someone when you witness a crime?

Billy Shears - 19 July 2009 04:28 PM
Skipshot - 19 July 2009 03:56 PM

Nor is a court order necessary to arrest someone.  As for “probable cause” you know darn well that is as broad and subjective a statement as can be in law and can be used or abused by enforcement very effectively.

It’s not as easy as you seem to think.  If you can’t articulate probable cause to the officer of the court issuing the warrant, you won’t get the warrant.  Period.

More about getting a warrant to arrest someone?  Stop pretending you need to go before a judge to arrest someone for breaking the law.

Billy Shears - 19 July 2009 04:28 PM
Skipshot - 19 July 2009 03:56 PM

Cop: “Your honor, I was going door to door selling tickets to the Policemen’s Ball” when I noticed multiple blasphemous books by well known atheist authors on the defendant’s book shelf just beyond the doorway.  So I arrested the defendant for blasphemy.”  (Under the cop’s breath):  “Don’t blame me if you judges and politicians haven’t figured out how to prosecute someone under a vague law I didn’t put on the books.  This is for you to figure out.”

grin If you seriously imagine any cop could address a judge or magistrate in such a fashion, and actually have the warrant issued it only proves you’ve never stood before a judge or magistrate and actually tried to get one.  Let me make it clear to you: they don’t take orders from cops.  Even a hint of attitude on the part of the officer will not go unnoticed.

Not giving up on getting a warrant to arrest someone.  Your tenacity is admirable, but off the mark.

Billy Shears - 19 July 2009 04:28 PM
Skipshot - 19 July 2009 03:56 PM

What is happening now is, and I’ll repeat it again since your selective reading ignores it, ‘blasphemy’ is now being more clearly defined (in accordance with the Irish constitution) so that the law can be enforced to all the way to a conviction, and, in a general sense, there is nothing wrong with this.

Exactly, it makes a law that was previously a vague, ill-defined, unenforceable dead letter, into a law that is now capable of being enforced.  You seem to think nothing has changed, and that is not the case.

Don’t leave us hanging.  What is the case?

Billy Shears - 19 July 2009 04:28 PM

One would not get that impression from reading your posts.  You seem to have been arguing that not much has changed.

I’ve been posting here for quite a while and made my positions very clear on religion.

Billy Shears - 19 July 2009 04:28 PM

The blasphemy provision is a relic of that reality.  But rather than change the constitution to reflect the more secular nature of today’s society, they have chosen to take a retrograde step—that of strengthening the the blasphemy provision.

Yes.  Likely they are hoping no one will notice, or if it is noticed no one will care.  This is where the OP comes in - someone cares!

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Posted: 19 July 2009 03:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Skipshot - 19 July 2009 05:14 PM

Still stuck on needing a warrant to arrest someone?  What kind of cop are you that you need to go before a judge to get a warrant to arrest someone when you witness a crime?

The kind who understands the limits of his authority.  First, you develop probable cause.  Once you have done that, then, you either swear out a warrant and take the subject into custody, or you take the subject into custody, and then swear out the warrant, depending on the circumstances of the case.  But before you do anything else, you must have probable cause.  And I repeat, you cannot develop “reasonable belief” that a crime has been committed if you cannot even define clearly what that crime is.  Prior to the passage of this law, the definition of what blasphemy was did not exist (at least as far as the legal system was concerned), effectively making it impossible to develop probable cause.

A complainant could not just go get a warrant for blasphemy because he thinks this subject committed an offense.  The law does not answer to Tom, Dick or Harry’s personal opinion of what constitutes a criminal offense—and this applies to any offense, not just blasphemy.  The law can only be invoked if the offense meets certain, pre-defined criteria.  Since those criteria had never been established, the blasphemy law was a dead letter.  I don’t know how to explain this to you any more simply. 

Skipshot - 19 July 2009 03:56 PM

More about getting a warrant to arrest someone?  Stop pretending you need to go before a judge to arrest someone for breaking the law.

Uh, yes, you do.  Sorry to break it to you.  When you arrest someone, you absolutely are going to have to appear at some point before an officer of the court who is the issuing authority who will grant the warrant.  You can get the arrest warrant after the suspect has been taken, but that is only because you are deferring that moment where you appear to swear out the warrant until a later time.  You are still able to act and make the arrest only because you have probable cause.  You CANNOT arrest someone until you have developed probable cause, which you are able to articulate to the officer of the court. 

And as I have already explained, without a definition of what constitutes an offense, you can’t do this.

Skipshot - 19 July 2009 03:56 PM

Not giving up on getting a warrant to arrest someone.  Your tenacity is admirable, but off the mark.

Stop a moment, and reflect that you are telling someone who makes arrests for a living that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when speaking of what is needed to make an arrest.

Skipshot - 19 July 2009 03:56 PM

Don’t leave us hanging.  What is the case?

How about a 1999 decision by the Irish supreme court ruling that “...the 1961 law was unenforceable because it did not define blasphemy. In effect, we have never had an enforceable blasphemy law under the 1937 Constitution.”

Blasphemy law is silly, dangerous and unjust

Holy SHIT!  Sounds like what I’ve been saying all along doesn’t it?  Gee whiz, I guess I really do know what I’m talking about.  rolleyes

Skipshot - 19 July 2009 03:56 PM

I’ve been posting here for quite a while and made my positions very clear on religion.

We’re not discussing your position on religion.  We’re discussion your understanding of the Irish blasphemy law.

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Posted: 19 July 2009 07:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Billy Shears - 19 July 2009 07:18 PM
Skipshot - 19 July 2009 03:56 PM

Don’t leave us hanging.  What is the case?

How about a 1999 decision by the Irish supreme court ruling that “...the 1961 law was unenforceable because it did not define blasphemy. In effect, we have never had an enforceable blasphemy law under the 1937 Constitution.”

Don’t leave us hanging again.  Tell us how the case got to the Supreme Court?

As for arrest warrants, thanks for clearing up your vague posts on how it works.  But, more to the point, since blasphemy is not clearly defined then that leaves the definition up to the courts and politicians to clear up, usually after someone is arrested for the offense.  Are you telling us that if a cop doesn’t understand a law he won’t enforce it?  That’s not how I understand the system.  As I understand it, if a law is on the books it is up to the courts to make the final decision if it has been broken, not a cop’s.  If there is some religious nut Irish cop making arrests on his understanding of the blasphemy law but fails to get a conviction because the law is not clearly defined that is not the cop’s fault.

I suppose the law wasn’t tested until 1999 because either the cops decided it wasn’t worth the effort to make an arrest on something they figured wouldn’t go anywhere while causing more trouble than it was worth, or atheists haven’t been protesting in front of chrurches

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Posted: 20 July 2009 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Skipshot - 19 July 2009 11:51 PM

Don’t leave us hanging again.  Tell us how the case got to the Supreme Court?

As for arrest warrants, thanks for clearing up your vague posts on how it works.  But, more to the point, since blasphemy is not clearly defined then that leaves the definition up to the courts and politicians to clear up, usually after someone is arrested for the offense.  Are you telling us that if a cop doesn’t understand a law he won’t enforce it?

Actually, yes.  But I’ll admit I was wrong about no one ever having been charged under this code.  The problem was, I was assuming too much common sense on the part of officialdom, and with my experience, I really should have known better.

Now that I think back on it, I really should have known better because I’ve seen my own city officials do it, even when it is clearly useless, even stupid, even to the point where the city is clearly exceeding its authority.  For example, a few years ago, the city attempted to put some extra restrictions in the city code on where holders of concealed weapons permits could carry their firearms.  They did this despite the fact the state law on concealed weapons is part of a class of laws that localities are not permitted to add extra regulation to (this is to protect citizens who travel through different towns from being vulnerable to arrest under a patchwork of local laws, all of which they couldn’t possibly know).  Well, the city did it anyway.  Almost certainly because certain city officials are pro-gun control, and trying to circumvent the state law allowing concealed carry - which they don’t agree with. 

Well predictably, the first person arrested under the city law was acquitted (his defense attorney cited the state law, and the judge ruled the city had no authority to make the arrest, as state law supersedes the city code).  Not only was the defendant acquitted, he turned around and sued the city, and won.

The whole affair made the city look stupid, and cost it money.  Anyone with sense could have predicted this outcome.  And it was driven by one or two individuals with an agenda (gun control), who almost certainly knew they were exceeding their authority, but were hoping to get by with it.  The vast majority of people, who can read a law code, knew the whole thing was a waste of time and wouldn’t have tried it.

I imagine a similar situation obtains with trying to enforce the previous Irish blasphemy law, which is most likely why it took nearly forty years before anyone tried it. 

Skipshot - 19 July 2009 11:51 PM

That’s not how I understand the system.  As I understand it, if a law is on the books it is up to the courts to make the final decision if it has been broken, not a cop’s.

Most cops are smart enough, careful enough, and most importantly, mindful enough of liability not to charge someone when the law isn’t clear enough to give them probable cause.

In the example above, from my own city, I know there were officers who disagreed with the city law, but when the chief orders the precinct captains to enforce it, and orders roll down until the patrolman on the spot has to enforce it if he doesn’t want to be disciplined.

Skipshot - 19 July 2009 11:51 PM

If there is some religious nut Irish cop making arrests on his understanding of the blasphemy law but fails to get a conviction because the law is not clearly defined that is not the cop’s fault.

In the case that led to the 1999 Irish supreme court case, I don’t know the details, but I’d be willing to bet a lot it wasn’t “some religious Irish cop.”  I know that the case involved some cartoon published in an Irish newspaper.  Whoever initiated the complaint was almost certainly not a cop acting on his own authority.

Skipshot - 19 July 2009 11:51 PM

I suppose the law wasn’t tested until 1999 because either the cops decided it wasn’t worth the effort to make an arrest on something they figured wouldn’t go anywhere while causing more trouble than it was worth, or atheists haven’t been protesting in front of chrurches

See above.  Cops don’t actually initiate many warrants all on their own.  Most charges come out of investigations that only occur after a complainant comes forward and makes an allegation.

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I am the very model of a Christian Evangelical
I’ve no need for courtesy when fighting things heretical
I know the bible word for word; you’ll find me pedagogical
I have my faith so I’ve no need for ideas that are logical
Atheists and Pagans fall before my wit satirical
They’ll burn in hell just as they should; their cries will be so lyrical
I’m always right, you’re always wrong, my reasoning’s dogmatical
For I’m the very model of a Christian Evangelical

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